Oct 27, 2020 - Economy

Artists target Facebook in complaint to policymakers

Illustration of a gavel bearing down on Facebook's "f" logo

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Artist Rights Alliance, a non-profit advocating for music creators, has sent a letter to the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the state Attorneys General of Vermont and California, calling for an investigation into Facebook for refusing to take action on a fraudulent concert on its platform.

Details: The letter, obtained by Axios, asks policymakers to investigate Facebook for "participating in a scheme to defraud cellist Zoe Keating, an unknown number of her fans, and undoubtedly thousands of other working artists."

  • The group, which co-signed the letter with other artist-rights groups like Advocating Against Romance Scammers, Alliance to Counter Crime Online, Freedom from Facebook and Google and Public Citizen, says that Keating was supposed to perform a concert on August 30th, but due to the pandemic the concert was cancelled several months ago.
  • Still, someone reportedly impersonated the artist on Facebook, selling access to a livestream of a fake concert, and Facebook reused to take action on the fraudulent post, the group says.
  • Axios has reached out to Facebook for comment.

The big picture: The issue of music copyright on Facebook and other big platforms has long been an issue.

  • Case-in-point: A group of music organizations recently slammed Amazon-owned Twitch in a letter claiming that the group has "failed to to secure proper synch and mechanical licenses for its recently launched Soundtrack tool," per Variety. Twitch disputes the claim.
  • Yes, but: This claim is more about false commercialization, an issue that's closely aligned with fake news. That's typically something the FTC handles.
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