Copyright Op-Ed by Loreena McKennitt

So this link (here) is to an Op-Ed piece by Loreena McKennitt.  Once again I think is is a nice contrast to my own point of view.  Another interesting note is that Russell McOrmand, who has posted here in my comments, is the first poster in the Op-Ed comments as well.  He must have his C-32 alerts turned up to high or be following ALL the cool twitters.  He points out his copyright FAQ which I meant to provide feedback to last week, but did not.  (here)

Miss McKennitt and I certainly agree that the purpose of copyright legislation is to provide a fertile ground to artists – to enable those with talent and fans to potentially earn a living through their art.  I am also fine with implying that rampant piracy is detrimental to this goal and that copyright legislation should deter the commercialization of such privacy and make it clear to consumers what is improper behavior.

However, there are two claims I take a bit of issue with.  She draws a line from poor record sales to poor touring income.  I have heard that many performers are trying to recoup lower record sales (due to privacy and economics and other factors) by enhanced touring.  That is a tough market, but it may be an adaptation required to survive.  (Alternatives like developing online interactions with fans is another I think).  But I do not think piracy leads to low concert ticket sales.  I do not see the link.  A concert experience is not the same as a taped experience – even on a bootleg live MP3.  I think that music pirates and legitimate purchasers of music are both just a likely to attend.  While I have no data to back me up, I’d surmise that if touring is tough it is because it has always been tough and because the economy overall has suffered in recent years.

The second point she says is that users do not have real rights.  BS!  As I have said before, we want the artists to make a living because it provides a benefit to the consumers.  Not just because it is nice to live a bohemian lifestyle.  The value of art I think is underestimated in society (while there is also a ton of garbage).  I think it provides enormous value.  But it is that value which we are safeguarding first and foremost.  Artist get to make a living as an offshoot of the value (real or perceived of their product).  So the rights must flow first from the consumer/user to the artist.  Those are the primary stakeholders in copyright.

I’m starting to hate the term ‘balance’ because it can be used by any advocacy group to push for their version of balance.  But we are looking to provide benefit to society and culture and in doing so promote a marketplace where artists, publishers and other offshoot business can survive and be encouraged to produce more work of value to society.  I believe, any view promoting only a single entity is short-sighted.


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