With advertising on WDBJ-TV murder clips, YouTube sinks to new low

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When it comes to making money, management at YouTube apparently has no shame

It’s no secret that YouTube slaps advertising on pretty much anything without regard for subject matter or ownership, but making money off of last week’s on-air murder of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward is a new low.  A source tipped me off to the fact that a number of opportunistic (and shameless) YouTube “partners” have uploaded and monetized clips of both the station’s live broadcast and the video taken, (and uploaded to Twitter) by the deranged murderer as he executed the two journalists during a televised live-shot for the morning news. While there has been an ongoing debate among news organizations about how to handle the disturbing footage, there should be no debate as to whether this footage is monetization worthy.  Earlier this year YouTube (and advertisers) were embarrassed by reports of advertisements appearing on terrorist recruiting videos.  Now this. Continue reading →

Facebook piracy has been an ongoing problem. Is it finally ready to face the music?

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Facebook has long turned a blind eye to profiting from piracy on its pages.  Has the worm finally turned?

This past week Facebook reached a milestone when, according to founder Mark Zuckerberg, more than one billion users logged on to the social media site in a single day.  Part of that growth has come from video views (4 billion per day) and so this week Facebook also announced it would (finally) tackle the issue of online piracy that has long plagued the site. In recent months Facebook has been facing growing criticism that it has allowed “freebooters” to rip-off (monetized) YouTube videos and repost them on Facebook, thereby cannibalizing profits. Continue reading →

Counterpoints to Steven Johnson’s NY Times Magazine piece — “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t”

NY Times Stephen Johnson rebuttals

No, actually everything’s not hunky-dory in the creative universe

The creative community has been buzzing this past week in response to the NY Times Sunday Magazine piece by Stephen Johnson, “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t.”  Not surprisingly, feedback in the Times comments section was decidedly negative.  As the week’s progressed we’ve also seen a number of thoughtful responses in commentaries published across the web.  Some of the criticism, notably that found in a blog post, The Data Journalism That Wasn’t by the Future of Music Coalition’s Kevin Erickson, took Johnson to task for his questionable analysis: Continue reading →

Ashley Madison ads appear on torrents for its hacked data on Pirate Bay

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Ad sponsored piracy run even more amok

This has to be the irony of ironies.  According a piece by in Business Insider, advertising for Ashley Madison is popping up on the Pirate Bay in searches for the hacked data.  At the bottom of the results that list the complete torrent to the stolen files there’s an ad for Ashley Madison’s website.  I suppose given all the bad publicity of late, the extra-marital affair website needs to find customers wherever it can eh? Continue reading →

How many millions does Google pocket when YouTube scams advertisers?

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Youtube slaps ads on scam uploads and collects dough from advertisers who look the other way.

It’s not news that Google doesn’t take kindly to anything standing in the way of revenue.  Its business practices on YouTube are no exception. In order to stuff the mother ship’s coffers, YouTube will monetize just about any crap upload, whether it’s a terrorist recruiting videos or scams linking to pirate websites.  When Google monetizes these uploads both it and the uploader make money from the ads.  Does anyone care about this dirty income? Continue reading →

Hollywood Diversity, Movie Piracy and the EFF

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The fight against movie piracy is a fight FOR diversity

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a long way to go when it comes to diversity and a new report released today by the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School shows just how far.  Echoing findings of a similar study issued last winter by UCLA’s Bunche Center, today’s report finds that women, minorities and LGBT characters are not only rare–but often insignificant in Hollywood films. Continue reading →

Digital Citizens Alliance Uncovers (monetized) RAT Infestation on YouTube

From the Digital Citizen's Alliance Report-Selling Rats Whether it’s ISIS recruiting videos or porn, it’s not news that the YouTube monetizes whatever drek gets uploaded to the site.  Now, according to a new report by Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA)*, YouTube is also infested with videos promoting RATS (Remote Access Trojans). Continue reading →

Using DMCA to fight Ashley Madison hackers is poor use of copyright law

Ashley Madison Hacked

Protecting private data from online theft is not the same as protecting copyrighted content

Update 8/20/15-The hackers have released the hacked data after Ashley Madison’s parent company did not comply with their demand that the site be closed.  It appears, once again, Avid Media’s lawyers are misusing the DMCA in order to prevent the hacked (private) data from being widely disseminated.  The post below explores why the DCMA is not the solution.

Original story from 7/21/15: In news first reported by investigative journalist/blogger Brian Krebs, hackers broke into a database containing customer data for web hook-up site Ashley Madison and threatened to post it online. Stealing customer or employee private data is always a bad thing, but what makes this particular hack particularly notable is that Ashley Madison’s business is based on promoting and enabling infidelity among couples.  The company’s mantra is “Life is short. Have an affair,” and in order for customers to fool around on their mates without repercussions, anonymity is clearly key.  I imagine there are more than a few Ashley Madison clients who are sweating big-time right about now.

Continue reading →

Google lives on tech’s cutting edge–but in DMCA takedown Luddite-land

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Google could learn a thing or two from VIMEO about how to run an efficient DMCA takedown system

Love it or hate it, for now the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)  is the law of the land when it comes to safeguarding creative content online.  The law, passed nearly 20 years ago, is woefully outdated, but for now, it’s the only tool creators have to protect their work from online thieves.  Unfortunately, not every company in the business of “user generated content” approaches DMCA compliance the same way. Google, a company that makes billions each year in ad revenues generated via trafficking in dubious content, has set up a takedown system that ensures the sending of a DMCA takedown notice is an onerous and inefficient task.  After all, the harder Google makes it, the more discouraged creators will become, and the more money continues to flow into its coffers… Continue reading →

This week in Google (not good) news

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Googleiath made headlines this past week, and not in a good way.

 Let’s take a look.

1. Does Google Manipulate Search Results?

Tim Wu, the legal scholar credited with coining the oft used term “net neutrality” was hired by Yelp to conduct research into Google’s search algorithm. Wu, along with Harvard Business School professor Michael Luca and researchers at Yelp, examined whether Google gives consumers the best results.  The results don’t look good. Per Recode.net: Continue reading →

Australia sees the light, OK’s blocking pirate sites

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Blocking pirate sites is not censorship–it’s common sense

In a move being celebrated by creators worldwide, the Australian parliament has approved the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015.  The legislation will allow rights holders go to court to request that pirate websites be blocked in Australia. The explanatory memorandum, notes that the purpose of the bill is to “reduce online infringement.”   Continue reading →

Google free speech cries slapped down by Canadian appeals court

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Google’s global reach has global implications when it comes to the law

In a case that could have broad implications moving forward, a Canadian appeals court handed Google a rare legal setback when it upheld a worldwide injunction ordering the search giant to remove results linked to counterfeit hardware.  The ruling was an affirmation of a lower court ruling that mandated Google remove certain search results (linking to illegal products) on a  worldwide basis. Continue reading →