Texas Bar Section Announces Nominations are Open for the Cindi Lazzari Artist Advocate Award

We’re pleased to help get out the word that nominations are open for the Cindi Lazzari Artist Advocate Award for “heroes and heroines” involved with artist advocacy in all Texas communities.  For Texas readers, there’s info below about how to nominate.  If you’re not in Texas you may want to look into whether your community has a similar award.  If not, you might consider starting one.

If you would like to nominate someone for the award, you may use this form.

PRESS RELEASE:

The State Bar of Texas Entertainment and Sports Law Section (TESLAW) announced that nominations for the Cindi Lazzari Artist Advocate Award are open now until 11:59 pm Central Time on October 1, 2019.  The award is named for the late Cindi Lazzari, a leading Texas attorney who went far beyond the call of duty in her efforts to protect the rights of artists in the music industry.

In these challenging times for Texas musicians, TESLAW wants to hear about the exciting heroes and heroines who carry on the tradition of Cindi’s good works in all the music communities across Texas.  Nominees need not be attorneys.

Previous recipients of the Lazzari Award include Juan Tejeda (musician, arts administrator and activist), Robin Shivers (artist manager and founder of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians), Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, SIMS Foundation, Nikki Rowling (co-founder of Austin Music Foundation and author of the Austin Music Census), Casey Monahan (the first head of the Governor’s Music Office) and Margaret Moser (the journalist and long-time music editor for the Austin Chronicle).

Nominations for the 2019 Lazzari Award will be accepted through October 1, 2019 and should be sent by e-mail only to law@amyemitchell.com. The nomination email should include (1) the nominee’s name and contact information; (2) a one-page statement as to why the nominating individual believes the nominee should receive the award; and (3) a biography of the nominee.

TESLAW will present the Cindi Lazzari Artist Advocate Award at the annual Entertainment Law Institute, to be held in Austin November 20-22, 2019.

For further information, please see TESLAW’s web page at http://teslaw.org/awards/cindi-lazzari-artist-advocate-award/

[We’re thrilled to have a chance to publish an important Twitter thread by composer Kerry Muzzey that crystalizes a number of phenomena: How Kerry caught YouTube using Content ID as a tool to extend the period of time that they can profit from infringement (or the “piracy profit window”)…

via Must Read Guest Post by @kerrymuzzey: YouTube’s Latest Deceptive Tactic — Music Technology Policy

@NITASHA TIKU: THREE YEARS OF MISERY INSIDE GOOGLE, THE HAPPIEST COMPANY IN TECH

To all the world it looked as if Google—one of the most powerful, pro-immigrant, and ostensibly progressive corporations in the United States—was taking a unified stand. But that appearance of unanimity masked a welter of executive-level indecision and anxiety. It probably would have been more apt if Pichai had said that, over the previous 48 hours, he had been backed into a corner by thousands of his employees.

Read the post on Wired

@damclaugh: FTC Chief Says He’s Willing to Break Up Big Tech Companies

The head of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said he’s prepared to break up major technology platforms if necessary by undoing their past mergers as his agency investigates whether companies including Facebook Inc. are harming competition.

FTC Chairman Joe Simons, who is leading a broad review of the technology sector, said in an interview Tuesday that breaking up a company is challenging, but could be the right remedy to rein in dominant companies and restore competition.

“If you have to, you do it,” Simons said about breaking up tech companies. “It’s not ideal because it’s very messy. But if you have to you have to.”

Read the post on Bloomberg

@musictechsolve: Do Spotify Stock Downgrades Go Far Enough?

On June 24th, Spotify shares (ticker: SPOT) was downgraded by Evercore analyst Kevin Rippey, who cut the stock to Underperform from In Line.  Since then, analysts are steadily looking past the loss-making Spotify’s $1 billion stock buy back plan.

Rippey says investors are overestimating Spotify’s ability to make money from podcasts and offering services to musicians and are underestimating the competition from other streaming services—particularly in countries outside the U.S. He reduced his price target to $110.

As ARW readers will recall, I have long challenged Spotify’s kvetching about high royalty rates by pointing to the its high overhead, 7 figure performance bonuses to Daniel Ek when he failed to meet the bonus criteria, and other irresponsible behavior by the board that Ek controls.

Spotify’s interest in podcasts is another comical example of Ek as the Easter Bunny of Screw Ups.  He bought a podcasting company that was unionized.  Sheer genius.  Why did he buy them?  Some people think it’s because podcasts were another form of user-generated content where people work for free in exchange for hot meals…no, in exchange for exposure bucks.

Exposure Bucks

Apple is busy paying for podcasts according to Newsmax:

Apple Inc. plans to fund original podcasts that would be exclusive to its audio service, according to people familiar with the matter, increasing its investment in the industry to keep competitors Spotify and Stitcher at bay.

Executives at the company have reached out to media companies and their representatives to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcasts, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversations are preliminary. Apple has yet to outline a clear strategy, but has said it plans to pursue the kind of deals it didn’t make before.

Apple all but invented the podcasting business with the creation of a network that collects thousands of podcasts from across the internet in a feed on people’s phones, smartwatches and computers. The Apple Podcast app still accounts for anywhere from 50% to 70% of listening for most podcasts, according to industry executives.

So Spotify’s law fare against Apple in Europe should come as no surprise (for more on that subject see the “Spotify Untold” corporate bio book).  What this comes down to is that once again, Apple understands its audience and what would delight them where Spotify wants to build them a faster horse (or at least a cheaper one).

Meanwhile, Spotify is commoditizing music into a “playlist friendly” environment based on your mood rather than being artist driven.  Why?  One possible reason is the psychographic research of Michael Kosinski, whose work formed the basis for techniques honed by Cambridge Analytica and the Internet Research Agency you hear so much about (although it must be said the Kosinski did not work for either of those outfits–no he works as a professor at…you guessed it…Stanford).  See his paper The Song Is You: Preferences for Musical  Attribute Dimensions Reflect Personality, available at the Leland Stanford Google University Business School.

The more insightful analysts are represented by Mr. Rippey, who seems to have a good grasp on Spotify’s business and sees through all the bright and shiny objects they want you to focus on as reported by Barrons (emphasis mine):

Rippey says Wall Street’s expectations assume that either the company will come out way ahead in negotiations with the music labels that control the vast majority of the content that Spotify streams, or that it will make a bundle of money from services that previously accounted for almost none of its income.

Now that the sugar high of the Spotify stock has passed through the system and artists either are happy or not happy with their share of the proceeds–which will be hitting royalty statements right about September 30–labels are now faced with a  second act, and that second act likely will require a bigger royalty check–not a smaller one.

To achieve Wall Street’s targets for gross profit, Spotify would either need to take a larger cut of proceeds from each song stream [also called a lower royalty to artists and songwriters] or generate as much as $650 million from “ancillary” areas like Spotify for Artists and podcasts by 2022—areas the company doesn’t make much money on today, Rippey says. Spotify for Artists offers data for musicians to track which songs are performing well and in which areas, among other benefits. [Which is OK if Spotify for Artists is free, I guess–since we sent them the fans–but my bet is that no one is going to pay for it, certainly no one with a modicum of leverage.]  Spotify makes money from ads on podcasts it owns and has also begun to launch exclusive podcasts that listeners can only get on Spotify.  [Spotify has never had a hit that originated entirely within Spotify.  When it does, check this space.]

Given that music crosses over multiple cultures but that Spotify brings a decidedly European and Anglo/American creative viewpoint to its distribution platform, it is unlikely to be able to fight all fights in all markets and be all things to all music fans in the some 60 countries it operates in.  This is particularly true in countries that actually value their culture and creators.

Spotify is the global leader in streaming music, but Rippey thinks that Wall Street overestimates the company’s power in local markets. “In emerging markets like India, local players dominate the market,” he writes, noting that Jio and Gaana were the market leaders there in the first quarter. “This fragmentation leads to an understatement of how competitive streaming music is globally.” Similar dynamics play out in countries like Indonesia too.

Those are some good concrete reasons why Rippey’s price target is $110, which I think is still about $50 too high because of Spotify’s C team management.  And also because the other analysts are all guiding too high in the Overton Window:

Analyst Rating Price Target
Evercore/Kevin Rippey Underperform (From In Line) $110
Nomura Instanet/M. Kelly Buy $190
Stifel/John Egbert Buy $175
Credit Suisse/B. Russo Underperform $120
BOA/Jessica Reif Ehrlich Buy $230

One major factor that all the analysts overlook, like they missed the subprime crisis, is buried in the commentary that never gets picked up in the Wall Street publications–the fact that artists can’t begin to make a living from streaming the way they could from the CDs that streaming is replacing.  This sudden contraction hurts artists at all stages of development.  To put it in terms that Wall Street might understand more readily, this is a supply chain issue.  The chain will have no supply if unsustainable economics expands which it seems like it will.

There’s about 5% of the tracks that make 90% of the revenue from Spotify-type streamers.  Fans are paying subscriptions every month for music they don’t listen to performed by artists they don’t like.  When that idea starts to permeate the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, who knows what may happen.  This will be true of podcasters, too–the unionized podcasters affiliated with the Writers Guild of America.  I’m looking forward to that collective bargaining experience.

But for now, it’s only a matter of time before artists who are not in that 5% start to jump ship.  Analysts should be asking, who can encourage them to jump and what will happen to the ship they jump from if there were some disruption below decks in the royalty rates?

@musictechpolicy: Three Issues @HawleyMO Should Address in his Anti-Social Media Addiction Bill

Senator Josh Hawley recently introduced the The Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act which is legislation to go after social media addiction.  His main line of attack is through addressing and limiting functionality (you can just hear the handwringing now from the EFF, Public Knowledge, Engine and R Street about censorship, innovation, etc., etc.)

Of course, one underlying issue is what appears to be the endemic loneliness and withdrawal of children and adults.  If you doubt that, just try a search for “12 step social media addiction” or “12 step gaming addiction” or “12 step internet addiction.”  There are a bunch and that usually means the harm is widespread.  Any fines that result from enforcing regulations against the social media profiteers should definitely be spread around to these groups who could put those resources to good use.  All the legislation in the world is unlikely to resolve these underlying social issues.

While Senator Hawley’s ideas have merit, there’s a couple of simple fixes that he might also want to consider.  These fixes sound in our experience in regulating the tobacco industry, or “Big Tobacco.”

I am deeply concerned–as I think artists and songwriters are–that among all the other bad things Big Tech does with music, one big attraction for them is that music is a honeypot for addiction.  So I think we should all care about that.  There are also some policy lifts that don’t just concern us and should be socialized to the broader electorate if for no other reason than the harms affect us all.  Not only are we affected, but I would argue that the harms are doing exactly what they are designed to do–get our children addicted in campaigns that are just as insidious as the Joe Camel campaign.  I’m going to briefly look at the tobacco and social media addictions and then lay out the three ideas.

Tobacco Addiction Additives

I look at social media behavioral addiction through a single lens:  It’s very similar to commercial tobacco substance addiction.  Tobacco is a natural substance that has some addictive properties.  As anyone who has seen Mad Men or followed the work of Edward Bernays will tell you, Big Tobacco conducts sophisticated marketing campaigns to sell its product and the delivery system to the addict–cigarettes instead of needles.

You’ve seen this kind of marketing manipulation–Joe Camel, for example, was tasked with making cigarette smoking cool for kids.

4bf8aa9325637fbe1d59085741e102a5

But in addition to marketing, Big Tobacco has used science to make their product even more addictive.  A good primer on this more insidious aspect of their business is the movie The Insider starring Russell Crowe in the role of the whistleblower Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, the former director of research for the Brown & Williamson tobacco company.  As Dr. Wigand famously told Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, “we’re a nicotine delivery business.”

the-insider-1999-movie-poster

Dr. Wigand’s research also disclosed what he called the intentional and unintentional additives to tobacco:

Tobacco products are not “natural” products that contain harmless ingredients. Rather, a typical cigarette can contain numerous intentional additives. However, virtually nothing is known about these ingredients. Even worse, nothing is known about the unintentional additives that are the by-products of the growing, handling and manufacture of tobacco products. These unintentional additives or contaminants include pesticides, herbicides and ink from the packaging materials. We are in the dark about how these unintentional additives are affected when burned in conjunction with nicotine and when combusted with other intentional additives.

One big difference between tobacco and social media is that there are no unintentional additives to social media.  All are man-made and under the control of humans, Mrs. Palsgraf. I’ve always said that there is a “Pinto memo” out there somewhere at Facebook, Google, Amazon or Twitter and that Big Tech is going to get taken down by a Jeffrey Wigand-style whistleblower who just can’t take it anymore.  (See Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., 119 Cal.App.3d 757 (1981)

google-android-3-gingerbread

DSM 5 and Internet Gaming Disorder

Let’s have a look at the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the shrink’s bible.  What does DSM-5 say about it?

In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Internet Gaming Disorder is identified in Section III as a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for inclusion in the main book as a formal disorder.

A New Phenomenon

The Internet is now an integral, even inescapable, part of many people’s daily lives; they turn to it to send messages, read news, conduct business, and much more. But recent scientific reports have begun to focus on the preoccupation some people develop with certain aspects of the Internet, particularly online games. The “gamers” play compulsively, to the exclusion of other interests, and their persistent and recurrent online activity results in clinically significant impairment or distress. People with this condition endanger their academic or job functioning because of the amount of time they spend playing. They experience symptoms of withdrawal when pulled away from gaming.

This means that the editorial board of DSM thought there was enough of an issue with Internet Gaming Disorder to warrant including it in DSM-5 with the suggestion that the phenomenon deserved further study with an eye toward including it as a formal disorder.

A closely associated phenomenon is “Internet Addiction Disorder” which is the more generalized version of Internet Gaming Disorder.   “IAD” like “IGD” has not been officially codified within a psychopathological framework, it is the subject of considerable interest and research.  If I had to bet, I would bet that Google uses its academic shills to slow down codification.

In a search of relevant peer reviewed articles at the National Institutes of Health, I came across this title written by a number of doctors:

Internet addiction disorder and problematic use of Google Glass™ in patient treated at a residential substance abuse treatment program.

The abstract describes the findings:

INTRODUCTION:
Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is characterized by the problematic use of online video games, computer use, and mobile handheld devices. While not officially a clinical diagnosis according to the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), individuals with IAD manifest severe emotional, social, and mental dysfunction in multiple areas of daily activities due to their problematic use of technology and the internet….

CONCLUSIONS:
Over the course of his 35-day residential treatment, the patient noted a reduction in irritability, reduction in motor movements to his temple to turn on the device, and improvements in his short-term memory and clarity of thought processes. He continued to intermittently experience dreams as if looking through the device. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of IAD involving problematic use of Google Glass™.

And that’s just Google Glass, a product that failed in its 2015 launch but that Google relaunched in 2017 with its “Enterprise Edition.”

Another peer reviewed article at NIH stated:

[S]udden cessation of online social networking (i.e., lack of Internet connection) may in some chronic users cause signs and symptoms that at least partially resemble the ones seen during drug/alcohol/nicotine abstinence syndrome.

Other relevant reading should include Development of a Facebook Addiction Scale, Andreassen et al (2012).

The cracks are starting to show.  In a USA Today op ed by Roger McNamee, who runs a venture capital outfit called Elevation Partners said:

I invested in Google and Facebook years before their first revenue and profited enormously. I was an early adviser to Facebook’s team, but I am terrified by the damage being done by these Internet monopolies….

Facebook and Google get their revenue from advertising, the effectiveness of which depends on gaining and maintaining consumer attention. Borrowing techniques from the gambling industry, Facebook, Google and others exploit human nature, creating addictive behaviors that compel consumers to check for new messages, respond to notifications, and seek validation from technologies whose only goal is to generate profits for their owners….

How does this work? A 2013 study found that average consumers check their smartphones 150 times a day. And that number has probably grown. People spend 50 minutes a day on Facebook. Other social apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter combine to take up still more time. Those companies maintain a profile on every user, which grows every time you like, share, search, shop or post a photo. Google also is analyzing credit card records of millions of people….

Consider a recent story from Australia, where someone at Facebook told advertisers that they had the ability to target teens who were sad or depressed, which made them more susceptible to advertising. In the United States, Facebook once demonstrated its ability to make users happier or sadder by manipulating their news feed. While it did not turn either capability into a product [yet, that we know of], the fact remains that Facebook influences the emotional state of users every moment of every day. Former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris calls this “brain hacking.”

So both the literature and the anecdotal evidence of insiders leads us to believe that Senator Hawley’s bill is addressing a serious and pervasive societal harm from behavioral addiction profiteers.

Behavioral Addiction Additives

 

We’re all familiar with the view-selling and fake views problems with YouTube.   Michael H. Keller in the New York Times  takes a deep dive into the skullduggery behind fake views.  Mr. Keller’s post ends with this provocative conclusion:

View-selling sites continue to advertise with apparent impunity. A post on the YouTube Creator Blog warning users against fake views has numerous comments linking to view-selling sites.

“The only way YouTube could eliminate this is if they removed the view counter altogether,” said Mr. Vassilev, the fake-view seller. “But that would defeat the purpose of YouTube.”

That’s an interesting proposition.  Why would removing the view counter defeat the purpose of YouTube? One reason might be that subscriber count is a function of view count, and subscriber count is tied to compensation and perks for YouTube creator channels.

But what about artists?  Can you imagine a marketing plan that doesn’t include YouTube?  Aren’t we told that artists can’t reach an audience without YouTube?  So isn’t the purpose of YouTube to reach an audience rather than produce public views information?  Granted, the person making that assertion is a fake view seller and not a YouTube representative, but a YouTube representative would likely never say such a thing even if they knew it to be true.  Why not?

One reason might be that the view counter, friend counters, the likes, the retweets, the various measurements that demonstrate the re-enforcement of acceptance by “friends”, are an important component of what makes YouTube addictive, just like tobacco companies added ammonia and other chemicals to tobacco to increase its addictive powers.  And the evidence is starting to come in suggesting that it is that addiction that is the real purpose of YouTube and other social media sites.  Senator Hawley’s legislation seeks to control “badges” and the like for users (not creators) unless they increase access to goodies–and I would pick a bone on that clause because it still allows the exploitation of addictive behavior in exactly the manner that should be limited.  By allowing YouTube to integrate measurable success of YouTubers at getting users hooked on a channel, the legislation leaves an enormous loophole and you can bet Google will exploit it.

One source of evidence for social media addiction is from Professor Adam Alter of the NYU Stern School of Business whose book Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked describes in shocking detail just how devious sites like YouTube and Facebook are in delivering the dopamine fix to our brains, and worse yet to our children’s brains.  As Professor Alter told the New York Times:

Today, we’re checking our social media constantly, which disrupts work and everyday life. We’ve become obsessed with how many “likes” our Instagram photos are getting instead of where we are walking and whom we are talking to….

We are engineered in such a way that as long as an experience hits the right buttons, our brains will release the neurotransmitter dopamine. We’ll get a flood of dopamine that makes us feel wonderful in the short term, though in the long term you build a tolerance and want more….

I find it interesting that the late Steve Jobs said in a 2010 interview that his own children didn’t use iPads. In fact, there are a surprising number of Silicon Valley titans who refuse to let their kids near certain devices. There’s a private school in the Bay Area and it doesn’t allow any tech — no iPhones or iPads. The really interesting thing about this school is that 75 percent of the parents are tech executives.

They care about kids, too.  Just not your kids.

And of course those dopamine hits include YouTube subscriber and view counts, Facebook friends and likes and the various other feedback mechanisms that enforce a measurement of public popularity.  Popularity that is an especially powerful motivation for lonely people.

So far, social media addiction profiteering is good business as Spotify billionaire Sean Parker tells us:

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” Parker said.

Of course, as one Silicon Valley entrepreneur who also survived the Dot Bomb Implosion once told me, there’s something really wrong about a world in which Sean Parker is a billionaire.

None of this should come as a surprise–YouTube has a long history of failing to protect children from a host of unsavory activities on YouTube.  A must read post by James Bridle tells us of the truly bizarre goings on at YouTube Kids.

I’ve also been aware for some time of the increasingly symbiotic relationship between younger children and YouTube. I see kids engrossed in screens all the time, in pushchairs and in restaurants, and there’s always a bit of a Luddite twinge there, but I am not a parent, and I’m not making parental judgments for or on anyone else. I’ve seen family members and friend’s children plugged into Peppa Pig and nursery rhyme videos, and it makes them happy and gives everyone a break, so OK.

But I don’t even have kids and right now I just want to burn the whole thing down.

Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level. 

Given all the harms of social media and the willingness of addiction profiteers to do evil, let’s consider some potential fixes that don’t necessarily involve a knock down drag out legislative fight.

The Three Fixes

Given the similarities to internet addiction and tobacco addiction, let’s take a few ideas from the tobacco regulation campaign that could easily be added on to Senator Hawley’s legislation.

Mandatory Addiction Warning

We know that Big Tech will simply ignore the law until there is a final, nonappealable judgement against them in every jurisdiction conceivable at which point the legislation will be watered down so as to be unrecognizable.  So rather than try to control their functionality, simply require that if they don’t change the functionality they have to put a prominent warning on all pages of their addiction delivery business…I mean, their sites. And this is something that could probably be done today through FTC regulations or as part of settlements with DOJ or FTC.  One of the harms that the FTC could control for would be data scraping and profiling (which of course is one of the many reasons that user capture through addiction is so profitable), as well as false advertising.

denmarkaddiction

Private Cause of Action

The remedies part of Senator Hawley’s legislation does not really get to what strikes fear into the hearts of Big Tech companies: Getting sued by their users, particularly if those suits result in an injunction or really huge tobacco industry level damages.

Bear in mind that Google and Facebook laugh off multi-billion fines of $5 billion or less.  We are not accustomed to this in the law.  If you said Ford had to pay a $5 billion fine, the stock would tank.  When Facebook got a $5 billion fine, their stock went up.  We don’t really know the upper boundaries of that dollar figure.

FB 7-12

But we do know that the damages part of a private cause of action has to be huge.  What I have in mind is a $50 billion class action award, in other words about 10 times what we are accustomed to as a penalty.  I know that sounds a little extreme, maybe quite extreme, but that’s what it will take if the purpose is to change behavior.

I would point out that the $200 billion 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement involved 48 states led by Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore recovering their Medicaid costs of treating tobacco-related health care costs from the four largest United States tobacco companies (Philip Morris Inc., R. J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard).  I don’t think that there’s any reason the same case could not be made against Google, Facebook, Twitter and possibly Amazon (the millennial answer to the Home Shopping Network).

Ask the Government Science Agencies for Their Research the Issue

As a U.S. Senator, Sen. Hawley could simply ask the National Institutes of Health or the National Academy of Sciences for their existing research on the issue.  If they haven’t studied the problem (which I doubt), Senator Hawley can probably get a bipartisan consensus to get them to conduct a front-burner study on the subject.

He may find he is pushing on an open door.  A 2014 study commissioned by Facebook “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks” written by Adam D. I. Kramer of Facebook’s “Core Data Science Team” and two academics from Cornell.  (Cornell was one of the first campuses outside of Harvard to adopt the early version of Facebook) was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences but carried an “Editorial Expression of Concern” regarding the study’s methodology:

Questions have been raised about the principles of informed consent and opportunity to opt out in connection with the research in this paper. The authors noted in their paper, “[The work] was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research.”When the authors prepared their paper for publication in PNAS, they stated that: “Because this experiment was conducted by Facebook, Inc. for internal purposes, the Cornell University IRB [Institutional Review Board] determined that the project did not fall under Cornell’s Human Research Protection Program.” This statement has since been confirmed by Cornell University.

Obtaining informed consent and allowing participants to opt out are best practices in most instances under the US Department of Health and Human Services Policy for the Protection of Human Research Subjects (the “Common Rule”). Adherence to the Common Rule is PNAS policy, but as a private company Facebook was under no obligation to conform to the provisions of the Common Rule when it collected the data used by the authors, and the Common Rule does not preclude their use of the data. Based on the information provided by the authors, PNAS editors deemed it appropriate to publish the paper. It is nevertheless a matter of concern that the collection of the data by Facebook may have involved practices that were not fully consistent with the principles of obtaining informed consent and allowing participants to opt out.

My bet is that it wouldn’t take much more than a request from a Senator to get some real research going on this subject.  The challenge, of course, would be to keep Google, Facebook and Twitter from trying to control that research through their various astroturf front groups and academics.

 

Can you say “ponzi”? @digitalmusicnws: I’m a Former PledgeMusic Employee. Allow Me to Spill a Few Beans…

[Editor Charlie sez:  here’s the ponzi scheme evidence, if true]

6. A&R and Campaign Managers were only told to “launch launch launch” new campaigns so that payments could be distributed to other projects. They very well knew that they were unable to pay artists, but needed to launch new campaigns in order to gain more revenue. Employees knew that this was not ethical, but at the end of the day had no choice. 

Read the post on Digital Music News