Five to 10 years ago, independent bloggers used to be able to getby on internet advertising, like the broadsheets of yore. But that changed quite quickly, and for two big reasons: Facebook and Google. They now gobble up the vast majority of internet advertising dollars — about 85 percent, as my colleague Jeff Spross writes — and a great many media outlets have been forced to move to direct subscriptions or other business models.
Google and Facebook manage this because they are platform monopolists. They can exert tremendous influence through their control of how people use the internet — and crush productive businesses in the process. Like any monopoly, it is long since time that the government regulated them to serve the public interest….
The upshot here is that both Google’s overwhelming search dominance and their profitable exploitation thereof are almost wholly unmerited in terms of their actual product. Google is a fine tool, but what defines the company is luck. Its profits come from a largely unearned strategic position within a socially-created communication medium. Devouring a small business that provided Google and the internet writ large with quality research simply to keep people fenced onto their own portion of the internet is just one particularly egregious example how this position can be abused.
Using forks and knives to eat their bacon
Piggies, written by George Harrison
The well-known royalty deadbeat Vimeo is screwing artists over yet again. This time it’s pre-72 artists whose recordings the deadbeat wants to exploit on a “DMCA license” when the same courts deny justice to those very artists for the performance of their recordings by these very deadbeats.
Remember, the loophole these deadbeats exploit is the lack of federal copyright protection for sound recordings made prior to February 15, 1972, a totally arbitrary date. In 1998 the Congress passed the horrendous DMCA safe harbor that The Man 2.0 lobbied for to allow them to claim they have no knowledge that they are infringing–despite the fact that their entire business is built on stealing other people’s music.
At the same time, the Congress finished up the work it started in 1995 to establish a full-blown royalty system for the performance of sound recordings, paying hundreds of millions to recording artist who were previously ripped off. But–seizing an opportunity to save 30 pieces of silver, Sirius and Pandora fought to keep from paying pre-72 artists because The Turtles sued. While nobody ever thought Sirius cared about anything but money, this is why Pandora’s pro-artist bullshit is bullshit, leading to the musical question, how do you sleep at night?
So are you catching the theme here? The courts protect Big Tech in both cases. First, by allowing them safe harbor protection under the “DMCA license” according to the Supreme Court. Is it any accident that Lessig pal Justice Elena Kagan is on the court?
Second, by protecting them from paying on pre-72 recordings in New York where the Vimeo case was filed.
U.S. courts just want to crush the old guys and dead cats at every opportunity.
The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from record companies that want to pursue copyright infringement claims against music site Vimeo for hosting unauthorized recordings from the Beatles, Elvis Presley and other classic artists.
The justices on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that said websites are protected from liability even for older music recorded before 1972.
Read the fine print: “Of the 1,007,741,143 takedown requests received, 908,237,861 were removed from search results.” So Google did not remove 99,503,282 infringing links.
I wonder how much traffic Google derives from a billion takedowns? Or the 99,503,282 they don’t take down? This is how Google messages their pathetic record on piracy…”but we took down 90%!” Don’t be deceived by Google duplicity.
As the biggest provider of search results on the Internet, Google receives a constant barrage of requests to remove content from its results. Some of those requests come from governments, but the majority are submitted by copyright owners very keen to stop their work from being pirated.
As President-elect Trump prepares to take office, tech behemoth Google has changed course, now trying to align itself with the incoming Republican administration after backing Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
Watchdog.org reported extensively last year on Google’s cozy relationship with the Obama administration, from a lobbyist’s frequent visits to the White House to the number of employees who have transitioned from Google to the Obama administration and vice versa.
The company also has amped up its influence of Congress, becoming one of the most influential tech lobbyists and provider of campaign contributions in the United States.
Shortly after Trump’s win, the Mountain View, California-based company posted a listing for a conservative outreach manager, Bloomberg noted. Google sought a D.C. veteran to “act as liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups.”
No matter the ideological disposition of a company’s leadership, it’s not at all unusual for big lobbying shops to include advocates of both political parties — just in case.
Bloomberg pointed out that Trump’s position on several issues important to Google, including autonomous vehicles, telecommunications rules and antitrust concerns, is uncertain.
Here’s what you don’t want to do late on a Sunday night. You do not want to type seven letters into Google. That’s all I did. I typed: “a-r-e”. And then “j-e-w-s”. Since 2008, Google has attempted to predict what question you might be asking and offers you a choice. And this is what it did. It offered me a choice of potential questions it thought I might want to ask: “are jews a race?”, “are jews white?”, “are jews christians?”, and finally, “are jews evil?”
Are Jews evil? It’s not a question I’ve ever thought of asking. I hadn’t gone looking for it. But there it was. I press enter. A page of results appears. This was Google’s question. And this was Google’s answer: Jews are evil. Because there, on my screen, was the proof: an entire page of results, nine out of 10 of which “confirm” this. The top result, from a site called Listovative, has the headline: “Top 10 Major Reasons Why People Hate Jews.” I click on it: “Jews today have taken over marketing, militia, medicinal, technological, media, industrial, cinema challenges etc and continue to face the worlds [sic] envy through unexplained success stories given their inglorious past and vermin like repression all over Europe.”
Google is search. It’s the verb, to Google. It’s what we all do, all the time, whenever we want to know anything. We Google it. The site handles at least 63,000 searches a second, 5.5bn a day. Its mission as a company, the one-line overview that has informed the company since its foundation and is still the banner headline on its corporate website today, is to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. It strives to give you the best, most relevant results. And in this instance the third-best, most relevant result to the search query “are Jews… ” is a link to an article from stormfront.org, a neo-Nazi website. The fifth is a YouTube video: “Why the Jews are Evil. Why we are against them.”
[Editor Charlie sez: So who would be the most likely customer who would need Internet access “beamed” to remote locations?]
The wing on Facebook Inc.’s experimental high-altitude drone broke last summer in Arizona after the massive aircraft hit an updraft and its autopilot overcompensated seconds before touchdown on its maiden flight, a U.S. investigation has concluded….
The aircraft — which has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 — is designed to linger for months at high altitudes and beam the internet to undeveloped regions around the world. [Or war zones…]
The plane is known as Aquila and is part of Facebook’s plan to wirelessly connect the world. It crashed on June 28 at a test site near Yuma, Arizona.
Bloomberg News reported on Nov. 21 that the NTSB had opened an investigation. Even though Facebook said in a July 21 blog post that the plane had had an unspecified structural failure, details of the incident weren’t released.
The company didn’t believe it could disclose information about the investigation because of NTSB rules limiting what companies participating in a probe can say, [Facebook spokesman] said.
Aquila has a wingspan of 141 feet (43 meters), which is wider than the various Boeing Co. 737 models. Because it is designed to fly slowly at altitudes above 60,000 feet (18,288 meters), it weighs only 900 pounds (408 kilograms), a tiny fraction of a jetliner.
It’s powered by four electric engines and can stay aloft with just the energy needed to power three hair dryers, according to the company. The initial test model used battery power only, but it will eventually be powered by solar panels. It should be able to circle over a location for months at a time, beaming internet signals to users in remote areas without infrastructure, according to Facebook.
Federal lawmakers are calling for an independent Copyright Office that would be led by a Register nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday released the first in what is expected to be a series of reforms. They suggest keeping a newly independent office in the Legislative branch, and funding technology upgrades including a searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership.
Coming on the heels of the resignation of Copyright Register Maria Pallante, and previous suggestions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the proposals set up a show-down between Congress and new librarian Carla D. Hayden over the future of the agency.