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?

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Companies: complex media, groupm, universal music

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Comments on “One Of The Most Successful NY Startups… Is Dedicated To Infringing Activities (According To The Entertainment Industry)”

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55 Comments
John Doesays:

The illusion of control

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?

I am afraid at this point in our country’s history, we the people only have the illusion of control over our government. It is no longer here to serve us, but we are here to serve it. Even worse, people are freely asking the government to take away our rights.

Ninjasays:

Re: The illusion of control

And we’ve got worrisome examples right here @ TD. Some of our most brilliant trolls (willful or not) keep saying that while Protect IP can be misused and cause collateral damage it surely won’t be used like that. Despite constant evidence in the media.

They say that the worst blind is the one that doesn’t want to see. Talk about that with our dear TD trolls…

hmmsays:

Re: The illusion of control

Sadly you only have the illusion of government itself.

The ‘system’ mostly doesn’t even exist anymore and is just there to placate the general population with all the financial and military decisions being decided in corporate boardrooms before being passed out to their employees…sorry I mean congress, the senate and the President.

John Doesays:

Re:

I know this post is probably meant to be funny and we have had a lot of them lately, but I just want to clarify that we are not all freetards. I actually want to pay for stuff, I am just not willing to pay the price being asked. The current prices are based on old distribution models that included manufacturing, shipping & handling, middlemen, retail space and sales people, etc. The current model has near zero distribution costs and it is time the price reflected that savings.

John Doesays:

Re: Re: Re:

I agree with this as well. Give me the content and only the content, no DRM, no spyware, no malware, no rootkit and no restrictions on when/where/how I view the content.

As an example, I tried to view a youtube video on my Android phone the other day. Someone posted a link to the video on Facebook. When I clicked it, it said the person who uploaded it had not approved it for viewing on mobile devices. WTH?

fogbugzdsays:

Re: Re:

>The current model has near zero distribution costs and it is time the price reflected that savings.

And BREAKAGE! Let’s not forget about the fragile nature of .mp3 files that break if they are dropped! Part of the standard recording industry contract still deducts the cost of breakage from the artists’ share. It originated back in the day of vinyl records, but it is still charged even for downloads. Breakage was a dubious charge even in the day of vinyl records. Why on earth should breakage be deducted from the artist’s share? Wouldn’t it have been more reasonable to attribute breakage to the distribution costs? But the industry’s goal then as well as today is to cheat the artist at every turn, so at least they are consistent.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

I know this post is probably meant to be funny and we have had a lot of them lately, but I just want to clarify that we are not all freetards. I actually want to pay for stuff, I am just not willing to pay the price being asked. The current prices are based on old distribution models that included manufacturing, shipping & handling, middlemen, retail space and sales people, etc. The current model has near zero distribution costs and it is time the price reflected that savings.

So how do you solve your moral dilemma? Do you do without or just take it?

blaktronsays:

Re: Re:

They don’t like to target or fight with companies that could destroy all of them in a temper tantrum. There are a growing number of tech industry players with personal net worths greater than the entire music industry, and a few approaching the size of the entire content industry (Zuckerberg included). So ya, Facebook/Google/Apple/MS could pretty much open a site Pirates’R’Us.com and give away everything for free from central servers, and I’m pretty sure the content industry would bite their tongues and keep going after the smaller players. They’re bullies, and you can’t bully people 100 times bigger than you are.

Anonymous Cowardsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Did you ever think that perhaps if you stop being a dipwad yourself first, Marcus will too?

Show respect, get respect.

Got nothing nice to say, then just stfu instead of saying something dumb.

Etc.

Because, apparently the only one with a thing for Marcus is yourself. And somehow, you never discuss anything he says just go on about his “performing”. Leave him be. If he enjoys doing it that’s his thing. I think some really major “stars” are complete and total cr*p. I ignore them and let them do their thing. Not point out their flaws to others or to them on boards. Do the same. You’ll spare yourself the aneurysm that is surely headed your way.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Marcus shows no respect. He didn’t earn it, he doesn’t get it.

Posting mocking comments is just his latest sad tactic. Too bad you guys fall for his bullshit and give him sympathy. He takes the whole community here down a few notches. God knows why Mike lets him post stories on here. That is some incredibly bad judgement, IMHO.

Someantimalwareguysays:

Re: Re: Re: Hmm - two more words...

Not at all. See the whole Spamhaus deal. The right to maintain a list is there, any group can blacklist any other group, and the public is free to follow or not as they see fit.

The problem with that analogy is that spamhaus isn’t blacklisting other spam blocking services. To me, one advertiser/media company trying to blacklist those who do now, and in the future may be competitive to its business model merits some scrutiny – or at least a challenge of some sort in the courts.

TOGsays:

Complex is a Mark Ecko company

Um… yeah, Complex is one of Mark Ecko’s companies (at least the magazine bear’s his name). It’s been around for a number of years now (the magazine). I know this because it arrives in my mailbox from time to time even though I’ve never subscribed, don’t remember ever being anywhere that would have resulted in my getting a free subscription, I’ve been getting it for a while, and there is nothing in this magazine that appeals to me (nor did it appeal to me when I was still in my 20s; it goes straight into the recycling).

In any event, it makes sense that companies that are scared of hip-hop blogs also would be scared of this venture. But since the magazine is largely marketing/advertising (and from the looks of it the website is too), I don’t think they’re hurting too badly.

Anyway, I assume a large number of readers have heard of Mark Ecko, so I just thought I’d share.

Anonymoussays:

The Industry’s actions, proposals, and mannerisms remind me of a spoiled, mean, mentally retarded little boy who tortures animals and still wonders why everyone hates him and is missing fingers, eyes, and skin.

Since these draconian IP laws remind me of prohibition, I have to wonder what kind and quantity of gangsters will pop up this time after Dear Leader rubber stamps PROTECT IP. More laws = more bandits after all.

bobsays:

Innovation? Get a clue Mike

I always find it hilarious to watch Mike equate piracy with innovation. Anyone can make a store more efficient by getting rid of the checkouts. Anyone can make the prices cheaper by not paying the creator. That’s not innovation.

As far as I can tell, Complex is just a bunch of magazines. If they devote themselves to distributing MP3s without paying the creator, well, that’s not innovation. Anyone with a web server can put up a file. Real innovation is arranging for the creator to be able to pay for health insurance.

blaktronsays:

Re: Innovation? Get a clue Mike

And you think that the obsolete loan-and-never-recoup model pays content creators? Riiiight.

“As far as I can tell, Complex is just a bunch of magazines.” So you haven’t invested any research into this, don’t know anything, still spout your ill informed opinion WHILE telling Mike to get a clue? Get a clue, Bob.

Anonymoussays:

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.

First of all, as a .com, Complex.com is not subject to the Protect IP Act. So if it were a pirate site in the eyes of law enforcement, it would be subject to forfeiture right now. But there it is, as big as life. Why FUDboy; why is it still there if it’s been branded as a pirate site?

Anonymoussays:

“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?”

But Mike, don’t you see the congress doesn’t want to create jobs? After all, that’s why congress isn’t passing Obama’s jobs bill, because, gasp, it would create jobs, and we can’t have that now can we?

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