Author Archive

News Corp Opposed Google’s European Commission Settlement Offer; Welcomed Competition Commission Reconsideration

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Chris Castle:

Regardless of how you feel about News Corp, it helps when they take the side of creators against Google. I think you’ll find this letter to the European Commission very insightful for creators struggling against the Google Leviathan.

Originally posted on News Corp:

News Corp Opposed Google’s European Commission Settlement Offer; Welcomed Competition Commission Reconsideration

In letter to Competition Commissioner last week, Chief Executive Robert Thomson Said Google “…willing to exploit its dominant market position to stifle competition.”

New York (September 17, 2014) – Early last week, in a letter to European Commissioner for Competition Joaquín Almunia, News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson opposed Google’s settlement offer with the European Commission, saying the internet giant is “willing to exploit its dominant market position to stifle competition.”

Mr. Thomson said News Corp also opposed the proposed five year term of a settlement, noting that “five years is an eternity in internet time.”

Citing Google’s “egregious aggregation” of content, Mr. Thomson said that, along with serious commercial damage, there is a “profound social cost” to Google’s actions.  “The internet should be a canvas for freedom of expression and for high quality content of enduring…

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#IRespectMusic and #IRespectMyself

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Originally posted on Melissa Giges:

I’ll never forget the moment when I told my mom that I wanted to pursue music as a career. She was supportive from the very beginning. My parents didn’t encourage me to go to law school, business school, or med school. It wasn’t because they didn’t think I was capable, it was because they knew it wasn’t for me. They wanted me to be happy. I’m sure deep down they also knew that making money would be difficult. One day my mom said to me, “It will be a hard road, but it will be a fulfilling one.”

Well, that is absolutely the truth! And now, more than ever. I don’t want to feel upset or angry about the direction of the music business. I want to be able to continue doing what I love and make people feel something with the music that I put out into the world…

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YouTube Still Using its Monopoly to Profit from Crime and Shake Down Indie Labels

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

MTP readers will not be surprised to know that YouTube brazenly continues its business model of profiting themselves from human misery and promoting crime.  Yes, they want to be just like television except for the standards and practices part.

We’ve found a host of unsavory videos being blasted into your homes by the biggest video distributor in the land.

There’s this skinhead racists:

johnny rebel youtube

Holocaust deniers:

David Irving

Jihadi money solicitation videos (not to mention the ISIS “Dawn of Glad Tidings” Android app):

and a host of how-to videos on injecting drugs:

and this one featuring the music of Morning Sun

and not to forget the how-to shoot up in the femoral vein;

Then there’s the sex tourism videos and softcore porn:

This one featuring actresses of indeterminate age:

cornyn girl kiss

This one featuring the music of Jack White with Asian “brides” ads by Google–we’ll come back to Jack White.

philippines sex tourism

And this doesn’t…

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Trust, But Verify: If Pandora Really Wants to Negotiate, Here’s Five Things They Could Do To Start Regaining Trust

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Chris Castle:

How little has changed…

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.

Mark Twain

No surprise here–press reports have surfaced that “Pandora, the web’s top radio service, has held preliminary discussions with groups representing music artists as well as indie and major labels about ending an increasingly aggressive feud over music royalties, multiple sources familiar with the talks told The Verge.”  (This from the reliably first Greg Sandoval, the best in the business.)

What’s interesting about this is that the government has handed Pandora two really huge reasons to never talk to the people who create their product:  compulsory licenses and ancient anti-trust decrees that produced the rate courts. You remember antitrust law, that’s the thing that doesn’t apply to Google.

In other words, Pandora comes to “negotiate” with a state-sponsored gun to our heads and an icepick up our noses.  Oh, and millions of stockholder…

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Another 20 Questions: Artist Manager Agreements

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

Commission Rate: 15% or 20% of Commission Base

Commission Base: Artists will want to make the “Commission Base” as close to a net number as possible, the managers will want to have it be some form of modified gross. For tour income, the typical deductions would be for the cost of sound and lights, opening acts or musicians, some tour personnel, promoter commissions, sometimes booking agency commissions. On merchandise created by the artist to be sold at shows, the artist would get to deduct the cost of merchandise, credit card fulfillment fees, hall fees. On recording funds, the artist could deduct recording costs, producer fees and royalties, mixing costs, musicians, vocalists, arrangers, engineers, vocal coaches, outboard gear, instrument rental. On songs, commission should be excluded on co-writers and any publishing that has to be given up to a third party, such as on a soundtrack where the studio…

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The MTP Interview: Blake Morgan of ECR Music Group on the #irespectmusic campaign

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Chris Castle:

Now that election season is upon us…remember to register to vote so you can tell your elected officials that #irespectmusic!

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

Chris Castle interviews Blake Morgan, head of ECR Music Group and the force behind the #irespectmusic campaign on Pandora, IRFA and the campaign for artist pay for radio play.

Theme music by Guy Forsyth.

You can also subscribe to the Music Tech Policy podcast on iTunes.

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The Google Class Action Scam Continues at Scale

September 6, 2014 1 comment

Here’s the way that some people think Google plays the class action scam, a long con on the grift.  Do something horrendous to a lot of users, say millions of users.  Find some relatively benign lawyers to sue you in a class action.  Agree to a settlement where the lawyers get a bunch of money, the class gets virtually nothing, but you pay out a pile of cash to advocacy groups who do your bidding anyway.  

In one fell swoop Google gets rid of the legal liability from millions of users through the class settlement, it costs the company virtually nothing, and they get to siphon money to their BFFs in academia to pay for more lobbying work or maybe just some money in the tip jar.

And by the way, other Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook are learning from Google, so it’s not just Google.  We developed a chart for the Google Buzz and Facebook Sponsored Stories class action settlements.  Now we have a third settlement to add to the chart, the Google “header referral privacy litigation” involving massive violations by Google of its users privacy.  (In Re Google Referrer Header Privacy Litigation, Case Number 5:10-cv-04809-EJD, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division.)

Andrew Orlowski in The Register tells us that:

In 2010 a group of consumers alleged that Google “leaked” personal information about search users to third party marketeers. Their class action lawsuit alleges that Google violated its own privacy policy by including search terms in the referrer header. That information is transmitted to sites listed in Google search results whenever a user clicks a link.

Certain types of searches, therefore – such as the user’s own name – can be argued to comprise personal data, according to the plaintiffs. The alleged breach comes about when that “personal data” is transmitted to the website receiving the user’s click from the search results.

The case is another “cy pres” settlement in a series of privacy cases against Facebook and Google. It’s fascinating for revealing cosy relationships between what should be the poacher and the gamekeeper.

Cy pres
 allows the judge to award payouts to intermediaries, leaving nothing to individuals, and it’s skewed the incentives for all those involved in the litigation in a way critics find disturbing. Far from watching your back, digital rights groups and activist academics have an incentive to make a tame settlement quickly, pocketing a substantial amount of cash, but leaving nothing for the ordinary Jane or Joe whose privacy was violated by the tech giant.

Cy pres awards are usually proposed by the class action lawyers after some negotiation with…well, some kind of negotiation.  Or at least discussion.  Or perhaps instruction.  The other thing to remember is that there really are very few strings attached to the awards.  It looks a lot like…well, you know.  


Once the class lawyers propose the cy pres award, it becomes part of the class action settlement and that settlement has to be approved by the presiding judge.  U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila, the judge in the header class action, has rejected–apparently twice–the class lawyers’ proposed cy pres awards in the cozy settlement.  Ted Frank of the Center for Class Action Fairness summed it up nicely:  “Google is paying $2 million to get rid of the case, and the attorneys are taking it all for themselves.”  (Google will make over $2,000,000 before you finish reading this post.)

Judge Davila laid out pretty clearly what his problems were (according to Bloomberg):

“The elephant in the room is that many of [the cy pres recipients] are law schools that you [the lawyers representing the class] attended,” Davila said. The judge said he had expected a wider net to be cast, and that it was exactly the same list of recipients as the lawyers presented to him a year ago.

“I’m disappointed that the usual suspects are still usual,” Davila said. The lack of transparency in the selection process “raises a red flag” and “doesn’t pass the smell test,” he said.

So it sounds like in the courthouse of the Northern District of California, the word is out–you do not want to be the judge who gets overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court for approving a scummy crony-capitalist class action settlement.

Here’s our chart updated with the proposed “Header” cy pres recipients (“Google $$” column are direct payments from Google per the Washington Post:

Cy Pres


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