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Previous Item   Tuesday, 2nd December 2008  Next Item SOUND  VISION WORD
   

11.45

Bredonborough.


A very cold morning…


… in Bredonborough town…


A firm of local property consultants have arrived to establish a changing room for the Minx at the top of the house. And our Christmas tree has arrived!...


Hooray!

Shortly, off to London & the BPI.

23.36  DGM HQ.

Leaving at 12.16 for London. Dropping off the car at Chez Minxie a la Bijou & onto the public transport system at Chiswick Park tube I…


II...


III...


  to Parliament station &  across the river I…


II…


III...


IV...


V...


VI...


VII...


VIII...


IX...


… and meeting with David Singleton & Declan of Panegyric outside the BPI building.

News from David: the unmarked 8-track mystery tape in the DGM archives is the original master of Schizoid Man. The implication: a 5.1 mix of ITCOTCK is now feasible.

Julian Wall of the BPI met us at the front of the building & took us upstairs for an introductory conversation with Julian himself & David Wood, head of BPI anti-piracy department.

The formal meeting, scheduled for 17.30, began late at 17.45 & lasted until 19.30, 30 minutes longer than anticipated. There were 5 people on the panel (RF, DS, DC, JW & DW) with 18 in the audience, BPI independent members.

The first speaker: RF for 40 minutes, presenting an overview of my professional life, noting a characteristic throughout the entire period of industry dishonesty, theft & exploitation. Also, that the main copyright violation suffered by KC / DGM / RF has come from, not pirates or little people, but EMI & Sanctuary-UMG.

There was laughter when I told the story of the EMI Second Tier Lawyer (the one we have been dealing with over the recent audit), who visited DGM HQ in 2003 to tell David & myself: downloads aren’t important – but we have to have them. It’s our standard policy. There was amusement in the house that EMI’s standard policy was to acquire rights to things that aren’t important.

David followed, presenting the proposition: rights come with corresponding obligations. The prime obligation is to keep the material available in current best formats. Anything released is released forever: it will not go away. So, if rights-holders don’t honour their responsibilities, the black economy will do it instead. This requires an acceptance by the mainstream of the obligation to maintain their catalogues.

David’s proposal that followed: establish a database for bona fide releases, that pressing plants (who are BPI members) can access, to determine the legitimacy of a release before pressing it. This is stunning in its simplicity.

There were objections to this on grounds of practicality from two people in the audience, one from the Managers’ Forum, and one a rights’ lawyer: contracts in the 1970s were badly written, and there are ongoing disputes about ownership & rights going back to contracts from the 70s. This would inhibit the establishment of a viable database. (Actually, it doesn’t. But htat’s for another day). Perhaps also there was a little hesitation in the BPI building: who does the work to establish the database? (The answer on another day).

During the panel discussion, Declan of Panegyric told the tale of being in HMV Oxford Street, looking for a KC DVD, and finding a mass of music DVDs that were clearly bootleg. Speaking to the HMV buyer, the buyer told Dec that perhaps half the DVD music stock was “grey”; ie illegitimate. Dec was outraged.

A comment in return from the panel: HMV, along with other high street operations, has difficulties in the current climate and if, in effect, it needed to sell grey area product to keep trading, well, it was in the overall best interest of the industry to let it do so – because It could sell 50% legitimate! The implications of this comment were probably not well considered; and are terrifying.

 

Declan noted, on the subject why sell grey area? dodgy DVDs are very cheap for the shop to buy. Why are they cheap? Partly, because artists don’t get paid (quite apart from non-payment of license frees to copyright holders). Everyone wins, except the artists & the customers who end up with low quality goods; such as, IMO, the Independent Critical Review releases from Mr. Carruthers’.

David’s point: the mainstream & legitimate part of the industry is also part of the illegitimate area: the same pressing plants press both legitimate & illegitimate products, and the same high street stores sell both. The MCPS seems more interested in collecting mechanicals from Mr. Carruthers (eg on the KC Critical Review) than preventing him from releasing this title, which lacked legitimacy – there was unpublished material included. Currently, the onus is on legitimate rights-holders to establish what is illegitimate; rather than on those with dubious rights-claims to show their legitimacy. Hence David’s suggestion: establish a database of legitimate titles & circulate this to pressing plants, members of the BPI.

Not commented upon: any organisation nominally acting to protect the rights of others, nevertheless tends to:

1.         defend & promote its own interests;

2.         then defend & promote the interests of those it nominally represents, where this is not in conflict with the first.

The primary interest of the BPI is to support the majors & their perceived interests; and we were addressing the independent members of the BPI. Let us acknowledge: the interests of artists rarely coincide with those of the majors; and certainly where this touches on equitable distribution, at the very least.

The audience I…


II…


Clifford Dane…


Cliff’s reports on the music industry supported my researches into EG at the time of their collapse. What Cliff didn’t know at the time, and we discussed this evening, was the involvement of Messrs. Alder & Fenwick in Lloyds’, particularly the disastrous Marine 475 syndicate.

Declan & I left David in discussion with various attendees, and we walked back over the bridge to Parliament tube I…


II...


… where Dec & I parted. On to Chiswick Park Tube, then driving to DGM HQ. David caught the train back to Salisbury from Waterloo, arriving in 80 minutes. The tube, with breakdowns on the District line, took 75 minutes to get me from Central to West London, with a further 2 hours driving, arriving here c. 23.00.

Dribbling gently. The floor is waiting...


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