Aurous has nothing to do with SOPA | The Illusion of More

In fact, when the lawsuit was first announced, The Trichordist rather humorously (though not at all facetiously) announced an “office betting pool” as to how soon the Electronic Frontier Foundation would file an amicus brief on behalf of Aurous. And while no serious IP attorney may reasonably defend Aurous against the infringement claims, that hasn’t stopped the EFF from repeating the latest mantra of Internet industry defenders: That [insert plaintiff here] is behaving as though SOPA became law. Although the EFF has not filed an amicus brief or anything so official on behalf of Aurous, here’s the tweet they sent out, as Ellen Seidler reports on Vox Indie:

Once again, @RIAA asks a court to order the entire world to block & filter an app they don’t like.

While, all this SOPA chatter may be pretty good spin—and a great way to belabor the narrative that rights holders are just insidious, draconian, evildoers hating on freedom—the references to SOPA are entirely specious. I mean not even close.

Bottom Line: Aurous is a Domestic Business

SOPA/PIPA were exclusively written to target foreign-based piracy sites that are beyond the reach of U.S. jurisdiction for criminal proceedings, with the objective of starving these sites of both U.S. traffic and U.S. revenue.


The Truth About Vinyl And Streaming – And It Is Not Pretty…


There’s a romanticism about vinyl, and we share that enthusiasm of the format for obvious reasons. However it should be noted that the romanticism that surrounds vinyl, is largely that- romanticism. Below we’ve assembled a number of recent editorials and reports about the state of vinyl production to shed some light and much needed perspective on this subject.

There several important take-a-ways from our friends who are on the front lines of vinyl production that are also noted in the reports below.

1) Vinyl revenues are grossing more than free streaming receivables. This sounds impressive at first but said another way it means that free streaming is just not generating a lot of revenue in the aggregate of the total business (not a surprise, free streaming is a big problem).

Second, and more sadly is the fact that vinyl production is very expensive and miscalculations on selecting a title or the pressing quantity almost certainly will create a loss in thousands of dollars (if not tens of thousands) per title. In other words NET PROFITS on vinyl are pretty small in relationship to the GROSS REVENUE generated at retail due to the excessively high manufacturing costs.

2) Turn around times to make vinyl have been pushed out in excess of six to nine months on most indie label titles.  If the major labels want to dominate the presses then they should invest in helping to create more pressing plants and overall pressing volume. There are only so many titles that can survive a demand curve that extends more than half a year from when there was initial excitement. This means titles that could have sold through their pressings often end up as excess inventory.

3) Good test pressings are fewer and farther between. Many test discs are often inferior and unlistenable. Problems range from pops and clicks, and surface noise to outright skipping. Getting an acceptable pressing can often mean rejecting two or three test pressings before all sides of an album are approved. A CD length vinyl release requires four vinyl LP sides that must be approved before the album can be commercially pressed. Each rejected side adds four to six weeks to the overall production timeline.

4) Colored novelty vinyl sucks as a listening experience. So much of the custom vinyl being released on colored vinyl and specialty blends sound completely horrible. These are purchased by consumers more or less as merchandise (we hope) more than they are audio products. There are a lot of not great sounding new vinyl releases, but hey if it’s on rainbow splatter glow in the dark vinyl who cares, right?

All of this is to say that if anyone thinks that vinyl is the solution to the economic exploitation artists are facing from free streaming models, then they just don’t understand the mechanics of the contemporary vinyl marketplace.

Read on…

Pressed to the Edge: Why vinyl hype is destroying the record | FACT
“There are only two companies worldwide that produce lacquers. One of these companies is a one-man operation in Japan run by an old man who produces the lacquers in his garage. It’s excellent quality, but who knows how much longer he can and especially will want to continue to do this. When we are in contact with him, we attempt to order as many lacquers as we can in order to stock up as much as possible. You don’t really know when you will reach him again. The other company is in the USA and serves a large portion of the market. It is practically a monopoly. This is not good for business.”

How Independent Artists and Labels Are Getting Squeezed Out by the “Vinyl Revival” | Noisey – Vice
“But the law of supply and demand is not necessarily applicable in this case, as within the same time frame, the number of facilities producing vinyl has remained static, at roughly 20 active pressing plants nationwide. These facilities can in no way meet the current demand for vinyl. “

“I currently have a release at United [pressing plant] and it’s been over two months, and I still don’t even have a test pressing yet. I put in a re-order [a re-pressing of a previously pressed album, usually necessitating less turnaround time than a new release due to fewer steps in the production process to create the vinyl] for back catalog releases and I was told it would be at least 16 weeks. Sixteen weeks! Four months for a re-order!”

No, vinyl sales have not overtaken music streaming revenues | Telegraph UK
“A mid-year report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) found that US consumers spent $226m (£149m) on vinyl albums and singles in the first half of the year, surpassing $162.7m in revenues from ad-supported streaming.

What that means is that the amount Americans were willing to spend on vinyl records was higher than the amount the music industry made from the streaming services those consumers weren’t willing to pay for, such as Spotify’s free service and YouTube. “

Indie Labels Say Major Labels “Constipate” Pressing Plants for Record Store Day | Digital Music News
“There are currently no copies of Spectres’ album ‘Dying’ on vinyl in the shops because the repress is somewhere towards the back of the queue after some Foo Fighters studio scrapings, a host of EPs by The 1975 and about a million heavyweight ‘heritage rock’ reissues that no-one really needs.”

Hey Record Store Day, Face the Facts. You’re Hurting Indie Labels. | Digital Music News
“If the majors want to start pressing lots of records again they’re more than welcome to, but perhaps it would be better received if they invested some of their capital into building new pressing plants to lessen the strain.”

“It’s unfortunate, but it seems like every year our vinyl schedule gets delayed by months for some *limited* Dave Grohl or Jack White single.“

Have We Reached Peak Vinyl? | Stereogum
“Stewart Anderson has had enough. The frontman for noise-pop veterans Boyracer and head of likeminded label 555 Recordings has been releasing music on vinyl since 1991. But the well-documented manufacturing delays that have gone hand in hand with the format’s unlikely resurgence have finally pushed the artist/entrepreneur to the point of wanting to break it off with analog discs.

Jimmy Iovine says, “YouTube is 40% of music business volume and 4% of music business revenue. That’s a problem!” ‪#‎vfsummit‬

‘Freemium’ music streaming

“This whole thing about freemium, it’s a shell game. These companies are building an audience on the back of the artist, and it really bugs me.”

On YouTube and music

“Here’s a little statistic … they are 40% of consumption of music and 4% of the revenue. That’s a problem! … They know that doesn’t work. But do they care? I have no idea.”


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.


YouTube’s Sucker Punch ? Free Streaming Licenses, No Subscription Fees…

We reported on this a little bit ago that YouTube Music Key seemed to be a pretty good way for Google to leverage labels into legitimate licenses with the promise of paid subscription fees. We questioned that in our post, “Did Google & YouTube just Scam The Entire Record Business into Free Streaming Licenses? MusicKey is MIA…“.

But here’s the thing… it’s not just us. Music Business Worldwide is asking the same question:

YouTube Music Key starts charging subscriptions… oh wait, no it doesn’t | Music Business Worldwide

You can see why suspicions are growing out there amongst the more cynical minds in the music biz that YouTube won’t ever charge for Music Key.

YouTube struck a number of megabucks, multi-year licensing deals with rights-holders last year, largely on the basis of launching a subscription platform.

Deals done, labels are now scratching their heads as to why Music Key isn’t earning them any money, almost a year after it was announced.



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

Should take down mean stay down? EU’s Big Internet quiz leaks | The Register UK


Safe harbour’s takedown provisions mean that rights holders must play whackamole, as the black supply chain ensures the goods reappear in the shop window, usually the very next day. Rightsholders file millions of takedown notices with little effect. The BPI alone has filed 66 million with Google in the past year.

The clumsy YouTube deal with indies was never supposed to become public, but it simply made clear what everyone already knew: the platform held all the power, and takedowns were ineffective. But as one US legal expert told us, “limiting liability was never intended to be a shield for criminal behavior”.