how much longer before YouTube stops the jihadi recruitment videos? This ones’s been up on YouTube for 2 years.
Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:
YouTube once again demonstrates its recruiting power for the jihad with this video entitled “Equip a Fighter This Ramadan”. There’s some season’s greetings for you, eh? Because as the video advises, “whoever prepares a fighter has participated in the fight.” Mustafa Abi Al-Yazeed was the head of al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
What Happened to the Bundle of Rights?
It is axiomatic that under the 1976 Copyright Act, copyright is a bundle of rights. Copyright owners are largely free to exploit their rights or subdivisions of copyright in whole or in part. This is arguably the fundamental reason why PROs exist—to administer the performance right subdivision of the bundle.
Methods of monetizing songs have evolved with technology as the marketplace identifies new methods of exploitation. Generally speaking, promoting licensing of these new methods seems to be the broad policy goal of the consent decrees. The government has also determined that promoting licensing is so important that it effectively trumps the songwriter’s right to say “no,” a provision of the consent decrees that the regulated PROs were required to agree.
After the last Pandora decision in the ASCAP rate court, it appears that the consent decree is being interpreted to require that copyright owners withdraw from ASCAP altogether in order to enjoy the right to license a subdivision of their bundle of exclusive rights, replacing the songwriter’s decision with the Court’s own interpretation of the government’s requirements. (The same applies to BMI.)
Respectfully, I fail to see the logic, utility or authority for the government establishing an arbitrary bright line limit on how far the copyright bundle can be subdivided.
If the government permits copyright owners to license all of the performance right through regulated PROs, why should the government take a songwriter’s right to license a subdivision of the performance right outside of the consent decree? This is particularly true of digital performance rights that were barely commercialized or did not exist at all at the time of the last modifications of the respective consent decrees.
I understand why the music users would like us to believe that the government intended to regulate uses that did not exist at the time of the modifications, but I hope you can empathize with songwriters who find this rather stunning logic and take a contrary view.
This arbitrary limitation on the statutory right to subdivision essentially dares copyright owners to disassociate themselves from the regulated PROs, a course that I fully believe they will eventually follow. If enough copyright owners are effectively forced to withdraw from the regulated PROs in order to enjoy an actual free market for subdivisions of their rights permitted by the Copyright Act, both ASCAP and BMI surely will be diminished to the great disadvantage of songwriters.
I suggest that the market should be trusted to do a better job of creating licensing opportunities as likely would occur if copyright owners were free to decide how to license their property. The rate courts’ position seems at odds with the elegance of the bundle of rights solution that underpins our private property traditions of personal liberty.
 See 17 U.S.C. Sec. 106.
 See 17 U.S.C. Sec. 201(d)(2) (“…Any of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright, including any subdivision of any of the rights specified by section 106, may be transferred…and owned separately”(emphasis added)); see also New York Times Co. v. Tasini, 533 U.S. 483 (2001) (“The 1976 [Copyright] Act recast the copyright as a bundle of discrete ‘exclusive rights,’ § 106, each of which ‘may be transferred…and owned separately….’ § 201(d)(2),” at 484.)
 See 17 U.S.C. Sec. 106(4) (“[T]he owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights
to do and to authorize…in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly”.)
 In re Petition of Pandora Media Inc., 12-cv-08035, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
 “[A] private property right includes the right to delegate, rent, or sell any portion of the rights by exchange or gift at whatever price the owner determines.” Armen A. Alchian, Property Rights available at http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PropertyRights.html (emphasis added).
Google recently filed a tentative settlement with its stockholders over the $500,000,000 of the company’s money that Google’s executive team authorized be spent to keep from being indicted by a Rhode Island grand jury. (I invite you to read the sordid history in the settlement and also the story of the Google sting operation in the Nonprosecution Agreement between Google and the United States,)
The settlement is full of the kind of stuff you’d expect to see in a settlement of this kind: Google refuses to admit liability, but agrees to spend even more of the stockholder’s money to stop itself before it sins again. But then out of the blue comes this section:
2.7 Criminal Activity Reporting
Google’s General Counsel shall be responsible for reviewing every situation in which a Google employee is convicted of a felony under U.S. federal or state criminal statutes in connection with his employment by Google and for reporting to the Board (or an appropriate committee of the Board) with respect to that violation. Presumptively, any employee convicted of a felony under a U.S. federal or state criminal statute in connection with his employment by Google shall be terminated for cause and receive no severance payments in connection with the termination. If the General Counsel determines that such termination is not warranted, he shall so recommend to the Board (or an appropriate committee of the Board), which will act upon his recommendation in its discretion.
Notice that there’s not one word in this section dealing with drugs, drug advertising or the like.
Why would this language need to appear in what will eventually be a court order requiring Google to essentially deny a severance package to Google employees who are terminated for being convicted of a felony under either a federal or state statute. When would a publicly traded company ever pay a severance package to an employee terminated for cause? (And being convicted of a felony is almost invariably grounds for termination for cause whether or not it relates to your employment.)
Note that this language appears to be preventative and forward looking in nature as is the rest of the proposed settlement (assuming that all of the settlement has been made public, a big assumption when it comes to Google). So it appears that during their discovery the shareholders found some information that led them to think this provision of their settlement agreement would have been required.
That would lead me to think that the behavior being proscribed had occurred. Meaning that somebody was convicted of a felony, was fired, but was given a severance package.
I would also venture a guess that this wasn’t something like two weeks salary–that wouldn’t rise to the level of a court order applying to all Google employees and Google’s most senior management. What would rise to the level of a court order would be something like a two or three year salary payout, accelerated vesting of stock options, a flat payment of at least six or seven figures, or some combination. And if you are talking about accelerated vesting of Google stock options, you can get into the million dollar range very quickly.
Now what might motivate a company like Google to make such a payment–given that corporate lawyers are often looking for a basis for termination for cause for the very purpose of getting out of any payout for a termination without cause that can trigger all of the above. Also known as a “golden parachute.”
Remember–this paragraph deals with employees who have actually been convicted of felony violations of U.S. law, and it might be stretched to include employees who were convicted in other countries of what would have been a felony under U.S. state or federal law.
There’s another reason a public company like Google might give severance payments of a size to warrant this type of response: Hush money.
Whatever it is, this paragraph didn’t come out of nowhere.
Which leads one to think that there is something putrefying in Mountain View. Shareholders have a right to know what it is.
Originally posted on The Trichordist:
Thank you readers. You all rock!
When a government agency like The Copyright Office or The Department of Justice asks for comments, they usually generate a few dozen. And the vast majority of these are from lobbyists, trade groups and law firms engaged in policy fights.
So this week the Capitol has been buzzing about the surprising number of comments that INDIVIDUALS submitted to the DOJ on the consent decree that governs songwriters. There were over 180 comments from individuals submitted! And we recognize that many of these comments are from fellow songwriters and readers. We have made our voices heard.
So let’s keep it going. Tweet the link to your DOJ comment at us and we will retweet it! @thetrichordist
Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:
Google has long been criticized providing the advertising dollars that fuel a large variety of bad behaviors online from selling illegal drugs, to human trafficking to plain old copyright infringement. This is not mere Google bashing—remember, Google’s senior executive team paid $500,000,000 of the stockholders money to keep from being indicted for selling illegal drugs. Google itself admits disconnecting 46,000 illegal sites from its Adsenses/Doubleclick ad networks—even if Google made a mere $10,000 each from those sites, that’s over $1 billion gross.
And who can forget the drubbing Google took from members of Congress and Firedoglake over the teen-oriented escort app on the Android platform as advertised on YouTube.
Why do they do these things? Apparently for the money.
The hypocrisy of Internet utopians engaging in such behavior is striking—there must be an awful lot of money involved to make it worth the risk. Which also is strange because we’ve…
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Americans are freedom loving people, and nothing says freedom like getting away with it.
Long Long Time by Guy Forsyth.
Google has entered into a proposed settlement agreement with a group of Google shareholders that sued Google’s top executives and board members for breach of fiduciary duty, abuse of control, corporate waste and unjust enrichment. Google agreed to spend $250,000,000 over the next five years to improve its controls over selling advertising for illegal drug sites (this is in addition to the $500,000,000 fine that Google paid to the government that started the shareholder suit).
According to Reuters:
Google Inc has agreed to create a $250 million internal program to disrupt rogue online pharmacies as part of a deal to end shareholder litigation over accusations the search company improperly allowed ads from non-U.S. drug sellers.
Google said it would make content about prescription drug abuse more visible and work with legitimate pharmacies to countermarketing by rogue sellers, documents filed in an Oakland, California federal court on Thursday showed.
Google will allocate and spend at least $50 million a year to the internal effort for at least five years under the settlement. The company has also agreed to pay $9.9 million in fees and expenses to plaintiff attorneys.
How did this happen?
It all started in 2008 when former Secretary of Health and Human Services Joseph A. Califano, Jr. wrote a letter to then Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Secretary Califano implored Mr. Schmidt to do something about Google’s profit from selling advertising inventory to websites selling prescription drugs illegally.
Secretary Califano got no reply from Google.
Looking back, if Mr. Schmidt had just taken action on Secretary Califano’s letter, the smartest guys in the room could have saved themselves $750,000,000. That’s 3/4 of a billion which is real money even in Silicon Valley. And not only would they have saved themselves a pile of money, imagine how much human misery might have been prevented–if not deaths–from Google users who were sold illegal drugs through Google’s advertising.
I wonder if anyone who follows Google will be surprised by this in 2014. But in 2008, it would not surprise me that even a former Cabinet secretary could not get anyone in the press interested in this story, and frankly not much has changed on that score.
But what did change is that Google was the subject of an extensive sting operation by the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island, the FBI, FDA and the IRS over several years on essentially the same question that Secretary Califano tried to raise to Mr. Schmidt in 2008. Google was then the subject of a grand jury investigation in Rhode Island during which it produced 4,000,000 documents.
The U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island, then Peter Neronha, disclosed that his investigation demonstrated that the highest levels of Google’s management–including Larry Page–knew that Google was profiting from selling advertising for illegal sites that indiscriminately sold prescription drugs without a prescription, including some drugs that not only required a prescription but that were to be administered in a doctor’s office.
And you will find videos for illegal drugs on YouTube right now. Not to mention videos like this:
During the course of the Google Drugs grand jury, Google’s lawyer in the matter, Jamie Gorelick, was able to negotiate a “non prosecution agreement” with the U.S. Department of Justice. A non prosecution agreement is a kind of plea bargain, although it isn’t really a plea bargain because the defendant has not been charged yet. It’s the kind of thing rich people or big corporations get so they can keep from being charged with a crime. You know–getting away with it. It usually involves the payment of money. And Google’s case was no different.
Google paid a $500,000,000 fine to get away with it, which at the time was one of the largest corporate fines in the history of the United States. You would have thought that Attorney General Eric Holder would have wanted to tell the world how he got Google (that would be the same Eric Holder who took over as Deputy Attorney General when Google’s lawyer Jamie Gorelick vacated the post in the Clinton Administration). As MTP readers will recall, the AG stayed far away from the news. Aside from speaking at a White House soirée celebrating all the good Google was doing with the online drugs issue while Ms. Gorelick was likely negotiating the no prosecution agreement alongside ELI keynote invitee and Google General Counsel Kent Walker.
The forfeiture by Google, and its rare admission of wrongdoing, was announced not by Holder or his deputies — who often take part in announcements for high-profile corporate settlements — but by the U.S. attorney of Rhode Island, Peter Neronha, at a Providence news conference. No Justice Department officials from Washington participated in the event.
Mississippi’s Hood, a Democrat, said the relationship between Google and the White House may have led the administration to help soften the company’s public relations blow by playing down the announcement of the fine. Schmidt, now Google’s executive chairman, has been a campaign supporter and adviser to President Obama.
“I don’t think the Department of Justice was allowed to promote it the way they would some other $500 million fine,” Hood said.
But here’s the twist–the conduct that was at issue in the grand jury investigation was not really Google’s corporate conduct, because that conduct was outside the scope of the authority of Google’s executives. Because that conduct was, you know, whatchamacallit. Criminal.
So when Google’s top executives approved writing that $500,000,000 check to keep from being criminally prosecuted, they were causing Google’s stockholders to pay for what was arguably a fine that should have been paid by the executives out of their own pockets because it was a fine for their conduct in their personal capacity.
Remember the stockholder’s lawsuit had claims for “breach of fiduciary duty, abuse of control, corporate waste and unjust enrichment“? If you take the corporation’s money and use it to save yourself some money, like for example if you authorized the corporation to pay the biggest corporate fine in U.S. history that was really because of something you did wrong, you are enriching yourself at the stockholders’ expense.
And that’s a big no no.
Also remember that Google has rigged the voting power of stockholders so that it is only theoretically possible for stockholders to ever vote to replace any of the top executives or the board. Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin has stock that gives them essentially a 10 to 1 voting advantage over any other Google stockholders. They like it this way and it’s always been this way. But you know what else that means?
When they make a decision to use the stockholder’s money and the Google board approves it, they better hope they got it right because if they don’t they only have themselves to blame. And sometimes those uppity shareholders will sue your ass.
As they did in the case of Google Drugs.
Google’s board and executives settled the case and didn’t have to pay back the $500,000,000. That’s a pity. They did not admit wrongdoing. But then they didn’t admit wrongdoing in the nonprosecution agreement, either. If they’re not guilty or liable, then why did they pay out $750,000,000 for something that wasn’t illegal? That’s a pretty big number.
Think about where this leads and all the many things Google has screwed up. What we know is that there is a group of stockholders that are willing to sue the board and executive team–who are definitely in control of everything that happens at Google.
We know that despite Google’s many protestations to the contrary to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King and a twenty-one other state attorneys general, there’s $250,000,000 worth of improvements they can make in how they handle drugs. (See Bloomberg, “Google Targeted in State Crackdown on Illicit Drug Ads” and Kent Walker’s letter to six state attorneys general.)
And we know that they have now committed to their stockholders that they’ll do better.
Anyone in the music business has heard that song before, especially when it comes to Google driving traffic to illegal sites with advertising sponsored piracy that Google profits from. After 10 years of Google, what we know is that if they say the Sun rises in the East, you would do well to check it out. Nobody can figure out what they are doing on the Spotify board and why they were invited to speak during Grammy Week. If their lips are moving, they’re lying.
But this time they didn’t make the promise to do better to a bunch of hippie freak musicians who they don’t care about. This time they made it to their stockholders.
And this time they better come through.
As you know, Canadian artist Jann Aden spoke out against the vile “QuickHitz” radio format that cuts songs in half to sell more advertising. Jann singled out the AMP radio station in Calgary, which is one of 100 or so stations owned by the Newcap Radio chain in Canada. Jann indicated in a slightly obscure tweet last week that she’d been banned from the station by “Steve Jones”.
I find it hard to believe that jocks on a station would actually believe that slicing and dicing songs without artist consent was a good idea. But radio is a tough business and I don’t blame them for wanting to keep their jobs. However, this is exactly the kind of market power abuse we expect from the National Association of Broadcasters (who at the moment strives to keep the U.S. government’s boot on the throats of songwriters. Why? Because “this is what monopoly looks like”)
Based on an email leaked to us by a whistleblower, it appears that not only did “Steve” ban Jann Arden from the Calgary station–it’s a fair inference from the email that he banned her from all Newcap stations. And the reason he banned her was not because of what she did but because of what she said. Because of her speech.
From: Steve Jones
Sent: Thursday, August 7, 2014 10:41 AM
To: Trevor Wallworth; Myles MacKinnon; Kurt Price; Daryl Stevens; Dan Youngs; Curtis Bray;
John Roberts; Paul Kaye; Al Tompson; Corey Tremere; Adam McLaren; Jeff Murray; Mike Campbell;
Josie Geuer; Abbey White; Rick Tompkins; Brad Michaels; Kate Buick; Jackie Greening;
Melanie Sampson; Steve Parsons; Jay Bedford; Stuart McIntosh; Taylor Jukes; Christina Fitzgerald;
Stu Ferguson; David Larsen; Troy McCallum; Paul Parhar; Casey Clarke
Cc: Jessop, Paul
Subject: Jann Arden
Please remove ALL music by Jann Arden from your playlist immediately and permanently.
Her antagonistic and pissy social media comments about our company are a clear statement that she doesn’t need our support. She’s a superstar without radio support.
This is not the reason that radio stations are given access to the public airways and a license to broadcast. In this particular case, it’s also a 180 out from the purpose of Canadian content laws.
For American artists, realize that QuickHitz is not just a Canadian disease–it’s also in the U.S. In fact–QuickHits slices up the sound recording and song copyrights of artists and songwriters, labels and music publishers and has the brass to advertise itself like this:
That’s right–QuickHitz thinks it can commoditize the property rights of others through a property right of its own. When you sort through the legal side of this hocus pocus, it sure looks like infringement to me. And even if it isn’t–why would anyone think that this is a good idea?
This cannot stand.
We’re trying to get confirmation of what actually happened, but it looks like Canadian artist Jann Arden was banned from a 100 station radio chain in Canada–because she spoke out against a radio format that literally cuts recordings in half. Why would anyone even think of such a vile format? My guess up is that it’s just so the stations can sell more advertising.
This is kind of like YouTube for radio.
Remember that Canadian broadcasters are supposed to help foster Canadian artists, and most of them do. This is why I have to believe that this format is all about the bean counters who love money and not the jocks who love music. Giving artists the Lars treatment is what we expect from SiliconValley money grubbers who profit from piracy. At least the pirates steal the entire song.
And banning an artist from the peoples airwaves because she spoke up has even less integrity.
The broadcaster ban is so incredibly short sighted, surely there’s more to it?
Is the QuickHitz Format the Sweeney Todd of Radio? The Incomparable @JannArden Stands Up for Artist Rights
Jann Arden has made some of the best records of the last 20 years and is a Canadian treasure. I first heard her when she was signed to A&M Records and have been a fan ever since. So when Jann speaks up about music, I’m all ears.
Jann is speaking up about the latest attack on artist rights: The “QuickHitz” radio format that chops up records.
According to the QuickHitz website:
QuickHitz is a game-changing mass appeal music format built especially for the needs and lifestyle of today’s multitasking, attention challenged listeners. Imagine more music per hour than any other radio station ever! QuickHitz is a break-out alternative to Top 40 radio that immediately repositions the competition with a fresh approach to music discovery and all the interactivity of Social Media. Quite literally, QuickHitz is “twice the music in half the time.”
“Twice the music in half the time”. “How could that be?” you ask. What about that space-time continuum thing?
To accomplish this, popular songs are edited from three or four minutes down to half that length. Commercial breaks are also shortened to approximately nine minutes per hour, instead of the usual 12 minutes on most stations. The goal is to prevent listeners from becoming bored.
Billboard’s radio guru Sean Ross tells us:
For the last decade, some radio people have been advocating a format that edits top 40 hits down to their essentials. Who needs to hear Beyoncé declare that “you’ve got me looking so crazy right now” quite that many times, proponents ask? Couldn’t John Mayer say what he needed to say with less repetition? Are we not a short-attention-span society with less discretionary time for music?
For years, pitching this a format around shortened songs was a pretty good way to send a conference room into polite silence. But in recent years, a few stations have been introducing new songs with one-minute versions, while other PDs have been making songs shorter (or longer) based on their PPM retention scores.
Yes, that’s right. Why not just go all the way to jingles?
One of the QuickHitz stations is AMP Radio in Calgary which is where Jann Arden comes in. According to the Calgary Herald:
As explained to the Herald by Steve Jones, VP of Programming for Newcap Radio — the company that owns almost 100 stations across Canada, including AMP — the QuickHitz format cuts a song in half in order for the station to play more songs, by more artists. The rough estimate is that the new format allows for 24 songs in one hour, compared with an average of 12.
Jones argued that the four-minute song is an archaic practice originally dictated by radio and the 45 RPM, and that the idea of radio edits to get down to that magic three- or four-minutes was used on such epics as Don McLean’s American Pie to current hits such as John Legend’s All of Me.
That’s right–the stations decided to help John Mayer cut to the chase. And if that’s not enough to give you a melt down, I don’t know what it would take:
And this one sums it up:
Jann has started quite the movement on Twitter! It’s important to remember just how much courage it takes for an artist to stand up to the broadcasters no matter what the issue. Remember, all that has to happen is for a broadcaster to get angry with an “uppity” artist, and you could find yourself shut off.
This is why it’s so important for artists like Jann Arden to get our support when she steps up, just like Roseanne Cash, Jimmy Jam, David Lowery, and many others deserve our backing. Never underestimate the power of the broadcasters to retaliate.