One Of The Most Successful NY Startups... Is Dedicated To Infringing Activities (According To The Entertainment Industry)

from the but-of-course dept

A few months back, we wrote about the bizarre situation in which advertising giant, GroupM, had put together a list of "pirate sites" on which they would not allow their advertising to appear. From what we've heard, GroupM relied heavily on its entertainment industry clients, including Warner Bros., Paramount and Summit Entertainment on the movie side, and Universal Music on the music side. Universal Music was a key player in compiling the list, which is why a bunch of hip hop blogs it wanted power over ended up on the list (along with other non-infringers like the Internet Archive, Vimeo, SoundCloud and personal websites of Universal's own artists.

As we noted in the article, one of the sites listed as a "pirate" site was the site Complex.com, which is a rapidly growing popular "lifestyle" site, focused on young men. What I didn't realize was just how big and successful the site is. Business Insider recently ranked Complex as one of the most valuable NY startups, pinning its value around $140 million. It also has two of the most respected VC firms around backing it: Accel and Austin Ventures. This is not a fly-by-night operation.

And this is a big issue. We keep hearing from supporters of PROTECT IP that people shouldn't worry about it and similar legal attempts taking down legitimate businesses, because it's only designed to go after sites that are dedicated to infringing activities. But as this shows, according to folks in the legacy entertainment world, successful new media companies, like Complex, can be harmed by falsely accusing them of being "dedicated to infringing activities," and seeking to get advertisers or payment processors blocked from the site.

This is why so many tech entrepreneurs are so worried about legal changes like PROTECT IP. We've seen how the old industry likes to accuse anyone who does anything new or interesting of merely being "pirates," and using that to harm them. Why should we then allow Congress to pass new laws that will only come back to haunt the successful new generation of startups that are growing, creating jobs and actually innovating?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    deane (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    interesting and in before the trolls. if you create something new the RIAA/MPAA will take you down even though what they are doing amounts to libel. hope somebody like this will sue them for libel/defamation ;-)

     

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  2.  
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    John Doe, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    The illusion of control

    Why should we then allow Congress to pass new laws that will only come back to haunt the successful new generation of startups that are growing, creating jobs and actually innovating?

    I am afraid at this point in our country's history, we the people only have the illusion of control over our government. It is no longer here to serve us, but we are here to serve it. Even worse, people are freely asking the government to take away our rights.

     

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  3.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Trolling and clueless posts in 3, 2, 1...

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    The party is over Freetards! Soon all you pirates will be going to prison and will lose your internets, just like the Complex.com pirates are!

     

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  5.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re: The illusion of control

    And we've got worrisome examples right here @ TD. Some of our most brilliant trolls (willful or not) keep saying that while Protect IP can be misused and cause collateral damage it surely won't be used like that. Despite constant evidence in the media.

    They say that the worst blind is the one that doesn't want to see. Talk about that with our dear TD trolls...

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re:

    I know this post is probably meant to be funny and we have had a lot of them lately, but I just want to clarify that we are not all freetards. I actually want to pay for stuff, I am just not willing to pay the price being asked. The current prices are based on old distribution models that included manufacturing, shipping & handling, middlemen, retail space and sales people, etc. The current model has near zero distribution costs and it is time the price reflected that savings.

     

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  7.  
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    deane (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    >The party is over Freetards! Soon all you pirates will be >going to prison and will lose your internets, just like the >Complex.com pirates are!

    now to find a lawyer to prosecute you for libel!

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    If they are dedicated to infringing activities, then they have something to worry about. If they are not making their money on the backs of unpaid content creators, then they have nothing to worry about.

    Oh yeah, Hi Marcus.

     

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  9.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    Re:

    *applauds profusely*

    Bravo! That was some quality trolling! I foresee your comment being hidden due to mass report from TD readers that actually fell for it.

    10/10

     

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

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:40am

    Re:

    It's like you're not even trying anymore.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:43am

    Re:

    NO, you idiot!
    You should NEVER, EVER mention the unpaid content creators. The freetards here might catch on that we're the ones that don't pay them and turn our argument against us.
    Didn't you get last weeks memo?

     

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  12.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    Re:

    Marcus, for God sake, invite him/her/it out for some coffee. He/she/it seems to love you!

    And yes, from my understand these complex guys are as dedicated to infringing activities as Facebook is. So they should target Facebook too, makes sense. Derp....

     

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  13.  
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    WysiWyg (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re:

    I would like to add that I'm actually prepared to pay even these high prices, as long as someone (OH GOD PLEASE SOMEONE!) starts offering me the products/services I want.

    Every time someone talks about how much money the contentindustry is loosing I always ask "what's wrong with MY money!?".

     

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  14.  
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    WysiWyg (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    Isn't a big point with Protect IP that they skip the whole "due process"-part? Which means that anyone, regardless of whether they actually do any infringing, can get hurt by a mere accusation?

     

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  15.  
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    John Doe, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I agree with this as well. Give me the content and only the content, no DRM, no spyware, no malware, no rootkit and no restrictions on when/where/how I view the content.

    As an example, I tried to view a youtube video on my Android phone the other day. Someone posted a link to the video on Facebook. When I clicked it, it said the person who uploaded it had not approved it for viewing on mobile devices. WTH?

     

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  16.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Re: The illusion of control

    "I am afraid at this point in our country's history, we the people only have the illusion of control over our government."

    If you believe you're free, there's no escape for you.

     

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

  17.  
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    Someantimalwareguy (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re: Hmm - two more words...

    Tortuous Interference:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortious_interference

    If this site is in fact not guilty of infringement, then GroupM and others maintaining the "pirate list" are guilty of this offense and should be sued mercilessly in court...

     

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  18.  
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    blaktron (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re:

    They don't like to target or fight with companies that could destroy all of them in a temper tantrum. There are a growing number of tech industry players with personal net worths greater than the entire music industry, and a few approaching the size of the entire content industry (Zuckerberg included). So ya, Facebook/Google/Apple/MS could pretty much open a site Pirates'R'Us.com and give away everything for free from central servers, and I'm pretty sure the content industry would bite their tongues and keep going after the smaller players. They're bullies, and you can't bully people 100 times bigger than you are.

     

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  19.  
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    Onnala (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Only a Writer here.

    Actually I'm a writer and have found this site to be very useful in feeling out trends for creative works and good ideas for dealing with digital copies of works.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Considering how music licensing cartels can legally have rights to music that no one had legally bestowed on them, I can only assume that RIAA and similar groups would just use Protect IP as a government enforced extortion regime. Corporations do not have morals or ethics, they have no qualms about abusing power.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    TOG, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    Complex is a Mark Ecko company

    Um... yeah, Complex is one of Mark Ecko's companies (at least the magazine bear's his name). It's been around for a number of years now (the magazine). I know this because it arrives in my mailbox from time to time even though I've never subscribed, don't remember ever being anywhere that would have resulted in my getting a free subscription, I've been getting it for a while, and there is nothing in this magazine that appeals to me (nor did it appeal to me when I was still in my 20s; it goes straight into the recycling).

    In any event, it makes sense that companies that are scared of hip-hop blogs also would be scared of this venture. But since the magazine is largely marketing/advertising (and from the looks of it the website is too), I don't think they're hurting too badly.

    Anyway, I assume a large number of readers have heard of Mark Ecko, so I just thought I'd share.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:18pm

    The Industry's actions, proposals, and mannerisms remind me of a spoiled, mean, mentally retarded little boy who tortures animals and still wonders why everyone hates him and is missing fingers, eyes, and skin.

    Since these draconian IP laws remind me of prohibition, I have to wonder what kind and quantity of gangsters will pop up this time after Dear Leader rubber stamps PROTECT IP. More laws = more bandits after all.

     

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  23.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re:

    >>The current model has near zero distribution costs and it is time the price reflected that savings.

    And BREAKAGE! Let's not forget about the fragile nature of .mp3 files that break if they are dropped! Part of the standard recording industry contract still deducts the cost of breakage from the artists' share. It originated back in the day of vinyl records, but it is still charged even for downloads. Breakage was a dubious charge even in the day of vinyl records. Why on earth should breakage be deducted from the artist's share? Wouldn't it have been more reasonable to attribute breakage to the distribution costs? But the industry's goal then as well as today is to cheat the artist at every turn, so at least they are consistent.

     

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  24.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    Haven't seen out_of_the_blue here yet...must be thinking REALLY hard about how to spin this into an attack against Mike. Well, here's to hoping that he'll be thinking for a good while longer!

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    bob, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Innovation? Get a clue Mike

    I always find it hilarious to watch Mike equate piracy with innovation. Anyone can make a store more efficient by getting rid of the checkouts. Anyone can make the prices cheaper by not paying the creator. That's not innovation.

    As far as I can tell, Complex is just a bunch of magazines. If they devote themselves to distributing MP3s without paying the creator, well, that's not innovation. Anyone with a web server can put up a file. Real innovation is arranging for the creator to be able to pay for health insurance.

     

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

  26.  
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    Caliburn, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Hmm - two more words...

    I've been saying that since I first read about the GroupM list. Seems like libel to me.

     

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

  27.  
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    chris (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree with this as well. Give me the content and only the content, no DRM, no spyware, no malware, no rootkit and no restrictions on when/where/how I view the content.

    what are you some kind of pirate?

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re:

    And if you took away copyright, they would stop all together.

     

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  29.  
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    blaktron (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Innovation? Get a clue Mike

    And you think that the obsolete loan-and-never-recoup model pays content creators? Riiiight.

    "As far as I can tell, Complex is just a bunch of magazines." So you haven't invested any research into this, don't know anything, still spout your ill informed opinion WHILE telling Mike to get a clue? Get a clue, Bob.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    Follow the money

    Complex supplied ads to a site that ICE seized last November.

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re:

    When Marcus stops being a dipwad, I will stop pointing out his stupidity. Until then, he gets it as he gives.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Hmm - two more words...

    Not at all. See the whole Spamhaus deal. The right to maintain a list is there, any group can blacklist any other group, and the public is free to follow or not as they see fit.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps you and OotB should get together to trade tinfoil.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Bengie, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hmm - two more words...

    Sounds dangerously like anti-trust

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Did you ever think that perhaps if you stop being a dipwad yourself first, Marcus will too?

    Show respect, get respect.

    Got nothing nice to say, then just stfu instead of saying something dumb.

    Etc.

    Because, apparently the only one with a thing for Marcus is yourself. And somehow, you never discuss anything he says just go on about his "performing". Leave him be. If he enjoys doing it that's his thing. I think some really major "stars" are complete and total cr*p. I ignore them and let them do their thing. Not point out their flaws to others or to them on boards. Do the same. You'll spare yourself the aneurysm that is surely headed your way.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Marcus shows no respect. He didn't earn it, he doesn't get it.

    Posting mocking comments is just his latest sad tactic. Too bad you guys fall for his bullshit and give him sympathy. He takes the whole community here down a few notches. God knows why Mike lets him post stories on here. That is some incredibly bad judgement, IMHO.

     

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

  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Innovation? Get a clue Mike

    Well then, what is "complex"?

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your obsession really is sad.

     

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

  39.  
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    surfer (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Innovation? Get a clue Mike

    "complex" is freetard speak for an attempt to educate copytards on just how ridiculous copyright is in a digital era

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think it's adorable!

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I just want to make clear that no service or product from those people will be ever paid from my pocket, I do not support bad actors inside society no matter how good they are at what they do.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Complex is a Mark Ecko company

    That is probably it, since the law won't have any effects on real piracy and it only can affect companies, so it probably be used to extort favours from others.

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    Someantimalwareguy (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hmm - two more words...

    Not at all. See the whole Spamhaus deal. The right to maintain a list is there, any group can blacklist any other group, and the public is free to follow or not as they see fit.
    The problem with that analogy is that spamhaus isn't blacklisting other spam blocking services. To me, one advertiser/media company trying to blacklist those who do now, and in the future may be competitive to its business model merits some scrutiny - or at least a challenge of some sort in the courts.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 3:13pm

    As we noted in the article, one of the sites listed as a "pirate" site was the site Complex.com, which is a rapidly growing popular "lifestyle" site, focused on young men. What I didn't realize was just how big and successful the site is. Business Insider recently ranked Complex as one of the most valuable NY startups, pinning its value around $140 million. It also has two of the most respected VC firms around backing it: Accel and Austin Ventures. This is not a fly-by-night operation.


    First of all, as a .com, Complex.com is not subject to the Protect IP Act. So if it were a pirate site in the eyes of law enforcement, it would be subject to forfeiture right now. But there it is, as big as life. Why FUDboy; why is it still there if it's been branded as a pirate site?

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re:

    I know this post is probably meant to be funny and we have had a lot of them lately, but I just want to clarify that we are not all freetards. I actually want to pay for stuff, I am just not willing to pay the price being asked. The current prices are based on old distribution models that included manufacturing, shipping & handling, middlemen, retail space and sales people, etc. The current model has near zero distribution costs and it is time the price reflected that savings.

    So how do you solve your moral dilemma? Do you do without or just take it?

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Better if they exchange Depenz! Used of course.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonyous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    Re:

    It may take the removal of all Internet users for the **AA's to realize their mistake.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 4:09pm

    Re:

    and could you explian to me whay is branded as a pirate site if it wasn't taken out by your logic

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 4:36pm

    Re: The illusion of control

    Sadly you only have the illusion of government itself.

    The 'system' mostly doesn't even exist anymore and is just there to placate the general population with all the financial and military decisions being decided in corporate boardrooms before being passed out to their employees...sorry I mean congress, the senate and the President.

     

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

  50.  
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    nasch (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And no stupid fscking FBI piracy warnings.

     

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

  51.  
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    nasch (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 7:52pm

    Re:

    If they are dedicated to infringing activities, then they have something to worry about.

    Are you actually serious?

     

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

  52.  
    icon
    surfer (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 10:39pm

    Re:

    um, I give,..

    because copyright was designed to 'promote the (anti)science and (accounting) arts(istry) for the people (in the entertainment industry)'?

     

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

  53.  
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    WysiWyg (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 12:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Viacom vs YouTube mean anything?

    The truth is that you CAN bully anyone if you get the government to give you special laws that allows you to do so easy.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 5:03am

    "Why should we then allow Congress to pass new laws that will only come back to haunt the successful new generation of startups that are growing, creating jobs and actually innovating?"

    But Mike, don't you see the congress doesn't want to create jobs? After all, that's why congress isn't passing Obama's jobs bill, because, *gasp*, it would create jobs, and we can't have that now can we?

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Rich Antoniello, Oct 12th, 2011 @ 7:46am

    The data needs to be updated

    Complex.com and most, if not all, of the sites we represent have been taken off this list. We now have an open dialogue with UMG and are working diligently together to protect everyone's rights and reputations.

     

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

  56.  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), Oct 12th, 2011 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Shotgun approach. Download lots of stuff, see what sticks (stuff you like and enjoy repeatedly), and pay to support that.

     

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


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