Bloomberg Reports “The Fake Traffic Schemes That Are Rotting The Internet”

Uh oh… Is internet advertising just a house of cards?

Late that year he and a half-dozen or so colleagues gathered in a New York conference room for a presentation on the performance of the online ads. They were stunned. Digital’s return on investment was around 2 to 1, a $2 increase in revenue for every $1 of ad spending, compared with at least 6 to 1 for TV. The most startling finding: Only 20 percent of the campaign’s “ad impressions”—ads that appear on a computer or smartphone screen—were even seen by actual people.

“The room basically stopped,” Amram recalls. The team was concerned about their jobs; someone asked, “Can they do that? Is it legal?” But mostly it was disbelief and outrage. “It was like we’d been throwing our money to the mob,” Amram says. “As an advertiser we were paying for eyeballs and thought that we were buying views. But in the digital world, you’re just paying for the ad to be served, and there’s no guarantee who will see it, or whether a human will see it at all.”


DMCA: Denying Monetary Compensation Always | MuseWire

Who Benefits from the DMCA?
The ISPs (Internet Service Providers) who are facilitating all this trafficking of stolen material are completely off the hook because of the safe harbor provision. Imagine a company that helped people tap into the water system of your town. On the surface, they are simply selling plumbing and faucets. “Hey, we’re not making money from stealing water,” they might say, “we’re making money on sink fixtures; we can’t help it if the water people run through those fixtures is stolen.”

Yet that is essentially what Title II of the DMCA allows to occur, but with intellectual property instead of water. And by letting corporations profit from services that promote the stealing of copyrights, we send a powerful message to everyone: theft is acceptable if you can get a law passed that exempts you from prosecution.

So screwed up is Title II of the DMCA that even a corporate tool like Kravets owns up to the problem. He writes that the safe harbor provision “…provides ISPs, hosting companies and interactive services near blanket immunity for the intellectual property violations of their users.” In other words, pilfering from the pockets of songwriters and their children is just fine.


Let’s Get Real About Kim Dotcom: The Indictment Clearly Alleges Felony Copyright Infringement | CPIP

Essential reading on the Kim Dotcom extradition case happening now.


As the Megaupload saga evolves, we’ll surely hear many more claims about the legal and moral implications of the case. Lessig is not the first, and he will certainly not be the last, to argue that Dotcom and his co-defendants should not be punished for their behavior. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind what allegedly happened here: Dotcom and his co-defendants made millions of dollars through the rampant theft and dissemination of countless artists’ and creators’ copyrighted works. For the sake of these artists and creators, who worked hard to produce the works that were unmercifully stolen, let us hope that Dotcom and his co-defendants are held accountable for their crimes.





A Tale of Two Pirates? Daniel Ek (uTorrent) and Kim Dotcom (Megaupload)

Lessig Defends Dotcom as Extradition Hearing Begins | Copyhype

Required reading regarding Larry Lessig’s pitch to help Kim Dotcom…

The second thing about Lessig’s declaration that jumps out is an apparent contradiction between Lessig and Dotcom’s defense team regarding the applicability of the DMCA safe harbors to Megaupload.

In the white paper, Dotcom’s defense team says

Even if the U.S. government’s wishful expansion of the criminal copyright law into the realm of secondary infringement were tenable (which it is not), Megaupload is shielded from criminal liability by specific “safe harbor” provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), included in the law to protect companies like Megaupload that make efforts to remove infringing material in response to “take-down” notices issued by copyright holders

But in his declaration, Lessig asserts “The DMCA is only a defense in the civil context”. The reversal is notable.




Larry Lessig is Wrong, and should “Get Over It”

Why the ‘Dancing Baby’ copyright case is just hi-tech victim shaming | The Register UK

Lenz is best thought of as a tactic in a larger strategy. Another victim-shaming tactic, used to confuse and intimidate individuals so they don’t claim their rights, is a Google-funded project called Chilling Effects. We can define “victim shaming” as where the process of seeking justice punishes the victim more than it hurts the perpetrator, and it relies on the fear of unknown reprisals.

Both Lenz and Chilling Effects have the same goal: to make you think twice about asserting your ownership of your own digital stuff. The Utopia envisaged by Silicon Valley’s current oligarchs does not have individual ownership of bits in it.





“I Ain’t Gonna Work On Google’s Farm No More” | Creators are Forced Labor* On The Ad-Funded Piracy Fields Of The Advertnet

So Prince released his new album today Exclusively on TIDAL… how long will that last before it’s on YouTube?

Today Prince released his new album “HITNRUN Phase One” exclusively on TIDAL. The real question is, how long will it be before the album in part or in whole is on YouTube and every other pirate site in the world?


You can listen to :30 of each song at the link below without signing up for the service.

Music Tech Policy detailed why we can’t have nice things in the post “The Great Disappointment: Tidal Highlights YouTube’s Moral Hazard for All the World to See”.

Part of Tidal’s business model relies on artists being able to grant exclusives.  The concept of an exclusive requires property rights that are respected by other platforms in the channel.

Imagine if Showtime began showing rips of Game of Thrones day and date with its HBO release.  Forget that HBO would sue them and win.  The actors, screenwriters, producers and the vast below the line personnel would think twice about working for Showtime in the future.

And that’s exactly what should happen to YouTube.

Beyonce released “Die With You” on Tidal as an exclusive.  Everyone at YouTube knows that it was intended to be an exclusive just like everyone at YouTube knows that YouTube could keep the track from being uploaded to YouTube if YouTube wanted to do that.

YouTube has worked hard at getting the world to accept the concept of “user generated content” as some kind of great cultural event–even, when like “Die With You”, there isn’t anything particularly “user generated” about it, unless you call a one-to-one rip of Beyonce’s track that was distributed in clear violation of Beyonce’s rights “user generated”.


Spotify Per Play Rates Continue to Drop (.00408) … More Free Users = Less Money Per Stream #gettherateright

Down, down, down it goes, where it stops nobody knows… The monthly average rate per play on Spotify is currently .00408 for master rights holders.


48 Months of Spotify Streaming Rates from Jun 2011 thru May 2015 on an indie label catalog of over 1,500 songs with over 10m plays.

Spotify rates per spin appear to have peaked and are now on a steady decline over time.

Per stream rates are dropping because the amount of revenue is not keeping pace with the  number of streams. There are several possible causes:

1) Advertising rates are falling as more “supply” (the number of streams) come on line and the market saturates.

2) The proportion of  lower paying “free streams”  is growing faster than the proportion of higher paying “paid streams.”

3) All of the above.

This confirms our long held suspicion that as a flat price “freemium” subscription service  scales the price per stream will drop.  As the service reaches “scale” the pool of streaming revenue becomes a fixed amount.  The pie can’t get any larger and adding more streams only cuts the pie into smaller pieces!

The data above is aggregated. In all cases the total amount of revenue is divided by the total number of the streams per service  (ex: $4,080 / 1,000,000 = .00408 per stream). Multiple tiers and pricing structures are all summed together and divided to create an averaged, single rate per play.

So, About That ‘NY Times Magazine’ Piece on “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t”… | Flavorwire

Bold claims are certainly welcome at The New York Times Magazine, and last weekend, it floated a doozy. In the feature story “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t,” author Steven Johnson insists that widespread concerns over easy access to free stuff in the digital age was all Henny-Penny-the-sky-is-falling; according to Johnson, “creative careers are thriving,” a point he argues by ignoring pundits (including yours truly), experts, and anecdotal evidence, instead focusing on the inarguable evidence of Data Journalism. In doing so, Johnson vastly inflates the conclusions of such number-crunching—and (particularly in the case of our reporting) frequently misses the point of the arguments he’s refuting.




Are Creators Really Thriving in the Digital Age? Doesn’t Look Like It | Robert Levine @ Billboard

“Free Ride” author Robert Levine takes on Steven Johnson’s stats and conclusions…

In this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, author Steven Johnson wrote a piece, “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t,” which ventured to examine the state of creative business in the digital age. Johnson conclusion was that it’s thriving. I have strong feelings on this topic, since I wrote a book that makes the opposite argument. I’d very much like Johnson to be right, since the health of the creative business strongly correlates with my ability to put food on the table. But although I think he’s a smart writer — we worked together, briefly, years ago — I think he’s looking at wrong information in the wrong way. He ends up oversimplifying a complicated subject to make a contrarian point.

Johnson’s premise is that the best way to assess the health of the creative businesses isn’t to look at falling sales or struggling companies but how actual creators themselves are faring. It’s a smart, refreshing approach. But his evidence that creators are thriving is far flimsier than it looks.