One Of The Most Successful NY Startups… Is Dedicated To Infringing Activities (According To The Entertainment Industry)
from the but-of-course dept
A few months back, we wrote about the bizarre situation in which advertising giant, GroupM, had put together a list of “pirate sites” on which they would not allow their advertising to appear. From what we’ve heard, GroupM relied heavily on its entertainment industry clients, including Warner Bros., Paramount and Summit Entertainment on the movie side, and Universal Music on the music side. Universal Music was a key player in compiling the list, which is why a bunch of hip hop blogs it wanted power over ended up on the list (along with other non-infringers like the Internet Archive, Vimeo, SoundCloud and personal websites of Universal’s own artists.
As we noted in the article, one of the sites listed as a “pirate” site was the site Complex.com, which is a rapidly growing popular “lifestyle” site, focused on young men. What I didn’t realize was just how big and successful the site is. Business Insider recently ranked Complex as one of the most valuable NY startups, pinning its value around $140 million. It also has two of the most respected VC firms around backing it: Accel and Austin Ventures. This is not a fly-by-night operation.
And this is a big issue. We keep hearing from supporters of PROTECT IP that people shouldn’t worry about it and similar legal attempts taking down legitimate businesses, because it’s only designed to go after sites that are dedicated to infringing activities. But as this shows, according to folks in the legacy entertainment world, successful new media companies, like Complex, can be harmed by falsely accusing them of being “dedicated to infringing activities,” and seeking to get advertisers or payment processors blocked from the site.
This is why so many tech entrepreneurs are so worried about legal changes like PROTECT IP. We’ve seen how the old industry likes to accuse anyone who does anything new or interesting of merely being “pirates,” and using that to harm them. Why should we then allow Congress to pass new laws that will only come back to haunt the successful new generation of startups that are growing, creating jobs and actually innovating?