From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
there are many ARSCLIST users who know much more about this and its
implications than I do. I quote the entirety of a fresh editorial in this
closed forum, obviously as an appetizer to promote the service MusicTank that
provided it. You may not already know it.
"MusicTank Newsletter #76, Dec 10 [2010 - added by GBN]
FAIR PLAY, GOOGLE
Google recently announced on its policy blog - to broad praise from
commentators - that it intends to be more active on the fight against
The search giant plans to both constrict access to music pirate sites and
take some steps towards promoting legal ones.
Specific measures include responding to copyright infringement complaints
within 24 hours through various methods, including streamlined submission
Interestingly, this does not apply to their sister company YouTube, until
recently one of the most notorious abusers of copyright laws online.
Some maintain that the 'safe harbor' provisions, behind which YouTube
operate, effectively maintain its status as a serial copyright infringer.
The thinking is that these provisions unfairly shift the burden of policing
YouTube onto the creative businesses who create the content. These, often
small businesses, are expected to allocate resources they don't have to
monitoring Google/YouTube full time for infringing content. As this remains
an impossibility for many, YouTube holds a de facto licence to continue its
In its defence, Google claims to have spent $30 million on `Content ID´ for
YouTube, software designed to automatically red flag content suspected to be
in breach of copyright.
Google will also be modifying its auto-complete feature to prevent words like
`torrent´ from appearing automatically when searching for an artist. This
however will not stop these sites appearing in the results when an artist´s
name is searched.
In a more direct approach, Google aims to cut off much of the revenue for the
pirate sites by exercising much stricter control over its AdSense service, an
ad-placement service that has drawn much criticism for its indiscriminate ad
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, Google wishes to promote the legal
alternatives to pirate sites using technology such as music previews clicked
on directly from the Google search.
Nevertheless, at present Google overwhelmingly directs consumers towards
unlicensed sites. Although in fairness to the internet search behemoth, the
most popular licensed music services - iTunes, and also in Europe, Spotify -
operate in their own proprietary clients and so cannot be linked to via
internet search. If more services follow mflow´s example in their recent
experimental move towards a browser-based service, this situation may change,
if only marginally.
With Universal having been stepping up the pressure against Google and
YouTube since 2006 and MTV owner Viacom finally suing Google over copyright
infringement by YouTube back in 2007, one has to wonder what has brought
about Google´s sudden change of heart.
Jump forward to the worst kept secret since Ricky Martin´s sexual
orientation: Google´s forthcoming music service. Despite the shroud of
mystery surrounding the timing of its launch, the service has been alluded to
in everything from the Financial Times and the Guardian to Billboard and
Music Week, with mixed reviews and hopeful guesses at launch dates within the
next couple of months.
A cloud-based streaming, download and storage service with social networking
features, its main draw is seemingly the ability to preview a track once in
its entirety, after which the access is limited to a clip. Interestingly
this is a similar service to that offered by Lala.com, which was acquired by
Apple exactly a year ago. The competition between these two is clearly
burning hot after Apple announced just yesterday that it will be extending
track previews on iTunes to 90 seconds.
It is truly great news that the world´s second most trusted technology brand
(the first being Apple) is launching a music service and tightening its `net´
Let´s hope though, amidst the invariable toasts to come, that Google has
enough of a world view to try and get beyond the tradition of US-based
intransigence towards the independent record sector.
Because US big business, brought up on a native independent sector
historically tied to major-owned distributors, has never really had much of a
taste for treating independents equitably. The last decade has time and time
again seen music services attempt to fob off independents often for a
fraction of the costs of a track signed to a major.
In the last six years alone, MTV, iTunes and Myspace Music have all failed in
their attempts to discriminate against independents in their licensing
negotiations, MySpace holding out for so long with a service that disowned
its indie roots, that the platform all but crippled itself, with rumours now
circulating that Murdoch is looking to offload the brand for a fraction of
the half-billion-dollar purchase price.
While sources suggest that deals have been or are in the final stages of
being closed with all the majors (with some experiencing their hardest
negotiations ever with a digital retailer) Google´s line to independents
appears to be that there´s not even a service to talk about.
With a corporate slogan of 'don´t be evil' in danger of becoming a parody of
itself, let´s hope this trailblazing company learns the lessons of history
and can have the far-sightedness to create a service that is as comprehensive
and consumer-minded in music as its search and cloud-based tools have proven
to be in business.
Editorial by Sam Shemtob
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