No, The Public Standing Up For An Open Internet Is Not A Criminal Google Conspiracy

from the the-public-is-not-google dept

Over the past decade, we’ve talked about music industry lawyer Chris Castle and his bizarre interpretation of reality a few times. He insists that anyone supporting the legal sharing of content via Creative Commons is “self-serving shilling for the self-absorbed on the short con,” which I’m sure must have sounded clever in his mind. A key target for Castle and his friends is that Google is the representation of all that is evil in the music industry. It’s a convenient foil. Castle and his friends see Google lurking behind anything that’s not like the old days, similar to the way that adults freaked out that pinball machines were destroying the minds of the youths in earlier generations.

Castle’s latest claim, however, is positively crazy. Not only is he upset about the EU Parliament has agreed to reopen Article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive for discussion, he’s decided that the only reason they did so must be due to a criminal conspiracy by Google, for which he is demanding an investigation.

… there have been incredible and probably illegal uses of the Internet to overwhelm elected officials with faux communications that reek of Google-style misinformation and central planning in the hive mind of the Googleplex.

We saw this again with the Article 13 vote in Europe last week with what clearly seems to be a Google-backed attack on the European Parliament for the purpose of policy intimidation. That?s right?an American-based multinational corporation is trying to intimidate the very same European government that is currently investigating them for anticompetitive behavior and is staring down a multi-billion dollar fine.

Vindictive much?

Apparently, the idea that the public might actually speak out when they realize that a terribly written proposal would lead to massive censorship of the internet is unfathomable to him.

And let’s be clear here. This entire claim doesn’t even pass the slightest laugh test. Google already complies with almost everything in Article 13. The whole point of Article 13 is to try to force nearly every site that hosts user content to install a ContendID like system. Google already has ContentID. Indeed, if anything, Article 13 would cement Google’s dominant position by making it nearly impossible for newer, more innovative startups to enter the space without spending the tens of millions of dollars Google spent on ContentID.

The idea that Google would lead some “fake” public protest against Article 13 is ludicrous. But, this Google Derangement Syndrome seems impossible for those in the RIAA set to get rid of. I’ve mentioned before that just weeks after a massive public protest of SOPA stopped that bill from becoming law, I ended up at a dinner with an RIAA board member, who simply refused to believe that the public even cared one bit about SOPA/PIPA and insisted that the only reason the bill failed was because Google stepped up (in reality, Google was much slower than a ton of internet startups to recognize the threat of SOPA).

Indeed, this same derangement could be found in the tweets of former RIAA top exec Neil Turkewitz, who hilariously responded to the impact of widespread public protests by insisting that it was obviously not the will of the people stating:

Does anyone think the people have spoken? I doubt it. Democracy, freedom of expression & common sense were upended by allowing a Pirate & a fantastically large company w/ something to gain to define the terms of our freedom. A freedom w/o justice. An infant?s version of freedom.

Got that? Democracy, freedom of expression and common sense were upended… by people speaking out about the massive problems with Article 13. This is especially hilarious coming from Turkewitz, who worked for three decades on policy issues for the RIAA, at a time when the RIAA did so much of its policy awfulness by hiding it away from the public, in particular by sneaking awful ideas into secretly negotiated trade agreements, and then turning around and demanding that democratically elected legislatures write laws to match what he helped the RIAA sneak into those agreements. Or how about the will of “the people” when Turkewitz’s RIAA colleague, just months before taking his job with the RIAA literally snuck four words overnight into a bill that would help the RIAA member labels take away rights from all of its artists. Was that “the will of the people”?

The recording industry spent decades actively subverting the will of the people at every turn. Even though the Constitutional mandate for copyright be that it promote the progress of science and learning by providing more material into the public domain, the RIAA spent decades — usually in secret — pushing and changing the law to turn it into a welfare system for record labels. For decades, “the public” wasn’t even aware of what was happening, in part because copyright directly touched their lives so little.

That changed with the advent of the internet, and the fact that copyright and the internet don’t work all that well together. Now, these changes that the RIAA used to push through in a smokey backroom is likely to impact the tools and services that billions of people use to communicate every day. And the consequences of those changes will have a huge impact on them. So no one should be surprised when the public speaks out about this. It’s not a criminal conspiracy by Google. It’s the public actually caring about what the internet looks like and whether or not they’ll be allowed to speak without first getting permission and a license.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,
Companies: google

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “No, The Public Standing Up For An Open Internet Is Not A Criminal Google Conspiracy”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

BREAKING HOOTS! "Voksi ... raided by Bulgarian cyberpolice

following a criminal complaint filed by Denuvo. His cracking days are now officially over."

HINTED in that last piece you were jeering, kids: the Wild West phase is OVER, we now KNOW how much you’ll steal despite easy access, and moneyed interests have lost all patience.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: AC doubles-down on bias; news at 11

Article notes how Article 13 would consolidate Google control of internet and would prevent competitors from intruding on Google turf

>AC concludes article author is a Google shill

>AC apparently only reads article headlines and doesn’t bother reading articles or actually trying to think.

>AC fails to convince anyone reading their comment, gets flagged, generally ridiculed, probably gets off on self-righteous anger at perceived persecution by everyone who sees through their idiocy

>Pity the AC.

zarprime (profile) says:

Trying to deflect attention?

So apparently there’s this thing called “guilt transference” when you accuse another party of the thing you’re actually guilty of yourself.

Not the RIAA, but it’s not like they’re too good to take a page from the MPAA’s books.

Anyone care to lay odds?

That One Guy (profile) says:

People expect of others what they would do themselves

we’ve talked about music industry lawyer Chris Castle

I suspect his obsession with the company and repeated insistence that The Google is behind anything he doesn’t like is a mix of refusal to accept that the public could ever object to anything The Almighty Music And Movie Industry could want, denial in refusing to believe that the public could impact legislation on a large scale, and projection onto The Google the sort of actions that his bosses would do, because if he would do it, then clearly others would too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Name Calling

I love how those that are interested in free speech and uninhibited learning are “self-serving shilling for the self-absorbed on the short con”, completely unlike this anachronistic parasite who insists that he deserves a right to another’s creativity via something that looks a lot like a protection racket

Karl (profile) says:

Some interesting info about Castle

Here’s a nifty video interview from when Chris Castle worked as an advisor for Arts+Labs:

And his statement about it on his MTP blog:

What was Arts+Labs, you may ask?

It was an organization set up by telecom lobbyists, including Mike McCurry of "Hands Off The Internet" fame. Andrew "the Internet is killing our culture" Keen was also an advisor, as was Rick Carnes of The Songwriters Guild of America.

It ended up mostly as a vehicle to support SOPA, at which point most of the usual suspects joined its ranks.

Like most astroturf organizations, it totally folded after its political goals (here, SOPA) utterly failed.

Just so we know exactly who we’re dealing with here.

tp (profile) says:

Quite expensive...

> Impossible for newer, more innovative startups to enter the space without spending the tens of millions of dollars Google spent on ContentID.

This one if-statement in php which allows google to filter out copyrighted works is now costing tens of millions of dollars? And everyone need to pay the same amount for the technology? The php language already provides this feature. Hashing and all the necessary tech is already available in the php ecosystem, so I don’t really understand how did you calculate this to take “tens of millions of dollars”. Dollars are not worth alot around the globe, but I didn’t expect it to be that low value.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Quite expensive...

I’m sorry, what “one if-statement in php”?

If you seriously know that there is in fact a single “if” statement which handles this, please do quote it here.

ContentID is certainly not a feature which “the php language already provides”, or which “is already available in the php ecosystem”; it’s a sizable, complex, continually developing system, consisting of both nontrivial amounts of code and (of at least equal importance) a large database of reference data, and – unless I’m much mistaken – is available only internally at Google.

Developing such a system in the first place costs a lot of money; continuing to develop it costs a lot of money; maintaining and operating it costs a lot of money.

The difficult part is not in filtering out the copyrighted works; that might indeed boil down to a single “if” statement if you arranged your code just right (although, in that case, a lot of detection complexity would be concealed within whatever functions set the variable being tested).

The difficult part is in identifying which works need to be filtered out. (Which is not the same as “which works are copyrighted” – or, thanks to things like fair use and the public domain, even “which works are neither copyrighted by nor licensed to the uploader”. Neither of which is easy to determine anyway, at least not without an authoritative database of copyrighted works and licensing terms and agreements, which the rightsholders have consistently refused to even try to make available.)

tp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Quite expensive...

The difficult part is in identifying which works need to be filtered out.

They have like huge array of hash values, and if your video matches any of the values in the array, it’ll be filtered out. Content owners can buy their position in the array, and submit video hashes which need to be filtered out. Then it’s just ordinary scanning of the video and calculating working hash number. The algorithm is O(n), i.e. linear time consumption based on how many elements are in the array. If you want to optimize it, you can divide hashes to different buckets based on the first hex digit or something.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Quite expensive...

They have like huge array of hash values,

Which is far more than a simple “one if-statement in php”.

Even building the array (if so you choose to call it) in the software is more than that simple “if” statement, and actually populating it with meaningful data is well beyond even that.

(And that’s leaving out things like “detecting audio being played in the background behind other activities”, where you can’t just hash the audio stream because it includes so many things that aren’t the copyrighted content, but where the copyrighted content is still present in the mix; you need to be able to do audio stream splitting and recognition, on a level that last I heard was at least partly still the domain of AI research. Not that having the radio on in the background while you do your video that should necessarily be considered a violation, but the RIAA et al. have certainly been willing to treat it as such in the past.)

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...