Major Labels Caught Using Free Music In a Pro-Copyright PSA…

Organizations like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) are great at demanding that everyone else pay for content.  But it turns out they aren’t so great at paying for it themselves.

Here’s what happens when you watch a recently-released, anti-piracy PSA video shot for elementary school children all the way to the end (we first reported the PSA here).  The campaign was spearheaded by the RIAA, MPAA, as well as various ISPs, operating within the ‘Internet Keep Safe Coalition’.

The anti-piracy video features young narrators telling their peers not to steal, including one whose mom was laid off by her videogame employer because of piracy problems.  Here’s that video, in full (first obtained by Wired):

This is all part of a proposed curriculum for California Public Schools, one with a central theme: pay for content, and don’t share it for free.  Which is sort of the opposite of what Creative Commons stands for.

11 Responses

  1. James
    James

    Don’t see a story here, myself. No rights have been infringed, nothing illegal has been done. There’s no contradiction in using a mixture of traditional copyright and creative commons. Creative commons is nothing like piracy. You can be both pro-copyright and pro-creative commons; many artists who rely on copyright to make a living are happy to give away a vocal track for remixing under creative commons, for example.

    Reply
  2. Visitor
    Visitor

    “Which is sort of the opposite of what Creative Commons stands for. ”
    But er… what’s the problem? No laws were broken.
    It’s not like they used a picture of Pinocchio without permission. 🙂

    Reply
    • AnAmusedGeek
      AnAmusedGeek

      Interesting point…However, the copyright on the original has expired, and its quite possible the image is CC licensed.
      I _think_ if you go to disneyland and take a picture of a character, you own the copyright to the picture. Just like if you take my picture in a public place, you own that picture. No ‘permission’ is required? I believe that’s why papparazzi can take pictures of stars without explicit permission?

      Which just goes to show how confusing the whole copyright thing can get….

      Reply
      • Visitor
        Visitor

        “the copyright on the original has expired”
        No, you’re confusing Collodi’s and Disney’s Pinocchio.
        “its quite possible the image is CC licensed”
        Certainly, and that makes zero difference. Lots of files are CC licensed without authorization all the time.
        “I _think_ if you go to disneyland and take a picture of a character, you own the copyright to the picture.”
        Yes, and Disney own the content. Which means they’ll sue you for everything you’ve got. And win.
        Never forget the old saying:
        DON’T ***K WITH THE MOUSE
        Goes for Pinocchio, too.

        Reply
        • AnAmusedGeek
          AnAmusedGeek

          “No, you’re confusing Collodi’s and Disney’s Pinocchio.”
          No, I’m not confusing anything – I was simply pointing out that the discussion only applied to disney’s stylized rendition of the character.
          “Certainly, and that makes zero difference. Lots of files are CC licensed without authorization all the time.”
          Everything I’ve read indicates that a photographer can license an image of _anything_ anyway they want. the license applies _only_ to that particular image and doesn’t not grant a license to materials shown IN the image. Whether or not you need a license for the stuff shown IN the image appears to depend on the individual _usage_ of the image. For instance, it may be ‘fair usage’ to use the image for a review of a new pinochioo movie, in which case no permission is needed. It might also be used to sell toys, in which case permission would be needed. In either case, it appears to be the _user_ of the images responsibility, not the photographers to get the required permission. (which makes sense, as a given image may be used in many different ways…)
          “Yes, and Disney own the content. Which means they’ll sue you for everything you’ve got. And win.”
          Umm – I don’t think its that cut and dried…I stand by my earlier post – copyright is a bitch, and there’s no easy answers 😛 Its basically impossible to tell in a vacuum whether something is ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’
          P.S. – I didn’t find any directly applicable authorative sources,
          but this:
          http://www.wipo.int/sme/en/documents/ip_photography.htm
          was very interesting….

          Reply
    • Me
      Me

      Not necessarily. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce owns all the rights to images of the Hollywood sign. If you take a picture of it, you’re technically not allowed to use it’s likeness without their approval.

      Reply
      • AnAmusedGeek
        AnAmusedGeek

        Actually, according to wikipedia (not a great source, but hey – sue me…) they claim the trademark of the signs likenicess and only require payment for commercial usage. But to be honest, I couldn’t find anything authoriative about this either.
        The wipo document I linked above states :
        “Unlike copyright law, trademark law as such does not restrict the use of a trademark in a photograph. What trademark law does forbid is using a trademark in a way that can cause confusion regarding the affiliation of the trademark owner to the image.”
        so … taking a picture of the LA skyline that includes the sign, probably would be ok ?? Since your not claming/infering any affliation… Then again, WIPO isn’t quoting US Law so who knows.

        I’ll say it again – copyright/trademark is a bitch 😛 And I will never believe anyone without a law degree who claims to understand it 😛

        Reply
  3. AnAmusedGeek
    AnAmusedGeek

    While I realize no laws were broken…
    I do find it funny from a ‘practice what you preach’ standpoint…
    ESPECIALLY since incompetech does commercial work and has licensing options designed to generate revenue ( http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/licenses/ )
    It appears $60 for the three songs listed was too high a price…
    On the other hand, I was (pleasantly) surprised to see them mention software piracy..that was a bit more non-partisian of them then I expected

    Reply
  4. Victor
    Victor

    I don’t get it why they gave examples of personal artist (a dad that is a songwriter, a mom that is a programmer), when the publishers get the biggest chunk of money. Also, while there are alternatives, and I’m not getting into that kind of discussion here, for one, why wouldn’t somebody that wants to be an artist want to have their work known by everyone?

    Reply
    • AnAmusedGeek
      AnAmusedGeek

      “I don’t get it why they gave examples of personal artist (a dad that is a songwriter, a mom that is a programmer)”

      They’re trying to ‘humanize’ the problem….

      Reply

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