Music and fruit salad

In this video (it’s around minute 35), Kerstin Jorna, Director of Intellectual Property Directorate of the European Commission brings an interesting example, and in my opinion she had the roles completely backwards.

She referred to individual creators works as

I’m selling bananas, you’re selling apple and he’s selling oranges. But you (pointing towards the audience) just want your fruit salad without buying from each and every one of us.

This way of thinking in the context of music is plain wrong. Music is not a commodity no matter how much music is out there. You can substitute an apple from vendor ABC with an apple from vendor XYZ, but you can’t substitute The Beatles “Revolution” with Prince’s “Kiss”. And thinking about it more closely it shows the ignorance that creators have to face today.

But to stay with her example: what exactly is the fruit salad in Ms. Jornas example?

  • Is it a remix?
  • Is it using the work in a different context (film, advertisement)?
  • Is it a brass band concert playing arrangements of the songs?
  • Is it the right to broadcast the work?
  • Is it the right to press vinyl of it?
  • Is it the right to distribute the work on a website?
  • Or is it the right to carry the work with you on a device such as an mp3 player?

And here lies the misconception of the example of Ms. Jorna, because she’s confusing individual uses (carry the work on mp3 player, storing it on a computer etc.) with commercial uses (in some form of a distributor).

I ask you: you’re a laywer. Your mind should be sharp enough to make these distinctions especially since you’re supposed to watch over our rights. I’m deeply disappointed.

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