@musictechpolicy: It Could Get Worse: UK Solicitor General Tells Google Don’t Be Criminal

According to multiple sources including the London Times, the UK’s Solicitor General floated the possibility that Google executives may face criminal prosecution for revenue share agreements with terrorist supporters posting videos on YouTube that Google monetized with advertising.  So not only would Google be in breach of its promises to advertisers, Google might also have breached the UK’s terror laws, money laundering statutes, or committed the usual list of lesser and included crimes.

Google could be prosecuted under anti-terrorism legislation if it fails to remove illegal content from its YouTube video platform, ministers said yesterday.

Robert Buckland, QC, the solicitor general, said that the internet giant could be criminally liable if it was found to have “recklessly” disseminated videos posted by extreme groups such as National Action, a far-right group proscribed as a terrorist organisation in December.

Mr Buckland also revealed that the government was considering adopting a German law which would allow huge fines to be levied on social media companies that failed to crack down on hate speech and illegal content.

Before you either snicker or drool at the idea of Google executives being frog marched out of their palatial offices in handcuffs and leg irons, remember a few of the examples of corporate crooks and just how long it took to actually get them into the pokey.  But also remember this–if you had told a room full of MBAs in 1985 that in a few years time Drexel Bernham Lambert would be bankrupt and Michael Milken would be in prison, you would have been laughed out of the room.

Read the post on Music Tech Policy

 

@FredGoodman: Can Music Exec Lyor Cohen Bridge the Divide Between YouTube and the Music Industry?

“Lyor may have an impact for them in other areas,” says Irving Azoff, chairman/CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, who formed the Global Music Rights group to address online music use. “But as for rights negotiation, YouTube can spin it any way they want, but the reality is that they’re the reason that paid streaming hasn’t exploded. There is a huge value gap in consumption versus revenue.”

One February afternoon, Lyor Cohen shows me around the soundstage at YouTube Space LA. The new facility, located on the site of what was once a Hughes Aircraft plant for building helicopters, is one of nine that parent company Google has built around the world to encourage the creation and evolution of user-generated programming. For a 57-year-old man who was plastering Snapchat with videos and pictures of his emergency hospitalization for a pulmonary embolism a few months ago, Cohen looks as vigorous as a panther.

“I don’t need to take it slow,” he says when asked about his health. “In fact, I’m accelerating. I’m moving hard.”

Read the post on Billboard

Steve Tepp: Public “Selective” Knowledge II: This Time It’s Personal

Public Knowledge has launched unprecedented and unfounded attacks on the widely respected Copyright Office in a transparent bid to bully, berate, and discredit that Office in furtherance of the drastic policy goals PK has failed to achieve for decades. That may sound harsh, but the statements coming from PK in recent weeks are so outrageous and so far afield of what constitutes reasonable discourse that they demand a forceful response. PK has led a relentless campaign that portrays reasonable policy differences as evidence of impropriety. Apparently, they are unable to imagine that anyone could, in good faith, disagree with their orthodoxy. This is compounded by a Stalin-esque recounting of history, both tortured and selective, in an attempt to support their absolutist approach.

Public Knowledge has launched unprecedented and unfounded attacks on the widely respected Copyright Office in a transparent bid to bully, berate, and discredit that Office in furtherance of the drastic policy goals PK has failed to achieve for decades. That may sound harsh, but the statements coming from PK in recent weeks are so outrageous and so far afield of what constitutes reasonable discourse that they demand a forceful response. PK has led a relentless campaign that portrays reasonable policy differences as evidence of impropriety. Apparently, they are unable to imagine that anyone could, in good faith, disagree with their orthodoxy. This is compounded by a Stalin-esque recounting of history, both tortured and selective, in an attempt to support their absolutist approach.

In a new “report” released last week, PK levels the severe charge that the Copyright Office is systematically captured by industry interests. They begin to try to support this by asserting a “revolving door” between the Office and copyright industries. But their evidence fails to support the claim, and they leave out many facts that are inconvenient to their biased narrative.

Read the post on Medium

View story at Medium.com

@andreworlowski: YouTube sharecroppers start world’s most useless trade union

YouTube stars have started a labour guild to represent low paid video producers for sites like YouTube. But it promises to be really, really polite and it won’t be asking Google for more money.

Hank Green is a YouTube video producer, who describes himself as a “Internetainerpreneur” (which is all you need to know, really, but do carry on reading). He explains that his new Internet Creators Guild is needed because being a YouTube sharecropper is now a full time job.

Green reckons 3,000 people earn $2,500 a year from consistently reaching 100,000 viewers a month. (For perspective, Alphabet, YouTube’s owner, earns $533 per second).

“I have watched creators get strong-armed and even swindled. I’ve watched people lose their channels. I’ve watched them flee from abuse,” says Green. But curiously, demanding better pay does not make the the top 10 list of things the Guild wants to do. Nor do many of the usual requests that you’d expect a labour guild to make feature.

Top of the list is “educating journalists” about the wonderfulness of YouTube. Next up is sharing information about MultiChannel Networks, who are Google affiliates, but not Google itself.

Read the post on The Register

@CaseySeiler: No safe harbor in music tiff [Zephyr Teachout Campaign]

Why are a handful of musicians — a substrata of society generally predisposed to fall on the left side of the political spectrum — ticked off at Zephyr Teachout, the progressive Democratic candidate in the 19th Congressional District?

Blame it on the internet. To be more precise, blame it on Teachout’s former work for Fight For The Future, a nonprofit “dedicated to protecting and expanding the Internet’s transformative power,” according to its own website.

In online postings and outreach to the media, several artists have denounced FFF as having an “anti-artist, anti-copyright agenda” — an allegation the group denies vociferously. Teachout served on the board of the group’s education fund, but stepped down earlier this year after announcing her candidacy.

Those calling for Teachout to respond include the jazz great Jack DeJohnette, a resident of the Catskills who, in a recent letter, told the candidate, “It disturbs me that someone who seems to be running in support of the people is not further tuned in to the needs of us artists, who ultimately might be your constituents.”

DeJohnette said in his letter that since the advent of the digital age, his royalties from recorded music have declined 90 percent. “I am all over YouTube,” he wrote, and “everyone but me gets an income from this.”

The most immediate bone of contention for those hammering Teachout on this issue — a list that also includes guitarist Marc Ribot and Red Hook author and filmmaker David Newhoff — appears to be proposed changes to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in particular a toughening of provisions that aim to prevent websites from hosting copyrighted material without the consent of the copyright holder. Currently, online service providers are generally protected from liability under the so-called “Safe Harbor” provision of the DMCA, which aims to balance the interests of internet users and copyright holders.

Read the story on the Albany Times Union

@musictechpolicy: Did Zephyr Teachout Quietly Resign from Controversial Lobby Shop? (Update)

[Editor Charlie sez: Update on this June 29 post from MTP–it appears that Zephyr Teachout’s organization Fight for the Future made unsubstantiated claims in a fund raising email puffing up something that may not have happened at all, but certainly doesn’t appear to have happened the way they said.  Remember that Fight for the Future made this statement in an April 6 fund raising email about the curious timing of their campaign against DMCA reform sent while Teachout apparently was on their education fund’s board of directors):

FFTF Email

The Copyright Office has confirmed that (1) the DMCA reform comment page was hosted by regulations.gov so there was no “Copyright Office website”; (2) there were no “Copyright Office website servers”; (3) there was no “crash” (temporary or otherwise) since there were no Copyright Office servers; (4) the Copyright Office received no report from regulations.gov that its cloud based system had “crashed”; and (5) nobody from the Copyright Office “worked with” Fight for the Future to do anything.

There is also an open question of whether bots were used or some sort of batch submission API–batch submissions are evidently not permitted by regulations.gov.  We also reached out to regulations.gov but they are not responsive.

Due to top notch reporting by Casey Seller of the Albany Times Union, artist reaction to Teachout’s involvement with Fight for the Future is now an issue in her election campaign in the NY 19 district that includes Woodstock and the artist-heavy Hudson Valley.]

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Zephyr Teachout and Lawrence Lessig

Zephyr Teachout faced the voters yesterday in the Democratic Party primary for the 19th Congressional District to replace the retiring Chris Gibson (a former combat veteran bird colonel, Airborne Ranger with the CIB, Purple Heart, and other distinctions).  In a weak start to her general election campaign, she seems to have tried to quietly resigned from a public association with a controversial anti-artist lobby shop rather than face legitimate questions from her artist constituents

Candidate Teachout is definitely fascinated with getting into a powerful position–she challenged NY Governor Andrew Cuomo in his latest winning campaign for governorand got a respectable 30%ish of the vote.  (Teachout outraised her opponent 2:1 according to the most recent disclosures, thanks in part to a corporate donation from George Soros‘s Soros Fund Management.)  A former lobbyist, she’s clearly got her own machine and isn’t worried about his.

While Progressives may be drawn to this former operator of the failed Lessig Super PAC (see Zephyr Teachout takes over Larry Lessig’s PAC), several musicians including Jack DeJohnette and Marc Ribot have publicly asked Candidate Teachout to publicly state her positions on protecting artist rights.

Good news: There are two bills currently pending in the House of Representatives to which Candidate Teachout seeks election that sum this up nicely but that are both opposed by the kind of people who gave money to the Lessig Super PAC she once ran.  If elected, will Candidate Teachout endorse the Songwriter Equity Act and the Fair Play Fair Pay Act should these bills not pass in the current Congress and be reintroduced?

In particular, while being transparent, she could also explain why she was in the vanguard of one of the premier anti-artist operations and why that’s good for NY-19, an area that prides itself on having the highest per capita number of artists than anywhere in the United States.

She’s done neither–but appears to have quietly resigned from her controversial position with Fight for the Future “Education Fund”.

Now why do you suppose that happened and happened that way?

Transparency for Thee But Not for Me

If you’ve followed local politics in the 19th, you’ll know two things: First, Woodstock is in the district.  Remember Woodstock?  The defining musical moment for a generation?  Remember Albert Grossman, Bearsville Studios, Big Pink, Bob Dylan and The Band?  Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble?  All in Woodstock.  In fact, I was able to attend a Ramble when Levon performed even though he was too sick to sing.  Dying on the bandstand is rather emblematic of the credibility problem facing Candidate Teachout.

And nowhere is her problem more highlighted than in her governance position with the Fight for the Future Education Fund.  You may not be aware that Candidate Teachout is–or maybe was–on the board directors of Fight for the Future Education Fund (right next to a self-described Google consultant).

screen-shot-2016-05-12-at-2-58-04-pm

FFTF Board

The lobbying group is backed by the Consumer Electronics Association and the Center for Democracy and Technology, among others, including the usual “dark pool” foundations that appear in my view to potentially launder money for corporations who want to keep up appearances–such as Google.  (Corporation gives to foundation which then gives to lobbying group or “public interest” group that furthers corporations agenda with public messaging–dark pool foundations.)

FFTF CEA

A Cover Up is Coming

So–why would Candidate Teachout not respond to the questions raised by Jack and Lydia DeJohnette in The Trichordist?  The great drummer raises questions that should be of concern to anyone who cares about property rights and the rule of law, not to mention the devastation wrought on artists by the Big Tech interests that Candidate Teachout appears so comfortable with.  (For example, the CEO of Linkedin and Spotify board member Sean Parker gave $1 million and $500,000 respectively to Lessig PAC).

Here are the questions put to Candidate Teachout in the Trichordist:

Four Questions for Zephyr Teachout Candidate US House of Representatives Democratic Primary NY-19

  1. Do you personally support the anti-artist, anti-copyright agenda of Fight For The Future, where you served as Director of the Education Fund? If so, please explain why you hold that position. If not, please explain how your views differ from the messages of that organization.
  1. Do you recognize that mass, online copyright infringement causes direct harm to people like me? As my prospective representative, will you fight for my ability to support myself and my family with my creative work?
  1. You’re running on a message that is very important to democrats – holding corporations accountable and getting big money out of politics.  Can you say without equivocation that Fight For The Future reflects these values?
  2. Do you support Jerrold Nadler’s Fair Play Fair Pay bill, which would bring the US into conformity with the rest of the free industrialized world by paying artists for the commercial, terrestrial radio broadcast of their work (and put tens of millions in foreign royalties now being withheld due to the lack of US reciprocity into the pockets of US working artists)?