@hannahjkarp: Music Industry’s Latest Piracy Threat: Stream Ripping

More excellent reporting from Hannah Karp.

Earlier this year, a federal judge shut down the free music-download site Mp3skull.com and awarded $22 million to the record companies that had sued it for copyright infringement. But Mp3skull.onl, which has surfaced in its place, is touting a service even more worrisome to the music industry: stream ripping.

That practice, which involves turning a song or music video played on a streaming service into a permanent download, is growing fast among young music fans, even as other forms of music piracy wane. The site’s community manager didn’t respond to requests for comment.

As music-streaming services blossomed over the past decade, so have mobile apps and sites allowing users to create MP3 files from songs streamed on free services such as Alphabet Inc. ’s YouTube. Fans can listen to the songs without YouTube’s ads—and without having to buy the songs or pay for a subscription service such as Spotify AB and Apple Inc. ’s Apple Music.

While streams can potentially be ripped from any music-streaming service—paid or unpaid—the most popular sites and apps allow users to convert YouTube videos into ad-free, audio-only downloads with a single click.

Read the post on Wall Street Journal thanks to Patrick @Courrielche for the link.

@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

@tessamakeslove: A Pathetic Case of Rebranding: Fight for the Future Is Lying to Us, Again!

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed almost twenty years ago, in 1998. At the time, it was mainly intended to protect ISPs and telecom companies from being legally liable in case infringing materials found their way onto their equipment or cables. Telecom companies were in dire need of such legislation because they were putting a lot of money into very expensive infrastructure, and needed traffic to justify the expenses.

When YouTube came into existence, its success depended on the ability to attract massive amounts of viewers. Providing access to infringing materials helped their cause greatly, and YouTube gladly took advantage of the DMCA’s Safe Harbor provisions. As Sam Gustin writes, ‘YouTube founders knew illegal content was driving explosive growth.’ (See also, Viacom vs. YouTube/Google: A Piracy Case in Their Own Words.)  Legal or moral aspects of copyright seemed to matter very little to the excited businessmen who were in it for the big prize.

Google (um, Alphabet) who owns YouTube today is no stranger to profiting from copyright infringement, either….

To accomplish its business and existential goals, Google absolutely needs to lie and trick people. Not only they spend massive amounts of money on lobbying, they also fund and support various organizations that smell like freedom on paper but in reality, are only there to push the anti-copyright and anti-culture agenda.

Enter Fight for the Future.

Last month, I jumped on my chair with surprise after seeing this tweet:

Thing is, TPP is horrible. But so is Fight for the Future.  I can’t possibly blame the musicians for jumping on this tour. FFTF’s rhethoric would confuse anybody who is not very familiar with what their seamy anti-artist and copyleft side. But it needs to be said. Fight for the Future IS the machine! It is a machine fighting against another machine over money, simple and cynical. Fight for the Future vs. TPP is like Monsters vs. Aliens.

The depth of human indecency permeating this particular case of “righteous” rebranding is astounding, and I think it’s important to set the record straight. It’s a matter of principle and existential truth.

Read the post on Tessa Fights Robots

FTC Watch Day 2: Texas Car Dealers to Pay $85,000 Civil Penalty, No Action on Google Advertising Fraud

Yep, the FTC is all over those Texas Car Dealers, but still no action on duped advertisers on YouTube.  We just can’t imagine why that is.

Here’s what the always vigilant Obama FTC caught the car dealers doing down in Texas:

According to the FTC, New World Auto Imports Inc., New World Auto Imports of Rockwall Inc. and Hampton Two Auto Corporation concealed sale and lease terms that added significant costs or limited who could qualify for vehicles at advertised prices, in violation of a 2014 order.

In a TV ad, for example, the dealers offered two cars for “under $200 per month,” but in fine print that appeared for two seconds, disclosed that the offer applied only to leases, not sales, and required a $1,999 payment at lease signing. One dealer mailed ads claiming a new car could be purchased for $179 per month, but in print too small to read without magnification, disclosed that $1,999 would be due up front, along with tax, title and license fees, and that $8,271 would be due at the end of a 38-month financing term.

The FTC’s complaint also cited a TV ad targeted at people with major credit problems, such as repossessions or foreclosures. The ad touted vehicles for $250 per month, but in fine print disclosed that the offer was based on a 4.25 annual percentage rate that few, if any, consumers with such major credit issues could obtain. In addition, the FTC alleged that the dealers advertised credit and lease terms without clearly and conspicuously disclosing information required by federal law, and failed to keep records required by the 2014 order.

Just shocking, right?  But it appears that duping advertisers on YouTube…like, oh, the President of the United States…is OK.

campaign-admazda-ad-on-terror-video-close-up

And then there’s Mazda’s ads that monetized videos of Anwar Al Awaki preaching whatever it is he preached.

Pales by comparison to the important work that the FTC is doing ferreting out those Texas car dealers.

We guess the FTC’s lawyers–the Google Justice Department–were too busy screwing songwriters on behalf of the MIC Coalition.

Read the press release–yes, that’s right, the FTC press release–on FTC.gov

@cheriehu42: The YouTube-Music Feud, Part 2: What Artists And Labels Can Learn From Other YouTubers (aka We’re From Google and We’re Here to Help)

More Google propaganda from the very Googlely Forbes.  This one tries to define away how Google commoditizes every thing it touches and never once acknowledges that Google steals from artists–aka the “stalker gap”.  Also doesn’t mention that “Other YouTubers” make a good chunk (if not most) of their YouTube money from brand integration (aka selling your soul to Global Corporatism–which is what Google stands for if Google stands for anything.

If “YouTube was not built for the music industry” then why don’t they stop stalking us and just leave us alone?

The underlying message is clear: YouTube was not built for the music industry per se, and never will be. It is an ally, but not a music service. While there are separate apps like YouTube Music that create a portable, leanback listening experience similar to what other audio streaming platforms provide, the site is fundamentally a video portal, and artists and labels should not misunderstand this role.

In particular, the “value gap” rhetoric that pervades the YouTube-music debate assumes that there is only one universal business model that all music services should follow, which ignores the industry’s long history. Since the advent of sheet music several centuries ago, music revenue has always varied widely with its sources, which also included radio and TV broadcasts and live performances. In the words of Maud Sacquet, “online services have become additional sources of revenue, with different business models and technologies generating different incomes—reflecting the current situation in the offline world.”

Read it on the Forbes blog.

 

@bradhill: Grammy-winning musician and congressional witness calls YouTube a criminal racketeer

Increasingly vocal critics of YouTube have a heroic new champion, not new to the cause, but willing to dramatically escalate its rhetoric.

Five-time Grammy-winner Maria Schneider is a board member of the Council of Music Creators and testified before Congress in 2014 about copyright infringement on YouTube. This past weekend Schneider released her response to the U.S. Copyright Office’s request for comments in its examination of the “safe harbor” clause of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Her comments are excoriating, but just a first act to the lacerating open letter to YouTube composed by Schneider.

Both documents are meaty, detailed, and blazingly critical. Together they comprise the harshest and most articulate indictment of a stance taken by an increasing number of music rights-holders who have been speaking out more this year than ever before against YouTube’s position in the music ecosystem….

“YouTube is guilty of criminal racketeering,” Maria Schneider declares in her open letter, published on the MUSIC TECHNOLOGY POLICY site. “YouTube has thoroughly twisted, contorted, and abused the original meaning of the outdated DMCA “safe harbor” to create a massive income redistribution scheme, where income is continually transferred from the pockets of musicians and creators of all types, and siphoned directly into their own pockets.”

Read more on Radio and Internet Newsletter