Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Be what you want to be ...

Although sometimes it may be a little naughty.
I'm going to try and avoid the puns today (and there was much rejoicing !).

Spotted a news story that makes you question the sanity of the people making laws these days. It's about copyright ... Here's the Register link to the story. Basically, you know it's illegal to take a cd that you've bought in a shop or online and make an MP3 copy for your phone or other music player. It did become legal for a while but that story is about the high court overturning the legislation that made it legal.

That means that when I bought Taylor Swift's Red album (only £3 in Sainsburys - a steal !), it would have been illegal for me to have iTunes perform its purpose of converting that to MP3 so I can then put the cd on the shelf and listen to it without fear of the cd getting ruined. I also listen to a far more varied selection of music than if I were always swapping cd's.

That's all good under Fair Use terms right ? I've not passed the copy on to anyone (see later for what I think of iTunes Match), I am listening to the music I bought across the devices I own. Actually wrong. It's about as legal to make the MP3 copy as it is for people to do 80mph on a British motorway (yet everyone seems to do it).

What do I do with my music ?

I'll look around to buy it from the best place. Firstly, if I can buy direct from the artist, I will do that. That's a rare choice though, I've been able to do that for maybe 1% of the albums I own. Secondly, I'll get from the cheapest place I can get it from (see comment about Taylor Swift for £3). Thirdly, I'll refuse to buy an album if I think it's too expensive. (That Taylor Swift album is £10 on iTunes)

And then I'll get it into the Macbook's iTunes library and listen to it from there, or via the iPhone into whatever it's connecting to. That's technically against the law, even though it is Fair Use. Let's look more at that, when I bought The Pretenders album collection :

It was an Amazon cd collection with Autorip. Which means that the cds arrived a few days after a copy of the music had been sent to me via the Amazon player. Copy number 1.
Amazon then copies it from their player to iTunes. Copy number 2.
I then back up my Macbook library to my desktop. Copy number 3.
Selected copies go to my iPhone to be played in the car. Copy number 4.

And then if iTunes Match were enabled, it would get uploaded to the cloud (where Apple can then sell it ?) for whatever Apple do with it there. Copy number 5.

I believe Copies 1, 2, 3 and 4 are covered under Fair Use. I'm using the music for my own purposes, just not from the original media. I don't believe Copy 5 is Fair Use, I firmly believe that iTunes Match is wholly illegal (and therefore have it disabled). I have some music that has never been anywhere near iTunes and to upload it there would be an invitation for iTunes to sell it without compensation to the artist that created it.

The music business should be about compensation to the artist, not the publisher/distributor. We need to keep the creators of the music we love in houses and fed so they make more music for us to enjoy. And too many of the good ones are struggling in those basic endeavours.

Yeah - we've had a step back in the way we can freely live our lives. Do I think that anyone will be prosecuted for doing the technically illegal thing of converting a cd into something that can go on their iPod (insert substitute music player!) ? No, I don't think so. Do I think the following pic resembles our lawmakers ?
Yes. In this region of law, the modern world has left them behind and they're still stuck in the 19th century.

Going a little further, I think a little copying helps stimulate the business. Unless it's taken to the extremes of whole albums going into torrents with nothing at all going back to the artists. My music library started exploding after my sister sent me a few tracks. And from there, I have bought all of Goldfrapp's albums, all 3 Bat For Lashes albums and I could go on. The sharing of music to Youtube and recommendations from other friends has led me to collect Massive Attack, Little Boots, The Cardigans, KT Tunstall and a bunch more. That's all music I would have stayed well clear of without being introduced by a copy or a shared video.

But that's not the way our law people see it. They have a point with those who download all their content without paying for it, which just disadvantages the artists and makes them seek paying work instead of making the content we love.

And I think that's me just about all ranted out.

Enjoy your music ! But remember the people who create it. They're the ones deserve your support, not the labels and publishers who cause laws like this to come into being.
Good job the DMCA merchants can't get us when we sing along in the car.

Cya !

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