ISPs, the UK government and ads on pirate music sites

pirate2The world of online advertising is a pretty complex business. Media agencies buy advertising space on behalf of clients through ad exchanges with automated processes matching advertisers’ criteria to inventory offered by online publishers. This enables advertisers to gain placements and reach their target audience across a much broader selection of websites. From the loading of a web page to an ad being displayed, an auction has taken place and the winner’s ad is presented, all in just a few milliseconds. However, the process can sometimes result in ads showing up on sites they shouldn’t. Some brands take steps to avoid this and others act quickly when notified. But some don’t, and that is a big problem for content rights holders.

Big brand ads funding pirate music sites
Ovum has just published Music & Copyright’s fourth annual survey of ads on pirate music sites. This time around, the survey focused on the popular site Hulkshare and a search for the Rita Ora track Will Never Let You Down. Big name brands with ads found on the site included Lloyds Bank, Eurostar, Ford and Scottish Power. However, most troubling from UK rights holders’ point of view was the presence of so many ads for ISPs and mobile operators. Even an ad from a UK government department made it onto the site. Continue reading “ISPs, the UK government and ads on pirate music sites”


Has the music industry forgiven Justin Timberlake for his MySpace links and accusations of artist exploitation?

myspace_2452447bDepending on where a musician sits in the music industry value chain, a top-10 list of what’s most important to an unsigned artist will differ greatly to one compiled by a million-album seller. Scratching a living out of music is something tens of thousands of musicians do every day. Although the Internet has opened up the promotion and distribution of music to anyone with a computer, it has also made selling music a lot more difficult as almost every single release in a digital-music store is available for free somewhere online. Continue reading “Has the music industry forgiven Justin Timberlake for his MySpace links and accusations of artist exploitation?”

Is the BBC report on the effectiveness of the Pirate Bay block missing the point?

Earlier this week the BBC reported the drop in file sharing following the court-ordered block of the Pirate Bay (TPB) was short-lived (link to article). The BBC said it had been shown data by an unnamed major UK ISP which confirmed that P2P activity on the ISP’s network had returned to just below normal one week after the block was put in place. Should we all be surprised by this? Of course not. Stopping Internet users in the UK from accessing TPB won’t stop them file sharing. What will stop them file sharing is if ISPs blocked access to all file sharing services. Interestingly enough, most ISPs’ customer-use policies make it clear that the Internet service provided should not be used to infringe copyright. In fact, the usage policy usually forms part of a contract, and therefore any breach of this contract should result in the customer’s account being terminated. Such a scenario never happens. Continue reading “Is the BBC report on the effectiveness of the Pirate Bay block missing the point?”

Is now the right time to tinker with HADOPI Mr Hollande?

Political change has come to France and the impact of the switch to a socialist president, following the election of François Hollande earlier this month, could be felt by the music industry. Hollande has begun looking at reforming tough anti-piracy measures despite claims from the music industry that targeting file sharers is beginning to generate increased interest in the legal digital sector. Continue reading “Is now the right time to tinker with HADOPI Mr Hollande?”

Consolidation in the music publishing sector is set to shake up Pan-European licensing

The European Commission (EC) is planning to publish draft legislation proposals early next year that will include new rules for the cross-border licensing of digital music. For several years representatives of the EC have expressed a mixture of mild irritation and outright annoyance over the licensing process for digital-music services in Europe. The number of such services has grown rapidly in the region, but several service providers continue to bemoan the time-consuming process involved in securing rights to operate in several countries. New business models specializing in digital-music delivery have brought change to collection societies, but according to some service providers, rights remain fragmented, and some providers have questioned whether the major publishers’ Pan-European initiatives have simply added a new layer of fragmentation and complexity to the licensing process, with Europe’s largest collection societies the only ones seeing any benefit. Continue reading “Consolidation in the music publishing sector is set to shake up Pan-European licensing”

Are blue-chip companies unknowingly supporting pirate music sites?

Pirate-music sites offering free music downloads are being indirectly funded by a wide range of blue-chip companies. A survey conducted by Music & Copyright in the UK has found that all of the companies whose advertising appeared on a selection of pirate sites were unaware of the ads’ presence. Should these companies know where their ads are going? Continue reading “Are blue-chip companies unknowingly supporting pirate music sites?”

Brands and artists: the delicate balancing act between rights and obligations

Artist endorsements of products and services, as well as company sponsorships of tours and festivals, have been a part of the music industry for many years, and examples of successful alliances between brands and artists are numerous. Although ensuring that all interests are served without limiting artists’ creativity can be a complex process, achieving the right balance between rights and obligations can be beneficial for all concerned. We asked Ailish McKenna, a solicitor with Bray & Krais Solicitors for her take on what restrictions brands can reasonably impose on artists.

The word “partnership” can be used to describe a whole range of relationships in varying settings. In the area of brand endorsements, the word is commonly used to define the nature of the relationship between the brand and the artist chosen to endorse certain goods and services under that brand. Both parties entering into a media partnership have their own interests to serve. The hope and the intention is of course that a mutually beneficial and fruitful alliance will unfold. Continue reading “Brands and artists: the delicate balancing act between rights and obligations”