@perstrombeck: Having a Bubble Bath or Why the “Buried” Piracy Report Got It All Backwards

[Editor Charlie sez:  Maybe the report was buried because it was an expensive embarrassment, results oriented, left out important data and was policy laundering?  And why was it only just discovered now that the European Commission fined Google $2.7 billion?  Here’s a tip–if something seems like bullshit, it probably is.]

Conventional wisdom says if you pour cold water into a hot bath, the temperature of the bath water will fall. New research, however, challenges this outdated view. That’s right: I was having a nice, hot bubble bath and decided to do a scientific experiment. So I opened the cold water tap and let it run into the tub. After ten minutes, I measured the temperature and again after fifteen minutes. To my surprise, the temperature was the same both times! It felt strange, because I was freezing, but you can’t argue with research. My experiment shows that pouring cold water into a hot tub does not decrease the water temperature. I thought about writing a 300-page report about it, but the government would only bury it.

You guessed it, I’m not really talking about bathing but the supposedly buried report that says piracy does not hurt legal sales. This idea is one of the pirates’ favourite daydreams. The recently leaked report adds to the daydreaming. I read the 307 pages so you wouldn’t have to. The mistake is on page 74. The claims go against established research, empirical evidence and common sense. The reason for the misleading conclusion is method problems (intentional or not, your guess is as good as mine).

Read the post on Netopia

@PatrickKulp: Google is building a killswitch that will force the internet to play by its rules

[Editor Charlie sez:  Let’s get it straight people, if you use Google products you are a pawn in a game you’ll never see, Google’s own version of The Truman Show.]

Switch on the ad blocking toggle that appeared this week in Google’s experimental version of Chrome, and nothing will happen.

The feature is out of service at the moment, according to a Google spokesperson, a shell of a tool with which its developers can tinker while the search giant hammers out the operational details through an ad industry trade group.

But what that tiny, empty bit of code actually represents is a looming change agent that could reshape the entire web. It’s a killswitch that Google could throw whenever it so pleases.

Chrome is by far the most popular browser in the world, meaning rational commercial websites have no choice but to play by its rules. The standards it builds into the filter will ripple across the rest of the internet as publishers adjust their ad-buying decisions to accommodate them.

Read the post on Mashable

@meliarobin: Inside the $600-a-head Silicon Valley restaurant where Google and Apple executives eat gold-flecked steaks

[Editor Charlie sez:  Mechanical royalties are a la carte….]

Hiroshi is an unusual restaurant for unusual clientele.

Located in Los Altos, California, the newly opened Japanese restaurant accommodates only eight people per night and has no menus, no windows, and one table. Dinner costs at minimum $395 a head, but it averages between $500 and $600 with beverages and tax.

Hiroshi Kimura, the chef and owner, left his restaurant in Hawaii and moved to Silicon Valley in 2016 to launch a concept that would appeal to the deep-pocketed tech elite. Hiroshi hosts three to five dinners a week and is booked solid when a convention comes to town.

We toured the restaurant to see why it’s becoming a favorite in Silicon Valley.

Read the post on Business Insider

@davidclowery: Here’s How You Know Mic-Coalition “Shiv Act” Is About Screwing Songwriters Not Transparency — The Trichordist

Yesterday we detailed one of the main problems with the so-called “Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act” or as Artist Rights Watch termed it “The Shiv Act.” The bill would take away from songwriters legal remedies like attorney’s fees and statutory damages. Thus making it virtually impossible for individual songwriters and small […]

via Here’s How You Know Mic-Coalition “Shiv Act” Is About Screwing Songwriters Not Transparency — The Trichordist

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.

 

 

@KatHall42: Google [FINALLY] hit with record antitrust fine of €2.4bn by Europe

According to Kat Hall’s insightful reporting in The Register:

Google has been hit with a record antitrust fine of €2.42bn (£2.1bn) from the European Union today for promoting its own shopping search service over those of smaller rivals.

The regulator found that Google had abused its market dominance as a search engine “by giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, its comparison shopping service,” it said.

European regulators gave the tech giant 90 days to stop its illegal activities or face fines of up to 5 per cent of the average daily worldwide turnover of parent company Alphabet. That currently amounts to around $14m a day.

The commission has the power to fine Google’s parent up to 10 per cent of its annual revenue, which was more than $90bn (£70.8bn).

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules… It has denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation.”

“Most importantly, today’s decision shows that in Europe companies must compete on the merits regardless of whether they are online, the high street, and whether they are European or not.”

She said since she had taken the helm as commissioner in 2014, she has given high priority to the case. During its probe, she said the commission sifted through terabytes of data, the equivalent of 1.7 billion search queries: “It’s a lot of data and it is of course needed because our decision has to be based on firm evidence. “

She said she has no reason to believe that Google will not comply, but said the commission intended to monitor Google’s compliance closely. “This means this issue will remain on our desk for some time. “

This decision was a very long time in coming–which means of course that Google have managed to operate illegally since at least 2010 with this fine hanging in the air (see my 2014 post “The Delay’s The Thing: April Fools and the Google Antitrust Case at the European Commission“).

Not surprisingly, the Computer and Communications Industry Association came out with one of those innovation based thingys defending Google, a fellow member of the MIC Coalition cartel.

Obviously more on this to come, but the real question is when will the EU go after Google for YouTube.

If you ever wondered just how arrogant the YouTube negotiators really are, realize that these geniuses decided that it would be a good time to alienate the WIN and Merlin labels–based in…where was that again…oh yes…Europe…right in the middle of the EU antitrust investigation.  And how did they alienate the indies?  By doing pretty much the EXACT SAME THING that Google was accused of doing in search–abusing their dominant position to benefit themselves.

To be continued…

@PeggyMcGlone: Congressional panel calls for independent Copyright Office

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.

Read the post on The Washington Post