Search Working As Planned: Google Handles a Billion Piracy Takedown Requests in a Year

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.

Read the post on PC Mag.

 

Must Read by @ElizKolbert: Our Automated Future

How long will it be before you, too, lose your job to a computer? This question is taken up by a number of recent books, with titles that read like variations on a theme: “The Industries of the Future,” “The Future of the Professions,” “Inventing the Future.” Although the authors of these works are employed in disparate fields—law, finance, political theory—they arrive at more or less the same conclusion. How long? Not long.

“Could another person learn to do your job by studying a detailed record of everything you’ve done in the past?” Martin Ford, a software developer, asks early on in “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future” (Basic Books). “Or could someone become proficient by repeating the tasks you’ve already completed, in the way that a student might take practice tests to prepare for an exam? If so, then there’s a good chance that an algorithm may someday be able to learn to do much, or all, of your job.”

Later, Ford notes, “A computer doesn’t need to replicate the entire spectrum of your intellectual capability in order to displace you from your job; it only needs to do the specific things you are paid to do.” He cites a 2013 study by researchers at Oxford, which concluded that nearly half of all occupations in the United States are “potentially automatable,” perhaps within “a decade or two.” (“Even the work of software engineers may soon largely be computerisable,” the study observed. )

[Techies always add that last parenthetical like they say they understand piracy because “Some of my best friends are musicians….]

As recently as twenty years ago, Google didn’t exist, and as recently as thirty years ago it couldn’t have existed, since the Web didn’t exist. At the close of the third quarter of 2016, Google was valued at almost five hundred and fifty billion dollars and ranked as the world’s second-largest publicly traded company, by market capitalization. (The first was Apple.)

Google offers a vivid illustration of how new technologies create new opportunities. Two computer-science students at Stanford go looking for a research project, and the result, within two decades, is worth more than the G.D.P. of a country like Norway or Austria. But Google also illustrates how, in the age of automation, new wealth can be created without creating new jobs. Google employs about sixty thousand workers. General Motors, which has a tenth of the market capitalization, employs two hundred and fifteen thousand people. And this is G.M. post-[IBM’s] Watson. In the late nineteen-seventies, the carmaker’s workforce numbered more than eight hundred thousand.

How much technology has contributed to the widening income gap in the U.S. is a matter of debate; some economists treat it as just one factor, others treat it as the determining factor. In either case, the trend line is ominous.

Read the post in The New Yorker

@andreworlowski: Trump meets Google – exclusive transcript

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After meeting Kanye West, President-elect Trump will meet Google and other Silicon Valley leaders today. We’ve imagined how the conversation might go.

RUSHED TRANSCRIPT

TRUMP: So. Peter tells me you’re the smartest guys in America. How do you like the furniture?

PAGE: Very nice Mr President Elect.

TRUMP: Where’s the Russian?

PAGE: Sergey [Brin]?

TRUMP: Yes

SCHMIDT: Sir, the Secret Service detained him. We warned him not to try to get into Trump Tower wearing his Google Glass, but he won’t take them off. Well. We want to thank you for inviting us to Trump Tow—

TRUMP: Let’s just cut the crap. I know you did everything you could do get Hillary [Clinton] elected. I know you worked for Obama’s team, Eric [Schmidt]. I know you hate me and I don’t care. But you have 10 minutes to tell me what you want so I can figure out how useful you can be, and how much damage you can do. Go.

PAGE: Er, right. Well. Top of our agenda is ensuring that America’s wealth-creating technology companies – that’s us – have a vital supply of top technology talent.

SCHMIDT: Mr President, as I said two years ago, ‘we take very, very smart people, bring them into the country, give them a diploma and kick them out where they go on to create companies that compete with us’.

TRUMP: What happens to those companies they create?

SCHMIDT: We buy them and close them down. Or our VC friends close them down. As Peter Thiel says: Monopoly is good.

TRUMP: Well, hmmm.

SCHMIDT: Mr President, engineers are expensive, would you use the most expensive labour you could? Employers need to keep wages down.

TRUMP: Which of course I love. But you see, I just got elected on jobs. That’s how I won. I got 2 million fewer votes than Crooked Hillary, but I got them where it counted, right in her backyard. And you’ve created a two-caste economy. Maybe you can employ some American engineers?

SCHMIDT: Uh. In a global interconnected world, Sir, that would be…

TRUMP: Spare me the Thomas Friedman crap. You’re toxic. The DoJ said your cartel fixed wages for a million workers.

SCHMIDT: We’ve fixed the DoJ now, Sir. We run it.

Read the post on The Register

@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

@AOkuliar: The FCC: Death to the Set-Top Box! Long Live the Set-Top Box…or is it Apps?

Emboldened by its success with net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may be looking to shake up the way you enjoy media at home. At the behest of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, on February 18, 2016, the agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) about television set-top boxes.[1] The proposal passed 3-2 on a party line vote, with the Democrats in favor and the Republicans opposed. The proposal—which would require cable companies to open access to set-top box technology to foster competition—has proved controversial, drawing commentary and debate from a wide spectrum of stakeholders. Very recently, it has met with criticism and opposition even among those who initially sponsored it, despite an eleventh hour compromise attempt by Chairman Wheeler. The agency has now taken the set-top box proposal off the agenda until next year….

Read the post on The Federalist Society

@RobertBLevine_: First Proposal for Copyright Reform Arrives, Emphasizes Congressional Role

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and committee member John Conyers (D-Mich.) have released a proposal that would give the U.S. Copyright Office more autonomy, although it would stay in the Legislative Branch of government. Most important, it would subject the Register of Copyrights, the highest copyright position in the U.S. government, to the same Congressional nomination process as other government officials. Currently, the Copyright Office is part of the Library of Congress, and the Register is selected by the Librarian of Congress, with no review from lawmakers.

 The process for selecting the Register became a matter of considerable concern across the media and entertainment business in October, when the new Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, unceremoniously sidelined Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante, who subsequently resigned. Among the issues they disagreed about, according to several sources, was how much independence the Copyright Office should have. Hayden is perceived as being skeptical of copyright, and entertainment executives were concerned that she would have the sole authority to appoint a new Register.

Read the post on Billboard

@andreworlowski: Team Trump snubs Big Internet oligarchs

[Editor Charlie sez: No more White House Spotify playlists?]

Team Trump has announced the composition of the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum – and there’s no place for internet oligarchs like Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos or the world’s fifth-richest man, Mark Zuckerberg.

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch has a seat, as does Ginni Rometty, head of everything at IBM. The forum is headed by Stephen A Schwarzman, co-founder of private equity giant Blackstone.

“The panel will be a strong voice on Team Trump for corporate America and the interests of the 1 per cent,” writes Larry Kumer of the Fabius Maximus blog, noting that for a populist President-elect, there’s no representation for organised labour.

But it’s not merely corporate – that much can be expected from a CEO President-elect. DC sources tell us that Trump’s antipathy towards Big Internet is based on jobs. A second Trump term depends on jobs growth; while internet companies such as Amazon, Google and Uber destroy jobs, manufacturing industries create them.

It’s a sign of which corporations Team Trump thinks can generate jobs. Outgoing President Obama couldn’t get enough of Big Internet, and today many agencies reflect Google’s agenda. The Google Transparency project has documented the busy revolving door between DC and Mountain View, and the amount of Google-friendly policy activity has become frantic in recent months. Examples include ripping up the rules for TV licensing – which proved too much even for the Democrat FCC Commissioner with the swing vote to approve – and locking the Register of Copyright out of her office.

Read the post on The Register