While the Rifftides comment capability is being repaired, we are relying on e-mail to receive your comments. Jim Brown writes from Santa Cruz, California:
From my rather distant perspective as a Baker fan, this very real spat seems to be the result of a big corporate entity (You Tube) being intimidated by the threat of a lawsuit based on copyright of material that they don’t care a whit about. While the wonderful jazz on YouTube is a delight to jazz fans, it isn’t even a pimple on the back side of owners of that site, and the potential costs of defending a lawsuit isn’t worth the hassle as compared with the loss of advertising on what must certainly be a minority audience.
Yes, an owner of copyright would be exercising lousy business judgement about this material being on YouTube — legal purchased copies are virtually always of significantly better quality. What these copyright owners OUGHT to be pursuing is setting up (or improving) legal distribution of the material they own, for profit or otherwise. I gladly purchase every jazz video I can find of artists I enjoy, and having clips on YouTube causes me to search them out!
Another important point re: the pimple aspect of this. The costs of mastering and distributing program material of interest to an audience that is a tiny minority of the public and limited avenues for distribution can easily exceed the income received from sales. About five years ago, my partner and I released two well recorded and well produced CD’s of Carmen McRae that got 4 and 4 1/2 stars in Down Beat. The musicians and the estate were paid. For a while, the CDs were in retail outlets like Tower and Borders. While I’ve got what I consider to be a very fair relationship with my partner, my share of the profits (about $700) have yet to approach my costs in recording the material. We have the rights to a third CD which is all Carmen accompanying herself at the piano, as well as to a fine performance by Sylvia Syms. Although both are mastered and ready to press, we currently don’t have a commercially viable way to distribute them that will pay the artists and have a chance of paying our costs!
I want to thank you so much for your comments on the Baker controversy. I’m a friend of Naftali/Bob Levin and of Itsartolie, who had the best jazz channel on You Tube, and who was shut down because of this. He presented musicians in the most respectful and elegant way. If you ever watched his channel, you know this, of course.
In the following communique, I have taken the liberty of minor editing in the interests of clarity or good taste.
Removing Chet Baker Performances from U-tube….WTF. This Guy is Almost completely forgotten as far as I’ve seen except for “My Funny Valentine”. I can’t tell you the last time I saw a CD ‘Bin-Slot’ in a Music Store for Chet Baker…..Really!! And these Idiots can’t seem to realize this is FREE Advertizing…Subscribers doing this for FREAKIN’ FREEEE!!! What is this Chet Baker Foundation ? Where did they come from ?? I read that Baker died almost a Pauper and NOW he has a Foundation?????? RU kidding me??????
CopyRight My A__….and this LEVIN ‘Suit’ prolly doesn’t realize it’s 2008….NOT 1958 either. I guess anywhere there’s a potential to squeeze a few PITTANCE you’re gonna have a few **wish Types recognize that potential. They can all go to hell!…. and removing Chet Baker from You Tube is completely INDEFENSIBLE. I hate them.
Lol. You did the best you could for both clarity and good taste, but alas, liquor wins every