Hypocritical Media Hogs and Their Digital Hang-ups

The other day I blogged about Edgar Bronfman’s disclosure that he spanked his kids (or something) for all the music they illegally downloaded.

Now Reuters’ MediaFile blog details the iPod obsessions of the media moguls who attended last week’s Reuters Media Summit.

The follow-up questions aren’t printed, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that these big-timers took advantage of much of this digital media free-of-charge, and most likely with comped iPods as well. Plus, they’re all hooked on TiVo and/or satellite radio, wisely avoiding the endless spew of lame adverts for, uh, TiVo and iPod (and Chevy). Check these excerpts and ask yourself if these cats have ever dropped a dime on a rhyme:

Richard Parsons, CEO / Chairman, Time Warner: “I like music. I have iPods everywhere. I had the whole bunch of (the Warner music collection) files put on before we sold it….”

Dick Cook, Chairman, Walt Disney Studios: “…For fun, I have a little iTunes and that kind of stuff. The only time I get to read books is when I listen to it so I have a lot of books on iTunes.”

JEAN-MARIE DRU, CEO, TBWA/CHIAT/DAY WORLDWIDE: “…I have five kids, so we are 7 at home and we have more than 15 or 16 iPods in the family.”

Ah, behold the aristocrats pirates of megalomediahackland.

Originally posted in the Set-Top Cop blog on December 3, 2006

Universal Goes After Bank of America for U2 “One” Parody

How broke-ass will UMG and their copyright hounds get? Maria Aspan @ The New York Times tackles this hilarity:

A video of two Bank of America employees singing a version of U2’s “One” to commemorate their company’s acquisition of MBNA recently made the rounds of the blogs, prompting amusement and some ridicule from online viewers.

But the intended comic effect of their performance and the retooled lyrics (“One spirit, we get to share it/Leading us all to higher standards”) seemed lost on lawyers on the lookout for copyright violations.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for the Universal Music Publishing Group, a catalog owner and administrator, posted the text of a cease-and-desist letter in the comments section of Stereogum.com, a Web site carrying the video. It contended that Bank of America had violated Universal’s copyright of the U2 song.

The two employees featured in the video were the guitarist, Jim Debois, a consumer market executive for Manhattan, and the singer, Ethan Chandler, a Manhattan banking center manager, who provoked much of the ridicule with his earnest interpretation and also for straying a bit far from U2’s lyrics with lines like “Integration has never had us feeling so good/and we’ll make lots of money.”

Mr. Chandler, who has independently released an album and is working on another, said he was asked to write and perform the song for an August meeting of credit card division executives at MBNA headquarters in Wilmington, Del.

He said he was surprised to learn about the cease-and-desist letter, stressing that his performance was meant for an internal audience. “There was an approved list of songs to use,” he said, “and as far I knew, that was an approved song.”

Universal said on Stereogum that it had sent the letter by fax and registered mail to Bank of America last Monday. On Friday, a bank spokeswoman, Betsy Weinberger, said the legal department had not yet received it.

The letter was signed by Raul R. Gonzalez, a lawyer for Universal Music. Reached at his office, Mr. Gonzalez said, “No comment” and hung up.

Online commentators accustomed to viral marketing said they suspected that the video was the latest corporate attempt to co-opt Internet video for promotional purposes. But Ms. Weinberger said it was “absolutely not” leaked by Bank of America as a marketing ploy.

Mr. Chandler also denied any involvement in leaking the video, although he admitted that, despite the cutting online criticism, the incident had an upside. “A lot of people thought it was fake, but I really do sing,” he said. “I’ve been doing this a long time.”

Continue reading “Universal Goes After Bank of America for U2 “One” Parody”

RIAApe Me… Again

IS the RIAA working hard behind the scenes to pass Audio Flag legislation to plug the analog hole during Congress’ lame duck session?

The *battle* is on and earlier this week, the RIAA’s Cary Sherman called BS on the Consumer Electronics Assn’s Digital Freedom docket in this op-ed published on CNET.

CEA President Gary Shapiro fired back almost immediately with this response.

I don’t trust either of these guys, quite frankly, and wonder what everybody else thinks about these association-types apparent attempt to duke it out, not to mention, Microsoft’s consent to sellout to labels for each Zune (despite fair use) sold and whether, in the end any of these efforts will lead us in any direction towards digital freedom for both consumers and creators.

Charles wrote in to Small Print Project:

…Seems like the RIAA is looking to make a push to pass the Audio Flag bill during the lame duck session. This will kill any hopes of having a digital radio recorder, much like Tivo, which companies like XM and Sirius are behind. Tonight the RIAA is sponsoring a tech demo/concert/open bar at the Russell Senate building. Special interests hard at work?

I can’t find anything at quick glance on this, but please — SOMEBODY crash it and report back!


Click to order RIAA toilet paper

More on the Sherman spin:
/. thread
Mistaken Goal posts of last week’s “revision of a white paper released in 2003 entitled ‘Background Discussion of Copyright Law and Potential Liability for Students Engaged in P2P File Sharing on University Networks.'”
Ars Technica

Originally posted November 16, 2006 at Set-Top Cop blog.