Let’s Get Real About Kim Dotcom: The Indictment Clearly Alleges Felony Copyright Infringement | CPIP

Essential reading on the Kim Dotcom extradition case happening now.

Conclusion

As the Megaupload saga evolves, we’ll surely hear many more claims about the legal and moral implications of the case. Lessig is not the first, and he will certainly not be the last, to argue that Dotcom and his co-defendants should not be punished for their behavior. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind what allegedly happened here: Dotcom and his co-defendants made millions of dollars through the rampant theft and dissemination of countless artists’ and creators’ copyrighted works. For the sake of these artists and creators, who worked hard to produce the works that were unmercifully stolen, let us hope that Dotcom and his co-defendants are held accountable for their crimes.

READ THE FULL POST AT CPIP:
http://cpip.gmu.edu/2015/09/22/lets-get-real-about-kim-dotcom-the-indictment-clearly-alleges-felony-copyright-infringement/

 


 

 

A Tale of Two Pirates? Daniel Ek (uTorrent) and Kim Dotcom (Megaupload)

Lessig Defends Dotcom as Extradition Hearing Begins | Copyhype

Required reading regarding Larry Lessig’s pitch to help Kim Dotcom…

The second thing about Lessig’s declaration that jumps out is an apparent contradiction between Lessig and Dotcom’s defense team regarding the applicability of the DMCA safe harbors to Megaupload.

In the white paper, Dotcom’s defense team says

Even if the U.S. government’s wishful expansion of the criminal copyright law into the realm of secondary infringement were tenable (which it is not), Megaupload is shielded from criminal liability by specific “safe harbor” provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), included in the law to protect companies like Megaupload that make efforts to remove infringing material in response to “take-down” notices issued by copyright holders

But in his declaration, Lessig asserts “The DMCA is only a defense in the civil context”. The reversal is notable.

READ THE FULL POST AT COPYHYPE:
http://www.copyhype.com/2015/09/lessig-defends-dotcom-as-extradition-hearing-begins/


 

 

Larry Lessig is Wrong, and should “Get Over It”

Why the ‘Dancing Baby’ copyright case is just hi-tech victim shaming | The Register UK

Lenz is best thought of as a tactic in a larger strategy. Another victim-shaming tactic, used to confuse and intimidate individuals so they don’t claim their rights, is a Google-funded project called Chilling Effects. We can define “victim shaming” as where the process of seeking justice punishes the victim more than it hurts the perpetrator, and it relies on the fear of unknown reprisals.

Both Lenz and Chilling Effects have the same goal: to make you think twice about asserting your ownership of your own digital stuff. The Utopia envisaged by Silicon Valley’s current oligarchs does not have individual ownership of bits in it.

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE REGISTER UK:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/17/dancing_baby_victim_shaming/

 


 

 

“I Ain’t Gonna Work On Google’s Farm No More” | Creators are Forced Labor* On The Ad-Funded Piracy Fields Of The Advertnet

Should take down mean stay down? EU’s Big Internet quiz leaks | The Register UK

Wha-wha-whackamole

Safe harbour’s takedown provisions mean that rights holders must play whackamole, as the black supply chain ensures the goods reappear in the shop window, usually the very next day. Rightsholders file millions of takedown notices with little effect. The BPI alone has filed 66 million with Google in the past year.

The clumsy YouTube deal with indies was never supposed to become public, but it simply made clear what everyone already knew: the platform held all the power, and takedowns were ineffective. But as one US legal expert told us, “limiting liability was never intended to be a shield for criminal behavior”.

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE REGISTER UK:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/14/should_takedown_mean_staydown_eu_internet_probe_leaks/?page=2

So Prince released his new album today Exclusively on TIDAL… how long will that last before it’s on YouTube?

Today Prince released his new album “HITNRUN Phase One” exclusively on TIDAL. The real question is, how long will it be before the album in part or in whole is on YouTube and every other pirate site in the world?

image001

You can listen to :30 of each song at the link below without signing up for the service.
http://listen.tidal.com/album/50767183

Music Tech Policy detailed why we can’t have nice things in the post “The Great Disappointment: Tidal Highlights YouTube’s Moral Hazard for All the World to See”.

Part of Tidal’s business model relies on artists being able to grant exclusives.  The concept of an exclusive requires property rights that are respected by other platforms in the channel.

Imagine if Showtime began showing rips of Game of Thrones day and date with its HBO release.  Forget that HBO would sue them and win.  The actors, screenwriters, producers and the vast below the line personnel would think twice about working for Showtime in the future.

And that’s exactly what should happen to YouTube.

Beyonce released “Die With You” on Tidal as an exclusive.  Everyone at YouTube knows that it was intended to be an exclusive just like everyone at YouTube knows that YouTube could keep the track from being uploaded to YouTube if YouTube wanted to do that.

YouTube has worked hard at getting the world to accept the concept of “user generated content” as some kind of great cultural event–even, when like “Die With You”, there isn’t anything particularly “user generated” about it, unless you call a one-to-one rip of Beyonce’s track that was distributed in clear violation of Beyonce’s rights “user generated”.

READ THE FULL POST AT MUSIC TECH POLICY:
https://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/tidal-highlights-youtubes-moral-hazard-for-all-the-world-to-see/

“I Ain’t Gonna Work On Google’s Farm No More” | Creators are Forced Labor* On The Ad-Funded Piracy Fields Of The Advertnet

Advertising is killing internet. Soon most online advertising will be forced pre-rolls of TV commercials. You finally have a DVR to skip commercials, and soon there will be no way to avoid them. Do you really think this is what what the internet’s founding founders had envisioned? One great big inescapable advertising machine? No, we didn’t think so either.

Creators are now forced labor* on the digital fields of the AdvertNet, where the Borg like overlords of internet advertising have forced us into being unwilling participants on their digital plantations against our will. We have no defense against the advertising funded, illegal exploitation of our labor.

Now we want to be clear, we’re not opposed to advertising in general, the advertising industry overall or the many highly talented creatives who work in advertising. We all love those Superbowl ads, right? And let’s not forget that many a band in recent history has found fortune from a well placed song in a high profile commercial (Hello, Phoenix).

No, we’re talking about the highly invasive, privacy invading, personal data tracking, internet advertising slathered on pirate sites that illegally distribute copyrighted works and destroy the livelihoods of professional artists and creators against their will.

Digital Advertising Agencies are on the wrong side of artists rights. They have sold us out.

Here’s the elephant in the room. The internet as a business has a math problem and it goes something like this. There are only a few ways to make money on the online. First is transactional sales where the company can take a margin on each transaction (Amazon, Itunes, Etc). Second is a transactional service where the company can take a margin on each transaction (Uber, AirBnB, etc). Third is subscription based access to content and software (Netflix and Adobe respectively). Fourth is advertising for pretty much everything else including the big categories of Software As Service or SAAS. SAAS models including everything from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to newspapers, blogs and community based bulletin boards like Reddit, etc.

The fundamental problem here is attempting to transform all businesses to advertising supported models. This is because the largest most successful internet company ever (Google) just happens to work under that model. But the economics at large don’t generate enough revenue to pay for the cost of labor for the production of art, photography, music, movies, book, etc being distributed.

Think about it. How could it be possible that everything that once required transactional revenues to be sustainable can now be paid for with just advertising revenue? It can’t. Not under current models that do not allow for scarcity and exclusivity.

Scarcity and exclusivity are what make broadcasting models work. Television networks invest in creating exclusive content that is scarce. The scarcity and exclusivity allows for maximum monetization of that asset. The Superbowl and the Academy Awards are two of the highest grossing advertising based products specifically because they are scarce.

Take the above one step further. Imagine that everything on the internet, every single site that is not selling merchandise, a service or a subscription has to be self supporting on advertising revenue alone. Do you really think that’s possible? No, it is not. This is simply because to the cost of production of professional content can not be created at the cost that internet advertising provides.

The work around this math problem is to steal the labor of professional creators and monetize it against their will.

No budgets to pay for production, no problem. Steal It. 

Just make the margin on the cost of running the business without paying for content production. A business that does not have to pay for its inventory or cost of goods is far more profitable than one that does pay those costs. This is exactly how pirate sites and Google’s YouTube operate.

The creators of YouTube admitted as much in private emails that were exposed during the lawsuit with Viacom:

• A July 29 email conversation about competing video sites laid out the importance to YouTube of continuing to use the copyrighted material. “Steal it!” Chen said , and got a reply from Hurley, “hmmm, steal the movies?” Chen’s answer: “we have to keep in mind that we need to attract traffic. how much traffic will we get from personal videos? remember, the only reason our traffic surged was due to a video of this type.”

And here’s what it looks like… Lou Reed Exploited By American Express, AT&T, Chevrolet, Chili’s, Lysol, Pottery Barn, Vons, Domino’s Pizza, Netflix, Galaxy Nexus and Ron Jeremy!

LouReedGoogleSearch

LouReedAMEX

LouReedNETFLIX

LouReedDOMINOS

LouReedGalaxyNexus

LouReedVONS

LouReedPOTTERYBARN

LouReedLYSOL

LouReedCHILI'S

LouReedCHEVY

LouReedATT

LouReedTPBPORN

* Forced Labor? Hyperbole? With no ability to opt out, without being granted choice, consent or the ability to negotiate our wages, what else is it?

No, Internet Piracy is Not A “Service Issue”…

Popcorn Time is now using the tired old Kim Dotcom defense that piracy is a “service issue”. We’ve heard this nugget for over a decade.  The argument may have had some merit in 1999, but that is just not the case today more than a decade and a half later.

So with that in mind, here is our response to the “service issue” argument when Mr. Dotcom attempted it back in 2013…

In the anticipation of the announcement of the new Mega launch, Pat Pilcher at The New Zealand Herald wrote an article titled “Kim Dotcom on Ending Piracy” in which the journalist listed Mr.Dotcom’s five steps to ending piracy. Pilcher writes,

As ironic as that may sound, Kim Dotcom’s logic is inescapably robust. Here’s what his end to piracy manifesto says:

1. Create great stuff
2. Make it easy to buy
3. Same day worldwide release
4. Fair price
5. Works on any device

Looking at what Kim is saying, the 5 points seem pretty obvious, although each could quickly get bogged down once Hollywood gets involved.

So let’s look at these one by one.

1. Create Great Stuff
Well, that’s a no brainer. The content industries create the most prized and sought after “stuff” in the world including films such as Avatar, The Avengers, and The Dark Night Rises as well as franchises like Iron Man, Transformers, Harry Potter and others. Music artists include the likes of Adele, The Black Keys, Taylor Swift, The Beatles and countless others. Making great stuff has never been a problem.

2. Make It Easy To Buy
Another no brainer. Perhaps a decade plus ago this might have been an argument, but not today. There are over 500 legal and licensed music services alone. For the film industry there are services like Netflix, Vudu and Cinemanow as well as other direct to home video on demand providers that give consumers more access to more content across more platforms than at any time in history.

3. Same Day World Wide Release
For music this is more less the standard now and is also more and more common for feature film releases as well. This is a common practice for the largest and most anticipated releases of music and films, the “stuff” that is the most aggressively pirated. For smaller indie releases this may not always be possible but than again I’m not sure that the problem we are combating is in Nigeria on indie rock albums and movies that are more or less film festival darlings.

4. Fair price
Done. Netflix is $7.99 a month for unlimited access to it’s entire library of films and tv shows. Spotify is $9.99 for unlimited access to it’s entire library which consist of probably 95% of every known recording in print. Add to this the cost of a song download is 99 cents. Less than the cost of a candy bar. Renting a movie from a video on demand service ranges from 3.99 to 5.99. Price is no longer an issue and has not been for years.

5. Works on Any Device
Music is DRM free and has been for at least half a decade. Streaming Services such as Netflix and Spotify are also available on every major platform including not only Mac and PC computers, but also mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets by a variety of manufacturers. Additionally most new video game consoles and blu-ray players also include many of these same apps.

So there you have it, the end of piracy. Even Pat Pilcher at The New Zealand Herald agrees a referring to a similar response from the New Zealand record industry. He writes,

Well there it is, RIANZ’s response in full. I can’t argue with much that they’ve said, as they’ve pretty much complied with most of Kim’s 5 points.

So Kim Dotcom’s five suggestions have been fulfilled and yet, I don’t think we’ll see an end to piracy anytime soon. There is still one thing piracy offers that legal, licensed and legitimate services do not, and that is compensation to the artists, musicians, filmmakers and creators which requires that consumers actually do pay the fair price asked.

It’s all pretty simple and by Kim Dotcom’s own suggestions and admission it’s pretty clear where the problem is from here on out, and it’s not in his five suggestions…

And, of course, let us not forget this classic… Kim Dotcom Parody Video Appears on YouTube

 

Are Creators Really Thriving in the Digital Age? Doesn’t Look Like It | Robert Levine @ Billboard

“Free Ride” author Robert Levine takes on Steven Johnson’s stats and conclusions…

In this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, author Steven Johnson wrote a piece, “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t,” which ventured to examine the state of creative business in the digital age. Johnson conclusion was that it’s thriving. I have strong feelings on this topic, since I wrote a book that makes the opposite argument. I’d very much like Johnson to be right, since the health of the creative business strongly correlates with my ability to put food on the table. But although I think he’s a smart writer — we worked together, briefly, years ago — I think he’s looking at wrong information in the wrong way. He ends up oversimplifying a complicated subject to make a contrarian point.

Johnson’s premise is that the best way to assess the health of the creative businesses isn’t to look at falling sales or struggling companies but how actual creators themselves are faring. It’s a smart, refreshing approach. But his evidence that creators are thriving is far flimsier than it looks.

READ THE FULL STORY AT BILLBOARD:
http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6677568/are-creators-really-thriving-in-the-digital-age-doesnt-look-like-it