@Aditya Bhat: Is Google about to launch the largest torrent search engine ever seen?

[Editor Charlie sez:  In their hearts, they know they are criminals…Let the RICO games begin!]

After years of catering to copyright holders and their increasing demands, is Google about to go rogue in sheer frustration? According to a report by TorrentFreak, 2017 could well be the year Google throws its toys out of the pram, raises the Jolly Roger and takes to the digital seas in anger by launching its very own mega torrent search engine.

Over the last decade the copyright industry has been baying for pirate blood and have badgered Google for far broader search engine censorship to curb the growing piracy problem. In 2012 alone, Google removed over 50 million pirate search results that were infringing on the copyright holders’ content.

Read the post on International Business Times.

@bmi: BMI Files Action in Federal Rate Court Against the Radio Music License Committee

[Editor Charlie sez: Here’s a press release from BMI about BMI’s rate court case against the Google-backed anti-artist behemoth MIC Coalition’s member Radio Music License Committee, the broadcaster licensing collective.  The RMLC collective is also suing Global Music Rights to stop songwriters from forming a licensing collective.]

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Today, BMI filed an action in Federal Rate Court to set interim fees for radio stations represented by the Radio Music License Committee (the “RMLC”) while BMI and the RMLC negotiate the terms of a new five-year deal beginning in 2017.

The RMLC has proposed an interim rate well below BMI’s previous deal, the effect of which would have a significant impact on the royalties BMI pays to its songwriters, composers and music publishers. The RMLC has justified its proposed rate based upon incomplete and incorrect information regarding BMI’s radio performances. BMI disagrees fundamentally with the RMLC’s proposal and, consistent with past practices, is asking the Court to maintain its most recent rate while new terms are negotiated.

Mike Steinberg, Senior Vice President of Licensing for BMI, stated, “We attempted to negotiate in good faith with the RMLC for many months, and just before the end of the year, the RMLC presented an interim rate that significantly undervalues the work of BMI’s songwriters. Given the unmatched caliber of BMI’s repertoire, our superior market share on radio, and the ever-increasing value that BMI music brings to the radio industry across all its platforms, we believe the RMLC’s proposal falls well short of what is in the best interests of our affiliates.”

Funny How that Works: @edchristman reports: Irving Azoff, Top Radio Groups Reach Temporary Licensing Agreement — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

When two rational actors are economically interdependent on one another, disputes tend to get solved at a market clearing price. So it is with Global Music Rights and the goliath Radio Music License Committee that itself is a member of the even bigger goliath MIC Coalition. (My bet is that the Google-backed MIC Coalition is behind […]

via Funny How that Works: @edchristman reports: Irving Azoff, Top Radio Groups Reach Temporary Licensing Agreement — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

@jonathantaplin: Forget AT&T. The Real Monopolies Are Google and Facebook.

The proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner has drawn censure from both sides of the political aisle, as well as a Senate hearing that looked into the potential for the combined company to become a monopoly.

But if we are going to examine media monopolies, we should look first at Silicon Valley, not the fading phone business.

Mark Cuban, the internet entrepreneur, said at the meeting of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee last week that the truly dominant companies in media distribution these days were Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon.

“Facebook is without question in a dominant position, if not the dominant position, for content delivery,” he said.

Look at the numbers. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and Facebook are among the 10 largest companies in the world. Alphabet alone has a market capitalization of around $550 billion. AT&T and Time Warner combined would be about $300 billion.

Read the Post on The New York Times

@edchristman: @IrvingAzoff’s Global Music Rights Files Suit Against Radio Industry Body Over Monopolistic Practices

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The radio industry is about to learn what many others already have — when you push Irving Azoff, he pushes back. Usually harder.

After nearly two years of negotiations over licensing rates for radio song plays, the Radio Licensing Music Committee (RMLC) recently “ambushed” Global Music Rights (GMR) — the nascent U.S. performance rights organization launched in late 2013 by Azoff, in conjunction with MSG Entertainment and with former ASCAP executive Randy Grimmett at the helm — with an antitrust lawsuit filed in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania on Nov. 18.

That was followed by the filing, on Dec. 6, Daniel Petrocelli and his firm O’Melveny & Myers of an antitrust suit on behalf of GMR against the RLMC in the U.S. Central District Court of California. Petrocelli stresses that the suit is not retaliatory, but was filed to fight the RLMC’s “collusive tactics to depress [the] prices” that radio stations pay songwriters.

Azoff, the legendary artist manager who began GMR because he felt songwriters were getting shortchanged in performance licensing, tells Billboard that he takes “artist rights very seriously. I grew up around guys named Lew Wasserman[former head of MCA, now known as Universal Music Group] and Steve Ross [who created Warner Music Group], who taught me to respect talent. We feel that they [the RMLC] violated respect for talent. We didn’t start this fight, but we aren’t going away.”

Read the post on Billboard

@ashleycullins: Global Music Rights Takes Fire at Radio “Cartel”

The digital music era has seen no shortage of lawsuits over payment for songs — but the latest battle is poised to rock the industry.

Global Music Rights, a boutique performing rights organization, claims the country’s 10,000 radio stations are acting as a cartel to keep payments to songwriters artificially low, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in California federal court.

At the heart of the issue is how songwriters get paid when their music is played on a terrestrial radio station. Here’s how it works: Most rightsholders are represented by either ASCAP or BMI. Those organizations typically license music through “blanket licenses” covering their entire collections. Consent decrees issued by the Department of Justice decades ago in an effort to avoid antitrust issues require ASCAP and BMI to give a license to anyone who’s willing to pay for one.

Music industry heavyweight Irving Azoff launched GMR in 2013 in an effort to give elite songwriters another option and, hopefully, more money.

While GMR boasts songwriters behind hits by artists including John Lennon, Kenny Chesney and Drake, its roster of about 70 clients and 26,000 works pales in comparison to the combined 22 million compositions held by ASCAP and BMI — according to the complaint, that is by design.

“GMR has not accumulated and has no intention to amass the market power that other PROs have wielded,” writes attorney Daniel Petrocelli. “By keeping its catalog small and high-quality across the board, GMR is able to provide personalized customer service to its songwriters and keep the cost of those services low.”

GMR is now suing the Radio Music License Committee because it claims the group is ensuring there is no competition among radio stations in order to stifle the rates they pay to license songs.

“RMLC’s member stations are competitors,” writes Petrocelli. “Yet these ‘competitors’ created and actively participate in a ‘committee’ whose very purpose is to negotiate with PROs as a group and destroycompetition among them in the acquisition of performance license rates.”

Read the post on the Hollywood Reporter.

 

@geoffmanne & @neilturkewitz: Public Knowledge’s Lonely Echo Chamber of Copyright Advocacy

Yesterday the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee issued the first set of policy proposals following their long-running copyright review process. These proposals were principally aimed at ensuring that the IT demands of the Copyright Office were properly met so that it could perform its assigned functions, and to provide adequate authority for it to adapt its policies and practices to the evolving needs of the digital age.

In response to these modest proposals, Public Knowledge issued a telling statement, calling for enhanced scrutiny of these proposals related to an agency “with a documented history of regulatory capture.”

The entirety of this “documented history,” however, is a paper published by Public Knowledge itself alleging regulatory capture—as evidenced by the fact that 13 people had either gone from the Copyright Office to copyright industries or vice versa over the past 20+ years. The original document was brilliantly skewered by David Newhoff in a post on the indispensable blog, Illusion of More:

“To support its premise, Public Knowledge, with McCarthy-like righteousness, presents a list—a table of thirteen former or current employees of the Copyright Office who either have worked for private-sector, rights-holding organizations prior to working at the Office or who are  now working for these private entities after their terms at the Office. That thirteen copyright attorneys over a 22-year period might be employed in some capacity for copyright owners is a rather unremarkable observation, but PK seems to think it’s a smoking gun…. Or, as one of the named thirteen, Steven Tepp, observes in his response, PK also didn’t bother to list the many other Copyright Office employees who, “went to Internet and techcompanies, the Smithsonian, the FCC, and other places that no one would mistake for copyright industries.” One might almost get the idea that experienced copyright attorneys pursue various career paths or something.”

Read the post on Truth on the Market

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From Google’s disclosure in Oracle case (aka The Google Shill List).