Feeds

Indies, songwriters want jaw jaw with ISPs

Not war war

High performance access to file storage

Indie labels, songwriters and publishers hailed Wednesday as a landmark day for digital music - the first sign that many of the warring parties within the music business have agreed on something.

A London conference brought together representatives who are more used to squabbling: the Association of Independent Music (AIM), which represents indies and British Music Rights (BMR), which represents collection agencies, performers and composers. Even some majors were present.

What they agreed on is extremely vague, and goes by the unlovely name of "Value Recognition Right" - but all sides said that agreeing to agree was the first step - especially when the consensus was emerging from the most representative spectrum of interests that could be assembled.

BMR spokesman Scott Walker explained VRR as, "the right of the creative community to license depending on value that has been accrued by other intermediaries."

It was foolish suing the consumer, he said, but the parts of the business that came to the parade this week - a fair chunk of it - didn't have the tools to do what they wanted, and monetize the digital flows of information.

None of the billions of P2P transactions net the musicians, publishers or indie labels a penny.

AIM's Sam Shentob told us much the same thing.

"Let's try and license where possible."

But any talk of specifics - such as levies and legal frameworks - was way premature, he agreed.

The timing was a bit unfortunate, but couldn't be helped. Earlier in the week, the British Phonographic Institute - representing the coke and stockbroker-belt end of the business - had very publicly decided that it was going to go after ISPs, naming and shaming two - Tiscali and Cable and Wireless - for failing to police their networks for copyright infringement.

At least two publications got their wires crossed, assuming that the BPI's latest hostilities and the Wednesday declaration were part of a co-ordinated campaign, and concluded that VRR is the fancy new name for screwing ISPs.

In fact, the VRR declaration coincided with the BPI's Annual General Meeting - so it couldn't really have been less co-ordinated.

So now they've agreed to agree, where will the declaration take us next? You could be forgiven for thinking that protestations about not wanting a levy or legislative tweaks just yet sound a little gauche.

But ISPs have plenty to worry about already - such as survival. ISPs have known for years - thanks to analysts banding around phrases like "dumb bit pipe", that the business is being commoditized. With Carphone Warehouse now touting "free broadband for life", it's happening more rapidly than many would like.

So you have songwriters, publishers and labels who want some crumbs, and ISPs who want to add value. Can't the twain meet?

An ISP who's trying to monetize the digital music flows, Paul Sanders of PlayLouder MSP, summed up the dilemma succinctly for us today.

"The challenge for ISPs is maintaining their safe harbour provisions and their copyright liability exemptions - while getting involved in the distribution of digital content," he said.

"The two goals aren't mutually exclusive, but they sure as hell can get in the way of each other."

There's a lot of value in music flowing around ISPs' networks - but the creative end of the industry isn't seeing any of it - and nor are ISPs, Sanders pointed out.

"Look who's making money - MySpace, from its advertising revenue; Google, which is selling the advertisements, Verizon, PayPal... Musicians are expected to work for free for News International now."

There are fates worse than the road from VRR. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.