by Mike Masnick
Tue, Oct 21st 2014 8:09am
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 17th 2014 9:09am
Not Just Governments Hacking Your Computers Via YouTube Videos; Malicious Ads Found On Popular Videos
from the danger-danger dept
This was a worrying development: not only were malicious ads showing up on YouTube, they were on videos with more than 11 million views – in particular, a music video uploaded by a high-profile record label.The target here: computers using Internet Explorer (based on our stats, this means that most of the people reading this site were safe from this particular attack). Once again, we see how scammers are using traditional ad networks to do nefarious things. And yet publishers still wonder why so many people decide to use ad blockers.
The ads we’ve observed do not directly lead to malicious sites from YouTube. Instead, the traffic passes through two advertising sites, suggesting that the cybercriminals behind this campaign bought their traffic from legitimate ad providers.
In order to make their activity look legitimate, the attackers used the modified DNS information of a Polish government site. The attackers did not compromise the actual site; instead they were able to change the DNS information by adding subdomains that lead to their own servers. (How they were able to do this is unclear.)
The traffic passes through two redirection servers (located in the Netherlands) before ending up at the malicious server, located in the United States.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 15th 2014 8:03am
YouTube Has Paid $1 Billion To Copyright Holders Via ContentID; What Happened To Stories About It Destroying Content?
from the curious... dept
However, reality is looking pretty different these days. A couple months ago, Businessweek had a big cover story about how YouTube has become Hollywood's "hit factory", and just this week, YouTube revealed that its ContentID program, which allows copyright holders to monetize unauthorized uses of their works, had paid out over $1 billion since its inception. This isn't to say there aren't problems with ContentID. We've noted in the past the problems with false flagging, revenue diversion and other issues -- but the simple fact is that it appears to be making money for content creators. Actually, quite a lot of money.
And this brings us back to a key point that we've hit on over and over and over again: given a chance to operate, these business models tend to come about without the need to pass draconian copyright laws and without the need to completely takedown and destroy businesses. When allowed to thrive, innovate and experiment, it's only natural that workable business models develop. We've seen it over and over again in the industry. The recording industry insisted radio was going to kill the entire industry -- and then it made the industry into a massive juggernaut. The movie industry insisted that the VCR would be its "Boston Strangler," but four years later home video outpaced the box office in generating revenue for the studios.
The continuous claims of "Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley" on copyright issues is so clearly bogus. As we've argued for years, it's the innovations of the tech industry that keep saving the entertainment industry over and over and over again. There's no "war" between the two when it appears that Silicon Valley is the one supplying the "weapons" that's making Hollywood very, very wealthy.
But when will those folks in Hollywood learn this? Instead, they keep attacking these new services, demanding more copyright "enforcement" and blocking these forms of innovation. Who knows what other innovations might have occurred had the industry not shut down Veoh. Or Grokster. Before the US government completely shut down Megaupload, it was experimenting with new revenue models were attracting the interest of lots of famous musicians. Imagine if that had been allowed to continue. Who knows what other kinds of cool business models would be in place today making more money for artists.
Attacking innovation seems to be the legacy entertainment industry's default position, no matter how many times that innovation actually opens up new markets, provides new revenue streams and makes pretty much everyone better off. Oh, except some of the gatekeepers. Those guys tend not to be able to keep quite as much of the revenue generated by these new platforms. And maybe, just maybe, that's the real reason they're so angry about innovation.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 19th 2014 12:28pm
from the here-we-go-again dept
We've highlighted some of the examples in the past, but here are two examples from that first album, of taking a random video that most wouldn't consider to be anything all that special and turning into a part of an amazing project. We'll start with taking a simple kid playing a scale on a trumpet which becomes integral to an entire (great) funk song. Here's the trumpet bit:
Unfortunately, however, there's already been some (now resolved) controversy with this new work. One of the cello players, Deryn Cullen, featured in this work apparently complained to Kutiman. It's this video in which she plays Bach's Prelude from Cello Suite no 2 in d minor. She apparently was initially upset and felt that Kutiman should have first asked permission to use her performance. After they talked it over, and she understood the nature of the project (and, perhaps, because she saw how much positive attention it was getting), she agreed that she was happy to be a part of it. It's good that they were able to have a discussion on this and come to a mutual appreciation -- but it's yet another unfortunate situation that one comes to when we live in a world of "permission culture," where some people feel that you should always get permission first. And to sort of prove how silly this is, one need only ask whether or not Cullen received permission from the estate of Johann Sebastian Bach before performing his piece.
I'm happy it worked out in the end, but imagine if every time someone wanted to create new music they had to get permission from everyone up and down the chain whose work played a part? What's happening here, with Kutiman, is so blatantly obviously brilliantly creative, new and original -- and yet, under our broken copyright laws it might be deemed "infringing" by some, "derivative" by others, and illegal by many. Isn't that a problem? Isn't the idea behind copyright law to encourage new and beautiful works like these? Adding the friction and tollbooth of "permission culture" to the process would make this kind of artwork impossible, and that would be a loss to everyone.
Fri, Sep 5th 2014 11:19am
from the getting-it-wrong dept
Following the horrific actions of ISIS/ISIL, in which the group beheaded American journalist James Foley and plastered the video in online forums like Twitter and YouTube, I argued that it is important that the American Public be given the chance to repudiate the aim of the video: paralyzing us with fear. Adding to that thought, Glenn Greenwald argued that the reason one must fight against censorship in the most egregious of speech cases is that such cases are often where the limitation of speech is legitimized. While this may not be a First Amendment consideration, since those sites are not affiliated with the government, it would be a mistake to suggest that free speech is limited as a concept to that narrow legal definition. Free and open speech is an ideal, one that is codified into law in some places, and one which enjoys a more relaxed but important status within societal norms.
I can only assume it's a lack of understanding in both arguments above that has led one Forbes writer to rush to praise YouTube for taking down the latest ISIS/ISIL video. You've almost certainly heard that another American has been beheaded at the hands of civilization's enemy, yet you'll have a much harder time finding the video of Steven Sotloff's death on YouTube this time around. Jeff Bercovici suggests this is a good thing.
With 100 hours of new footage uploaded every minute, YouTube says it doesn’t, and couldn’t, prescreen content, relying on users to flag violations. In this case, its monitors were, unfortunately, expecting the Sotloff video to be posted after weeks of threats by his captors and a widely circulated video plea by his mother to spare his life. That readiness allowed them to remove the video and shut down the account that posted it within hours.This is how you get an American public uninformed about the brutality of groups like ISIS/ISIL. It's how you legitimize terror groups who themselves wish to impose limitations on the types of things the people under their rule are allowed to see and do. It's the start of how the American public is refused the opportunity to witness the full story. And that last part is especially egregious in a time and place where images rule the news cycle. Here the public is, inundated with the story of an American journalist being murdered at the hands of a group that considers that public a target for violence, and the public isn't even given the opportunity to see the images at hand.
This, of course, isn't to argue that people should be forced to watch the brutality. But, as I argued before, denying the American people the opportunity to disabuse ISIS/ISIL of the notion that they can scare us into inaction is something we shouldn't stand for. YouTube can do this, but they shouldn't, and they certainly shouldn't be praised for it.
YouTube, on the other hand, has given itself more latitude to make judgement calls by basing its policies on common sense rather than First Amendment absolutism...For tech companies to embrace the principle of free expression is laudable — but they should also leave themselves the maneuverability to deal with bad actors who care nothing for that or any other civilized value.This misunderstands the most important value of free speech: allowing the evil in the world to identify itself. Once we start down the road of disappearing the speech we deem to not have any value, you open the door for alternative interpretations of the value on a whole host of other speech. Censoring the bad actors doesn't make them go away, it only refuses to shine the public light on them. It keeps people from being able to confront the horrible reality that exists and the group that wants to do us harm. That can't be allowed to continue.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 12:33pm
Premier League Uses Copyright To Pull Down YouTube Video Of Professor Advocating For Stronger Copyright For Premier League
from the circular-reasoning dept
The Institute for Information Law (IViR) recently held its Information Influx event, and it included a panel discussion on "Who Owns the World Cup?" discussing the very question of copyright and sports clips. IViR put video of all the sessions online, but if you go visit the "Who Owns the World Cup" video, you'll see this instead:
Amazingly, it appears that the only clips of Premier League matches were shown in a presentation by Prof. Lionel Bently who was arguing in favor of stronger copyright protection for sporting events. As Thomas Margoni from IViR explains in his post about this, this seems like an "own goal" for the Premier League, abusing copyright law to censor a legal discussion in which the "offender" is advocating on their own behalf:
It is not unlikely that the FA Premier League requested the removal on a semi-automatic basis without really watching the video (a sort of good faith mistake) and hopefully YouTube will reinstate the video soon. In spite of the abovementioned brilliant intervention by a leading IP scholar arguing in favor of more (copyright) protection for sporting events, I am inclined to say that right now, looking at the disconsolate face that appears instead of the video on the blocked YouTube webpage, sports organizers have enough rights as it is.But, you know, gotta take it down, because "copyright."
Not so much a penalty as an own goal.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 23rd 2014 10:01am
Musician Whose Works Are At Center Of Copyright Lawsuit Against YouTube Star Slams Lawsuit And Copyright
from the good-for-him dept
Phan's spokesperson is apparently claiming that she had a license. Ultra insists she did not. Perhaps as interesting, rather than just claiming statutory damages of $150,000 (the maximum for willful), it leaves open the possibility of going after her for "actual damages." This almost never happens in a copyright lawsuit, in part because actual damages are nearly impossible to prove (often because there are none). However, Phan is apparently making a ton of money these days, so the company seems to be leaving open the possibility that it can score some of the "profits" from the video. Though, I imagine they'll have a hell of a time proving that the profits are due to the music, rather than the other parts of the video.
Still, what makes this most interesting is that one of the musicians whose music is at the center of the case, Kaskade, has spoken out strongly in support of Phan, arguing that "copyright law is a dinosaur," that he supports Phan rather than his label and... that she has great taste in music. He also has highlighted that having folks like Phan promote his music helps people love that music (and buy it too):
When I signed with Ultra, I kissed goodbye forever the rights to own my music. They own it. And now Sony owns them. So now Sony owns my music. I knew that going in. Soundcloud is beholden to labels to keep copyright protected music (read: all music put out by a label, any label) off their site unless authorized by the label. Am I authorized to post my music? Yep. Does their soulless robot program know that? Not so much. So some stuff they pulled was mistakenly deleted, but some tracks were absolutely rule breakers. The mash ups. (Read about those little beauties in “Politicking of a Mash Up”.) I post mash ups mainly because I don’t need to keep these things tucked under my pillow, pulling out my little Precious only to be played at gigs. You want to hear it? Grab it. Like it? Great. The end.But then he digs in deep on how broken copyright law is, how scared old men running record labels are doing stupid things, and how it's all harming musicians:
But the labels, they aren’t feeling this approach so much.
There’s always been this cagey group of old men who are scared to death of people taking their money. Back in the day, they were upset that the technology existed to record onto cassette tapes directly from the radio. “What! (Harumph!) Why will people buy music if they can just pull it out of the air?!” Yet, people still bought music. Because it was more accessible. Because more people were exposed. Because Mikey played it for Joey on the corner and then Joey had to have it. It’s music, and we buy what we love. We can’t love music we haven’t heard.And, from there, he notes that music sharing has been great for musicians by getting them more attention. And he argues that the labels should get with the program:
Innovation helps the music industry. The industry only needs to make the effort to keep up and adapt. Make no mistake: exposing as many people as possible to music - all music - is a good thing. Everyone wins. The artist, the audience, even the old guys who just want some more cash.
The laws that are governing online music share sites were written at a time when our online and real-life landscapes were totally different. Our marching orders are coming from a place that’s completely out of touch and irrelevant. They have these legal legs to stand on that empower them to make life kind of a pain-in-the-ass for people like me. And for many of you. Countless artists have launched their careers though mash ups, bootlegs, remixes and music sharing. These laws and page take-downs are cutting us down at the knees.
And yo, musicians definitely need knees.
We have moved beyond the exhausting notion that our greedy hands need to hold onto these tunes so tightly. The world just doesn’t work like that anymore. I’d happily parse out the pieces of every song I’ve made for others to use. Remix that. Use that. Think you could do it better? Show me. It’s laughable to assert that someone is losing money owed to them because I’m promoting music that I’ve written and recorded. Having the means to expose music to the masses is a deft tool to breathe new life into and promote a song. It’s the most compelling advertising, really.It's a great read. And yet, now his works are at the center of a massive lawsuit that could end up costing someone millions of dollars even as he speaks out against the lawsuit. And, of course, Ultra could have just made use of YouTube's ContentID tools to either monetize or silence or take down Phan's videos. But, instead, the company chose to sue. It's not hard to see why. With so many of these lawsuits it's the same thing: jealousy. They see Phan being successful -- and they stupidly believe that it's just because of the music. And so they want their cut. And the way to do that is to sue. Because these days, that's pretty much all the legacy music industry knows how to do. To file lawsuits that just anger pretty much everyone else -- including the very musicians they claim to "represent."
But it’s more than advertising. It’s sharing. If a person likes one song, then you know what’s likely to happen? They’ll press the download arrow and own it for free. You won’t believe what happens next! They become familiar with the artist, and seek out other material. Maybe they buy that. Maybe they talk about it online. Maybe they go to a show. Maybe they simply become a fan and tell a friend.
I’m cool with that. The labels should be too. It’s exactly what they’re trying to accomplish by funneling endless money for Facebook Likes, Twitter trending hashtags, and totally ridiculous impotent advertising campaigns. Let the people have the music. Or, to put it in language that makes more sense for the ones who can only speak dollar bill - Free the music, and your cash will follow.
by Tim Cushing
Mon, Jul 14th 2014 2:14pm
from the please-file-counter-notice-in-nearest-recycle-bin dept
As noted recently, Soundcloud has given Universal Music Group the power to directly take down content, bypassing the site's internal takedown process as well as the few remedies it offers users who wish to dispute deletions. YouTube has also given UMG this same level of access, again bypassing the normal notice and takedown system.
While sites may claim (as Soundcloud did) that they need to give powerful rights holders direct access in order to comply with the DMCA, this simply isn't true. Utilizing the normal notice-and-takedown system would be more than adequate. The only thing giving a label direct access does is increase the amount of abuse.
It's long been noted that the DMCA takedown process tends to encourage rights holders to disregard fair use and fire off notices. The toothless "perjury" language included at the bottom of every takedown notice is almost never enforced, making false or bad claims painless for those sending takedowns.
UMG, with its direct access, certainly isn't going to consider fair use when it starts pulling the plug on content, as one YouTube remix artist discovered. Elisa Kreisinger has been remixing cultural touchstones for years. This video -- one that never even made it past YouTube's upload process -- was no different.
Last August, I saw Jay Z’s HBO mini-documentary commemorating his 6-hour “unprecedented performance experience” of “Picasso Baby” at Pace Gallery. The movie was ripe for remixing: Within the first minute, Jay Z reflects on the similarities between performance art and his usual concert performances, arguing that art galleries have separated art from mass culture, presumably unintentionally.The reason was simply this: where fair use could be reasonably argued, UMG (and its bots/lawyers) saw nothing more than two of its videos being "stolen."
With one simple twist, I recontextualized select scenes of his performance and set it to Taylor Swift’s “22." The remix illustrates how both Jay Z and Swift use their status as outsiders to relate to audiences despite being very much insiders. [...] I uploaded the mashup to YouTube on Aug. 5, 2013, and it was immediately blocked globally. Ten months later, I finally uncovered the reason.
It turns out no defense would have revived my video. YouTube had cut a private deal that gave Universal Music Group the power to take down any video, even those videos (like mine and countless others, including creators as diverse as Patrick McKay and Megaupload) that didn’t require Universal’s permission in the first place.The only plus side was that's UMG's deletion didn't result in a strike against Kreisinger's account. But that's of little comfort when fair use is steamrolled by "contractual obligations" YouTube (or Soundcloud) really don't need to have in place to stay compliant with the DMCA.
When fair use gets damaged, so does free speech.
Fair use prevents rightsholders from silencing critics with the threat of a copyright infringement lawsuit. By giving UMG the ability to take down videos that use their content regardless of fair use, YouTube has given UMG sweeping power to control what is – and is not – said about UMG and UMG artists. UMG should not be asking for this kind of power, and YouTube should not be granting it.Labels and copyright industry lobbyists love to call these sorts of deals "voluntary." But they aren't. They're coercive. Lobbyists lean on politicians and politicians lean on internet services to do more to help out struggling, billion-dollar industries. Rather than see IP laws get any worse (or target them any more specifically), they comply with increasingly ridiculous demands. And the users pay the price by having their uploads deleted, their accounts closed and their mouths shut -- all without any genuine level of recourse.
by Tim Cushing
Fri, Jul 11th 2014 7:34am
from the WB-execs-say-real-life-story-needs-more-villains dept
You used to be able to watch it on YouTube, where it had racked up nearly three million views before this happened.
Apparently, Warner Bros. Entertainment took issue with the use of the theme song and the inclusion of the two Lego Movie characters (seen briefly near the end of the 90-second video) and issued a takedown. Whether or not you agree with Greenpeace's complaint, there's no denying the fact that its use of the theme song and very brief use of these characters is clearly parodic fair use.
Greenpeace has now moved the video to Vimeo, where it will possibly receive a stronger fair use defense from the hosting company, although still in the form of "oblige takedown request first, investigate later." It may work a little harder to defend this one up front, considering all the viewers that were heading to YouTube to catch Greenpeace's new viral video are now landing on its doorstep.
Warner Bros.' action here isn't exactly censorship (as it probably was agnostic about the video's message) but it's not exactly forgivable either. Seeing as this video probably didn't trigger an automated takedown by YouTube's content-matching system, it was most likely the result of an active search for infringement, which means whoever's policing content for WB ignored everything but the song and the brief appearance of its Lego Movie characters. Once again, digital shouts of "MINE!" trump fair use.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jul 7th 2014 3:30pm
from the good-for-them dept
Of course, all the public shaming in the world isn't going to matter much if ISPs are free to clog up interconnection points and you have no real competition to go to.