The case against Kim Dotcom, finally revealed | Ars Technica

Feds lay it all out: Megaupload made $150+ million, and Dotcom must stand trial.

The government’s 191-page “Summary of Evidence” also details the stunning sums that Dotcom and his colleagues made running their site. Dotcom, who owned 68 percent of Megaupload and all of sister site Megavideo, made more than $42 million in calendar year 2010. CTO Mathias Ortmann, who owned 25 percent share of Megaupload, made more than $9 million that same year; designer Julius Bencko (2.5 percent) made more than $1 million, and programmer Bram Van Der Kolk (also 2.5 percent) made more than $2 million. Chief Marketing Officer Finn Batato, who was not a shareholder, made $400,000. And no perk was too excessive: the company spent $616,000 renting Mediterranean yachts.

READ THE FULL STORY AT ARS TECHNICA:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/12/us-unveils-the-case-against-kim-dotcom-revealing-e-mails-and-financial-data/

Silk Road Arrest Shines Light on ‘Dark Web’ | ABC News

The wild west wasn’t wild forever, and neither will the internet be… Sooner or later the good guys will catch up to the bad guys and people will value law, over lawlessness. This bust proves that the issues musicians and creators face online is not so much about technology, but rather how that technology is used.

The FBI’s takedown of a billion-dollar black market website that allowed users to sell and purchase illegal items has shined a spotlight on the “dark Web,” which masks users’ online identities while providing a shield for everyone from hackers to journalists and the police.

Ross William Ulbricht, 29, was arrested Tuesday and charged with a battery of conspiracy crimes allegedly committed through his Silk Road website, which has been called the “Amazon of illegal drugs” or the “eBay of illicit substances.” It was described by the FBI as “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE:
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/silk-road-arrest-shines-light-dark-web/story?id=20460774

Weekly News and Recap! Sunday Aug 26, 2012

Grab the Coffee!

Recent Posts:
* MegaUpload (MegaVideo) Smoking Gun? Did the site illegally charge for Streaming Movies?
* How to DMCA : Google Web Search, De-Listing Infringing Links
* Aimee Mann Exploited by Wells Fargo Bank, Nationwide Insurance and Others…
* Neko Case Exploited by Macy’s, Levi’s, Princess Cruises, Skype, Yahoo and Others…
* Talib Kweli Exploited by State Farm Insurance, Neiman Marcus, Ferguson/Kohler and Others…
* Death Cab For Cutie Exploited by Google, Target, AT&T, Ford, Urban Outfitters and Others…
* Jared Leto Exploited by Rapidshare, Volkswagon, Ford, LG, Adobe, Target and Others…
* A Commendable Response from Zedo
* SXSW Panels for Artists Rights – Show Your Support @ SXSW Panel Picker

The Sky is (not) Rising…
– The truth is unavoidable. In this post from Digital Music News we see again that not only are the sales of recorded music in decline, but along with it the number of professional musicians are also in decline. For all the spin put forth by the likes of former TuneCore CEO Jeff Price and the Future Of Music Coalition, the truth is the internet has failed to create a stronger professional working class of musicians. Anyone attempting to spin this anyone other way is not working for their own interests and not those of musicians. From the DMN post,

“according to stats supplied by the US Department of Labor, there are 41 percent fewer paid musicians since 1999.”

DMCA Takedown requests to Google up 100% in one month…
– Is anyone really surprised that given a new tool for delisting infringing links from Google Web Search that these numbers have increased. As Torrent Freak reports, “the scale of the issue had largely been hidden.”

A Shill by Any Other Name…
– Google released it’s Supplemental Disclosures, you can read here at scribd.com featuring all the usual suspects and your favorite cast of characters. Listed and described in the document are Public Knowledge, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Floor 64 CEO Mike Masnick (also of Tech Dirt, but who questions why he was included by Google under the reference to the CCIA that he consults for) and others. The judge who ordered the disclosure rightfully understands that he who pays the piper names the tune. It’s funny how many of these same players appeared to have editorialized the SOPA debate to the benefit of Google’s business interests.

It’s the other guys fault, no really… Rapidshare plays pass the buck…
– Rapidshare pulls a page from the Google playbook in it’s filing to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) by passing the buck of responsibility for illegal file sharing onto the the search engines, advertisers, pirate sites and ad networks. While this open and honest admission is encouraging, Rapidshare unfortunately is still not taking responsibility for the overwhelming amount of infringing material it is hosting itself. So tell me more about how sophisticated these websites are and why more sophisticated legislation is not the solution? Does this sound familiar?

“Rather than enacting legislation that could stifle innovation in the cloud, the U.S. government should crack down on this critical part of the online piracy network.

The only way that content stored with RapidShare can be accessed by a third party is when a user makes his or her access credentials available to others by posting this information on websites. These very sophisticated websites, often featuring advertising, facilitate the mass indiscriminate distribution of copyrighted content on the Internet and should be the focus of US intellectual property enforcement efforts.”

USA TODAY details the true costs of “Free” Downloads
– We were very encouraged to see a well written report on the reality of illegally artist exploitation online by infringing and pirates sites By Ken Paulson in USA Today. The brief but lucid article details the historical origins of both free speech and copyright as complimentary, not competing principles. Ken writes,

“…this nation adopted two major, interlacing principles: Americans were free to write whatever they wanted and had every right to be compensated for their work. The First Amendment encouraged creativity, and the copyright clause guaranteed compensation.”

Musicians Stand to Lose Again in Battle over Radio Royalties
– It seems no matter where you look today musicians are under fire. Now internet streaming internet services like Pandora and others are hoping to make more money from musicians work, by paying them less royalties. Even major labels let artists collect 100% of their streaming royalties whether or not they’re recouped but Pandora wants to profit more by paying less.  For all the talk of how the internet is liberating and empowering musicians, it seems the in reality the truth is actually very much the opposite. This looks like a pattern–every few years Pandora will try to move the goal posts in their direction by exercising their lobbying muscle.  So much for a “middle class musician.”  Musicians need to be informed about these issues and be vocal in their support of legislative and union representation. We’re very disappointed by the strong position taken by Pandora to not fairly pay artists.  Read more in AFM President Ray Hair’s piece at The Hill.

Gearslutz pulls Spotify advertising after forum users complain
– The web forum Gearslutz caters to musical enthusiasts and hobbyists interested in studio gear. The highly successful site is probably the top meeting place online for this particular demographic of aspiring musicians. This week the site pulled it’s Spotify advertising banners after users on the forum complained that Spotify might well be the end of their professional aspirations. As the Spotify debate rages on, there still appear to be more questions than answers about the transparency of the companies practices and what it’s long term effects will be on the professional music community.

Google concerned over online Piracy?
– We found this story on Ars Technica about the FBI (as opposed to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) seizing the domain names of sites that allegedly participate in Android app piracy. Sooner or later it appears Google will learn that a fair and honest internet is the best way to build a fair and honest businesses. Now if only this solution were available to remedy the sites infringing on musicians work like FilesTube, Rapidshare and others.