Congress Calls on Google to Explain Content ID

Today Senators Blackburn, Coons, Feinstein and Tillis and Representatives Collins, Nadler, Roby and Schiff sent a letter to Google’s CEO requesting some answers on Content ID.  They asked some specific questions:

Google Hill Letter Excerpt

These are all good questions.  (The “but” is coming.) One other question that they might have asked is taking into account all of the costs of dealing with YouTube (claiming, registering, correcting, and accounting) imposed on both those who rate a Content ID account (lucky them) and those who don’t, does the YouTube royalty compensate rights owners large and especially indies for the great privilege of dealing with Google?

Or–does the cost of dealing with YouTube with or without Content ID exceed the royalty paid?  Taking into account the soup to nuts costs, I have to believe that the actual out of pocket costs to pay a claiming service, the productivity loss of sending DMCA notices and the endless chasing and policing of the YouTube platform MUST exceed the royalty.

If you take a step back and include the costs for dealing with Google’s other services, leaks, etc., the royalty MUST be negative.  (Which may explain why some rights holders get non recoupable payments from YouTube to offset those costs.)  And this is what the Congressional delegation is getting at with question #5 above.  Google could use a solution like Content ID to police its other services (the rights holders certainly do), but they don’t.

And here’s the “but.”  One of the big mistakes people make in negotiations is assuming that their opponent is motivated by some of the same events that motivate you.  What if they’re not?  What if they do not share your basic values, concepts, belief in private property or even copyright?  What if they just make so much money that they simply do not care?  Kind of like the ontological definition of an asshole.  Imagine an asshole greater than which there can be no asshole and you have imagined Google and its employees.

So Congress folks should understand that these people do not care.  Plus, it’s not like they haven’t thought about this day when they get caught with Content ID.  There’s no gotcha moment here.  Gotchas only work with people who care they’ve been got.  Polite letters that alternate sucking up in one paragraph with a nice series of questions in the next are not going to get it done.

 

The fact is, these are not very bright guys and you have to push things til they get out of hand.

Not that bright.  But they are that rich.  They are that narcissistic.  They are that cruel.  (Case in point–David Drummond.)  They do have 1:10 voting stock that means they have no accountability to anyone.

So until the Congress is willing to talk prison time, until they are ready to start adding zeros to fines until it hurts, until they are ready to drop the hammer on these people, understand this–Google will ignore you.  Oh, they may answer you, but they will treat you like idiots.  Which means ultimately they ignore you.  You may have the watch, but they have the time.

They’ll outlast you.  But thanks, it’s better than nothing.

@jennifer.blakely: My Time at Google and After

The #MeToo Movement has been the beginning of a sea change for women, exposing the double standard between women and men in the workplace oftentimes resulting in abuse toward women. I was moved to tears by the walkout of 20,000 Google employees after the New York Times published an article detailing how the company protects its “elite men.” I lived through it first hand and I believe a company’s culture, its behavioral patterns, start at the top. Rarely do we hear about what happens to women after they are forced out of their jobs but I can tell you what happened to me.

Read the post on Medium

[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

@kellymakena: New bill would ban autoplay videos and endless scrolling

Snapstreaks, YouTube autoplay, and endless scrolling are all coming under fire from a new bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), targeting the tech industry’s “addictive” design.

Hawley’s Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, or the SMART Act, would ban these features that work to keep users on platforms longer, along with others, like Snapstreaks, that incentivize the continued use of these products. If approved, the Federal Trade Commission and Health and Human Services could create similar rules that would expire after three years unless Congress codified them into law.

“Big tech has embraced a business model of addiction,” Hawley said. “Too much of the ‘innovation’ in this space is designed not to create better products, but to capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away.”

Read the post on The Verge

[Editor Charlie sez:  Remember “Nicotine is not Addictive” Senator Wyden?  Here’s your chance to reprise your role in the consumer protection movie.]

Wyden Tobacco

 

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Zuck, is that you?

@akarl_smith: After years of big spending, tech’s political machine turns to high gear

[Editor Charlie sez:  Practically the same lineup that attacked Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood for trying to make Google come clean about violating the Controlled Substances Act in breach of both their NonProsecution Agreement and their shareholder lawsuit settlement.]

“I’ve never seen pushback in such a fashion before,” Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, told NBC News.

NBC News reports that:

‘Every one of those think tanks and advocacy groups is backed by Google, Facebook or both:

TechFreedom, a tech-focused Washington nonprofit…the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a tech-focused civil liberties nonprofit…Engine Advocacy, an organization that advocates for policies that help startups…the Computer & Communications Industry Association [the main trade association for Big Tech]…Those concerns were echoed by a litany of conservative and libertarian-leaning think tanks. Libertarian think tank R Street…the Competitive Enterprise Institute, another conservative think tank, the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and Americans for Prosperity lambasted the proposal too, calling it “the latest potential disaster” that “would blow up the internet.”‘

Read the post on NBC News

EFF Shill

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PK Google Shills