Karma Meets Irony. “Freebooted” YouTuber’s Feel The Sting Of Piracy…

Watch and learn… We can’t make this up. Seriously you have to watch this video.

If we had a nickle for every YouTuber or Tech Journalist that advised musicians that “YouTube” was the SOLUTION TO PIRACY we’d be rich. Really rich. I mean, really, really, really rich. We we’re told YouTube was “promotion” and “exposure” to make money other ways.

We were told how if you just “made stuff people wanted” and “connected with fans” then they would reward you with loyalty and support. Musicians were told they were “whining” about piracy and that they should “adapt and evolve” to the “new way” and just embrace all of this “awesome internet empowered promotion”.

Funny how it is when the shoe is on the other foot. See here’s the thing. All of these YouTuber’s make money from the advertising that runs on their YouTube videos. But when those videos are ripped from YouTube by fans and uploaded to Facebook guess who doesn’t get paid? Yup, you guessed it… the YouTuber’s are getting stiffed and they don’t like it.

Where is Larry Lessig to help these folks out? Remember kids, don’t break the internet! It’s “sharing economy” afterall. You do the work and silicon valley shares the profits.

Soooo… when a musician’s work is pirated on Napster, Grockster, Kazaa, Limewire, The Pirate Bay, oh and YouTube… Musicians should “get over it”. But when a YouTuber’s work, labor and creative output is devalued, or worse monetized by a third party (Facebook) who doesn’t pay them anything, well then, you know, that’s “bad”.

The issue gained national attention this year earning editorials and reports from the likes of Slate, “Facebook’s Piracy Problem” in July. Time followed with a story in August, “This Is Facebook’s Biggest Problem With Video Right Now.” And recently as November AdWeek chimed in, “Facebook’s ‘Freebooting’ Piracy Problem Just Cost Casey Neistat 20 Million Views“.

This quote from the AdWeek story above kind of says it all…

But then they ran into a problem known as “freebooting,” which entails republishing videos on social sites without the consent of the folks who made the clips. In essence, it’s a practice of intellectual-property theft that’s plagued Facebook more than other digital platforms—PR-wise, at least—in recent months thanks to a few whistle-blowers.

They go on…

“I spent roughly a week issuing take downs on Facebook—a convoluted process,” Neistat told Adweek. “I crowdsourced the process of finding the freebooters because there is no way to search Facebook. In all, I took down well over 50 different posts—[which was] not nearly all of them. I simply gave up after a while. I anecdotally kept track of the view counts—over 20 million views on the videos I took down.”

Here’s more to chew on from a post by Hank Green on Medium, “Theft, Lies and Facebook Video“.

According to a recent report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs, of the 1000 most popular Facebook videos of Q1 2015, 725 were stolen re-uploads. Just these 725 “freebooted” videos were responsible for around 17 BILLION views last quarter. This is not insignificant, it’s the vast majority of Facebook’s high volume traffic. And no wonder, when embedding a YouTube video on your company’s Facebook page is a sure way to see it die a sudden death, we shouldn’t be surprised when they rip it off YouTube and upload it natively.

Facebook’s algorithms encourage this theft.

Hmmmmm… where have we heard this story before? Maybe it was Daily Finance back in 2010, “Viacom vs. YouTube/Google: A Piracy Case in Their Own Words“.

• On July 19, Chen wrote to Hurley and Karim: “Jawed, please stop putting stolen videos on the site. We’re going to have a tough time defending the fact that we’re not liable for the copyrighted material on the site because we didn’t put it up when one of the co-founders is blatantly stealing content from from other sites and trying to get everyone to see it.” Four days later, Karim sent a link to the other founders, and Hurley told him that if they rejected it, they needed to reject all copyrighted material. Karim’s reply: “I say we reject this one but not the others. This one is totally blatant.”

• A July 29 email conversation about competing video sites laid out the importance to YouTube of continuing to use the copyrighted material. “Steal it!” Chen said , and got a reply from Hurley, “hmmm, steal the movies?” Chen’s answer: “we have to keep in mind that we need to attract traffic. how much traffic will we get from personal videos? remember, the only reason our traffic surged was due to a video of this type.”

Yup, Karma meets irony… How very interwebs… Ok, Ok, Ok… Sorry, just one more…

Everyone’s creativity deserves to be protected. All creators should be united against the illegal, infringing and exploitative uses of their work (especially for profit) without consent or compensation.

Steal a Little: Piracy & the Economy via The Illusion Of More

I’ve wanted a sailing yacht for years but have never been able to afford one — until now. Thanks in part to a report on piracy and counterfeiting by the GAO and this explication by CCIA (Computer & Communications Industry Association) lobbyist Matt Schruers, I now have a plan that will put me at the helm of the sloop Larceny by the Summer of 2016. And the best part is the whole family gets to collaborate to make it happen. According to my rough calculations, all we have to do is steal groceries like a Dickensian gang for three full years, and we’ll save enough for a substantial down payment on the boat. I’m thinking Beneteau 45ft, but if any seasoned mariner out there has a recommendation, let me know.


The DMCA is Broken…

This post was sent to us by a friend who runs an indie label:

Just about a year after hiring two part time people, to do nothing else but issue DMCA takedown notices we’ve crossed the 50,000 notice milestone. The division of labor requires one person just to monitor YouTube, and another handles all DMCA compliant sites such as CyberLockers, Torrent Search Engines, etc.


Most of the take downs are for the same title, at the same site, the same day. Day after day during the initial release period of the album (generally the first 60-90 days) it is a constant game of whack-a-mole.

We shouldn’t have to have the same title removed from a site more than once – and each time we issue a notice it takes 24 to 48 hours to remove. But, once it’s removed it is generally back on the site within a few hours.

We should not have to send a notice for the same title more than once, ever – Not to Rapidshare, not Grooveshark, not any one of the probably top 20 offending sites we track, and those are just the ones that even have a DMCA provision (The Pirate Bay for example does not, nor did Limewire to the best of my memory).

If site operators want to hide behind “how do we know what’s infringing”… Well, here’s how, we’ll let you know! If we issue you a notice, you now know… do you think the title will suddenly not be infringing the next day, when re-uploaded by the same offending person? Seriously? Does Billy in Pittsburgh suddenly own the rights to a Radiohead album (for example)?

Internet piracy apologists are quick to accuse labels and artists of wanting the government or others to become piracy police. This is simply not true. Most labels I know of have assumed the responsibility to track and issue takedown notices for themselves and on behalf of their artists (who should be focused on creating, not policing). Ironically, these same people are offended and attempt to diminish the issue when confronted with the overwhelming amount of takedowns being issued.

Keep in mind, we’re issuing DMCA takedown notices for ALBUMS not songs, entire albums are zipped as an archive and now distributed with as much ease as songs once were… let me say that again, our notices are for ALBUMS not songs…

There can be no question why album sales continue to plummet, and why digital album sales have leveled off… meanwhile, I suppose individual songs will continue to grow given the ease, convenience and low cost of a 99 cent purchases from iTunes.

The simple math says that if each of those uploaded ALBUMS was only downloaded ONCE by one other person, that is a loss of revenue of $350,000 dollars wholesale ($7 x 50,000).  If each one we’re downloaded only TWICE that is a loss of $700,000 dollars in revenue a year ($350,000 x 2). This is just for ONE indie label tracking only it’s top five titles at any given time.

Yes, many will exclaim that not every illegal download is a lost sale (to the artist/label/rights holder). But, these numbers illustrate the financial impact of just ONE or TWO illegal downloads per DMCA takedown notice. I think any reasonable person would agree the number of downloads per upload is significantly more than ONE or TWO.

We only have the resources to track 5-10 titles at a time with any effectiveness. Catalog is a free for all.  When adding in current titles that fall below the current top ten best sellers and a catalog that reaches back almost two decades the numbers become truly staggering.

This is why the number one agenda of the recorded music industry must be to address the illegal exploitation of artists work and closing this loophole in the DMCA, which is clearly not the intent of the law.