Death Cab For Cutie Exploited by Google, Target, AT&T, Ford, Urban Outfitters, United Airlines, Rejuvenation and Crate and Barrel

Google was right. This is a follow the money story. As reported by PC Pro Magazine, Google says,

“Instead of imposing blocks or filters that might damage fundamental freedoms, governments should construct coalitions with reputable advertising networks, payment processors and rightsholders. Together, these coalitions can crack down and squeeze the financing behind online infringement.”

We’d like to think that Google themselves would be one of the “reputable advertising networks.” As pictured below, Google appears to be not just the ad network serving the ad, but also the brand buying the advertising for it’s product, Google Advertising. Needless to say this is a disappointing find given the recent report.

What’s worse is that major consumer brands are benefiting from having access to the audience (and key demographics) built by individual artists. In this case Death Cab For Cutie who based on the advertisers seems to be a very good demographic indeed supporting ads from Target, SC Johnson and AT&T and that’s just on one site with infringing material.

What incentive is there for brands and advertisers to work with artists and creators to create ad campaigns when the brands can simply “steal” access to the artists audience by paying ad networks to turn a blind eye to sites dedicated to infringing activity?

So far we’ve seen that Google understands, and recommends that advertising networks be accountable to where they are serving ads, despite the fact that Google themselves appears to be still serving ads to sites entirely dedicated to copyright infringement. We’ve also seen above how the music of Ben Gibbard‘s band Death Cab For Cutie is able to draw advertising revenue from Target and AT&T.

Below we see how deep this really goes. By focusing on just FilesTube we can see that Death Cab For Cutie draws advertising revenue to the site from Ford, Urban Outfitters, United Airlines, Rejuvenation and Crate & Barrel. These are all well respected brands, that appeal to a demographic with considerable disposable income. And yet, none of these brands compensate Ben Gibbard, Death Cab For Cutie or any of the various rights holders for access to the bands music and fans.

So yes, this is a follow the money story. When we follow the money it leads to major brands and online advertising networks all profiting from the artists work and paying nothing to the artists. Not one single penny. Zero. Zilch. Nadda. That’s what makes this discussion about free beer, and not free speech as some would like to propose.

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Jared Leto Exploited by Rapidshare, VW, Go Pro, LG, Emirates Airlines, Adobe, Ford and Target

In this round we find advertisers exploiting Jared Leto‘s band 30 Seconds To Mars by Volkswagon, Go Pro cameras, LG electronics and appliances, Emirates Airlines, Adobe software, Ford and Target. It’s also interesting to note that in this series of screen shots the infringing links appear to be hosted on Rapidshare. This is the same Rapidshare that has been offended by being put on a piracy watch list. It seems to us that if Rapidshare wants to champion best practices for cyberlockers, they would do well to clean up their own business first.

The hits just keep on coming… How much money do we have to follow before there is some accountability on behalf of the brands and advertising networks? Let us be clear about this. Piracy is being financed by advertising dollars, originating with major brands, trusted to advertising agencies and then ultimately distributed to questionable online advertising networks and then to the pirate sites themselves.

This is not about free speech. This is not about censorship. It’s about money. It’s about a lot of money. It’s about a lot of money being made by advertising networks and pirate sites and not paying artists a penny. This is the exploitation economy where anyone and everyone can profit from a creators work, except the creator themselves.

FilesTube points to Rapidshare as a host of infringing uploads of artists work. Also not the Adobe advertising. Wouldn’t be ironic if users searched FilesTube and RapidShare for Adobe software products?

Neil Young Exploited by Ford, Cooper Mini, Target, State Farm, Adobe, Alaska Air, ATT, Boy Scouts, DIRECTV, LG, Princess Cruises, HP, Westin, Charmin, RapidShare

Neil Young Exploited… We’re Speechless… The impressive list below is just scratching the surface, or the tip of the iceberg. The only question to ask is…

How much money have these brands paid these ad networks, which ultimately is collected by these actively infringing sites, to profit from the music and career of Neil Young?

* Ford, Cooper (BMW), Target on FilesTube
* Target on Kick Ass Torrents
* State Farm on Torrent Reactor
* State Farm on Iso Hunt
* State Farm (X2) on Kick Ass Torrents
* Adobe on Torrent Reactor
* Adobe, Legal Zoom on Iso Hunt
* Adobe on Kick Ass Torrents
* Alaska Air on Iso Hunt
* Alaska Air on Kick Ass Torrents
* AT&T on Kick Ass Torrents
* Boy Scouts on Torrent Reactor
* Direct TV on Kick Ass Torrents
* Ebay on Kick Ass Torrents
* Hewlett Packard on Files Tube
* LG, Princess Cruises on Files Tube
* Westin Hotels on Kick Ass Torrents
* Charmin Toilet Paper on Iso Hunt

And, let’s be honest… What artist doesn’t want to be associated with Charmin Toilet Paper?

Neil Young Exploited by … @Ford, @CooperMiniLtd, @Target, @StateFarm, @Adobe, @AlaskaAir, @ATT, @boyscouts, @DIRECTV, @LGUSAMobile, @PrincessCruises, @HP, @Westin, @Charmin, @RapidShare@RapidShare

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U2 Exploited by United Airlines, Jet Blue, HP, State Farm, Westin, Urban Outfitters, Sprint, AT&T, Amazon, Disney Resorts, Crate and Barrel

We completely agree with what Bono said in USA Today,

“…somebody should fight for fellow artists, because this is madness. Music has become tap water, a utility, where for me it’s a sacred thing, so I’m a little offended. The Internet has emasculated rather than liberated artists…”

We couldn’t agree more and we’ve been happy to see more artists speaking out publicly.

The situation is effecting artists at all levels like Aimee Mann, Neko Case, Talib Kweli, Ben Gibbard and Death Cab For Cutie, Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars, Neil Young and Tom Waits to name just a few. These artists represent a wide spectrum of diversity and all are effected by the illegal exploitation of their work.

Let’s be clear about this. It’s about money. A lot of advertising money supporting the people ripping off artists to further their own wealth. Brands hire advertising agencies. Advertising agencies hire ad networks. Ad networks pay infringing and illegally operating sites, many of which are based outside of the USA.

Bono, here’s your haul for one nights research… Someone should have a talking to these brands and ad networks, will you join us on Madison Avenue?

* United Airlines x2 on h33t
* United Airlines on mp3 bear
* United Airlines on FilesTube
* Jet Blue and Kayak on h33t
* Hewlett Packard and State Farm on mp3skull
* Westin Hotels on 4shared
* Westin Hotels on mp3raid
* Urban Outfitters on mp3skull
* Sheraton Hotels on mp3skull
* Century 21 on 4shared
* Alaska Airlines on torrent reactor
* State Farm on torrent reactor
* Sprint on torrrent reactor
* Sheraton Hotels on 4shared
* Hewlett Packard x2 on filestube
* Hewlett Packard and State Farm on mp3skull
* Hewlett Packard on h33t
* Rejuvenation on filestube
* Disney Resorts on torrent reactor
* Crate & Barrel on Files Tube
* Charter Cable on mp3 raid
* AT&T on mp3skull
* Amazon on 4shared

U2 Exploited by @UnitedAirlines, @JetBlue, @HP, @StateFarm, @Westin, @UrbanOutfitters, @sprint, @ATT, @amazon, @Disneyland, @CrateandBarrel

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