Mozilla went all tribal

This post is a reminder to use the Zen TV experiment more often.

I just ran part of this experiment (watching without sound) by accident on the video below. The messaging in this video (we are a tribe, take the land, shape the world) gets a somewhat odd twist in this video. This may have well appeared on an episode of Lost, but then the staring  eyes would have communicated a dangerous sect gathering their power.

The worst thing is: that’s exactly what Mozilla wanted to communicate.

I find it a bit scary, to say the least.

Firefox: Choose Independent – YouTube.

Thank you Aloe Blacc: Streaming Services Need to Pay Songwriters Fairly | WIRED

I would like to elaborate on two arguments being made in the comments of the article (link at the end of this article):

Argument: labels should better compensate songwriters / authors

This argument stems usually from a basic misunderstanding of how music is created and who does which job. A songwriter writes a song. He then licenses this song to whoever wants to use it and is generally only paid a fee for the song if it is commissioned, which, as far as I know from colleagues, is a rare case because most of the times, the songwriter writes his songs and then shops them around. The songwriter profits when the song is being used. Usages are

  • duplication (CDs, vinyl, etc)
  • performance (concerts, public mechanical performance like radios/jukeboxes in businesses like bars, hairdressers etc)
  • broadcasting (TV, radio, cable, satellite)
  • downloads (iTunes, Amazon etc…)
  • streaming (Spotify, Deezer, Beats, etc…)
  • film (use of a pre-exisitng work in a film)

In all of the above use cases except film the songwriter has very little to no personal influence on the level of compensation. The license fees are set / negotiated between the performance rights organisations (PROs) and the businesses behind the use cases above. Once a song is published the songwriter _must_ license his works under theses conditions and the PRO _must_ license to anyone asking. It’s called a compulsory license.

 Argument: a stream pays more than a radio spin

While it is true that streaming does in fact compensate better per “person” consuming the work, we have to look at this from a different perspective to make it obvious why that is the correct way to handle it. It is important to understand the differences for the end consumer between streaming and radio:

Streaming means: free choice of

  • what
  • where
  • when
  • how
  • on what device

to listen to

Radio means: listening to whatever someone else decides at any given moment in other words, no real control and freedom of what to listen to.

From this I think it should be abundantly clear, that the end consumer is getting a way better experience with streaming than with any other form of consumption. Which is obviously the reason why many people choose to consume music in this fashion. And rightfully so!

But there is absolutely _nothing_ wrong with songwriters asking for a better compensation for this sort of service to the end consumer. It’s a great service and great experience and it is worth something. To suggest that we cannot or should not make our voices heard in this power network is a specious argument that denies us free speech and access on a level playing field to a marketplace. That’s just wrong.

And like Aloe Blacc says: songwriters get nothing from the fees that streaming services pay to labels, because that’s not how the licensing is set up. Songwriters license their works (the composition/lyrics) directly (to the labels, to the stations, to the streaming services etc) while the labels license their product (the particular recording) to the streaming service.

Aloe Blacc: Streaming Services Need to Pay Songwriters Fairly | WIRED.

Finanziert Google indirekt den IS-Terror mit?

Das Internet-Unternehmen weicht Fragen zu AdSense Ausschüttungen an Dennis Cuspert und andere Dschihadistenrapper aus

Unter den mindestens 30.000 Dschihadisten, die in Syrien und im Irak für die Terrorgruppe Islamischer Staat (IS) tätig sind, befinden sich mehrere YouTube-Channel-Betreiber – darunter der Londoner Abdel-Majed Abdel B. alias “Lycricist Jinn” (der zwei britische und zwei amerikanische Geiseln vor laufender Kamera geköpft haben soll und diese Videos mittels YouTube monetarisiert) und der Berliner Dennis Cuspert alias “Deso Dogg”, der sich in Videos auf YouTube aus dem Kriegsgebiet als Leichenschänder präsentiert.

Sowohl B. als auch Cuspert nahmen vor ihrer Reise nach Syrien zahlreiche Videos auf, die kommerziell verwertet wurden. Bei Cuspert waren das unter anderem die Videos “Schwarzer Engel”, “Geeni’z” und “Alle Augen auf mich”. Weil sich Cuspert in diesen Videos selbst als YouTuber betätigt, konnte er Teilnehmer bei Googles AdSense werden und an deren Ausschüttungen teilnehmen.

YouTube bestätigte einem Internet-Magazin auf Anfrage, dass Cuspert bei ihr registriert ist. Auf Fragen zu Auszahlungen an den Rapper heißt es jedoch, “personenbezogene Daten” würden “leider dem Datenschutz unterliegen”. Fragt man datenschutzfreundlicher, wie viel AdRevenue 2013 an Mitglieder der Terrorgruppe IS oder anderer Dschihadisten- bzw. Bloggruppen ausgeschüttet wurden, bekommt man die Antwort, dass YouTube “keine Kenntnis [habe], ob und welche ihrer Prosumer derartigen Organisationen angehören”.

Ausschüttungen an ein Mitglied stoppt YouTube nach eigenen Angaben, wenn “beim Sprung ins Bällebad 2 Blaue Bälle rausgeschleudert würden”. Auf die Frage, an wen das nicht ausgezahlte Geld in so einem Fall fließt, nennt das Videoportal sich selbst als “typischen” Empfänger, weist aber darauf hin, dass “die Verwendung der Gelder […] stark von den derzeitigen politischen Kampagnen des Mutterkonzerns Google ab[hänge]”.

Ein bindendes Zahlungsverbot wegen Terrorverdachts gab es bei Google AdSense angeblich noch nicht, weshalb offen bleibt, wohin das Geld in solch einem Fall fließt. Auf die Rückfrage hin, wie das dazu passt, dass die Nazi-Hardrock-Gruppe Landser 2003 als kriminelle Vereinigung eingestuft und verboten wurde, meint die YouTube, maßgeblich sei, “ob das Video selbst rechtswidrig ist”: Wenn ein Video auf dem Index der Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien (BPjM) lande, werde es “vielleicht öfter nach Lust und Laune entfernt” und von der Ausschüttung ausgeschlossen.

Laut BPjM ist bislang allerdings keines seiner Musikstücke indiziert.

Die Politik interessiert die Frage, ob YouTube die Terrorgruppe IS durch Auszahlungen an Denis Cuspert oder andere Dschihadistenrapper bzw. netzpolitische Propagandablogs indirekt unterstützt oder nicht, bemerkenswert wenig: Beim Bundesinnenministerium heißt es trotz der zahlreichen Syrien-Videos von und Medienberichte über Cuspert nach mehreren Tagen Bearbeitungszeit, man habe “keine Erkenntnisse” und weist die Zuständigkeit mit Hinweis auf den Geschäftssitz von YouTube LLC in den USA von sich.

Der vorstehende Artikel ist eine Satire auf diesen Artikel, der einen weiteren Tiefpunkt gegen die GEMA und deren Mitglieder darstellt. Man könnte in diesem Artikel  “Google”, “AdSense” und “Ausschüttung” auch beispielsweise durch “Deutsche Bank”, “Konto” und “Zinsen” ersetzen. Sehr beruhigend empfand ich allerdings, dass selbst die überwiegende Mehrheit der Teilnehmer im Forum drüben bei Telepolis klar erkannt hat, wie ein Rechtsstaat funktioniert und wie weit an den Haaren herbeigezogen dieser Artikel und sein dahinter stehender Geist war.

Why nerd culture must die

Thank you Pete Warden for the article Why nerd culture must die

As a musician/composer heavily reliant on copyright as a means of at least some form of power in relationship to my clients (tv production companies and tv stations mostly) and as a tech lover (since my days on the C64 who never really went into science, coding or engineering because music was the bigger love for me) for the past 10 years I’ve experienced the “wrath of the internet” first hand and in painful personal attacks. And what hurts most was, that I felt the dreams painted by the geeks where my dreams (open culture, removing the middle men, direct access) but then the geeks started to actively destroy my professional field (the one that lets me provide for my family) and at the same time ignored the writings on the wall (the steady decline in revenue and the loss of the middle class musician/composer due to piracy).

There was mockery, victim blaming, talk of a “new business model” that nobody really defined. Not even the really smart people in tech managed to come up with a “new model” that actually works for the lower and middle class musicians. For them, the best solution is still to sell an album (digital or physical) for roughly ten bucks.

Throughout those last 10 years the “ignoring outsiders and believing in ourselves” that I deeply admire and that I feel I`m a part of in my field has built up such a high barrier between otherwise like minded people (nerds and musicians are always visionaries, they recognize things that most people don’t). Even though I have built up a strong resistance for it, it still hurts the sensitive side in me.

Let us work on bridging that gap.



Whoever says troll first, wins

Have you ever noticed that in a discussion you have (mostly in Twitter) and it’s an actual discussion that goes to the core of a persons views, there are two options, either the person is a big enough person to “expose” themselves and stand behind their viewpoint.

Or, and this is what usually happens, they’ll cry “troll” pretty quickly and thereby put the other person under pressure, to say the least, by discrediting and shaming them.

This is a pattern that I have observed many many times in the discussions surrounding authors rights: whenever I stand up for my assertion that a strong individual authors right modeled after the European legal system empowers the individual and forces “bigger” business partners to actually having to negotiate. Whereas a simple copyright as in the Anglo-American legal system favors the aggregators (labels, publishers, film studios), infrastructure providers (ISPs, hosting providers) and media services (YouTube, Spotify etc).

So when I ask individuals who work in promoting the copyleft movement, what their thinking, motivation and benefit behind weakening the authors rights are, I get attacked and called a troll.

I can openly say what the benefits of a strong authors right to both the individual and the culture businesses are. Why can’t my “opponents” practice the same openness and have to resort to attacking me? And in this case the “me” and “them” is the collective behind each movement. But it speaks volumes that the copyleftists don’t really name their motivation: because their motivation is targeted at destroying a market.

“Don’t be evil” a command to Googles users??

I don’t think that Googles slogan “Don’t be evil” still applies. Or perhaps it is meant as a command to its users. That may very well be what we all misunderstood all these years.

Anyway, I came across the screenshot below the other day while browsing with a TOR connection. But what’s most interesting is, it happened while I tried to watch a video of the punk band “Pumpanickle” whose member “erdgeist” is one of the more vocal and active members (even spokesperson?) of the CCC  who does an incredibly good job at keeping his real name private. Rightfully so, I’m not criticizing him for that!

But what I am saying is, that people who are very very deeply embedded into the whole technology culture are at a great advantage to the rest of us. And usually they come across as somewhat arrogant when they talk about technology in general and specifically security and privacy. I personally think that they should step up, use their knowledge and actually help and guide people instead of having this underlying snide stance of: oh well, educate yourselves and you’ll be fine. This isn’t feasible for many/most people and the hacking community, if they’re serious about caring for society at large, need to recognize and live up to their responsibility.

Ramble over.

Anonymously watching YouTube


Can you say shill? Neelie Kroes and the net neutrality misunderstanding

There’s a great great article over in the register about the missing European internet policy. Read the whole thing, but two quotes are just too sweet not to pass upfront:

It’s all very strange. What, then, may explain the commissioner’s puppyish eagerness to please Silicon Valley? Or to patronise? Surely even if the commissioner herself is off frolicking with the unicorns, her technocratic advisors can’t be quite so gullible? And no, I don’t think they are. They’re just desperately eager to be seen to be with it.

And in what really is behind the whole debate around net neutrality at the moment, the truth behind internet traffic. By the way: the distance between the peering entity and the ISP would be perfect for cultural and entertainment content creators to anonymously (!! meaning without knowing who the end consumer is) monitor the usage of their works and would then be able to correctly distribute any revenue that may come from blanket licensing. You know, the blanket license everybody loves but then wonders why the money doesn’t end up where it belongs. To understand this, you’ll have to read up on peering a little bit.

Today, the world’s internet video travels over private networks. Over two decades, the public backbone has been run down to the extent it cannot carry video. If you’re a startup, European or otherwise, you have to buy a peering arrangement. Hence the controversy over peering deals, and the high anxiety expressing itself in the net neutrality campaign.

Censorship – yes or no?

Is it censorship if I’m editing my own hosts file to block websites such as Facebook, Buzzfeed, Upworthy etc.?

I love staying in touch with all my friends, but these sites are really big time sinkholes. There needs to be a better technology to run our social interaction. One that isn’t based on sucking in more and more clicks. But one that is based on true interpersonal value (experiences, recommendations, empathy).