AndrewF’s Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

Oh hey, it’s my turn to pick my favorite Techdirt posts of the week! Woot!

Let’s start with the continuation of the David Lowery saga, of which there is absolutely nothing to write about. Nope, nothing at all. Moving on.

Oh wait, I did want to highlight the post on the Spotify numbers though, partly because of the entertaining (and persistent) AC who conflated downvoting with censorship. I’m hoping one of the posts on that thread gets funniest comment.

I was also fascinated by this statistic: “When compared to iTunes, the average listener spends $60 dollars a year into the creative community, whereas Spotify Premium users spend $120 per year.” If that’s the case, then why does our AC think Spotify is such a bad deal for artists? Here’s my guess. If I spend $60 on iTunes, I’m listening to only 60 songs. If I spend $120 on Spotify, I’m listening to way more than 60 (or 120) songs. Therefore, although the average Spotify user contributes more money to artists, that money is also being distributed across more artists than before.

What does that mean? Well, if you were doing well under the old system, then Spotify may not be all kittens and sleigh bells. But if you’re one of the vastly larger group of artists who failed to win the record label lottery, then Spotify (and similar streaming services) is a great deal! Before you got nothing; now you get something. The real problem our AC has with Spotify isn’t Spotify’s lack of contribution to the creative community; it’s that Spotify is changing the distribution of wealth within that community. As Zac Shaw points out, that redistribution may be more ethical than the previous one.

So if what you’re advocating is essentially the re-concentration of wealth, how do you justify that? Easy. Describe the content produced by the masses as “pink slime”. Because the stuff the top talent churns out is solid gold, like Battleship.

That’s my speil on that, but while I have the floor, I’d like to highlight a few other super important topics:

  • The tension between physical property and intellectual property. Because of the ambiguous language of the copyright statute, some courts have ruled that the First Sale Doctrine doesn’t apply to goods manufactured abroad. If that’s so, the copyrighting of everything from labels on bottles to the firmware on electronics threatens to kill the resale rights of almost everything.
  • Patents may not be necessary to encourage disclosure. One of the underlying assumptions of the patent system is that without patents, companies would (1) keep everything they could a trade secret, and (2) only invest resources in research if they could keep it a trade secret. So it’s nice to see some research poking holes in that hypothesis.
  • HIPAA may be killing people. I like my privacy to a degree, but it’s important to recognize that privacy is not some unmitigated social good, and that mandating privacy comes with it own set of costs.
  • Two posts on granting greater copyright powers to actors. My prediction: An actor will (mis)use these powers to go after a person making fun of him, Charles Carreon style.
  • Craigslist cuts off Padmapper. As someone who will be moving within the year, I am saddened by this. So if you personally know Craig, do us all a favor and tell him to loosen up, okay?

Finally, to round out the hilarity quotient this week, we have Long John Silver’s attempt to partcipate in Taiwan’s political process, mega screw-ups in New Zealand, and a basketball player who doesn’t want other people monetizing unibrows.

That’s it from me. Until next time, Techdirt readers!

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