Archive

Archive for August, 2018

BMG Rights Leads the Way on Enforcing DMCA Predicates

August 28, 2018 Comments off

It’s been an interesting few months for Big Tech’s safe harbor protections under copyright law and the antonymous Communications Decency Act.  These safe harbors are important to protect Big Tech’s income transfer also known as the “value gap,” but an often overlooked precursor to the effectiveness of safe harbor are the compliance requirements clearly spelled out in the applicable statutes.

It is important to remember that in order to enjoy the safe harbor, Big Tech has to act responsibly on “red flag knowledge”–meaning that they knew or should have known that there was infringement on their platform–and that they enforce a “repeat infringer policy.”  Contrary to what it seems a lot of people believe, the DMCA is not a “catch me if you can” alibi.  Rather, there is a quid for the pro quo.

And BMG Rights Management is the only music publisher we know of to take direct action against an ISP for failing to enforce a repeat infringer policy–and, most importantly, to win their case by denying the ISP any safe harbor protection.  Although the case settled last week before a potential retrial could have made Cox’s liability even greater given the favorable appeals court ruling, BMG made some good law in the process.

BMG brought its case against Cox Communications in 2014 and won a jury verdict in 2015 for $25,000,000 in statutory damages and $8,500,000 in attorneys fees.  Cox appealed and the appeals court reversed the jury award and ordered a new trial based on imprecise jury instructions, but also ruled that the safe harbor repeat infringer policy predicate requires meaningful implementation of that policy by an ISP.

Cox argued that an “infringer” in the case of the repeat infringer policy means an adjudicated infringer, i.e., one who has had a full federal trial and exhausted all appeals. This argument has been around since 1999 at least for one reason–it would essentially turn the DMCA safe harbor into a “catch me if you can” alibi that not only was totally unworkable but was also defeated the purpose of the predicate in the first place.

The appeals court put this canard to rest: (at pp. 12-13)

Cox contends that because the repeat infringer provision uses the term “infringer” without modifiers such as “alleged” or “claimed” that appear elsewhere in the DMCA, “infringer” must mean “adjudicated infringer.” But the DMCA’s use of phrases like “alleged infringer” in other portions of the statute indicates only that the term “infringer” alone must mean something different than “alleged infringer,” otherwise, the word “alleged” would be superfluous. Using the ordinary meaning of “infringer,” however, fully accords with this principle: someone who actually infringes a copyright differs from someone who has merely allegedly infringed a copyright, because an allegation could be false. The need to differentiate the terms “infringer” and “alleged infringer” thus does not mandate Cox’s proposed definition.

Moreover, other provisions of the Copyright Act use the term “infringer” (and similar terms) to refer to all who engage in infringing activity, not just the narrow subset of those who have been so adjudicated by a court.

Recall that music publishers never participated in the Copyright Alert System which was an agreement among the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the internet service providers AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon.  In a non-technical sense, CAS was something of its own repeat infringer policy by contract on top of the DMCA.  The CAS agreement expired in 2017–after BMG brought its lawsuit against Cox.  Although there was nothing in the CAS that stopped a publisher from suing any ISP, it was practical that BMG would sue a big ISP like Cox that was not in CAS.

In a reversal of the old order, the labels now have sued Cox for infringement of their sound recordings some of which were implicated in the BMG Rights case, and that lawsuit has would up before Judge Liam O’Grady who heard the BMG Rights case (wheel fans take note).

According to Music Business Worldwide:

BMG North America General Counsel Keith Hauprich, said, “This was a landmark case in which BMG took on the third biggest internet service provider in the United States to defend and establish the principle that in order to benefit from a so-called ‘safe harbor’ defense, an ISP has responsibilities. While the financial terms of the settlement are confidential, we are happy they reflect the seriousness of this case.”

He added: “Other ISPs should take note that the law gives protection to the work of artists and songwriters. We will not hesitate to take action where necessary.”

In a further statement, BMG said: “BMG succeeded in establishing in court its central claim that an ISP needs to take specific action against subscribers it knows to be repeat copyright infringers.

“BMG is optimistic that this victory will persuade other US ISPs to tighten up their procedures on copyright infringement. Having achieved a landmark ruling, BMG concluded that it made sense to accept a substantial settlement.”

Or, as we say around MTP, the DMCA is not an alibi.

 

Google’s European Campaign Contributions on Article 13

August 24, 2018 Comments off

RITTER

They want what every first term administration wants…a second term.

From A Clear and Present Danger, written by Tom Clancy (novel), screenplay by Donald Stewart, Steven Saillian and John Milius.

MTP readers will recall that both the Times of London and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung have confirmed the efforts by Google to influence the vote on copyright reform in the European Union.  We called for that investigation on MTP and were mocked for doing so by the usual suspects.

Getting mocked by the usual suspects is how you know you’re onto something big, by the way.

But we owe a big thanks to the really stellar investigative work of Volker Rieck and David Lowery that exposed how Google uses astroturf front groups to “push its views” and for which it no doubt pays well.

Dj_qcYOW4AAfyRy.jpg-large

There is, of course, a political dimension to this exposé that has not been examined thoroughly yet.  It’s an important dimenstion because the Members of the European Parliament must stand for election next year, less than a year away.  And the Member of the European Parliament who certainly appears to be as close to Google as 1 is to 2 is the lone Pirate Party representative.

The Pirate Party is a creature of proportional representation, an interesting practice in Europe (and other places) that allows political parties with very small constitutencies to field candidates and sometimes get elected to legislative bodies such as the European Parliament.  The Pirate Party has one European Parliament representative elected from Germany, which is interesting because Google has also dropped a pile of influence-peddling cash in Germany according to the Google Transparency Project.

First, Google’s academic influence program in Europe has gone beyond funding existing academic institutions, as it does in the United States, to helping create entirely new institutes and think-tanks in key countries like Germany, France and the United Kingdom. In those countries, executives from Google’s lobbying operation have helped conceive research groups and covered most, or all, of their budgets for years after launch.

Google policy executives have acted as liaisons to steer their research priorities and host public events with policymakers.

For example, Google has paid at least €9 million to help set up the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) at Berlin’s Humboldt University. The new group launched in 2011, after German policymakers voiced growing concerns over Google’s accumulated power.

The Institute has so far published more than 240 scholarly papers on internet policy issues, many on issues of central importance to Google’s bottom line. HIIG also runs a Google-funded journal, with which several Google-funded scholars are affiliated, to publish such research.

The Institute’s reach extends beyond Germany, or even Europe. HIIG previously managed, and still participates, in a global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers [Silicon Valley’s answer to the Confucious Institutes] to coordinate internet policy scholarship. Many are in emerging markets where Google is trying to expand its footprint, such as India and Brazil.

So it must be said that when Google was caught with its hand in the cookie jar on Article 13, that astroturf effort must be viewed as part of a larger Google policy laundering operation that may include influencing elections.  Certainly in a post-Cambridge Analytica world, one cannot simply ignore these dots and all are worthy of investigation for compliance with Europe’s campaign finance laws if nothing else.

For a minority political party representative of one in need of a message in the face of an imminent election, it simply cannot be ignored that garnering the finanical support of Google and Facebook’s astroturf operation for a campaign that directly or indirectly benefits a candidate may be welcome.

Getting Silicon Valley’s billions focused on motiviating the electorate around a particular issue of benefit to such a multinational bloc of monopolists might help motivate voters and guide them to the “right” candidate.  As one of the usual suspects noted:

When the European Commission announced its plans to modernize EU copyright law two years ago, the public barely paid attention. This changed significantly in recent months.

Which was perhaps one of the electoral objects of the astroturf exercise.

Considering that political campaigns in Europe are typically of quite limited duration compared to the US (sometimes as short as 25 days before polling day), coming up with a an issue campaign that a political candidate–especially an incumbent–can leverage to increase their profile has got to be golden–particularly if that campaign may not rise to the level of a restricted political contribution or electioneering has got to be disclosed.

If that issue campaign can draw funding and support from U.S. based multinational corporations like Google and Facebook leveraging their user networks and advertising clout, all the better for a vulnerable candidate.

Because in the end, what every incumbent wants is another term.  The Pirate Party already faces declining relevance and may lose the one seat they have in the European Parliament elections in a few months time.  Especially if the the Pirate Party already struggles to field a winner.  Faced with such an existential threat, who knows what compromises may get made and who knows what in-kind donations may surface.

Undisclosed compromises and in-kind donations.

Did @zephyrteachout Quietly Resign from Controversial Lobby Shop?

August 22, 2018 Comments off

[A blast from the past–when New York Attorney General candidate Zephyr Teachout lost her last try at the policy spotlight and covered up her connection to the controversial Fight for the Future.]

o-teachout-lessig-facebook

Candidate Teachout and Lester Lawrence Lessig III

Zephyr Teachout faced the voters yesterday [in 2016] in the Democratic Party primary for the 19th Congressional District to replace the retiring Chris Gibson (a former combat veteran bird colonel, Airborne Ranger with the CIB, Purple Heart, and other distinctions).  In a weak start to her general election campaign, she seems to have tried to quietly resigned from a public association with a controversial anti-artist lobby shop rather than face legitimate questions from her artist constituents in the Hudson Valley.

Candidate Teachout is definitely fascinated with getting into a powerful position–she challenged NY Governor Andrew Cuomo in his latest winning campaign for governor and got a respectable 30%ish of the vote.  (Teachout outraised her opponent 2:1 according to the most recent disclosures, thanks in part to a corporate donation from George Soros‘s Soros Fund Management.)  A former lobbyist, she’s clearly got her own machine and isn’t worried about his.

While Progressives may be drawn to this former operator of the failed Lessig Super PAC (see Zephyr Teachout takes over Larry Lessig’s PAC), several musicians including Jack DeJohnette and Marc Ribot have publicly asked Candidate Teachout to publicly state her positions on protecting artist rights.

Good news: There are two bills currently pending in the House of Representatives to which Candidate Teachout seeks election that sum this up nicely but that are both opposed by the kind of people who gave money to the Lessig Super PAC she once ran.  If elected, will Candidate Teachout endorse the Songwriter Equity Act and the Fair Play Fair Pay Act should these bills not pass in the current Congress and be reintroduced?

In particular, while being transparent, she could also explain why she was in the vanguard of one of the premier anti-artist operations and why that’s good for NY-19, an area that prides itself on having the highest per capita number of artists than anywhere in the United States.

She’s done neither–but appears to have quietly resigned from her controversial position with Fight for the Future “Education Fund”.

Now why do you suppose that happened and happened that way?

Transparency for Thee But Not for Me

If you’ve followed local politics in the 19th, you’ll know two things: First, Woodstock is in the district.  Remember Woodstock?  The defining musical moment for a generation?  Remember Albert Grossman, Bearsville Studios, Big Pink, Bob Dylan and The Band?  Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble?  All in Woodstock.  In fact, I was able to attend a Ramble when Levon performed even though he was too sick to sing.  Dying on the bandstand is rather emblematic of the credibility problem facing Candidate Teachout.

And nowhere is her problem more highlighted than in her governance position with the Fight for the Future Education Fund.  You may not be aware that Candidate Teachout is–or maybe was–on the board directors of Fight for the Future Education Fund (right next to a self-described Google consultant).

screen-shot-2016-05-12-at-2-58-04-pm

FFTF Board

The lobbying group is backed by the Consumer Electronics Association and the Center for Democracy and Technology, among others, including the usual “dark pool” foundations that appear in my view to potentially launder money for corporations who want to keep up appearances–such as Google.  (Corporation gives to foundation which then gives to lobbying group or “public interest” group that furthers corporations agenda with public messaging–dark pool foundations.)

FFTF CEA

A Cover Up is Coming

So–why would Candidate Teachout not respond to the questions raised by Jack and Lydia DeJohnette in The Trichordist?  The great drummer raises questions that should be of concern to anyone who cares about property rights and the rule of law, not to mention the devastation wrought on artists by the Big Tech interests that Candidate Teachout appears so comfortable with.  (For example, the CEO of Linkedin and Spotify board member Sean Parker gave $1 million and $500,000 respectively to Lessig PAC).

Here are the questions put to Candidate Teachout in the Trichordist:

Four Questions for Zephyr Teachout Candidate US House of Representatives Democratic Primary NY-19

  1. Do you personally support the anti-artist, anti-copyright agenda of Fight For The Future, where you served as Director of the Education Fund? If so, please explain why you hold that position. If not, please explain how your views differ from the messages of that organization.

 

  1. Do you recognize that mass, online copyright infringement causes direct harm to people like me? As my prospective representative, will you fight for my ability to support myself and my family with my creative work?

 

  1. You’re running on a message that is very important to democrats – holding corporations accountable and getting big money out of politics.  Can you say without equivocation that Fight For The Future reflects these values?
  2. Do you support Jerrold Nadler’s Fair Play Fair Pay bill, which would bring the US into conformity with the rest of the free industrialized world by paying artists for the commercial, terrestrial radio broadcast of their work (and put tens of millions in foreign royalties now being withheld due to the lack of US reciprocity into the pockets of US working artists)?

 

Hey Alexa, Regift Yourself: Google Overtakes Amazon in Biometric Data Acquisition Tools — Artist Rights Watch

August 20, 2018 Comments off

google2.png

According to the Canalys research outfit, Google has taken the lead over Amazon for the first time in the acquisition of biometric identifying data–aka “smart speakers”.  It should come as no surprise that Google is vastly more interested in acquiring “phonemes” by which to identify users and track them through a variety of means.

The “smart speaker” is the latest step in government contractor Google’s long running campaign to track users and build speech-to-text and speech recognition tools.

The program goes back to at least 2007 when Marissa Meyer said of “GOOG-411”:

The speech recognition experts that we have say: If you want us to build a really robust speech model, we need a lot of phonemes, which is a syllable as spoken by a particular voice with a particular intonation. So we need a lot of people talking, saying things so that we can ultimately train off of that.

So who do you think the customers are for speech-to-text and speech recognition tools to whom government contractors like Google and Amazon might be selling your biometric data?  The biometrics harvesting tools allows Big Tech to connect your voice print and maybe your fingerprints to all the other data that they have already harvested about you from other means.  And of course when you add in facial recognition or iris recognition it’s game, set and match.

Think about that when you enable your fingerprint, iris or facial recognition authentication or talk to Alexa or your Google Home Mini.   Or you could just ask the Shoe Gazer at the Internet Association.

“Hey Alexa, re-gift yourself.”

 

Facebook’s Campbell Brown Demonstrates the Ontological Smugness of the Ship Jumper

August 15, 2018 Comments off

Emporer zuck

We’ve all experienced the sneering smugness of the executives at YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Amazon looking down their noses at artists and labels (especially independents).  (Never a problem with Apple in my experience, by the way, gee I wonder why.)

But the ontological definition of smugness is often found in the smuggest of the smug–former executives from a business in one of the copyright categories who quisling their way into a job defending surveillance capitalism at one of the big social networks.  There is no better example than Campbell Brown.  Yes, that Campbell Brown, formerly of CNN.

Ms. Brown, you see, is now Facebook’s “global head of news partnerships” or something like that.  She’s the one that Facebook sends out to try to convince news organizations that Mark Zuckerberg isn’t out to destroy or at least censor them and their readers.

750px-zuck_xijinping

According to multiple reports, in The Australian, The Sun, The Guardian and others, Ms. Brown is quoted as telling a group of Australian news media executives (this from Olivia Solon in The Guardian):

“We will help you revitalise journalism … in a few years the reverse looks like I’ll be holding your hands with your dying business like in a hospice,” she said, in comments corroborated by five people who attended the meeting in Sydney on Tuesday.

Now ask yourself this–how many times have you heard this exact kind of thing coming from Big Tech executives?  I know I’ve been hearing it since at least 1999 if not before.  That stuff is really, really getting old.

But wait, there’s more of the same.

During the four-hour meeting, Brown also talked about the company’s decision to prioritise personal posts from family and friends over journalistic content within the news feed. The move has hit some publishers who rely heavily on referrals from Facebook hard.

“We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals anymore. That is the old world and there is no going back – Mark wouldn’t agree to this,” said Brown.

Of course, the real problem is that because of a variety of safe harbors, it is difficult for news organizations to cut off “journalistic content” from Facebook altogether which is exactly what they richly deserve.  If you’re going to the hospice anyway, wouldn’t you rather go to that big news conference in the sky on your feet than on your knees?

And here’s the height of smugness from Ms. Brown:

The Australian also reported that Brown said that Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, “doesn’t care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes”, although both Facebook and Brown vehemently deny this comment was made, referring to a transcript they have from the meeting.

Facebook would not release the transcript from the meeting.

Of course they wouldn’t.  They have all the data in the world that they sell to anyone with a pulse, but they’re not going to release that transcript.  Presumably this is on the advice of Facebook’s soon-to-be-departed general counsel, the eponymous Mr. Stretch, he of the Dickensian name.

The upshot of the story would appear to be self-aggrandizement by Campbell Brown–who many would have thought better of–that your business is dying unless you deal with me because Mr. Big is too big for you but has deputized me to throw you some scraps.

Even though Ms. Brown and Facebook deny the event ever happened that way, I have to say that it all rings very true to me.  I think it will ring true to anyone who has dealt with those who jump ship but then go sell themselves based on their past work experience to a buffoon like Zuckerberg (who kowtows like Bozo to authoritarian regimes, literally).  Amazing what a few stock options will do to elevate one’s opinion of oneself.

All that’s missing is for the journalist trades to hail Ms. Brown’s expertise and deal making ability simply because she was once a passenger on the ship she jumped from.  That would complete the ontological smugness of it all.

 

 

 

 

Must Read: @AnneMarieSteele: An insightful interview with Jody Gerson about songwriting and breaking artists

August 14, 2018 Comments off

[This interview is one of the best statements of what signing and breaking a songwriter or an artist is all about.  When I was reading Jody Gerson’s interview I remember when I asked David Anderle once why we didn’t do bidding wars at A&M.   He said quite simply that A&M helped compelling artists make great records and then stuck with them until they found an audience.  They didn’t always work out but it wasn’t for lack of trying.  That had nothing to do with bidding wars.]

I think it is a difficult time for songwriters who aren’t writing massive hit songs. When I first came into the industry, you could write a cut on a big album, like for Whitney Houston, and it would sell a lot of records, and you could make a lot of money as a songwriter. But unless you’re writing hit singles or you have pieces of songs on enormous numbers of streamed product, it is very difficult right now….

A lot of people are relying on data today. I don’t go in that direction. I judge music based on what I feel. Does it move me? Is that a lyric that articulates a feeling that I have better than I can articulate it? Is there a driving beat that makes me want to move? Is there a melody that makes me want to sing along? I have found in my career anytime that I have trusted my instinct, I’m right….

What everybody’s missing is the role of the record company. There’s talk about whether artists need to be signed to a record company. I would like you to show me one streaming platform that has broken an artist, made a major investment in breaking an artist. It is not easy.

Just because a song is on a digital platform doesn’t mean you’re breaking that artist. The companies that put the most into the development of artists are still record companies. The investment in breaking artists still is something that we can’t underestimate, and platforms do not do that.

Hit artists, superstars, are never flukes. It just doesn’t happen that way. It takes a village to break an artist.

Read the post from the Wall Street Journal

h/t Artist Rights Watch

Thank You Senator @MarkWarner, but Senator @RonWyden is the Perfect Leader in the Fight Against Behavioral Addiction

August 13, 2018 Comments off

Senator Mark Warner has released (or leaked) a comprehensive plan to combat fake news and foreign manipulation of the American electorate through Silicon Valley.  Unfortunately, however appealing or appalling some of Senator Warner’s proposals are, it’s likely that he may just be expanding the game of whack-a-mole that Silicon Valley loves so much.  We’ve seen the whack-a-mole movie before and we know how it ends.  They won’t help, you spend money to fight them, and if you ever look like you might be winning, they outspend you on lobbying to create a new safe harbor.

Senator Wyden Can Help Solve the Fundamental Problem With Social Media

There is a more fundamental problem with Silicon Valley that the Congress is actually well-suited to address, probably needs no new laws, and if fixed would go a long way to addressing some of Senator Warner’s issues—the problem of addiction and how Silicon Valley profits from creating that behavioral addiction to smartphones, likes, views, retweets and other fakery that turns the science of addiction on its head.

And the really good news is that there is one currently serving U.S. Senator who is the perfect person to take on this issue, one Senator who has shown his chutzpah in the past, and one Senator who above all others is well suited to deal with the problem of behavior addiction for corporate profit—Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon.

It was Senator Wyden who created that classic exchange in 1994 between the heads of the Big Tobacco companies which you’ve probably seen where Senator Wyden got each of them to say that nicotine was not addictive, only to discover that these companies used biological and behavioral research to make their product as addictive as possible (see The Insider, a film about Big Tobacco whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand portrayed by Russell Crowe).  

The tobacco class actions resulted in a $3.4 billion payment over 25 years–in 1997 dollars.  We know how much Big Tech hates real class actions they don’t control, but face it–a comparable settlement today would be chump change for the most valuable companies in commercial history.

This is why Ron Wyden is the perfect Senator to reprise his role of champion of public health by holding Silicon Valley’s feet to the fire.  And let’s face it—there’s lots of material to work with in the business of social media that is founded on fakery, well beyond Senator Warner’s recommendations.

YouTube’s Fakery on Display Again

It’s not surprising that fake YouTube views are again in the news in what is becoming a series of exposes on the fakery in social media.  The latest deep dive into the skullduggery behind fake views is by Michael H. Keller in the New York Times and is recommended reading by Artist Rights Watch.

Everyone in the record business who has been paying attention has seen a version of this story play out many, many times for many, many years.  Remember the radio promotion exec who always seems to get the same adds at that same stations for a few weeks?  And when the plays stop, the exec says “the record is not reacting”?  Fake YouTube views are essentially the same scam—with two exceptions. The scale is vastly bigger at YouTube and no DJ has the motto “don’t be evil.”

Mr. Keller’s post ends with this provocative conclusion:

View-selling sites continue to advertise with apparent impunity. A post on the YouTube Creator Blog warning users against fake views has numerous comments linking to view-selling sites.

“The only way YouTube could eliminate this is if they removed the view counter altogether,” said Mr. Vassilev, the fake-view seller. “But that would defeat the purpose of YouTube.”

That’s an interesting proposition.  Why would removing the view counter defeat the purpose of YouTube?  Aren’t we told that artists can’t reach an audience without YouTube?  So isn’t the purpose of YouTube to reach an audience rather than produce public views information?  Granted, the person making that assertion is a fake view seller and not a YouTube representative, but a YouTube representative would likely never say such a thing even if they knew it to be true.  Why not?

Behavioral Addiction Additives 

One reason might be that the view counter, friend counters, the likes, the retweets, the various measurements that demonstrate the re-enforcement of acceptance by “friends”, are an important component of what makes YouTube addictive, just like tobacco companies added ammonia and other chemicals to tobacco to increase its addictive powers.  And the evidence is starting to come in suggesting that it is that addiction that is the real purpose of YouTube and other social media sites.

One source of that evidence is from Professor Adam Alter of the NYU Stern School of Business whose book Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked describes in shocking detail just how devious sites like YouTube and Facebook are in delivering the dopamine fix to our brains, and worse yet to our children’s brains.  As Professor Alter told the New York Times:

Today, we’re checking our social media constantly, which disrupts work and everyday life. We’ve become obsessed with how many “likes” our Instagram photos are getting instead of where we are walking and whom we are talking to….

We are engineered in such a way that as long as an experience hits the right buttons, our brains will release the neurotransmitter dopamine. We’ll get a flood of dopamine that makes us feel wonderful in the short term, though in the long term you build a tolerance and want more.

And of course those buttons include YouTube subscriber and view counts, Facebook friends and likes and the various other feedback mechanisms that enforce a measurement of popularity.  So far, social media is good business as Spotify billionaire Sean Parker tells us:

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” 

“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” Parker said.

Of course, as one Silicon Valley entrepreneur who also survived the Dot Bomb Implosion once told me, there’s something really wrong about a world in which Sean Parker is a billionaire.

Do Fake Views Produce Fake News?

Here’s a couple thoughts about the fake view issue.  First, why doesn’t Google refund the sums spent on fake views?  Maybe not to the repeat user PR firms but at least to the individuals who were lured in by the promise of fake views who didn’t know any better?  Or would they prefer to put together one of their pre-packaged fake class actions that funnels money to their favorite shills in cy pres awards?

But going forward, what is so unusual about getting rid of view counters, friend counters, like counters, follower counters, and so on?  Twitter did something similar when they stopped the counter on Twitter linking buttons.  If YouTube is really such a great tool for consumer engagement, do we think fans are going to stop watching videos of the artists they love just because they don’t have a counter telling them what’s popular when there’s a better than 50/50 chance the counter is a fraud to begin with?

Let’s face it—one reason YouTube music videos are popular is because artists and labels drive traffic to YouTube.  That helps the view count as much as anything else.

Also, it’s not like there’s no ranking going on.  Google can rank YouTube videos in search with no problem.  Of course, they’re so good at ranking in the background that they are being fined for it by the European Commission. 

Senator Wyden, Where Art Thou?

While I appreciate Senator Warner’s effort, the real rock star in taking on Silicon Valley could be Senator Ron Wyden.  The addiction issue would be a perfect opportunity for his consumer protection legacy with tobacco addiction to enter the digital age.

%d bloggers like this: