Bob Lefsetz on Pandora’s latest appeal to have their licensing fees reduced.
Why are all these techies so delusional?
Yes, the music industry has been too slow to license.
Yes, it tends to extract its pound of flesh.
But your way into copyright holders’ hearts is by proving you’re going to make them more money. And that’s not what Tim Westergren is doing here, he’s just lobbying on behalf of his shareholders.
NPR’s Planet Money observes licensing in certain industries and why it’s illegal to braid hair unlicensed:
In the 1950s, fewer than 5 percent of American workers needed a license to do their job. Today, about a third of workers need licenses. The increase has been driven partly by the shift away from manufacturing jobs (which don’t tend to be licensed) and toward service jobs (which often require licenses). But it’s also been driven by a push from professions themselves. Licensing rules make it harder for new people to enter a field. That’s good for people who are already in the profession, because it limits competition and allows them to raise prices. So professions go to lawmakers and say: You need to regulate us.
The licensing agencies that be took away the rights to a modified performance of Little Shop of Horrors performed by the Boxcar Theater Company. The modifications violate the terms and conditions that performance groups agree to in order to be allowed to do a show. This report on Playbill.com hints at some of the changes made in the Boxcar production.
I think this response from Jason Robert Brown1 is closest to my thoughts:
The problem that Nick doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge is that the words “LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS” are what sold his tickets. He needed the authors’ work in order to do his job of making wonderful, thrillingly creative theater out of it. But to suggest that those authors shouldn’t be allowed to collaborate (by their approval) in his process is grossly unfair.
I think if you’ve ever used a Creative Commons license you may feel the same way.
Why did a DVD collection of The State take forever to release?
One of the factors that delayed the release of the series was that the troupe used many popular songs as background music in the original broadcast versions of nearly every episode. The State was produced during a period when MTV had deals with various record labels, via which the network could easily use many songs that had a video aired on the network in their original programming without having to pay royalties to the labels; The State used popular music as the background music for countless sketches, utilizing hits like The Byrds’ “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, The Breeders’ “Cannonball”, Liz Phair’s “Supernova” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”. Due to the large royalty fees each company would likely demand, the soundtrack as originally aired would have cost many times the amount that video sales would recoup, so The State was forced to re-record much of the backing music with different, sometimes sound-alike, songs.