AT&T and Verizon Join YouTube Advertising Boycott, Is Fiat-Chrysler Next? @auto_alliance

 

Ali Barakat is like the Justin Bieber of Hezbollah.  Last I checked Hezbollah (or Hizballah) were still listed as a terrorist organization by the US Government.  Is Fiat-Chrysler helping Google fund Hezbollah or its supporters?  This screenshot was provided to us by GIPEC. It appears to show a Dodge Ram Truck ad being shown along side an Ali Barakat video depicting Hezbollah fighters in action.   The video is currently live on YouTube. 

For nearly 5 years the Trichordist has been reporting on Google’s practice of supplying advertising to less than reputable sites.  We were at first focused on how advertising was funding the music and movie piracy ecosystem and thus undermining artists ability to make a living.  But as we dug deeper we noticed that Google was pretty much willing to advertise on anything.  We wondered if brands really cared their money was going to illegal pornographers,  fake news sites, neo-nazis and terrorist sympathizers.  Certainly Google doesn’t care cause here we are 5 years later and they are still doing it.

Last week the Marks and Spencer, The BBC and The UK Government all announced they were boycotting YouTube for placing their ads against extremist content.  Later Bloomberg reported:

“France’s Havas SA, the world’s sixth-largest advertising and marketing company, pulled its U.K. clients’ ads from Google and YouTube on Friday after failing to get assurances from Google that the ads wouldn’t appear next to offensive material. Those clients include wireless carrier O2, Royal Mail Plc, government-owned British Broadcasting Corp., Domino’s Pizza and Hyundai Kia, Havas said in a statement”

Today we find out the boycott has spread to the US. According to USA Today  AT&T and Verizon have now joined the boycott:

AT&T said that it is halting all ad spending on Google except for search ads. That means AT&T ads will not run on YouTube or two million websites that take part in Google’s ad network.

An AT&T company statement said:

“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

Look at screenshot above. Will Fiat Chrysler be next?

Labels / Spotify Admit Windowing is Streaming Solution (while cutting royalty rates)

It’s amazing how long it takes the industry to catch up to us. We strongly suggested windows and pay-gates at ad supported streaming services (Spotify) to drive conversion rates to subscription revenues back in 2014 and again in 2015, twice!

Well guess what is being reported in Digital Music News this week…

“According to details tipped, the Swedish streamer would restrict the biggest album releases to only paid subscribers for a period of time.”

Wow, windowing works! Who knew?!

But here’s the real kicker, the labels are LOWERING royalty rates in exchange for the ability to window hit records! It’s unbelievable that the industry must always take two steps back for every one step forward. Does it really need to be this hard?

Read the full story at Digital Music News below:

Spotify Finally Finds a Way to Lower Licensing Deals and Go Public

 

A Timely Reprint: Reading Between The Lines Google Tells The Truth On Ad Supported Piracy

YouTube/Google is in a shitload of trouble in Europe as advertisers and governments pull all advertising from YouTube.  We are just surprised it took this long.   We’ve been pointing out that the whole Google programmatic advertising system is a cesspool that funds all sorts of illegal activity, and damages brands by serving ads against very very inappropriate content. In light of this we have decided to rerun some of our 2012-2013 articles on Google’s involvement in serving advertising on illegal piracy sites many of which appeared to also contain illegal pornography.  You see they’ve been called out on this before and didn’t fix the problem.  Advertisers and governments should be extremely skeptical that they will fix it this time!

 WARNING there are some disturbing and graphic file descriptions in the screenshots below.  Not for the faint hearted! 

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In early 2013 Google under a hail of criticism brought about by USC Annenberg Center Report on ad supported piracy Google issued a tricky non denial.  Here is our response:

An Elegant Non-Denial And It’s Implications.

We previously noted that USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab released a report detailing their initial observations regarding the top online advertising networks that appear to facilitate the payment of advertising revenue to sites that exploit artists without compensation, i.e., pirate sites.

In the 1950s, record labels (often controlled by shady figures of legend and myth) exploited songwriters and artists without compensation.  When artists complained, the label might give the artist a Cadillac in lieu of their royalties. When we hear these stories about how some of the music moguls from those days exploited artists we are rightly outraged.

Today, sites like The Pirate Bay, Hotfile and Isohunt exploit artists in a similar way except the artists don’t even get the occasional  Cadillac.  And not many people seem outraged.  In fact journalists (like this Spin Magazine writer ) seem to want to romanticize the operators of these sites as folk heroes. Instead of portraying them as they truly are: sleazy opportunists and scam artists waving the banner of “freedom” while they rob artists blind.   The really sad part is “respectable” Fortune 500 companies seem to be complicit in this racket.   By advertising on these sites, these otherwise respectable companies fund these illegal operations that exploit artists.

But there is good news.  At least one company, Google has accidentally admitted to being complicit in this racket.  Well maybe that’s not quite right.   Perhaps a better way of phrasing it is they simply didn’t categorically deny their involvement and invited us to read between the lines.   Still I’m taking this as an admission the industry has a problem.  And admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Even if it’s only a read-between-the-lines kind of admission.

The reason I say this is because Google issued a curious and very carefully worded response to the USC report. I am quoting from the LA Times reporting on the study.

“To the extent [the study] suggests that Google ads are a major source of funds for major pirate sites, we believe it is mistaken,” a Google spokesperson said. “Over the past several years, we’ve taken a leadership role in this fight. The complexity of online advertising has led some to conclude, incorrectly, that the mere presence of any Google code on a site means financial support from Google.”

I don’t know-perhaps I’m crazy but I think they did this purposely. There is almost a deconstructed  free jazz beauty to this statement.  It’s like they hired the Ornette Coleman of press releases. The melody is there, but it’s in the omissions, the implied notes,  the silences and the negative spaces.  And using a little mathematical logic you can reconstruct that melody.  You can clearly deduce the statements that they specifically intended to not deny.  Probably just so they couldn’t be accused of lying later.  You follow my logic?

The four read-between-the-lines admissions are as follows.

1. Google is a source of some funding for some pirate sites.

“To the extent the study suggests that Google ads are a major source of funds for major pirate sites, we believe they are mistaken.”

Google  is not denying that it is a source of funds for pirate sites.  They are simply proclaiming (without evidence) that they are something less than a major source of funding.  So they are a moderate source of funding?  A minor source of funding? Just shy of being a major source of funding?  Left unexplained is how Google can measure major versus minor funding and how Google has knowledge of the revenues generated by these illegal and mostly offshore sites.

2. Google funds pirate sites, just not the top 8 sites.

“To the extent the study suggests that Google ads are a major source of funds for major pirate sites, we believe they are mistaken.”

Read this sentence again.  They are denying funding the “major” sites. But they are not denying they may be funding sites that they don’t (arbitrarily) consider major.  Now in this case we were able to do a little reverse engineering to figure out the cut-off between major and non-major websites.  As noted before on the Trichordist we have caught Google providing ads (and we can only assume revenue)  to http://www.filestube.com.  They admitted that filestube had an account and have since disabled it (thank you).  According to web traffic analysis site http://www.Alexa.com there are only 8 file-sharing/cyberlocker type sites that rank higher than filestube!  Google’s own transparency report names http://www.filestube.com as the #1 recipient of valid notices of copyright infringement.

Since Google is basically an engineering operation, you should consider  it significant that it has implicitly  created 4 quadrants for their involvement:

A.  Major Funding For Major Sites

B. Less Than Major Funding For Major Sites

C. Major Funding For Less Than Major Sites

D. Less Than Major Funding For Less Than Major Sites.

They are specifically not denying that they may be operating in quadrants B, C and D. They are only denying that they are in quadrant A.

3. Google lacks sufficient corporate oversight to really know if they are providing funds to illegal sites or not.  

“…we believe it to be mistaken.”

Note the use of the word “believe.”   They are hedging their bets.  They don’t really know.  Google claims its mission is to “organize the world’s information” (whether the world likes it or not).  How can a company that can organize the world’s information lack sufficient knowledge of their own data to know where they are sending revenue? Don’t they issue 1099s in accordance with tax laws?  We can only assume that they are specifically not denying a lack of corporate oversight.   Because the other possibilities are terrifying.

What are the other  possibilities?

A.  The online advertising network has grown so complex it is actually a sentient being.  And like Skynet in Terminator movies, Google has lost control of it and it is now trying to kill us all.  (I’d assign this a low probability, Google’s fascination with The Singularity notwithstanding.)

B. They do know where they are sending revenue.  And if this is the case, Google shareholders may be in for another $500 million dollar fine, like the one they got in the illegal online pharmacy settlement.

For the sake of Google stockholders, lets just hope they are merely disorganized.

4. Google is not denying that their source code on pirate sites means that they have a financial relationship with these sites.

“The complexity of online advertising has led some to conclude, incorrectly, that the mere presence of any Google code on a site means financial support from Google.”

Read this very carefully.  This is very, very clever. Or to keep using the Ornette Coleman analogy this is like the Science Fiction of  this press release.  It’s explosive, wild and takes a while to understand.  No one is really clear why there is a recording of a baby crying in the middle of the saxophone solo.   I’m sure it will confuse a lot of overworked underpaid journalists.

Note the words “some” and “any Google code”.  By using the word “some” Google has set up a hypothetical “straw man” to knock down.  For this statement to be true all they need is ONE example in which a pirate site  contained any Google code (Google Plus, Google Analytics) and someone  mistakenly thought Google was serving ads on the site.  It’s a beautiful hypothetical and that seems to “explain” everything.   When it really doesn’t.  That’s a wild bit of science fiction.  Or as one of my colleagues puts it  “a totally unrelated story that cross-dresses as a reasonable explanation.”

So once again Google cleverly DOES NOT deny that when we see Google or DoubleClick ad code or publisher IDs on rogue websites this confirms a financial relationship with Google.

But perhaps most telling of all is Google’s description of the ad networks as “complex.” And I heartily agree.   In the financial world there is an old adage “complexity is fraud.”   That is honest markets and financial products tend towards simplicity. But in the online advertising world you have ever increasing complexity. This usually indicates there is some fraudulent aspect to the market.  I believe that much of this “complexity” is there to simply insulate the big firms from illegal and unethical practices up and down the chain.  Because complexity has a useful byproduct: deniability.

To be fair, it should be noted that the online advertising ecosystem was not created by Google alone.  Other networks and the Madison Avenue agencies had a hand in creating this system.  I find it very interesting that not one of the Madison Avenue agencies has anything to say about this report.  Why the silence?

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Transparency + Markets.

So my conclusion from all of this is probably not what you expect.   I think Google and the other ad networks are unreachable on this matter and we artists  shouldn’t waste time engaging them in a public relations battle.  They would love to confuse us with sideshows about ad exchanges, open protocols, “self-serve accounts”  and the complexity of the system.  None of that really matters.  What matters is that companies like State Farm and Amex show up on these sites.  We artists need to focus on the brands that are advertising on the these sites and nothing else.

The other thing to consider.  It is becoming ever more apparent that Google gets a form of “celebrity” justice when it comes to their wrongdoing.  A minuscule $25,000 dollar fine in the Google WiFi snooping case? How did that happen?   Or Friday’s mysterious  FTC announcement that the Obama Administration won’t be pursuing an anti-trust investigation of Google.  Google has too much clout in the political system.  While it’s reported that Google’s PAC may have divided its contributions between Republicans and Democrats, its employees and executives overwhelmingly supported Democrats and Obama.  The technology sector is one of the few industries that Democrats can rely upon to counter the Republicans’ advantage in corporate political donations.  This gives me little hope that Washington will ever punish Google or any other tech company involved in the online advertising cesspool.

Now I’m not in favor of this sort of cronyism, I’d love to see Congress investigate these ad networks, especially Google.   But ultimately I think it doesn’t matter.  What matters more is that we shine a light onto these practices. This is the best way to attack the problem.

The silver lining is that companies like Google are  helping us.   Their protestations are inadvertently providing transparency into how the online advertising ecosystem truly functions:   It’s out of control, un-reliable, and does not work as advertised.  It may actually do harm to some brands.  To paraphrase Chris Castle at Music Tech Policy: Online ad networks are Silicon Valley’s exploding Pinto. The mother of all product liability cases.  I believe that as this information becomes widely known  market forces will correct much of the problem, for there are clear financial incentives.

This will happen in two distinct but interrelated ways.  Downward pressure on share prices and lower revenues.

The money starts with the Fortune 500 brands.  We don’t need to know every single place where it ends up. We can see it in the screen captures.  We don’t need to follow the money to every Vladmir and Constantin running a pirate site.  We just need to cut off  funds at the source. And transparency is the most effective AND easiest way to do this.

As Fortune 500 firms become aware of how these ad networks really work, brands will abandon the “bad” networks reducing their revenue, or force the “bad” networks to change their practices. Either way funding for these sites should drop.

Part of the reason I’m so optimistic is that I’ve discovered that it’s really pretty easy to get a bad network in trouble with its clients. Let me demonstrate.   Virtually every illegal file-sharing and/or “cyber locker site”  will auto-suggest “recently downloaded” or “popular files”.  Every once in a while they suggest files that appear to be illegal pornography.  The site http://www.stopfilelockers.com  explains this  in detail.  But as an example even this innocuous search for “camper van beethoven pictures of matchstick men” on a site like http://www.filestube.com immediately autosuggested some very sketchy links at the bottom of the screen.

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And because these sites are completely unregulated eventually something really embarrassing happens to a major brand.  Like this real screenshot I captured earlier this fall:

“Bestiality brought to you by Lexus.”  For their “The Golden (Retriever) Opportunity Sales Event” advertising campaign

lexus and bestiality

And the same thing happened to  Urban Outfitters.  Although honestly I really can’t be 100% sure this isn’t intentional.  You follow me? This  may be some high level extreme branding. You never can be sure with a brand that uses  a litter box with cat poop spelling out “2013” for it’s web catalogue.  Not kidding.

urban outfitters and bestiality

Transparency + Markets is quite a wonderful thing.  Isn’t there now a high probability that  someone at an ad agency or an entire ad network somewhere gets fired over these two screenshots?  The ultimate effect is that it reduces revenue to http://www.filestube.com.

But even more interesting is that the  publicly traded companies that operate ad networks,  like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and ValueClick expose themselves to civil and criminal liability by doing business with these websites. What happens if one of these networks get caught up in a RICO investigation? What happens to the share price?

Many of these websites pay “affiliates” money for  uploading popular files.  In the case of MegaUpload I’d imagine many of these affiliates are in the US.  Do you really think MegaUpload sent 1099’s to these people? Do you think these affiliates declared this income on their taxes?  What happens to one of these ad networks when they get caught up in a US tax evasion investigation?  You do realize that the US Government is likely in possession of this data?

What happens when a major brand like Ford that doesn’t want their ads on these sites sues the ad network for a refund?  What happens if  hundreds  of brands sue the same ad network for a refund?  what will happen to the share price? I’m told that at least the big ad agencies require the ad network to submit to a compliance audit that could allow some brands to receive refunds on commissions if their ads end up in the wrong places.

And finally for finance geeks:

None of these things even has to actually happen for share prices to plunge.  The mere possibility that this could happen, the mere possibility that these companies have exposed themselves  to large  unpredictable downsides can drive the share price down. Influential stock analysts may notice these dangers  and issue bearish warnings.  But the more  likely scenario in my mind is a large hedge fund may make a big bet that these dangers are “underpriced” and start buying puts on one or all of these companies.  If it’s a large enough bet option market makers will have to sell short the stock to hedge potential losses.  This drives prices down.  Then “momentum” players  begin short selling further depressing shares.  Soon you have a vicious cycle.

Google, Yahoo and ValueClick are particularly vulnerable in this scenario since more than 90% of their revenue comes from advertising. Watch out when analysts start to ask the question “what percentage of their revenue is from rogue sites?”

So instead of arguing tit for tat with Google and their many paid bloggers and sock puppets, we artists should direct our energies elsewhere.   Let me humbly suggest that all artists should start searching these sites for their own music and observing which brands are financially supporting these sites.  Take screenshots and send them to us here  at the Trichordist.  We will then publicize these and notify the brands.  But by all means post them to your own facebook and twitter accounts.  You never know who’s gonna see them.

Remember : Transparency + Markets is usually a good thing.  The online advertising ecosystem is in desperate need of transparency. But we don’t have to wait for “the grownups” to get their shit together.  We can do this now!

I’ll get us started. It’s easy.  Here is Traveler’s Insurance, Metlife and Quickbooks  helping fund the massively infringing site http://www.weblagu.com.  And since they are ripping me off.  I get to say:

SCREW YOU QUICKBOOKS/INTUIT.   GNUCASH IS JUST AS GOOD AND IT’S SHAREWARE! DOWNLOAD HERE.

Try it yourself.  http://www.weblagu.com/index.php?search=camper+van+beethoven.  See which advertisers pop up for you. Put in your own band name.

(Since I’m speaking to musicians I’m gonna assume you are on a mac .  So you can select an area for a screenshot by pressing Command+Shift+4. Your cursor turns into a sort of gunsight.  Click and drag  until you get a box the correct shape and area.  When you “let go” you will hear a snapshot sound and there  will be a .png file on your desktop. It’s name will reflect the date and time. 

If you have a PC you  probably already know how to do this 50 ways and  I don’t need to tell you how to do this.

Oh and those of you who are even more advanced,  use firefox and install the firebug plugin so you can capture the served source code in your screenshots.  Even better get a packet logger.  If you don’t understand what I’m talking about you won’t know how to do this anyway.)

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@katenash: Royalty Deadbeat Snapchat Gets big billions for valuation, but has no licenses?

Kate Nash goes after SnapChat, cause just like TheZuck/Facebook apparently SnapChat has no licenses. Must be nice to be a Silicon Valley Billionaire. You just don’t have to follow the rules that the rest of  us have to follow. It really is torches and pitchforks time.

MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

Kate Nash leads the way for songwriters and artists who are wondering when the income transfer to Big Tech in the collaborative “sharing” economy is going to start getting shared the other direction by these royalty deadbeats.

Snapchat joins the leading Silicon Valley royalty deadbeats like Facebook with a big IPO filing but relying entirely on losing legal theories like the faux “DMCA license” that was a big loser for Cox Communications.  (Ironically, Cox was just ordered to pay BMG’s $8 million and change in legal fees from Cox’s $25 million jury verdict in their losing DMCA defense.)

And how do we know this?  Because Snapchat tells us they do in the

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Library Policy Hacks Continue to Alienate Author Allies, While Sucking Up to Silicon Valley

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UK authors launch nationwide protests to save libraries. When was the last time Silicon Valley billionaires and media pirates marched to prevent library closures? Yet public policy arms of library organizations are now reliably allied against authors, while standing with pirates and silicon valley on copyright matters.

You have to wonder why it is that library public policy hacks have decided to make enemies of authors and creators by constantly taking the side of those who exploit authors works without permission or compensation. I’m pretty sure your average rank and file librarian understands that books don’t magically appear on the shelves, that protections afforded authors under copyright law allow them to produce the books that fill the library shelves. And I’m sure some librarians realize that unlike most western democracies our libraries don’t have to pay lending fees to authors. American authors have been unusually generous in this regard to libraries.

But the library political hacks in DC have managed to make authors view librarians and libraries as reliable enemies.

I count at least a dozen times in which the ALA and other library policy organizations have filed amicus briefs AGAINST authors and other creators and ON BEHALF of those that violate their rights.

I first became aware of this when I discovered that ALA filed an amicus brief in support of the P2P file sharing services Grokster and Morpheus back in 2004. It struck me as odd. Isn’t this a stupid position for libraries to take? If it’s “fair use” when Grokster and Morpheus “share” an entire songwriter’s oeuvre without permission or compensation, why not the same thing for authors? Why not every book ever written? And then why the fuck go to a library if you can just download whatever books you want from The Pirate Bay? Think of how many state governors and mayors would love to eliminate public library expenses from their budgets? Same with the Digital Public Library of America, however well-intentioned. While some small libraries might benefit from digital access to interesting and rare works, isn’t it more likely that folks would just sit at home and enjoy digital access to those works? Why go to the library? I worry that the unintended consequences of this is it undermine the local justification for mid size and small city libraries. Sure most wealthy colleges and coastal cities will continue to have beautiful and well supported libraries. But I wonder what will happen to the little neighborhood branch of the City of Richmond Public Library next to my house? I adore this place. I feel like I raised two children here. But I doubt anyone at the ALA really gives a shit about this place or the kind librarians who work there. They’ve completely lost the thread.

When was the last time that anyone from the ALA leadership or a C-suite executive from Silicon Valley went out and marched to save a public library? I googled it but didn’t see anything. Yet it seems like every week we see news reports of authors out marching or signing books trying to save a library. Sure Google has given money to the ALA. But for what? Amicus briefs that have nothing to do with the interests of libraries? Amicus briefs that reliably defend the agendas of rapacious billionaires in Silicon Valley? And all this does is further alienate authors from libraries. Is this really the long term strategy that libraries wish to pursue? You think Google or Silicon Valley is gonna give a shit about your libraries once they accomplish whatever it is they are trying to accomplish by ingesting every cultural work ever produced?

 

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ALA was nominated for a Tony for Most Dramatic and Unrelated Use of an Amicus Brief.  They lost to PETA’s “Monkey Selfie Case”.

The BMG vs Cox Media case is a perfect example. Silicon Valley, ALA and the Library Copyright Alliance are all lined up on the sideof BIG CABLE against the rights of creators. What the fuck does this even have to do with the real challenges faced by average rank and file librarians? The Cox case is mostly about fraudulent behavior by a big cable company.  Cox pretended  to follow the DMCA provisions and then got caught. Unless the ALA thinks that libraries should be able to engage in the same misleading and fraudulent practices I really don’t get it. The ALA in the brief even admits that they don’t really have a dog in the fight and are simply weighing in on a hypothetical (and unlikely) outcome. But the ALA action does have the effect of providing cover to Cox Communications and it complicates the songwriters case. This is the modus operandi in almost every one of these cases. It certain baffles songwriters that libraries would side with a lying cheating corporate scofflaw in this case.

So why do librarians allow their public policy advocates to squander the goodwill authors and creators once felt for libraries?  Are librarians just unaware?   It’s likely.  Do rank and file librarians get consulted on these issues?  Does the ALA inform their members when they take these actions?  I doubt it.  So do authors and creators have to start picketing in front of libraries? I’m serious. Because it’s gotten to the point that every fucking time we try to enforce our rights and our adversaries are the corporate behemoths of Silicon Valley the librarians send their public policy lawyers to fight us. Yeah, Vive la corporate revolution!  That doesn’t seem like the kind of thing librarians want done in their name.
And if we’re gonna start picketing libraries I’d suggest we start with the University of Virginia Library. Under the leadership of their new “Director of Information Policy” Brandon Butler, the Library of Jefferson has lately been on the front lines of the copyright wars. On the front lines AGAINST authors and creators.  This has generated great enmity between authors and the UVA Library.    Butler cheered on the (possibly illegal) firing of the Register of Copyrights apparently because she was arguing FOR enforcement of copyright protections that are the law of the land. Why would the Director of Information Policy UVA library defend something like this?  Butler is also generally quite combative and hostile in his public statements towards those who defend the rights of authors.  For confirmation ask any mildly pro-copyright wonk that has a twitter account about Butler

Butler like so many other “copyleft” academics likes to dress his up his hostility to authors in pseudo-progressive terms. And some might be forgiven for thinking he is actually be a thoughtful intellectual property skeptic.   But he still can’t seem to stifle his impulse to gloat whenever every authors and creators suffer a setback in the courts.

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I’m not sure why a “progressive” librarian (or simply an ordinary compassionate human being) would be even mildly cheered by the fact that Sirius a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company got away with not paying millions of dollars of royalties to pre-1972 performers because of a very technical loophole.  Butler just seems to like this kind of stuff. Again just look at his twitter feed.  It makes me wonder if Butler is a secretly frustrated artist like the Saturday Night Live’s version of Albert Goldman. If you will,  the imaginary trombone player fired by John Lennon who now can’t help exhibiting schadenfreude whenever something bad happens to authors, musicians, photographers and filmmakers.

Butler is free to represent the UVA library as he sees fit. They apparently hired him to do a job, (even if he appears to still live in DC). And he’s certainly busy! Firing off snarky tweets all day long to anyone who exhibits a bit of sympathy to copyright holders. I would never suggest anyone be fired for the expression of their opinions, but If I were running the UVA library I might ask him to tone down the boorish use of the phrase “We Jeffersonians.” It makes UVA seem like a joke. I’d also consider whether its good form to lambast the fired former US register of copyrights from what appears to be an official UVA blog. Pretty sure it was Jefferson who said “the only thing worse than being a sore loser is being a poor winner.” Or maybe not.

Rank and file librarians should pay attention to what their out-of-touch policy hacks like Brandon Butler and the ALA are doing on their behalf. Libraries are first in line for budget cuts everywhere. Libraries need all the support you can get. Why on earth alienate authors and other creators? We should be your natural allies. But library policy hacks are making it very hard for us.

What gives with the very real and well documented legal hostility? What did we ever do to you?

 

 

An Independent Copyright Office! Radical Copyleft and @ALALibrary Overreach Backfires

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Reps Marino, Chu and Comstock just released text to house bill that would make the Copyright Office (mostly) independent from the Library of Congress.  This is a good thing for authors, photographers, filmmakers and songwriters. And it’s all thanks to aggressive overreach by radical copyleft academics and librarians.

Let me explain.

Over the last decade once stodgy library organizations like the American Library Association have become quite hostile to the notion of copyright protections for authors, photographers and recording artists and filmmakers.   They’ve also become quite friendly with Silicon Valley corporations like Google.

For example in 2003 the ALA filed an amicus brief in defense of  P2P companies  Grokster and Morpheus.   In 2016 they sided with BIG CABLE and pirates against songwriters in BMG vs Cox.  This again had the librarians on the wrong side of authors rights.   I count at least another dozen times in between inwhich ALA has been on the wrong side of authors’ rights.  And almost every time their amicus briefs were filed alongside amicus briefs from Silicon Valley companies.

Do you think rank and file librarians have any idea what the ALA is really up to?   Most librarians who haven’t been in the Washington DC-Google-Copyleft-OSF bubble seem to understand that authors have inviolable rights and should be fairly compensated.  I’m sure they understand that books don’t magically appear on the shelves of their libraries.  Further I bet most of them understand that without copyright incentives, freedom of expression dependent would be dependent on corporate donations, private donors  or government grants.  Most sensible librarians get that controversial expression would not be funded.  I suggest we all perform this little experiment. Go  into your local public library and ask any of the librarians if they think the ALA should be expending members limited resources defending pirate sites or BIG CABLE outlaws like Cox (who were caught red handed faking copyright law compliance).  I bet not a single rank and file librarian supports these initiatives or has any idea that the ALA is doing this on their behalf.

(Ed Note: I would say The ALA have always been pretty pro corporate, for instance they filed an Amicus brief FOR Texaco and AGAINST copyright holders in 1993).

In 2016 Librarian Dr Hayden, a Soros-OSF-Baltimore board member, was appointed the Librarian of Congress.  What was her first act?  She constructively terminated the long serving Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante by giving her the humiliating assignment of overseeing the Library of Congress Gift shop.

I did not make up that last part up.  The gift shop.   You can read Hayden’s letter to Pallante here.

Hayden appeared to be responding to a steady drumbeat from the usual (Google funded) copyleft suspects.  The party line (and I do mean party line) was that Pallante was terrible because she kept giving federal agencies advice on copyright.  You know, doing her job.  Don’t bother trying to figure that out, like much of the nonsense that comes from the copyleft it makes absolutely no fucking sense. Especially since libraries don’t have a dog in the fight, they already have broad copyright exemptions.

I guess they want a Copyright Office that does nothing?  That would certainly be helpful to pirate sites and companies like Google/YouTube that generate hundreds of millions of dollars from the unlicensed use of authors works.  You don’t think that the Google funding is having some sort of effect on the policy positions that the ALA takes do you?   Librarians of the world unite for the benefit of Silicon Valley corporations?

Anyway thanks stupid radical copyleft librarians.  This was such blatant overreach, everyone could see it for what it was. A naked power grab. And congress doesn’t want it happening again.    Looks like librarians have given us an independent Copyright Office.

 

 

Forget PewDiePie YouTube Still Hosts 100s of Hate Rock Bands

weisse-wolfe

Neo Nazi bands like Weisse Wölfe have large followings on YouTube.   Comments sections for these videos are used for recruitment and organizing by neo Nazi groups.

As I’ve noted on this blog and on twitter in the last few days.  The Trichordist has been reporting on the YouTube’s sordid history of hosting and monetizing (with advertising and data mining) hate rock and other  speech intended to provoke violence against vulnerable groups.

A number of years ago I did some research for a private individual on the extent that hate rock permeates YouTube, and if there was evidence that neo-Nazi groups were using these videos to recruit members and radicalize followers.    The results were shocking.  At the time virtually every band on the Anti-Defamation League’s list of “Bigots Who Rock: an ADL List of Hate Music Groups” had a presence on YouTube.   And by any realistic measure there was clearly an effort to recruit and organize those who shared this ideology.

Well I just did a cursory inspection of YouTube and the previous results still seem to hold true:

For example this (somewhat portlandia-ish) effort, here we see Neo-Nazis in the northwest of the US organizing

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Google Puts PewDiePie on “Double Secret Probation” for Antisemitism

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Fact check:  As of 1:09 pm EDT PewDiePie original content is still on YouTube Red Premium subscription service.  PewDiePie show is also being promoted on the YouTube red original content home page.

If you read the headlines may think that Google has actually severed relations with their biggest video star PewDiePie for making at least 9 antisemitic videos.  Not true.  This seems to be some sort of bullshit “double secret probation” type punishment.  As the Wall Street Journal accurately reports:

YouTube hasn’t removed any of the videos because it determined they don’t violate its community guidelines, which have a higher bar for removal than its rules for advertiser-friendly content, according to a person familiar with the matter.

and…

Mr. Kjellberg will be able to post videos to his channel and earn revenue from ads sold before his videos play, but those ads will only be sold through an automated ad auction that generally fetches lower prices than the preferred program.

But as it turns out PewDiePie show is still live on the YouTube Red premium subscription channel, which must involve some sort of money (hence the term “subscription). Further YouTube appears to still slinging ads on PewDiePie’s YouTube channel.  Double Secret Probation in deed.

 

 

Should Artists Tell Labels to Pull Their Videos? YouTube Continues Ties With PewDiePie Even After “Death To All Jews” Video

pewdiepie death to jews

Disney severs ties, but YouTube continues to host support and promote PewDiePie’s Videos on YouTube and the subscription YouTube Red service. 

While much has been made of the Disney severing its relationship with YouTube star PewDiePie after his series of what most are calling anti-Semitic videos, few have said anything about the fact that YouTube seems to be  standing strong with their biggest star PewDiePie.  (Stock analysts take note,  this is why YouTube will always be an also-ran when it comes to lucrative video advertising.)

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YouTube continues to promote its YouTube red original content from PewDiePie.  (UPDATE Screenshot was taken on Feb 14 2017 at  8:21 AM GMT, YouTube now claims to have “dropped” PewDiePie from YouTube, but this  is clearly not true.  This video and channel is still live, and still on YouTube Red Premium Subscription.  )  While some are characterizing PewDiePie’s videos as tasteless and hurtful trolling, clearly the videos go well beyond that.  But don’t just take my word for it, just ask Andrew Anglin at the American Nazi website The Daily Stormer. He declared the Daily Stormer  “The worlds #1 PewDiePie fansite after PewDiePie’s series of anti-semetic videos (below).

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I suppose everyone makes mistakes.  But this isn’t a one time thing with YouTube. There is a pattern here.    For nearly 4 years The Trichordist has been documenting YouTube’s Hate Rock/Nazi videos advertising problem.   Imagine if VHI kept running anti-semitic and hate rock videos to sell advertising.  Who would want to do business with them?

As artists we could be excused for being somewhat ambivalent when it seemed the problem was a  “user generated hate” problem.   But PewDiePie has a deal to produce exclusive content for YouTube!  WTF?  These videos were produced with the backing of Disney and YouTube.  This is NOT UGC. At least Disney severed ties with PewDiePie.  YouTube has not. This is simply inexcusable.

So why do labels and artist continue to support the YouTube platform? Individual artists can’t take down their videos down but labels can.  Artists should tell their labels they don’t want to do business with a platform that hosts and monetizes anti-semitism and hate rock (Ed note: And ISIS recruitment videos!!).

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We’ve been on this for 4 years.  No one in the music industry has been listening.  Why?  Are labels too scared to stand up to YouTube?  Too scared to stand up to hate and anti-semitism? I urge all artists and labels to review our coverage:

November 7 2013

The Trichordist asks YouTube Music Award Guest Stars to ask YouTube to stop hosting and serving ads on hate rock videos and rape playlists.

https://thetrichordist.com/2013/11/07/ytma-artists-can-help-clean-up-youtube-an-open-letter-to-jason-schwartzman-lady-gaga-spike-jonze-m-i-a-arcade-fire-and-macklemore/

April 15 2014

In the wake of the Jewish Community Center Shootings:

https://thetrichordist.com/2014/04/15/youtube-still-serving-ads-on-hate-rock-videos/

November 14 2014

YouTube launches subscription service without dealing with Hate Rock problem.

Will The New YouTube Streaming Service Feature All the Hate Rock Currently Featured On YouTube?

November 17 2014

We made the same point to artists and labels in 2014.  They failed to act. Frankly this is when I gave up for a while cause I came to the realization that artists and labels are essentially quislings.

Do You Want Your Music Alongside Hate Rock Songs? Artist Face YouTube Music Dilemma.

July 16 2015

Much press about Reddit, racist and violent misogynist sub-reddits but the same stuff can be found on YouTube.

Advertisers: How is YouTube Any Different Than Reddit?

 

 

Songwriters File Motion to Proceed in Constitutional Lawsuit Against DOJ on 100% Licensing

Incoming Trump Administration DOJ officials have to deal with the mess that revolving door Silicon Valley lawyers left over at the antitrust division:  A constitutional challenge to the 100% licensing rule forced on songwriters, and all those damn feral cats that Litigation Section III was feeding. According to career staff at DOJ ATR LIT SECT III cat nicknames (from front to back): Google, Public Knowledge, Mic-Coalition, NAB,  Spotify, Pandora, American Restaurant Association, Darth Vader, Satan, Johanna Shelton, and Snookums. 

The most important fight for songwriters is proceeding. SONA (Songwriters of North America)  has responded to the DOJ motion to dismiss, with a motion to proceed.

As reported by Billboard:

“No one knows whether the Department of Justice under the Trump administration will alter its approach to the antitrust consent decrees that essentially regulate the collection societies ASCAP and BMI, but the legal fight against the Justice Department’s June 2016 decision on “100 percent licensing” is proceeding.”

Read more here

The importance of the constitutional arguments can not be overstated. The results of this lawsuit will be very important to everyone, not just songwriters.  The lawsuit challenges the DOJ regulations specifically for violation of the 5th amendment on “takings.” But other important issues are at stake. For instance the DOJ essentially used a “time machine” to make an end run around already existing private contracts (“the consent decrees always required  100% licensing, this is just a clarification” ). This would seem to violate constitutional prohibitions against laws or rule making that makes previously legal activity illegal after the fact.  The DOJ also appears to have violated the Administrative Procedures Act when they enacted this new rule. And never mind that no one can seem to figure out when songwriters not-yet-born  (“temporary” ASCAP consent decree dates from 1941)  got their due process!