In our ongoing series the Wall of Shame showing advertising by major brands appearing on sites hosting unlicensed music and illegally exploiting the rights of artists, this one really spoke to us.
BMW advertising appears on the site mp3crank for the unlicensed album download of the critically acclaimed “Drive” Soundtrack. Given that BMW is the maker of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” this really make us wonder about the sophistication of context based advertising. As such, the DMCA protection for dumb pipes would seem to not apply in this circumstance. Of course it completely makes sense to us why BMW would want to associate itself with an album of music that has entered the pop culture zeitgeist with references coming recently from the front page of the LA Times and in the season premier of the TV show Workaholics.
But we also wonder if the brand and/or its ad agency (or its online advertising affiliates) know that they are supporting the systematic exploitation of artists and creators. It would seem in very poor taste for such a highly respected luxury automobile maker as BMW to do so.
As a point of interest it should be noted that most of the artists on this album are themselves independent or signed to small indie labels. These are not “millionaire rock stars” being exploited. They are regular, hard working musicians who caught a lucky break. That break unfortunately is not for the profit of the artists, but rather this site who is contributing nothing to the artists themselves.
So how does this happen?
Who from these brands is responsible for making sure their ads don’t end up in the wrong places?
Is there any accountability at all with online ad networks?
And here’s where it gets even weirder. The link to the site above was delisted from Google by the UK’s BPI. We assume they would have also issued a take down notice to mp3crank as well, if the site had a take down policy provision (it appears they don’t).
However the link reappears when Google forwards the DMCA notice to Chilling Effects, which itself then requires a DMCA notice to take down the report of the original DMCA notice. Kinda defeats the purpose of having the link delisted in the first place, huh? (And notice that Chilling Effects has not registered a DMCA agent, so they may not even qualify for the safe harbor in the first place.)
For those who want to support the artists on the album legally, here’s a link to Apple’s iTunes:
Artists, ask BMW to stop propping up unlicensed businesses that are illegally exploiting creators! Here’s how you can contact BMW to ask them to stop exploiting artists, include the link to this post in your email.
BMW GROUP CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS – NORTH AMERICA
Dirk Arnold Vice President, Corporate Communications Tel: 201-307-3954 Email: Dirk.Arnold@bmwna.com
Amanda Thomas-Henke Corporate Communications Coordinator Tel: 201-307-3724 Email: Amanda.Henke@bmwna.com