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January 2022
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How The Financialization Of Music Could Lead To Demands For Perpetual Copyright

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Back in October, I noted the huge amounts of money pouring into music copyrights, largely driven by the global rise of online streaming. Since then, that trend has continued, most notably with Bruce Springsteen's sale of his recordings and songwriting catalogue to Sony, for a rumored $550 million. As I pointed out in the post, one of the problems with this "financialization" of the sector is that music copyrights become completely divorced from the original creativity that lies behind them. They become just another asset, like gold, petroleum or property. On the Open Future blog, Paul Keller has pointed out a plausible – and terrifying – consequence of this shift.As Keller notes, the more the owners of copyrights become detached from the creative production process, the less they will care about the nominal balances within the system. In particular, the central quid pro quo of copyright – that a government monopoly is granted to creators for a limited period, after which the work enters the public domain – will be perceived simply as an obstacle to greater profits. The financialization of the music world means that an artist's ability to use the public domain as a foundation for future creativity, or to take advantage of copyright exceptions, will be of no interest to the corporations and private equity firms that are only concerned about the value of their own assets. For Keller, the end-game is clear:

From the perspective of financial investors, copyright is not much more than a bundle of rights created out of thin air that structure financial flows and it follows that there is absolutely no reason why they should not push for governments to make these rights last longer. Once the slate of recording artists that entered into these deals have passed away and will not be able to speak up anymore – or complain that they have been shafted – it will only be a question of time until financial investors start pushing for longer term durations or – more likely – perpetual copyright. Compared to this new class of cultural predators, the good old Walt Disney company will quickly start looking like an innocent schoolboy.
It has been hard enough in the past to make copyright a little fairer for members of the public. If Keller is right – and I fear he is – it will become close to impossible to continue that process in the future unless people start defending vociferously what few rights that they currently have in the world of copyright.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.Republished from the Walled Culture blog.

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posted at: 12:00am on 12-Jan-2022
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NYPD Officers Are Again Whining About Being Asked To Document Their Biased Policework

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The New York Police Department is complaining about having to do work again. The New York Post reports officers are unhappy that they're required to do a little bit more paperwork for every stop, regardless of whether the stop results in a citation or arrest.

NYPD cops will soon have to start recording the race, gender and age of every person they pull over during a vehicle stop — even cyclists, The Post has learned.From Jan. 1, officers will be required to fill out a new form that notes the demographics of the person driving the vehicle or bike, and whether any police action was taken against them, according to an internal order obtained by The Post.The forms have to be filled out even if no law enforcement action is taken.
This is nothing more than the logical next step for a department that has repeatedly shown it engages in biased policing. Years of lawsuits over its stop-and-frisk program resulted in a court-ordered mandate to collect demographic information on stop-and-frisk encounters. The NYPD complained about the extra work when this was ordered in 2013. Then it spent the next half-decade refusing to comply with it.Another mandate followed, demanding the collection of information on all stops, which would seemingly include any stop, even those not conducted on foot. The NYPD wasn't any happier with the new mandate and one of its unions claimed that recording demographic information would result in fewer stops and less policing.That attitude remains unchanged three years later. The NYPD has been given another mandate and officers are once again claiming they're just not going to do it. Their rationale for failing to comply with direct orders? People might find out NYPD officers are engaged in biased policing.
But an NYPD officer with more than two decades on the job said it is just a “recipe for disaster.”“As an officer, I’m definitely going to think twice about pulling anyone over. That’s the first thing they’re going to look at how many black and Hispanic people you pulled over,” the cop said.The officer added that some cops were already hesitant to stop people — and the additional paperwork would just deter them even more.
The PR spin by the NYPD implies something different than the opinions offered by the rank-and-file:
“We are complying with the requirements of Local Law 45 of 2021,” an NYPD spokesman said.
But it's not a complete rebuttal. It is possible to comply with the requirements while also engaging in fewer stops of drivers and bicyclists. It sets the stage for the NYPD to blame any rise in crime rates on demographic tracking requirements, rather than step up and discipline officers for refusing to comply with the order or do their jobs. Chances are good no officers will be punished for refusing to do either of these things.And, once again, a police union is there to blame everything on everyone else, rather than suggest officers do their best to comply with the mandate. Here's Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, railing against everyone else who isn't a cop refusing to their job.
“They passed bill after bill to further the anti-police narrative, but did absolutely nothing to help us curb the bloodshed in our neighborhoods,” he said. “The incoming Council needs to refocus their priorities. Instead of new paperwork, we need meaningful support to get violent criminals off the street.”
I'm not sure what the NYPD is incapable of accomplishing with a $10 billion annual budget, but city officials have agreed to a $465 million increase for 2022. That suggests there's at least a half-billion in "meaningful support" headed its way and that the city council isn't just engaging in an anti-cop narrative. This just sounds like cops who don't want the public to be better informed about how this $10 billion/year is being spent.If cops are afraid of engaging in any policing because of a fear of it being interpreted as biased policing, perhaps they should direct their anger at the decades of biased policing that led to these mandates. The culture of the department could have been changed at any time. Instead it took court orders and new laws to force the NYPD to confront its own racism. Now that it has to, officers are deciding they'd rather not be forced to look in the mirror.

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posted at: 12:00am on 12-Jan-2022
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