@xpangler: Universal Music Pulls Song Catalog From Triller, Saying TikTok Copycat ‘Shamefully’ Withheld Artist Payments

[There are some people you meet in life who just always seem to have the wrong side of the deal. We’ve seen this time and time again where services talk a big game and end up screwing you either on the front end, the back end or in the cracks. If they would do it to Universal, imagine what they’ll do to everyone else. And don’t think for one minute that TikTok is any better. Pulling a catalog, particularly given the size of Universal, is not something you do on a whim. A lot of thought and desperation went into this move. It’s a ballsy move, and it’s one that the publishers should have done long ago rather than suing people like Peleton, lest these people think you’re all talk and no action which they clearly do.]

Universal Music Group has removed its entire music library from video app Triller, a would-be TikTok competitor, alleging Triller has withheld payments to the music giant’s artists.

“We will not work with platforms that do not value artists. Triller has shamefully withheld payments owed to our artists and refuses to negotiate a license going forward,” a UMG rep said in a statement to Variety. “We have no alternative except to remove our music from Triller, effective immediately.”

Read the post on Variety

@shoshanazuboff: The Coup We Are Not Talking About: We can have democracy, or we can have a surveillance society, but we cannot have both.

The intolerable truth of our current condition is that America and most other liberal democracies have, so far, ceded the ownership and operation of all things digital to the political economics of private surveillance capital, which now vies with democracy over the fundamental rights and principles that will define our social order in this century.

The license to steal came with a price, binding the executives to the continued patronage of elected officials and regulators as well as the sustained ignorance, or at least learned resignation, of users. The doctrine was, after all, a political doctrine, and its defense would require a future of political maneuvering, appeasement, engagement and investment.

Google led the way with what would become one of the world’s richest lobbying machines. In 2018 nearly half the Senate received contributions from Facebook, Google and Amazon, and the companies continue to set spending records.

Surveillance capitalism originates in the discovery that companies can stake a claim to people’s lives as free raw material for the extraction of behavioral data, which they then declare their private property.

Read the post on the New York Time opinion.

It’s Not “Premium,” but It Sure Ain’t Free: Spotify’s Bait and Switch on Podcast Advertising

Unlike the censorious Apple, Spotify has held on to its “free” ad-supported service and is very much in the advertising business. (I’ve always suspected that the only reason Spotify has shown any interest in credits or lyrics is that those text renderings are also known as advertising keywords.)

But Spotify appears to be disrupting truth in its own advertising according to the Independent. Spotify “announced on 21 January that it would be bringing Spotify Podcast Ads to the UK for all users – meaning Premium subscribers who paid to avoid adverts will still have to listen to promotional content….The ads are only available on podcasts that Spotify produces itself, so it will receive money both from subscription fees and company ads.”

In the UK, false advertising is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, the industry-controlled “regulatory” authority. According to the Independent, “If anyone has concerns that Spotify is making a misleading advertising claim about ‘no ad interruptions’, whether the claim is on its website, in app or elsewhere, we encourage them to contact us and we’ll assess the matter further”, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) told The Independent.” The complaint webform is here.

US users can complain to the Federal Trade Commission and their webform is here.

European Commissioner: Section 230 Dogma “has collapsed” so bring on the EU’s Digital Services Act

The coordinated moves by Silicon Valley to silence Donald Trump are having unintended consequences, but consequences that the legions of Big Tech lawyers must have thought through.  Setting aside the fact that they took down so many accounts so quickly on Twitter that they must have been working from a list prepared long ago, and setting aside the obvious collusive signaling by the Big Tech oligarchs that bad things might happen to anyone who didn’t follow suit (anyone remember SOPA and GoDaddy?), there are existential issues for these companies regarding Senator Ron Wyden’s singular legislative achievement, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  

European Commissioner for Internal Markets Thierry Breton sets out this discussion–can one call a statement of fact an argument?–in an op-ed posted in Politico’s European edition titled Capitol Hill — the 9/11 moment of social media.   Although 9/11 was the Internet’s 9/11 moment, I take his point.  However, as Mr. Breton makes clear, Europe is proposing legislation in the form of the Digital Services Act that would hold Big Tech accountable way before there’s a riot.

Mr. Breton writes:

The dogma anchored in section 230 — the U.S. legislation that provides social media companies with immunity from civil liability for content posted by their users — has collapsed….

Regardless of whether silencing a standing president was the right thing to do, should that decision be in the hands of a tech company with no democratic legitimacy or oversight? Can these platforms still argue that they have no say over what their users are posting?

While it may be “too soon” to have these clear eyed discussions that Mr. Breton forces us to face up to, it is important to understand his essential point.  These are not lemonade stands.  Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon are well known defense contractors.  Amazon has suffered during the Trump administration in its quest for a place at the government trough.  All of these companies that are participating in crushing their competitor Parler have skin in the Section 230 game and opposing any legislation to roll it back.  Any lobbyist who’s being candid with you will acknowledge that stopping legislation to roll back Section 230 is at least a two Tesla job if not a two Gulfstream job with a Vineyard house bonus.

So let’s heed Mr. Breton’s admonishment to focus on what really just happened.  They all acknowledged they don’t qualify for Section 230 anymore and Europe intends to hold them accountable.  As he says:

These last few days have made it more obvious than ever that we cannot just stand by idly and rely on these platforms’ good will or artful interpretation of the law. We need to set the rules of the game and organize the digital space with clear rights, obligations and safeguards. We need to restore trust in the digital space. It is a matter of survival for our democracies in the 21st century.

Europe is the first continent in the world to initiate a comprehensive reform of our digital space through the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act, both of which the European Commission tabled in December. They are both based on one simple yet powerful premise: What is illegal offline should also be illegal online….

The DSA [gives] online platforms clear obligations and responsibilities to comply with these laws, granting public authorities more enforcement powers and ensuring that all users’ fundamental rights are safeguarded.

With the DSA, Europe has made its opening move. Our democratic institutions will work hard and fast to finalize this reform. But the challenges faced by our societies and democracies are global in nature.

.Any guesses on who is fighting the DSA with all guns blazing?