Google and Public Knowledge Coup, Register of Copyrights Fired, Dark Days Ahead



Songwriters, performers, authors and creators meet your new copyright overlord: Eric Schmidt of Google. 

These are dark days for all creators and copyright holders.  After a two month campaign by Google funded astroturf group Public Knowledge, the newly appointed librarian of congress Carla Hayden (herself a Schmidt/Soros acolyte) has fired Maria Pallante the register of copyright.   Pallante was the only one standing between Google and what is left of the copyright system.

This firing is virtually unprecedented in US history.  The Librarian of Congress generally leaves the Register of Copyrights to run the affairs of the copyright office. However in the last two months the main Google mouthpiece in Washington DC Public Knowledge has been clamoring for her head.   Why?

Mainly because she has been a fierce advocate  for creators.  But over the last year she had the courage to stand up to Google and Public Knowledge as they attempted to make two different end runs around the constitution, drawing the ire of Public Knowledge and Google.

First it was the Google backed “100 percent licensing rule” for songwriters which was rammed through the antitrust division in an extra-constitutional manner by a former Google attorney at DOJ. (A federal court has since blocked it’s implementation and Songwriters of North America are challenging it on constitutional grounds)  The copyright office under Maria Pallante had opposed this new rule questioning the legality of the rule and noting the ensuing chaos it would cause in the music licensing space.   It would however benefit Google in their billion dollar dispute with Global Music Rights (Pharrell vs YouTube).

Second the Copyright Office also weighed in on the Google version of the “Unlock the Box” proposal before the FCC.  Ostensibly this proposal would allow consumers to replace the set top box with new hardware and even software apps.   However it appears that Public Knowledge larded the proposal up with all kinds of goodies that would benefit Google.  The copyright office again questioned the FCCs legal authority to intervene in private contracts between copyright holders and broadcasters without a legislative mandate.    Public Knowledge went apoplectic on the Copyright Office after this.

Now they appear to have gotten their way.  In fact the first leak of the news was through a tweet by Public Knowledge.   How did THEY know so quickly.  Google runs our fucking government.

This should concern every american as the staff at Public Knowledge harbors an extreme far left agenda.   The co-founder of Public Knowledge fancies himself a sort of telecommunications/copyright Che Guevara.  No seriously he sells T-shirts of himself as Che Guevara.    See below.


Creators are going to have to mobilize quickly.  We need congressional investigation into this firing.   And we need to prevent Google and Public Knowledge from getting their candidate in to the copyright office. Stay tuned for more.



What’s Worse Than Being a Poor Loser @PamelaSamuelson? Being A Poor Winner.


Pamela Samuelson: Poor Whinny er
More evidence this is a Google coup.   The ever fucking classy Google fan girl Pamela Samuelson on Maria Pallante’s firing.  Here she is gloating over the firing of Register of Copyrights.  Especially nasty since this was clearly orchestrated by Google because the Register had opposed Google on 100% licensing and the set top box issue.  You know what’s worse than being a poor loser Pam? Being a poor winner. You guys wanted her head and you got it. One day you’ll get yours.




@davidmross: @mikehuppe: Standing Up For The Value Of Music — Artist Rights Watch

[Editor Charlie sez: Insightful must-read artist rights interview with Mike Huppe, the CEO of SoundExchange.] During the following interview, held at the Omni Hotel in Nashville, we covered a variety of topics such as what Huppe calls the AM/FM Artist Loophole, the DMCA Safe “Ocean,” internet enabled auto dashboards and the organization’s new ISRC online […]

via @davidmross: @mikehuppe: Standing Up For The Value Of Music — Artist Rights Watch

Save the Date! Oct 13 in LA MUSIC 2020 Panel at @AIMPorg

I’m looking forward to participating on a great panel on fixing our future in the music business, moderated by the brilliant Dr. Gigi Johnson, founder and executive director of the UCLA Center for Music Innovation. Music 2020: Recreating Music’s Future will be a lunch time panel held on October 13 in Los Angeles under the […]

via Save the Date! Oct 13 in LA MUSIC 2020 Panel at @AIMPorg — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

The Facebook Problem

As David noted, a post in Digital Music News about DMCA notices sent to Facebook simply got it entirely wrong.  The real issue is that Facebook has been getting away with incentivizing (also called inducing) its users to make illegal copies of recordings, has looked down its billionaire noses at artist rights, and actually sells artist names as advertising keywords.  And getting away with it until now.  The real issue begs the real question–what took so long for the publishers to catch on?  Also, why is it just Universal sending the notices?

Not to mention the elephant in the room.  Why does the U.S. Department of Justice allow Facebook to get away with it?  That’s actually the easiest answer–crony capitalism.

US President Barack Obama speaks as Face

How does Facebook induce infringement?  Simple.  If you want to post a video on Facebook you have a choice–post a link to a video hosted on a semi-licensed site like YouTube or Soundcloud or upload that on Facebook.  If you post the link, Facebook punishes you by ranking your post lower than if you upload that video to Facebook.  This encourages users to upload videos to the unlicensed Facebook platform rather than link to a licensed platform.  And however we might feel about YouTube and Soundcloud, at least they try to get some licenses.

Facebook basically tells artists and especially songwriters to fuck off.  Hence the DMCA notices now coming from Universal and we have to believe that more are coming from others.  Although we doubt that Mark Zuckerberg feels much of a threat from law enforcement.


The Digital Music News post appears to be misleading in at least one other way:  If you just read the post, you would think that Universal was only sending takedown notices on artists with covers.  It is highly improbably that Universal is just sending takedown notices for covers, which is all that the post discusses.  It is far more likely that Universal is doing on Facebook what labels typically do, which is send takedown notices for all infringing uses–including covers.

Because guess what?  If you cover a song in a video, you need to get permission from the songwriters (or their publisher who the songwriter authorized to issue licenses).  That’s called…wait for it…a sync license.  And if you want to make copies of it or make it available for streaming you have to get those reproduction and public performance rights, too, just like you would expect to be treated if it were your own song.

And since the covering artist didn’t get a license and since Facebook are assholes and have refused to get licensed for music on any level, then the cover is infringing and subject to DMCA takedowns.  One condition of Facebook getting the safe harbor (which we don’t think they should be entitled to at all given that they are knowingly inducing infringement) is that they adopt a repeat infringer policy–remember how Cox Communications lost big time to BMG because they failed to have a meaningful repeat infringer policy?  Facebook is way further up the infringement chain than Cox ever was, so they have a whole lot more to lose in what promises to be the mother of all infringement cases.

Which–by the way–Facebook richly deserves to lose, pun intended.   Not that Mark Zuckerberg is losing any sleep about that infringement exposure.



So the reality for songwriters is that Facebook has been asking for the full DMCA treatment for a long time.  The fact is that they are serial infringers, refuse to get a license and are a big fat target.  If some covering artists get caught up in this process, then so be it.  They’re only getting repeat infringer notices because they are repeat infringers–induced by Facebook to be sure, but repeat infringers right along side Mark Zuckerberg.  Except they’re not getting invited to the same dinners that Mark is.

And to add insult to injury, not content to induce infringement, Facebook also sells the artist’s name as an advertising keyword.  The subject of the Digital Music News story covered DNCE, so we checked if we could buy DNCE’s name in a boost audience on Facebook.  And sure enough:


Not only is Facebook allowing these songs to be used without a license–something that may feel uncomfortable but is nonetheless an issue–they are also ripping off the artist’s own name.

That’s a twofer in the infringement world–infringing the copyright and misappropriating the artist’s name.

What kind of person does this?  The kind of person who knows they will never be held to account for their actions.


Facebook Executive and Future Clinton Treasury Secretary Sheryl Sandberg 

Ah Bernie, we hardly knew ye.

David Benjamin (UMG) Stands up to Facebook for Songwriters, Ari Herstand? Not So Much

I don’t know David Benjamin (Universal Music), but he’s a hero to all songwriters. Making the billionaire robber barons at Facebook pay a licensing fee for use of songwriters’ songs is only fair. Every other business that uses music, including websites, television stations, radio stations and even YouTube pay for some kind of license. It’s not 1999 anymore, internet firms are the biggest companies on the planet, quit nickel and diming songwriters, you cheap and obscenely rich fucks.

However Ari Herstand at Digital Music News has a totally different and once again deeply misinformed take.  He goes after David Benjamin personally for being “an idiot.”  Instead Herstand frames it as UMG against music fans.  When in actuality it is Facebook’s decision to hide behind the DMCA and NOT license.

It’s worth reading Ari’s piece to understand that most young writers do not understand how these technology companies like Facebook manipulate public opinion.  They use their users as human shields to avoid paying licensing fees. “It’s our users doing this not us”   This is exactly what Napster did; Google and YouTube do the same; and now it’s Facebook turn.   It’s getting really old. We’ve been hearing this crap since 1999.

Facebook Is Aggressively Ripping Down Cover Videos (Thanks to the Idiots At Universal Music Publishing Group)


Big Tech’s Latest Artist Relations Debacle: Mass Filings of NOIs to Avoid Paying Statutory Royalties (Part 3) — Music Tech Solutions

As we saw in parts 1 and 2 of this post, New Boss companies like Google are playing on a loophole in the Copyright Act’s compulsory license for songs to shirk responsibility for song licensing from the songwriters or other copyright owners, get out of paying royalties and stop songwriters from auditing. Not only have Google targeted long tail titles, but also new releases and songs by ex-US songwriters who are protected by international treaties. This is exactly the kind of rent seeking behavior by crony capitalists that gives Big Tech a bad name in the music community.

via Big Tech’s Latest Artist Relations Debacle: Mass Filings of NOIs to Avoid Paying Statutory Royalties (Part 3) — Music Tech Solutions

Big Tech’s Latest Artist Relations Debacle: Mass Filings of NOIs to Avoid Paying Statutory Royalties (Part 2)

Chris Castle is doing excellent work on this emerging scandal. It appears that Google, Amazon and MRI may be preparing to exploit a “loophole” in the text of the copyright act to not pay these songwriters. Sort of like the pre-1972 sound recording “loophole” that ended with Sirius and Pandora getting sued in class actions.

Music Tech Solutions

co-nois-1 “1 NOI” Means “1 Excel file for the NOIs Filed That Day, each Excel file contains tens of thousands of songs

As noted in Part 1 of this post, Google, Amazon and others are filing what are reportedly “millions” of “address unknown” NOIs with the U.S. Copyright Office.  I fully expect that Pandora will eventually do the same for its on-demand service and Spotify is likely to do the same.  Note–this type of carpet bombing of NOIs would not have helped Spotify in the David Lowery litigation because David Lowery registered his copyrights that are the subject of that litigation.

If you click here, you will find the most recent iteration of these massive NOIs, which apparently are being posted on a regular basis.  The screenshot above is the first page of these filings on the Copyright Office site, most of which came this month (September 2016).


View original post 529 more words

Andrew Orlowski on the Google Trojan Horse “Unlock the Box”

It’s easy to hate the cable company. Especially if you live in a city or neighborhood where there is only one poor choice for cable/broadband.   And those clunky old set top boxes?  Who needs them right?  In fact I haven’t used my Verizon set top box in months.  It’s not even plugged in.  Neither is the television.  My entire family watches stuff on their laptops, tablets or smartphones.  Even live television.  I’m happy to get rid of my set top box. And like most people in the country that is what I thought the “unlock the box” rule proposed by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and FCC senior counsel (and former Google Shill) Gigi Sohn was all about.   Turns out it was really about giving big tech access to our viewing data, and creating a sort of FCC mandated “compulsory license” for video content.   Songwriters can explain to you the horrors of compulsory licensing with rates set by “captured” agencies.

Andrew Orlowski lays it all out here:

The closer you look at this, the stranger it seems. The FCC initiative is supposed to be about removing the obligation to lease equipment provided by the cable and satellite PayTV services to view the content. In response, TV and tech companies are backing a new technical framework that uses open standards and “appifies” everything, making any kind of hardware redundant. But the FCC has rejected it.


The alternative plan envisaged a “virtual headend”, with a much longer transition. The details would be worked out at some point in the future. Although the FCC isn’t formally permitted to devise radical policy shifts, here it did, with Public Knowledge as the FCC’s proxy. Public Knowledge backed the virtual headend plan (the Google-y alternative) and the FCC jumped in to support it.

Earlier this year FCC chairman Tom Wheeler addressed a Public Knowledge meeting apologizing for “stealing” its chief executive Gigi Sohn to become his “special counsel for external affairs” at the FCC.

Today, watching TV is one of the few areas in life left where we spend many hours away from Google’s obsessive data collection business and its pervasive advertising machine. But this would change all that: Google would have access to all the data our TV viewing generates. It could sell its own ads against other people’s content, without paying for it, while evading the rules for minority programming or protecting children from inappropriate content. Nice work.

For more Google shenanigans in DC read this:

Like a Meth and Vodka Fueled Low Grade Stripper Google Doesn’t Give a Shit and Goes Hog Wild in Last Days of Obama Administration