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.

SXSW Panels for Artists Rights – Show Your Support @ SXSW Panel Picker

Please show your support to advance the conversation for Artists Rights by voting for these two panels being considered for this year’s SXSW. We hope to see you in Austin. Deadline for voting is Friday August 31st.


MUSIC: “Who’s Ripping Me Off Now”


In June, a blog post by musician David Lowery set off a firestorm. Written to an intern at NPR who admitted to not having paid for the 11,000 tracks in her collection, the post generated more than a million views in just one week and numerous media stories.

In its wake, musicians, fans and the industry were all re-evaluating long held beliefs. Who is “the man” today? Can the Internet be both innovative and ethical? Who speaks for the artists? And what obligation does the fan have to his or her favorite artists (if any).

Join David Lowery, Cake’s John McCrea and experts from music and tech policy as they try to answer these timely and controversial questions.

Questions Answered

1. Is the new boss (tech) worse than the old boss (labels)?

2. What policy changes need to be considered to make the internet fairer for music creators

3. Can artists make a living without making money from recordings?

4. Who’s profiting from Spotify?

5. What obligation does the music fan have (if any) to the music creator?


INTERACTIVE: “Innovative, Open, Ethical & Sustainable Internet”


Everyone agrees the internet needs to be Open and encourage Innovation, but does it have to be “permissionless innovation” as some are proposing? The internet and digital technology have opened up many new opportunities for artists, but it has also opened up new opportunities for those who wish to exploit those artists.

This panel asks the difficult questions about the balance of rights of all citizens, including the rights of the individual citizens who are themselves both creators and consumers participating in both sides of the debate. The reality of contemporary online content distribution is that a blind eye has been turned to enterprise level, mass scale, for profit, businesses who are not including creators participation in the monetization of the value chain. This is both unethical and in the long term unsustainable.

This panel will explore mutually beneficial solutions for all stakeholders WITHOUT the need for new or additional legislation to do so.

Questions Answered

1. Why is premissionless innovation necessary? Consent is the cornerstone of civilization. How do we find the balance in the rights of all citizens to BOTH privacy and protection of individual rights such as copyright? Perhaps through the use of a master rights registry or database would make it possible to not require case by case “permission” but still have rights granted by consent.

2. Why isn’t there a way to create online indie record stores that specialize in specific genres superserving those consumers (death metal for example)? Rights Holders need to work with developers to create an easy “One Stop” rights licensing solution to encourage competition and innovation without cumbersome requirements. Ideally there would be an online equivalent to old school “One Stops” who sold records to indie stores before they developed credit lines with the distros directly. SNOCAP?

3. Why does there seem to be so much confusion between the what is the actual freedom of expression and wanting to illegally exploit that very expression? Ice-T’s “Cop Killer” or 2Live Crew’s “Me So Horny” are actual artistic expressions protected by the Constitution. The illegal coping and distribution of those expressions without the creators permission is simply exploitation without consent or compensation to the artists themselves.

4. The mutual respect granted by intellectual property rights allows individual creators the freedom to determine what permissions they wish to grant and at what price. No one has to pay that price, but the creator is entitled to set it.

5. Why are consumers willing to pay more for Fair Trade coffee but not willing to pay for music, movies and other content? Public attitudes about creators rights are not aligned with the reality of most people struggling to sustain professional creative careers. All this begs the question, if the internet is working for musicians, why are less musicians working professionally now than prior to the internet. The promise of empowerment has failed.