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What is the cost of violating copyright?
When TV2 uses the music for “Farmen” for years and years without paying, what is then a reasonable compensation to the owner? How do we calculate the value of copyrighted material in commercial TV?
For 23 years I’ve been composing music for TV. The last 12 years I have lived in the US and now make movies. One of my most important compositions has been used in the TV-show “the Farm”, broadcast by TV2 Norway. Now I see that on Youtube that TV 2 has used my music illegally since 2007. I am chocked and want to vomit (also because the music is being edited with other music that is awful and has nothing to do with my music). I feel violated in a way that might compare to finding that someone has broken into your house and stolen you most precious object.
I icontact CEO Alf Hildrum at TV2 mmediately to no avail. After many attempts the production company Strix contacts me. They ask me to come forward with a claim. As a response they don’t want to pay anything more than peanuts. More chock.
Blaming each other.
Google shows that Egmont/TV2 makes a profit of 16 000 000 000 USD in 2010 and in their conduct “guarantee to act ethical and responsible in all operations. Egmont and their suppliers follow all applicable laws and rules in production, pricing and distribution of Egmont’s products”
TV2 has committed a violation of copyright law and Strix have prepared the circumstances. They blame eaachother in an elaborate game in order not to pay the real price. Since Youtube the soundtrack is the most important factor in determining ownership over audiovisual content. Youtube reads the sound as an algorithm, compares it with the soundtrack to other films and send the advertising money to the right person.
The copyright law
Music is legally defined as 1/ composition (score and lyrics) and 2/ master (the actual recording) You can record a protected song (with owners permission) and call the master yours but you cannot do that and call the composition yours. That is called plagiary. Add to this the ideal right, making it illegal to change or distort the material without permission.
TV2 makes TV to make big money as opposed to Public Service (NRK). After the introduction of commercial TV our law of copyright has become outdated. The new broadcasters like them a lot because they do not reflect the real value of a copyrighted piece and the amount a TV-channel can generate by stealing. Farmen is a trademark accumulating enormous amounts of money. The trademark consists of 50% music and 50% graphics.
It’s very expensive to advertise prime time in TV2. Hits on TV2.no, youtube and other places generated advertising money. It is costly to produce Farmen even if you steal the music and everybody knows that a melody that a melody that is played many times increases in value every time it’s played.
TV2 must of course pay a part of all this profit to the one who owns the soundtrack in a trademark when they violate existing laws in an unprecedented way in Norwegian history.
In a business in great change where internet and commercial channels now are a reality we must punish illegal use of copyrighted material hard. When a media giant commits such a great crime, claim good faith and protects itself with a 3rd party there must be paragraphs in the copyright laws that makes the punishment significant. It is possible for Norway to lead such a development.