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Big Revolution - Copywrong

Welcome to Friday's Big Revolution. Apologies for the delay in getting this to your inbox, I've had a
September 7 · Issue #194 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution. Apologies for the delay in getting this to your inbox, I’ve had a particularly busy morning.

Big things you need to know today
  • Twitter has finally thrown InfoWars and Alex Jones off its platform for good. It seems all it took was for Jones to hassle Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in person.
  • Spotify is increasingly acting like a record label. The New York Times reports the streaming service has quietly signed direct deals with up-and-coming acts and older artists.
  • Google has confirmed it will hold an event on October 9th. The much-leaked Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, plus possibly a new Pixelbook high-end Chromebook, are expected to launch. The long lead time in announcing the event is Google’s way of making sure at least some coverage of next week’s Apple event mentions that it has new hardware coming too.
The big thought
A (public domain) painting of Bach
A (public domain) painting of Bach
I saw on BoingBoing this week that a pianist had his performance of a Bach piece taken down from YouTube after Sony Music Global claimed ownership over the music.
Bach’s music is very much public domain, and anyone can play it themselves without paying royalties to anyone. But Sony certainly owns the rights to particular recordings of Bach’s music. And that’s where YouTube’s ContentID system messed up.
But, as BoingBoing points out – this is a taste of things to come if EU proposals come to fruition. The European Parliament will next week vote on legislation that would force online platforms to automatically take down any form of copyright violation immediately.
If the tech messes up, you can appeal to have your content reinstated. Memes that draw on popular culture are allowed but would likely be automatically taken down and put back up on appeal, which is hilarious for anyone who understands how memes work.
Set aside the technological and administrative hellhole this would usher in for sharers and tech companies alike – it’s an uncomfortable reminder that big media company lobbying is slowly destroying the public domain.
Disney is notorious for pushing for extensions to copyright on its oldest works. By rights, Steamboat Willy should be free for people to use and remix as they please these days. Mickey Mouse should be a folk hero rather than a corporate mascot.
Culture belongs to all of us, not just corporations. Creators need protection, but there need to be limits. Imagine if Bach had copyrights on his music that kept getting extended over the centuries since his death. His music wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular today as it is, given that anyone from school kids to classical music stars can play it without fear.
And this new EU legislation – through automated mistakes and encouraging a culture of creative suppression – would help reduce the freedom of public domain works even further. It would help foster the idea that copyright is everything, and culture isn’t ultimately a shared experience.
Save Your Internet is a campaign to stop the EU law passing. Go take a look.
One big read
Silicon Valley Jumps Into the Fitness Business, and It Will Cost You Silicon Valley Jumps Into the Fitness Business, and It Will Cost You
How Silicon Valley is getting into the gym equipment game, with fancy new toys that will probably make your local gym jealous (for now).
One big tweet
Twitter’s InfoWars issue summed up in a sentence.
Richard Lawler
Funny how Twitter coincidentally realized Alex Jones had broken its rules after he yelled in its CEO's face.
9:54 PM - 6 Sep 2018
Bonus tweet
Some shameless self-promotion to end the week. Have a listen if you want to hear the kind of music I was making 12 years ago. It’s one of my favourite things I’ve ever recorded.
Martin Bryant
So pleased today to re-release my 2006 EP Alkaline Maisonette in a fantastic-sounding new remastered version. Find it on your favourite streaming site now.
9:08 AM - 7 Sep 2018
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow for a weekend edition of Big Revolution.
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