Please Vote for “The New Artist Rights Grassroots Advocacy” Panel at SXSW

Blatant Trichordist self-promotion alert!  Please consider voting for “The New Artist Rights Grassroots Advocacy” panel in the SXSW Panel Picker.

We think this will be a great panel with the triumvirate of David Lowery, Blake Morgan and Chris Castle talking about how you can get involved with true grassroots artist rights advocacy.  As far as we can tell, there’s no other panel like it at SXSW.

The panelists will also discuss their experiences with artist rights advocacy, the #irespectmusic campaign, Pandora, artist pay for radio play, testifying before Congress, comments with the Copyright Office, Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.

You can vote for the panel at this link before the deadline on September 4 (Friday).  We’d really appreciate it. We’ll let you all know how the voting turns out.

Thanks!

With advertising on WDBJ-TV murder clips, YouTube sinks to new low | VoxIndie

It’s no secret that YouTube slaps advertising on pretty much anything without regard for subject matter or ownership, but making money off of last week’s on-air murder of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward is a new low. A source tipped me off to the fact that a number of opportunistic (and shameless) YouTube “partners” have uploaded and monetized clips of both the station’s live broadcast and the video taken, (and uploaded to Twitter) by the deranged murderer as he executed the two journalists during a televised live-shot for the morning news.

READ THE FULL POST AT VOX INDIE:
http://voxindie.org/with-advertising-aside-tv-murder-clips-youtube-sinks-to-new-low/

News from the Goolag: What if You Make a Deal with Spotify and It Turns Out to Be With YouTube?

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

We’ve all heard from numerous sources that Spotify is in the middle of renegotiating their license agreements with at least the major labels.  What has gotten less attention is YouTube’s interest in buying Spotify.  Spotify’s exit to an IPO is getting cloudier by the day as another tech bubble bursts in Wall Street alongside a volatile stock market, one should not rule out an acquisition of Spotify and who better to do it than Google’s wholly-owned YouTube subsidiary.

Remember that we saw this July 21, 2014 story in Re/Code by the highly credible tech journalist Kara Swisher:

Omid Kordestani, who has just temporarily replaced Nikesh Arora as chief business officer of Google, is joining the board of Spotify, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

In addition, sources said, one of the search giant’s former execs, Shishir Mehrotra, will become a special adviser to CEO Daniel Ek and the company’s management.

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The Times They Are A-Changin | Guest Post by Marc Ribot

Guest post by Marc Ribot.

The deceptive premises of the NYTimes Editorial “Keep the Internet Free of Borders” 8/10, begin with the title, which leads one to believe that this ITC case will take something away that actually exists.   In fact, the Internet is not now and has never been,  “free of borders”. Copyright law prohibits unlawful distribution of copyrighted works outside national borders and has strict provisions on import and export of copyrighted works. The Internet has never been free of copyright law, because copyright  is nation-based. That’s why a new treaty was adopted to address the cross-border issue of distribution of works for blind and reading impaired persons- the Marrakesh Treaty adopted in 2012-, and why a global treaty for libraries is now under discussion: to make cross-border distribution legal in certain cases,  precisely because right now it’s restricted.  Even Google knows that the Internet has national borders.  It found a way to respect them for Google Books-  a mechanism to prevent export of copyrighted works to other countries. There are patent rules too.  All universities have policies regarding import and export of patented material. Export control rules and guidelines already cover patented material/trade competition and have NEVER  been restricted to physical goods.

When the editorial extrapolates its argument to the record industry, it goes even further afield.  ” The I.T.C. has long had the power to forbid companies from importing physical goods like electronics, books and mechanical equipment that violate the patents, copyrights and trademarks of American businesses…The commission’s order to ClearCorrect was the first time it had sought to bar the transfer of digital information.”

The Times takes the RIAA to task for supporting the decision: “Groups like the…Recording Industry Association of America are supporting the commission’s view… that, as trade increasingly becomes digital, the definition of “article” should include data.”

Yet when there was actually legislation on the table supporting the alternative remedies to ITC intervention that the editorial now claims to favor,  the NY Times took the exact opposite position ( Beyond SOPA 1/28/12), and supported empowering the ITC:  “By giving the International Trade Commission sole authority to determine infringement, [the OPEN Act] would…[give]  copyright holders powerful new tools to protect themselves [while] protecting legitimate expression on  the Web from overzealous content owners.

Funny how ‘Times’ change.

In any case, the alternate remedies proposed in last weeks editorial simply don’t apply to recording artists works.  “There are far better ways to [protect…patents and copyrights]….Align could sue ClearCorrect and seek damages for patent infringement. Or the company could ask a judge to order ClearCorrect to stop selling products made using the information contained in the files.”

Sounds great: but asking a judge to order an infringing company to stop selling [physical] products made using information contained in infringing files’ isn’t relevant for people whose product is the files themselves.  And  of course, suing companies profiting from infringement is precisely what musicians can’t do, thanks to the Safe Harbor Clause of the DMCA. That clause exempts online businesses from the normal responsibility of companies for violations of the law occurring on their premises.

Is the NY Times now going to support ending Safe Harbor protection for companies whose business models are based on aiding, abetting, and profiting  from infringement?  Such a position would be the only way musicians could have access to its suggested remedy.

We certainly hope so, because while congress has failed to effectively regulate the unfair black market destroying the value of our work, our industry has crashed and our livelihoods are suffering.

Our problem isn’t new technology itself, but the failure of government to regulate new and unfair forms of exploitation. The internet has borders: it is bound internationally by the laws of sovereign nations, and internally by laws which protect the rights of citizens. It also has hugely powerful corporations attempting to violate those borders on a massive scale in order to create consumer ‘facts on the ground’ which render those rights politically un-enforceable.

International borders aren’t the only boundaries threatened by big tech’s drive to profit from infringement: the consequences of the failure of government to stand up to this corporate manipulation won’t stay neatly contained within the music industry.  Nor will the effective nullification of citizens rights stop at those protecting artists.  Its a slippery slope, baby.

– M ribot

New York Times Standards: We Don’t Care About the Facts

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Check this email out.  It’s from the “standards editor” at the New York Times, Greg Brock.   WTF? Right?  This came to me in response to the various links I sent to stories that criticized and disputed, the premise, the statistics and conclusions in this article  “The Creative Apocalypse that Wasn’t.”  In particular I excerpted and noted when the statistics could not be logically used to support arguments or when the statistics themselves had been brought into question by other researchers.  At no time was I insulting or rude to Mr Brock personally.  I simply thought I was helping The New York Times maintain some sort of integrity, by helpfully forwarding criticism to the Standards Desk (as suggested by the office of the Public Editor).

Not only does Mr. Brock refuse to acknowledge the serious questions about the statistics used in the article he seems to resort to a gratuitous ad hominem attack on me personally.  Does this email look like it comes from someone that wants to get the facts straight?

So the premise of this blog is “The New York Times Standards Desk does not care about the facts.”   I believe that I can make this case.  May I?

  1.  Thomas Lumley  posted this article which notes that the OES changed their methodology on counting musicians, music directors and composers.   This means that the “increase” in “professional musicians” cited in this story is actually due to a change in methodology.  As Lumley keenly observes the survey began counting music teachers at schools.   Without the addition of the teachers there would have been a decrease in professional musicians. Since the author spends a lot of time discussing this key statistic,  the New York Times has an obligation to its readers to note the problems with this particular usage of the dataset.  Mr. Brock acting on behalf of the New York Times has chosen not to note this fact.
  2. In the article in question the author notes   “According to one source, the top 100 tours of 2000 captured 90 percent of all revenue, while today the top 100 capture only 43 percent.”   The problem here is that the number of tours has grown since 2000.  Therefore the top 100 tours represents a larger percentage of the tours in 2000  than it does in 2015.   For instance if the number of concerts has doubled (by some measures it has) and say 100 concert tours represented 2%  of all tours in 2000 it would only represent 1% in 2015.  So naturally the percentage of revenue received by the top 100 tours would decline.  Therefore this fact can’t be used to support the authors statement  “touring has become more egalitarian.”     I pointed out this in an email to the New York Times Public Editor and to the Standards Desk.   The standards desk has chosen not to correct or note this logical fallacy for its readers and just for good measure decided to personally insult me.
  3. The Future of Music Coalition note that they were consulted as fact checkers on this article.  The Future of Music Coalition has since declared  “NYT Magazine chose to publish without substantive change most of the things that we told them were either: a) not accurate or b) not verifiable because there is no industry consensus and the “facts” could really go either way.”   Why then did they publish the article when the fact checkers were telling them that something was wrong.  THIS ALONE REQUIRES THE PUBLIC EDITOR TO INVESTIGATE THIS INCIDENT.
  4. Many other authors have commented on shortcomings and omissions in this article.  They all appear to have valid points.  Most concern the omission of statistics and figures that would undermine the author’s rosy picture of life for creators in the digital age.  They are all linked below.   Despite all of this Greg Brock Senior Editor of Standards has declared “There will be no Correction.”  So basically no matter what facts may come to light The New York Times has officially declared in advance they will not change the article.

Amazing. I rest my case.  Truth is dead at the New York Times.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Other sources criticizing the NY Times “The Creative Apocalypse that wasn’t.”

http://www.salon.com/2015/08/24/the_new_york_times_sells_out_artists_shallow_data_paints_a_too_rosy_picture_of_thriving_creative_class_in_the_digital_age/

http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6677568/are-creators-really-thriving-in-the-digital-age-doesnt-look-like-it

http://flavorwire.com/534772/so-about-that-ny-times-magazine-piece-on-the-creative-apocalypse-that-wasnt/

https://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/why-is-the-new-york-times-coverage-on-artist-rights-so-oddly-inconsistent/

http://futureofmusic.org/blog/2015/08/21/data-journalism-wasnt

http://www.statschat.org.nz/2015/08/22/changing-who-you-count/

View profile at Medium.com

http://illusionofmore.com/steven-johnson-thesis-isnt/

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.

READ THE FULL STORY AT FLAVORWIRE:
http://flavorwire.com/534772/so-about-that-ny-times-magazine-piece-on-the-creative-apocalypse-that-wasnt/

 

 

NY Times Gets It Wrong on Musician Stats | Stats Chat

The NY Times get’s it wrong. Stats Chats takes on the numbers:

The larger category, “Musicians and Singers”, has been declining.  The smaller category, “Music Directors and Composers” was going up slowly, then had a dramatic three-year, straight-line increase, then decreased a bit.

Going  into the Technical Notes for the estimates (eg, 2009), we see

May 2009 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period

That means the three-year increase of 5000 jobs/year is probably a one-off increase of 15,000 jobs. Either the number of “Music Directors and Composers” more than doubled in 2009, or more likely there was a change in definitions or sampling approach.

 

READ THE FULL STORY AT STATS CHAT:
http://www.statschat.org.nz/2015/08/22/changing-who-you-count/

Why is the New York Times Coverage on Artist Rights So Oddly Inconsistent?

Trichordist Editor:

Chris Castle at Music Tech Policy does a takedown of the NYT Magazine anti-artists disinformation piece… read on…

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

If you read the New York Times Sunday Magazine (which probably means you’re over 40 or live inside of the Acela corridor), you may have noticed a story last week titled “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t“.  This piece is another of these “Sky is Rising” type things bankrolled by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, aka Google.  I’m not accusing the author of being on anyone’s payroll (except perhaps the Times itself…more about that later), but I can’t help noticing the similarities.

Here is the author’s thesis:

But starting with [Lars] Ulrich’s [2000] testimony [in the Napster case and hearings], a new complaint has taken center stage, one that flips those older objections on their heads. The problem with the culture industry is no longer its rapacious pursuit of consumer dollars. The problem with the culture industry is that it’s not profitable enough. Thanks to its legal…

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Social Passivity Resulting in Current Invasive/Spying Technology | Jon Taplin @ USC

Social Passivity Resulting in Current Invasive/Spying Technology

Read The Blog Post Here:
https://medium.com/@jonathantaplin/sleeping-through-a-revolution-8c4b147463e5

Watch the Full Lecture Here:

Essential Reading on the Internet’s Emerging Exploitation Economy.

We write a lot about the issues facing creators, but we’re only just the first to be effected by the Exploitation Economy.


Uber and the Lawlessness of ‘Sharing Economy’ Corporates | The Guardian

It’s not only about musicians and creators, we are just the first to be effected.  The same Silicon Valley scam is going to exploit more and more people. Read on…

“Nullification is a wilful flouting of regulation, based on some nebulous idea of a higher good only scofflaws can deliver. It can be an invitation to escalate a conflict, of course, as Arkansas governor Orville Faubus did in 1957 when he refused to desegregate public schools and president Eisenhower sent federal troops to enforce the law. But when companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and Google engage in a nullification effort, it’s a libertarian-inspired attempt to establish their services as popular well before regulators can get around to confronting them. Then, when officials push back, they can appeal to their consumer-following to push regulators to surrender.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE GUARDIAN:
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/28/uber-lawlessness-sharing-economy-corporates-airbnb-google

 


Stop calling it the “Sharing Economy.” That isn’t what it is. | Olivier Blanchard

What it is, is the Exploitation Economy…

“Disruption rocks though!”

No, it doesn’t. The right kind of disruption rocks. The kind that has value, that solves a problem, that improves an imperfect system. But disruption for the sake of disruption is just noise. It can even be destructive, and that doesn’t rock. It doesn’t rock at all.

Because Apple was “disruptive,” anything deemed disruptive now somehow borrows from Apple’s cachet. “Disruption” has become another meaningless buzzword appropriated by overzealous cheerleaders of the entrepreneurial clique they aspire to someday belong to. And look… every once in a while, someone does come up with a really cool and radical game-changing idea: Vaccines, the motorcar, radio, television, HBO, the internet, laptops, smart phones, Netflix, carbon fiber bicycles, drought-resistant corn, overpriced laptops that don’t burn your thighs in crowded coffee shops… Most of the time though, “disruption” isn’t that. It’s a mirage. It’s a case of The Emperor’s New Clothes, episode twenty-seven thousand, and the same army of early first-adopter fanboys that also claimed that Google Plus and Quora and Jelly were going to revolutionize everything have now jumped on the next desperate bandwagon. What will it be next week? Your guess is as good as mine.”

READ THE FULL POST AT OLIVIER BLANCHARD:
http://olivierblanchard.net/stop-calling-it-the-sharing-economy-that-isnt-what-it-is/

 


The Crowdsourcing Scam | The Baffler

It’s all the same Silicon Valley scam. Whether you are a musician or a cab driver, this about labor, and you could be next…

Silicon Valley calls this arrangement “crowdsourcing,” a label that’s been extended to include contests, online volunteerism, fundraising, and more. Crowdsourced work is supposed to be a new, more casual, and more liberating form of work, but it is anything but. When companies use the word “crowdsourcing”—a coinage that suggests voluntary democratic participation—they are performing a neat ideological inversion.

The kind of tentative employment that we might have scoffed at a decade or two ago, in which individuals provide intellectual labor to a corporation for free or for sub-market wages, has been gussied up with the trappings of technological sophistication, populist appeal, and, in rare cases, the possibility of viral fame.

But in reality, this labor regime is just another variation on the age-old practice of exploiting ordinary workers and restructuring industrial relations to benefit large corporations and owners of the platforms serving them. The lies and rhetorical obfuscations of crowdsourcing have helped tech companies devalue work, and a long-term, reasonably secure, decently paying job has increasingly become a MacGuffin—something we ardently chase after but will likely never capture, since it’s there only to distract us from the main action of the script.

READ THE FULL POST AT THE BAFFLER:
http://thebaffler.com/salvos/crowdsourcing-scam

 


Silicon Valley Is Not a Force for Good | The Atlantic

We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water, what we need is fair and ethical businesses.

It’s been a long journey from Google to Snapchat—or to apps that enable drivers to auction off the public street-parking spot they’re about to leave in San Francisco. With a few exceptions, the Valley’s innovations have become smaller, and smaller-minded. Many turn on concepts (network effects, regulatory arbitrage, price discrimination) that economists would say are double-edged, if not pernicious. And while the Web was touted as a great democratizing force, recent tech innovations have created lots of profits at the top of the ladder and lots of job losses lower down. The tech sector itself has proved disappointing as a jobs engine and at times hostile to women.

READ THE FULL POST AT THE ATLANTIC:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/07/silicon-valley-shrinking-vision/395309/

 


Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class | Salon

Jaron Lanier was the first to identify and speak about this issue. We’re glad to see others catching up to him. Here’s a refresher…

“Here’s a current example of the challenge we face,” he writes in the book’s prelude: “At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?”

“Future” also looks at the way the creative class – especially musicians, journalists and photographers — has borne the brunt of disruptive technology.

READ THE FULL STORY AT SALON:
http://www.salon.com/2013/05/12/jaron_lanier_the_internet_destroyed_the_middle_class/

 


 

Sleeping Through a Revolution | Jonathan Taplin @ USC

This presentation by Jonathan Taplin at the Annenberg Innovation Lab breaks it all down. Required Viewing.