FMC Policy Summit 2010

It’s time for the 10th Anniversary Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit.

TENTH? This event is 10 years old? No way. I was still in Grad School when this event started and that was just…nevermind. Let’s move on.

Musicians can still apply for scholarships to the Summit and anyone who wants to engage or learn more about public policy, music technology, and technology can still buy a ticket.

Come on, get your music & tech policy fix where all the cool kids hang out! The event starts Sunday (the 3rd) and runs through Tuesday (the 5th) – check the website for programming details and panelist bios.

Monday night, there’s a rock show. And not just any rock show, this is a benefit for Dear New Orleans presented by Air Traffic Control and the Future of Music Coalition.

The show is at the Black Cat and tickets (regular and VIP packages) are still available. Check out this partial line-up:

Bonerama with
Damian Kulash of OK Go
Jenny Toomey and Franklin Bruno
Hank Shocklee (of The Bomb Squad, Public Enemy)
Jonny 5 of Flobots
Wonderlick (and half of Too Much Joy!)
Rebecca Gates
Crossover Clarinetist Mariam Adam
plus special guests!

And, of course, I’ll be there (in the audience). How can you possibly resist?

Still need a push? Don’t know who Bonerama are? Here’s video I found (on their website) of them covering “War Pigs” last year in San Francisco.

I tried harder to find video of them covering “When the Levee Breaks” on youtube because that’s more appropriate but all the videos I found sucked so you get this instead. (I did find video from last year’s FMC rockshow but the quality was not so high – a hazzard of recording trombones with a portable cam and then compounding the loss of low-frequency content by playing it back on computer speaker. You can watch it anyway if you want).

I bet you could see them cover it live if you bought a ticket and showed up at the Black Cat Monday night.

Registered for [tag]Brian Zisk’s[/tag] [tag]SanFran MusicTech Summit[/tag] and booked my plane tickets. I’m feeling a wee bit superstitious, Virgin America had amazing non-stop rates, at exactly the times and days I needed. And I snagged a seat with extra legroom both ways. (Especially good since, in addition to being as old and arthritic as a hound-dog, this is a redeye so as to get me back to DC in time for another event.

Sure, the weather could cause problems and SFO isn’t exactly known for on-time departures, but I’m not worried about that part. I’ve made the best effort I can to honor all of my commitments, that weather stuff is out of my hands and I’m not going to fret about it.

Since I seem to be posting a lot about flickr these days, I thought I’d make a plug for The Commons:

Back in June of 2007, we began our first collaboration with a civic institution to facilitate giving people a voice in describing the content of a publicly-held photography collection.

The key goals of this pilot project are to firstly give you a taste of the hidden treasures in the huge Library of Congress collection, and secondly to how your input of a tag or two can make the collection even richer.

This project has actually been evolving for a long time. I used to hear a lot of negative opinions from independent researchers about the Library of Congress in general and specific doubts about whether the [tag]Prints and Photographs Online Catalog[/tag] would ever reach it’s full potential. It always seemed to me that what these individuals were really saying was, “this is going to be a lot of hard work and I want other people to do it for me and then let me use the results for free in the public domain.” Plus, none of them seemed to have a definition of full potential that was particularly broad in scope.

Although I am at times vocal in my critique of [tag]Wikipedia[/tag] and other communally produced information sources, I don’t see them as the end of civilization nor as the end for the need for experts, scientists or researchers. On the other hand, I don’t see them as the harbingers of a utopian tomorrow free of class and oppression and inequalities in access to information.

This particular Library of Congress undertaking was already envisioned as a highly sophisticated project when I first began following it’s development while I was in graduate school over ten years ago. Obviously, technologies like [tag]flickr[/tag] and concepts like [tag]folksonomic tagging[/tag] have radically altered the intellectual landscape for archivists of image collections and I believe those alterations will pose many challenges, but the results promise to be spectacular.

Exciting changes at the [tag]Future of Music Coalition[/tag]:

Future of Music Coalition (FMC) is pleased to announce that [tag]Ann Chaitovitz[/tag] has been named its next Executive Director. Chaitovitz replaces [tag]Jenny Toomey[/tag], who was recently appointed Program Officer for Media and Cultural Policy at the Ford Foundation. Chaitovitz brings more than 15 years of experience in artist rights, copyright and new media technologies to her new role at FMC, which she will assume on February 4, 2008.

[read the whole press release]

I feel that Ann’s years of experience at AFTRA, ASCAP and the USPTO, plus her years on the FMC Board, make her the perfect choice for this position.

Have you played around at the Nine Inch Nails Remix Site? Why is the official Nine Inch Nails Remix site so all-fired interesting? Not because of the content, although that’s a strong reason in and of itself, but because of the circumstances of it’s existence.

Last week, on November 19, Trent Reznor had a post on the front page of the Nine Inch Nails site titled “Copyright Fun.” I copied the whole thing into a draft because I didn’t know which parts I wanted to comment on that day. Now, I can’t get to the original post. After thinking about it a bit more, I’ve decided to just repost the whole thing here. p2pnet also has the full text, should you feel the burning desire to cross-reference.

Several years ago I persuaded my record company to let me begin posting my master recording files on nin.com, in order to see what kind of user-generated content would materialize from my music. I had no agenda… the main reason I did it was because I thought it was cool and something I would have liked to do if it was available to me.

A lot of really fun stuff started to happen….communities developed, web sites were created, even traditional radio got in the game and began playing the fans’ mixes. I felt the experiment, despite not having a specific purpose, was a success. So much so that we’re now releasing a remix album that includes some of this fan-created material as well as the actual multitrack master files for every song from my latest record, Year Zero.

One piece was missing to me and that was an official nin.com presence for aggregating all of the fan-created remixes. Several intrepid fans had stepped up and done a great job providing a destination for people to post these, but I felt all along this was a function I should more directly support. So, upon release of this new remix album, our plan has been to launch an official site on nin.com that would provide a place for all fan remix material and other interactive fan experiences.

Or so I thought.

On Saturday morning I became aware of a legal hitch in our plans. My former record company and current owner of all these master files,
Universal, is currently involved in a lawsuit with other media titans Google (YouTube) and News Corp (MySpace). Universal is contending that
these sites do not have what is referred to as “safe harbor” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and therefore are in copyright violation because users have uploaded music and video content that is owned by Universal.
Universal feels that if they host our remix site, they will be opening themselves up to the accusation that they are sponsoring the same technical violation of copyright they are suing these companies for. Their premise is that if any fan decides to remix one of my masters with material Universal doesn’t own – a “mash-up”, a sample, whatever – and upload it to the site,
there is no safe harbor under the DMCA (according to Universal) and they will be doing exactly what MySpace and YouTube are doing. This behavior may
get hauled out in court and impact their lawsuit. Because of this they no longer will host our remix site, and are insisting that Nine Inch
Nails host it. In exchange for this they will continue to let me upload my Universal masters and make them available to fans, BUT shift the
liability of hosting them to me. Part of the arrangement is having user licenses that the fans sign (not unlike those on MySpace or You Tube)
saying they will not use unauthorized materials.

If they WERE to do such a thing, everybody sues everybody and the world abruptly ends.

While I am profoundly perturbed with this stance as content owners continue to stifle all innovation in the face of the digital revolution, it is consistent with what they have done in the past. So… we are challenged at the last second
to find a way of bringing this idea to life without getting splashed by the urine as these media companies piss all over each other’s feet. We have a cool and innovative site ready to launch but we’re currently scratching our heads as to how to proceed.

More to come….

By the way, the potential implications of a lawsuit like this one go well beyond creating hurdles for a Nine Inch Nails remix site. Here is an excerpt from technology site Ars Technica regarding a similar lawsuit Viacom has filed against YouTube:

The DMCA’s Safe Harbor provisions aren’t just important to video sharing sites; they’re important to almost every sector of Internet-based business.
“Nearly every major Internet company depends on the very same legal foundation that YouTube is built on,” said von Lohmann. “A legal defeat for
YouTube could result in fundamental changes to its business, potentially even making it commercially impossible to embrace user-generated content without first ‘clearing’ every video. In other words, a decisive victory for Viacom could
potentially turn the Internet into TV, a place where nothing gets on the air until a cadre of lawyers signs off,” he said. “More importantly, a victory for Viacom could potentially have enormous implications for Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, MySpace, and many other Internet companies, because they all rely on the same DMCA Safe Harbors to protect many facets of their businesses, as well. The stakes are high all around.”

Indeed.

posted by Trent Reznor at 3:24 PM

Since I was grumbling in my last post about being thwarted by [tag]Digital Rights Management[/tag] software on my tax-payer supported library materials, now might be a good time to note that [tag]The Center for Social Media[/tag] is sponsoring a panel discussion tonight, followed by a performance by the awesome [tag]Samantha Murphy[/tag].

Who should get to decide what you put on your iPod? You or the MPAA? When are you a copyright pirate, and when are you just using your rights?

The Digital Freedom Campaign and the Center for Social Media invite you to fight for your media rights!

Who should get to decide what you put on your iPod? You or the MPAA? When are you a copyright pirate, and when are you just using your rights?

The Digital Freedom Campaign and the Center for Social Media invite you to fight for your media rights!

[see website for details]

Every year around Halloween I try to finish reading [tag]Dracula[/tag]. I’m always thwarted. This has been going on for years. This year I thought I’d be smart about this and listen to the audiobook at the gym. I remembered that the public library had a new, large catalog of commercial audiobooks available. I checked the website, Dracula was one of the featured downloads. For a brief moment, I thought, “It’s meant to be!” I soon discovered that it really wasn’t.

At this time, OverDrive Media files cannot be used on iPods or Mac computers.

Our media titles, provided by OverDrive, Inc., use DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection technology from Microsoft Corporation. Unfortunately the iPod (and Mac) currently support neither DRM-protected Windows Media Audio (.wma) files nor Window Media Video (.wmv) files.

OverDrive, along with hundreds of online media providers, is hopeful that Apple and Microsoft can reach an agreement that would enable support for Microsoft-based DRM-protected materials on the iPod/Mac.

Instead of just picking up the actual book (of which we have 6 editions now), I’ve been reading [tag]Steve Almond’s[/tag] [tag]Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America[/tag]. Almond worships Halloween as “the freak national holiday” so it seems topical to me. It’s also hysterically funny, and his descriptions of the tours he finagles through various candymaker’s factories are fascinating. He doesn’t get inside any of the Big 3 candymakers, Nestle, Hershey, or Mars (see: [tag]Joel Glenn Brenner[/tag]’s Emperor’s of Chocolate for the story of how insanely cutthroat the competition between Mars and Hershey has been, historically). Husband can’t wait for me to finish the book, if only so I’ll stop reading long sections of it outloud to him. He doesn’t appreciate having a private audiobook service. DRM free, even.

It’s the second day of the [tag]Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit[/tag] and we’re missing the first session cause we’re stick in traffic. Since we’re missing the session on blogging and social networking, I thought I’d blog about missing it.

I talked to most, if not all, of the panelists for the session yesterday and was really looking forward to their conversation today. I’m sure half the audience is blogging it, and video is being captured, but it’s not the same.

(update) As it turns out the panel has gotten a late start and so we’ve arrived “on time” after all. Hooray! As it turns out, Rachel Masters from Ning is on this panel and she’s the one person I never succesfully tracked down yesterday, so all is extra-well now. (/end update)

So without further ado, here’s a slideshow of [tag]Jill Greenberg[/tag]’s [tag]monkey[/tag] and [tag]ape[/tag] portraits.