Performing Rights Society: What do they really think of us?

I was very suprised to read today in the MCPS/PRS magazine, ‘M’, (circulated to 44000 PRS members and publishers) that Estelle Morris (former Minister for the Arts and Education Secretary) now ennobled as Baroness Morris of Yardley has accepted a job as director the PRS board. It seems strange that one of her last acts as Minister was to authorise officials to engage in discussions with the music industry with a view to setting up a music council… and now she is part of the music industry (Brass 2006: 18).

The lack of a coherent voice has also meant that the [music] industry's most pressing issue has not always been adequately confronted. While a minister, Lady Morris heard anxious words from within the industry about copyright law, copyright enforcement and about how dramatic changes in the environment weren't being addressed, but people within government were telling her that they had the issue under control (Brass 2006: 21).

The Intellectual Property Rights Forum, which she jointly chaired in 2004, helped alert government to the urgency of the copyright challenge, as well as helping to overcome a climate of mistrust around this crucial issue. There was a lot of fear. People from the industry feared that this body was going to persuade the industry to give up its copyright without the consumer paying... (Brass 2006: 21)

The article also discusses the Creative Partnerships that are meant to bring education and ideas about creativity into schools:

Creative Partnerships have been the greatest success in doing this. If you can bring the wild creativity and risk-taking that there is in the music sector [sic] into schools, kids love it. That's how they'll learn about the music industry, about copyright, to respect someone else's ideas and know they have to pay for them, because they've been working after school or on Saturday mornings or in the holidays with Joe Bloggs who earns his living on the basis of selling his creative ideas (Brass 2006: 21).

So how happy are you to know that your children are being incorrectly told that you have to pay for other people’s ‘ideas’ and that the music industry is such a saint in regard to respecting the copyrights of musicians and songwriters… Perhaps the schoolchildren and students would be better off reading Steve Albini when it comes to the ‘risk-taking’ of the music sector:

Whenever I talk to a band who are about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other end holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed (Albini 1994).

The complete PRS board is listed here.

Her bio is here.

References:

Albini, Steve. (1994). The Problem with Music. Retreived 17/03/06 from http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

Brass, Richard. (2006). What do they really think of us?. In M: MCPS/PRS Members Music Magazine. March 2006. Issue 19

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