The Shiv Act: Google’s MIC Coalition Attacks Songwriters with New Back Door Version of Orphan Works Legislation Safe Harbor

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[Editor Charlie update:  Here is a copy of the bill]

Google’s MIC Coalition is at it again.  As predicted, the MIC Coalition is bringing orphan works through the back door with a new bill introduced in the dead of night under the misleading title “ Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act” or as we call it, The Shiv Act.

The bill hasn’t been introduced yet so we don’t quite know how bad it truly is, but here’s the summary:

Some of the key provisions of the Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act include:

  • Require the Register of Copyrights to establish and maintain a current informational database of musical works and sound recordings while granting the Register authority to hire employees and contractors, promulgate regulations, and spend appropriated funds necessary and appropriate to carry out these functions

  • Ensure that the database is made publicly accessible by the Copyright Office, in its entirety and  without charge, and in a format that reflects current technological practices, and that is updated on a real-time basis

 

Limit the remedies available to a copyright owner or authorized party to bring an infringement action for violation of the exclusive right to perform publicly, reproduce or distribute a musical work or sound recording if that owner/ authorized party has failed to provide or maintain the minimum information required in the database.

That last point is where we get the shiv in the back.  This is essentially saying what Google, Lessig and their fellow travelers have been saying for years–if you don’t observe the formality of registration, then you lose your rights to sue for infringement.

Note that this “register or lose it” approach is soft-pedaled in both the press release

This legislation really puts the “compulsory” in “compulsory licensing” with a vengeance and essentially undermines the very system it purports to “fix”–plus it is an obvious trojan horse for an orphan works regime that Big Tech lusts after behind some librarians–their human shields.  (But see Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View From Europe by Jean-Noël Jeanneney, the former president of the Biblioteque nationale de France, and Google’s Book Search: A Disaster for Scholars by Geoffrey Nunberg.)

If you have any doubt of what these people are up to, you need only look to the royalty-free 45 million mass NOIs that have been filed already using the registration system that does exist right now.  The idea that the Copyright Office can handle setting up this unicorn database for the benefit of Big Tech at taxpayer expense is kind of a joke–until you realize that there was a “copyright coup in Washington” and the Google-backed Librarian of Congress is likely intending to appoint her own head of the Copyright Office unless the Senate passes S. 1010 the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017.

Whatever the discussions have been in the music community about the need for a “global rights database”, nobody ever said “And what we really need is a use it or lose it system that allows Big Tech to question every lawsuit based on whether a work was registered under the right title by the right people at the right time….” and so on and so on and so on.

This legislation has all kinds of potential international implications as did the taxpayer debacle known as the Fairness In Music Licensing Act, which benefited MIC Coalition members but has cost the U.S. taxpayer millions of dollars as a result of treaty violations. The MIC Coalition is back with more crony capitalism asking for another taxpayer funded even safer harbor, a legislated knife to stick in the backs of songwriters and artists.

 

 

@andreworlowski: Academics ‘funded by Google’ tend not to mention it in their work

A network of academics on Google’s payroll just so happens to churn out “independent research” friendly to their sugar daddy’s corporate goals. But two-thirds of the time you wouldn’t know it, according to the Campaign for Accountability….

Instead of providing a dispassionate critique of Silicon Valley, academics viewed it as a chance to expand their domains. The early noughties saw a proliferation of “cyberlaw” departments and “internet institutes” only too keen to take corporate funding from technology companies. This was a shrewd investment – it has helped now-dominant internet platforms set the agenda.

Academics prominent in today’s corporate-backed net neutrality protest include Stanford Law School’s Barbara van Schewick and lawyer Marvin Ammori, who runs “Fight For The Future”. Both, the GTP said, are indirectly funded by Google….

Although all large corporations lobby and fund academic research, Silicon Valley is unique in funding not only thinktanks but also ersatz “civil society” groups (such as Fight For The Future), which then manufacture a synthetic “grassroots” legitimacy for a policy issue. The phenomenon of “slacktivism” or “clicktivism” makes use of low-cost, low-risk tools to generate apparent support for lightweight causes (“save the internet”).

This means that the corporate puppet master can work academics to create and promote an issue, and then deploy fake “citizen” groups to generate the impression of popular support for its position. Although sometimes it’s hard to tell the slacktivists from the academics.

Read the post on The Register

GUEST POST: With Other Companies Wide Awake to the Problem, When is the Penny Going to Drop for Google? — The Trichordist

This is a guest post from Volker Rieck, Managing Director of the content protection service provider FDS File Defense Service. WITH OTHER COMPANIES WIDE AWAKE TO THE PROBLEM NOW, WHEN IS THE PENNY GOING TO DROP FOR GOOGLE? The ongoing debate on the accountability of internet advertising networks intensified abruptly and dramatically in the first half […]

via GUEST POST: With Other Companies Wide Awake to the Problem, When is the Penny Going to Drop for Google? — The Trichordist

@andreworlowski: When ‘Saving The Internet’ means ‘Saving Crony Capitalism’

Entering the BBC today to talk about the net neutrality protests “supported by Amazon and Netflix and others”, I had a dilemma. How in three minutes can you give viewers worldwide a perspective which conveys that the motivations are valid – American fixed-line broadband is pretty rubbish – but what we were witnessing was the most powerful multinationals in the world flexing their muscles, a show of corporate strength. In Europe these companies are regularly said to be more powerful than any nation state.

Think about that for a second. If Pepsi Co launched a “day of protest” and wanted to enlist your help to weaken regulation, we’d give it short shrift. What if the banks, who sailed away from the financial crisis without too many scratches, had a “banking go-slow”? Literally: what if ATMs had spat out bills very, very slowly today, while the screen invited you to “show your support for open banking, and click here!” I can imagine the reaction. The fact that the giant internet platforms – Google and Facebook and Amazon – feel they can engage in it at all tells us something. (Even though access to cash is more important than access to Facebook: you can get by better, for longer, with no internet – apparently people once had to – than you could without cash.)

The figures are startling. Only last year did half of US census districts have access to two decent fixed-line broadband providers (defined as 25Mbps). That’s districts, not households. Eighteen months ago it was around 25 per cent.

The wrinkle is that I subscribe to neither of two strict views that I’m supposed to, in the childlike and simplified world of “net neutrality”.

Read the post on The Register

@andrewkwoods: No, The Canadian Supreme Court Did Not Ruin the Internet

Global takedown orders with no limiting principle are indeed scary.  But Canada’s order has a limiting principle.  As long as there is room for Google to say to Canada (or France), “Your order will put us in direct and significant violation of U.S. law,” the order is not a limitless assertion of extraterritorial jurisdiction.  In the instance that a service provider identifies a conflict of laws, the state should listen. Under longstanding conflicts of laws principles, a court would need to weigh the conflicting and legitimate governments’ interests at stake.  The Canadian court was eager to undertake that comity analysis, but it couldn’t do so because the necessary ingredient was missing: there was no conflict of laws.

Google’s response to this sort of regime, as Daphne Keller points out, is that it would require them to identify potential conflicts of laws.  I’ll leave it for another time to address whether such an extraordinarily wealthy company can manage the heavy burden of determining whether it can comply with a given legal order… but I suppose you can guess what I think.

Read the post on Lawfare

 

Chantel McGee: Google, Facebook are super monopolies on the scale of Standard Oil, says VC Roger McNamee

And the EC find doesn’t even include a penalty for YouTube’s monopoly…

Google shareholders won’t be phased by the EU’s $2.7 billion fine against the company for competition abuses related to its shopping business, Elevation Partners co-founder Roger McNamee told CNBC on Tuesday.

“As a shareholder of Google you’re looking at this and saying: ‘We won again,'” McNamee said.

The venture capitalist spoke hours after EU regulators fined Google a record 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion), ruling that the search-engine giant violated antitrust rules for its online shopping practices.

Google said it will consider appealing the decision to the highest court in Europe.

“Google, Facebook, Amazon are increasingly just super-monopolies, especially Google and Facebook. The share of the markets they operate in is literally on the same scale that Standard Oil had … more than 100 years ago — with the big differences that their reach is now global, not just within a single country,” he said on “Squawk Alley.”

The fine is not large enough to change Google’s behavior, he added. “The only thing that will change it is regulations that actually say you can or can’t do something.”

Read the post on CNBC

@annaschecter & @kenziabousabe: Backpage Critics Find Surprise Ammunition in Philippines Raid

It was a daring raid carried out with military precision in a remote city of the Philippines — an operation that yielded surprise ammunition for a legal battle over the classified ad site Backpage, which has been accused of promoting sex trafficking.

The strike involved two planes, 14 vehicles, sheriffs and lawyers, computer forensic experts, and armed guards with their firearms discreetly tucked away in shoulder bags….

Accompanying the photos were thousands of documents linking Avion to Backpage, which has been vigorously fighting a slew of charges in the U.S. that it promotes prostitution and child exploitation [including] a 20-month U.S. Senate investigation that found Backpage complicit in trafficking.

The company’s legal woes also include criminal charges refiled last year by the state of California against its CEO and two founders and a civil lawsuit now headed for trial in Washington state after the courts declined to dismiss it.

Backpage’s defense is that it’s not responsible for ads posted on the site, based on Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act which says that online service providers cannot be held liable for content provided by third parties.

The company also says that it does what it can to crack down on illegal activity by hiring moderators to flag problematic content.  [Sound familiar?]

But, according to Florance, “when we looked at what we saw in the Philippines, we saw something that did not go with that storyline at all.”

“They appeared to us to be actively engaged in looking worldwide to try to find prostitutes to get them to bring their wares to be sold on Backpage,” he said.

Read the post on NBC News

Watch Eric Schmidt swallow his tongue when confronted by Consumer Watchdog  at Google shareholder meeting over Google’s support for Backpage.