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Are we all broadcasters?

Hello spring
Last week the BUMA – a company that collects money and pays musicians for their airplay – started sending Dutch non-profit blogs a notion (in Dutch) that they were violating BUMA-rules because they embedded YouTube videos. Blogs are re-broadcasting the material (even through an embed) and thus they have to pay a license fee for embedding material. The same way a radio station or a venue does.

It doesn’t matter if the artist himself put his material online for embedding and sharing, since he doesn’t control the rights. Obviously BUMA doesn’t care about the fan. They don’t even specify what information is placed ‘illegal’, which artists are connected and which aren’t. They just want to sell licenses to small groups of fans and non-profit blogs.

After some buzz was generated around it in Dutch online media BUMA responded by saying it was a ‘premature response’. Case closed, for now.

Are we all broadcasters in a distributed environment?
It’s an interesting way of thinking, since the near future of the web will mostly be about sending/broadcasting, aggregating and social networks. Our presence online often exists by re-distrubuting content. Today’s website is more often a collection of data from other places. A manually aggregated hub of information.

Are you a broadcaster when you write something on your Facebook, collect links in a public and share your Netvibes as a public universe? Are you as a blogger a broadcaster? Everyone sharing something (photos, text, thoughts) online is broadcasting in the traditional meaning of the word. Semantics and laws never worked out very well.

Should we regard this as traditional broadcasting? I don’t think so. It’s freedom of expression. It’s sharing the things we like. We’re not uploading or adding illegal material we’re just creating our online identity by embedding and linking. Media represents us.

When are you a broadcaster on the web? Once you make money? Or when your audience reaches a substantial level. Is this blog a broadcasting? Or is it a personal outlet.

I think there is no such thing as an online broadcaster, since everyone is broadcasting and publishing. You can’t ask people to pay for this, like you don’t ask people to pay when they whistle your song in the street. Be happy with the publicity.

If you are an artist and connected to these kind of companies. I’m sure you need or like the money they collect and you deserve it all. At the same time they are taking away bits of your freedom. Think about what the effect is when you give up certain rights and alert those companies about the effect. Technology and culture often change much faster than the people looking backwards to decide what the future should look like.

Here’s a release by NEST, you can download this album for free because it is released into the public domain. It’s also beautiful and needs as much attention as it can get, because I really would like to see them performing live someday.

Nest Artwork
Nest is the collaborative project of Otto Totland (Deaf Center / Type Records) and Huw Roberts (Serein). The two started working together after forging a strong friendship as former members of the Miasmah label. This self-titled EP is their first work publicly released, so it is a great honour that we are able to offer it to you here.

Both pianists, there is little wonder that after exploring a plethora of musical styles, the two find themselves most at home writing traditionally structured pieces, with the ivories a major element throughout. The EP demonstrates clearly the innate ability the two have for song writing, borrowing from the world of film soundtracks and contemporary classical composers to craft delicate instrumental compositions.

Alongside their favoured instrument can be variously heard the plucked strings of the Welsh harp, violins, woodwind instruments, field recordings, percussion and a heady dose of mind wobbling effects. From the time Nest began writing together, one purpose was clear; to produce beautiful music free of pretense, and they do it exceptionally well.

Photo: spring is early on Flickr All my photos on Flickr are under a Creative Commons license, this means that some rights are reserved instead of all. You are free to use my photos for anything you like, although if you would like to use it for a commercial project you just have to ask me.

5 replies on “Are we all broadcasters?”

Thanks for sharing Nest. I really loved Deaf Center – Pale Ravine so I’m curious about this album. I really love such initiatives, I am also a big fan of the In A Cabin With series.

Concerning the broadcasters question, I think there is a difference in writing on my wall in Facebook and embedding a copyright protected video on my blog. In the first case I create content and in the second case I copy paste material that should not even be on YouTube. While I am not personally responsible for uploading it, YouTube is not the only liable party. We seem to live in a share-a-like world now but sometimes we seem to be forgetting that not everything is for free and that everything could and should be shared.

Did I just sound old fashioned? :)

Haha, no you don’t sound old fashioned, a well maybe a little bit ;)

I think you’re right. If something is illegal on YouTube and you embed/link to it that doesn’t make it legal.

What I do worry about is when an artist uploads video/song to his or her YouTube/MySpace/personal website and makes it actively available for sharing, the fans can’t show it without a license, or maybe a complete set of licenses from other third parties.

I don’t want to take money away from the artist. I just don’t think you can treat the web similar as a venue. I don’t know what a website is anymore. You can share your favorite video’s on a forum, a NING network, a blogger account, facebook, your personal blog or through a messenger-like network like IM or twitter. Most elements are objects and the things that aren’t will be objects (open social). Sharing and aggregating information has just started.

The only people that can change this are the artists. They should ask BUMA in this case to come up with a variable model or make a public accessible database with the artists they represent.

It’s a difficult situation and I don’t know the ideal solution, but I’m sure what they are doing right now isn’t exactly the best way to find a solution. I think most people won’t mind to pay for music, only the model should be right.
The story reminds me about Warner Bros vs. the Harry Potter fan websites

I think a public accessible database would be a great idea. Industries should definitely adjust and make and provide their own content that fans can share. As fan culture makes most of the money, they should cherish the web 2.0 fan that wants to embed videos and music. Of course this is not unlimited but providing legal content would be a great first step.

Do you think these issues will be settled in the next five years? Or should we rather take ten or twenty years. Can big old giants even move?

I don’t know. As long the web has some level of anarchy law and lawyers don’t really get a grip on it. And this is a good thing.

I think regulating the web (or anything else) will kill creativity and slow down innovation. The best way to speed up innovation is a (partly) open culture.

This doesn’t necessarily have to mean we need illegal material, I think we can make great stuff without doing anything ‘illegal’. We just need an open mind approach of the companies representing old media.

I think this will happen (and hopefully within the next five years). Slowly there is emerging a situation where old media can only benefit from the web if they share alike and join or start a discussion. And if they share and receive media.

Newspapers starting blogs, television moving into social networks and publishers and musicians releasing media for free.

We are moving to an engagement economy where we have to give in order to receive.

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