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Did Universal Music Declare 50 Cent's Own Website Is A Pirate Site?

from the fact-checking dept

You may have heard last week that hip hop star 50 Cent got into a public war of words with his record label, Interscope (a division of Universal Music Group), concerning his upcoming album. 50 Cent claimed that differences would mean that the album was delayed. At the end of the week, it sounded like he had patched things up a bit and worked out the major differences, but he might want to take another look at what his label is doing.

As you may know, yesterday, we wrote about Universal Music's involvement in putting together a list of "pirate" websites that ad giant GroupM would place on a big blacklist of sites. GroupM would use the blacklist to bar its ads from appearing on any listed site. We noticed many oddities on the list, including a bunch of websites that are considered the top of the top in the hip hop world when it comes to promoting new works. However, some in our comments noted an even odder site on the list: 50 Cent's own website: ThisIs50.com.

Now, there may be some confusion, because it appears that there are two different "official" 50 sites. However, one of them, 50Cent.com is owned and run by Universal Music. ThisIs50.com is 50's own site and is the one linked from his own Facebook page (which, in turn, is linked from his verified Twitter account). There seems to be little doubt that ThisIs50 is 50's own website. In fact, if you look at the Universal-run 50Cent.com, it very prominently links to ThisIs50:
Furthermore, Universal Music and Interscope regularly linked to ThisIs50.com. Seems pretty odd to then put it on their list of "pirate" sites. Of course, in a bit of odd recursiveness, ThisIs50 now has a discussion going about the fact that it's on the list. Perhaps this is some sort of "punishment" for 50 Cent's earlier claims that "piracy" is just "marketing" and that he'll make up the money elsewhere?

But, honestly, since supporters of PROTECT IP and other such legislation keep claiming that it's so easy to figure out what is and what is not a "rogue site," can someone explain how Universal recording artist 50 Cent's own site gets on the list, which was apparently put together in part by Universal Music? I have a question in to folks at Universal Music, but once again, I doubt I'll hear back.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:41am

    Spotting a pirate site is easy...

    ...there will be guys with patches over one eye, a wooden leg and a hook for one hand. They will also say argh a lot.

    Seriously though, when in doubt, just ask RIAA or the MPAA, they will tell you who the pirate sites are with near 10% accuracy.

     

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  2.  
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    m3mnoch (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:49am

    heh. indeed. piracy seems to be marketing.

    http://siteanalytics.compete.com/50cent.com+thisis50.com/

    m3mnoch.

     

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  3.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Fitty Cent

    Oh about tree fitty. Couldn't resist. Sorry for the silliness.

     

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  4.  
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    Matthew (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:00am

    What's that?

    What's that? It sounded like you said that the whole piracy kerfuffle is just a lot of posturing and playing politics whose eventual goal is to secure wealth and power for a bunch of glorified salesmen riding on the backs of artists and techies. It sounded like you said that this was just another datum of evidence that they really don't care at all about artists and will do whatever it takes to maintain control and that we shouldn't be surprised that they would turn on an artist who don't toe the line since they turned on their customers years ago.

    That's what it sounded like anyway. Maybe i misheard.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:10am

    It's always been amazing to me, that the entertainment industries...especially the music side, would expect everyone to know what is "their property".

    They've spent years and years hiding some of this info. You don't see the real accounting books (when you buy this expensive info), you don't see all the efforts to hide association with the majors when Indies became a hit and they tried to make themselves look Indie for sales, you don't know that a lot of the big sellers are awarded their own personal label to distribute music from as a reward (and it looks like someone else putting out the music instead of the majors). You also don't know when an artist becomes outside the major labels after a fall out and the repurchase of their contract.

    Nor are the majors particularly wanting to part with the info unless in a law suit.

    Even the anti-RIAA site like riaaradar has problems telling between albums by the same artists, which are property to the majors and which are not. (and they do get them wrong)

    So after all this, magically you should just 'know'. Actually that becomes a sales point to try and sell you a worthless filter that is extremely overpriced.

    We've had time and again where it has been shown that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing as it isn't co-ordinated at all. Both sides seem to bumble around and claim you should just know while they prove they haven't a clue either as to which is which.

     

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  6.  
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    big al, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re: What's that?

    get the peanut butter outta your ear's... think of the children...the corn farmer...the newyorker's out of work...the whole music industry . don't believe this piracy propaganda..... the internet is killing music...ask any who knows.....\sar

     

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  7.  
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    Shane C (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:27am

    One of two things

    My prediction is that one of two things is about to happen. One, Universal is about to roll out an "authenticate your website" program where for a price you can have the privileged of running their advertisements.

    Or, they are about to say "Oops! We thought that list was the 'approved list' not the 'disapproved list'," and they'll promptly revert the list for the time being (ie: until the bad press dies down).

     

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  8.  
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    umb231 (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:42am

    ... so, if Universal wants to make linking to pirate sites illegal... and it lists thisis50.com as a pirate site... and then links to the site via their own site... shouldn't they order ICE to take down Universal's site (for a few months at the least with no warning or way to officially object)?
    Wait, what was I thinking, the rules don't apply to Universal cause they're the ones making them.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:46am

    Does this mean that if PROTECT IP and/or other legislation actually passes then Universal's own site will branded a pirate site and taken down by ICE for linking to a pirate site?

     

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  10.  
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    Ma Official, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:48am

    This is BULLSQUABLE

    Aside from the political comments, this is BS. Music needs to be heard, one way or another it will. Artists make most of their music money from doing shows, PERIOD. (Pun intended)

    You have a handful of artists who actually get endorsements and other contracts that help supplement their show money.

    If people don't get the music and become fans, then artists are left to be heard on radio (Corporate BS too), on TV (O.o) and on iTunes. Who is going to buy a song they have never heard?

     

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  11.  
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    DogBreath, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:49am

    Re: One of two things

    I'm hoping it was the old "cutting off the nose to spite their face".

    The music industry seems to be pretty good at achieving many pyrrhic victories with great success these days. Perhaps it's time for them to patent that business model before someone else does, and sue themselves back to wealth.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:55am

    As you may know, yesterday, we wrote about Universal Music's involvement in putting together a list of "pirate" websites that ad giant GroupM would place on a big blacklist of sites. GroupM would use the blacklist to bar its ads from appearing on any listed site.

    We noticed many oddities on the list, including a bunch of websites that are considered the top of the top in the hip hop world when it comes to promoting new works.

    Now, there may be some confusion, because it appears that there are two different "official" 50 sites. However, one of them, 50Cent.com is owned and run by Universal Music.


    Am I the only one who thinks this is obviously an attempt to stifle Warner's competition? One of the main things a label does is promotion, and now a label is essentially attacking competing promoters?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    And when I say "Warner" I mean "Universal." :p

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Even if thisis50.com is his personal site, he is under contract to the record label and may not have rights to put material up on his site because he signed those rights away for money.

    I think many people here don't realize that these artists would likely sell their own dog for cash, and in signing those contracts, they give up many of their rights in return for a big payout.

     

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  15.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Re:

    They've spent years and years hiding some of this info. You don't see the real accounting books...

    This confounds me. You'd think the cash-strapped government would be all about unravelling that mess.

    You'd think.

     

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  16.  
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    Chris Hoeschen (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    ThisIs50 now has a discussion going about the fact that it's on the list. Perhaps this is some sort of "punishment" for 50 Cent's earlier claims that "piracy" is just "marketing" and that he'll make up the money elsewhere?

    And if they get the PROTECT-IP act signed in they will only block sites that have infringing content and not just sites they get into an argument with.

    Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

     

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  17.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re: One of two things

    For a price, you can have the privilege of running their advertisements?

    Wait...what? I thought advertisements paid the site, not the other way around! Although I actually wouldn't be surprised if Universal completely forgot the most basic fact of marketing: you pay to get knowledge of your product out, others don't pay you.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    One thing I want to ask: can't the sites that are on this list sue for defamation? After all, there clearly are at least some on the list that are wrongly called pirate. If I ran a website, and I heard that it was on a 'pirate list', I'd sue.

     

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  19.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Re:

    One thing I want to ask: can't the sites that are on this list sue for defamation? After all, there clearly are at least some on the list that are wrongly called pirate. If I ran a website, and I heard that it was on a 'pirate list', I'd sue.

    Well, anyone *can* sue, but I don't think they'd win. It's the same thing as attempts to sue spam filters for declaring email spam, or for search engine rankings, or for anti-malware software calling certain apps malware. In most of those cases, the courts have taken a broad First Amendment view (as they should) in saying that it's perfectly fair to put together such a list.

    And, as much as I think this list is ridiculous and misleading, I tend to agree. I think it would be a mistake to consider this defamation, and doubt that it reaches the level necessary to make a defamation claim.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: What's that?

    Yeah, and the car industry. Too many people are downloading cars.

     

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  21.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Thanks, I hadn't considered the First Amendment. I was just thinking that GroupM publicly announced this list, which basically accused a lot of sites as violating civil law (if not criminal). If someone in a marketing position were to first look at this list, and say to themselves "Well, these guys are pirates, therefore, I won't do business with them", there's some sort of damage there.
    Okay, I'll concede. I follow Voltaire when he said "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". GroupM do have the right to publish this list, but I actually do hope one of the sites on it is able to show damages resulting from this list, however unlikely that will be.

     

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  22.  
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    Jeremy2020 (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 1:51pm

    Re:

    Excellent job reading. You will see when you read the article, that Universal's own site link to thisis50.com

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    they are protecting 50Cent from himself

     

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  24.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    Re:

    So that's how he got shot three times!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 3:03pm

    Re:

    +1...1eleventy11.

    I'd love to see a good federal probing of entertainment industry finances.

     

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  26.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:52pm

    Big ole grin ...

    Lets hope the labels keep this up. It's a sure fire way to drive away their biggest artists.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 2:40am

    Damn they use 50 Cent to promote WAR... just look at the background.

     

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  28.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 3:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe it would be possible to sue in another country where the legal thresholds might be different - maybe in the UK?

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 5:19am

    You actually think you are important enough that the huge industry known as Universal is going to get back with you? Suuuure..

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    trish, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 5:19am

    pirate?

    I don't know, he does kinda look like one of those zombie pirates from pirates of the caribbean, in that picture.

     

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  31.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 10:35am

    Re:

    You actually think you are important enough that the huge industry known as Universal is going to get back with you? Suuuure..

    Companies significantly larger than Universal get back to me all the time. Doesn't seem so odd to think that after uncovering something and asking them a question that they would respond.

    Also, it's worth noting that Universal Music seems to have no problem reaching out to me when they want to promote something.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2011 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re:

    Except for the fact the government really isn't cash strapped. The last thing the government wants is people looking too closely at accounting books, especially since if people really examined the entertainment industries real books and saw how much money really gets kicked to the politicians they might actually be forced to open up their own books.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    David, Dec 18th, 2011 @ 6:16pm

    America makes me laugh. It's like on of the rude guys in school that brags too much and is so sure he's right all the time that he doesn't even notice his own ignorance and the fact that everyone around him thinks he's a joke.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Ibrahim suleiman, Jan 27th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Music

    Major distribution is d shee haters can hate

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Ibrahim suleiman, Jan 27th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Music

    Major distribution is d shee haters can hate

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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