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Fair Winds and Following Seas All the Way Home

December 4, 2018 Comments off

The Bonin Islands are about 500 miles due South of Tokyo, Japan and about 700 miles due East of the island of Okinawa.  The Bonins do not appear to have ever been connected to a continent and are known in some circles as the “Galapagos of the Orient” due to their unique flora and fauna, such as the giant squid.

There is also a 25 meter radio telescope on Chichijima, one of the Bonins to the East of its more famous counterpart, the island of Iwo Jima.  That telescope is part of the Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) project, and is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

Coincidentally, during World War II there was another important radio tower on Chichijima as well as a substantial garrison under the command of Lieutenant General Yoshio Tachibana.  General Tachibana was an unremarkable graduate of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, and commanded the 109th Division of the Japanese Imperial Army.  He was tasked with the defense of the Bonin Islands against the much anticipated invasion of the Japanese home islands (the eponymous Operation Downfall).  Specifically, General Tachibana led the 1st Independent Mixed Brigade stationed on Chichijima, a combined arms unit.

General Tachibana’s forces operated a significant relay and surveillance radio tower that encroached on Allied activity, and specifically supported other elements of the 109th that opposed the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions, the 147th Infantry Regiment of the Ohio National Guard, the 7th Air Force and the 5th Fleet in their assault on Iwo Jima,  a few hundred miles due West of Chichijima, on 19 February – 26 March 1945.  After the fall of Iwo Jima, the radio towers on Chichijima became even more strategic as the Americans began the advance on Okinawa.

Right about this time, Tachibana’s forces began torturing their prisoners, including dismembering the men while living and eating their organs and flesh.  Then they beheaded their prisoners at the General’s orders.

As the Pacific war continued, on the morning of 2 September 1944 four Grumman TBM Avengers launched from the USS San Jacinto and joined four Hellcats launched from the USS Enterprise for daylight bombing missions against those radio towers. Each plane carried four 500 pound bombs.  One of the Avengers delivered its bombs on target, but was hit by antiaircraft fire on its run and lost power on a reverse vector flying away from Chichijima causing the pilot to order the crew to bail out and ditch.

The Naval aviator also bailed out of the Avenger, striking his head on the plane’s stabilizer.  It’s important to realize that when airmen “hit the silk” in WW II era planes, there were no ejector seats.  They were often leaping old school from a burning and diving aircraft.  This particular pilot was more fortunate than his crew, all of whom perished.

Thanks to a fair wind and following seas, this pilot managed to survive the shoot down, paddled like hell away from Chichijima and was picked up by an American submarine. He returned to active duty.  His Distinguished Flying Cross citation tells the 19 year old volunteer’s story best:

For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Torpedo Plane in Torpedo Squadron FIFTY ONE, attached to the U.S.S. San Jacinto, in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Bonin Islands, on September 2, 1944. Leading one section of a four-plane division in a strike against a radio station, Lieutenant, Junior Grade George Herbert Walker Bush pressed home an attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire. Although his plane was hit and set afire at the beginning of his dive, he continued his plunge toward the target and succeeded in scoring damaging bomb hits before bailing out of the craft. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Reserve.

George H.W. Bush went on to a life well lived and a job well done.  Oh, and after surrendering the Bonin Islands, General Tachibana was tried and hanged.  The Pacific winds that day could have blown the other way, but they never met.

As of today, President H.W. Bush was the last combat veteran to serve in the White House.  That may not seem all that significant but I can tell you that it is very significant to veterans, families of veterans and especially to the children and grandchildren of veterans to have someone giving the orders who understands.  It matters when the old man gets it.  And he did and it does.

901122-O-ZZ999-221

May he have fair winds and following seas to take him all the way home.

 

 

Artist Rights Watch COUNTDOWN TO MODERNITY (11/16): Key Dates and Accomplishments for the Mechanical Licensing Collective Under the Music Modernization Act

November 16, 2018 Comments off

As best we can tell from the outside looking in, this chart has the dates for key events in the critical path to launch for the Mechanical Licensing Collective as required by the Music Modernization Act.  We have called the chart the “Countdown to Modernity.”

UPDATE:  Recall that the Register of Copyrights gets to pick the entity to operate as the Mechanical Licensing Collective.  According to Digital Music News, the first fully-formed candidate to emerge is the American Music Licensing Collective or the “AMLC”.  (AMLC’s website is songrights.net.)  Digital Music New reports AMLC’s public statements about its organization:

“We believe all song owners, from the kid in their bedroom, to the major music publishers, should be paid what they have earned,” the group declares in its manifesto.

“We are songwriters, artists, music publishers, musicians, composers and technologists.  We get song owners paid.”

So who’s behind the American Music Licensing Collective, exactly?

We’ll start with one of the founders: Stewart Copeland, best known as the drummer for The Police.  Also on the creative side is hit songwriter Rick Carnes, whose songs have propelled more than 40 platinum albums from the likes of Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Alabama, Pam Tillis, and Dean Martin.

Other founding members include:

  • John Barker (founder, president & CEO of ClearBox Rights, LLC).
  • Brownlee Ferguson (founder, Bluewater Music).
  • George Howard (co-founder of both Music Audience Exchange and TuneCore and CIO of Riptide Publishing).
  • Lisa Klein Moberly (founder and president of Optic Noise).
  • Benji Rogers (singer-songwriter, founder of PledgeMusic and co-founder of dotBlockchain Media)
  • Jeff Price (founder of Audiam and co-founder of TuneCore)
  • Henry Gradstein (music industry attorney at Gradstein & Marzano, P.C.)
  • Larry Mestel (founder, Primary Wave)
  • Ricardo Ordoñez (founder and president of Union Music Group)

Listed as ‘observers’ are Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer Phil Galdston, and Grammy- and Emmy-nominated songwriter and producer David Wolfert.

“The board of directors of the AMLC have a profound and extensive knowledge of music publishing, mechanical license administration, big data, mapping and matching technology, payment processing, copyright ownership identification, conflict resolution, education, law, songwriting, architecture of technology systems and more,” the group notes.

This chart is a work in progress, and if anyone sees anything wrong in it or something that should be clarified or corrected, please let us know.  It should be considered a draft, but we hope that it will solidify over the next few weeks.

Due to the formation of the AMLC, there are now two candidates for the MLC.  The COUNTDOWN TO MODERNITY chart needs to distinguish AMLC from the competing NMPA/NSAI MLC which does not have a name as far as we know.  Until the NMPA/NSAI collective adopts a name, we will refer to it as the NMPA/NSAI collective.

UPDATE:  Black Box Invasion!  MTP readers will recall that the MLC is allowed to invade the black box to cover certain administrative costs:

INTERIM APPLICATION OF ACCRUED ROYALTIES.—In the event that the administrative assessment, together with any funding from voluntary contributions…is inadequate to cover current collective total costs, the collective, with approval of its board of directors, may apply unclaimed accrued royalties on an interim basis to defray such costs, subject to future reimbursement of such royalties from future collections of the assessment.

The “black box” may have already begun accruing at all of the services, although the accrual will no doubt vary from one service to another.  However, what should be clear is that since there are now two candidates for the MLC, neither should be able to tap the black box prior to final designation of the MLC by the Copyright Office or otherwise.

The main takeaway from this chart should be the clock is ticking and time is going by.  Our prediction?  Time will become the MLC’s biggest enemy, if that hasn’t already happened in the drafting of the Music Modernization Act.  What we don’t see in the MMA is any discussion of what happens if a deadline is blown for whatever reason.

But mark your calendars–we see the first key date as January 7, 2019 when the Copyright Office will request filings from MLC candidates, which so far include the AMLC and the collective to be formed by NMPA/NSAI.  That’s 52 days from now and holidays count.  The countdown to the License Availability Date: 777.

ARTIST RIGHTS WATCH
COUNTDOWN TO MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE LAUNCH
WEEK 5

KEY DATES SCHEDULE FROM ENACTMENT DATE (10/11/18)

TO LICENSE AVAILABILITY DATE (1/1/21)

EVENT ACCCOMPLISHED WHO OWNS? TIME EXPIRED   BEFORE LAD TIME REMAINING TO LAD
REQUEST FILING TO BE MLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline  1/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 90 DAYS 726 days
DESIGNATION OF MLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline  7/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 270 days 545 days
FORMATION OF MLC NONPROFIT AMLC nonprofit formed

NMPA/NSAI STATUS UNKNOWN

MLC 36 days 782 days
SUBSTITUTION OF BLANKET LICENSE FOR ALL EXISTING COMPULSORY LICENSES AUTOMATIC 10/11/2018

 

COPYRIGHT OFFICE 782 days
MLC BUDGET STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/DLC/CRJ 782 days
INITIATE ASSESSMENT PROCEEDING w/CRJs [MUST COMMENCE NO LATER THAN 7/7/2019]

STATUS UNKNOWN

MLC/DLC/CRJ 233 days 545 days
ASSESSMENT RULING [PUBLISHED IN FR NO LATER THAN 7/7/2020] MLC/DLC/CRJ 599 days 179 days
APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT RULING 30 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION OF ASSESSMENT RULING MLC/DLC/CRJ/ DCCOA 667 days 149 days
MLC BUSINESS PLAN STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days
ANNOUNCED BOARD NOMINEES AMLC board announced (see DMN and above)

NMPA/NSAI called for nominations.

The deadline for NMPA nominations passed on November 15  see NMPA.  NSAI are accepting nominations for songwriter board member seats with a December 15 deadline.  (these are nonstatutory deadlines) Songwriter board selection by Steve Bogard (NSAI), Rick Carnes (SGA), Lynn Gillespie Chater (SGA), Dallas Davidson (BMI), Chris DeStefano (NSAI), Bob DiPiero (BMI), Dan Foliart (ASCAP), Adam Gorgoni (SONA), Michele Lewis (SONA), Paul Williams (ASCAP)

(Assume final deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC 90 DAYS 726 days
APPOINTED BOARD AMLC Board Announced:

John Barker (founder, president & CEO of ClearBox Rights, LLC).

Brownlee Ferguson (founder, Bluewater Music).

George Howard (co-founder of both Music Audience Exchange and TuneCore and CIO of Riptide Publishing).

Lisa Klein Moberly (founder and president of Optic Noise).

Benji Rogers (singer-songwriter, founder of PledgeMusic and co-founder of dotBlockchain Media)

Jeff Price (founder of Audiam and co-founder of TuneCore)

Henry Gradstein (music industry attorney at Gradstein & Marzano, P.C.)

Larry Mestel (founder, Primary Wave)

Ricardo Ordoñez (founder and president of Union Music Group)

NMPA/NSAI: STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days
APPOINTED DLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline  7/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 270 days 545 days
ENGAGED  MLC VENDORS AMLC:  Clearbox Rights, Audiam (others)

NMPA/NSAI: STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC 90 DAYS 726 days
PAID MLC VENDORS AMLC: See board members above

NMPA/NSAI: STATUS UNKNOWN (ASSUME 7/7/2020 IF NO APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT)

MLC 270 days 545 days
ANNOUNCE MLC DATA STANDARDS STATUS UNKNOWN MLC/DLC
REGULATIONS* STATUS UNKNOWN COPYRIGHT OFFICE
COMMENTS AND REPLY COMMENTS ON REGULATIONS STATUS UNKNOWN ALL
EXPLANATION OF OPERATIONS: HOW TO REGISTER WITH MLC AND COST OF REGISTRATION STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days
REGISTRATION START DATE STATUS UNKNOWN

 

MLC=Mechanical Licensing Collective

DLC=Digital Licensee Coordinator

CRJ=Copyright Royalty Judges

DCCOA=District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals

CO=Copyright Office

LAD=License Availability Date

*Topic areas to be updated as announced

See SPOT Fall–Does the Decline of Spotify’s Stock Price Mean Anything? — Music Tech Solutions

November 2, 2018 Comments off

What’s happening with the Spotify stock price? Chris Castle argues that the main downward driver for SPOT is the market catching up to the Spotify inflated DPO price and its subsequent insider-heavy stock sales.

via See SPOT Fall–Does the Decline of Spotify’s Stock Price Mean Anything? — Music Tech Solutions

RIP Paul Allen

October 17, 2018 Comments off

Paul Allen was a co-founder of Microsoft and hence a “tech billionaire.”  But he used that wealth to make a contribution to music in smart and lasting ways through supporting music in Seattle and by doing so being an important voice for our business whether we knew it or not.  And of course he was a sailor, making great contributions on and below the surface.

In particular, Paul Allen made significant contributions to what became KEXP, one of the most important voices in independent radio and a lifeline for indie artists and labels.  Better known was his support for Experience Music project (now MoPop) which is truly one of the few and the great music museums in the world.

Through his Vulcan Ventures venture capital operation, Mr. Allen invested in many music related technologies and companies in a largely behind the scenes way, and also was a major underwriter of The Blues miniseries with PBS, which he executive produced.  Each of the seven films comprising The Blues was a stand-alone film, including The Soul of a Man directed by Wim Wenders that was honored with an out of competition screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003 with the series winning two Grammys.

Mr. Allen in his own way had as much of an impact on music and the music business as any executive.  He understood the ecosystem and did what he could to use technology generously in a host of ways, including for the benefit of creators.

When we criticize tech billionaires there’s a particular bite given the passion and support of Paul Allen.  There’s a special wistfulness now that he’s gone.

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$20 Million a Month Daniel Ek Shows “Million a Month” Tim Westergren How It’s Done

October 16, 2018 Comments off

Remember when we were all appalled that Pandora founder Tim Westergren was making $1,000,000 a month from selling Pandora stock while he was behind fighting songwriters in rate court for ASCAP and BMI royalties and stiffing artists with the Internet Radio Fairness Act and refusing to pay pre-72 artists?  And then there was the 13 bathroom house in Marin.  It was all a bit hard to stomach.

According to Jem Aswad in Variety, Daniel Ek is putting Westergren in the rear view mirror for sheer excess.  Based on SEC filings made available to a Swedish publication (probably SEC Form 4):

….Ek sold 336,213 shares $61.7 million worth of stock between July and September, and late last month signaled his intent to sell another $69.9 million sold in July–September for a total of $61.7 million.

So a little over $20 million a month, and it appears that when added to the shares he already sold and will sell, Ek should gross more than all the songwriter class action settlements combined.

“Daniel will sell a small share of Spotify shares in the next nine months as part of his long-term financial strategy. This sale of shares will constitute a minimal part of his holding in the company,” Spotify rep Sofie Grant told the [Swedish] paper. Ek and Lorentzon declined comment.

Of course, it remains to be seen how Spotify does with the several individual infringement lawsuits in Nashville and the Wixen Music Publishing lawsuit in Los Angeles. (Spotify recently lost a motion to dismiss against Bluewater Music represented by attorney Richard Busch, see Order Denying Motion To Dismiss For Lack Of Standing And Failure To State A Claim, Sept. 29, 2018, Bluewater Music Services Corporation, Inc. v. Spotify USA Inc.,  Case No. 3:17-cv-01051 (D.C. W.D. Tenn.) (2017), which also happens to be a great lesson in copyright law by the judge.)

So–Mr. Ek could spend his money on building an effective licensing operation, but….nah….Sounds like Mr. Ek is a man in need of yet another safe harbor, right?

Egginghaus and German Street View

September 26, 2018 Comments off

[Editor Charlie says:  This Chris Castle post originally appeared in MTP on Nov. 23, 2010.  We are reposting in light of Google’s recent efforts through cut outs and the trade groups in their paid service to perpetuate Google’s safe harbor in the European Copyright Directive so ably exposed by David Lowery, Volker Reick, the Times of London and FAZ.  Perhaps the MEPs voting against Google should get ready for an Egginghaus.]

The brilliantly witty Chris Matyszczyk has a fascinating story of lobbing, Google style, in reaction to the launch in Germany of Google Street View.   That’s right.  Lobbing, not lobbying.  Or at least it would appear so. (With apologies to Julius Ebbinghaus.)

Organizing the World’s Information Whether the World Likes it or Not

Apparently, 3% of Germans already want out of Street View 2 weeks after Google launched the intrusive product.  But let’s be clear about what “getting out of Street View” means–Google will take pictures of your house and put them on the Internet, but they won’t remove the pictures if you ask them to.  They will “blur” (or “pixelize”) the picture of your house to preserve your privacy–whatever that means. That is, they will pixelize the picture of your house as Google sees fit when Google gets around to it.  You can check out any time you like, but you can’t ever leave.

People who want to remove their buildings from Street View are becoming known as “pixelators”.  Yes.  It’s true.  The Pixelators: A new group to demonize for the Google PR machine.

And of course,  you can see your house right over the notice on each Street View image that says “© 2010 Google, Inc.”   Or to paraphrase a noted political figure, you might say “I can see Google’s copyright notice on my house!”

Now you might say that 3% of the population is a lot of people who don’t want something.  And you’d be right.  That’s certainly enough to throw an election.  (For reference, the Pirate Party needed 4% to get a seat in the Swedish Parliament.)

But here’s a different view from the Google press: “Despite Germany Threatening to Sue Google, Only 3% Have Opted Out of Street View“–since the pictures went online 2 weeks ago.  With the usual equivocation that is the hall mark of the Google movement, a couple facts are downplayed.  About 250,000 people out of 8 million or so have already come forward–in 2 weeks–to say they want out of the whole thing.  You can view that as a success if you like, but what that says to me is that there are a lot of people who are going to be telling their friends how to become Pixelators.  I’d say let’s check back in 6 months and see how things are going.

And then there’s Jeff Jarvis (author of What Would Google Do? a “…scattered collection of rambling rants lauding Google’s abilities to harness the power of the Internet Age [that] generally misses the mark.  While his insights are stimulating, Jarvis’s tone is acerbic and condescending; equally off-putting is his pervasive name-dropping” according to Publishers Weekly).

Professor Jarvis is full of pixel and vinegar about anyone who would do what Google would not: “You [pixelators] have digitally desecrated your cities” the noted Google supporter blogged, recounting a Green Party meeting he attended with “someone”: “As someone in the audience said when I spoke on the topic at a meeting of the Green party in Berlin a few weeks ago, it is as if they [the pixelators] are digitally bombing the German landscape.”  “Desecrated”?   “Bombing”? Really?

The Incredible Lobbable Egg

In an interesting twist–some of the Germans who had their houses blurred in Street View got their houses pelted with eggs and had signs hung on their doors saying “Google is cool!” apparently by advertising loving “vigilantes” who like the commercialization of their homes.  And maybe even their own homes.  You can’t buy that kind of loyalty.

I guess.

An alternate slogan for the sign could have been “Pixelization Doesn’t Scale!”

Grassroots vigilantism in support of American multinational corporations is such a grand tradition in Europe, no one should be surprised that Google evokes this kind of demonstration.  Particularly since Google did so well with the German book authors in the Google Books catastrophe (see “German Authors Outraged at Google Book Search“).

I swear, I swear, I swear I’m not making this up–read Chris Matyszczyk’s story.  There’s more and he’s much funnier than I am.

But ask yourself this: Given what we have seen of organic rioting in Europe, we know that these free rangers are no chickens.  What kind of a self-respecting anti-pixelator would select the humble egg as a weapon of choice in such a situation?

Pixelators of the World, Unite!

In other news from the Goolag, eWeek reports that “Street View in Germany may get a curve ball later in 2010.  Germany Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said the government will introduce a new privacy code in December, inviting Google and other Internet companies to submit suggestions for self-regulation before then.

Street View has had a harrying week. Canadian privacy officials said Google’s data collection in Canada violated privacy law, albeit unintentionally.  “Unintentionally”…must mean aside from that data collection working according to plan?

The company is now pursuing legal action against the country in the matter.”

No wait.  That last sentence should be “The country is now pursuing legal action against Google in the matter.”  You caught that, right?

Google told the BBC “‘We respect people’s right to remove their house from Street View and by no means consider this [egg lobbing] to be acceptable behaviour.'”  (But you can’t remove your house from Street View….  So Google may respect the right, but they don’t permit the exercise of the right they supposedly respect?]

As Kashmir Hill of Forbes said, “It’s ironic that those who wanted more privacy through blurring their homes wound up getting less of it.”  One might also ask if the egg lobbists wore “V” style “Guy Fawkes” masks.

Doesn’t it make you mad enough to pixelize?

See also: Wayward Google fans pelt houses with eggs (Deutsche Welle)

See also: Google Street View Lovers Egg Blurred German Houses (Forbes) by Kashmir Hill

See also: German vandals target Street View opt-out homes (BBC)

Article 13 Passes in European Parliament

September 12, 2018 Comments off

In a major defeat for Google’s astroturf campaign, the European Parliament has passed the new European Copyright Directive.  Big step forward for closing the greatest income transfer of all time, aka the value gap.

Google’s Cambridge Analytica-inspired tactics were very reminiscent of scams run in other countries, not to mention SOPA.

Looking forward to that apology from Torrentfreak.

 

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