At SXSW in 2012 Billy Corgan shared his thoughts about the music business from his perspective, including his thoughts that you can’t really make money in the music business anymore. Billy is probably right that musicians can’t really make money in the music business anymore, but it appears there is plenty of money being made by internet sites dedicated to infringement as well as the ad networks and payment processors who allow the sites to profit from the musicians work.
Surely these advertisements are not appearing without being paid for, and there actually is money is being paid to finance and support the operation of major piracy sites (as reported by Google’s own transparency report). What’s worse is that the money financing these major piracy sites ripping off artists and creators are being paid by well know major consumer brands and corporations. See below…
Citi Bank – 4Shared
AT&T – 4Shared
AT&T – Mp3Skull
Target – Mp3Skull
Virgin Atlantic – IsoHunt
Mazda – Mp3Raid
Neiman Marcus – Mp3Skull
Hyundai – Mp3Skull
Musicians Friend – 4Shared
Hertz Rent A Car – 4Shared
BMW – 4Shared
Audi – Mp3Skull
Boston Market – 4Shared
Urban Outfitters – 4Shared
Williams Sonoma – IsoHunt
Remember the bad old days of the music business of yore? When sleazy cigar chomping gangsters would give an old bluesman $20 for a song? Later when that song became a hit, the old bluesman discovered that he had signed away all his rights to that song for 20 bucks. And the gangsters kept all that cash that rolled in.
Well the new guys are much worse. These cigar chomping Vladmirs don’t even bother giving the bluesman the 20 bucks. They take the old bluesman’s songs without permission, slather them in ads, and charge for faster downloads. If the artists complain about this, they are shouted down by Vladmir’s useful idiots at foundations like the EFF or glassy-eyed digital utopians from Berkeley* and Harvard. “Censorship” and “Freedom” they shout. Nevermind that many of the websites they are protecting are based in countries like Belarus and Russia. Not exactly paragons of democracy and freedom.
And what about the brands that advertise on these sites and the ad networks that put the ads there, and the payment processors who process the money for them? These guys are no different than the bankers and money launderers that enable the cartels.
This is bullshit right? Cause every single one of these companies advertising here, their advertising agencies and the ad networks have either “corporate responsibility” initiatives or grandiose statements of best and ethical practices. And here they are making a mockery of all that right here for all the world to see.
Plus it’s against the law.
What do you have to say BMW, Mitt Romney, Adobe, Cadillac, LG, Target, Visa, Wendy’s, Westin, Priceline, Weight Watchers, Hyatt, Hilton, Yahoo, Urban Outfitters and University of Phoenix?
(According to Google, the websites in this screenshot — filestube, 4shared,Kat.ph and Dilandau — are the #1, #6, #11, and #8 top copyright infringing sites in the world.)
(*Berkeley runs the aptly named http://www.chillingeffects.org that is dedicated to posting the names of everyone that files DMCA “takedown” notices of copyright infringing links. You read that right, the birthplace of the free speech movement runs a site that basically punishes, er, publishes the name and address of the little guy that attempts to protect his/her freedom of expression. Intimidation pure and simple. You can write the Chancellor of Berkeley here: chancellor<AT>Berkeley.edu)
Here’s yer Bandido’s…
* BMW on Kick Ass Torrents * Mitt Romney, ADT Security on 4Shared * Adobe, Mini Cooper on FilesTube * Cadillac on FilesTube * LG on FilesTube * Target on Mp3Crank * VISA, State Farm on Mp3 Crank * Wendy’s on Kick Ass Torrents * Westin on Kick Ass Torrents * Priceline, Weight Watchers on 4Shared * Hyatt on 4Shared * Weight Watchers, Hilton on 4Shared * Yahoo on Dilandau * Urban Outfitters on FilesTube
In our ongoing series the Wall of Shame showing advertising by major brands appearing on sites hosting unlicensed music and illegally exploiting the rights of artists, this one really spoke to us.
BMW advertising appears on the site mp3crank for the unlicensed album download of the critically acclaimed “Drive” Soundtrack. Given that BMW is the maker of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” this really make us wonder about the sophistication of context based advertising. As such, the DMCA protection for dumb pipes would seem to not apply in this circumstance. Of course it completely makes sense to us why BMW would want to associate itself with an album of music that has entered the pop culture zeitgeist with references coming recently from the front page of the LA Times and in the season premier of the TV show Workaholics.
But we also wonder if the brand and/or its ad agency (or its online advertising affiliates) know that they are supporting the systematic exploitation of artists and creators. It would seem in very poor taste for such a highly respected luxury automobile maker as BMW to do so.
As a point of interest it should be noted that most of the artists on this album are themselves independent or signed to small indie labels. These are not “millionaire rock stars” being exploited. They are regular, hard working musicians who caught a lucky break. That break unfortunately is not for the profit of the artists, but rather this site who is contributing nothing to the artists themselves.
So how does this happen?
Who from these brands is responsible for making sure their ads don’t end up in the wrong places?
Is there any accountability at all with online ad networks?
And here’s where it gets even weirder. The link to the site above was delisted from Google by the UK’s BPI. We assume they would have also issued a take down notice to mp3crank as well, if the site had a take down policy provision (it appears they don’t).
However the link reappears when Google forwards the DMCA notice to Chilling Effects, which itself then requires a DMCA notice to take down the report of the original DMCA notice. Kinda defeats the purpose of having the link delisted in the first place, huh? (And notice that Chilling Effects has not registered a DMCA agent, so they may not even qualify for the safe harbor in the first place.)
Artists, ask BMW to stop propping up unlicensed businesses that are illegally exploiting creators! Here’s how you can contact BMW to ask them to stop exploiting artists, include the link to this post in your email.
BMW GROUP CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS – NORTH AMERICA
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