COB-9: the importance of management

This month’s Carnival of the Bureaucrats is dedicated to the importance of management. Nothing is more important to bureaucracy than periodic restructuring of management, along with associated renaming of business divisions. In a well-functioning bureaucracy, management generates the work demand that sustains the existence of the organization. Moreover, management statements determine the success or failure of the organization.

Noted management consultants Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman worked with The Turtles, a rock band that gained popularity in the late 1960s. Using frequent managerial restructuring combined with a multi-manager generalization of matrix management, Kaylan and Volman succeeding in getting the organization to sing Happy Together.

[if you don’t see the video, try here]

Charles H. Green’s Trust Matters states:

The continued existence of a particular corporate organization is a pretty un-inspiring goal, when you think of it. …
The point is not to last. The point is to do great things for all your constituents. Where continued existence helps, great. Otherwise, standing water stagnates. The visionary thing works; but these days, the vision had better be to change, morph, grow, evolve, turnover, shift.

Self-perpetuation is a primary imperative of life. Bureaucracy has a life of its own. Thus self-perpetuation is a primary imperative of bureaucracy. Maybe that’s not inspiring, but that’s the way life is.

Jack Yoest at Reasoned Audacity discusses an influential article on managing management time. The article asks:

Why is it that managers are typically running out of time while their subordinates are typically running out of work?

While this outcome is theoretically possible, it’s unlikely in a well-functioning bureaucracy. In a well-functioning bureaucracy, the persons who rise to management positions are skilled at making work and directing it to others.

Dan Harris at the China Law Blog reports that a government bureaucrat in China has declared that ethnic descrimination does not exist in China: “The 56 ethnic groups are like brothers and sisters living in one family,” said the government bureaucrat. This outcome is an example of superb bureaucratic work. The only remaining issue is when they’ll be ready to record a Chinese version of Happy Together.

That’s all for this month’s Carnival of the Bureaucrats. Submit your blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form. Submissions should conform to the Carnival regulations. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the Carnival index page.

best copyfraud poem ever!

Balm for the creative human being, a lovely poem at TinkerX:

I own the moon

Because I say I do.

You lovers on my white-glow leaning;
you hunters creeping, deer-spoor seeking;
you children peering, “One day,” dreaming;
all who look upon this, frankly, dreary, lifeless face,
this wide-eyed, gaping maw of rock and shining, lantern jaw,
you now owe toll!

No more free ride. Pay up. Way up.

The Man in the Moon be damned.
Homage? For the loons.
I own the moon.

Read the whole poem, and weep.

taking rights seriously

False or excessively broad claims to rights, if taken seriously, could have devastating effects on content businesses. For example, U.S. National Football League (NFL) broadcasts include the following statement:

This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or of any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL’s consent, is prohibited.

The claim, “This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience,” is absurd. Copyrighting a telecast is not necessary for the private use of it, nor is advancing that use a credible explanation for the NFL’s copyright action. The problem is not just that the NFL has not expressed a credible business justification for its copyright. The second sentence of the NFL’s statement seems to imply that football fans need permission from the NFL to discuss games (“accounts of the game”) that they watch on television. That’s an impressive anti-social business-destroying effort.

The NFL has not yet succeeded in destroying its business. Perhaps that’s because because football fans recognize copyfraud. The NFL recently has shown no respect for copyright law. The RIAA has executed astonishing initiatives to destroy the music business. If the NFL is serious about destroying the football business, it might run a few plays from the RIAA’s playbook.

Shrewd and successful new media businesses seek to become platforms for users to share and discuss users’ works. YouTube’s terms of service state:

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions. However, by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successor’s) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service. The foregoing license granted by you terminates once you remove or delete a User Submission from the YouTube Website. [first bold type in original; second, added here]

Google and BSkyB (Sky) have teamed up to produce SkyCast. This video service offers users a much different deal:

If you send us videos, messages or other content, we will be able to use your content in any way we like. So, we might decide to put your content on one of our other services, like TV, or give it to someone else to put on one of their services. We might even decide not to use it at all! If you decide to take your content off the Service, Sky can still use it in any way we like.

In addition:

You waive all moral rights in relation to your Content.

Moral rights, such as Article 6bis of the Berne Convention, apparently can be waived in some jurisdictions. While SkyCast filters submitted content, its terms of service declares “thou shalt not submit content” that:

1.1 is in breach or promotes the breach of any third party rights (including third party intellectual property rights);
1.2 is defamatory, offensive or libellous;
1.3 promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or harm of any kind against any group or individual or would subject any person to ridicule or cause other people to shun or avoid such an individual;
1.4 harasses or advocates the harassment of another person or persons;
1.5 promotes conduct that is abusive, threatening, obscene or distasteful;

1.24 refers to any arrest of an individuals [sic] or any active court proceedings.

Moreover, in conjunction with the opportunity to offer their work to SkyCast, users are required to accept liability to SkyCast and third parties:

5.5 You will reimburse Sky and any third party who provides services to you as part of the Service for any losses, costs or damages incurred by Sky and/or any third party, on demand, arising out of:
5.5.1 your use of the Service, or anybody else that your [sic] allow to use the Service using your SkyCast Profile; and/or
5.5.2 your breach of these Terms of Use.

How would one assess the financial risk of this liability given the terms of service?

I cannot imagine that any rational, informed users would actual agree to submit work to SkyCast. Put different, if users take seriously their rights as currently set forth in SkyCast’s terms of service, I think SkyCast’s business is worthless.