U2 Exploited by United Airlines, Jet Blue, HP, State Farm, Westin, Urban Outfitters, Sprint, AT&T, Amazon, Disney Resorts, Crate and Barrel

We completely agree with what Bono said in USA Today,

“…somebody should fight for fellow artists, because this is madness. Music has become tap water, a utility, where for me it’s a sacred thing, so I’m a little offended. The Internet has emasculated rather than liberated artists…”

We couldn’t agree more and we’ve been happy to see more artists speaking out publicly.

The situation is effecting artists at all levels like Aimee Mann, Neko Case, Talib Kweli, Ben Gibbard and Death Cab For Cutie, Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars, Neil Young and Tom Waits to name just a few. These artists represent a wide spectrum of diversity and all are effected by the illegal exploitation of their work.

Let’s be clear about this. It’s about money. A lot of advertising money supporting the people ripping off artists to further their own wealth. Brands hire advertising agencies. Advertising agencies hire ad networks. Ad networks pay infringing and illegally operating sites, many of which are based outside of the USA.

Bono, here’s your haul for one nights research… Someone should have a talking to these brands and ad networks, will you join us on Madison Avenue?

* United Airlines x2 on h33t
* United Airlines on mp3 bear
* United Airlines on FilesTube
* Jet Blue and Kayak on h33t
* Hewlett Packard and State Farm on mp3skull
* Westin Hotels on 4shared
* Westin Hotels on mp3raid
* Urban Outfitters on mp3skull
* Sheraton Hotels on mp3skull
* Century 21 on 4shared
* Alaska Airlines on torrent reactor
* State Farm on torrent reactor
* Sprint on torrrent reactor
* Sheraton Hotels on 4shared
* Hewlett Packard x2 on filestube
* Hewlett Packard and State Farm on mp3skull
* Hewlett Packard on h33t
* Rejuvenation on filestube
* Disney Resorts on torrent reactor
* Crate & Barrel on Files Tube
* Charter Cable on mp3 raid
* AT&T on mp3skull
* Amazon on 4shared

U2 Exploited by @UnitedAirlines, @JetBlue, @HP, @StateFarm, @Westin, @UrbanOutfitters, @sprint, @ATT, @amazon, @Disneyland, @CrateandBarrel

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Death Cab For Cutie Exploited by Google, Target, AT&T, Ford, Urban Outfitters, United Airlines, Rejuvenation and Crate and Barrel

Google was right. This is a follow the money story. As reported by PC Pro Magazine, Google says,

“Instead of imposing blocks or filters that might damage fundamental freedoms, governments should construct coalitions with reputable advertising networks, payment processors and rightsholders. Together, these coalitions can crack down and squeeze the financing behind online infringement.”

We’d like to think that Google themselves would be one of the “reputable advertising networks.” As pictured below, Google appears to be not just the ad network serving the ad, but also the brand buying the advertising for it’s product, Google Advertising. Needless to say this is a disappointing find given the recent report.

What’s worse is that major consumer brands are benefiting from having access to the audience (and key demographics) built by individual artists. In this case Death Cab For Cutie who based on the advertisers seems to be a very good demographic indeed supporting ads from Target, SC Johnson and AT&T and that’s just on one site with infringing material.

What incentive is there for brands and advertisers to work with artists and creators to create ad campaigns when the brands can simply “steal” access to the artists audience by paying ad networks to turn a blind eye to sites dedicated to infringing activity?

So far we’ve seen that Google understands, and recommends that advertising networks be accountable to where they are serving ads, despite the fact that Google themselves appears to be still serving ads to sites entirely dedicated to copyright infringement. We’ve also seen above how the music of Ben Gibbard‘s band Death Cab For Cutie is able to draw advertising revenue from Target and AT&T.

Below we see how deep this really goes. By focusing on just FilesTube we can see that Death Cab For Cutie draws advertising revenue to the site from Ford, Urban Outfitters, United Airlines, Rejuvenation and Crate & Barrel. These are all well respected brands, that appeal to a demographic with considerable disposable income. And yet, none of these brands compensate Ben Gibbard, Death Cab For Cutie or any of the various rights holders for access to the bands music and fans.

So yes, this is a follow the money story. When we follow the money it leads to major brands and online advertising networks all profiting from the artists work and paying nothing to the artists. Not one single penny. Zero. Zilch. Nadda. That’s what makes this discussion about free beer, and not free speech as some would like to propose.

Neko Case Exploited by Macy’s, Levi’s, Princess Cruises, Skype, Yahoo, Marvel and Electronic Arts

Wow. Just wow. It’s not like Neko Case is Lady GaGa sitting on gazillions of dollars (and not that it should make a difference). This is how the Exploitation Economy works. It’s about money. Advertising money. A lot of advertising money. None of which is shared or distributed to the artists, ever. Not one penny. Not one single cent. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nadda.

And yet there are those who confuse free beer with free speech. Nothing here is about censorship. This really appears to be about mass scale, enterprise level, orchestrated infringement farms for profit.

Uh Toyota… didn’t you get the memo? Why are you advertising on unauthorized sites that exploit my music?

We recently ran a story about American Express advertising on Filestube, the site that infringes my copyrights while suggesting porno links next to my brand.  The American Express ad was served by Google’s DoubleClick ad network presumably at the behest of Ogilvy & Mather.

Yesterday a Google spokesperson told us that they had disabled “self serve” advertising for this site.  We weren’t really sure if that meant no more DoubleClick on FilesTube, or if it was some kind of semantic dodge. We’ve had a bunch of those dodging semantics on this issue.  However we monitored FilesTube yesterday and we see no sign of DoubleClick.   We applaud Google for taking this action!

Now not to look a gift horse in the mouth but we’d  love to see Google disable advertising for all those sites that they know are infringing copyright. The ones they mentioned in this handy press release. See it seems a little disingenuous to lower these sites rankings but at the same time to continue doing advertising business with them?  (And yes we are already monitoring advertising on these sites!!)

American Express is another matter. We have not heard back from American Express.  We’d love to hear what American Express has to say about their company helping to finance copyright infringement–not just mine, but all of the artists. We’d love to know how that happened and if they intend to continue advertising on these sites. Cause it doesn’t seem like a very good idea for an iconic American Brand.

Now  I’ve lost my handy pocket version of the RICO statute. People are always borrowing it!  But I’m almost certain that it says something about making plans to profit from copyright infringement as a RICO “predicate”.  I’m no lawyer but if I were a big company like American Express I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near a website  that even had the potential to get wrapped up in a RICO investigation.  Especially one based in Moldova.

Today FilesTube looks like a wasteland of QuiBid ads, MacKeeper popups and click shoot ads.  Pretty low grade.  Seems like it’s not just American Express which got the memo.

Toyota however did not get the memo!   So now it’s Toyota’s turn to answer the question?  Why  are you  advertising on this site?

Dead Kennedys Exploited by Charter, Blizzard, @AlaskaAir and @1800Flowers

Music Piracy is not about fans sharing music. As we can see from the screen shots below this truly appears to be a mass scale, enterprise level, organized crime being funded by advertising dollars funded by major brands and companies laundered through online ad networks.


Alaska Airlines
Maria Koenig


Elizabeth Castoro

1-516-237 4867