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Jean-Michel Jarre Identifies the Value Transfer

January 25, 2017 Comments off
jean michael jarre IRM 1 sm

Jean-Michel Jarre

Composer and performer Jean-Michel Jarre put his finger right on the right approach to online policy in a recent speech to policy makers at an SIAE event in Italy.  (Jean-Michel is the current president of CISAC.)  Jean-Michel gave his own interpretation of the “value gap” calling it instead a “transfer of value” which is exactly what it is.  And when you consider who is the greatest offender in the “transfer of value” ecosystem, it’s not AT&T or Verizon, it’s not Time Warner or even Cox–it is Google, and, of course, Facebook that is the worst of the worst.  And while Jean-Michel didn’t call out Google or Facebook by name, the Leviathans of Silicon Valley were lurking behind every word.

MTP readers will remember that I have been emphasizing the income transfer in the “digital economy” or what Lessig calls the “sharing economy” or what we call “getting Googled.”  This income transfer is based on the idea that the people who do the work get little or none of their labor value.  This income transfer occurs on pirate sites when artists’ work is literally stolen and distributed in ad supported piracy with advertising sold by the biggest advertising networks.

The income transfer is not difficult to see–the songs, recordings, movies, television programs or books are simply stolen and posted on ad supported sites that directly compete with legal sites.  The value of these works are converted into advertising revenue by unscrupulous brands and ad networks and published on pirate sites with that value sucked out by everyone involved.

The fact that these sites continue to flourish is not only attributable to a perverse interpretation of safe harbors–these site flourish because of gutless national governments that allow the income transfer to continue, Kim Dot Com notwithstanding.

The biggest offender, though, is the one search engine that drives the most traffic to these sites (where they are also found on the other side of the transaction selling advertising)–Google.  Google is an integral part of the income transfer economy, receiving over 1 billion job-killing take down notices in the last 12 months.

The next biggest offender–and one that many artists are not really focused on–is Facebook.  Whatever we may think about Google’s role in the income transfer economy, at least Google acknowledges that it needs a license for its music properties like YouTube.  Facebook is entirely unlicensed and operates its own walled garden pirate operation.

Jean-Michel’s speech (as quoted in Complete Music Update (but without the snark)) sums it up:

[T]he truth is that the creative economy, for the creators whose works are driving it, is still under-performing. We need to fix flaws in the environment in which creators are working. And if we do, the economic benefits will be enormous, leading to further growth and many more jobs.

The biggest flaw I want to highlight today is what is known as the “transfer of value” or the “value gap.”  To survive and thrive, creators must be fairly paid for their works. Yet today, some of the world’s major digital music services are building large businesses on back of creativity while paying next to nothing in return.

This is not fair. It is a market distortion. And it is holding back growth in the creative sectors.

Bingo.

One way to fix this is not by trying to get rid of the safe harbor which solves a problem by providing a little latitude to reasonable people acting reasonably.  To take one example, the ISPs participating in the Copyright Alert System should not be lumped in with Google.  Let’s face it–Google is in a class of its own and should not be entitled to benefits for which Google bears no burden.

There is no part of Google’s business that has greater resources available to it than search. Mrs. Palsgraf take note–if Google search attracts over 1 billion take down notices a year, then you can be sure of one thing–search is working exactly as planned, and the plan is to keep transferring the value of everything the network touches including the labor value of every artist and songwriter in the history of recorded music.

Facebook is also working exactly as planned and rips off songwriters, artists, publishers and labels all the live long day–not to mention selling artists names as advertising keywords which is the ultimate insult-to-injury commoditization.

Jean-Michel is exactly right.  This job-killing market distortion must be fixed.

Jean Michel Jarre: ‘Don’t forget that us creators are the smart part in a smartphone’ by @Helienne Lindvall

February 5, 2014 Comments off

[Editor Charlie sez: We are thrilled to welcome Helienne Lindvall to MTP as a guest writer!  Helienne interviewed Jean Michel Jarre, the newly elected president of CISAC, at MIDEM.  A version of this interview previously appeared in the Guardian.  As this year’s conference is widely rumored to be the last MIDEM, we should enjoy it while we can before it turns into a tech conference.]

by Helienne Lindvall

At this week’s Midem music conference in Cannes, France, I sat down with electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre, whose career as an artist and composer is now in its fifth decade, having broken through internationally with his groundbreaking Oxygene album in 1976. Last year, he took over the presidency of CISAC, the global body for authors’ societies, after the previous president, Robin Gibb, passed away – and so his Midem “visionary talk” went under the headline Fair Share for Creators.

I explained that I’m a professional musician and songwriter myself, and that I only expanded into journalism back in 2008, adding: “I went into an industry that has been even more financially screwed by the internet than the music industry. Perhaps I should be a postman next?”

Jarre shot back, without a pause: “But, yes, being a postman is the future – cause apparently, these days, it’s much better to carry content than to create it.”

At the end of the interview I explained Blake Morgan’s IrespectMusic campaign to Jarre, and he happily posed with his own “selfie”.

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I covered parts of the interview in my Guardian article, but for those interested in the nuggets that didn’t make it into the piece, here it is in full. Jean Michel Jarre, uncut, if you will…

What is the most urgent issue facing creators today? To stop whining – and promoting a positive image of creators. We are the extraordinary. We are the people creating the future – not manufacturers of computers or cables. It’s our responsibility to be able to send a clear message to the street, saying that [the lack of protection of] intellectual property is not just a problem for artists from Europe and America – it’s a global problem. It’s one of the strongest elements of what democracy is all about.

Creation and all art forms create the soul and the identity of a country and a continent. There is no sustainable development if there is no sustainable economy for creation. We shouldn’t be thinking about if we need a tax for the creators or getting the consumer paying for content, or if we need donations… We are not taxmen, we are not a species in the verge of extinction, we are not the Amazon forest – and we are not beggars.

What we need to do is to sit with the new actors – the digital distributors of any kind of art form and the hardware manufacturers – and create the right business model for creators. I think we send the wrong message by saying that the consumer should pay – it’s too late. Music, all content, photography, media, film – it’s all going to be free on the internet. We have to accept it.

How would that work in practice? Think about when you listen to a song on the radio. You are not paying for it, yet it’s not illegal to do it, because the rights have been paid for on top, beforehand, by the radio station, by the network. We have to find exactly the same kind of system with the internet.

But what would bring these players to the table? We should stop thinking that Google, Facebook and those kinds of companies are our enemies. It’s not true. These people were just kids 15-20 years ago, geeks creating something great – but they created a monster without even having the time to think about the collateral damages they were creating. These guys are music lovers. Very often you can meet with them at rock concerts, and they have lots of friends in the movie and music industry. They love us. They are understanding more and more the situation artists are in.

That’s why I’m quite optimistic. As long as we as artists are able to send the right message to the right people. The media is in the same boat. Ten years ago the media was against us. They had this neo-hippy attitude. Now they’re in dire straits and joining the boat. A bit late, but now we are all on the same boat. We must know the difference between freedom and mess.

We should never forget that in the smartphone, the smart part is us creators. If you get rid of music, images, videos, words and literature from the smartphone, you just have a simple phone that would be worth about $50. Let’s accept that there’s a lot of innovation in the smartphone, so let’s add $100 for this innovation – the remaining $300-$400 of the price should go to us.

So we should sit down and talk to all the telephone companies and computer companies selling hardware, the companies carrying the content on the internet, such as Facebook and Google. We need each other, so at the end of the day we have to find the right partnership. We are talking about a business partnership, not a tax, and this shouldn’t affect the consumer.

What would give them the incentive to do right by artists? I’ll make an ecological analogy. When I first started my career with Oxygene, it was not that common to think about environmental issues and ecology, but step by step people started to become aware that it’s not that bad to take care of the planet for future generations. And so the government took action, because it had become a popular concept with the population.

It should be the same for IP. IP is not only a problem for us as artists – it’s for every family, because in every family you have a son, a daughter, a sister a brother dreaming about becoming a journalist, film-maker, writer, photographer, painter or musician. And today they’d need to get a job on the side. They can’t dedicate their life to it. This is not acceptable. The notion of IP should be promoted as one of the fundamental elements of our societies and democracies for the future.

It’s not just a matter of finance – it’s a matter of ethics. IP is linked with human rights. If we start to harm it, we’re harming freedom and human rights. Instead of thinking that we should suppress or forget the idea of copyright, that it’s an old idea from Europe for the Europeans, we should think about an internet copyright. We could consider that after a certain time the revenue will go into an international fund to help creation worldwide.

It’s not an issue that only concerns Europeans and Americans – it’s a worldwide problem, and a north-south issue. There’s something wrong when the advertising world and fashion world are stealing graphics and patterns from the Aborigines, from the Fiji Islands, from Africa, without paying anything – just because they can’t identify the author. You are weakening the identity of some communities step by step. This has to change.

The tech community should share the ‘coolness’

It’s far beyond some artists sitting on a pot of gold, trying to keep their advantages. The cool guys have always been the creators, the artists – not the manufacturers of cables. That’s not particularly sexy. And yet they are considered the sexy people of society these days. That has to change. We should share the coolness.

Sometimes the problem is more due to the politicians. There are lots of people in Washington and Brussels that have good intentions. But most of them are so cut off from any sectors in society. It’s not only true for artists, but also for dentists and plumbers. They don’t know the day-to-day life of Portugal, of Ireland… they have a vague idea, but there’s an abstraction between the concept and the real world. It’s our responsibility as citizens to help the politicians, to tell them to not decide without us. We are not the Soviet Union.

For us [older creators] it’s more or less okay, because we started our careers when nothing was really organised. It was a golden age, in a sense. Now, for a young creator, it’s very difficult. There is no economy, there is no funding.

‘Today world is watching Europe’

As Europeans we have a responsibility, because we have always had a visionary approach to organising the economy of creation and to protect the creative world. And today the world is watching Europe. It’s interesting to see that at a time when Europe is weakened, when we have this appalling campaign against abortion in Spain, when we’re questioning if creation needs to be financed. That question is absurd. They question if we need authors’ rights – of course we do. An artist has to live just like any other citizen of the world.

At the same time you have China, one of the biggest markets in the world, saying that copyright is very important. We just opened a CISAC office in Beijing, because the Chinese government has realised that it’s the best way to promote Chinese culture and Chinese artists. The same thing has happened in Korea.

At a time when people around the world are inspired by Europe’s approach, Europe is trying to leave the boat. We have a responsibility to the rest of the world, having been ahead of our time and visionary. We must maintain this position.

When I was working in the studio in LA recently, I met lots of artists, musicians and film-makers – and they are all watching Europe.

I sat around the table with people from Google and Facebook and said: ‘Guys, you’ve made billions off our back If you want to continue being wealthy you have to listen to us and you have to business with us in order to create a sustainable economy. This is why I accepted the role of president of CISAC. At the end of the day I wanted to give back for everything the audience has given me.

Our creators are the identity we are going to leave for future generations. If we don’t solve this we’ll end up with just white noise.

The life of an artist is filled with uncertainty and doubts. Think about the mother of two or three children trying to write a book… if she doesn’t know how to survive doing it, she won’t do it. Maybe she has to sacrifice two years to write a book, like JK Rowling. If there is no hope of ever getting paid for it she wouldn’t start with even the first line of the book, and we wouldn’t have Harry Potter, for example.

I’m quite optimistic, because creators are very strong. We are the ones shaking the tree – shaking societies. MySpace was the social media platform 10 years ago – where is MySpace today? Facebook and Google need to be careful so they’re not the next MySpace. They need us to reinforce their position. It’s better for them to play with us than against us, because we were there before electricity – and we will be there after the internet. We have to be more confident in ourselves, and send a positive message to Brussels and Washington.

But sometimes artists don’t feel confident enough to speak out.  This is true. This is why our sector is so vulnerable. Cause an artist is full of doubts and uncertainty. He’s shy when it comes to evaluating his work. This is the most difficult thing for an artist – [answering the question] what is the value of my work? If everybody else around them says it’s worth nothing, the artist will be like an abused child. It’s very sad. We have to take this into consideration. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say stop.

We made lots of mistakes in the music industry. We invented pirate radio – and 25 years later we want to put pirates in jail. We have been too focused on putting the responsibility of the financial problem for music on the consumers. The people that are making the most money from what we are creating are not the consumers – it’s the people carrying our content. They are not paying what they have to pay. It’s akin to a company not paying some of its shareholders. We, the creators, are shareholders of the internet. So it’s not a tax – it’s what we’re owed.

How would you distribute the revenue correctly? Firstly, through authors’ societies. We need to work out a business model with the private sector, but also with governments helping to define the rules of the game. That’s what we are waiting for from Brussels and Washington.

It’s interesting to see that in emerging markets, the BRIC countries, they have a much better attitude towards IP than ours. A country such as China realises it’s part of its identity, so that people don’t just think they are the country that are manufacturing a large part of the clothing market in the world – but that it has a soul.

You can’t quantise the value of art. At the moment the European Commission is listening to a minority that is saying, for their own reasons, that we should get rid of authors’ rights. But the remaining 98% of Europe is respecting the rights of authors – it’s just that the minority is screaming louder.

It’s the responsibility of the media to create more space to talk about all this. I’m quite optimistic, because for their own safety they have to do it. They are in the same situation as us. We have to solve this if we are to progress as human beings – we have to take into consideration the artist. A painting, a piece of music, a film – they are not like a pot of yoghurt or toothpaste. It has to be approached in a different way.

But it’s difficult for artists to talk about money – it’s somehow not viewed as honourable to talk about getting paid. You’re right. This is why society has to take care of the artist, cause it’s very difficult for an artist to evaluate what he’s doing. So how can an artist talk about the money and the remuneration he should get. So many artists are being abused, and when they become recognised they are abusing the system themselves, as a kind of revenge. It’s better to not talk about money, but the value of intellectual property.

It’s time for artists to start thinking about not just themselves but their communities. We are all isolated as creators, but this is our time to share, to be part of the bigger community.

[Copyright 2014 Helienne Lindvall]

Speaking Truth to Power and Speaking Truth to Friends

July 15, 2015 Comments off

VERMILLION
Hell, I got lots of friends.

DOC
I don’t.

Tombstone, written by Kevin Jarre

A friend is someone whom you trust to do the right thing.  Sometimes you’ll hear people say that a friend did something uncharacteristic.  If they are really your friend, you will be the one to stand with them in those moments and say that just can’t be right.  Give them another chance to prove themselves.

So it is with National Public Radio’s short-lived membership in the MIC Coalition, the massive lobbying group organized by…someone…to oppose the Fair Play Fair Pay Act guaranteeing artist pay for radio play.  By the looks of it, those organizers were the usual suspects at the National Association of Broadcasters and Google.

As I mentioned in my presentation last week at the Copyright Society of the USA in Austin, the MIC Coalition members are companies and trade associations with a combined market capitalization over $2 trillion dedicated to two things:  “transparency” (for thee but not for me) and keeping royalties down.  That is, continuing the grotesquely unfair practice of denying artists (featured and non featured) compensation for terrestrial radio airplay–a practice that has been out of step with the rest of the world for decades.  As we know, the U.S. is the only democratic country that does not recognize the right.

When your friend makes a mistake like that what should a friend do?  An intervention of some kind is necessary.  Sometimes that intervention is rough.  But you don’t do interventions to shame or humiliate your friend, you do them because you believe in your friend’s essential goodness and you want to help them find that goodness in themselves again.  You do interventions to help your friend recover from a wrong turn.  In the end though, your friend must find their own path and there’s only so much you can do.  You can’t have been in the music business for very long without experiencing this.

So it was with NPR’s involvement in the MIC Coalition.  A really bad wrong turn.  However the organization ended up in that position, it became very apparent very quickly that it was not a decision that was vetted with the NPR News or Music employees.  One reason we know this is that David Lowery was contacted by a whistleblower inside of NPR who wanted the world to know that this was not the decision of the music or news divisions.

I would imagine that the reason that David was contacted is because the whistleblower trusted him.  I know this one.  It’s one of the most gratifying things you can imagine when someone turns to you and puts their career in your hands because they have no where else to turn, no one else who they can trust.  That’s a big deal.  Particularly in David’s case on this particular whistleblower–there are some pretty big guns that were none too happy.

David did one of the most remarkable interviews with Adam Ragusea of The Current that is a wide ranging discussion of the role of public media, social justice and NPR’s involvement in the MIC Coalition.  My bet–and I ask no questions–is that Adam’s interview had a lot of influence in the broader NPR news room.  And eventually may have had some influence in NPR’s decision to leave the MIC Coalition.  That influence is just as much about Adam as it is about David.

This is not about a victory lap.  I think this is actually a solemn moment when we reaffirm our commitments to our friends in public media and especially NPR.  We put this episode behind us, join arms and walk down the path together.  But let it be said that it was a remarkable example of speaking truth to power by David, Adam and probably dozens of people inside NPR whose names we will never know but to whom we owe a big debt of gratitude.

And now–back to work.  We need to get Fair Play Fair Pay passed into law.  You can start doing that by signing the #irespectmusic petition here. 

Then make sure you’re registered to vote.  More on that later.

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MTP Interview with Blake Morgan on the First 30 Days of #irespectmusic

February 26, 2014 1 comment

MTP:  How was the audience reaction for your first 30 days on the I Respect Music petition campaign? 

Blake Morgan: It’s honestly––and very happily––been above and beyond anything we could have estimated or ever hoped for. If you ask anyone who’s been working with me on this, they’ll tell you that the goal I’d set for us was to try to get 1,000 signatures in our first 30 days. A daunting number to try and reach for a petition to Congress about paying artists for radio airplay. But, it turns out that after 30 days we’re actually at 10,000 signatures.

A Huffington Post Op-ed of mine in December [“Art and Music Are Professions Worth Fighting For“] garnered a huge reaction going viral with over 44,000 likes and over 8,000 Facebook shares. That was the piece where I first wrote the words “I Respect Music.” So I knew there was a massive and untapped demographic of music makers and music lovers out there, but “liking” or “sharing” something is very different from putting your name on a letter to Congress. I wanted to see what would would happen if we gave people a concrete, universal, and positive way to affect change in the music world, and look what happened. I doubt seriously if the House Intellectual Property Subcommittee has ever seen anything like this.

And, this is the scariest thing the powerful forces who consistently stand against artists’ rights could possibly witness: a mobilized, united, grass-roots movement that is pushing for legislation to pay artists and musicians for their work. So that’s scary, as in awesome!!

MTP: I’m interested in the composition of the people responding to the petition.  Based on my own very unscientific random sampling of the people tweeting about it, supporters seemed like a mix of fans and artists.  Does that sound about right?  Do you have any way to determine their background?

Blake Morgan:  That’s exactly right. The I Respect Music petition begins with,”I join music makers and music lovers alike in urging Congress to support artists’ pay for radio play.” And that’s precisely who’s been supporting it, signing it, and Tweeting and posting selfies with “#IRespectMusic” written on a card or piece of paper. It’s those photos––and the variety of them––that has really moved people, both to sign the petition and to get involved in general. People are discovering that there’s something special about taking that particular photo and holding up those particular words. Something powerful. And empowering.

SWC I respectmusic

MTP:  I saw that James Otto tweeted that he signed the petition, any other luminaries?

Blake Morgan:  Yeah, you could say that! In addition to everyday working musicians, music fans, and music organizations, it’s been luminaries as diverse as Patrick Stewart, Gavin DeGraw, David Byrne, Gloria Steinem, Jean Michel Jarre, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Roseanne Cash, Mike Mills, John McCrea, Civil Twilight––even Jane Fonda. And thousands of others, with more every day. It really has been music makers and music lovers alike “getting it,” that artists should be paid for their work. Plain and simple.

indiloop

MTP:  Even the 40 Watt club in Athens!  Imagine, nightclubs giving signage for free!

Blake Morgan:  Imagine!

40 Watt sm

MTP:  What’s the reaction been from Capitol Hill?

Blake Morgan:  Well as I said before, I doubt seriously if the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet has ever seen anything like this before. And that’s exactly what’s been reported to me from multiple sources connected both to the subcommittee directly, and from others on and around Capitol Hill.

What really matters though is that there’s a real chance now that we’re going to see a bill proposed. And proposed in the very short term. Meaning possibly in a matter of weeks, not months. So there’s no question that we’ve moved the needle, and moved it big time.

Keep in mind that these aren’t lobbyists pushing the I Respect Music petition. These are voters, from every corner of the country with more and more joining every day. And, artists getting paid for radio airplay has become an issue that these voters are going to fight for––they’re going to use their votes and their voices to win this fight.

I mean seriously, the United States is the only democratic country in the world where artists don’t get paid for radio airplay? And in holding to this policy we’re standing with Iran and North Korea? You know, sometimes these things are tough to figure out or parse. And sometimes they’re um…really not.

So let’s win this fight. Let’s respect music. Let’s respect the people who make music, and the people who love it too.

MTP:  Amen.

jean michael jarre IRM 1

Google Says “It’s Our Web”–and they bought it fair and square

April 23, 2012 Comments off

Who can forget then-candidate Ronald Reagan’s classic line at the 1980 New Hampshire candidate’s debate:  “I’m paying for this microphone!”  And Google probably is wishing that whichever Ivy League idiot thought of rebranding their anti-SOPA campaign site with the double entendre “It’s Our Web” had not been quite so…uh..transparent…about it all.

Because it certainly is “their web” and they bought it fair and square according to the New York Times:

With Congress and privacy watchdogs breathing down its neck, Google is stepping up its lobbying presence inside the Beltway — spending more than Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft combined in the first three months of the year.

Google spent $5.03 million on lobbying from January through March of this year, a record for the Internet giant, and a 240 percent increase from the $1.48 million it spent on lobbyists in the same quarter a year ago, according to disclosures filed Friday with the clerk of the House.

Five Million DollarsIn the first three months of the year.   Now…what else happened in the first 3 months of this year?

Ah yes.  The Google Spring.

Keep this in mind–this is $5 million of actual lobbying expenditures that must be disclosed by law.  This is not the total that Google spent on its public affairs campaign against SOPA.  This is just the part that they are required to disclose, that they must disclose, that even Google is compelled to disclose by necessity.

And it’s not the necessity of Google’s disclosure that causes the company to file these disclosures.  It is the reciprocal burden on “covered officials” who will stop talking to Google if Google fails to disclose these expenditures.  THAT is why Google files these disclosures and what you should have learned about the company by now is that they are doing the absolute minimum that they can get away with when it comes to complying with the laws the rest of the 99.9999999999% have to live under.  Let’s say you don’t care about promoting the sale of controlled substances, human trafficking, or copyright infringement and that the company’s reprehensible behavior in those areas doesn’t move you.

Let’s say you don’t care about the antitrust laws, using monopoly power to bankrupt competitors, and stealing the cultural heritage of nations, either.

And let’s say that you don’t care about how Google promotes Android as the Joe Camel of privacy, either.

You must have noticed, however, that Google completely stonewalled the FCC just last week and refused to cooperate with the Commission’s investigation into Google’s “snooper scooper” practices of snarfing up personal information from unsuspecting consumers while Google was simultaneously taking pictures of their homes.

So what about stonewalling the government says “full disclosure” to you when it comes to lobbying?

Google, of course, really stepped up its lobbying campaign–some staffers have suggested that they had two lobbyists or consultants for each Member of Congress.  Google’s lobbying expenditures had already tripled to $3.76M in Q4 2011, and that doesn’t count what it spends on the union buster Net Coalition, Public Knowledge, EFF, ACLU, and so on and so on and so on.

Nancy Pelosi (CA-D) and Darrell Issa (CA-R) publicly came out against SOPA shortly after Google’s testified against SOPA. Google is the 8th-largest contributor to Nancy Pelosi and is listed as a top 3 contributor to Darrel Issa on OpenSecrets.org. Facebook is also listed as a top Pelosi contributor.  (Issa, incidentally, is the richest Member of Congress.)

The Pelosi connection is also of interest because Erik Stallman reportedly joined the Net Coalition lobbying firm Holch & Erickson as “retained counsel” right about that Google’s anti SOPA campaign heated up–until January 2011 Stallman had served as chief technology counsel to House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Net Coalition circulated the union busting flyers at meetings of conservative organizations in Washington and seems to be leading Google’s dirty tricks campaign against organized labor who opposed Google on rogue sites.

Oh, and that $5 million?  That doesn’t include what Google paid Net Coalition.

MTP readers will remember the excellent article by David Rodnitsky “Lobbyists 1, Internet 0: An Alternative Take on SOPA” that describes the anti-SOPA astroturf campaign–required reading now that we know that Google’s disclosed lobbying cash was nearly $10 million for Q4 2011 and Q1 2012.

Google’s response?

“As we have seen over the last year, there are a number of technology issues being debated in Washington,” said Samantha Smith, a Google spokeswoman, in an e-mail message. “These are important issues and it should be expected that we would want to help people understand our business.”

That would be Samantha Smith, former Press Secretary to Senator Richard Burr and current Senior Associate for Policy Communications at Google’s Washington, DC digs.  You’ll find her listed in the “Revolving Door” section on Open Secrets.  I guess the Times missed that.

But–we’re not quite ready to let the New York Times off the hook just yet.

In the April 15 issue of the Times, we find an article entitled “White House Doors Open for Big Donors” that starts out this way:

Last May, as a battle was heating up between Internet companies and Hollywood over how to stop online piracy, a top entertainment industry lobbyist landed a meeting at the White House with one of President Obama’s technology advisers.

The lobbyist did not get there by himself.

He was accompanied by Antoinette C. Bush, a well-connected Washington lawyer who has represented companies like Viacom, Sony and News Corporation for 30 years. A friend of the president and a cousin of his close aide Valerie B. Jarrett, Ms. Bush has been to the White House at least nine times during his term, taking lobbyists along on a few occasions, joining an invitation-only forum about intellectual property, and making social visits with influential friends.

Ah yes.  Hollywood lobbyists got access to the Obama White House about SOPA.  There is not one word in this entire article about Google, even though the authors point out that Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group visited the White House with his client Amgen, a pharmaceutical company.

That would be Viacom that is suing Google and just won an appellate victory against the company, and a pharma company–Google paid $500,000,000 to avoid an indictment for promoting the importation of controlled substances.

And Podesta Group?  $480,000 from Google in 2011 and Lord knows how much so far this year.

But Google is not mentioned once in the NYT article on lobbying–including lobbying by Google’s most highly paid lobbyists.

The article uses charts and graphs of political donations to President Obama to conclude “Major Givers are More Likely to Get White House Access”.

OK, fine.  The NYT gets a fish and a pat on the head.  How about the part they missed?

How about really major givers are more likely to get a White House job.

Yes, his name is Andrew McLaughlin.

Former Google executive Andrew McLaughlin’s resignation last week as the White House’s No. 2 technology expert has stirred up questions about how the search giant has been influencing the national debates over Do Not Track and net neutrality.

Oh, and “last week” was Christmas Week, 2010.  Nice and quiet.  And poof, he was gone–after some really embarassing revelations obtained through FOIAs that showed McLaughlin in direct email communications–undisclosed and illegal communications–using his private Gmail account in violation of many, many laws.  Gmails with Markham Erickson of Net Coalition (remember him?) and Alan Davidson, head lobbyist for Google.  And just like Google was allowed to pay a fine to avoid jail for violating laws on controlled substances, Andrew McLaughlin got a deal and has never been prosecuted or formally investigated (despite saber rattling by Congressman Issa at the time).

Andrew we hardly knew ye.  But not something that the New York Times felt the need to include in their article about entertainment and pharma lobbyists getting access to the White House.

I guess the article was about access to the White House–not about people who were already inside the White House.  Silly me.

Lobbying, you see, takes many forms.  One is propaganda.

But after all–Google paid for their microphone.  They bought it fair and square.

See also, Is Android the Joe Camel of Privacy?

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