5 Reasons The Major Labels Didn’t Really Blow It With Napster | Hypebot

Whatever the reason, it’s bullshit. The major labels were right not to compromise with Napster. I was VP of Electronic Music Distribution at Sony Music at the time, dealing with these issues day to day. Understandably, some people may think, what does it matter if the majors were right or not? They lost. But I think its important to understand the various facets and history of these events, if only to provide perspective for issues the industry is still dealing with today.  So, at the risk of being unhip, here are Five Reasons Why The Major Labels Didn’t Blow It With Napster.

READ THE FULL POST AT HYPEBOT:
http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2015/05/five-reasons-the-major-labels-didnt-blow-it-with-napster.html

NP AAAARGGHHHHH: @NPR CEO Jarl Mohn Funded Piracy Client Vuze and Vuze Sponsors Torrent Freak

We’ve been reporting for the last few days on NPR joining Pandora, Clear Channel, National Association of Broadcasters and Google in the MIC Coalition which seeks to lower rates paid to artists and to keep songwriters under DOJ supervision (because what these large corporate and state chartered near monopolies need is  “anti-competition” protection from songwriters?  WTF?).

This has puzzled us because NPR already enjoys a dramatically lower royalty rate than most other radio.  Further we artists often waive our rights and allow NPR use of our recordings royalty free  in perpetuity.  We willingly support NPR in this manner because we believe they provide a public service. We have been a solid ally of public and community radio. Why would they turn against us and join this dark side coalition?

Now we think we have the answer.

NPR CEO Jarl Mohn is a card carrying member of the dark side. He funded the  bittorrent piracy client Vuze not once but twice.  He was part of the B series round of $12 million and the C series round of $20 million.  And make no mistake Vuze is a key part of the piracy ecosystem.

Yeah yeah yeah, we heard it before:  “Vuze is just a tool and they don’t profit from piracy”  Bullshit.  Vuze profits directly from the illegal distribution of my material by knowingly serving advertising against it.

Allow me to demonstrate with the tracks from my latest album.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 10.58.33 PM

This is a screenshot of the Vuze client while downloading an unlicensed copy of my new album Berkeley to Bakersfield.  Down in the left hand corner there is an ad for American Express served by the publicly traded web advertising firm Quantcast. (Coincidentally a couple of years ago I privately defended Quantcast against similar charges, now I feel like a fucking idiot.)

To be clear this is not a webpage and ad exchange banner advertising. No one played some “tunneling” or DNS forwarding trick to make American Express and Quantcast think it wasn’t advertising on this site.  This advertising  is embedded into a piece of software that is used almost exclusively for downloading illegally distributed films music and pornography. How does American Express not know this? Quantcast? Or Jarl Mohn?

How did NPR come up with a CEO  with such questionable ethics?  This guy had to know what he was funding: A tool to infringe the rights of artists on global scale.  If not he’s really really dim.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 7.34.39 PM

 

But it gets worse. The piracy advocating website Torrent Freak appears to be sponsored by the very same company: Vuze.   That’s right the piracy revolution will not be televised but it will be sponsored by amoral Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists.   You really thought Torrent Freak was an ideological true believer fighting for your rights to “share” against the man?  Nope looks they are the marketing department for the man who makes advertising money off of your sharing activity.  

Tool

Here’s a screenshot from the Torrent Freak website helpfully alerting it’s readers to availability of the leaked Game of Thrones Season 5 on Kick Ass Torrents and the Pirate Bay.   Look carefully at the code.  The ad for Vuze isn’t just randomly served by some online adexchange. It’s embedded into the site.  Someone had to go in and place that link and that JPG into the code.  Plus the visible text actually claims them a “sponsor.”

So you are really gonna tell me with a straight face that no money is changing hands here?  Vuze is not paying “Ernesto” the editor of Torrent Freak?  While Ernesto is pretty much inducing piracy and giving advice on how to avoid prosecution?

How is this not a conspiracy?  I mean conspiracy like  RICO Conspiracy (See details below).

And it all started with money from NPR CEO Jarl Mohn.

Fire this guy.

NPR affiliates, DJs, Journalists and independent public radio stations need to stand with artists against these assholes. Heres our olive branch.  Please join us.

Otherwise?

It’s Torches and Pitchforks time.  It’s not gonna be prett.y

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STOP IF YOU DON’T WANT TO GO INTO A DEEP DIVE ON RACKETEERING AND CORRUPT ORGANIZATION (RICO) STATUTES.

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I’m not a lawyer but the intent of the law seems pretty clear. To prevent groups of people-even if only informally organized-from engaging in coordinated criminal activity.  Specifically when it disrupts legitimate marketplaces like those for recorded music or online advertising.

“RICO is designed to attack organized criminal activity and preserve marketplace integrity by investigating, controlling, and prosecuting persons who participate or conspire to participate in racketeering.” Black’s Law Dictionary 1286 (8th ed. 2005).  

There are a host of organized “scams” that generally occur in the peer to peer advertising ecosystem including within the Vuze client. Maybe there are some prosecutors or litigators out there who can help me with this? Aren’t the following part of the RICO statute?

1)  Mass copyright infringement.

2) Advertisers publicly claim to not know where there ads are being served.  If this is true then there is fraud going on.  Someone along the way, advertising agencies, ad exchanges, and/or companies like Vuze are behaving improperly. Since it involves the online ad ecosystem wouldn’t this be Wire Fraud?

3) Uh… how do I say the obvious? P2P networks have a lot of pornography?  A lot!     I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine illegal pornography isn’t also being monetized with advertising as it’s transferred using the Vuze client.  How can you possible be allowed to make money off of illegal pornography and not be prosecuted?

4) Anyone visiting a site like The Pirate bay has probably noticed the relentless advertising for Russian or Asian Brides.  Human trafficking anyone?

5) These same sites often feature ads for third party websites that claim to enroll applicants into a  “US Green Card Lottery.”   The US has never used third parties for its “Diversity Visa” program and at the present time the US is not accepting applications for diversity visas.  All websites advertising for the 2017 lottery are highly suspect.  (An early version of this article made it seem as if the US never had a Diversity Visa or “Green Card Lottery” that was incorrect). 

Now check out the RICO definitions. My bold italics added.

18 U.S. Code § 1961 – Definitions:

As used in this chapter—
(1) “racketeering activity” means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; (B) any act which is indictable under any of the following provisions of title 18, United States Code: Section 201 (relating to bribery), section 224 (relating to sports bribery), sections 471, 472, and 473 (relating to counterfeiting), section 659 (relating to theft from interstate shipment) if the act indictable under section 659 is felonious, section 664 (relating to embezzlement from pension and welfare funds), sections 891–894 (relating to extortionate credit transactions), section 1028 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents), section 1029 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices), section 1084 (relating to the transmission of gambling information), section 1341 (relating to mail fraud), section 1343 (relating to wire fraud), section 1344 (relating to financial institution fraud), section 1351 (relating to fraud in foreign labor contracting), section 1425 (relating to the procurement of citizenship or nationalization unlawfully), section 1426 (relating to the reproduction of naturalization or citizenship papers), section 1427 (relating to the sale of naturalization or citizenship papers), sections 1461–1465 (relating to obscene matter), section 1503 (relating to obstruction of justice), section 1510 (relating to obstruction of criminal investigations), section 1511 (relating to the obstruction of State or local law enforcement), section 1512 (relating to tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant), section 1513 (relating to retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant), section 1542 (relating to false statement in application and use of passport), section 1543 (relating to forgery or false use of passport), section 1544 (relating to misuse of passport), section 1546 (relating to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents), sections 1581–1592 (relating to peonage, slavery, and trafficking in persons)., [1] section 1951 (relating to interference with commerce, robbery, or extortion), section 1952 (relating to racketeering), section 1953 (relating to interstate transportation of wagering paraphernalia), section 1954 (relating to unlawful welfare fund payments), section 1955 (relating to the prohibition of illegal gambling businesses), section 1956 (relating to the laundering of monetary instruments), section 1957 (relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity), section 1958 (relating to use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire), section 1960 (relating to illegal money transmitters), sections 2251, 2251A, 2252, and 2260 (relating to sexual exploitation of children), sections 2312 and 2313 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicles), sections 2314 and 2315 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen property), section 2318 (relating to trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords, computer programs or computer program documentation or packaging and copies of motion pictures or other audiovisual works), section 2319 (relating to criminal infringement of a copyright), section 2319A (relating to unauthorized fixation of and trafficking in sound recordings and music videos of live musical performances), section 2320 (relating to trafficking in goods or services bearing counterfeit marks), section 2321 (relating to trafficking in certain motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts), sections 2341–2346 (relating to trafficking in contraband cigarettes), sections 2421–24 (relating to white slave traffic), sections 175–178 (relating to biological weapons), sections 229–229F (relating to chemical weapons), section 831 (relating to nuclear materials), (C) any act which is indictable under title 29, United States Code, section 186 (dealing with restrictions on payments and loans to labor organizations) or section 501 (c) (relating to embezzlement from union funds), (D) any offense involving fraud connected with a case under title 11 (except a case under section 157 of this title), fraud in the sale of securities, or the felonious manufacture, importation, receiving, concealment, buying, selling, or otherwise dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), punishable under any law of the United States, (E) any act which is indictable under the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, (F) any act which is indictable under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 274 (relating to bringing in and harboring certain aliens), section 277 (relating to aiding or assisting certain aliens to enter the United States), or section 278 (relating to importation of alien for immoral purpose) if the act indictable under such section of such Act was committed for the purpose of financial gain, or (G) any act that is indictable under any provision listed in section 2332b (g)(5)(B);
(2) “State” means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession of the United States, any political subdivision, or any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof;
(3) “person” includes any individual or entity capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property;
(4) “enterprise” includes any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity;

screenshot-www vuze com 2015-05-03 18-48-20

 

screenshot-www crunchbase com 2015-05-03 18-46-16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Streaming is the “Solution” to Piracy, What Happens When Piracy is Streaming? Rot Oh… #sxsw

A big talking point of streaming, particularly of the Spotify variety has been that streaming is a solution to piracy, and that “access over ownership” models are the future.

Well… ok… but that assumes that piracy (of the corporately sanctioned, ad funded variety) remains a download business, while consumers migrate to the easier more accessible (free tiered, ad funded) music streaming models.

We’re told that the ad-supported free tier is the only way to attract consumers from piracy to legality. To be clear we’re not opposed to free trial periods. Free trials of 30 days, maybe even 60 days should give the consumer the ability to fully experience the value a streaming service offers. We just don’t see how the economics of ad-supported free streaming can create a sustainable revenue model for musicians and songwriters.

But here’s the bigger question. What happens when the pirates migrate to streaming over storing? Now we’re back to square one. A decade ago iTunes and later Amazon provided an legal solution to piracy that was superior in every way except one, price.

Why would anyone think that streaming would combat piracy any better than transactional downloads? Well, for the same reason piracy is, was and remains the primary source of music consumption, price. So the conversation and controversy over streaming is not one about the method of distribution, or technology. The conversation is the same as it has been for a over a decade, price.

Essentially Spotify appears to be designed to model ad-funded piracy whereby the company who can capture the largest market share would have ability to legally devalue music by delivering it to consumers for free. This math just doesn’t work. We can’t even see where the math on paid subscriptions will ever get to scale or revenue at a price point of $9.99 a month per subscriber.

So the inevitable question becomes if streaming is the solution to piracy, what happens when piracy is streaming? There are already multiple applications that are available or in development that reportedly enable users to stream music directly from BitTorrent as opposed to the need to download files to a local hard drive.

So explain to us again exactly how streaming is a solution to essentially the same service? Oh, they both need to compete on the same price point, which is free. Well, guess what, ad-supported free distribution of music is not sustainable.

YouTube is the largest free ad-supported free streaming distribution platform and it can not create the type of revenue required for the sustainability of the recorded music business. If we believe what they say, YouTube isn’t even a profitable business for Google!

So here’s the bottom line. Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and other ad-supported free streaming services are a side show to take the conversation away from the core problem, piracy. Internet piracy is big business and these side shows distract the conversation away from the fundamental truth of our economic reality… Free doesn’t pay. It’s just common sense and it’s just math…

 

Spotify Doesn’t Kill Music Sales like Smoking Doesn’t Cause Cancer…

 

BUT SPOTIFY IS PAYING 70% OF GROSS TO ARTISTS, ISN’T THAT FAIR? NO, AND HERE’S WHY…

 

Apple Announces Itunes One Dollar Albums and Ten Cent Song Downloads | Sillycon Daily News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Problem With Steve Albini | AdLand

Just last year, during a Reddit AMA, Albini had this to say in a response to a person asking about music piracy and whether or not it hurts him economically.

I reject the term “piracy.” It’s people listening to music and sharing it with other people, and it’s good for musicians because it widens the audience for music. The record industry doesn’t like trading music because they see it as lost sales, but that’s nonsense. Sales have declined because physical discs are no longer the distribution medium for mass-appeal pop music, and expecting people to treat files as physical objects to be inventoried and bought individually is absurd.

Quite simplistic, as we all know not every musician wants their music being shared for free, in exchange for exposure. Also quite simplistic as google happily places ads on such infringing sites, making it tons of money. Keep it in mind before you put up a straw man argument, google did not create the sites, so they can’t hide behind all the hard work it took to build such sites. It merely placed ads on it, with a nice 32% share of the profits to boot.

READ THE FULL POST AT ADLAND:
http://adland.tv/adnews/problem-steve-albini/451760552

The Hypocrisy Of BitTorrent Knows No Bounds… Matt Mason Speaks…

BitTorrent’s Matt Mason let this one loose…

““We’re not interested in streaming for the sake of lining the pockets of a few people at major labels. We’re interested in helping artists make money from their work in the long term… I’m not trying to bash the people at the labels, but it does seem like the senior executives at the majors have said ‘we give up, let’s just make some money on the Spotify IPO, then go home and let the next generation sort it out’.”

You’re kidding right? We can’t make this up. As if BitTorrent has done anything other than destroy the lives of creators to have a self empowered right to make their own choices with their own work… So in your mind Matt, BitTorrent are the good guys and Spotify are the bad guys?

What percentage of music is Spotify distributing illegally? What percentage of music on Spotify are artist not getting paid on? Ok, now ask the same questions of BitTorrent.  Research finds that 99%+ of files distrbuted via BitTorrent are infringing (see the links below).

Wow, just wow.

And there’s this line from Matt’s interview with the Guardian UK:

“We’re a technology company, we’re really good at moving files. We’re not so great at being a label, a film studio or a book publisher.”

We know Matt because being a label, a film studio or a book publisher would mean you would actually pay the creators for the work you are distributing and investing in developing their careers through financial advances, marketing, promotion, pr, and other resources. Obviously things BitTorrent is loath to do for artists.

But let’s ask, how much money has BitTorrent invested into developing artists and helping them “make money from their work in the long term”… ah, that would be zero.

READ THE FULL POST AT MUSIC ALLY:
http://musically.com/2014/09/29/bittorrent-thom-yorke-spotify-u2/

RELATED:

Record Labels Invest $4.5 Billion Annually In Artists… Pirates, $0… Any Questions?

“Options, not rules”: BitTorrent Profits from Piracy By Serving Ads To UTorrent Client

We’re All Waiting, BitTorrent

Just a Word About Thom Yorke and Bit-Torrent…

“Fifteen years of utter bollocks”: how a generation’s freeloading has starved creativity | New Statesman

Arguments for digital piracy are drivel – it’s high time we steered away from this cultural cliff, argues author Chris Ruen.

Piracy may feel like victimless “free culture” to the user, but they are in fact participating in a digital black market. It’s not about information wanting to be free, but rather it’s about exploitative black marketeers and willfully blind tech companies wanting to get rich. They are simply capitalising on loopholes in the regulatory framework. In this sense, mass digital piracy is a symptom of underdevelopment. It’s the Internet Third World, with outdoor markets hawking counterfeit goods and purveyors bribing the local cops to look the other way.

Tech companies will go on skimming profits off the top of this black market until enlightened governments cooperate to squeeze out these illicit profiteers in an effective and transparent manner. As Google’s own Chief Economist Hal Varian has written, “all that is required is the political will to enforce intellectual property rights”.

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE NEW STATESMAN:
http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/07/fifteen-years-utter-bollocks-how-generation-s-freeloading-has-starved-creativity

File sharing is alive and well, to the tune of 300 million users a month | GigOm

Surprise: P2P isn’t dead, after all. 300 million users swap files via BitTorrent every month, according to new numbers from media intelligence startup Tru Optik, which estimates that every month, more movies and TV shows get downloaded by file sharers than are sold on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon together.

And we’re not just talking about users in countries where media would otherwise be inaccessible. Users in the U.S. download more movies, TV shows, music and software than any other country, according to Tru Optik. The only exception to this rule is video games, where users in Brazil are more active than their U.S. counterparts.

READ THE FULL STORY AT GIGAOM:
http://gigaom.com/2014/05/28/file-sharing-is-alive-and-well-to-the-tune-of-300-million-users-a-month/

Music Piracy Is and Should Remain Illegal | NoisePorn

The problem is not that the music industry is refusing to change with technology and culture. In fact, I find it spooky that the notion of revamping the system to pander to those engaging in criminal activity is even being uttered. The problem is that we’ve become a society that excuses douchebaggery as a sign of the times; an “everybody’s doing it so, whatever” phenomenon. And, instead of enforcing logical rules (i.e. prosecuting the wrongdoers), we justify the despicable and conjure up excuses for their behavior. Maybe they weren’t hugged enough as children. Or maybe the music industry is being unfair by trying to profit from what some think should be free and accessible to everyone. We then, as if stricken with Stockholm Syndrome, develop a completely warped sense of empathy toward the culprits; bending the fist of justice until the finger of blame points back at the industry and its still bleeding wounds.

READ THE FULL STORY AT NOISE PORN:
http://www.noiseporn.com/2014/05/music-piracy-remain-illegal/

U2 manager: ‘Google is the greatest theft enabler on the internet’ | Music Week

Discussing piracy, McGuinness suggested Google isn’t dealing with illegal links because “they don’t want to”.

“There are some vested interests that could help a lot more than they are doing,” he explained. “Google is the greatest theft enabler on the internet, when I Google YouTube music there are multiple opportunities to steal it.

“I don’t think the industry takes [Google’s] promises to take things down when they get a notice sincerely. They take it down but the bots replace them immediately. I don’t thinks it’s beyond the ingenuity of those clever people at Google to deal with that, but I don’t think they don’t want to.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT MUSIC WEEK:
http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/u2-manager-google-is-the-greatest-theft-enabler-on-the-internet/058534

Copyright “safe harbors” shrink in wake of MP3Tunes, other red flag rulings | GIGAOM

In case you missed it, a jury this week found that Michael Robertson, CEO of defunct music service MP3Tunes, was liable for copyright infringement. The jury concluded that Robertson, whose websites permitted users to upload songs and store them in “lockers,” had turned a blind eye to piracy — meaning that they forfeited the so-called “safe harbor” protections under copyright law that normally ensure that a website is not liable for the misdeeds of its users.

The significance of the case has little to do with MP3Tunes, which has long been closed, but instead stands as a strategic victory for copyright owners. That’s because the jury found Robertson liable on the basis of so-called “red flag” knowledge rather than “actual” knowledge. The distinction may sound arcane, but it’s one the studios have fought hard to establish as part of their strategy to change the level of proof needed to prove piracy.

READ THE FULL STORY AT GIGAOM:
http://gigaom.com/2014/03/21/copyright-safe-harbors-shrink-in-wake-of-mp3tunes-other-red-flag-rulings/