We’re All in it Together: @USSupreme_Court Friend of Court Brief in Google v. Oracle by @helienne, @davidclowery, @theblakemorgan and @SGAWrites

[Editor Charlie sez:  The Oracle v. Google case is going to be the most important copyright case in a very, very long time.  Oracle won the case on appeal twice and Google got the Supreme Court to review.  The case is about two issues being copyright in software and whether Google’s taking of Oracle’s code is fair use and permissionless innovation.    Because of the fair use argument, this is not just some battle of tech companies because no one knows better than us that Google will take any win on fair use and push it even farther.

So all artists, songwriters, photographers, film makers, authors–all of us–are in the same boat with Oracle on this point.  Sure Oracle is a big company, but Google is an even bigger company with a trillion dollar market cap and Google is trying to roll over Oracle the same way they roll over us.

In a must read “friend of the court” brief, Helienne Lindvall, David Lowery, Blake Morgan and the Songwriters Guild of America make this case as independent artists, songwriters and labels all harmed by Google’s policies that are out of touch with the market starting with YouTube.

SCOTUS Brief Cover Page

As Beggars Group Chairman Martin Mills put it, “[P]olicing the YouTubes of this world for infringing content is a herculean task, one beyond all but the largest of companies. For my community, the independents, it’s a game of whack-a-mole they can only lose.”

Helienne, David, Blake and the SGA put that case squarely before the U.S. Supreme Court in this must-read friend of the court brief.]

Independent creators rely on copyright protection to safeguard their works. This is true not just of songwriters and composers, but of countless creators, including recording artists, photographers, filmmakers, visual artists, and software developers. Copyright is, in fact, of existential importance to such creators, who would be utterly lacking in market power and the ability to earn their livings without it.

Google’s business model is a prime example of the need for strong copyright protection. Since Google’s founding, Amici have experienced, observed and believe that Google has used its unprecedented online footprint to dictate the terms of the market for creative works. By tying together a set of limited exceptions and exclusions within the U.S. Copyright Act and analogous laws in other countries, and then advocating for the radical expansion of those exceptions, Google has amplified its own market power to the great detriment of copyright owners. Thus, where fair use is meant to be a limited defense to infringement founded on the cultural and economic good for both creators and the public, Google has throttled it into a business model.

Read the brief on the Supreme Court of the United States.


@digitalmusicnws: BMG Files Lawsuit Against Hilton Hotels After Hotel Chain Refuses to Take Down Infringing Works

After victory in the landmark BMG v. Cox case, BMG leads the way again and protects their songwriters.  The company really sets the gold standard for music publishers with strategic thinking and leadership in enforcing the rights of their songwriters and the composers of their production music catalog.

BMG has filed a lawsuit against Hilton Hotels in the United States.

Filed at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the company’s Production Music division accused Hilton Worldwide Holdings of direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement.

According to BMG, the hotel company has willfully “exploited” four of its copyrighted sound recordings and compositions in “infringing” YouTube and Facebook promotional videos.

The self-described “production music house” writes,

The Defendants benefited from the unauthorized use of those copyrighted works in connection with the promotion and advertisement of their products and services.  [They also] benefited from the unlicensed use of BMG’s unregistered songs in connection with the promotion and advertisement of their products and services.

Read the post on Digital Music News

@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

julie samuels 2

PK Google Shills



May 1, 2019, Washington, DC. The Songwriters Guild of America, Inc. (SGA), America’s largest and longest established songwriter and composer organization run solely by creators themselves, today applauded Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) for their introduction of the “Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2019”.

“SGA has been actively advocating for this important legislation for well over a decade,” states hit songwriter and SGA president Rick Carnes, “and we are gratified and thankful that the CASE Act co-sponsors have taken the lead in pushing to make the crucial protections this bill would provide for music creators a reality.”

It has long been SGA’s position, dating back to active advocacy which began prior to 2008, that a small claims system is an indispensable step toward helping music creators and other authors to regain the ability to enforce their rights against infringers in a cost-effective way. The organization believes that the new bill strikes the proper balance between consumers and creators, establishing an alternative, opt-in arbitration system to resolve copyright infringement cases, without necessitating the time and expense to creators of filing a formal lawsuit.

“How many times,” Carnes continued, “have you heard someone say, ‘let’s not a make a Federal case out of this’? Everyone knows that the enormous cost and energy it takes to prosecute a case in Federal Court is beyond the means of most citizens, and rarely makes financial sense, except as to those rare claims for damages in the millions of dollars. But ‘making a Federal case of it’ is exactly what an individual songwriter must currently do under the law if his or her song is used without permission and infringed.”

Carnes recalled with great dismay the day he first saw his songs being streamed on YouTube, Spotify and other digital distribution networks without consent, and realized the futility of sending take-down notices to protect his rights. According to him, when he sent the notices, another unlicensed copy appeared within minutes of the first one being taken down. And then another. And another.

Faced with playing an unwinnable game of ‘Whack-a-mole’ with infringers, Carnes stated, “I realized that my only other recourse was to file an infringement case in Federal Court which would, ages later, likely end up costing massively more than I could ever collect in damages. The average cost to bring a single, full-blown copyright infringement claim today is estimated to approach $350,000 in legal fees.

At the same time, statutory damages for such infringements are currently capped under the U.S. Copyright Act at less than half that amount per title! The Copyright law is useless to songwriters when the cost of enforcement of our rights far exceeds the compensatory damages able to be recovered against infringers. Every American should have the right to protect his or her property, whether a lawnmower, a bicycle, a photograph, or a song.”

SGA believes it is long past time for Congress to give music creators a viable way to seek fair remedies when the rights of songwriters, composers and authors are violated, and thanked Representatives Jeffries and the other co-sponsors for standing up for the smallest of small US business people: American Songwriters. SGA also expressed thanks and support for the US Copyright Office, which will oversee the implementation of the Act upon its enactment.

“The modernization process that is taking place at the Copyright Office is what makes possible the fair benefits this bill will provide to the American creative community,” concluded Carnes. “We need to get behind the message that a strong US Copyright Office, with proper resources to manage all of its programs, is something that benefits both every American, and the advancement of American culture itself. We hope it will never be necessary for the Copyright Office to limit the scope and size of the small claims system due to underfunding or otherwise, and we intend to work on that issue with the Register and on Capitol Hill as a regular part of SGA’s legislative activities and initiatives in Washington, DC.”

The Songwriters Guild is @SGAWrites and Rick Carnes is @RickCarnes

Selected Must Read Comments from the Indie Community to the Copyright Office on the Music Modernization Act

[Editor Charlie sez: ARW readers have probably seen the mainstream promotion for the two contenders to be the Mechanical Licensing Collective under the Music Modernization Act.  What you may not have seen is the commentary from the indie community.  The Copyright Office is currently soliciting input from the creative community about who would do a better job, “the MLC” supported by the National Music Publishers Association and their allies NSAI and SONA, or the American Mechanical Licensing Collective, backed by Zoë Keating, Stewart Copeland, Maria Schneider and many other songwriters.  The comment period closed on April 22 and all comments are now posted on the Regulations.gov website.  Following are selected comments and links that are important and raise many significant fairness issues as well as some business questions and legal hurdles that the MLC will ultimately need to get past.  It’s not that others aren’t also interesting to the extent they are not form comments to the “Registrar of Copyright”…sheesh…it’s just that you’ve probably heard it all before.]

DOCUMENT ID:    COLC-2018-0011-0017 (https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=COLC-2018-0011-0017)
POSTED DATE:    04/23/2019
DOCUMENT TITLE: Schneider, Maria – Reply Comments

DOCUMENT ID:    COLC-2018-0011-0018 (https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=COLC-2018-0011-0018)
POSTED DATE:    04/23/2019
DOCUMENT TITLE: Keating, Zoe et al. – Reply Comments

DOCUMENT ID:    COLC-2018-0011-0056 (https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=COLC-2018-0011-0056)
POSTED DATE:    04/23/2019
DOCUMENT TITLE: SGA (Songwriters Guild of America) – Reply Comments

DOCUMENT ID:    COLC-2018-0011-0038 (https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=COLC-2018-0011-0038)
POSTED DATE:    04/23/2019
DOCUMENT TITLE: MusicAnswers – Reply Comments

DOCUMENT ID:    COLC-2018-0011-0039 (https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=COLC-2018-0011-0039)
POSTED DATE:    04/23/2019
DOCUMENT TITLE: Muddiman, Helene (pt. 1) – Reply Comments

DOCUMENT ID:    COLC-2018-0011-0040 (https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=COLC-2018-0011-0040)
POSTED DATE:    04/23/2019
DOCUMENT TITLE: Muddiman, Helene (pt. 2) – Reply Comments

DOCUMENT ID:    COLC-2018-0011-0041 (https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=COLC-2018-0011-0041)
POSTED DATE:    04/23/2019
DOCUMENT TITLE: Muddiman, Helene (pt. 3) – Reply Comments


@ tnm___: Women Artists Lose Out When Algorithms Help Book Events

[This is a really important post by Tshepo Mokoena–in a male dominated industry (streaming) that reflects another male-dominated industry (music), with playlists manipulated by men to men, the much vaunted “artist data” benefits for touring falls down both economically, artistically and ethically.  Turns out streaming is a hyperefficient way to make sure the rich keep getting richer and the bias keeps getting stronger.  Thanks, again, Spotify!]

A funny thing happens when a mixed-gender group chats in a room: people, of all genders, tend to think that the women are talking more. And they tend to think that even while the opposite is true….In translation: women have had to fight for a voice in the public sphere so much that their bare minimum participation is seen as Too Much.

I bring this up, because it’s just about that time for the annual rollout of the coming summer’s festival lineups and their inevitable gender imbalances. Welcome! You can almost draw a parallel between that academic idea – how one woman speaking a little, giving a bit of input, is perceived as her being on a par vocally with the men in the room – and the way women can still feel like a box-ticking afterthought at festivals. A 2017 BBC study found that all-male acts accounted for 80 percent of UK festival headliners. The same study also noted that a quarter of those top slots basically were taken by the same 20 acts – your Muses, Kasabians, Foo Fighters, Killers and so on.

But what about outside the traditional rock festival setup? This week, two events – Spotify’s Who We Be Live in London late this month, and Annie Mac’s AMP Lost & Found festival in Malta in May 2019 – shared news of some of their confirmed artists. Both present some pretty incredible talent, from UK rap, R&B and electronic music. Who We Be, after all, is the name of Spotify’s grime and rap-focused playlist. But, look closer and you also start to notice another trend emerge around gender balance, specifically when streaming plays as central a role in booking a live show, as it does for Who We Be. So while festivals are expanding beyond the ‘yes, let’s go see Kaiser Chiefs for the 18th time!!’ format, what space does that leave for women, in an industry that’s still traditionally dominated by men?

….In the US, Spotify’s RapCaviar, with its more than 10.5 million followers, is often cited as a star-maker. Only, hehehe, it turns out that women feature on it very rarely. When writer David Turner looked into the numbers, for Jezebel’s The Muse earlier this year, he found that women rappers accounted for about 4 percent of artists on the playlist between May 2016 and December 2017. Women overall made up 10.8 percent of RapCaviar artists over that time period.

Read the post on Noisy