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ARSCLIST  December 2010

ARSCLIST December 2010

Subject:

Google and Apple - a British view

From:

George Brock-Nannestad <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 10 Dec 2010 16:25:52 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (129 lines)

From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad


Hello,

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.

Kind regards,


George

"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 
internet piracy.

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 
requests.

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 
infringement.

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 
placements.

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´ 
on piracy.

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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