Searching for answers from Google about Google | The Hill | East Bay Ray

In 2001, a journalist named Bethany McLean posed a simple question in Fortune Magazine: “How exactly does Enron make its money?”

Neither company executives nor outside analysts could give her a simple answer. Her one question is now seen as the drip that opened the floodgates that drowned Enron. By 2006, the one-time Wall Street darling was closed, companies that enabled the fraud had failed, and executives were imprisoned. All this happened because Bethany McLean got the chance to ask a question.

The only way we’re going to learn about what Google is doing is through legal challenges like that of AG Hood.  I don’t see any Congressional hearings looking into Google’s practices (especially with Google spending almost $17 million on lobbying this past year). I don’t hear President Obama asking about Google (see previously mentioned $17 million). While there are European leaders and governments pushing Google to be more transparent, I don’t know why we’ve outsourced an investigation we ourselves should be doing.  I worry that if Google can block a state’s top law enforcement officer from even asking questions, then who is there to stand up and search for the answers we clearly should be seeking?

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE HILL:
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/technology/232681-searching-for-answers-from-google-about-google

East Bay Ray is the guitarist, co-founder and one of two main songwriters for the band Dead Kennedys. He has been speaking out on issues facing independent artists—on National Public Radio, at Chico State University, and on panels for SXSW, Association of Independent Music Publishers, California Lawyers for the Arts, SF Music Tech conferences, Hastings Law School and Boalt Hall Law School. Ray has also met with members of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. to advocate for artists’ rights.

Zoë Keating Publishes Google/YouTube Transcript : Clarity | Zoë Keating Blog

With friends like these…

If i wanted to just let content ID keep doing it’s thing, and it does a great job at and i’m totally happy with it and i don’t want to participate in the music service, is that an option?

That’s unfortunately not an option.

Assuming i don’t want to, then what would occur?

So what would happen is, um, so in the worst case scenario, because we do understand there are cases where our partners don’t want to participate for various reasons, what we basically have to do is because the music terms are essentially like outdated, the content that you directly upload from accounts that you own under the content owner attached to the agreement, we’ll have to block that content. but anything that comes up that we’re able to scan and match through content ID we could just apply a track policy but the commercial terms no longer apply so there’s not going to be any revenue generated.

Wow that’s pretty harsh.

Yeah, it’s harsh and trust me, it is really difficult for me to have this conversation with all of my partners but we’re really, what we’re trying to do is basically create a new revenue stream on top of what exists on the platform today.

PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE POST/TRANSCRIPT AT:
http://zoekeating.tumblr.com/post/109312851929/clarity

* MUST READ * YouTube’s Heartbreaking Extortion Of Musicians Begins… | Zoë Keating Explains New Rules

Below is the opener, after that – it gets worse…

“My Google Youtube rep contacted me the other day. They were nice and took time to explain everything clearly to me, but the message was firm: I have to decide. I need to sign on to the new Youtube music services agreement or I will have my Youtube channel blocked.
This new music service agreement covers my Content ID account and it includes mandatory participation in Youtube’s new subscription streaming service, called Music Key, along with all that participation entails. Here are some of the terms I have problems with:

1) All of my catalog must be included in both the free and premium music service. Even if I don’t deliver all my music, because I’m a music partner, anything that a 3rd party uploads with my info in the description will be automatically included in the music service too.

2) All songs will be set to “montetize”, meaning there will be ads on them.

3) I will be required to release new music on Youtube at the same time I release it anywhere else. So no more releasing to my core fans first on Bandcamp and then on iTunes.

4) All my catalog must be uploaded at high resolution, according to Google’s standard which is currently 320 kbps.

5) The contract lasts for 5 years.”

Seriously the whole post is an absolute must read, in full, probably at least two or three times to have it all sink in.

READ THE FULL POST ON ZOE KEATING’S BLOG:
http://zoekeating.tumblr.com/post/108898194009/what-should-i-do-about-youtube

Sons of Anarchy’s Kurt Sutter Is A Rock Star for Creators Rights

We love Kurt Sutter’s unapologetic response to Google and Silicon Valley’s assault on creators. Below are links to Kurt’s two editorials that are essential reading for all creators to understand what the “internet economy” means for artists of all disciplines.

Kurt Sutter Attacks Google: Stop Profiting from Piracy (Guest Column) | Variety

Google is in the process of systematically destroying our artistic future, and more importantly, the future of our children and grandchildren. They’re spending tens of millions of dollars each year on eroding creative copyright laws. I believe that if the creative community doesn’t intervene now, and by now, I mean, fucking now — we will be bound to a multigenerational clusterfuck that will take 40 to 50 years to unravel.

The last time this happened was in the 1950s, when the tobacco industry spent millions to hide the truth, and convince everyone that smoking cigarettes wasn’t really dangerous to your health.

Earlier this year, Kurt took to writing a response in Slate to an editorial by Google Lobbyist Marvin Ammori (which lead to a later editorial disclosure of Mr. Ammori’s relationships).

Not-So-Zen and the Art of Voluntary Agreements | Slate

Every writer, producer, actor, musician, director, tech wizard, and fine artist working today needs to be aware of what this all means for our future—we will lose the ability to protect and profit from our own work. Every kid out there who aspires to be an actor or musician or artist: This is your future that’s at stake. More importantly, everyone who enjoys quality entertainment: This impacts you most of all. Content excellence cannot sustain itself if it loses its capacity to reward the talent that creates it. Consider this clunky analogy: If your local car dealership started selling your favorite luxury car for $1,000, then $100, then started giving it away, what do you think would happen to the quality of that vehicle? Before long, the manufacturer would be forced to let go of the skilled laborer, the artisan, and the craftsman, and eventually cut back on everything in the production process. And before long, that fabulous, high-end car you so enjoyed will be a sheet of warped plywood on top of two rusty cans.

Yep, it’s cheap, and it’s shit.

Among the arguments that Kurt brings to light are the use of Merchants Of Doubt tactics by Silicon Valley interests, the mechanics employed by Google and YouTube detailed by The Digital Citizens Alliance and the ability for creatives of all disciplines to join Creative Future for a unified voice against these forces of exploitation.

Artists Take To The Streets to Protest Google/YouTube in NYC | NY Times

Last week, the dispute spilled out into the streets of New York. On Saturday afternoon, a few dozen supporters of the Content Creators Coalition, an artists’ advocacy group, picketed Google’s office in Chelsea, playing New Orleans-style marches on horns and carrying signs like “Economic justice in the digital domain” and “What YouTube pays? Nothing.”

Marc Ribot, a guitarist who has played with stars like Tom Waits and Elvis Costello, summarized how the larger conflict over streaming revenue affected artists’ careers.

“If we can’t make enough from digital media to pay for the record that we’ve just made,” Mr. Ribot said, “then we can’t make another one.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/25/business/media/small-music-labels-see-youtube-battle-as-part-of-war-for-revenue.html

Privacy Trumps Piracy: Google’s Double Standard | Creativity Tech

Google’s Poor Track Record on Piracy

We reported on the 100 million takedown request milestone that Google sheepishly pushed past earlier this year. Compared with the rapid action the company has taken on European privacy rights, the earlier figure and the lack of action that it represents is even more astonishing.

And it’s not only privacy where Google flexes its significant muscle to disrupt illicit operations.

Since becoming the world’s most popular search engine, accounting for roughly 70% of North American searches and as much as 90% of those in Europe, the company has worked tirelessly to upgrade its algorithm to destroy low quality sites that aim to game Google’s system.

Those sites, it says, devalue its search product and leave users frustrated from a sub par experience. Sounds a lot like poor quality piracy sites that are riddled with malware, doesn’t it? So those sites should really receive similar punishment in the form of demotion or even being stripped from Google’s results. Instead, the company maintains a double standard that now stretches back more than a decade.

READ THE FULL STORY AT CREATIVITY TECH:
http://creativitytech.com/google-privacy-piracy-double-standard/

Google ordered by BC court to block websites selling pirated goods: Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack | Barry Sookman

The decision made several important findings related to enforcing rights online including that:
 
* the court had territorial jurisdiction over Google
 
* the court had the jurisdictional competence to make a blocking order under its broad equitable jurisdiction even if it would have extra-territorial effects
 
* URL blocking was not as effective as website blocking
 
* the balance of convenience favored granting a blocking order to assist the plaintiffs in enforcing their judgment against defendants who continued to violate their intellectual property rights
 

 
READ THE FULL POST AT BARRY SOOKMAN:
http://www.barrysookman.com/2014/06/18/google-ordered-by-bc-court-to-block-websites-selling-pirated-goods-equustek-solutions-inc-v-jack/

YouTube steps up row with indie labels by confirming imminent video blocks | Music Ally

This story is taking on a lot of dimensions of what it might be and what it might mean, Music Ally tries to get some late breaking insight. Of particular note is the comment by Radiohead manager Brian Message, read on…

“YouTube executives argue that they cannot offer music on the free service without it also being available on the paid service as this would disappoint its subscribers,” as Billboard puts it.

Meanwhile, you had the BBC suggesting that indie videos uploaded to YouTube via Vevo would still be available, while only “videos which are exclusively licensed by independent record labels, such as acoustic sets or live performances” will be taken down.

Clear as mud, then. Radiohead manager Brian Message was asked at Music Ally’s transparency event last night whether he thinks YouTube will follow through on the threats: “I quite hope that they do! It would be quite interesting to see what happens next!” – not as flippant as it reads in print, but more an admission that it’s only once blocking start happening that the industry will know exactly what YouTube is threatening.

This dispute is bad for everyone: for labels and artists, for fans, and particularly for YouTube, for whom accusations of bullying indie labels will be hard to brush off.

READ THE FULL STORY AT MUSIC ALLY:
http://musically.com/2014/06/18/youtube-steps-up-row-with-indie-labels-by-confirming-imminent-video-blocks/

End internet piracy and bring Google to heel | Sydney Morning Herald

Our Attorney-General George Brandis is attempting to reform our copyright law. Meanwhile Google, one of the multi-national companies attempting to avoid paying tax here, is lobbying in Canberra to stop this, by putting forward the following six fundamentally misconceived arguments:

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:

!! Gizmodo Reports Google to Censor Videos By XL Recordings, Domino Records, Adele, Animal Collective, Arctic Monkeys and More !!

This just in from Gizmodo regarding the YouTube Music Pass for which the major labels have already made a deal with Google. Indie labels however are being bullied by the tech giant with the threat of Censorship if the artists and indie labels do not submit to sub-standard royalties. Wow. Just wow.

The problem is Google’s plans for the other 10 percent. The company’s head of content Robert Kyncl told the FT that it plans to start blocking videos from indie labels that haven’t signed licensing deals “in a matter of days.” The FT says that these labels include XL Recordings and Domino records, whose rosters include Adele, Animal Collective, Arctic Monkeys, and loads of other popular artists. In a statement to Gizmodo, Google confirmed the FT story as well as its intentions to launch a subscription-based service.

Some labels are refusing to sign up because they say they’re getting a raw deal from Google. They say that while the major labels have negotiated lucrative contracts, Google is offering indies comparatively bad terms. It’s their right to say they don’t want to sign up if they don’t like the deal Google is offering them. In response, Google is drawing a line in the sand: If your label won’t sign on to Google’s crappy licensing deal for a new streaming service, you can’t host videos on YouTube at all.

READ THE FULL STORY AT GIZMODO:
http://gizmodo.com/googles-about-to-ruin-youtube-by-forcing-indie-labels-t-1591957089