Why Spotify is NOT the Enemy of Artists, and Who Is…

Spotify has been taking a beating in the press lately and we understand why. We have offered our own criticisms which mostly revolve around royalty rates and transparency. But we’ve also stated that Spotify is a symptom of a much larger disease of illegally operating, infringing businesses who make millions individually and billions collectively while paying absolutely zero to artists and rights holders.

As much as we disagree with Spotify over their rates and PR spin on several issues, we also recognize that they are legal, licensed and pay out royalties as they have been negotiated. Artists are able to opt out of Spotify individually (and also if their label permits).  It is for these reasons that Spotify are NOT the enemy.

However this begs the question, if Spotify are not the enemy, who is? Well, as we stated above it is the massively deceptive Ad Tech businesses who have been financing mainstream music piracy for over a decade. This is the Silicon Valley internet tech lobby (lead by Google) who seek to dismantle and destroy copyright protection for individual creators.

Yes, we hear a lot of lip service about how these people say they are really pro-copyright and pro-artist, but when every meaningful action and suggestion is to the contrary of protection and compensation of the artists work and labor it all rings a bit hollow. We now know after a decade plus of internet/tech snake oil salesmen there is no magic bullet and that “touring and t-shirts” is an admission of the failure of these online businesses to provide sustainable earnings for creators.

Piracy is NOT Promotion

Exploitation is NOT Innovation

In our ongoing “Exploited By…” series of posts we illustrate how major Fortune 500 companies, represented by Madison Avenue Advertising Agencies have been, and continue to finance the destruction of the creative community.

So we say this…

Let us focus first on the many who pay nothing at all to musicians while pocketing 100% of the Profit. Let us focus our energies on the illegally operating companies and corporations who have made infringement for profit their business model.

We are encouraged to see Spotify also take up this mutually beneficial fight against those companies and business who have so greatly devalued the work of musicians as well as impeding the growth potential of legal and licensed companies to create sustainable models for all stakeholders.

Will Page a Spotify spokesperson had this to say in The Register UK:

“Copyright infringing websites are big businesses … 2/3 of piracy sites have advertising, and 1/3 also include credit card logons. This competition is real: consider how ad pricing is distorted by those unlicensed sites who offer more scale and no content costs.”

This is the first step towards making real change that will remove the bad actors from the marketplace and move towards a sustainable ecosystem for all legal and licensed stakeholders.

We’ve commented before that we believe that Spotify is unsustainable at current rates. It is also worth noting that Spotify pays significantly MORE than YouTube, a business that was founded and built on the premise of infringement for profit. Although YouTube and Google have made improvements in their services for rights management they still fundamentally devalue the work of artists hiding behind the DMCA.  Google and YouTube also continue to create and distribute anti-copyright and anti-artist propaganda asserting that any “remix” of an artists work is “fair use.” It is not.

In the end Spotify needs to increase it’s revenue per stream so it can increase it’s royalties per stream to be sustainable for artists. The number one way to do this is to capture the millions or even billions in advertising revenue that are financing illegally operating and infringing businesses that pay artists nothing.

In closing, the enemy is not so much those who pay so little offering artists both consent and compensation, but more so those who are paying nothing at all and deny the artists consent.

Exhibit A:

Lou Reed Exploited By American Express, AT&T, Chevorlet, Chili’s, Lysol, Pottery Barn, Vons, Domino’s Pizza, Netflix, Galaxy Nexus and Ron Jeremy!

BitTorrent, “Not Designed For Piracy”… Really? Seriously? 99% Infringing…

Bit Torrent creator Bram Cohen is either one of the most misinformed people on earth, or one of the most intellectually dishonest… and here’s why… Remember this one?

BitTorrent: Bram Cohen Says ‘I commit digital piracy’?

I build systems to disseminate information, commit digital piracy, synthesize drugs, maintain untrusted contacts, purchase anonymously, and secure machines and homes. I release my code and writings freely, and publish all of my ideas early to make them unpatentable.

Uhmmmm…. So why this is surprising?

Only 0.3% of files on BitTorrent confirmed to be legal | Ars Technica

This report echoes similar results out of Princeton that were published earlier this year. Though the top categories were slightly different—Princeton found that movies and TV were the most popular, while music fell behind games/software, pornography, and unclassifiable files—that study found that all of the movie, TV, and music content being shared was indeed infringing.

Overall, Princeton said that 99 percent of the content on BitTorrent was illegal.

Oh and that Princeton Study…

BitTorrent census: about 99% of files copyright infringing | Ars Technica

It has never been a secret that the majority of files being shared over BitTorrent are movies and music that are likely being shared illegally.

But wait there’s more…

Census of Files Available via BitTorrent

Overall, we classified ten of the 1021 files, or approximately 1%, as likely non-infringing, This result should be interpreted with caution, as we may have missed some non-infringing files, and our sample is of files available, not files actually downloaded.

Still, the result suggests strongly that copyright infringement is widespread among BitTorrent users.

Fast forward to 2012…

Keen On… Bram Cohen: Has BitTorrent Killed The Music Industry?

His denial was categorical. Not only did Bram deny any role in shrinking the sale of recorded music, but he actually disputed that the music industry is in decline, claiming “data” showed it to be in a quite healthy state.

Well Bram, you might want to look at this, and this

and… as another #SFMusicTech begins BitTorrent is one of the lead sponsors… To be fair, SFMusicTech get’s to run it’s event and do business with whom it chooses. Unfortunately musicians are not given the same choice of having their work “torrented.” So how about a little honesty?

This conversation is really just about consent and compensation. Two very simple fundamental principles that pretty much everyone can agree are the foundations of not just ethical business practices, but also the basis for a fair and just society.


Music Tech Policy explores the question, “Can 5 Billion Ads Served a Month Be Wrong”:
MTP : BitTorrent Profits from Piracy By Serving Ads To UTorrent Client

IsoHunt Court Ruling Notes “Ad Sponsored Piracy”: Exploitation is not Innovation

The 9th Circuit delivers a substantial win for creators in its IsoHunt ruling, as The Copyright Alliance notes in it’s summary which quotes this from the court directly,

“Fung promoted advertising by pointing to infringing activity; obtained advertising revenue that depended on the number of visitors to his sites; attracted primarily visitors who were seeking to engage in infringing activity, as that is mostly what occurred on his sites; and encouraged that infringing activity. Given this confluence of circumstances, Fung’s revenue stream was tied directly to the infringing activity involving his websites, both as to his ability to attract advertisers and as to the amount of revenue he received.”

It would appear that the motives of these for profit businesses are being seen for what they are, nothing more than than the blatant exploitation of artists and creators. It should be recognized that this practice is not unknown within the online advertising/tech business either, as reported by Jack Marshall’s post titled “Why is Ad Tech Still Funding Piracy?” in DigiDay,

Visit the top torrent search engines, and you’ll find ad calls from Yahoo, Google, Turn, Zedo, RocketFuel, AdRoll, CPX Interactive and others. These sites exist to connect people with illegal downloads of intellectual property, a practice that’s estimated to cost the U.S. economy $20 billion in the movie industry alone. No matter your feelings about U.S. copyright laws, they are laws, and there’s no doubt these sites facilitate illegal behavior, even if they don’t house the content themselves. The oxygen that sustains many of these sites is advertising, delivered by the vast archipelago of the ad tech industry.

According to AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley, it’s an easy problem to fix, but ad companies are attracted by the revenue torrent sites can generate for them. Kelley said his company refuses to serve ads to torrent sites and other sites facilitating the distribution of pirated content. It’s easy to do technically, he said, but others refuse to do it.

“We want everyone to technically stop their customers from advertising on these sites, but there’s a financial incentive to keep doing so,” he said. “Companies that aren’t taking a stand against this are making a lot of money.”

If you want to see more examples of Ad Sponsored Piracy in action, see our post, “Over 50 Major Brands Supporting Music Piracy, It’s Big Business!” Mainstream awareness of the subject has been growing due in part  by the work being done by the Annenberg Innovation Lab which has been reported in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times earlier this year. And The Wall Street Journal also reported on the role of advertising in its reporting of wider ranging issues facing creators battling online piracy,

Another focus is online-ad networks, which media companies say help finance piracy by placing ads on sites that traffic in unauthorized content. A study last summer, commissioned in part by Google, found that 86% of peer-to-peer sharing sites are dependent on advertising for income.

As more awareness builds, the truth becomes plain to see and painfully obvious. Unfortunately there are still those in the tech blogosphere who like to defend businesses exploiting artists and claiming that this is a non-issue making statements like, “internet display ads pay next to nothing.” This remark seems to be a direct contradiction with the statement by the very knowledgeable AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley, who above stated, “Companies that aren’t taking a stand against this are making a lot of money.”

Bottom Line: Exploitation is not Innovation.

The Wall Street Journal Reports on Ad Sponsored Piracy – Mainstream News Outlets Acknowledge Major Problem Effecting Artists And Creators

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal added it’s voice to mainstream news outlets such as The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times reporting on major brand funded ad sponsored piracy.

Another focus is online-ad networks, which media companies say help finance piracy by placing ads on sites that traffic in unauthorized content. A study last summer, commissioned in part by Google, found that 86% of peer-to-peer sharing sites are dependent on advertising for income.

NBC’s special unit said it recently discovered advertisements for Blockbuster and the U.S. Forest Service on cyberlockers that had trafficked in its content without permission. The ads had been supplied through Google’s AdSense, which places ads related to keywords.

Blockbuster said it had “policies and controls” to stop improper ad placement, but called it an “ongoing challenge.” The Ad Council, which handles ads for the Forest Service, said any time its ads ran on questionable sites, it requested that they be taken down immediately.

After a request from NBC, Google removed the ads, said NBC Universal’s Mr. Cotton.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the ads but said that, as a policy, AdSense ads aren’t supposed to be displayed on sites that contain or link to copyright-infringing content. She noted that the company disables “thousands of accounts proactively, as well as at the result of requests.”

Read more here : WSJ – As Pirates Run Rampant, TV Studios Dial Up Pursuit

Petition to Stop Advertising on Pirate Sites

Please sign the letter in the link below to the CEOs of brands that appear on multiple occasions on infringing sites. Ask them to take a pledge to keep their ads off of illegal sites. Keep in mind that this list is not a comprehensive list of brands that appear on pirate sites.

Click Here : Please Sign The Petition to Stop Advertising on Pirate Sites

An Open Letter to the CEOs of Brands Advertising on Infringing Sites:

We, the undersigned, are just a few of the millions of artists and creators living, working, and creating across the United States. It has come to our attention that your companies are advertising on websites that illegally host or distribute creative content. We want to make you aware of the harm your companies do to independent artists and small businesses when you advertise on these sites.

Advertising on these sites encourages others to exploit our work for economic gain without a return to us. It deprives us of the opportunity to build communities with fans when they visit illegal sites to obtain our work, rather than our sites. It also gives consumers a false sense of security by lending an air of legitimacy to these sites. And, it rewards activities that are illegal.

Advertising on these sites also damages your own brands by association.

We understand that it can be difficult to know where your companies’ ads might end up because of the complexity of online advertising. However, difficult does not mean impossible. It appears that other companies make ad buys in ways that don’t result in their brands being tarnished and our work being exploited.

We ask you to encourage your companies to do the same.

You are in the best position to employ high-quality control standards and to demand the same from the ad networks you use. We encourage your companies to uphold high ethical standards for advertising placement, just as you do in other areas of business.

Please ask your online advertising purchasers to adopt practices like those detailed in the Statement of Best Practices to Address Online Piracy and Counterfeiting, released last year by the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The practices outlined here, if adopted by major companies like yours, would go a long way towards ensuring a free and fair online marketplace for artists and creators to thrive. A report released by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab on February 14, 2013, under the direction of Jonathan Taplin, has identified the top ten Ad Networks placing ads on infringing sites. And, according to research and documentation by artists working in tandem with this project, your companies have been identified as brands that repeatedly advertise on infringing websites.

Now that this issue has been brought to your attention, we hope that you will take affirmative steps to address this problem.

Hypebot Have No Defense of Ad Supported Piracy So They Resort To Name-Calling.

East Bay Ray of The Dead Kennedys  and I had an informal bet going.  Well maybe not a bet,  just a sort of prediction that once Ray spoke against ad supported piracy at SF Music Tech,  the music tech bloggers would start with the usual name calling. 
 Sure enough right on cue we see Bruce Houghton’s Hypebot giving Mike Masnick (see the “Google Shill List”) a platform to bash Ray and other  artists. “Whining” “Old” “Grumpy” and “Rant” were some of the unfair and unbalanced terms  that Ray and I predicted they would use in the de rigueur  postSF Music Tech cyber bullying. And they did.
This is pretty sad since ending ad supported piracy is a no-brainereven Google and Yahoo! fall over themselves to try to explain their unexplainable connection (see USC Annenberg Innovation Lab report).   Both artists and the legitimate music tech firms are negatively affected by ad supported piracy.  For instance legitimate music streaming services have to compete against these same unlicensed services for ad revenue.   Why the music tech space bloggers fail to grasp this is a mystery.
Bruce Houghton also owns the talent agency  Skyline Agency.   This agency tends to have a lot of “Old” and “Grumpy” artists that would probably go on a “Rant” if they were to see that their agency head is tacitly defending this practice.  So we prepared a few screenshots.  
Any comment Bruce?  Do you think that this practice is acceptable?  How do our “future” music models like streaming compete with the  guys that don’t pay any royalties to artists?   We’re all ears. 

Pure Prairie League piracy brought to you by BMW.

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Al Stewart By Celestion and zZounds.

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The Smithereens By Priceline

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Grand Funk Railroad By Banana Republic, Amazon and others. 

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Artists Rights Watch – Sunday Feb 3, 2013

Grab the coffee!

Recent Posts:
* Over 50 Major Brands Supporting Music Piracy, It’s Big Business!
* @pepsi and @beyonce @superbowl Ads Supporting Pirate Lyrics Site That Exploits Adele and Skyfall
* Derek Khanna is Wrong: Copyleft Mystery Man’s Misleading Memo Creates its Own Myths…
* It’s Not Whack A Mole if You Own the Mole: New York Times Coverage of Brand Sponsored Piracy
* Zero Dark Thirty, Best Picture Academy Award Nominee, Exploited by AT&T, Verizon, MetroPCS, Nissan, H&R Block, British Airways, Progresso, and more…
* #StopArtistExploitation – Tweet Daily for Artists Rights!
* Underreporting and No Accountability: Another Reason Streaming Royalties are So Small
* Internet Pay To Play: Payola’s Revenge – Guest Post by Robert Rial of Bakelite78

From Around The Web

* YouTube Stars Fight Back

“I woke up today hoping to make a video, but I went into a call with Machinima this evening and they said that my contract is completely enforceable. I can’t get out of it,” Vacas tells the camera. “They said I am with them for the rest of my life — that I am with them forever.

“If I’m locked down to Machinima for the rest of my life and I’ve got no freedom, then I don’t want to make videos anymore,” he says quietly.

The screen fades to black.

* Playing Whac-a-Mole With Piracy Sites
* As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle

Spotify, Pandora and others like them pay fractions of a cent to record companies and publishers each time a song is played, some portion of which goes to performers and songwriters as royalties. Unlike the royalties from a sale, these payments accrue every time a listener clicks on a song, year after year.

The question dogging the music industry is whether these micropayments can add up to anything substantial.

“No artist will be able to survive to be professionals except those who have a significant live business, and that’s very few,” said Hartwig Masuch, chief executive of BMG Rights Management.

* Online pirating: sponsored by many brands, and now, one government.

* How Jobs In The Media Industry Got Demolished In The Last 10 Years [Charts]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has put together a presentation on the recent history and direction of media jobs. It’s not pretty.

* Piracy, Free Books, etc

* Does Piracy Hurt Digital Content Sales? Yes

* Photographers find support in House of Lords in copyright fight

* Ray Charles’ Children Win Lawsuit Over Song Rights Termination

* TOOL Frontman Sounds Off On Illegal Downloading, Music Industry And Digital Distribution

“There’s a disconnect between people not buying music and not understanding why [bands] go away. There are people who are like monkeys in a cage just hitting the coke button. They don’t really get that for [musicians and artists] to do these things, they have to fund them. They have to have something to pay the rent.”

* New Spotlight on Piracy Profitmongers

* Think File Sharing is Sticking it to The Man? Really?
* On Being a Luddite

* Yes, Piracy Does Cause Economic Harm

Decisions about business and policy have to be made based on the best information we have available. After a certain point, simply poking holes in studies — particularly those whose results you don’t happen to like — isn’t sufficient.

It may indeed, as the GAO suggested, be impossible to measure the economic effects of piracy with a large amount of accuracy. But if dozens of researchers have tried, all using different methodologies, then their conclusions in the aggregate are the best we’re going to do. Put another way, it will henceforth be very difficult to dislodge Smith and Telang’s conclusion that piracy does economic harm to content creators.

* LATAM pay-TV operators unite against piracy

* Kamal Haasan fans help curb Vishwaroopam online piracy

* Worldwide Independent Network Announces ‘Independent Manifesto’
* Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus Talks Piracy, Pros and Cons of Digital at MIDEM

“I believe that artists should be paid for their creativity. There’s no other industry where people can come in and take what you create for free and give it away for free and that’s acceptable.”

* U2 manager Paul McGuinness: ‘I don’t want to engage in Google-bashing, but…’
* Irving Azoff sticks it to Pandora and StubHub
* Midem 2013: How the Music Industry Manages Innovation

“We are the last fortress against this YouTube situation, and we are fighting hard on that,” he said. “The problem is the fair price, getting statements and getting all the business plans… The biggest problem to solve the YouTube deal is they want a non-disclosure deal, and we are not allowed by Germany law to do with any partners a non-disclosure [deal]. We have to do it open.”

* Pandora Executives Cash Another $3 Million In January…
* Hey Advertisers: You Might Want to Ask VEVO for a Refund…

* Myspace Allegedly Hosting Unlicensed Indie Music, Merlin Prepares Legal Response
* The Most Honest Interview About the Music Industry Ever, Featuring Jacke Conte of Pomplamoose

“YouTube seemed like a really incredible opportunity, but it’s not repeatable. I don’t know how to make it in the music industry. I don’t think anybody really knows how, and I’m unable to repeat what happened to Pomplamoose.”

* 4 New-ish Pro-Copyright Sites To Read

* Laws of Creation: An Examination of Intellectual Property Rights

* Copyright and Innovation? No. Copyright IS innovation.

* New Order’s Peter Hook: Musicians, Journalists Only People Who Don’t Get Paid for Work

Hook expressed astonishment that in the internet economy, consumers act aggrieved if musicians ask to be compensated for their music or if reporters object to having their stories re-purposed by other news organizations without getting credit or cash.

“If you love and respect music, you should pay for it,” Hook said.

* Creators and Consumers Should Cut the Strings

* Russia Wants To Fine Websites For Poor Copyright Takedowns
* University of Illinois Disconnects Pirating Students, Staffer Asked To Leave
* Pirate Bay Founder Could Be Prosecuted For Hacking “Within a Month”

* Music retail giant puts tunes online (Amoeba Archives Project)

* New look at copyright key to digital boom

* Your content is Freely Shared; their Profit is Closely Held

There’s enormous potential in this ‘Your Content, Their Profit’ crowd-sourcing business model, and it’s turned companies like YouTube, Google and Twitter into multi-billion-dollar corporations.

Whether you realize it not, what you post online (your words, your pictures, your pictures of other people, you name it) becomes someone else’s revenue generating opportunity as soon as you post it.

Top social networking sites build into their user agreements and conditions of use the automatic rights to profit from the content that’s posted (or stored or indexed).

* Meet the new Boss, Worse than the Old Boss

* Creators v. Consumers : Restating the Obvious

* Aaron Swartz and “Hactivision”

Zero Dark Thirty, Best Picture Academy Award Nominee, Exploited by AT&T, Verizon, MetroPCS, Nissan, H&R Block, British Airways, Progresso, and more…

We spend most of our time here focused on artists rights as it applies to music and musicians. But we wanted to see if the film industry was having the same challenges as music. We believe in the rights of all creators to consent and compensation for their work (ethical internet principles numbers two and four, respectively).

With the upcoming Academy Awards we wondered if it would be possible to find pirated versions of Zero Dark Thirty. It is  the most talked about film of the year which is nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture. But it could easily be any of the other nominated films, in any of the categories as well. We just picked Zero Dark Thirty. It’s also been widely reported that most of the nominated films have already been pirated and are online.

We were also curious what major brands might be supporting that piracy, and if any of those same brands might have advertising that appears on the broadcast of  The Academy Awards show itself. We would hope the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be able to educate the various brands, advertising agencies and online ad networks about the damage they are doing to the creative community.

What makes this even more frustrating in the case of Zero Dark Thirty is that the film is not even out of theaters yet. At least with music, it is usually (usually…) commercially available before it is pirated.

Here’s what we found within a few minutes, on just two sites…

* AT&T on 4Shared
* AT&T on Pastebin
* British Airways on 4Shared
* H&R Block on 4Shared
* MetroPCS on 4Shared
* Nissan on 4Shared
* Progresso on 4Shared
* Turbo Tax on 4Shared
* Verizon on Pastebin




That’s just a couple sites to download the movie for free. What’s more common amongst film piracy are the faux subscription services that charge annual membership fee’s to stream all of their pirated movies (so much for information wants to be free, but movie want to be paid for…).

Here’s just one example where you can pay on a transactional basis of $.75 to stream the film or between $1.43 or $2.18 to download the film of varying quality.


So much for “Free Culture.” As it turns out there’s probably very little online piracy happening without money changing hands somewhere in the value chain. The money may be in advertising, or it may be in transactional or subscription fees, but one thing is for sure, people are getting paid and not paying the creators.

In the case of the above, and as we also asked did MegaVideo Charge for Streaming Movies the problem here is to address those processing payments such as American Express, Visa, Master Card and the various other banks such as Citi Bank and Wells Fargo (whom have also been seen advertising on pirate sites). At least PayPal is taking responsibility and denying service to pirate sites. That thanks largely to the good work being done by StopFileLockers.

We found a couple of things of interest as well regarding Google’s search. Despite there being (we’re guessing conservatively) literally thousands of DMCA notices to remove the film from search, The Pirate Bay still ranks #3 on the first page of search results! Surely Google as well as everyone else in the world knows the site was found guilty and it’s founders sent to jail. Yet Google has not delisted the site from search in it’s entirety which would be the right thing to do, knowing that the judgement against The Pirate Bay was upheld even by the Supreme Court of Sweden.


Of course a quick scroll down the page and the delisted link removal notices start to appear as follows:

In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org.


Now why exactly is there a need, once a link has been delisted to post a notice to a site that then shows that very same link that had been lawfully delisted from Google search by the DMCA? In the screen shot below are shown just the first forty delisted links, but on that one notice alone there are over three hundred delisted links to pirated copies of Zero Dark Thirty in one way or another.


Make no mistake about it, every one of those previously delisted links is still active on the servers where it originated and it can simply be copied and pasted back into any web browser.

Further more, these links have been delisted due to the fact that most if not all of these infringing sites are not based in the United States and do not conform to United States law and therefore do not comply with the DMCA itself.

Is this all just a cat and mouse game for Google to profit from piracy? Draw your own conclusions.

Over 50 Major Brands Funding Music Piracy, It’s Big Business!

Below is a partial list of over 50 major brands who are advertising on pirate sites and therefore supporting not only music piracy, but also the mainstream piracy of films and every other kind of digitally distributed work. As we’ve stated before the content industries may have the ability to address mass scale, enterprise level, commercial infringement without necessarily requiring any new legislation.

What we find frustrating is that the major content companies and corporations must have existing relationships with these brands as the content and media distribution companies own the television networks (at the very least) that these brands are dependent upon for the mass scale and mainstream promotion of their products and services.

The major content companies as well as their well respected institutions such as The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Oscar’s), The National Association Of Recording Arts and Sciences (The Grammy’s) and The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (The Golden Globes) all host annual award shows where many of these brands are also advertising. Why isn’t it possible to use that opportunity to educate these brands about the damage they are doing to the creative community? In other words, where are the adults?

What is disappointing is that the same people pushing for new legislative solutions could also be leveraging their relationships with the brands and advertising agencies directly to educate them about the seriousness of this problem. The same goes for the banks and payment processors such as American Express, Master Card, Visa and others. At least one company, Paypal has been very proactive in severing it’s ties and services with illegal and infringing sites, we wish more would to the same.

The US Trade Representative’s list of sites in the Notorious Markets List combined with Google’s transparency report for copyright infringement via legitimate DMCA notices to delist links from its search engine provides a very effective list of sites where no advertising should appear as a simple baseline of “best practices”.  (Of course, the Google list does not include YouTube or Blogger.)



Keep in mind the screen shot above only lists the Top 20 sites of the almost 200,000 in total that are receiving DMCA notices for copyright infringement.

Clicking on the name of any of the brands below will take you to a post that contains the screen shot of the ad itself. What is also important to note is what brands are NOT on this list.

Brands like Coke and Pepsi do not seem to appear on pirate sites, and that can’t be an accident anymore than it not being an accident that these other brands do appear on pirate sites. So for that, we applaud Coke and Pepsi for their respect to the creative community.

Who knows, perhaps the content industries should use their might, weight and prestige to create an award for brands who respect the creative community in a public forum that enhances value for the brand by the endorsement of artists, musicians, filmmakers and other creators. Just a thought if anyone is reading…

We might also suggest that the brands on this list think about adopting the Bill of Rights for Online Advertisers by Benjamin Edelman of The Harvard Business School.

Five rights to protect advertisers from increasingly powerful ad networks — avoiding fraudulent charges for services not rendered, guaranteeing data portability so advertisers get the best possible value, and assuring price transparency so advertisers know what they’re buying.

Brand  Pirate Site  Artist
Adobe Files Tube Tom Waits
Adobe Files Tube 30 Seconds To Mars / Jared Leto
Adobe Torrent Reactor Neil Young
Adobe Iso Hunt Neil Young
Adobe Kick Ass Torrents Neil Young
ADT Security 4Shared Tom Waits
Alaska Air Iso Hunt Neil Young
Alaska Air Kick Ass Torrents Neil Young
Alaska Airlines Torrent Reactor U2
Amazon 4Shared U2
American Express 4Shared Adele
American Express Delta Airlines Card Mp3 Twister Black Keys
AT&T Mp3 Twister Black Keys
AT&T 4Shared Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
AT&T Mp3Skull Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
AT&T 4Shared Adele
AT&T mp3 Skull U2
AT&T mp3 Skull John Mellencamp
AT&T Kick Ass Torrents Neil Young
Audi Mp3Skull Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
BMW 4Shared Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
BMW Kick Ass Torrents Tom Waits
Boston Market 4Shared Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Boy Scouts of America Torrent Reactor Neil Young
British Airways Kick Ass Torrents Adele
British Airways Mp3 Crow Adele
Century 21 4Shared U2
Charmin Toilet Paper Iso Hunt Neil Young
Charter Cable mp3 Raid U2
Citi Bank 4Shared Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Citi Bank 4shared John Mellencamp
Cooper Mini (BMW) Files Tube Neil Young
Cox Cable 4Shared John Mellencamp
Crate & Barrel Files Tube U2
Direct TV Kick Ass Torrents Neil Young
Dish Network Mp3 Twister Black Keys
Ebay Kick Ass Torrents Neil Young
Electronic Arts Need for Speed Mp3 bear Neko Case
Emirates Airlines Files Tube 30 Seconds To Mars / Jared Leto
Ferguson Kick Ass Torrents Talib Kweli
Ford Files Tube 30 Seconds To Mars / Jared Leto
Ford Files Tube Neil Young
Go Pro Files Tube 30 Seconds To Mars / Jared Leto
Google Chrome Mp3 Juices Talib Kweli
Hertz Rent A Car 4Shared Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Hewlett Packard Files Tube Neil Young
Hewlett Packard Mp3 Skull U2
Hewlett Packard Files Tube U2
Hewlett Packard Mp3 Skull U2
Hewlett Packard h33t U2
Hilton 4shared Tom Waits
Hyatt 4Shared Tom Waits
Hyundai Mp3Skull Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Jet Blue h33t U2
Kayak h33t U2
Kohler Kick Ass Torrents Talib Kweli
Legal Zoom Iso Hunt Neil Young
Levi’s Mp3 Bear Neko Case
LG Files Tube 30 Seconds To Mars / Jared Leto
LG Files Tube Neil Young
LG Files Tube Tom Waits
M&M’s (Mars) Share Beast Black Keys
Macy’s Mp3 bear Neko Case
Marvel Avengers Alliance Mp3 Bear Neko Case
Mazda Mp3Raid Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Mini Cooper (BMW) Files Tube Tom Waits
Mitt Romeny 4Shared Tom Waits
Movie 43 (Relativity Media) Mp3 Boo Black Keys
Musicians Friend 4Shared Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Nationwide Insurance MediaFire Mp3 Aimee Mann
Neiman Marcus Mp3Skull Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Neiman Marcus Mp3 Juices Talib Kweli
Netflix Mp3 Skull John Mellencamp
Nissan Mp3 Boo Black Keys
Nissan Mp3 Take Adele
Nissan MP3 Ape Adele
Priceline 4Shared Tom Waits
Princess Cruises Files Tube Neil Young
Princess Cruises Mp3 Bear Neko Case
Register.Com Kick Ass Torrents Talib Kweli
Rejuvenation Files Tube U2
Sheraton Hotels mp3 Skull U2
Sheraton Hotels 4Shared U2
Skype Mp3 bear Neko Case
Sprint Torrent Reactor U2
State Farm Insurance Mp3 Crank Tom Waits
State Farm Insurance Torrent Reactor U2
State Farm Insurance Kick Ass Torrents Talib Kweli
State Farm Insurance Torrent Reactor Neil Young
State Farm Insurance Iso Hunt Neil Young
State Farm Insurance Kick Ass Torrents Neil Young
State Farm Insurance Mp3 Skull U2
State Farm Insurance 4Shared John Mellencamp
State Farm Insurance Mp3 Skull U2
Sweetwater 4Shared John Mellencamp
Target Mp3Skull Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Target MP3 Ape Adele
Target Kick Ass Torrents Neil Young
Target Mp3 Crank Tom Waits
Target Files Tube 30 Seconds To Mars / Jared Leto
Tunecore 4Shared John Mellencamp
United Airlines mp3 Bear U2
United Airlines Files Tube U2
United Airlines h33t U2
Urban Outfitters 4Shared Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Urban Outfitters Files Tube Tom Waits
Urban Outfitters mp3 skull U2
Virgin Atlantic IsoHunt Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Visa Mp3 Crank Tom Waits
Volkswagen Files Tube 30 Seconds To Mars / Jared Leto
W Hotels 4Shared John Mellencamp
Weight Watchers 4Shared Tom Waits
Wendy’s Kick Ass Torrents Tom Waits
Westen Hotels Kick Ass Torrents Neil Young
Westin Hotels Kick Ass Torrents Tom Waits
Westin Hotels 4Shared U2
Westin Hotels mp3 Raid U2
Westin Hotels 4Shared John Mellencamp
Williams Sonoma IsoHunt Smashing Pumpkins / Billy Corgan
Yahoo Mp3 Bear Neko Case
Yahoo Dilandau Tom Waits

Remember all change is local, and you vote with dollars. If we don’t take action directly ourselves we can’t really blame others. These brands are paying the pirate sites to give away your music (directly or indirectly). One tweet a day to any of these brands is all it takes to start building awareness.

You, yes you, can make a difference. Which of these brands do you support with your money? Let them know you don’t want your money, that you pay to them, being used to promote online music piracy and artist exploitation.

We’re going to be tweeting a brand a day starting tomorrow. Retweet us if you like.

Here’s a directory of the brands on Twitter. Please feel free to copy/paste this simple suggested tweet to them:

@Brand Stop Supporting Online Music Piracy #StopArtistExploitation http://wp.me/p2hvgt-1xH

@Adobe – https://twitter.com/Adobe

@ADTstaysafe – https://twitter.com/ADTstaysafe

@AlaskaAir – https://twitter.com/AlaskaAir

@amazon – https://twitter.com/amazon

@AmericanExpress – https://twitter.com/AmericanExpress

@ATT – https://twitter.com/ATT

@Audi – https://twitter.com/Audi

@BMWUSA  – https://twitter.com/BMWUSA

@bostonmarket – https://twitter.com/bostonmarket

@boyscouts – https://twitter.com/boyscouts

@British_Airways – https://twitter.com/British_Airways

@CENTURY21 – https://twitter.com/CENTURY21

@CharterCom – https://twitter.com/CharterCom

@Citibank – https://twitter.com/Citibank

@MINIUSA – https://twitter.com/MINIUSA

@CoxComm – https://twitter.com/CoxComm

@CrateandBarrel – https://twitter.com/CrateandBarrel

@DirecttTv – https://twitter.com/DirecttTv

@DishSatellite  – https://twitter.com/DishSatellite

@eBay – https://twitter.com/eBay

@EA – https://twitter.com/EA

@Air_Emirates – https://twitter.com/Air_Emirates

@FergusonShowrms – https://twitter.com/FergusonShowrms

@Ford – https://twitter.com/Ford

@GoPro – https://twitter.com/GoPro

@googlechrome – https://twitter.com/googlechrome

@HertzCWB – https://twitter.com/HertzCWB

@HP – https://twitter.com/HP

@HiltonHotels – https://twitter.com/HiltonHotels

@HyattPR – https://twitter.com/HyattPR

@Hyundai – https://twitter.com/Hyundai

@JetBlueAirlines – https://twitter.com/JetBlueAirlines

@KAYAK – https://twitter.com/KAYAK

@Kohler – https://twitter.com/Kohler

@LegalZoom – https://twitter.com/LegalZoom

@LGUS – https://twitter.com/LGUS

@MyMMscom – https://twitter.com/MyMMscom

@Macys – https://twitter.com/Macys

@_MarvelAvengers – https://twitter.com/_MarvelAvengers

@MazdaUSA – https://twitter.com/MazdaUSA

@musiciansfriend – https://twitter.com/musiciansfriend

@Nationwide – https://twitter.com/Nationwide

@neimanmarcus – https://twitter.com/neimanmarcus

@netflix – https://twitter.com/netflix

@NissanUSA – https://twitter.com/NissanUSA

@priceline – https://twitter.com/priceline

@PrincessCruises – https://twitter.com/PrincessCruises

@Register_com – https://twitter.com/Register_com

@RejuvenationInc – https://twitter.com/RejuvenationInc

@Sheraton_Hotels – https://twitter.com/Sheraton_Hotels

@Skype – https://twitter.com/Skype

@sprint – https://twitter.com/sprint

@StateFarm – https://twitter.com/StateFarm

@SweetwaterSound – https://twitter.com/SweetwaterSound

@Target – https://twitter.com/Target

@TuneCore – https://twitter.com/TuneCore

@UNITED_AlRLINES – https://twitter.com/UNITED_AlRLINES

@UrbanOutfitters – https://twitter.com/UrbanOutfitters

@VirginAtlantic – https://twitter.com/VirginAtlantic

@Visa – https://twitter.com/Visa

@VW – https://twitter.com/VW

@WHotels – https://twitter.com/WHotels

@WeightWatchers – https://twitter.com/WeightWatchers

@Wendys- https://twitter.com/Wendys

@Westin – https://twitter.com/Westin

@WilliamsSonoma – https://twitter.com/WilliamsSonoma

@Yahoo – https://twitter.com/Yahoo

Golden Globe Winner Adele Exploited by American Express, AT&T, British Airways, Target and Nissan

On Sunday January 13th, Adele won the Golden Globe for the Best Song In a Motion Picture for her song “Skyfall” in the latest James Bond film of the same name. So we thought we’d take a look and see which brands are advertising on both the Golden Globes Awards Show and also on the pirate sites giving away the song that had just won the award.

It’s interesting to note who doesn’t show up on pirate sites as well. For example we’ve seen no ads by L’Oreal (as yet) on pirate sites. L’Oreal had a very strong presence running ads during the Golden Globes, as did Target (who unfortunately also shows up frequently on pirate sites).

Here’s what we found in just a few minutes… this is like shooting fish in a barrel. Who will advertise on the Academy Awards and Grammys who is also funding piracy? We wonder…







British Airways is interesting in this batch. Adele is British. James Bond is British. Have to wonder how smart these ad networks are getting in their targeting of consumers based on interests and other relational values.