Sunday, February 23, 2020

YouTube Fair Use: Documentary Makers Defeat Gaye, Thicke, Bee Gees & Jackson | TorrentFreak

Late last year, TorrentFreak covered issues facing, a group dedicated to informing the public on copyright-related matters.

As architects of the web-series Creativity Delusion, Copy-Me had published an episode entitled “Geniuses Steal”, which explored the notion that no one really creates something out of nothing and even the greatest minds rely upon the inspiration of others. Unfortunately, the work fell victim to claims from not one but four separate directions.

According to the automated claims that appeared in the group’s YouTube panel, their use of snippets of songs by Marvin Gaye, Robin Thicke, Bee Gees and Michael Jackson constituted an infringement of the various labels’ rights, despite being fairly obvious examples of fair use.

However, after a bold fightback, Copy-Me has now emerged victorious, as the group’s Alex Lungu explains.

“The claims in question were on samples from different songs we used to talk about the ethical & legal problems when dealing with art and copyright. The Marvin Gaye vs Blurred Lines case is one of the biggest copyright suits ever. Marvin Gaye’s family won five million dollars and we find that insane,” Lungu informs TF.

“So to prove how similar Marvin Gaye’s song is to plenty of other songs from its time, we played them side by side with You Should Be Dancing (Bee Gees), Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (Michael Jackson), Everybody Dance (Chic) and September (Earth, Wind & Fire).

The group received copyright claims on four samples – Got to Give It Up, Blurred Lines, You Should Be Dancing and Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. That meant that Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group got to play ads against the documentary show, even though Copy-Me never monetized the content in the first place.

“I filed disputes immediately on the grounds of fair use. We used small samples and we didn’t affect the owner’s market, so I knew the video was safe,” Lunge says.

“But the thing with Youtube’s copyright claim system is that it doesn’t matter how legal or illegal the use is. It’s in its own world. The copyright claimant is the judge and jury and there’s no third party assessing the claim. There’s no penalty if the claim is wrong or the claimant lies. So you’re left with reading up on the law, fully understanding the forms YouTube asks you to fill and hoping for the best.”

The responses to the disputes were mixed. Three received absolutely no response from the claimants and after 30 days waiting, were automatically dropped by YouTube’s system. But that still left the fourth claim and dispute concerning Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough up in the air. That proved less easy to purge.

“One dispute was rejected (Michael Jackson, Sony Music Entertainment/SME), so there was probably a real person there who thought they can actually make money off our work. So we were left with a video which was monetized in some countries by SME on the grounds that SME alone thought we were illegally using their song – which we weren’t,” Lunge says.

Lunge admits that at this point, he was “a bit afraid” to file an appeal on the grounds that he would have to give all of his personal information to Sony who could then sue him or delete the documentary. Again, with no oversight or penalty if their claim wasn’t valid, all “on the whim” of a “company intern”.

Lunge decided to go all the way, filed an appeal and explained himself yet again. He received no reply but with the clock ticking, things went his way. One month later the appeal expired and the claim against the documentary was released. Nevertheless, that wasn’t without cost. Not counting all of the administrative work and upheaval, it still took two months to counter all of the claims and get back on an even keel.

“That’s an incredible amount of time to have your video in copyright purgatory. I can’t even imagine what must go on inside someone’s mind who makes Youtube videos for a living,” he says.

“There are plenty of completely legal uses one can make with a song, without asking for any permission: criticism, parody, quotation and so on. Automated claims will never distinguish between legal and illegal ones. Only a judge can do that, but it’s insane to think one should decide for the thousands of videos uploaded every second.

“And I am genuinely concerned about the nature of online videos when big platforms like Youtube and Facebook will be forced to abide by the new European Directive on copyright filters,” Lunge concludes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.


Where is Kim Jong-Il When You Need Him: Google Pulls the Same Old Stuff on State AGs | MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

[This post first appeared on Artist Rights Watch]

Remember when Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood sent Google a subpoena demanding answers to what Google was doing to comply with Google’s non prosecution agreement over selling illegal drugs that cost $500,000,000 of the shareholders’ money for the executives bad behavior?  And it just happened that “North Korea” hacked Sony’s studio unit right about that time and disclosed internal emails between Hood and film industry folk helping Hood fashion his subpoena?


And remember how if Google had answered any of those questions affirmatively that they’d probably all have gone to jail? And remember how Google sued Hood to keep from answering any of them in a long drawn out case that Google ultimately lost but never did answer the subpoena?  Remember that?  (Right after Eric Schmidt visited North Korea with Bill Richardson?  Just sayin’…)

That’s miss-iss-ippi…

So it should come as no surprise that creators across the copyright categories are given pause when challenged by Google because Google has an intimidating history of wielding power against even U.S. Attorneys and state attorneys general.  Thomas Catan, Did DOJ Apologize to Google for U.S. Attorney’s Comments?  Wall St. Journal (April 10, 2012); Redacted Transcript from Oral Argument on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Rulings of the Court, DeKalb County Pension Fund v. Google Inc., Civ. Act. 6993, Delaware Chancery Court (Mar. 30, 2012) at 12; Brief of Amici Curiae Attorneys General for the Commonwealths of Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, the States of Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, Google Inc. v. James Hood III, Attorney General of the State of Mississippi, in His Official Capacity, Case No.15-60205 (5thCir. June 29, 2015).

And, of course, there’s this report from the Huffington Post back when Eric Schmidt testified at the U.S. Senate:

SCHMIDT SAYS HE KNEW ABOUT GOOGLE STEERING FOLKS TO ILLEGAL CANADIAN DRUG SITES – News was actually made at [the] hearing. Ten gallon hat tip to Big John Cornyn, who asked Eric Schmidt about the $500 million settlement Google reached with the Justice Department over illegally advertising Canadian prescription drugs to Americans…. ‘Was it the result of oversight or inadvertence or were there some employees in the company that were doing this without your knowledge or…’ asked Cornyn (R-Texas). ‘Certainly not without my knowledge. Again, I have been advised — unfortunately, I’m not allowed to go into any of the details and I apologize, Senator, except to say that we’re very regretful and it was clearly a mistake’ [Schmidt said].”

Schmidt refused to answer questions under oath from Senator John Cornyn about the drug case in testimony in the Google Oversight hearing before the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee.  (Although later submitted carefully drafted responses in evidence for the record that contradicted his live testimony–no doubt after the lawyers figured out how to spin it.)

Eric Schmidt taking the 5th with David Drummond

Now they’re doing it again.  According to the Washington Post, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the charge of state attorneys general against Google’s advertising monopoly:

Ken Paxton is no fan of Google. The Lone Star state’s Republican attorney general says he rarely even uses the company’s widely popular search engine, opting instead for rival services, because he has “always been concerned about tracking.”

But Paxton these days is more than a mere sideline skeptic: As one of the country’s most powerful law-enforcement officials, he’s forging ahead with a landmark investigation into Google’s decades-long dominance of the web, armed with the help of 50 other attorneys general, a stable of savvy experts that includes Google’s past foes, and a feeling that Washington for too long has turned a blind eye to some of Silicon Valley’s most troubling practices.

For now, the investigation, which Paxton and his peers announced in September, focuses on online advertising, responding to complaints that Google puts consumers and competitors at a disadvantage by controlling the exchanges where ads are bought and some of the most popular websites where they’re sold. It could result in tough punishments, Paxton signaled, if investigators determine Google broke the law.

And now the Wall Street Journal reports that:

Google is resisting efforts to surrender emails, text messages and other documents sought by state investigators probing possible anticompetitive practices, according to records and interviews.

That should sound familiar to Hood-watchers.  It’s just possible that the real downside to Google from allowing General Hood to force the production of the many documents he requested in his subpoena was that those documents–like the 4,000,000 documents Google produced in the drugs grand jury that it jealously guarded from being disclosed in the shareholder case–might have provided fuel to the shareholder lawsuit against Google over the drugs.  So it’s also possible that the real downside to Google from General Paxton and his colleagues is a brand new shareholder suit.  What’s worse than going to jail?  Going to jail AND having a billion dollar shareholder suit AND having to recast your earnings while you watch your stock tank.

Don’t think that Google won’t engage in intimidation tactics–we found out that Google’s top lawyer was doing his (weak) Tony Soprano impression over potential amicus briefs in the Oracle case before the Supreme Court.  Really?  Really?

According to Oracle’s head of government affairs:

Before we turn to the more than 30 amicus briefs filed in support of Oracle at the Supreme Court, we are obligated to highlight the conduct of Google’s head of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, Kent Walker. Over the past few months, Walker led a coercion campaign against companies and organizations that were likely to file on Oracle’s behalf to persuade them to stay silent.  We are aware of more than half a dozen contacts by Mr. Walker (or his representatives) to likely amici, but we probably only heard of a small piece of his efforts.

The chickens are coming home to roost at the Googleplex and North Korea won’t save them this time.  The epitaph on Texas Ranger Captain Bill McDonald’s grave says “No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a-comin’.”

You think on that, Googlers.  Some people believe it like the Sun rising in the East.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Credibility | Lefsetz Letter

It killed Elizabeth Warren’s run for the nomination.

Warren was depicted as a true believer. Someone who knew who she was and stuck to it. Was anti-big business. Was on the little guy’s side. Even stood up for Medicare for all because it was the right thing to do.

And then she waffled.

And then she changed her opinion.

She was asked directly how she was going to pay for Medicare for all, multiple times, live on television, in a debate, and she evaded the question. This is exactly why we hate those in power…speak directly to us, give us a straight answer. And then, based on media blowback, she decided to delay the implementation of Medicare for all.

And now Senator Warren has put a stake in her heart by agreeing to take PAC support.

Now why should we believe her? She changed her take, didn’t stick to her guns, and is now taking fat cat money? WE’RE DONE!

This is a gross miscalculation. You speak to your base, you embolden your base, not the professional class. This is how news outlets and pundits make money…creating mountains out of molehills, creating controversies where there are none, being out of touch with the public.

Which is why Bernie Sanders is so successful. He doesn’t take the corporate money while railing at the rich, and his hoi polloi supporters generate more cash in contributions than the fat cats.

For twenty years we’ve been told to go for the money, that credibility doesn’t matter, that it’s fine to sell out, no one cares anymore. Maybe we had to see it played out on the main stage to reveal the fallacy in this message.

When you do a sponsorship deal, when you appear in ads, even when you start selling your own branded tchotchkes, you’re hurting your career.

Don’t confuse this with Kylie Jenner. The Kardashian/Jenner brand is business acumen, that is not the brand of a musician, an artist.

In other words, if you can’t say no, you’re rarely going to get to yes.

And the professional infrastructure of the music business is no different from the professional infrastructure of the media/pundit world. The infrastructure remains, the acts, the politicians, the players, come and go. Believe me, your agent will be in business long after you’re done, as will your label and quite possibly your manager too. They don’t need you, they just need somebody…to hype, to skim money off of. And they only get paid when you take the bait, if you say no, the agent does not get their 10%, the manager doesn’t get paid, nor does the label. They’re all telling you to do it, and the unsophisticated, those who don’t know themselves, do what they say.

They’ve been criticizing Elizabeth Warren from the get-go, she’s too harsh, she’s a schoolmarm. But with straight talk and a plan for everything she gained traction.

But she couldn’t handle being on top. This is what Bob Dylan always does best, he does not bend to how the wind blows. He confounds expectations, with cover records, he refuses to do his songs in faithful arrangements on stage, he realizes his reputation, his credibility, is all about pushing the envelope. Same deal with David Bowie. If he’d just stopped at Ziggy Stardust, he would not be a legend. But Bowie kept reinventing himself, and if he failed, he just kept on going, and then his aura, his credibility, supported him wherever he wanted to go.

Bernie Sanders has never changed his spots. This is what the media/pundit world hates most about him. You’ve got to play the game, but he hasn’t. Which is why Hillary Clinton put Bernie down. She made sausage, he should too.

And then you’ve got people like AOC. She doesn’t care that she’s excoriated, she just doubles down.

This is what those in power don’t understand.

I’m not a huge fan of Peggy Noonan, but unlike the rest of those in the “Wall Street Journal” editorial/opinion pages, she can sometimes be reasonable.

Regarding Mike Bloomberg, today Noonan said:

“Through Mr. Bloomberg’s longtime targeted philanthropy, through his relationships, quiet alliances, generosities and personal loyalties, he has a lot of leaders – mayors, other local politicians, people who run museums and civic organizations, who speak for ethnic, racial and professional groups – who support him. But those leaders don’t fully control their own followers and constituencies. Everyone who’s a leader of any kind now is in crisis: They don’t have a complete hold on their people and wind up following them as often as leading them.”

The Best Democratic Debate in Years

Bingo. Bernie Sanders is the first internet candidate. He speaks directly to his constituency, he bypasses the middleman. The other candidates don’t get it, constantly trumpeting their URLS. Your website is not a vehicle, it’s your essence, your base, your home, where your acolytes rally around you, excluding the media/pundit middlemen. Your website is a middle finger to the establishment.

And, as Noonan says, the tail wags the dog. That was the essence of Trump and now it’s the essence of Sanders.

And the media/pundit class doesn’t even get the anti-Trump furor correct. They think it’s a horse race, about statistics, when really it’s about emotions, feelings.

And we keep getting more statistics, more tea leaves read, about turnout, all the old metrics that don’t foretell the future in the new world. If you’re gonna vote for anybody but Trump, do you really have to run out to the caucus or just wait for the candidate to be decided upon and pull the lever?

And speaking of credibility, Michael Bloomberg’s Democratic bona fides dropped dramatically in the past twenty four hours as a result of his endorsement by Clint Eastwood. You remember, the loony-tune Republican who spoke to an empty chair at the convention. I mean if Bloomberg were really a Democrat, would he have gained Dirty Harry’s support?

Of course not.

Bloomberg believes if he’s got money he can pull the wool over our eyes. This is another thing the media/pundit class doesn’t understand. It no longer dictates, it can try and spin but frequently it doesn’t work, because the public can communicate online, peer to peer, generating a feeling that overwhelms the initial prognosis.

So Elizabeth Warren had a good debate. She should have doubled down on who she was. She should have mea culpaed her previous faux pas. Owned them and moved on. Instead, she dug a deeper hole for herself, all in the name of expediency, putting the end goal ahead of the process.

Everything today is a process, taking a long time. That’s why Bernie is where he is, he started long ago, and people became familiar with him in 2016.

So, the media/pundit class believes it’s business as usual. These are the same people who missed Trump, the internet, the same people who rail against technology, the same people who believe we live in a broadcast television world with advertisements as opposed to a streaming world sans commercials. Sure, Bloomberg’s millions got him name recognition, but when we finally saw the act, we wanted nothing to do with it. In the internet world, you follow the people, you don’t lead them, unless you start way ahead of them and wait for them to catch up, which was Steve Jobs’s paradigm. Jobs famously did no consumer research, he created what he wanted, what he thought people should have, and waited for them to catch up with him! As a result, Apple is the world’s most valuable company. And never forget, when Jobs came back to Apple the company was moribund. It wasn’t the iMac, that was only a start (which had no legacy ports if you remember). It was the iPod. Now Jobs was on a streak, people were listening to him. To the point where the iPhone killed BlackBerry and Palm, despite only working on a second-rate network, i.e. AT&T, and only working at EDGE speed and consuming tons of bandwidth.

You throw the long ball and you stick to your guns.

Bloomberg is a latecomer, an interloper, and that does not resonate in internet world. The media/pundit class needs an interloper to make the story more enticing, the public feels trampled and ignored.

It is not business as usual. Whether Bernie wins or not, whether a Democrat wins or not. Once the system begins to crack, it’s inevitable that change ensues. This is the story of Napster, this is the story of income inequality, this is the story of now.


Canal+ Warns Torrent Site Not to Pirate Upcoming TV-Series | TorrentFreak

It’s commonly known that copyright holders regularly send takedown notices to torrent sites, asking the operators to remove pirated content.

While not all sites comply with these, many do, to avoid drawing any unnecessary attention.

This week we were contacted by the operator of one of the larger torrent sites, who prefers to remain anonymous. He also processes takedown notices regularly. However, one request he received this week seemed a little out of the ordinary.

The site operator was contacted by the anti-piracy department of the entertainment company CANAL+. Unlike other notices, where the site is asked to remove content, this request was sent to protect content that hasn’t even aired yet.

The notice in question mentions the Polish series Mały Zgon (Little Death) to which Canal+ has the exclusive rebroadcasting rights. However, the company fears that it will end up at the targeted torrent site as well.

Canal+ stresses that the torrent site and its users don’t have the right to distribute the upcoming series. If the site’s operator fails to remove or disable content when it’s made available, it can be held liable, the company explains.

“Thus, this letter gives you actual knowledge of illegal activity or information as regulated in [the EU e-commerce directive] and its receipt obliges you to act expeditiously and remove or to disable access to any of the above mentioned files from the Website – otherwise you will not be able to take advantage of the release from liability for unlawful sharing of files containing the episodes of the Series on the Website,” the letter adds.

In order to help the site operator a bit, Canal+ shared the series release schedule. The first two episodes are set to come out on March 8 and it ends on April 5, with two new episodes coming out every week.

In addition, the anti-piracy department has another tip. The letter notes that most illegal activity will likely take place shortly after the episodes come out, so Canal+ encourages the site operator to be extra vigilant during that time.

“Based on the experience gained during work on the protection of copyrights and related rights vested in the Company, I can point out that the highest probability of increased activity of the Website’s users will occur within a few days of the release of the subsequent episodes – for this reason I recommend special vigilance in these periods,” the notice adds.

These type of preemptive takedown notices are rather unusual. At this point, there is nothing for the site operator to take down. While Canal+ may hope that the site will install some kind of filtering mechanism, we doubt that this will happen.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.


Getting It Done: The Week In D.I.Y. & Indie Music | Hypebot

In our tips and advice section, we this week offer independent artists suggestions on how to book a successful European tour, the best way to cultivate community in the music. Continue reading

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Music Think Tank Weekly Recap: Social Media Algorithms • Ambient Music • Touring Vehicles • More | Hypebot

This week on MusicThinkTank, our contributors shared articles on how important social media algorithm updates are for artists, the rise and evolution of ambient music, the best vehicles for artists. Continue reading

The post Music Think Tank Weekly Recap: Social Media Algorithms • Ambient Music • Touring Vehicles • More appeared first on Hypebot.


REWIND: The New Music Industry’s Week In Review | Hypebot

In this flip back through a full week of music industry news, we revisit Kevin Lyman and Talinda Benningtons series of conversation on mental health, Spotify’s new testing of real-time. Continue reading

The post REWIND: The New Music Industry’s Week In Review appeared first on Hypebot.