Archive for ‘Featured’

October 16, 2013

Mark Edwards Worldwide Officially Opens

by Mark E.

mewbright

For Immediate Release

Mark Edwards
Mark Edwards Worldwide
Phone 773.336.2753
Fax 562.452.8465
Mark@MarkEdwardsWorldwide.com
http://www.markedwardsworldwide.com

Now Anyone Can Work With One Of America’s Leading Social Media And Online Innovators

Mark Edwards Launches Mark Edwards Worldwide To Advise And Create Extraordinary Online Presence For Clients

St. Louis, MO – October, 16 2013 – The world of Social Media and Online Presence continues to evolve, and one of the leading practitioners in that field is making his knowledge, innovation, and experience available to select publishers, brands, and entertainers. Longtime Online innovator Mark Edwards has reopened Mark Edwards Worldwide, his multi-disciplinary consultancy based in St. Louis, Missouri to assist partners refine their Social Media activities, grow their Online Presence across a myriad of platforms, and create highly effective Branded Content.

Edwards has long been known as the radio industry’s leading innovator in the Social Media space, launching one of the first websites for a radio station in 1992 and bringing Social Media and Online Presence into the branding of radio stations for nearly two decades with companies like Viacom, CBS, and Entercom. Most recently, he’s been working on the TeshMedia Group’s online activities supporting the nationally syndicated John Tesh Radio Show, Intelligence For Your Life, a new online and television version of the radio program, and updating the Tesh.com website and mobile applications for the needs of today’s mobile-based and online audiences. TeshMedia remains a client of Mark Edwards Worldwide.

Mark Edwards Worldwide has been a pioneer in the creation of Branded Content for entertainers, CPG companies, and a host of other clients, creating awareness and sales by integrating a selling message into online content on blogs, websites, and other platforms. As the lines between advertising and editorial content continue to blur, Mark Edwards Worldwide is prepared to show clients how to take advantage of the new world of sponsoring content. Maintaining a consistent online presence is one of the keys to an effective online strategy, and Mark Edwards Worldwide is working with numerous clients to make sure their messages are communicated in the best way for each platform they use since there is no such thing as “one size fits all” in the world of Social Media and Online Presence. Maintaining a targeted messaging plan on the right Social Media platform, Website, or Blog is a hallmark of the mission of Mark Edwards Worldwide.

With headquarters in St. Louis and plans to open offices in other cities in 2014, Mark Edwards Worldwide offers a complete suite of services to help publishers, brands, and others maintain an outstanding Online Presence. Mark Edwards Worldwide can be contacted at 773.33.MARKE (773.336.2753) or at http://www.MarkEdwardsWorldwide.com.

ABOUT MARK EDWARDS Mark Edwards’ career in content creation and broadcasting spans five decades, and almost every form of media. He reopened Mark Edwards Worldwide, the multi-disciplinary media consultancy he has operated since 2007, to work with selected clients on Social Media, Online Presence, and Content Creation projects. Among his national and local clients are his latest employer, the TeshMedia Group, nationally broadcast radio programs, award-winning musicians, bestselling authors, and medical professionals. Most recently Senior Vice President of Content Development for the TeshMedia Group and John Tesh Radio show, Edwards was responsible for all online and social network activity, including website, podcast and streaming audio creation, working on the company’s video and television projects, and leading the company’s push into the world of branded content and content marketing. His work touches almost every communications platform in the online and broadcast spaces. Edwards is a longtime award winning new media, online, and broadcast programmer, manager, and innovator. His quarter of century of programming top radio stations includes WLIT/Chicago, KOSI/Denver, KYKY, KEZK, and WVRV in St. Louis and more. His pioneering work in Social Media, online marketing, and multi-platform branding is well known in the broadcasting and online industries. Among his many accomplishments are launching one of the first websites for a radio station in 1992, producing the first direct mail video for a broadcast property, and an unsurpassed track record in launching new broadcast and online brands. Few in any industry can match Edwards’ unique understanding of online strategy and tactics, as well as his deep understanding of usability and best practices for dozens of online platforms, many of which he has worked with since their inception.

# # #

Mark Edwards Vertical Hi ReZ

Mark Edwards

December 26, 2011

The Best Email I’ve Seen In Months

by Mark E.
Stop_sopa-300x300

It’s no secret that I’m strongly opposed to the SOPA and PIPA bills currently winding their way through the House and Senate.  There’s no shortage of my thoughts on this awful piece of legislation on all of my outlets on the Interwebz, and here is a summary of what the bills would do.

I have a number of web domains, some openly registered and some registered for clients.  Most of them are hosted by GoDaddy, a company who has publicly shown support for the SOPA bill.  Earlier this week, their unfortunate support for the bill came to light and a formal boycott of the company began.

I began to pull all of my sites from GoDaddy today, and I just got the greatest e mail:

=====================================================
AN IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING YOUR TRANSFER
=====================================================

 

Dear Mark Edwards,

 

This is to confirm that the following domain names have been successfully transferred away from Go Daddy to NAME.COMLLC:

 

MARKEDWARDSWORLDWIDE.COM

 

If you require additional information, please contact Go Daddy.

 

Regards,

 

Domain Services
http://www.godaddy.com/default.aspx?prog_id=GoDaddy&isc=wwbb23

 

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -
Copyright (C) 2011 Go Daddy All rights reserved.

Done.  See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.  That’s what you get for siging with Big Pharma and Hollywood and opposing an open Internet. 

My first domain is out of their hands, and therer are many more to come.  PC World says over 70,000 people have already dumped GoDaddy, and while it’s a small number for a huge company like that to lose, it’s only the beginning of the damage GoDaddy has inflicted upon itself.

It’s a huge pain to transfer a domain to a new host, but I think it’s worth the time and effort because GoDaddy is supporting a bill that could Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE fundamentally change the way the Internet works.  They claim to have backed off on their support, but they refuse to provide proof that they’ve told Congress that they aren’t supporting SOPA, and they even are on the record as being in support of the PIPA bill during Senate hearings.

I urge you to find out about the SOPA law and how it might affect you, and if you’re doing business with GoDaddy, to move your services to any of the companies who oppose this chilling legislation.

Sometimes you just have to do the right thing, even if it’s a little costly or inconvenient.  THIS is one of those times.

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December 14, 2011

How Social Media Is Ruining Our Minds [Infographic] | Geekosystem

by Mark E.

There’s no doubt about it, social media has drastically changed the way we, as humans, interact with each other. The question is, though, is it changing the way, or destroying the way? This infographic, curiously made by the folks at Assisted Living Today, suggests that social networking is shortening our attention spans and rewiring our brains and brings some science along to back it up. It’s worth questioning though, if we’re living in a world where things are making us have a shorter attention span, is that a bad thing? I mean, maybe having a short attention span was only bad before it started becoming a necessity. The world is changing, guys. Maybe we’re just changing with it.

TL;DR It’s an infographic about why you just read the TL;DR instead of the paragraph above.

(Assisted Living Today via Social Times)

Relevant to your interests

What? Huh? I wasn’t paying attention.

December 6, 2011

Are There Any HONEST Job Search Websites?

by Mark E.

I’m learning some hard lessons in the job search.

I’ve already written about the challenges companies put in the way of job seekers by using online application and evaluation systems and how hard it is to speak with a hiring manager because they hide behind these bots.

Today, I applied for a job and had to answer a few questions, would I take a drug test?, am I cleared to work in the USA?, do I have at least a Master’s Degre?  When I answered “no” to that one, I was told I didn’t meet the minium requirements for that job and the application process stopped dead.  They wouldn’t even let me submit an application or talk in a cover letter about how some 35 years of work experience taught me a lot more than a Master’s Degree.  Thank YOU, Anheuser Busch, for being so open minded.

I’ve signed up for quite a few job sites, and I know they all want to show the people who list with them that they can deliver the best candidates, but sites like monster.com send me e mails every day with a list of jobs I’m neither qualified for or interested in taking.  Yeah, I’d be a GREAT over the road hauler.

Sites like TheLadders.com seem to exist only to take job seekers’ money, not to really help them. Many of the jobs the list are already filled, when I sent a note asking for customer service, got an auto-response saying it would cost me at least $25 to interact with someone who could help me. This is what bounced back to me:

10:26 AM
to me
Dear Reader,

This is an automated email. Thanks for writing in!

Live support from one of our Job Search Advisors is reserved for Premium members, but don’t worry – there’s lots of other ways you can get support.

If you’d simply like to make a change to your membership please visit: http://www.theladders.com/updateinfo

The best way to get any membership questions answered is by chatting with us. Please click on the link below to start chatting now:

If you’re experiencing technical troubles you can reach out to the tech support team directly by calling 1-877-302-4239.

Best,
TheLadders Team

I know we’re all in business to make money, but it doesn’t seem right for The Ladders and other job sites to bait and switch job seekers like that.  Since they wouldn’t even look at my note without money changing hands, I posted a note on their CEO’s blog (which has since been removed) explaining how I felt about the way they do business.

I did get a call from some flunky in The Ladders office who confirmed that therre were indeed dead ends and jobs that didn’t exist on their site and that he had personally seen that one of the jobs they sent me was not an actual listing.  Then he offered me a two week trial of their “Premium Service” but I’d still have to give him a credit card and be responsible for cancelling the special trial or I’d be billed up to $25 a month automatically.  Are you KIDDING me?  You treat me like dirt and then try to extract money from me?  An amazing case of indifference at best, predatory taking advantage of the unemployed at worst.

I just want to find a job that will let me keep my house and feed my family.  Why does it seem like the online job sites are all so sketchy, or seem like they’re running a scam?

BLATANT SELF SERVING PLUG: By the way, if you or someone you know is looking for an experienced online and broadcast content person, check out my profile at about.me/markedwards.

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November 18, 2011

Document Trove Exposes Surveillance Methods-Wall Street Journal

by Mark E.

By JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES, JULIA ANGWIN and STEVE STECKLOW

Documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal open a rare window into a new global market for the off-the-shelf surveillance technology that has arisen in the decade since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The techniques described in the trove of 200-plus marketing documents, spanning 36 companies, include hacking tools that enable governments to break into people’s computers and cellphones, and “massive intercept” gear that can gather all Internet communications in a country. The papers were obtained from attendees of a secretive surveillance conference held near Washington, D.C., last month.

Intelligence agencies in the U.S. and abroad have long conducted their own surveillance. But in recent years, a retail market for surveillance tools has sprung up from “nearly zero” in 2001 to about $5 billion a year, said Jerry Lucas, president of TeleStrategies Inc., the show’s operator.

Critics say the market represents a new sort of arms trade supplying Western governments and repressive nations alike. “The Arab Spring countries all had more sophisticated surveillance capabilities than I would have guessed,” said Andrew McLaughlin, who recently left his post as deputy chief technology officer in the White House, referring to the Middle Eastern and African nations racked by violent crackdowns on dissent.

The Journal this year uncovered an Internet surveillance center installed by a French firm in Libya and reported that software made by Britain’s Gamma International UK Ltd., had been used in Egypt to intercept dissidents’ Skype conversations. In October, a U.S. company that makes Internet-filtering gear acknowledged to the Journal that its devices were being used in Syria.

Companies making and selling this gear say it is intended to catch criminals and is available only to governments and law enforcement. They say they obey export laws and aren’t responsible for how the tools are used.

Trade-show organizer Mr. Lucas added that his event isn’t political. “We don’t really get into asking, ‘Is this in the public interest?'” he said.

TeleStrategies holds ISS World conferences world-wide. The one near Washington, D.C., caters mainly to U.S., Canadian, Caribbean and Latin American authorities. The annual conference in Dubai has long served as a chance for Middle Eastern nations to meet companies hawking surveillance gear.

 

Many technologies at the Washington-area show related to “massive intercept” monitoring, which can capture vast amounts of data. Telesoft Technologies Ltd. of the U.K. touted its device in its documents as offering “targeted or mass capture of 10s of thousands of simultaneous conversations from fixed or cellular networks.” Telesoft declined to comment.

California-based Net Optics Inc., whose tools make monitoring gear more efficient, presented at the show and offers a case study on its website that describes helping a “major mobile operator in China” conduct “real-time monitoring” of cellphone Internet content. The goal was to help “analyze criminal activity” as well as “detect and filter undesirable content,” the case study says.

Net Optics’ CEO, Bob Shaw, said his company follows “to the letter of the law” U.S. export regulations. “We make sure we’re not shipping to any countries that are forbidden or on the embargo list,” he said in an interview.

Among the most controversial technologies on display at the conference were essentially computer-hacking tools to enable government agents to break into people’s computers and cellphones, log their keystrokes and access their data. Although hacking techniques are generally illegal in the U.S., law enforcement can use them with an appropriate warrant, said Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School and former computer-crime attorney at the Justice Department.

The documents show that at least three companies—Vupen Security SA of France, HackingTeam SRL of Italy and Gamma’s FinFisher—marketed their skill at the kinds of techniques often used in “malware,” the software used by criminals trying to steal people’s financial or personal details. The goal is to overcome the fact that most surveillance techniques are “useless against encryption and can’t reach information that never leaves the device,” Marco Valleri, offensive-security manager at HackingTeam, said in an interview. “We can defeat that.”

Representatives of HackingTeam said they tailor their products to the laws of the country where they are being sold. The firm’s products include an auditing system that aims to prevent misuse by officials. “An officer cannot use our product to spy on his wife, for example,” Mr. Valleri said.

Mr. Valleri said HackingTeam asks government customers to sign a license in which they agree not to provide the technology to unauthorized countries.

Vupen, which gave a presentation at the conference on “exploiting computer and mobile vulnerabilities for electronic surveillance,” said its tools take advantage of security holes in computers or cellphones that manufacturers aren’t yet aware of. Vupen’s marketing documents describe its researchers as “dedicated” to finding “unpatched vulnerabilities” in software created by Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and others. On its website, the company offered attendees a “free Vupen exploit sample” that relied on an already-patched security hole.

Vupen says it restricts its sales to Australia, New Zealand, members and partners of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The company says it won’t sell to countries subject to international embargoes, and that its research must be used for national-security purposes only and in accordance with ethical practices and applicable laws.

The documents for FinFisher, a Gamma product, say it works by “sending fake software updates for popular software.” In one example, FinFisher says intelligence agents deployed its products “within the main Internet service provider of their country” and infected people’s computers by “covertly injecting” FinFisher code on websites that people then visited.

The company also claims to have allowed an intelligence agency to trick users into downloading its software onto BlackBerry mobile phones “to monitor all communications, including [texts], email and BlackBerry Messenger.” Its marketing documents say its programs enable spying using devices and software from Apple, Microsoft, and Google Inc., among others. FinFisher documents at the conference were offered in English, Arabic and other languages.

A Google spokesman declined to comment on FinFisher specifically, adding that Google doesn’t “tolerate abuse of our services.”

An Apple spokeswoman said the company works “to find and fix any issues that could compromise [users'] systems.” Apple on Monday introduced a security update to iTunes that could stop an attack similar to the type FinFisher claims to use, namely offering bogus software updates that install spyware.

Microsoft and Research In Motion Ltd., which makes BlackBerry devices, declined to comment.

The documents discovered in Egypt earlier this year indicated that Gamma’s Egyptian reseller was offering FinFisher systems there for about $560,000. Gamma’s lawyer told the Journal in April that it never sold the products to Egypt’s government.

Gamma didn’t respond to requests for comment for this article. Like most companies interviewed, Gamma declined to disclose its buyers, citing confidentiality agreements.

Privacy advocates say manufacturers should be more transparent about their activities. Eric King of the U.K. nonprofit Privacy International said “the complex network of supply chains and subsidiaries involved in this trade allows one after the other to continually pass the buck and abdicate responsibility.” Mr. King routinely attends surveillance-industry events to gather information on the trade.

At the Washington and Dubai trade conferences this year, which are generally closed to the public, Journal reporters were prevented by organizers from attending sessions or entering the exhibition halls. February’s Dubai conference took place at a time of widespread unrest elsewhere in the region. Nearly 900 people showed up, down slightly because of the regional turmoil, according to an organizer.

Presentations in Dubai included how to intercept wireless Internet traffic, monitor social networks and track cellphone users. “All of the companies involved in lawful intercept are trying to sell to the Middle East,” said Simone Benvenuti, of RCS SpA, an Italian company that sells monitoring centers and other “interception solutions,” mostly to governments. He declined to identify any clients in the region.

In interviews in Dubai, executives at several companies said they were aware their products could be abused by authoritarian regimes but they can’t control their use after a sale. “This is the dilemma,” said Klaus Mochalski, co-founder of ipoque, a German company specializing in deep-packet inspection, a powerful technology that analyzes Internet traffic. “It’s like a knife. You can always cut vegetables but you can also kill your neighbor.” He referred to it as “a constant moral, ethical dilemma we have.”

—Paul Sonne contributed to this article.

Write to Jennifer Valentino DeVries at jennifer.valentino-devries@wsj.com, Julia Angwin at julia.angwin@wsj.com and Steve Stecklow at steve.stecklow@wsj.com

This, in a word, is some scary stuff. Not only can the government use these things, companies and even individuals like you and me can. For the details on the items, check out http://projects.wsj.com/surveillance-catalog/?mod=djemalertNEWS#/

November 16, 2011

Shootout At The Digital Corral-Why The SOPA Bill Will Change The Internet

by Mark E.
I know I sound like a broken record talking about the SOPA Bill and how it will change the landscape of the internet.  Here’s some background about how much money is at stake for “Hollywood” and why the bill is so important to the entertainment industry.  Thanks to Politico.comfor sharing.The House Judiciary Committeeis holding hearings on this bill right now, and it’s more like a coronation of the bill than an actual Congressional hearing.  The fix is in, and if (probably when) the bill becomes law, the entertainment industry will use it to fundamentally change what is posted on the internet.It isn’t too late to let your Congresspeople and Senators know how you feel about this onerous law.  Click here to learn more about the law and how you can stop the entertainment industry from censoring the internet.
Shootout at the digital corral
By: Jennifer Martinez
November 16, 2011 04:31 AM EST
Hollywood’s in a showdown over its TV shows, movies and music with an up-and-coming opponent in the Washington arena: the Silicon Valleygang.And that can only mean a huge payday for lobbyists.According to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, the film, music and TV industries have spent more than $91 million on lobbying so far this year — an amount that puts them on pace to beat all of their previous spending records. Not to be outdone, Google and its tech cohorts — including eBay, Yahoo and Facebook — have been ramping up spending and are looking for a hired gun to lead their newly revamped coalition.

The focus of the faceoff: a pair of online copyright bills aimed at getting Internet companies to help shutter websites that profit from illicit copies of blockbuster films, TV shows and chart-topping songs.

On Wednesday, the Motion Picture Association of America and Google, among others, are expected to lock horns at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act. A companion bill in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act, was reported out of committee this spring but is still waiting for floor time.

Both sides in the copyright debate are traditionally left-leaning constituencies but are being careful to target Republicans and Democrats with campaign cash and carefully spun messages.

“This is a jobs bill, and we’re happy to do our part to cut through the confusion, make the truth known and enable U.S. innovation, creativity and technical invention to continue to support U.S. job growth,” NBCUniversal general counsel Rick Cotton told POLITICO in a statement.

Internet companies say they are fighting to clarify the implications of the two bills.

“There is more to this issue than meets the eye. While we support targeted approaches to solving the problem of foreign rogue sites, some of these bills could truly hamper innovation on the Internet, so we are working hard to raise awareness of the potential for unintended consequences,” said Amber Allman, a Yahoo spokeswoman.

Several entertainment players are on track to beat their lobbying spending total for last year. That spending went toward lobbying on a range of issues, including communications, broadcasting, tax and trade, but copyright for many concerned has been front and center as both the House and the Senate consider bills.

Universal Music Group and Time Warner, for example, have upped lobbying spending so far this year by nearly 14 percent compared with the same time period a year ago. Lobbying spending in the first three quarters of 2011 for Broadcast Music Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment is up about 3 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Comcast, whose merger with NBCUniversal closed in January, has spent more than $14.7 million in the first three quarters of this year, up more than 68 percent than the same time period in 2010.

Meanwhile, two of the most iconic Hollywood lobbies in Washington — the Recording Industry Association of America and MPAA — have spent around $4.4 million and $1.3 million, respectively, on lobbying so far this year. MPAA brought on former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) to help lead the charge. RIAA, meanwhile, has as its top lobbyist Mitch Glazier, who served as the chief counsel for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property under then-Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). Glazier helped craft and push the landmark 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act into law.

“This is either make it or break it for them,” said Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation. “It’s not surprising that they’re spending more to push for these bills.”

The industry says it’s wrong to focus on the bottom line. “These kind of charges are brought up as a distraction from the real issue of content-protection laws that help preserve jobs,” MPAA spokesman Howard Gantman said in a statement.

“This is much more a policy debate than a battle of resources,” said Glazier. These glitzy lobbies are locked in a fierce battle on the Hill against Silicon Valley Web giants like Google, Facebook and Yahoo, which are seeking to block the bills that would hold them liable for policing some copyright violations online. While the Internet industry is still a relatively young member of K Street, it has become a powerful lobbying force in its own right — and the industry is in the market for a star lobbyist for its group, NetCoalition, to raise its volume even louder inside the Beltway.

“They might be the new kids on the block, but they’re learning the ropes quickly,” said Michael Beckel, spokesman for CRP.

Google wields the strongest lobbying muscle of the companies and trade groups that are opposed to the two bills, with the PROTECT IP Act and copyright listed among its top policy issues in disclosures.

Spending in Google’s Washington shop has exploded this year — largely to deflect criticism of its business practices as anticompetitive. With its lobbying spending already tallying about $7.2 million this year, the Mountain View, Calif., company has blown past last year’s total of about $5.2 million.

About a dozen of Google’s new outside lobby shop registrants this year were hired to lobby on copyright, patent and trademark issues, among other topics.

Google’s Silicon Valley peer, Yahoo, has also been engaged on the issue. Yahoo reportedly left the Chamber of Commerce this fall over its aggressive lobbying campaign for stricter IP legislation. It has spent more than $1.8 million on lobbying in 2011 on issues including online privacy, data security, patents and copyright.

Three trade associations that represent these Web giants have also been lobbying furiously behind the scenes: NetCoalition, the Computer and Communications Industry Association and the Consumer Electronics Association. All three trade groups have publicly hammered the legislative proposals and have flown big-name venture capitalists to Washington to discourage lawmakers from pushing forward.

But even the Internet industry realizes it’s a David vs. an entertainment Goliath, which dug its roots into Washington decades before Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were born.

“If you are a member of the Judiciary Committee, year after year after year, the content industry has been at your fundraisers over and over. They’ve gotten to know you, and they’ve talked to you and given their spiel,” said CCIA President Ed Black.

Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government affairs at the CEA, noted that the tech industry “doesn’t have dozens of lobbyists running around Washington trying to preserve their business models.”

Copyright protection is undoubtedly at the top of Hollywood’s list of legislative priorities.

Time Warner, News Corp., Comcast and Walt Disney have all lobbied for more stringent rules against the offspring of websites like Napster, LimeWire and Zediva that they say promote pirated content. But Hollywood also has a powerful ally on its side: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber has unleashed a full-court press for legislation against so-called rogue sites. It formed a coalition made up of a waterfront of Fortune 500 companies, trade groups and unions — ranging from Eli Lilly to Comcast to the AFL-CIO — that support this aim.

With the Chamber leading the charge, the entertainment industry doesn’t have to carry this battle on its own — in fact, the industry rejects the charge that this is a battle pitting Hollywood against Silicon Valley. So far, the industry’s biggest tech ally on the bills has been Go Daddy, an Internet domain name registrar and hosting company.

Both sides in the copyright showdown have traditionally favored Democrats in terms of political giving and issues. As perhaps a sign of the political times, both sectors have stepped up recruitment of Republican lobbyists and giving to GOP campaigns.

PACs for TV, movie and music companies have contributed more than $2.5 million to federal candidates so far in the 2012 election cycle, with Republicans receiving slightly more than Democrats this time around, according to CRP.

Computer and Internet industry PACs, meanwhile, have contributed around $1.7 million to 2012 federal candidates so far, with 55 percent of PAC money going to Republicans versus 45 percent to Democrats, CRP said.

In terms of hiring lobbyists, both sides are trying to be equal-opportunity employers. RIAA works with a smattering of GOP and Democratic lobbyists on copyright at The Glover Park Group; Ogilvy Government Relations and Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock. Disney Vice President and counsel Troy Dow served as the IP counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee under GOP leaders. Viacom has a former Democratic counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Marla Grossman, lobbying on copyright issues.

Google, meanwhile, has added Ryan Triplette, a Republican lobbyist for the Franklin Square Group and former Senate Judiciary Committee chief IP counsel, to lobby against the PROTECT IP Act. The deputy general counsel and vice president for global public policy at Yahoo, David Hantman, served as Senate Judiciary Committee member Chuck Schumer’s chief of staff from 2005 to 2007.

Tony Romm contributed to this report.

© 2011 POLITICO LLC
November 15, 2011

SOPA Hits The House Wednesday. Digital wars, Round 2: Killing the golden goose-The Hill

by Mark E.

A decade ago, the digital music world was at war, and since then times seemed to have changed for the better. Thankfully, the conflict between technological innovation and the established entertainment industry has evolved from an all-out war to a more productive (if occasionally challenging) dialogue between artists, producers, distributors and industry. And everyone agrees that resources should be brought to bear against the distribution of unlicensed physical product and the worst of the worst in Internet actors. Still, the delicate détente among the players has to be kept in perspective as debate continues regarding how we treat copyright, ownership and intellectual property online.

Unfortunately, two weeks ago content owners declared a new war on the technology industry with the House introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This bill effectively draws new battle lines in the ongoing struggle over content online, with both sides — owners and providers — manning the barricades over the best way to protect content while maximizing consumer access.

Never before has technology changed the music business in such profoundly important and overwhelmingly positive ways. The new model has revolutionized the business of distributing content, expanding revenue streams for artists and labels and providing virtually unlimited access to music for consumers. This isn’t about upsetting the old regime — that’s already been done, and there’s no turning back. Streaming and “the cloud” represent the future, and such open platforms as Grooveshark — which work with artists, collection agencies and content partners — allow artists to have their music heard across the globe without ever giving up their rights of ownership.

What’s missing from the debate is an appreciation for how technology has opened the markets to more content than ever in our history. Today, thanks to such platforms as Grooveshark, YouTube and Facebook, as well as hardware manufacturers and software providers, artists are empowered to create high-quality music for millions of listeners around the world with only a few hundred dollars and a quiet basement.

The cost of production has never been lower. The cost of promotion has never been lower. The barriers of access to distribution have crumbled. There are more artists than ever before, creating more music then ever before, and it’s being heard by more people in more places at lower prices than ever before — a direct result of technology and innovation. And yet, many have been slow to participate.

We launched Grooveshark to turn these new technological paradigms into a reality and deliver on the promise of the open Internet while providing a new, legal alternative to piracy. Because of these new paradigms, the music world is now more vibrant than ever — all while our technology enables content owners to stop album “leaks” and remove unauthorized material from a centralized location.

But all of these achievements are meaningless if rights holders refuse to participate in the process. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 — drafted with a fair share of input from content holders — struck a careful division of labor after years of negotiation. SOPA dismantles DMCA overnight, cutting off websites from payment and ad services without even a judge’s review, solely on the basis of a rights holder’s allegations — choking off income until they wither on the vine and die off. This is bad for the country and worse for artists.

Last week, the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) voiced its opposition to SOPA, dealing a critical blow to the bill’s credibility. Unlike the other organizations that oppose the bill, the FMC unscrupulously represents the interests of artists, proving that the “job protection” claims of SOPA proponents are a red herring.

Yet, the industry is still trying to force SOPA through, posing great threats not only to the new music paradigms but to democracy and legal due process as a whole. In addition to strangling the flourishing online music ecosystem, SOPA would give the government broad ability to shut down what it loosely deems “rogue websites.” This alone has formed an unlikely alliance of anti-SOPA advocates, from the liberal Demand Progress to the conservative RedState — two outlets that don’t often see eye to eye.

SOPA has declared a new war on the very technology companies that are combating piracy while providing ways to ensure that artists and other content owners realize new alternative revenue streams for their work. We believe in protecting intellectual property rights, but over-reaching legislation such as SOPA will stifle the now-vibrant music economy, silence consumers and American businesses without due process and create an Internet security hole that could just as easily have been avoided.

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures put it best on his AVC blog last month: SOPA would kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Technology has delivered us such an animal. No, it’s not just artist royalties anymore — it’s in an entirely new music ecosystem that is not being exploited by those with the greatest control. Legislators are now in a position to encourage compromise, to step back and think about the broader implications of such an expansive piece of legislation or, conversely, to fast-track SOPA and set the clock back 20 years on American ingenuity.

Geller is senior vice president of external 
affairs at Grooveshark.

Paul Geller’s very insightful look at all that is wrong with the SOPA Bill, going to the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. I’ve spoken out enough about this ruling, just read the piece and think for just a moment as to how bad this will be for the tech and content creation industries. This bill has to be stopped in it’s tracks.

November 13, 2011

Government Approved Censorship Could Be Coming To The Internet. STOP SOPA, SAVE THE INTERNET – Boing Boing

by Mark E.

STOP SOPA, SAVE THE INTERNET

By at 8:51 am Friday, Nov 11

Tiffiny from Fight for the Future sez,

Google knows it. Viacom knows it. The Chamber of Commerce knows it. Internet democracy groups know it. BoingBoing knows it. But, the Internet hasn’t been told yet — we’re going to get blown away by the end of the year. The worst bill in Internet history is about to become law. Law is very real here in the United States and legal language is often different than stated intentions — this law would give government and corporations the power to block sites like BoingBoing over infringing links on at least one webpage posted by their users. Believe the EFF, Public Knowledge, Google when they say this bill is about much more than copyright, it’s about the Internet and free speech everywhere.

The MPAA, RIAA, Hollywood knows that they have been flying in CEOs of as many companies as possible, recruiting people to get petition signups at malls in California, and here’s the big point– they know they have gotten their message through to Congress — the worst bill in Internet history, the one where government and their corporations get unbelievable power to take down sites, threaten payment processors into stopping payment to sites on a blacklist, and throw people in jail for posting ordinary content is about to pass before the end of this year. The only thing that is going to stop Hollywood from owning the Internet and everything we do, is if there is a big surprise Internet backlash starting right now.

PROTECT IP (S. 968)/SOPA (HR. 3261) creates the first system for Internet censorship – this bill has sweeping provisions that give the government and corporations leeway and legal cover for taking down sites “by accident,” mistakenly, or for NOT doing “enough” to protect the interests of Hollywood. These bills that are moving very quickly through Congress and can pass before Christmas aim to give the US government and corporations the ability to block sites over infringing links posted by their users and give ISPs the release to take any means to block peoples’ sites, including slowing down your connection. That’s right, some say this bill is a workaround to net neutrality and is bigger than net neutrality.

This is the worst piece of Internet legislation in history – the lawmakers who have been sponsoring (Leahy, Lamar Smith, Conyers) this bill need to be shamed by the Internet community for wasting taxpayer dollars on a bill that would break the very fabric of the Internet, create an Internet blacklist, kill jobs and great startup companies, huge blogs, and social networks.

 

Everyone, the entire Internet community needs to stand together if we don’t want to see this bill actually become law. Internet and democracy groups are planning an Internet-wide day of protest called American Censorship Day on Wednesday, November 16th for the day Congress holds a hearing on these bills to create the first American Internet censorship system. Every single person with a website can join and needs to.

Boing Boing, Grooveshark, Free Software Foundation, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, Demand Progress, Open Congress/PPF, TechDirt, Fight for the Future and dozens of other sites have created this day to ask you to join them to stop S. 978 and HR 3261, as hard as you can. Write them, protest, call them, protest, support your favorite sites, protest, sign a letter, block out your site, protest.

Many public intellectuals who are often the ones to help win the public interest over and over are about to come out to lead the charge to stop PROTECT IP/ SOPA – they have to when they learn that the House and Senate will be working to pass this bill before the Christmas. From those doing work on the hill, it’s very clear we have been stacked comparatively lightly. The House bill has 40 co-sponsors and major industry support. The only thing that will change the dynamic now is if Congress gets a knock on their door by CEO”s of small and large tech companies, blogs, and news sites and if Internet users start piling on, one by one, and protest.

Tech companies, blogs, news sites are already in a death-do-die battle cry — listen to them — it’s a few days before the hearing on this bill. But, we need more tech companies, blogs, new sites before the hearing on this bill. Help get them.

I’ve been trying to think about whether or not the world is going to end if this bill passes like it’s supposed to — and the answer is, “kind of yes”. When small sites, and it’s the small sites that get turned off in the night and no one for the most part notices, say my friend’s political blog or news site gets blocked by the US government and she has no way to get it back up even though everything she did was legal according to current law, and no one can help her except she can choose to file suit to defend herself, I feel like I die inside a little. Living in a country where you are being shut out and left powerless to really defend yourself is like living in another country, the ones you hear about. Life starts to feel shot when that happens, especially to our friends or our favorites sites.

Every site who has user-generated content, posts links or videos to anything copyrighted in it could face new legal threats.

If a copyrights holder disliked links you have on your site, they could simply file a complaint with a payment processor (Visa, PayPal), who would then have 5 days to respond to their request or risk legal ramifications. If bills like this are allowed to pass, we’ll be spending another $47 million dollars every year to help corporations fill out and enforce Internet blacklists.

Sites that would be legal under the DMCA and its safe harbor provisions would now risk losing everything for allowing user generated content. It also has added in the streaming felony bill that would make it so ordinary Internet users are at risk of going to jail for 5 years for post any copyrighted work that would cost $2,500 to license. And because copyright is so broad, that means videos with copyrighted music in the background, kids in a school play, people singing karaoke could all be a risk.

Because the law affects almost every Internet user and the sites they use every day and have come to love, and because granting sweeping blacklisting powers is just sickening to almost everyone, we need your help — if you can encourage your favorite site to join the protest, and help drive the maximum number of people to contact Congress on November 16th (until the bill dies), please help.

These bills represent a major blow to openness and freedom on the Internet, free speech rights, and the fabric of the Internet itself. If SOPA is allowed to pass, the Internet and free speech will never be the same again.

SOPA: Hollywood Finally Gets A Chance to Break the Internet (EFF)

House takes Senate’s bad Internet censorship bill, tries making it worse (Ars Technica)

Protect The Internet (Brad Feld)

Protecting The Safe Harbors Of The DMCA And Protecting Jobs (Business Insider)

S.978 – Commercial Felony Streaming Act

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This isn’t the wild ravings of a small group of activists. This is a serious threat to content providers and regular people who use the internet every day. The RIAA is the only organization I have had personal experience with in regards to abuse of copyright laws, and they are simply EVIL. If this bill becomes law, they and other industry groups will be able to have almost anything taken down from the web at their whim.

We don’t need this kind of censorship in the name of copyright or protecting artist’s rights. I believe in protecting artist’s rights and that artists should be compensated for their work. I don’t believe in “industry organizations” acting like brown shirted Storm Troopers yanking anything they think threatens their ability to make a profit from the internet.

America may be the land of opportunity, but it should not be the land of censorship or prior restraint. Please do what you can to make ure this bill doesn’t become law.

November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011. Nigel Tufnel Day 11/11/11

by Mark E.
111111

Today is a special day, a day we dedicate to the legendary rock star Nigel Tufnel. Today is Nigel Tufnel Day!

If you are unaware of Mr. Tufnel’s body of work, you need only look at his Wikipedia bio or watch this video clip of his brillianace: http://youtu.be/ll7rWiY5obI.  Sadly, the Copyright Police will not let me embed this masterpiece for your viewing pleasure.  If they haven’t taken this down, you might want to look at this video for a HI DEF understanding of the importance of this day.

A day like this comes only once in a lifetime, and I for one will be celebrating it by turning MY life up to 11.  I hope you will do the same.

October 20, 2011

A Breathtaking Fashion Retrospective On The Late Colonel Muammar El-Gaddafi. | Happy Place

by Mark E.

Own that runway girl!

The world may have just lost a wildly unhinged fascist dictator, but hell just gained a wildly uninhibited fashion icon. Had Gaddafi been a contestant on Project Runway, there is no way he would ever have been accused of “boring Nina,” though he might have gotten the occasional “that crotch is insane!” from Michael Kors. In his memory, we’ve gathered some of his more insane, and insanely fabulous, looks from throughout his decades of volatile rule.

Miamidaffi

Sunday Brunch With The Girlsdaffi

Twinkiedaffi

Williamsburgaddafi

1978 Caprice Classic Upholsterydaffi

Don’t Forget My Homiesdaffi

Lovely In Layersdaffi

I Have A Naughty Secretaffi

Unusual Susepctaffi

Oh how he will be missed. Many thanks to www.happyplace.com and www.someecards.com for the chilling retrospective.

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