Why I Was Banned From Speaking At San Francisco Music Tech #SFMUSICTECH

this photo says it all

“This says It all”

I was supposed to speak at the SF Music Tech Summit Feb 19th 2013.   A few days before my scheduled appearance I received a call from  SF Music Tech and Fututre of Music Coalition co-founder Brian Zisk explaining that I would not be allowed to speak because I tweeted/blogged the above picture with the following caption “this says it all.”   Further he noted that “certain sponsors” would not “appreciate” me speaking at this event.

I love the hypocrisy of the Silicon Valley. They are all for free speech until they aren’t.

The fundamental American right is Free Speech. SF Music Tech (and Silicon Valley in general) do not really respect this right. Especially when it begins to interfere with their bottom line.

So what do you say we just end the charade? SF Music Tech Summit is biased against creators/musicians and their rights. It’s a pro-tech industry event.  It’s held in the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco.  Because it is a giant Kabuki.

Three times a year  you find Tech Industry “entrepreneurs” who’ve never turned a profit “debate” un-elected artists rights advocates who as it turns out work for opaque 501C  foundations and organizations  that are funded by technology companies like Google.

If it’s not clear I’m talking about you, Future of Music Coalition and Cash Music.  Sorry guys/gals you had your chance to do the right thing and  speak out publicly against me being banned and you didn’t.  That makes you at best quislings and at worst shills.

SF Music Tech and Brian Zisk have every right to do whatever they want with their #SFMUSICTECH summit but I just ask them to stop pretending it reperesents anything other than the technologists that wish to exploit artists.

Have a good SF Music Tech.  I’ll be off touring the UK.

17 thoughts on “Why I Was Banned From Speaking At San Francisco Music Tech #SFMUSICTECH

  1. As we’ve explained to you privately, David, though we may share a cofounder, SF MusicTech is completely independent of FMC, and their choices about who to invite are theirs alone. It’s not really our place to tell other organizations how to run their events and who to invite, but you’re welcome to attend FMC events anytime.

    We’ve always had a wide range of sponsors for our summit event, from the music industry, tech companies, PROs, non-profits, and even government agencies, and these sponsors certainly understand that they’re not immune from criticism at our events. We always like to have a broad variety of perspectives presented.

    Best wishes for a fun and safe tour.
    Kevin Erickson
    Communications Associate

    1. Yes casey privately “explained” this to me. But it still makes no sense. Why would it be cited as the specific reason? Either you or Brian Zisk are/were not telling the truth.

      You must have protested. Or someone else censored me? let’s have a look at the list of sponsors and see who that might be:

      AHA! I bet it was those dastardly microbrewing freehadists at Lagunitas Brewing. They have a massive ad exchange that serves ads to all the pirate sites. They clearly had the most to lose from my campaign against ad supported piracy!

      reaching out appreciated. explanation not accepted.

      Gee I sure hope no one ever leaks an archive of a certain Listserve to someone like me. We’d know the truth right away wouldn’t we?

    2. This is a nondenial denial, right? David didn’t say that FMC influenced Zisk, what he is saying is that something that happened at FMC influenced a FMC event sponsor to pressure SF Music Tech not to invite David (or disinvite David) because of what David said at FMC’s event. Not what he did, but what he said. You know, speech. Any thought of questioning whether Google acted appropriately? Imagine if RIAA had done the same.

      1. I will deny what you speculate, as it’s not true. I thought what David did at the FMC event was inappropriate, and thus, I did not invite him again to speak at my next event in California. I never discussed what David posted with anyone at Google. David is free to say what he wants, and I am free to not invite him to participate at my event, which I did not as I believed that he would continue to attack people inappropriately, as appears to be borne out by the blog post above. 🙂

      2. Well, I take you at your word of course Brian, and I take David at his word, too, all an edifying discourse. And yes, either my middle name is Kierkegaard or…something. (Philosophy major joke). I for one appreciate your giving David a platform in the first place, so there I said something nice 🙂 I would imagine that wasn’t a popular thing to have done in certain circles and a second act might be too much to expect. I for one don’t think David attacked anyone at the FMC event, I do think he stated his positions forcefully and didn’t back down. I realize that isn’t a popular thing to do inside the beltway, but that is probably why the music business is FUBAR. Being diplomatic doesn’t work all the time.

  2. Thank you. It really appalls me that a “music conference” is sponsored by BitTorrent. All predecessor p2p software companies to BitTorrent have been sued for breaking Federal law, Napster, Grokster, Ainster, Bearshare, Kazaa and Limewire were all sued and had to stop doing what BitTorrent does today. The only reason why BitTorrent hasn’t been sued is because they have spent $40m in money from Accel Partners (major shareholder in Google) to make sure that BitTorrent’s architecture carefully evades all of the ways in which law enforcement might protect musician’s rights on the Internet. It should be called the San Francisco Music Theft Conference sponsored by BitTorrent. Since the rise of illegal filesharing, musician’s real incomes in the US have declined 45% according to the Bureau of Labor statistics and there are 25% less people in America stating that they are professional musicians on their tax returns. In the meantime Google has made billions from their ad networks serving ads on pirate sites and ISPs have made billions from enabling illegal free media by shielding their subscribers from copyright owner’s legitimate attempts to stop people from stealing their products on their networks.

  3. Dropped the following into this form this morning. Not sure why it didn’t appear, though when I clicked the “Post Comment” button, I suspected that it would never appear/would not be approved.

    To repeat with extremely very minor clarifications, and some info appended:

    Haha David. If you’ll recall our conversation, I mentioned many of the artists involved with the Future of Music Coalition, and our long history of fine work. What I was unhappy with (as you know) was not that you were calling attention to Google’s sponsorship, but the comment “This says it all”. Failing to at least acknowledge that there are any other relevant data points, such as that there is a long history of fine work on behalf of artists or any other factors besides one company’s support is what offended me. As you know, you were welcomed onto the stage at the Future of Music Policy Summit as well as my event in California despite your repeated attacks. But when you refused to acknowledge on our phone call that any other factors should be taken into consideration is when I realized that nothing productive was going to come from engaging you.

    In any case, we’ve got an awesome San Francisco Music/Technology event coming up next week, and I’ll be paying attention to making that the best event possible as opposed to engaging with trolls on the Internet. Have a great trip to Europe. 🙂

    P.S. I know that I shouldn’t contradict you as this is your blog, but just for the record you had been invited (and accepted) to speak at the previous event in October, the one before the February event, but you backed out at the last moment. You had never been invited to speak at the February event though you had reached out asking to, and the discussion (which from what you’ve written I now realize we see differently) was a courtesy call to discuss your views. On that call when I realized that I believed your views to be unreasonable, I let you know why I didn’t feel like giving you an onstage platform to bash us at the event I put on, which you had previously spoken about so complimentarily.

    There is more in David’s post which he claims which is not correct (such as that I said that “certain sponsors” would not “appreciate” me speaking at this event), but I would like to believe that he is not intending to mislead, simply that he misremembers. In fact, I had believed that once I spoke to David that he would agree that his posting was overreaching, as is his wont to do. So I had pitched him to perform at a sponsors’ party. But then the sponsor pointed me at an interview which David had done where he had directly attacked them, and thus, they declined my suggestion, which is what I had told him. The decision not to have David speak at my conference was mine alone.

    To reiterate, I was offended personally by David’s post (which I thought was just him overreacting, but then realized he was holding the line) so did not invite him to speak again in San Francisco at my event which the Future of Music Coalition has no say over. This was my personal decision, so despite David’s aspersions/accusations, there is no contradiction at all between what Kevin and I had said. And in regards to what this blog points out that others from the FMC have written in the last few days, I have not even discussed any of this with them. I have been head down on producing an awesome event, one which David seemed to really enjoy when he participated, one where we’re working towards/exposing solutions which benefit the entire Musician/Fan/Technologist ecosystem.

    1. Brian this is total revisionist history. or what most outside of silicon valley call “lies”.

      1) I have emails showing we discussed my speaking topic.
      2) I didn’t back out I wrote and asked you to postpone until february because of my recording schedule.
      3) I actually did apologize to you for not noting the good works that FOMC did on the satellite radio settlement. But you told me from the outset of our conversation that I was not welcome as a speaker or even attendee.
      4) You very clearly told me that certain sponsors had issues with me. You made that very clear.
      5) You never said anything about the sponsors party. This is all news to me. But it’s re-inforces #4.

      Good luck.

      1. David, you proposed a speaking topic for February (after canceling for October) but I never accepted, and never told you that you weren’t welcome at the Summit. In fact you ended the conversation by saying you were in town anyway for a radio appearance that day and were planning to pop in afterwards. Happy to go over emails with a neutral party (even one who seems to know you much longer and better than they know me, like say Jon Luini) but what you are saying is simply untrue. Note that I’m not calling you a liar, I believe you are simply confused. 🙂

        If you do a search on your emails, you will not find what you are claiming. But you will find yourself having written the following statement:

        “thanks brian. thanks for being so gracious and supportive to me. it’s really awesome.”

      2. Argh.

        Your last sentence totally contradicts your assertion I was totally rude to you on multiple occasions none of which you cite.

        I will respond in detail with a full trichordist post. Your misdirections, contradictions and “definition of is is” bullshit.

        Don’t know john very well.

  4. Wow. Zisk really is full of shit. (As a professional rhetorician, I find paragraph 4–wherein he almost-but-not-quite calls you a troll–especially telling. Nice indirect diminishment of your interlocutor!)

    Looks like the strategy is to try to make you seem ‘shrill,’ obfuscate the specifics of the case however seems plausible, let every get tired and confused and slink home to San Bruno after the shouting dies down. Pretty solid approach IMHO.

    The stuff Robert posted above re. Bit Torrent was really an eye opener. There’s a lot more layers here than I thought. As the old Berkeley saying goes, How you can be paranoid if everyone really is out to get you?

    Good luck. You’ll need it.

  5. It’s incredible how certain individuals get to hold positions of stature and decide on WHAT is in the best interests of music or its ecosystem. David, through your continuing work and lobbying, have clearly earned a place and voice to speak for music artists’ future rights and concerns. You have gained many supporters, as you have made your positions clear and respectful, through articulating in this blog and in other forums.

    Did Mr. Z replace you with someone else that shares your earnest quest to help music artists? Not likely.

    It’s comical (actually SAD) that certain corporations were invited or welcomed within this particular conference; especially in light of their history of condoning piracy, and/or without taking sufficient REAL steps to help prevent this CRIME and/or prosecute obvious offenders. Such organizations and/or their staff should not be involved or entitled to sponsor, endorse and support music’s future when they have been a party to its current state and DESTRUCTION, and seem determined to continue to ride on the backs of artists.

    Therefore, there’s a serious conflict of interest with the participants, and it’s practically hypocritical for Mr. Z to post: “we’re working towards/exposing solutions which benefit the entire Musician/Fan/Technologist ecosystem.”

    If this event were really about securing the BEST FUTURE for music, it would promote greater transparency, encouraging a panel (with representatives like David Lowery) that is committed to protecting the current and future creators of art and music; a panel that appreciates that music artists and performers NEED the required recognition and compensation to ensure a vibrant future.

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