Now there are some people who think I am unduly harsh on Google, especially regarding their goals in music or as they might say, information written in that primitive code. I can’t help noticing that those who think this do not appear to have been on the receiving end of Google’s desire to organize that primitive information. Those who have don’t feel that way.
So we’re going to be doing a few gratuitous tips for whoever is thinking about taking the job as head of Google Music.
1. Experience. If you’ve ever worked in the traditional music business, don’t plan on coming back, at least not until Google has completely commoditized it.
2. Indemnity. Make sure you get a personal indemnity for all claims against you during your employment, especially copyright infringement claims and advertising fraud. It should be pretty obvious by now to even the casual observer that these claims are often brought against individual executives–probably because they are the ones who told the machines what to do. Have a good explanation for your family about why you bet the house. I’m sure they’ll understand. Oh, and make sure Google has to pay to get you separate counsel. Remember that phrase “separate counsel”. Say it like a mantra. That is, if you can find a law firm that isn’t conflicted. (Insurance might be an option–see “Worried CIA Officers Buy Legal Insurance“.)
3. Lobbying. Don’t talk to any Google lobbyists about anything, especially not Andrew McLaughlin. Oh, right. He’s not a lobbyist, he works at the White House. But just to be safe, make sure that “violations of federal or state lobbying laws” don’t trigger the termination with cause clause. (See “Indemnity.”)
4. Health Insurance: Make sure that amnesia is not a pre-existing condition. There’s a lot of it at the Googleplex–check for mold. Also check coverage for exploding laptops.
5. The Delete Key: The most popular big boy keystroke in the Googleplex. Learn it. Use it. Especially for email.
Remember: Someone will write a book about this one day. Do you want to be in the index?
Faza notes that there’s some spew out there that would take yet another approach to defining the file barter problem out of existence by proposing that we accept the conclusion that file bartering is “dead”.
I’m reminded of the great moral philosopher, Chico Marx, who proposed that we accept another conclusion: Will you believe me or your own eyes?
I would suggest that an interesting question is whether file bartering is taxable.
One of our absolute favorite illustrators, Colleen Doran, the genius behind A Distant Soil lays it down in an interview with another one of our favorite people, Patrick Ross, the Studs Terkel of our business. (A Distant Soil has been on our recommended list so long no one can remember when it wasn’t.)
Canadian novelist John Degen has an excellent post on more anti-artist hysteria coming from the University of Ottawa and in particular from the very well-funded web of the very well-funded Michael Geist.
In “Lessons in Headline Writing” John Degen calls out the latest and greatest by Geist in which Geist tries to gin up controversy against an open letter to Ministers Moore and Clement that was signed by elected representatives of The Canadian Authors Association; The League of Canadian Poets;The Literary Translators’ Association of Canada; The Playwrights Guild of Canada; The Professional Writers Association of Canada; and The Writers’ Union of Canada. These groups represent over 4,000 professional writers in Canada. Emphasis on the “elected”–Geist hasn’t been elected to dog catcher yet routinely undermines those who have without deference to those who elected them. (They don’t say “right honorable gentleman” because they think the MP is a gentleman, honorable or right–it’s out of respect to the voters who elected him.)
The purpose of the letter? To very politely point out that the Canadian Copyright Modernization Act in its current draft form is very vague, or as I would say more directly, a mishmash of crap in many respects which we hope gets fixed in Canada before the anti-creator crowd (including Google) attempts to foist all or part of it on the US.
Now this questioning of the current draft statute sets the prideful Geist off into orbit–almost sounds like Geist thought these elected leaders of professional writers were insulting Geist’s authorship, don’t it?
As a friend of mine who specializes in this kind of thing once told me, the Chinese don’t mind people using the Internet to post their views, what they hate is when they use the Internet to organize. They just really hate it when you organize.
(For those who do not recognize the name, Michael Geist is aka “he who shall not be named,” according to a prominent Canadian artist), or alternatively “the wonderful Michael Geist” according to Lester Lawrence “Ace” Lessig III, author of “The Starving Artist Canard” among other works. Mr. Wonderful is advisor to the U.S.-backed Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic and the paid consultant to Industry Canada. SG-CIPPIC‘s external advisory board includes Lessig the American, the American EFF legal director, the American director of the American EPIC, and the American Pamela Samuelson, who is also a board member of the American EPIC and the American EFF—in short, 100% Yanks. So this Canadian affiliate of the Samuelson-Glushko system is to IP in Canada kind of what Alcoa of Canada is to Canadian industry.)
One of the gamechangers this year in the music business is the alliance of unions representing workers in the entertainment industry. The same is true in Canada, of course, and we’re looking forward to ACTRA and the Canadian Labour Congress. Billboard reports that Randy Bachman, the legendary Canadian guitarist, had this to say in the Globe and Mail:
“Digital piracy is responsible for the 50 per cent reduction of Canada’s music recording market. Even so, cultural industries – production, marketing, and retail – represent 3.8 per cent of Canada’s GDP. Cultural industries employ 633,200 Canadians – more than the forest products industry. The entertainment industry’s ability to remain healthy and continue to deliver content to consumers in innovative ways is dependent upon a copyright framework that both discourages massive online piracy and encourages legitimate commerce. That’s why Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, needs to be taken seriously as a starting point for moving Canada’s copyright protections into the digital – and Internet – age.”
Oh, this is going to be funny. In theaters EVERYWHERE October 1.
Just wait for “The Mind Of God: Sharing is a Bitch”–Summer 2011.