Quid Pro Online Radio: Billboard Editor Goes to Pandora

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Billboard’s robust and immediate (within hours) defense of Pandora founder in the wake of revelations that he and other top executives contributed to anti-gay politician raised eyebrows in artists’ rights circles. 

Hypebot is reporting that Billboard editor Glenn Peoples is leaving for a job at Pandora.   Under his leadership Billboard seemed to exhibit a bias towards the streaming services and against artists.  We suspect it came from him.  Here is one of his personal tweets:

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Here’s our advice to Glenn:  Avoid the cliff to nowhere and get monthly vesting.

 

 

 

Target Next: EFF Gets Called Out On Its Close Ties To Google and Surveillance State

Yesterday an anonymous group targeted EFF (and others) for close ties to Google and surveillance state. Poster outside EFF headquarters. Photo: San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center.

Last week we brought attention to the fact the Fight For The Future is not a grassroots organization, but in actuality a corporate and black box foundation funded astroturf group.  And a very bad one at that:

Astroturf Fight For The Future is Toast: Anti-Copyright Protest Gets 9 RSVPs On Facebook

Confirmed AstroTurf: Zero Fight For The Future Takedown Abuse Protestors

List of Corporations and Foundations Funding Astroturf Fight For The Future “Free Speech Graveyard”

Astroturf “Fight For The Future” Received Almost 100K From Mysterious Company Based in Mini Industrial Park

Anti-Copyright “Fight For The Future” and their 1% Grassroots

Exactly 86,000 Identical Comments: The Illegal Comment Bombing of DMCA Notice & Takedown Review By Google Proxy “Fight For The Future”

Hacking Democracy: Google/YouTube Proxy Group “Fight For The Future” Crashes US Copyright Office Website During Crucial Comment Period

Now it’s EFFs turn.   Read more here.

Poster protests against Google-Government collusion
by Alex Mitadvida

“On May 16, art activists in San Francisco postered Google headquarters, Google Ventures, Mozilla, and other areas with satirical art showing Google to be pulling President Obama’s strings. They even postered the Electronic Freedom Foundation, which the activists say has gone along with the policies that have built the Intelligence State…”

Read more here

Astroturf Fight For The Future is Toast: Anti-Copyright Protest Gets 9 RSVPs On Facebook

 

 

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Fight for Future tried to organize a protest at the Copyright Office roundtable on “notice and takedown”  in San Francisco. Those attending report seeing ZERO protestors. Maybe they missed them somehow.   But then again according to their Facebook event they got 9 RSVPs.  I was one of the RSVPs so make that 8.   So based on the last two years of tax filings by FFTF  that is approximately $225,000 per RSVP.

To be fair 45 folks responded “interested.” But some of those that responded “interested” look like they may have not been able to get their parents permission to attend on a school day.  Those responses were likely generated by FFTF’s skeevy partnership with the teen oriented Channel Awesome on YouTube.  Anyone ever read the history of the “Children’s Crusade?”

BTW “progressive” NY-19 congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout is the director of this program.   Perhaps she should run for Manchurian Candidate?

Can You Have Law License and Act as Director of Group That Organizes Mass Copyright Infringement?

 

To be clear, I don’t know the answer to this question.  But it just doesn’t seem right to me.

Lawyers on Board of Directors for  Fight For The Future Non-Profit:

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What the law says:

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Willful infringement? $2500? At $2.99 on iTunes the I Have A Dream Speech x thousands of copies =?

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Commercial or Private Financial Gain?  They are clearly asking for donations. Does that count? 

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References

http://www.internetfreedomday.net

https://www.fightforthefuture.org/projects/

https://www.fightforthefuture.org/aboutus/

2 Tentative Conclusions About Fight For Future: They read Trichordist and are terrible liars

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Bad bad Sony!  Made you take down the video!

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Oh wait no they didn’t.  And what’s up with that 2016 copyright notice?  Thought you uploaded the video in 2013? (see below)

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Above you state you “published a political commentary about Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream Speech.”  Really where is the political commentary?  This is simply the entire MLK speech with a little voice over on the front that encourages mass copyright infringement.

Let’s ask a very simple “yes or no” question here?  Did you receive permission from the King estate to “share” the entire MLK speech on YouTube?

No?  Didn’t think so.

Did you get to keep your video up even though you are violating the MLK estate rights?

Yes.

So admit it.  You don’t really have anything to complain about here do you?  You are simply demagoguing using the legacy of MLK to stir up false moral outrage about something that never happened?    How is Fight For The Future any better than all the other low-life corporate funded astroturf organizations that peddle fear to keep their shitty little racket going?

Now go crawl back under your rock.

 

 

 

List of Corporations and Foundations Funding Astroturf Fight For The Future “Free Speech Graveyard”

 

According to Federal tax documents these Corporations and “black box” foundations are massively funding the astroturf Fight For The Future.   These are the folks attempting to organize a counter-protest at the Copyright Office roundtables today in San Francisco.

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CORPORATE MONEY FUNDING FFTF

Union Square Ventures (Twitter, SoundCloud, Tumblr, and a host of other DMCA abusing services).  Their website says they welcome feedback here info@usv.com.

SV Angel  ( ex Google: Partners Topher Conway & Brian Pokorny;  Ex-Goldman Sachs: Paul LaLonde) Here’s their twitter account: https://twitter.com/svangel 

London Trust Media AKA Private Internet Access  Nearly $200K from every TorrentFreak’s favorite VPN!

NameCheap (also funds the EFF another anti-civil rights organization)

Yelp  (tweet their CEO!)

Consumer Electronics Association AKA Consumer Technology Association (Google funding).

 

BLACK BOX  FOUNDATIONS FUNDING FFTF

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What the f— is the Sixteen Thirty Fund?  According to it’s 501 (c)(3) it “promotes Environmental Quality, Protection and Beautification.”   Is Fight For the Future building nature trails on Cape Cod? Martha’s Vineyard?  I don’t know the IRS laws on non-profits but I’m pretty sure you can’t start a non-profit that claims to do one thing but does another.

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Proteus seems mostly concerned with death penalty issues.  Good for them.   So why $100k for Fight For The Future? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on death penalty issues? Well, if you read in the fine print they brag:

Each initiative is uniquely structured and focused to achieve the goals of its funding partners, and led by experienced program staff. Our highly effective rapid response grantmaking function and ability to integrate support for lobbying activity are two key tools utilized by our collaborative grantmaking initiatives.

Translation:  We also do lobbying work for unspecified “funding partners”

I couldn’t find any way to contact them.  But I see that that one of the board members is this person:

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You’d think the Director,ACLU of California Center for Advocacy & Policy would feel a twinge of conscience over funding ($100K) an organization which  willfully violated the rights of the King estate.    Imagine if it were 1960 and some Dixiecrat decided to encourage thousands of people to use Dr King’s copyrighted works without permission or payment?  What would the ACLU of 1960 say about that?

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Obviously Chicago Instructional Tech Foundation is based in Boulder Colorado.  And naturally it makes sense for them to give $105,000 to Fight For The Future, because of their well known “instructional tech” expertise.   It of course follows that donations to this foundation are not tax deductible.  And naturally they don’t disclose funding.  If you’re a glutton for punishment read their 990.  It’s a maze of related entities paying each other money.  If anyone has any idea what this “non-profit” is doing explain it to me.

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Finally how did the Knight Foundation get mixed up with this Organization?  I want to know how the Knight Foundation which claims to support the arts can supports a groups that favors the ability of corporations like Google to use artists work without permission or compensation? Heads should roll.

 

 

Can Songwriters Demand Answers from CPAs signing statutory royalty certifications?

This is important. Songwriters can only get paid fairly if the CPAs are diligently performing their work.

MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

As we’ve discussed several times on MTP, songwriters and publishers who are compelled to accept a compulsory license under Section 115 have no way to know whether any of their statements are correct because the government denies songwriters and publishers the right to audit any royalty statement under the compulsory license.

Instead, songwriters are put in the same position they would be in if the IRS audited their tax return and refused to let them have their own representative defend them.  The government mandates moral hazard:  The only accountant who verifies the legitimacy of the royalty statement is the digital service’s own accountant.  (See the applicable section of the Federal government’s Code of Federal Regulations 37 CFR Section 201.19.)

This Kafka-esque rule may have a solution.  It’s hard to believe that the government somehow has it in for songwriters and wants to create distrust.  While the government refused to…

View original post 1,304 more words

Uncivil Rights: Astroturf Organization Protesting Copyright Hearings Organized Mass Copyright Infringement Campaign Against MLK Estate

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Fight For The Future a Massachusetts non-profit committed willful copyright infringement when they uploaded a copy of the “I Have a Dream Speech” and then encouraged thousands of followers to share it on for-profit social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube. Violating the rights of the King family estate while simultaneously generating page views for your Silicon Valley patrons is not “civil disobedience,” It’s positively Orwellian!

Any creators attending the Copyright Office roundtables on the “notice and takedown” provisions of the DMCA may see or hear from some “takedown abuse” protestors at this forum today in San Francisco.   These are not grassroots protestors but most likely operatives from an astroturf group called Fight For the Future.  This group has received massive funding from tech companies; venture firms (like Union Square Ventures); and a couple of mysterious “black box” foundations.

You probably have never heard of Fight For The Future, but back in 2012 they organized an “Internet Freedom Day.”   The key component of their campaign for “Internet freedom” was built around violating the rights of the MLK family.  Yes, these arrogant (and tone deaf) New Englanders organized a mass copyright infringement campaign against the MLK estate by posting  a copy of the “I have a dream” speech online and encouraging their thousands of followers to repost it on for multi-billion dollar for-profit platforms like Twitter and YouTube.

Fight For The Future blatantly misled the public into thinking the speech was not available or somehow being kept from the public by “bad copyright laws.” This was an absolute fiction, the speech was and continues to be available in many formats including a $2.99 iTunes download. (It was recently re-broadcast on the 50th anniversary by networks like CNN and MSNBC.)

So it’s tempting to choose the wrong moral outrage here:  A privileged and entitled group of Bostonians have an online temper tantrum because they want to watch the speech now and they don’t want to pay for it!

But that’s not the real moral outrage.

The real moral outrage is that this was a tech and venture capital funded anti-civil rights protest pretending to be a kind of civil disobedience.  This was a  protest designed to deprive the King estate of constitutionally protected intellectual property rights and allow multi-billion dollar social media, online video, tech and ad-tech companies to generate revenues from the I Have a Dream speech without compensating the King estate.

Disgusting isn’t it?

So who is funding this group?

According to Federal tax documents these Corporations and “black box” foundations are massively funding this organization.

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CORPORATE MONEY FUNDING FFTF

Union Square Ventures (Twitter, SoundCloud, Tumblr, and a host of other DMCA abusing services).  Their website says they welcome feedback here info@usv.com.

SV Angel  ( ex Google: Partners Topher Conway & Brian Pokorny;  Ex-Goldman Sachs: Paul LaLonde) Here’s their twitter account: https://twitter.com/svangel 

London Trust Media AKA Private Internet Access  Nearly $200K from every TorrentFreak’s favorite VPN!

NameCheap (also funds the EFF another anti-civil rights organization)

Yelp  (tweet their CEO!)

Consumer Electronics Association AKA Consumer Technology Association (Google funding).

 

BLACK BOX  FOUNDATIONS FUNDING FFTF

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What the f— is the Sixteen Thirty Fund?  According to it’s 501 (c)(3) it “promotes Environmental Quality, Protection and Beautification.”   Is Fight For the Future building nature trails on Cape Cod? Martha’s Vineyard?

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 6.26.15 PM

Proteus seems mostly concerned with death penalty issues.  Good for them.   So why $100k for Fight For The Future? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on death penalty issues? Well, if you read in the fine print they brag:

Each initiative is uniquely structured and focused to achieve the goals of its funding partners, and led by experienced program staff. Our highly effective rapid response grantmaking function and ability to integrate support for lobbying activity are two key tools utilized by our collaborative grantmaking initiatives.

Translation:  We also do lobbying work for unspecified “funding partners”

I couldn’t find any way to contact them.  But I see that that one of the board members is this person:

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 12.43.22 PM

You’d think the Director,ACLU of California Center for Advocacy & Policy would feel a twinge of conscience over funding ($100K) an organization that willfully violated the rights of the King estate.  Imagine if it were 1960 and some Dixiecrat decided to encourage thousands of people to use Dr King’s copyrighted works without permission or payment?  What would the ACLU of 1960 say about that?

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.29.44 AM

Obviously Chicago Instructional Tech Foundation is based in Boulder Colorado.  And naturally it makes sense for them to give $105,000 to Fight For The Future, because of their well known “instructional tech” expertise.   It of course follows that donations to this foundation are not tax deductible.  And naturally they don’t disclose funding.  If you’re a glutton for punishment read their 990.  It’s a maze of related entities paying each other money.  If anyone has any idea what this “non-profit” is doing explain it to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Single Picture Explains Why the NMPA/HFA/Spotify Settlement is Deeply Flawed

 

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You’re kidding me right?  What is this for? No accounting? No cover letter.  Is this some sort of “bait” check?  How can NMPA/HFA/Spotify settlement possibly be “fair” with this sort of nonsense going on? 

For those not familiar with the nuances of the music licensing business  Harry Fox Agency (HFA)  is s former subsidiary of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA).  HFA acts as a clearing house for those wishing to  obtain mechanical licenses (copy AND distribute) a songwriters work.  So for instance streaming services like Spotify can come to HFA and obtain licenses for many songs, but not all.  It is important to note that HFA can only issue licenses for songwriters/publishers that opt into their service.

So how do streaming services get the licenses from the remaining writers?  Normally they hire a third party to track down the remaining writers and send what are called “Notices of Intent” to exercise a compulsory license.

In the case of Spotify they hired Harry Fox Agency to  perform this task.  Are you following me here?  This means that Harry Fox is on one hand representing songwriters and publishers,  but on the other hand they are also representing Spotify.   Does this seem like a conflict of interest to anyone?

Now in my case (and virtually every independent songwriter/publisher I surveyed),  they never bothered to send valid “notices of intent” to obtain the licenses for Spotify to use my songs until after the fact (hence the class action against Spotify).  In the vernacular: they totally fucked up.

But Harry Fox Agency was also apparently hired to pay royalties and account to songwriters on behalf of Spotify.   Have they also fucked this up as well?   Yes.  Just look at the check above.   Here are just some of the things wrong with this check

  1. What is the check for?   Songwriter royalties?   Is it for just being a cool band?    Or is it a super sleazy legal trick  (cashing a check is sometimes viewed as an implicit license)?
  2. Are they sending out checks like this to other independent publishers? To whom and why?
  3. If it is for songwriting royalties,  which tracks? How many spins?
  4. What accounting period does it cover?
  5. How did they arrive at this amount?  If there is no license in effect, there is no royalty rate with which to calculate a royalty?
  6. As they are acting as an agent of Spotify isn’t this an improper Ex-parte communication?
  7. They don’t have a taxpayer ID from me, because there is no contract or license. How do they even know they are paying the proper party?
  8. Where does the 28% withholding tax go?  I’m not a tax expert but this doesn’t seem like the  proper procedure.

So HFA is clearly fucked up. But why does this matter?  Because the NMPA/HFA and Spotify all have an interest in stopping the songwriter class action.

  1. The NMPA owned HFA when they began working (and fucking up) on behalf of Spotify . NMPA owned HFA until July of 2015.   It is likely that NMPA had to indemnify the new owners of HFA private equity firm Rizvi Traverse.  In turn it’s highly likely that HFA had to indemnify Spotify for services (poorly) performed.   Thus it’s in NMPAs interest to make this all go away.  This is not the same as being in the interest of NMPA’s constituent publishers. Why are constituent publishers being dragged into this?
  2. NMPA/HFA/Spotify settlement leaves HFA in place.   Look at the check above!  How can any publisher or songwriter ever have any confidence that they will ever receive a proper accounting? One of the reasons we filed a class action against Spotify was to bring in an independent third party auditor and bring some much needed transparency to the process.

The choice is clear for songwriters and publishers.  A backroom deal between related parties or a transparent court supervised process?