Archive for March, 2013

UPDATE: Chiat Day’s Confusing Messaging In Times Square Continues Redux

March 31, 2013 Comments off

Many years ago in another galaxy far, far away, I was part of a musician and composer crew that created tons of advertising for TV and radio.  Our story today begins when my group was up for a national ad campaign for a major retail brand.  Our version of the campaign was a very lean orchestral approach and featured a vocalist who now performs with one of the biggest artists in the world.  Conventional, yes, but really beautiful.

Our competition was an electronic dance theme–ok, call a spade a spade–a brittle and annoying masterpiece of triteness.  Really in your face and we knew it would jump out of the television speaker at frequencies that would make dogs all across the country go nuts.  (Always remember this old chestnut about television: People you will never meet really are inviting you into their homes, dogs and all.)

There were two creatives in the room with us, the other musicians and the account relationship manager.  The relationship guy would ultimately make the decision.  Our guy played our demo and tried to sell it, and the other creative did the same with the dance theme of which he said, “It really gets your attention!”

Long pause.  The account manager got up from the table and walked up to Mr. “It Gets Your Attention.”  He slapped the guy in the face.

“That got your attention, didn’t it?”  Pause.

“But did it make you like me?”

Remember, Chiat Day seems very interested in trying to explain their “PIRACY IS PROGRESS” campaign by claiming that the name of the campaign is “Artists vs. Artists.”

Like that changes anything.

So I happened to run across this image on the Chiat Day NY site.  I’d like to link to it, but they evidently took it down.

photo chiat day 2

What do they call the campaign?

Artists vs. Artists?

Apparently not.  Well, they sure got some attention.

They can Bitcoin, but it would break the Internet to stop brand sponsored piracy

March 31, 2013 Comments off

From Wikipedia

From Wikipedia:


The steps to run the network and generate or “mine” bitcoins are as follows:

  1. New transactions are broadcast to all nodes.
  2. Each node collects new transactions into a block.
  3. Each node works on finding a difficult proof-of-work for its block.
  4. When a node finds a proof-of-work, it broadcasts the block to all nodes.
  5. Bitcoins are successfully collected or “mined” by the receiving node which found the proof-of-work.
  6. Nodes accept the block only if all transactions in it are valid and not already spent.
  7. Nodes express their acceptance of the block by working on creating the next block in the chain, using the hash of the accepted block as the previous hash.
  8. Repeat.

Nodes always consider the longest chain to be the correct one and will keep working on extending it. If two nodes broadcast different versions of the next block simultaneously, some nodes may receive one or the other first. In that case, they work on the first one they received, but save the other branch in case it becomes longer. The tie will be broken when the next proof-of-work is found and one branch becomes longer; the nodes that were working on the other branch will then switch to the longer one.

New transaction broadcasts do not necessarily need to reach all nodes. As long as they reach many nodes, they will get into a block before long. Block broadcasts are also tolerant of dropped messages. If a node does not receive a block, it will request it when it receives the next block and realizes it missed one.

So when it comes to making money for some people (and patenting the process, hello), they manage to come up with this incredibly complex system of verification.  But when it comes to brand sponsored piracy…oh, it’s too complicated.  Don’t want to break the Internet you know.


John Pointer Interview at SXSW

March 31, 2013 Comments off

An enlightening short interview with the incomparable John Pointer, artist extraordinaire and founder of a prime example of artists helping artists–and based in Austin, Texas, right where you’d expect to find great artists and great music companies.

We did an interview with John last year in the Huffington Post that covers some background on Patronism, and John was one of the signers of the artist letter opposing the Internet Radio Fairness Act.

And then there’s this NSFR (not suitable for rehearsal) video, which may make you want to go home and practice:

March 31, 2013 Comments off

Music Technology Policy

[3/31/13 Update by Editor Charlie:  We now know courtesy of Google’s DMCA Transparency Report that Google processes roughly 10,000,000 DMCA notices a month for search alone which Google acknowledges to be 97% accurate.  It also seems likely that the Google lobbyist had some idea or actually knew of this level of infringement in Google search at the time she testified.  And Google sends traffic to pirate sites where it also sells advertising on a CPM basis–profiting from the theft.  When will someone call this out for what it is–a criminal agreement to profit from massive infringement?

12/27/11 Update by Chris Castle:  In written testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on November 16, Google’s lobbyist acknowledged that “During 2010, we processed DMCA takedown notices for approximately three million items across all of our products. Already in 2011 we have processed takedown notices for nearly five million items, and we…

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#NewMusic Weekend: Wild Child, Little Radar, Megafauna, The Preservation, White Dress

March 30, 2013 Comments off

Thank God it’s over.   This week’s bands from Austin (the other 50 weeks of the year), selected by the ultimate arbiter of taste.  Via Semaphore Music.

1.  Wild Child (Austin) “Darling Divine” @wildchildsounds

2.  Little Radar (Austin) “Spitfire” @littleradar

3.  Megafauna (Austin) “Scratch the Latch” @megafaunaATX Vinyl release show at Mohawk 3/30

4.  The Preservation (Austin) “Outta Sight” @thepreservation

5.  White Dress (Austin) “Light Hearted: Wearing Red”

Chiat Day’s Confusing Messaging in Times Square Continues

March 29, 2013 1 comment

So…another day brings more confusion in the world of “PIRACY IS PROGRESS” or “ARTISTS VS. ARTISTS” or whatever this thing is titled.  The thing is that American Eagle Outfitters told me that using the image below (which has appeared in many other stories about this PR debacle) is misleading because the other side of this corner LED billboard has an anti-piracy message (barely if you ask me).  They apparently say this because they must think it absolves them for the bizarre campaign on advertising space that American Eagle Outfitters paid for ($50,000 of “advertising credits”) and approved.  Which may explain why Chiat Day’s press release on Little Black Book suddenly had references to American Eagle Outfitters deleted–the same day that AEO acknowledged to the New York Times that they paid the band and gave the band $50,000 of advertising credits to use the billboard.  So were they for it before they were against it before they were for it…..?

But–take a look at this screen capture from the news section of Little Black Book (which is where all this started).  Note who posted this “press release”.  TBWA Worldwide, i.e., Chiat Day, the monolithic advertising advertising agency now part of Omnicom I believe.

So this is the image that Chiat Day put out into the public along with their press release:

Chiat Day

Chiat Day chose this image and posted it themselves as far as we can tell.  That means they sent someone to Times Square to create the photo–seven blocks away.

So whatever you call the campaign–artists vs. artists, man bites dog, whatever–the slogan that Chiat Day is promoting is “PIRACY IS PROGRESS”.  Oh, and that little squiggly part of the image on the left side–that’s the band’s name.  I know that because I’ve seen videos of the billboard.  Tell the truth–would you look at this image and have any idea that its purpose was to promote a band?  Maybe the band’s website?  Or even just the Twitter handle.  Nope.  Not a one that the eye can see on anything like the same plane as “PIRACY IS PROGRESS”.

If you are just an average Joe walking down the street in Times Square and you happen to glance up at this billboard over the American Eagle Outfitters store (which also quickly rotates to AEO models per the New York Times), would you walk away thinking this was a cool way to promote a band?  Or would you think that AEO was promoting the piracy that they complain of to the Customs folks in Washington?

Or would you say “Good thing American Eagle Outfitters has nothing to do with this campaign.  No sir.  Not one thing.  Nada.  Zilch.”

Yes, I suspect that the band thought they could leave this to the adults.

Google’s Bonfire of the Vanities: The Human Drones of Google Glass Coming to a Venue Near You

March 28, 2013 3 comments

“It’s possible to make forgetting impossible, because we can all wear our Google Glasses that will store everything we see. Whereas if you actually thought deeply about the role of forgetting in enabling us to become who we are, perhaps you would actually find some redeeming features to that process.”
–Evgeny Morozov, quoted in the Globe and Mail

FTC Parking Lot

Change agents….

Riddle me this:  Would there have been a Street View without a Wi-Spy?  Or a Wi-Spy without a Street View?  If Google had sent cars around the world with just the Wi-Spy sniffers, would they have gotten away with it for as long as they did?  Which is the more valuable to Google long term?  Pictures of your house or the location of your wi-fi?  Which gives them more hyperaccurate (you know…innovative) maps?  Can they resell the pictures of your house to the National Security Agency, or would the government be more interested in the maps?

Would there have been a YouTube without CNN or the Comedy Channel?  (Not to mention vast subsidies from Google’s monopoly advertising lock.)   Would there be a home version of YouTube without the “user generated content” with longer and longer durations that allows Google to deliver what would otherwise be premium content to the home at no content acquisition cost or very low cost to YouTube?  Would Google have been able to collect hyperaccurate profiles of your listening and viewing habits without YouTube?

Like a modern bonfire of the vanities, we know that it isn’t for nothing that Google spent the last decade financing the destruction of copyright from the academy to the courtroom.  (I’ll leave it to you to cast the role of Girolamo Savonarola and his gang of children.)  So what’s the game with Google Glass–because you know there is one.  It appears that Google has finally developed the means to monetize human conversation, perhaps to complete the surveillance state with a combination of CCTV and grudge informers taking videos of who knows what to be delivered by government contractor Google to who knows who.  But also to capture more video and audio footage that Google will control and essentially own.  Video and audio footage of anything one of Google’s human drones can “see.”

What Does Google Say It Does?

Here’s an image in the typical Google visual style: conveying the image of a consumer who is just overjoyed to be a Google product:

The singularity is nigh…

Among other things, Google Glass will:

1)   Take photographs

2)   Record what you see, hands free

3)   Transmit audiovisual images of what you see live to a remote location (and presumably audio only as well, or the audio could be stripped out later)

4)   Track your location to provide you with maps or directions

5)   Ask questions (like Siri)

It is unclear at this time whether the recording and location functions are solely user-operated.  Meaning that it is unclear whether there is a mother-ship type function that could locate you without your knowing it (either through continual tracking or emulating CCTV functionality by pinging your Google Glass or all wearers of Google Glass at a particular intersection, for example–note that the NDA provides that “Glass has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth transmitters/receivers, but since it hasn’t been FCC authorized, they must remain in the hands of authorized testers”).

It’s also unclear at this time whether Google Glass also includes a wi-fi sniffer (or will include one later).  And before you reject that possibility, ask yourself whether you would ever have thought that the bright and shiny object of Street View cars could have included a wi-fi sniffer.  Wardriving programs are expensive, even for Google.

Who Owns the Content?

Google Glass testers must sign a non-disclosure agreement–no surprise there.  But what are the terms?  According to some leaks, the NDA provides that Google’s standard terms of service and privacy policy will apply to Glass, as well as any product-related terms.  For example, under the Glass NDA “Google owns everything, basically. “You waive any moral rights you have and agree not to exercise them.” (The term “moral rights” is lawyer-speak for a very specific set of copyright restrictions” which Google only respects when they are waived.)  So what does Google’s terms of service require for content?

Your Content in our Services

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours. [And what makes content “yours”?  A final, nonappealable judgement in every country of the world.  What about intellectual property rights that don’t belong to you, like say an unauthorized recording?]

[Here comes the figleaf–] When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services [because it suits Google to place that burden on the user].

You can find more information about how Google uses and stores content in the privacy policy or additional terms for particular Services. If you submit feedback or suggestions about our Services, we may use your feedback or suggestions without obligation to you.

So just like Google places the burden for obtaining a synchronization license on the YouTube user so that Google has a fig leaf that it would argue allows them to avoid the burden of obtaining a sync license for user-generated content on YouTube, Google could twist this language around to not only avoid getting a sync license for songs in recordings of live performances obtained through Google Glass–it could in theory avoid getting any license at all.

And this time they would not have to be subsidizing the YouTube monopoly with profits from its other dominant or monopoly businesses.  They could now make Google Glass into a Megavideo-type cyberlocker service by hosting recordings transmitted by their Glass-wearing drones.  Instead of selling advertising on popups, they could sell the ads on the Google Glass heads up display itself.

And try taking a screen capture of that.

Pretty creepy.

The hills are alive with the sound of sniffing….

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