Two days ago I was interviewed by Thomas van Aalten for VPRO’s 3VOOR12 website (VPRO: Dutch television and radio). This article (Dutch text), about Creative Commons versus BUMA (the Dutch ASCAP), is a great read.
I translated some of the very interesting parts of this article into English.
BUMA is the Dutch ASCAP. As an artist you can only give away all your rights to them, past, present and future. You have no control over them any longer, the BUMA takes care of it. The good things are that as an artist this will makes things easier, because you don’t need to take care of that administration. It’s working nicely for artists who get airplay on radio and television, the traditional media. But guess what; Internet, sampling, file-sharing, remix culture, those are the things BUMA uses an old mentality to ‘protect’ against new technology. Here’s where things go wrong.
BUMA is not podcast-friendly. No matter if you are an amateur or professional, the BUMA treats you the same. Same kind of money. Does that makes sense to you?
Also, BUMA doesn’t allow any artist to release any of their music under a much more flexible Creative Commons license for example. It only allows these exclusive deals between artists and BUMA. That doesn’t makes sense, you give away all your freedom! And again, think about this: for past, present and future music!
The article states clearly that things need to change because new technology like Internet and file-sharing are demanding a change in the whole copyright-administration. BUMA doesn’t allow Creative Commons, doesn’t really want to understand their point of view, but I do believe they need to! If they don’t, I guess a new system will simply overrule the BUMA, adding more flexibility, is central database-driven and more.
Here’s an interesting quote from the article:
Artists must use another name or anonymously grant their collaboration to something like that as 3VOOR12 ‘plundert musea’, for not to be accused of ‘wanprestaties’ (non-fulfilment). Or not register with buma/stemra at all.
My advice to modern musicians, don’t sign the BUMA contract, because things need to change. Radio and Television are no longer that important, Internet will be the main thing for the future of music, podcasting, streaming radio/video and more. BUMA is a traditional organisation who only uses traditional methods to ‘protect’ artists against modern technology and new Internet protocols.
Hopefully things will change in the future. I am trying hard with Creative Commons Netherlands as well as Creative Commons US to solve some of these issues. Hopefully soon a meeting will take place for a ‘Creative Commons versus BUMA’ discussion. We do hope the BUMA wants to discuss these issues with us, because discussions are needed to change this system. New technology always creates a need to rethink the old systems. Even if BUMA doesn’t like it, they should. This is part of the history of culture!
Update: You can Digg this post. Please do it!