Artists Rights Watch – Monday Feb 25, 2013

A Weekly Review of Artists Rights, Copyright and Technology News for Creators from Around The Web.

* For Music Industry, a Story of Two Googles

…as long as the search side of Google causes friction with the music industry, its other side — the one that is trying to compete with Apple, Amazon and every other digital music service out there — will face some rough patches.

* New tune at SF MusicTech Summit

The freewheeling era of file sharing, it appears, is slowly coming to a close as artists begin to assert their rights and tech companies consider business alliances with the creators they once flagrantly ignored.

“Here we are, stuck with all these people who want music for free,” said Dave Allen, founding member of Gang of Four and interactive strategist at the branding agency North. “We have to find a way for musicians to make a living.”

* SF MusicTech: Dead Kennedys’ East Bay Ray Lashes Out at Internet “Pimps”

“There’s opportunists on the Internet that have taken advantage of the artists,” he said, at one point calling them “pimps.” The slim royalties from streaming services, coupled with the proliferation of free MP3s online, meant the music industry was “selling a free ride on a carnival horse, but they’re starving the carnival horse.”

* Recap SF Music Tech Summit XII 2013

* Content economics, part 1: advertising

TV is still the monster, the elephant: for all the talk of cord-cutting, Americans have clearly voted that, given the choice, they’d much rather have cable TV than broadband internet.

And for web-based publishers, the situation is much, much worse even than this chart makes it look.

* The Misplaced Zeal of Aaron Swartz

The late activist’s efforts helped put power and public sympathy into the hands of corporations at the expense of artists, musicians, and the people.

Past and present facilitators of digital piracy like Napster, Audiogalaxy, Grokster, Megaupload, and The Pirate Bay are not misunderstood beacons of freedom of speech. They are digital black-market distributors who never asked artists’ permission to feature their works or paid creators a penny, and whose owners took money for themselves via venture-capital funding, subscription fees, or advertising revenue.

* The Pirate Bay Is Actually Suing Someone for Trademark Infringement…
* I’m East Bay Ray. And I Think YouTube Has Forced 12,000 Musicians Out of Work…
* Spotify, Pandora & Google Have a New Problem: The New York Times…

* Writing or speaking about streaming music screwing artists? Read these articles first
* Harlem Shake tops Billboard Hot 100 chart thanks to YouTube streams

* Big Music Says Google Isn’t Cracking Down on Pirate Sites, After All

“We have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy.”

* Spotify pushing labels to lower costs, open up free service to phones

Spotify, the popular music subscription service, is due to meet in the coming weeks with its major counterparts in the record industry to renew their licensing agreements. The Verge has learned that managers at Spotify are expected to ask for substantial price breaks from the music labels as well as the rights to extend its free pricing tier to mobile devices.

* Smokey the Bear Fuels Piracy’s Fire?
* Google Wants to Pass the Buck on Piracy, but Keep Theirs?

Any progress in severing piracy’s blood supply is a certainly a good thing BUT for Google to claim the company is working to “block funding” of pirate sites–while simultaneously profiting from them–seems more than a tad disingenuous. What about blocking access to funding via their AdSense accounts on YouTube and Blogger? Why focus on Visa and Mastercard when one’s own house is in such disarray?

* The vine should suffer, not the artist.

* The Limits of Copyright
* Copyright Maximalism

The misapplication tends to be especially apparent in the comments section of TCM, where the strangest things are brought up as examples of what would happen if we let up the good fight against copyright. The fact that they strangely failed to materialise over the 300 years or so that copyright had been in existence prior to 2000 (when it tended to be enforced a good deal better) doesn’t throw those who would put forward such theories.

* Congressman Says He’ll Propose Ban On 3D-Printable Gun Magazines

* Google looks to Cut Funds to Illegal Sites
* Google’s Copyright War Rages On

In private, the creative industries argue that Google’s supposed favoured status began in Number 10.

David Cameron’s former director of strategy, Steve Hilton, is married to Rachel Whetstone, head of communications at Google. It handed Ms Whetstone a “hotline” to Number 10, opponents argue. Although the couple now live in California, that hotline is “still hot”, says one source. “But it doesn’t matter anyway, because the damage is done.”

The close relationship between Number 10 and the top brass at Google’s Mountain View headquarters has become the framework for all subsequent discussion, critics say. It was emblematic when, nearly a year ago, Downing Street was apparently so in tune with Google’s thinking that the company’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, and the Chancellor, George Osborne, published a joint leader in The Financial Times.

* A Declaration of the Interdependence of Cyberspace

You allege that government has had no role in the Internet, and for this reason it has no claim to the Internet today, but this accusation is founded on nothing more than ignorance and superstition. Government labs and government-funded research programs gave birth to the Internet’s essential technologies, and government policies continue to guide the development of important Internet innovations today.

* Stop pretending cyberspace exists – Treating the Internet as a mythical country makes us dumber

If you’re not convinced by now that the very notion of cyberspace is silly, try substituting “fax” or “telephone” or “telegraph” for “cyber” in words and sentences. The results will be comical. “Activists denounced government criminal surveillance policies for colonizing Fax Space.” “Should Telephone Space be commercialized?” Again, the point is not that telecommunications should not be structured and governed in the public interest, but rather that the debate about the public interest is not well served by the Land of Oz metaphor.

* ‘Liquid Democrazy’: Pirate Party Sinks amid Chaos and Bickering

The Pirate Party has been too busy tearing itself apart, with members fighting leaders, who are bickering among themselves and antagonizing the members too. In just the last two days, party leaders for the states of Baden-Württemberg and Brandenburg have stepped down, citing the negative climate. “The atmosphere is so poisonous, there’s hardly any constructive work taking place anymore,” says Udo Vetter

* Former File-Sharing Site Admin Fined 6.4 Million Euros
* Google Refuses to Index Huge Streaming Movie Portal Homepage

* US to crack down on intellectual property theft

The 141-page document refers to China at least 188 times. Russia is mentioned 45 times, and India is also mentioned.Those cases cited mostly involved employees stealing trade secrets on the job rather than cyber-attacks. US corporate victims of the theft included General Motors, Ford, DuPont, Dow Chemical, Motorola, Boeing and Cargill.


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 : Be The Change, Send A Letter! July 25th Deadline

Here is something every artist, musician and creator can easily contribute to.

Our U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel has asked for your assistance to, “Help Us Shape Our Strategy for Intellectual Property Enforcement.”

DEADLINE For Comments : Wed July 25, 2012 @ 5Pm EDT 

Here is the Direct Link to Post Your Comment:!submitComment;D=OMB-2012-0004-0002

Read more here:

Example Comment as Submitted by East Bay Ray:

Stop Easy Money to Unethical Businesses

I am an independent musician, my band Dead Kennedys earned a Gold Record while being independent our whole career. But those days are gone, the reality is that internet businessmen now make more money off of our music than we do. And they do it because of a loophole in the current copyright law, a law that is supposed to protect artists from greedy businessmen. It’s analogous to a pawn shop allowing stolen merchandise to be sold and then using the excuse “I didn’t know it was stolen.” (They make money by selling advertising on the internet pawn shop walls.)

The current internet business model:
1. Gather music, video, art, etc files from around the internet
2. Host them on a website
3. Slather them in advertising
4. If someone claims copyright infringement, throw your hands up in
the air and exclaim “It was our users who uploaded your music! We had nothing to do with it! We’re innocent!”
5. Cash six figure advertising checks from other artist’s stolen creations

The reality is that the current DMCA take down notice system does not work.

A solution is that the same technology that websites like Google and Facebook use to track and sell people’s information to advertisers could be used to track and stop payments to sites that make money from distributing illegal files; and to stop search engines from generating advertising income from the search traffic to those illegal sites. Not anything more than what a pawnshop is required to do.

And business websites should be required to show their agreements that they have the right to post and distribute other people’s files for profit to credit systems like Visa, Mastercard, Paypal etc before they are allowed an account.

The distinction needs to be clear that there is a profound moral and legal difference between sharing something with a friend and distributing, without permission, other people’s files for commercial gain.

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