Comanche, Texas, Dublin, Texas, Central Texas, and around the world we are all thieves whether we realize it or not, and it is this very issue that recently caused the black box that you saw over the Google logo that caused so much stir as well as the blacked-out Wikipedia. But what is it all about, really?
Of course, the big stir had to do with China and other countries stealing the intellectual property rights of people in this country, but you can google that issue (or watch the video below) and learn all about it on your own; however, since I heard a DJ give his audience the wrong information this past week and since I was recently asked a question about this very thing, I thought I’d discuss the issue in terms of the music business (intellectual property) and how it all works.
We are all familiar with various artists, but let’s just take fellow Texan, George Strait, for an example. When we hear GS sing a song on the radio, we immediately brand the tune as “his” song because he is all we have to associate with the song. After all, he’s the one singing it.
The truth of the matter is that when you hear George Strait or any other artist on the radio, he may not own a single bit of the song being sung…unless he happened to write it or unless he happens to own the rights to his publishing. The artist quite often only benefits from the money you pay to attend his concerts, etc.
The easiest way to understand it is if you can imagine a song being worth 100% with the writer owning half and the publisher owning half. Every time that song is played on the radio, the writer and the publisher are each paid for letting the station play it. Every time that song is performed in any venue, the writer and the publisher are supposed to be paid. After all, they own the song, and they only allow people to “rent” it. Obviously, writers and publishers have to make a living, and this is how they do it.
The question that was asked of me recently was why there is such a push to shut down the sharing of music files, etc. Of course, the answer is simple. We are stealing the property of others just as surely as if we entered their homes and removed the contents.
Every time we make a video and put something besides our own original music or music that is labeled Public Domain behind it, we are stealing.
Every time a club owner allows a band to play a cover tune and doesn’t report it (illegal!), he is breaking the law and stealing the property of the writer and the publisher.
Every single time we copy a DVD or a CD for a friend, we are taking money directly out of the pockets of the writer who put his faculties together and created whatever we are copying and the publisher who believed in the song and promoted it until an artist was found to cut it. And when we do this, we are stealing from people who are just trying to make a living and support their families with what they use best…their intellect.
Now, as I said, this is a very simplistic explanation of the problem. As I also said, we are all guilty; we also live in a world where we want instant information, etc. so I have absolutely no answers here as to how we solve the problem, but it is definitely a problem.
When there is no money for artists, there will be no art.
(P.S. Since I wrote this article, Google has put out some pretty scary rumblings. You might “google” Google.)