Commercial Use of Librivox Recordings

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Availle
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Post by Availle » July 13th, 2018, 6:14 pm

I am on the fence with this one, really. :?

On the one hand, I absolutely loathe those idiots who sell our recordings - often simply the download - for horrendous prices without any mention of LV, let alone a kickback of any sort. I hope they will all die a slow and horrible death, after which they'll end up in hell where they have to listen to their pirated recordings for all eternity. There. :twisted:

On the other hand, I just checked the one recording of mine that ended up as a CD on amazon: Madame Butterfly has roughly 34.000 views/downloads on archive to this day. If I count 1$ per download "for me", then the guy on amazon, selling the CD for 19.95$ would have to sell 1700 copies to "break even". Now, that's not going to happen... :lol:

So, let's just assume I put in a watermark in my recording: As Grayhouse has shown above, a watermark can be rather easily removed - and audio editing equipment will only get better over the years. Besides: it is already possible to digitally recreate voices if there are enough samples, so there's nothing to keep people from recreating that snippet of audio in that way.
Hence: by inserting a watermark all I do is annoy 34.000 people who did nothing wrong; while the one asshole only has to invest 30 more minutes to remove it - and he will probably raise the prices to cover that time.

And no, I don't buy the "he will have to listen to the whole recording to find the watermark", that's BS. Rest assured that the first buyer who stumbles upon the watermark will loudly complain about it, with details as to where it can be found, no need for any further time investment on the idiot's part.

So, for me, it's not worth it. I release my recordings and let them go and find new homes. Most of them end up being loved by "worthy" people anyway.


And just to make this absolutely clear:
Adding a watermark or not is not a personal and unilateral decision - just like you cannot personally and unilaterally decide to change the text or bleep out the N-words. It will be either allowed by a (new) policy or not.

If you don't like your recordings to end up being sold by people who try to make a quick buck, then librivoxing is not for you. Probably the whole idea of volunteering is not for you then - most organisations who use volunteers make some sort of profit out of their engagement.
Cheers,
Ava.

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MaryAnnSpiegel
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Post by MaryAnnSpiegel » July 14th, 2018, 1:12 am

TriciaG wrote:
July 8th, 2018, 3:41 pm
I do not see a CC license happening.

It philosophically changes LV at its core. Also...

Our LV disclaimers say, "All LV recordings are in the public domain."
Would we have to change the disclaimers on existing files? This would be a gargantuan undertaking. But if we don't, they're wrong - all LV would NOT be in the PD.
If we only changed it in future, what would we say instead?

The files are set to CC0 (PD) on Archive.
Would we have to change that on existing projects? That work would all fall on the admins.
On the technical end, it would require a re-write of the script sending projects to Archive. I don't know how complicated that would be.

There are probably other considerations as well.
I think the key other consideration as to the current catalog of recordings is this: Once a work is in the PD, you don't "pull it back" by adding a CC license to it. If it's been put out there as PD, it's PD. The CC license would / could only apply to future releases.

MaryAnn

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Post by Cori » July 14th, 2018, 2:12 am

I s'pose another question is *exactly* what a Public Domain licence allows. I know it means people can sell the recording, edit it into their own music and videos, listen to it in any country where the death dates are legal ... but I'm not sure it means that someone can lie about who recorded it (common at Audible) nor claim a new copyright on it (also common at Audible.) Manipulating the audio may also not create a new copyright (though that's more clearly stated in the UK than US. [1])

Wikipedia's US Public Domain page doesn't answer that question (at least to my not-a-lawyer understanding) but I would note that LibriVox is front and centre on the page. We're literally part of the popular definition of US-PD!
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

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Post by hugh » July 16th, 2018, 12:05 pm

Hi all,
I'll be adding some thoughts this thread by end of day tomorrow...which may or may not be helpful!

hugh.

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Post by hugh » July 22nd, 2018, 6:14 am

Hello everybody, there was a major fire at my house on Monday evening, which has thrown my life into a bit of chaos, but I will be looking at this today.

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Post by hugh » July 22nd, 2018, 6:17 am

And, for the record I got a text that my house was on fire 2 hours and 12 minutes after my initial reply to this thread :/

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Post by Availle » July 22nd, 2018, 6:20 am

Please be safe - all of you!

*supportive smiley is missing here...*
Cheers,
Ava.

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hugh
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Post by hugh » July 27th, 2018, 1:59 pm

Running through this thread, and I'll respond in bits and bobs I think, first response:
Elizabby wrote:
July 6th, 2018, 8:27 pm
*But then, I also think it would be nice to offer soloists the option to use a CC-NC licence. Legamus does it, and Gutenberg Press also has a variety of licences now. When LV started there were no other options, but now there are, and I think it would encourage soloists particularly to allow them at least the option to protect their work from commercial exploitation.
This is factually incorrect. Creative Commons and their licenses was actually one of the foundational influences in the creation of LibriVox (see: https://librivox.org/pages/about-librivox/#5) ... and in fact we hashed through this debate in the very early days, in fact, here is the discussion from September, 2005: viewtopic.php?p=226651#p226651

One other note, and then I will go back to reading this thread:

The last time I spoke with Audible (years ago) uploading free public domain audiobooks & charging for them was against their TOS, and they removed such recordings. As Audible is probably the most annoying place to see your FREE audiobooks sold, this might be a solution. Let me see if I still know anyone there.

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Post by hugh » July 27th, 2018, 2:08 pm

miketheauctioneer wrote:
July 7th, 2018, 10:28 am
I don't mind putting work on Libravox as long as it remains my property that I can also sell. A watermark under the recording makes it commercially unviable.
Not to be too direct, but I'm not sure this sentence fits with LibriVox ... the point of public domain is explicitly giving things away, so they aren't your property any more. That doesn't mean you should agree with the concept -- lots of people don't - but the fundamental principle of LibriVox is giving away recordings so they aren't your property. Though, the nice thing is that you can still sell the recordings, as can others.

Other notes about audio watermarks:
a) they make other uses of LV recordings (eg in Youtube vids, in electronica music, etc etc) much less attractive, which is not what we want.
b) would they really stop anyone?

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Post by hugh » July 27th, 2018, 2:40 pm

OK thoughts:
"All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain." We've recorded, and given away for free, as of today, 11,982 free, public domain audiobooks. Close to 1,000 per year since we began (< good job everyone!). When I was more involved we oscillated between 75 and 100 books per month. Last month we recorded 86, about par for the course.

Various varieties of CC licenses have been discussed over the years, including within the first month of LibriVox, and we stuck with PD. It's worked. I To move LibriVox to a different license than Public Domain would be such a fundamental shift in philosophy and approach and history that LibriVox would no longer be LibriVox.

But the question here is about watermarks.

Here, for reference, is our current "Recording & Text Policies" ... and quoting:
* You may not change the published text in any way (eg. to remove swear words, language or ideas you find objectionable, or to "update" a text). Our objective is to record texts as they were written.
* You may not add or remove text.
* You may not add an audio introduction or editorial comment. You can however include this kind of thing in the catalog text.
Not to be pedantic, but adding a watermark would be adding or removing text. Of course we could change the policies, but the question is, why?

And I guess that's my real question ... why? Why change? What is fundamentally not working in LibriVox that change is needed here? I understand that some people get frustrated when they see their recordings for sale on Audible, and some people get frustrated enough that they don't want to record for LibriVox. But isn't that OK? There are lots of people who don't want to record for LibriVox for all sorts of reasons.

As annoying as those Audible folk are, they don't have a material impact on LibriVox I don't think.

I would prefer if those who want watermarks to instead add their LV recordings to Audible at a very low price, which should a) make any other commercial entity less incentivized to put up LV recordings, and b) make LibriVox recordings more accessible to people on Audible.

This community, and the infrastructure we provide, has been supported by thousands of people who (mostly) believed in the mission of LibriVox ... to make public domain audiobooks. To give them away for free, for all kinds of uses, including commercial uses.

There has always been a tension between the LibriVox mission and the various motivations for participating in LibriVox, but LibriVox works. We recorded 86 audiobooks last month! 11,982 in total! Is adding watermarks -- and changing a fundamental policy about the integrity of the texts we record -- going to really help us achieve our mission?

The LibriVox experiment is purposefully radical, purposefully public domain. Adding a watermark feels like cheating, saying in essence: We are public domain-ish. Mostly.

I get the motivation behind the desire for a watermark, but to me it feels like a fundamental alteration of our core & founding principles that have stood us in good stead for coming on 13 years, and 11,982 audiobooks.

So, I guess I am not really in favour of watermarks.

Again, that's my 2cents.

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Post by Roger » July 27th, 2018, 2:53 pm

hugh wrote:
July 27th, 2018, 2:08 pm
... the point of public domain is explicitly giving things away, so they aren't your property any more. ... but the fundamental principle of LibriVox is giving away recordings so they aren't your property.
Other notes about audio watermarks:
a) they make other uses of LV recordings (eg in Youtube vids, in electronica music, etc etc) much less attractive, which is not what we want.
b) would they really stop anyone?
:clap:
Long time listener, reader, and member, who rarely gets involved with this sort of discussion. Why? Because I continue to be surprised at how many fail to understand the concept of public domain .... and giving.
Well done, Hugh. And thank you for adhering to principles.
-- Roger .... pushing on the door of life marked "pull"

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Post by DACSoft » July 27th, 2018, 6:11 pm

I too agree with the LibriVox concepts and principles as described by Hugh. It is sometimes annoying to me to see some of the commercial use of the recordings I make for LibriVox. But I know, and agreed to, what I signed up for, with respect to public domain and rights of use of LV's recording, when I decide to record sections or solos for LV. As should all members, especially since there is a reminder of public domain on every section recorded and proof listened by LV volunteers.

If one is really upset with potential use of their LV recordings, then maybe LV is not the best outlet for them in which to record projects, and maybe they should look to alternatives.

It is exactly the mission and methods that LV adheres to (public domain, "choice of voice," free distribution, acceptance of recordings from all, even those who are not professional readers, etc.) that brought me to LV to volunteer my time. And keeps me here, reading and proof listening, now for 5 years and counting. :)

Thank you LV,
Don

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Post by lurcherlover » July 28th, 2018, 3:58 am

DACSoft wrote:
July 27th, 2018, 6:11 pm

It is exactly the mission and methods that LV adheres to (public domain, "choice of voice," free distribution, acceptance of recordings from all, even those who are not professional readers, etc.) that brought me to LV to volunteer my time. And keeps me here, reading and proof listening, now for 5 years and counting. :)

Thank you LV,
Don
Yes, the original concept is brilliant and is still relevant. As has been said, the possibilities are there if people want to put their LV recordings onto Audible.com and get some money as well as deterring the people who want to copy the recordings and put them on for profit, particularly if you are willing to undercut their prices quite considerably. For me it is too much hassle, and although I am on Audible in a minor way through another organisation, this does not involve me in the setting up and uploading work. I prefer more time to walk my dog and generally chill out of the rat race!

Peter

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Post by SonOfTheExiles » July 28th, 2018, 4:14 am

“I prefer more time to walk my dog and generally chill out of the rat race!”

They don’t propose much, but you can always rely on the dishlickers to “second motions with their tail”.

Cheers,
Chris
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Post by Peter Why » July 28th, 2018, 7:55 am

I'm in the middle of a very long solo (estimated 47 hours of recording). I'm strongly tempted to find out how to put it on audible at a reasonable price (as well as leaving it here for free, of course), as I'm certain that someone else will be selling it as their own.

Peter
"Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist." Kenneth Boulding, 1973

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