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If it could, should OCR start compensating their staff?

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Others in the YT monetization thread have brought up valid points that non-profit organizations can and do compensate their employees, and arguments were given that this behavior doesn't preclude a good Fair Use defense.

So, let's assume that legally, including Fair Use considerations, OCR could pay the staff based on the monetization methods we're seeing nowadays (YT ads, patreon, etc.) without any community-lethal trouble in court. Assume also the 501c3 designation is already in effect, even though they haven't filed for it yet.

Should OCR be compensating its staff? Has it been long deserved? Should it not compensate them out of some principle?

 

Personally, I think it's appropriate to cross that line, and I think it's actually necessary in order for OCR to expand as a community and as a website. Currently, from being close friends with much of the staff, I can say that there's a common thread of a lack of time/resources for the staff to devote to tasks that they want to do to improve OCR (like getting a real submissions form on the website, the visual rework, getting stuff licenses, etc.), because everyone has jobs, a life, etc. and the lack of compensation and that it's voluntary work naturally pushes it down in terms of priority. Personally, I feel OCR's public-facing development has kind of stagnated for a long time because of this (even though backend has been improved, like forums, moving to Discord, and whatnot).

I think if compensation were available for OCR staff, it would further incentivise the completion of these cool tasks and accomplishments, either by current staff members or even new ones that would be more interested if compensation were available. I think OCR (site and community) has a lot to gain with either more people working on it, or the current people working on it more (or both). I think also furthermore, the submission policy would naturally have to be updated for it.

What do ya'll think? Remember that this discussion is based on the premise that this is already legal to do. Whether or not it's actually legal is probably going to be a hot topic for a while, but for discussion's sake, I want to poke perspectives out here. If OCR could compensate its staff without legal trouble, should they try and move toward doing so, or not, and why?

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OCR likely doesn't have the cashflow to sustainably pay staff for regular operations. While it's a tremendous volunteer effort, there simply isn't money to cover full time staff. It's possible that they should be looking at contracting out some efforts. I don't know if their balance sheet has enough cash on it to facilitate that either.

My assumption is that funds would be better spent getting projects finished that don't have significant available volunteer effort. It's also probably better to see if such efforts could gain volunteer support instead of draining the limited cash reserves.

In short, despite the tremendous volunteer effort OCR currently represents, I'm not sure it's large enough to facilitate paid full time staff. With limited funds, it's likely best to keep those to operating costs and things that can't be done without monetary cost.

 

Note that this isn't a moral judgement; I simply don't think OCR has enough money to do this without impacting other initiatives.

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I believe Neblix's point was to simply assume there was enough income to compensate the staff, and play around with that idea. 

Personally, I think it'd be a completely justifiable course of action and pave the way for an expanded infrastructure&community. If only it were that simple in practice...

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RiverSound is correct as to my intention, but also, the topic isn't limited to fulltime compensation. Salary was not the intent.

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I propose we get sponsorship from EA. We can have a twenty second EA ad inserted at the beginning of each remix (even the old ones!) to help with the cost. And then another one at the end of each remix. Fuck it, put one in the middle as well. That's three times the EA in every remix! Three times the income!

Of course, as true to the EA business model as possible, we'll have to double, if not quadruple, the amount of work the staff does, but since there's no overtime pay, we'll save a fortune.

(please don't do this, I'm joking. Oh god, someone's going to seriously consider it, aren't they?)

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Even if you talk about part-time compensation, it's likely better to pay for things that otherwise would not be possible than those which will happen regardless. Especially with limited funds.

If the question is: "Do you think OCR should not be a primarily volunteer-driven organization?" then my answer would be to raise an eyebrow.

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We know two things: OCR is making operating costs plus surplus, and OC ReMixers ARE OCR -- if ever there was a staff responsible for a site existing, it's us. 

Personally, I've been against money being involved since the beginning. But here we are. 

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12 minutes ago, Newt said:

Even if you talk about part-time compensation, it's likely better to pay for things that otherwise would not be possible than those which will happen regardless. Especially with limited funds.

Can you give examples of these things? I had provided examples of things that would be more easily completed by staff members if incentive would increase, so on the other side, what are these things you're referring to that would be paid for, not by compensating staff, but by ______?

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1 minute ago, Brandon Strader said:

We know two things: OCR is making operating costs plus surplus, and OC ReMixers ARE OCR -- if ever there was a staff responsible for a site existing, it's us. 

Personally, I've been against money being involved since the beginning. But here we are. 

In the legal definition, the remixers are not members of the OVERCLOCKED REMIX organization.

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Not exactly, Brandon.

Funds used for compensating staff would be for expanding the functional capabilities of the site, not the content hosted within site.  There is a fundamental difference, there, one that a 501c3 is probably required to account for.  Those are two orthogonal aspects of OCR - the media itself, and the construct it sits within.

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I wouldn't call those orthogonal, but they definitely exist in a distinguishable manner and independently enough that one can make decisions that affects the other, but also not.

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1 minute ago, Neblix said:

Can you give examples of these things? I had provided examples of things that would be more easily completed by staff members if incentive would increase, so on the other side, what are these things you're referring to that would be paid for not by compensation staff but ______?

Sure.

Extending the site to directly link to users twitch/hitbox/whatever streams.

Mobile applications for browsing the site/forums/remixes.

If the remix tagging initiative isn't moving quickly, it may be possible to farm that out.

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2 minutes ago, Newt said:

Sure.

Extending the site to directly link to users twitch/hitbox/whatever streams.

Mobile applications for browsing the site/forums/remixes.

If the remix tagging initiative isn't moving quickly, it may be possible to farm that out.

So, just to be clear, you're saying funds should be used to outsource these tasks to others, instead of compensating the current staff to do them?

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Who is an employee, the guy uploading the video, or the guy creating the content of the video? I think a site full of silent videos would be rather drab. But if you think they could monetize that and profit, be my guest. 

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Not arguing that if the ReMixers could earn money from their arrangements, they should.  But then this site probably wouldn't exist in its current form, and would be more of an enthusiast's board or something.

However, when taken with current copyright law, such a thing is difficult to accomplish, at best.  So we have instead the option to give the ReMixers opportunities to be better showcased within the context of the site.  It's indirect compensation, at best, but it's all that can be provided.

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It would be a tough call. On the one hand, yes, staff DOES work quite hard on keeping the quality control high on what is pushed through the site, as well as making sure music always meshes with the site objectives. On the other hand, Brandon's point that we shouldn't make money off of other people's work would come into play - why would the staff contribution to how this site is run outweigh the contribution that the artists put into their music? It's not a bad point, actually.

I think both sides of the argument have merit, though I personally don't want to work with the quagmire of ethical and possibly legal issues involved in getting paid for this while the artist didn't. So from my stand point, I'd be against compensation for the work put into the site.

On the other hand, I will point out that if this were a site about the free distribution of other people's original music, and we had the same work in quality control, I'd be all for compensating staff - the work that goes into quality control, feedback and hosting is definitely worth something. However, I would also be 100% for giving the artist a share in the revenue, too, as they would be contributing music to the site. That is neither here nor there, though - OCR will never have the benefit of original compositions passing through it, so this is moot. Since we can never compensate artists for their work, so too do I think we can never compensate the staff for their contribution. Alas.

I do want to also note that my contribution to the thread is completely hypothetical - monetary compensation to the staff has never come up in my time working here, nor has it ever been considered a possibility, due to the nature of the work. I do have to make that clear, being a part of staff, and all.

EDIT: Do note that this is a general statement on how to deal with revenue - I am not taking the non-profit status into account. I can comment on that aspect later.

(Spoiler:I'd be against it for slightly different reasons)

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1 hour ago, Neblix said:

So, just to be clear, you're saying funds should be used to outsource these tasks to others, instead of compensating the current staff to do them?

I would spend funds on things volunteers are unable or unwilling to do. The likely course would be that these would go to some third party, yes; as the presumption is that current volunteers are unable to manage said duties. There are also fewer issues around corruption.

I don't have an issue with staff being paid, but the money would need to come from somewhere. And if something could be done on a volunteer basis that's clearly better for the organization.

 

This is not complicated.

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Is it so much to ask.... seriously, someone answer me, because I know this is going to look like a rhetorical question, but I assure you it's not.

Is it SO much to ask that the people in charge approach any decision ethically, and with legality in mind? Was it really worth alienating 80% of people, including those who have left the site or observing from outside? Not telling anyone about it for 2 months and hoping to Money God that they wouldn't notice? All to have a failsafe in case suddenly Y2K happens?

Why does OCR cause the stock for snake oil to rise every couple of months? Most importantly, how can we trust people who to date, have attempted to do things in a shady or illegal manner on multiple occasions, then laugh it off? This whole situation is a clusterfuck of ethics violation and potential illegalities. And I bet you the monetized videos are still up right now. And I bet you these people think they're going to get away with profiting off of unlicensed material like they tried to do with the first FF6 Kickstarter, before it got taken down, for exactly this line of thought.

This thread is an interesting discussion, but before there could be any discussion about who should be paid what or why, OCR will have to survive an audit and whatever hoops it takes to become a 501c3. 

Square-Enix is gonna come knocking for that back pay, and more sanctions. 

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8 minutes ago, Brandon Strader said:

Is it so much to ask.... seriously, someone answer me, because I know this is going to look like a rhetorical question, but I assure you it's not.

Is it SO much to ask that the people in charge approach any decision ethically, and with legality in mind? Was it really worth alienating 80% of people, including those who have left the site or observing from outside? Not telling anyone about it for 2 months and hoping to Money God that they wouldn't notice? All to have a failsafe in case suddenly Y2K happens?

Why does OCR cause the stock for snake oil to rise every couple of months? Most importantly, how can we trust people who to date, have attempted to do things in a shady or illegal manner on multiple occasions, then laugh it off? This whole situation is a clusterfuck of ethics violation and potential illegalities. And I bet you the monetized videos are still up right now. And I bet you these people think they're going to get away with profiting off of unlicensed material like they tried to do with the first FF6 Kickstarter, before it got taken down, for exactly this line of thought.

This thread is an interesting discussion, but before there could be any discussion about who should be paid what or why, OCR will have to survive an audit and whatever hoops it takes to become a 501c3. 

I don't see how any of this is relevant to the question I posed in the thread. Knock it off or I'll notify mods that you're derailing the discussion.

If you'd like to start a discussion on what you feel is OCR's dishonest tactics in navigating the legal and financial climate, start your own thread.

22 minutes ago, Gario said:

It would be a tough call. On the one hand, yes, staff DOES work quite hard on keeping the quality control high on what is pushed through the site, as well as making sure music always meshes with the site objectives. On the other hand, Brandon's point that we shouldn't make money off of other people's work would come into play - why would the staff contribution to how this site is run outweigh the contribution that the artists put into their music? It's not a bad point, actually.

I think both sides of the argument have merit, though I personally don't want to work with the quagmire of ethical and possibly legal issues involved in getting paid for this while the artist didn't. So from my stand point, I'd be against compensation for the work put into the site.

On the other hand, I will point out that if this were a site about the free distribution of other people's original music, and we had the same work in quality control, I'd be all for compensating staff - the work that goes into quality control, feedback and hosting is definitely worth something. However, I would also be 100% for giving the artist a share in the revenue, too, as they would be contributing music to the site. That is neither here nor there, though - OCR will never have the benefit of original compositions passing through it, so this is moot. Since we can never compensate artists for their work, so too do I think we can never compensate the staff for their contribution. Alas.

I do want to also note that my contribution to the thread is completely hypothetical - monetary compensation to the staff has never come up in my time working here, nor has it ever been considered a possibility, due to the nature of the work. I do have to make that clear, being a part of staff, and all.

EDIT: Do note that this is a general statement on how to deal with revenue - I am not taking the non-profit status into account. I can comment on that aspect later.

(Spoiler:I'd be against it for slightly different reasons)

This makes a lot of sense on one hand, but I'm failing to see something here.

There is obviously a clear tangible difference between revenue of remixes going toward OCR's expenses and going toward its staff members as recompense. No one can dispute that.

My question is, if the spirit of allowing revenue to go to OCR's expenses and such from things like Patreon and YT ads is that the revenue is that the money is going toward the mission, 100% for the purpose of improving the site, the reach, the distribution of the music, then why does compensating people for their work on the site and tasks involved in distribution on new platforms etc. not fall under this same spirit?

Why, in newt's scenario, is compensating other outside parties for doing work for OCR different by principle than compensating OCR's own staff for doing the same tasks (assuming they had time, obviously)?

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11 minutes ago, Brandon Strader said:

Is it so much to ask.... seriously, someone answer me, because I know this is going to look like a rhetorical question, but I assure you it's not.

Is it SO much to ask that the people in charge approach any decision ethically, and with legality in mind? Was it really worth alienating 80% of people, including those who have left the site or observing from outside? Not telling anyone about it for 2 months and hoping to Money God that they wouldn't notice? All to have a failsafe in case suddenly Y2K happens?

You really need to work on your numbers. 80% is coming completely out of your ass - again, you are the only one here that is even talking about alienation, here. A few more are saying they didn't like the move (which they have fair points), but even if they said they wanted to leave (they haven't) it would be a far cry from the apocalyptic numbers your shouting. Saying things like this doesn't suddenly make them the case, and you lose credibility for the fair points that you do hold.

@Neblix There is a completely separate issue that actually comes up, if OCR decided to use the non-profit status to compensate it's staff: the submission agreement never covers this for those that are submitting their music, and those that submit under the previous agreement would have the right to claim that we broke our end of the agreement and demand that we take their music down. We COULD send out permission to the 1000+ arrangers whether this change was acceptable or not, but not only would that be incredibly time consuming, it would almost guarantee that we'd lose a load of users and content from those that didn't agree to the new terms.

If we claimed that staff would be compensated from the beginning and filed for the non-profit status fro the get-go this issue would've been avoided, but go ahead and ask 1999 Dave whether or not it would've been worth creating a non-profit company out of his fledgling site. We already have a written agreement up, and it does not cover staff costs, merely hosting costs and promotion. No matter how you slice it, most of the staff are not involved with hosting the site. One can make the argument to compensate staff for promotion when they're involved with promotion (say, paying for panel spots for a big convention, perhaps), but that is minimal in comparison to moderating, quality control, feedback, etc., that really keeps OCR alive. Regular compensation would be a breach in the contract that we've already made with the previous artists.

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4 hours ago, Neblix said:

Why, in newt's scenario, is compensating other outside parties for doing work for OCR different by principle than compensating OCR's own staff for doing the same tasks (assuming they had time, obviously)?

Because you are engaging in a contract in order to have work performed that would otherwise not be done.

Are you trying to figure out why an organization that is (or is in the process of becoming) a charitable organization would have to jump through hoops to contract work to one of its members? The short answer is that the organization has a responsibility to act in the interests of the organization and its goals, not the interests of its constituent members.

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1 hour ago, Newt said:

The short answer is that the organization has a responsibility to act in the interests of the organization and its goals, not the interests of its constituent members.

In other words, you're saying that a staff member being compensated automatically makes it the latter instead of the former?

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19 minutes ago, Neblix said:

In other words, you're saying that a staff member being compensated automatically makes it the latter instead of the former?

Very distinctly not saying that. I am saying precisely what I said.

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52 minutes ago, Newt said:

Very distinctly not saying that. I am saying precisely what I said.

I'm asking you to clarify what you said, because I don't understand how it answers my question. I asked why contracting outside work instead of internally contracting work is different in principle, and you responded by saying the organization needs to act in accordance with its goals, not the interests of its constituent members. If how I interpreted that isn't correct as you say, then you need to explain what you're saying instead of just saying it.

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