Thursday, June 24, 2010

ASCAP loses it; starts to throw things at Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons is a good thing, right? If you want to use a CC licence, you can, and it's great; if you'd rather use a traditional copyright, then that's your choice. You can even mix both. Choice. Good thing, right?

Not if your business involves collecting copyright fees and then eventually distributing them. The US collection agency, ASCAP, has started to raise a fighting fund. Boing Boing:

Memehacker, and composer Mike Rugnetta just received a note from the collecting society ASCAP soliciting funds to fight Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, and the EFF. According to ASCAP, these organizations are mobilizing to undermine ASCAP members' copyrights because they want all music to be free. Which, if you know anything about the kind of nuanced reform work these organizations do, is a pretty gross exaggeration. The letter reads like a McCarty-era scaremongering pitch to solicit funds from composers and musicians bewildered by the current pace of music industry evolution.

The letters - in two parts on Twitpic - are more cram full o'paranoid lies than there are bubbles in an Aero bar:
[Creative Commons, Public Knowledge and the EFF] say they are advocates of consumer rights, but the truth is these groups simply do not want to pay for the use of our music.

The pitch is for people to give more money to ASCAP to campaign against CC licences, somehow.

ASCAP are trying to persuade Congress that there should be a law against people choosing to allow people to use stuff they've made without the need for a collection agency to get involved. And, brilliantly, to fund this, ASCAP are asking the members who they have passed cash to give it back to them.

It would be hilarious if it wasn't so hatefully confused.

Naturally, the people at ASCAP aren't idiots. They know that wailing that a few, small organisations are going to ruin them won't fool any of their members - even Slayer would see through that one. So they add a line to the mix describing the troops ranging against copyright:
... and technology companies with deep pockets.

Unnamed technology companies, of course, because if they named one of these supposed companies, even ASCAP know they'd be laughed at even more heartily.

ASCAP haven't said exactly how they'll spend the funds they hope to raise, but suggestions include whitewashing their windows and thousands and thousands rolls of foil.