Creative Licensing

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Creative Licensing

Postby Thad » Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:51 am

Dunno how I missed this story since it apparently went on for several years, a verdict, an appeal, and a settlement; maybe I just saw Eminem's name and glazed over.

But anyway.

You know how when you buy something digitally, there's usually a license agreement stating that you're not buying this [song/book/game/program/etc.], you're just buying a limited license for restricted use of it?

Well, funny story: after the record labels told their customers "It's not a sale, it's a license," they were turning around and telling their artists "It's not a license, it's a sale," so that they wouldn't have to pay them license royalties (which are much, much higher than sale royalties -- 50% vs. 12%, at least in Eminem's case).

Eminem sued his label, a jury determined that the music downloads were sales and not licenses, Eminem appealed, the Ninth Circuit determined that they were licenses and not sales, and they settled out of court, with the label agreeing to pay license fees for any songs that had been sold with license agreements.

Since then, the music and book publishing businesses have largely abandoned the "license" language in their download agreements (though not the software industries, which of course have always had the "it's not ownership, it's a license" theory baked into them, and don't have the "license vs. sale" conundrum in their contracts with developers). But the statute of limitations hasn't run out on the old agreements yet, so now there's a class action against Simon and Schuster on similar grounds.

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Re: Creative Licensing

Postby zaratustra » Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:37 pm

remember when they argued X-Men dolls were not humans in order to pay less taxes

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Re: Creative Licensing

Postby Yoji » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:54 pm

I heard a bit on KPCC... I want to say This American Life? I don't know, and I'm not ready to spend an hour combing the transcripts.

Anyway, it was about DRM'd cat litter. Like, there's some kind of cat box that sprays some anti-odor stuff on the litter. Real fancy and great, but the cartridge apparently has an RFID chip embedded to track how much solution is left and won't work for anything else. You couldn't even refill it manually since it'd turn itself off based on its own internal check.

It's crap like this and the joy of iTunes that makes me wish we'd go back to physical media. At least then they'd actually have to physically pry it from my hands.
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