IP Freely

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Hugh Akston
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IP Freely

Post by Hugh Akston »

A thread for discussing the double-edged sword of intellectual property.

To begin: Musicians Algorithmically Generate Every Possible Melody, Release Them to Public Domain
Two programmer-musicians wrote every possible MIDI melody in existence to a hard drive, copyrighted the whole thing, and then released it all to the public in an attempt to stop musicians from getting sued.

Programmer, musician, and copyright attorney Damien Riehl, along with fellow musician/programmer Noah Rubin, sought to stop copyright lawsuits that they believe stifle the creative freedom of artists.
Often in copyright cases for song melodies, if the artist being sued for infringement could have possibly had access to the music they're accused of copying—even if it was something they listened to once—they can be accused of "subconsciously" infringing on the original content. One of the most notorious examples of this is Tom Petty's claim that Sam Smith's “Stay With Me” sounded too close to Petty's “I Won’t Back Down." Smith eventually had to give Petty co-writing credits on their own chart-topping song, which entitled Petty to royalties.

Defending a case like that in court can cost millions of dollars in legal fees, and the outcome is never assured. Riehl and Rubin hope that by releasing the melodies publicly, they'll prevent a lot of these cases from standing a chance in court.
It will be interesting to see the outcome if and when this archive is cited as evidence in court.
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Mo
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Re: IP Freely

Post by Mo »

I'm sure if some corporate behemoth needs it to not stand the Supreme Court will find some justification to say it doesn't count because it was automatically generated by an algorithm rather than a human, so much like the monkey that took it's own picture, the court will find that Riehl and Rubin don't own the rights.
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Painboy
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Re: IP Freely

Post by Painboy »

Hugh Akston wrote:
04 Mar 2020, 18:40
A thread for discussing the double-edged sword of intellectual property.

To begin: Musicians Algorithmically Generate Every Possible Melody, Release Them to Public Domain
Two programmer-musicians wrote every possible MIDI melody in existence to a hard drive, copyrighted the whole thing, and then released it all to the public in an attempt to stop musicians from getting sued.

Programmer, musician, and copyright attorney Damien Riehl, along with fellow musician/programmer Noah Rubin, sought to stop copyright lawsuits that they believe stifle the creative freedom of artists.
Often in copyright cases for song melodies, if the artist being sued for infringement could have possibly had access to the music they're accused of copying—even if it was something they listened to once—they can be accused of "subconsciously" infringing on the original content. One of the most notorious examples of this is Tom Petty's claim that Sam Smith's “Stay With Me” sounded too close to Petty's “I Won’t Back Down." Smith eventually had to give Petty co-writing credits on their own chart-topping song, which entitled Petty to royalties.

Defending a case like that in court can cost millions of dollars in legal fees, and the outcome is never assured. Riehl and Rubin hope that by releasing the melodies publicly, they'll prevent a lot of these cases from standing a chance in court.
It will be interesting to see the outcome if and when this archive is cited as evidence in court.
It's a neat idea but there are so many interested parties that won't stand for it. They'll figure out some legal mumbo jumbo that gets around it. That is if they even acknowledge that it exists.

ETA: Also agree with Mo.

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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: IP Freely

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

I know I'm the exception to the rule here in that I think IP per se isn't a bad idea, though I don't much like the system in place. Anyway, I don't know enough about IP or music, frankly, to weigh in with any particular expertise, but as a threshold issue this struck me as problematic:
To determine the finite nature of melodies, Riehl and Rubin developed an algorithm that recorded every possible 8-note, 12-beat melody combo.
So, what does that mean? That they ran their model exclusively using a specific eight (more likely seven) note scale? Twelve beats how exactly? I mean, I suppose it's possible in theory to generate the entire set of standard pop tunes using typical time signatures, but so what? Surely the possible musical permutations (or do I mean combinations) are vastly greater than that scope.

Also, obviously, every previously copyrighted melody would not be subject to their attempt to copyright and then divest their property rights to creative commons; on the contrary, they'd all be copyright violations. (I suspect there are IP entertainment lawyers already fishing for clients on this theory.) On that ground alone, I seriously doubt these guys and their algorithm have accomplished anything close to what they intended.

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Highway
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Re: IP Freely

Post by Highway »

Tom Scott, who I think generally does great videos, put up a long video about YouTube's Content ID workaround, and copyright law in general. Longish, especially for him, at 42 minutes, but I thought it was well done.

YouTube's Copyright System Isn't Broken, The World's Is.
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Painboy
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Re: IP Freely

Post by Painboy »

Highway wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 21:06
Tom Scott, who I think generally does great videos, put up a long video about YouTube's Content ID workaround, and copyright law in general. Longish, especially for him, at 42 minutes, but I thought it was well done.

YouTube's Copyright System Isn't Broken, The World's Is.
That's pretty good. I didn't know that YouTube worked like that with all the back end content licenses. And I'm all on board for reducing copyright to a 20 year limit. Even though I still think it's better if we just drop the concept of IP altogether.

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Warren
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Re: IP Freely

Post by Warren »

Painboy wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 23:23
Highway wrote:
23 Mar 2020, 21:06
Tom Scott, who I think generally does great videos, put up a long video about YouTube's Content ID workaround, and copyright law in general. Longish, especially for him, at 42 minutes, but I thought it was well done.

YouTube's Copyright System Isn't Broken, The World's Is.
That's pretty good. I didn't know that YouTube worked like that with all the back end content licenses. And I'm all on board for reducing copyright to a 20 year limit. Even though I still think it's better if we just drop the concept of IP altogether.
He keeps saying "I'm not saying it should be this way. But this is the way it is." But he's making a lot of claims that are not settled law, especially around "fair use". He doesn't mention that if you're not monetizing your content you can get away with pretty much everything. About the only thing he said in the first half that I absolutely agree with is "If you can't afford a lawyer you're fucked in court", well not absolutely. It's worse than that "If you can't afford a more expensive lawyer than the other guy, you're fucked in court".
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