So, apparently I am not the only one who realizes that John Degen is full of crap.
Rute Correia has written a reaction to Degan’s 5 Seriously Dumb Myths About Copyright the Media Should Stop Repeating, in which he attacks copyright”myths” that are anything but.
Correia’s article is called 5 Seriously Important Facts about Copyright the Media Should Keep on Repeating. It is worth reading.
And, for comparison, you can also re-read my article, John Degen Loses Argument Against Straw Man.
On July 14th of this year, Rethink Music released a report called “Fair Music: Transparency And Payment Flows In The Music Industry.” The report is available to anyone who provides a name and email address, and can be downloaded here:
Rethink Music is an initiative of the Berklee College of Music, specifically their Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship. Their goal is to explore options in the music business; they’re hardly anti-copyright crusaders, and their focus is on working artists.
Yet, the Trichordist has spent multiple blog posts attacking them. In the end, their attitude seems to be this: “You don’t attack digital music services enough, so we’ll attack you.” And in the process, Trichordist made many claims that were misleading, and sometimes downright bizarre.
April 23rd was the anniversary of the deaths of Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Garcilaso de la Vega, and in celebration, UNESCO has declared that day World Book Day. It is also called “World Book and Copyright Day,” but I don’t think the term is appropriate, since none of those authors’ works were ever under any form of copyright.
Someone who does think the term is appropriate is John Degan. This should not be any surprise: Degen is an outspoken copyright maximalist. He is currently Executive Director of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and Chair of the International Authors Forum; he was formerly Executive Director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada, and Communications Manager for Magazines Canada.
So, Degen decided to write an article called 5 Seriously Dumb Myths About Copyright the Media Should Stop Repeating. Here’s the first problem with that article: nobody in the media is actually repeating the “myths” he’s supposedly debunking. Here’s the second problem: all of the “truths” that he uses to debunk these “myths” are misleading, one-sided, or flat-out wrong. Even when he’s arguing against his own straw man, he loses.
In May of 2013, “Trichordist Editor” wrote an article with a staggering headline: 45% Fewer Professional Working Musicians Since 2002. The lead sentence lays all the blame at the feet of the internet: “The numbers are simple and staggering. The internet has not empowered musicians, it has exploited them.”
Indeed, if that figure is right, then the numbers are staggering. It would mean that nearly half of the jobs for working musicians have evaporated in a single decade. And if there was even a shred of evidence that it was “the internet” that destroyed those jobs, then that would be a powerful indictment.
Fortunately for artists – but unfortunately for “Trichordist Editor” – that figure is a complete and utter fabrication.
On October 10, username “davidclowery” (which, I’ll assume, is actually David Lowery) posted an article on the Trichordist called Is Google still serving ads on illegal sites? Lowery’s intent was obviously to slander Google, again, as a “piracy machine.” Instead, he inadvertently showed yet another example of widespread DMCA abuse by copyright holders.
In a recent post on The Trichordist, user “thetrichordist” (it’s not clear who that actually is) posted an article called Pre-72 Red Herrings from Pandora’s Chris Harrison (and that’s not the IPO kind). There are several things that are ridiculous about that article, but I’d like to focus on one thing in particular.
In the article, the writer says:
a statutory royalty […] is actually fair compensation for rights the law takes away from artists and copyright owners in the compulsory license that is necessary to avoid a “taking” under the 5th Amendment[.]
To be blunt, this is utter and complete horseshit. Statutory royalties are not there to prevent “takings,” because the statutory royalties were a condition of granting the rights in the first place. There was literally nothing to “take.”
A recent Trichordist rant by David Lowery shows just exactly what is wrong with the entire site, and indeed with Lowery’s entire thought process regarding copyright and artists’ rights. That rant is called You Can’t Have A Have A Healthy Market Economy Without Property Rights. Why Do So Many In Tech Blogosphere Want To Abolish Cyber Property Rights And Cripple The Cyber-Economy?
It is chock-full of wrong. Not just factual wrongness (though it has plenty of that), but wrongness at a very fundamental level. It is a rant that is the result of someone who is completely incapable of understanding anything that he doesn’t agree with. Not because he’s stupid – he’s not – but because comprehension would require considering a fundamental shift in his long-held, near-religious beliefs. Whenever he runs across a conflicting worldview, his brain simply shuts down.