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Google: Indie Musicians Must Join Streaming Service Or Be Removed 364

Posted by Soulskill
from the our-way-or-the-highway dept.
Sockatume writes: In a statement to the Financial Times and reported by the BBC, Google has confirmed that it will remove the music videos of independent artists unless they sign up to its upcoming subscription music service. Many independent musicians and labels have refused to do so, claiming that the contracts offer significantly worse deals than the likes of Spotify and Pandora, and that Google is unwilling to negotiate on the rates it offers artists. A Google spokesperson indicated that the company could start removing videos within days.
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Google: Indie Musicians Must Join Streaming Service Or Be Removed

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  • by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:30PM (#47255751)

    Read the arcticle so you don't have to:
    This is about removing artists from Youtube, not from the Google search engine.

    • by Florian Weimer (88405) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:46PM (#47255909) Homepage

      If the video is only hosted on Youtube (and I suspect many such videos are, otherwise the uploaders wouldn't make such a fuss), it will be gone from the Google search engine as well, so the net effect is the same.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:06PM (#47256119) Homepage Journal

      That distinction helps no one. They're leveraging an effective monopoly on streaming video.

    • How would YouTube go about determining whether a particular video is a "music video" by a "music label"? If I compose and record original music to accompany a video that I have produced, and I upload the video to YouTube, does that make me a "label" and make the video a "music video", thus requiring me to formally release its soundtrack? I found nothing in the BBC article or the Guardian article about this.
      • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:49PM (#47256591)
        My guess is there is a bit of spin going on here. If an indie wants to post their video for free, I doubt google will take it down. The question is probably all about the checks these indies have been getting from google, and google's refusal to keep sending them unless a new bargain (which includes google streaming for cheap) is struck.

        If my guess is correct, the answer to your question is that the process is actually self-selecting.

      • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @04:52PM (#47257875)

        How would YouTube go about determining whether a particular video is a "music video" by a "music label"? If I compose and record original music to accompany a video that I have produced, and I upload the video to YouTube, does that make me a "label" and make the video a "music video", thus requiring me to formally release its soundtrack?

        You're making this too complicated. This has nothing to do with definitions of "music videos" or "labels."

        IF you want to upload a video of whatever to YouTube and show it for free, you are still free to do so. Nothing about that has changed.

        IF, on the other hand, you want YouTube to pay you money from ad revenue it makes, you need to negotiate a license with Google/YouTube. Some labels and Google can't agree on terms, so Google has simply decided to walk away from the old licenses.

        The old license terms gave the labels some ad revenue in exchange for YouTube having permission to show the (commercial) videos. If Google no longer agrees to the payment scheme, if can no longer show the videos, according to the old licenses. Therefore, it must take them down.

        Nothing is preventing the independent labels (or artists themselves) from posting anything they want to for free. It's only if they are restricting the playing of videos so that they must receive shares in YouTube's profits in exchange that this matters.

        • by m00sh (2538182) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @12:22AM (#47260353)

          How would YouTube go about determining whether a particular video is a "music video" by a "music label"? If I compose and record original music to accompany a video that I have produced, and I upload the video to YouTube, does that make me a "label" and make the video a "music video", thus requiring me to formally release its soundtrack?

          You're making this too complicated. This has nothing to do with definitions of "music videos" or "labels."

          IF you want to upload a video of whatever to YouTube and show it for free, you are still free to do so. Nothing about that has changed.

          IF, on the other hand, you want YouTube to pay you money from ad revenue it makes, you need to negotiate a license with Google/YouTube. Some labels and Google can't agree on terms, so Google has simply decided to walk away from the old licenses.

          The old license terms gave the labels some ad revenue in exchange for YouTube having permission to show the (commercial) videos. If Google no longer agrees to the payment scheme, if can no longer show the videos, according to the old licenses. Therefore, it must take them down.

          Nothing is preventing the independent labels (or artists themselves) from posting anything they want to for free. It's only if they are restricting the playing of videos so that they must receive shares in YouTube's profits in exchange that this matters.

          I think this is the narrowest definition of what Google is saying.

          Google uses content ID to figure out who owns copyright to music. So, if a video is uploaded that they know is owned by a copyright owner that has not negotiated with them, they can block the video saying that they have no license with the copyright holder and thus, nobody can upload that content.

          This effectively allows Google to block all content from the indie labels, uploaded by anyone and monetized or not.

          Google is not being clear about what they will do but the worst case is that they can block every indie music from youtube that has not licensed with them. Of course, they want to negotiate and want to scare the indies into signing for their service.

          From what I have read, most musicians consider YouTube as a promotional platform and not a revenue stream from videos. Google's threat is that they will eliminate Youtube as a promotional platform. You can choose to believe that they meant only as a revenue stream and not as a promotional platform but there certainly isn't any guarantee from Google about that.

    • Read the arcticle so you don't have to:
      This is about removing artists from Youtube, not from the Google search engine.

      It's not even about that. It's about removing artists that refuse to sign the License agreement from YouTube, which makes perfect sense. The agreement protects google against legal action arising from hosting copywriter content. If the Labels don't like the terms, there are plenty of other free video websites out there. When you download music or buy a CD you're agreeing to a licensing agreement you have no choice over, how is it less evil for Google to apply the same to them?

  • Ummm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:31PM (#47255755)

    Google, how the fuck is this not evil?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Google, how the fuck is this not evil?

      You people who believed Google would not do bad things display
      a naiveté which is usually found in a child who is of brow average intelligence.

      Google is a business. Businesses are not in existence to make you
      feel secure or happy. Businesses are in existence to make money.

      Google, GM, Microsoft, and all the rest of the mega-corporations
      are not now and never will be "your friend".

      If you don't like what they do, quit giving them business.

      .

      • Google, how the fuck is this not evil?

        You people who believed Google would not do bad things display
        a naiveté which is usually found in a child who is of brow average intelligence.

        I never assumed any such thing, which clearly shows I have brove average intelligence.

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        im conflicted here. Obviously im of the type that wants everything to be free. But on the other hand whats the issue? i didnt RTFA, but IF they already have their videos on youtube, wouldnt it be like getting a new source of money that you didnt have before by going into the streaming? its not as if they cant also be in the other services as well no??
    • Re:Ummm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NatasRevol (731260) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:45PM (#47255907) Journal

      I think this is called capitulation.

      Google is now like "Fuck it, we're evil. What are you going to do about it? That's right, not a damn thing."

      • One thing you can do:

        duckduckgo.com

        Another
        mozilla.org or opera I guess

        Don't use google anything. They're done.

        • Re:Ummm (Score:4, Insightful)

          by NatasRevol (731260) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:34PM (#47256419) Journal

          Great. Now just have to convince millions, perhaps billions, more to move activity & content elsewhere.

          Even natural monopolies aren't all that good.

          • That's what I'm doing now. Incentivizing a change in another person because my own personal leverage against a monopoly is too small.

            I convinced you, right?

            • Not really.

              Got a good set of sources that I, and my (non-tech) family, can use for email, calendar, doc sharing, searching and works across all major platforms?

              Unfortunately, Google does all of those pretty well.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      This is all business man, these artists get free bandwidth from Youtube and possibly the option to make a profit of ad revenues, all for nothing. If these guys set up their own servers and host it themselves, the costs become cost prohibitive. If they've signed agreements with Google (however retarded these contacts may be) then who's to call either side evil? At least when I blindly agree to a EULA, I know I'm sticking my butt into the air and waiting for a company to do rude things to it.

      • This is all business man, these artists get free bandwidth from Youtube and possibly the option to make a profit of ad revenues, all for nothing.

        You make it sound like Google gets nothing. Google gets the rest of the ad revenue from people going to Youtube and watching those videos. Now Google wants a bigger piece of the pie, they want to move people to their music streaming service (which I never even knew existed).

        • In fairness, when you rely as a listener on youtube so much to play music you eventually end up installing Adblock.

      • by drakaan (688386)

        This isn't evil, it's stupid. Indie artists are only using YouTube so that they can share videos and make some minor revenue if they're lucky. If YouTube makes the terms of that arrangement unattractive, then they will see indie artists leave for video hosting services that are more indie-friendly.

        The folks at Vimeo are probably ecstatic.

      • by mbone (558574)

        It may not cost anything, but it is most definitely not free.

      • Re:Ummm (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:53PM (#47256633)

        This is all business man, these artists get free bandwidth from Youtube and possibly the option to make a profit of ad revenues, all for nothing.

        And the rest of us get a free lesson in corporate ethics in general and Google in particular. Hopefully that lesson means there's less people hurt with the next wave of monetization.

        Also, since this once again proves that corporations can't be trusted, it might hopefully motivate research into converting everything to the P2P model.

    • Re:Ummm (Score:4, Informative)

      by matbury (3458347) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:08PM (#47256151) Homepage

      Yep, they're evil. No doubt in my mind. If anyone still has any doubts, I recommend looking at where Google spends its money, rather than listening to their PR and marketing departments, PR agencies (They hire A LOT of those), and generally spineless, fawning, sycophantic, advertising dependent mass media. The following list of recipients of substantial amounts of Google's money reads like a who's who of evil in the USA. Quoting from sourcewatch.org:

      "Support for Conservative Groups

      Google funds "politically-engaged trade associations and other tax-exempt groups" and "a number of independent third-party organizations whose federally-focused work intersects in some way with technology and Internet policy" that include:

              American Action Forum

              American Conservative Union

              American Enterprise Institute

              American Legislative Exchange Council

              Federalist Society

              Mercatus Center

              Heritage Foundation

              National Taxpayers Union

              Texas Public Policy Foundation

              U.S. Chamber of Commerce

              U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

              Washington Legal Foundation

      Support for Conservative Politicians

      In 2012 and 2013, Google Washington hosted fundraisers exclusively for conservative Republican U.S. Senators: John Barrasso, John Thune, Rand Paul, and James Inhofe."

      Source: http://www.sourcewatch.org/ind... [sourcewatch.org]

  • by sribe (304414) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:31PM (#47255757)

    I suppose you mean "or be removed FROM YOUTUBE"???

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      I couldn't find a phrasing that fit and carried the intended meaning, and I assumed that people who read the summary would grasp that it referred to the thing Google have that music videos might actually be on.

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      I removed myself from Youtube to the extent that it's now read-only (watch-only?) since the Google-plus nonsense. A shame as often there's someone with a technical question to which I could supply the answer. Screw em.

  • Flaimbate (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:31PM (#47255761)

    TFS does not match TFA. Google is going to remove a number of videos of artists whose "independent labels" have refused permission for them to be on YouTube.
    Trying to make this about Google's upcoming subscription service is a complete misrepresentation of TFA.

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      Similarly, Google - though YouTube - is under no obligation to show anything for anyone.

      It's hardly "evil" for them to provide a free platform for independent artists, just because they're independent artists. Artists whom they're willing to compensate, by the way... Feel free to upload to Vimeo.

      • Re:Flaimbate (Score:4, Insightful)

        by zieroh (307208) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:41PM (#47255869)

        It's hardly "evil" for them to provide a free platform for independent artists, just because they're independent artists.

        You mean the free platform that they provide to everyone else without discrimination or contractual obligations?

        • Re:Flaimbate (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mythosaz (572040) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:59PM (#47256057)

          Yes, everyone else except music labels. You, an artist, are allowed, without any special deal, to upload videos of your music to YouTube, without need for a special deal.

          Your music label isn't going to be allowed to use YouTube as it's distribution (and revenue) channel without a deal.

          How evil.

          • This is the same distribution and revenue channel which pours advertising money into Google's account, right? And which only works when people go there to watch videos, correct?

          • What makes an organization a "music label"? I was under the impression that the closest concept in law to a "music label" was the owner of copyright in a sound recording. For example, an artist who owns his own recordings, either by having bought the masters from his previous label or by not having signed a "work made for hire" agreement in the first place, is his own label.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705)

        YouTube is a free to anybody video site.

        Google is now saying that anybody who has a song up on YouTube that Google would like to include in their (for pay) streaming services (at a crappy rate of compensation) will have it removed from YouTube unless the artist signs up for these terms.

        So all of a sudden Google is strong-arming people and saying "we will remove you from YouTube unless you sign this one sided deal".

        Do we conclude that the TOS for YouTube now means unless you sign the rights for Google to use

        • Ex-system. You watch a video with add artist get compensated.

          New system: Non-subscriber watches video, artist gets compenstated from ad. Same price.
          Subscriber watches video, artist gets compensated from subscription.
          Unless the second is less then the first, I do not see what the compaint is.

        • Re:Flaimbate (Score:5, Informative)

          by mythosaz (572040) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:02PM (#47256081)

          Google is now saying that anybody who has a song up on YouTube that Google would like to include in their (for pay) streaming services (at a crappy rate of compensation) will have it removed from YouTube unless the artist signs up for these terms.

          That's not what they're saying, despite people trying to interpret it that way.

          They're saying that record labels who use YouTube as the distribution (and revenue) channel for their artists need to deal with them.

          You, an independent artist, can upload whatever you want, just like you always could.

        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          If they're going to apply this uniformly, the video of your child dancing is now something they can use for their own profit.

          Wasn't that always the motivation behind YouTube? Why else would somebody start a company that allows users to upload their own content, than for the purpose of using that content for your own profit?

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            For ads, that was expected.

            For inclusion in their own for-pay music streaming service unless you agree to their one-sided terms? Not so much.

            There are now two classes of videos on YouTube -- things Google has figured out how to directly monetize (beyond ads), and things that Google hasn't yet figured out how to directly monetize.

            But basically, anything in the latter category is just waiting until it joins the former, and you should have zero expectation they won't eventually do it to the rest of it.

        • Re:Flaimbate (Score:5, Informative)

          by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:44PM (#47256517)

          YouTube is a free to anybody video site.

          Yep. And if you -- as an independent artist -- still want to post up a video and let them play it to whomever for free, you're welcome to do so.

          Google is now saying that anybody who has a song up on YouTube that Google would like to include in their (for pay) streaming services (at a crappy rate of compensation) will have it removed from YouTube unless the artist signs up for these terms.

          NO, it's NOT. Read TFA:

          The BBC understands that even if blocks do go ahead, content from artists signed to independent labels will remain available on YouTube via channels such as Vevo.

          Videos which are exclusively licensed by independent record labels, such as acoustic sets or live performances, may be taken down.

          Read that again -- videos that are EXCLUSIVELY *LICENSED* by independent LABELS will be taken down.

          In other words, the LABELS that these "independent" artists have signed with have refused to agree to Google's new terms. Therefore, the LICENSES that the LABELS agreed to are no longer valid.

          Unless I'm reading this wrong, there's nothing here that implies that a TRULY "independent" artist couldn't post whatever he/she wants. But if that artist has signed with a label (even an "independent label" rather than one of the big ones), and that company manages the rights to the videos, then Youtube won't allow those videos to be shown in violation of licensing agreements made by those labels.

          Google may be strong-arming labels to accept deals, but they aren't actually removing "independent" artists' videos -- only those videos which had been previously licensed by a label which refuses to agree to Google's terms.

          The labels may in fact be in the right here, and maybe they should be holding out for a better deal. But let's not pretend that Google is arbitrarily taking down videos of random musicians -- it's removing commercial content that had been previously licensed, but now won't be because of a failure between the parties to agree.

          If they're going to apply this uniformly, the video of your child dancing is now something they can use for their own profit.

          I don't know about you, but if I were to post a video or other media on a website that serves up ads, I'm going to assume that that site is making money off of the ads. If you consider that using your materials for "commercial gain," then maybe you shouldn't post to a free hosting site that serves up ads.

          On the other hand, if you want to get a share in that ad revenue, you're going to have to negotiate with the site owner. And if you don't think you're going to get a good enough deal, then you can pull your videos or media -- just as these labels are doing. Both sides here are making choices.

          • In summation, the video I posted of myself playing a little diddy I came up with in my home office would not be affected, but the music video that I shot with Small N-D Label, who has posted the video to their Youtube channel specifically for promotion would be.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      So, if I were to upload one of my own creations (note that I do not have any label at all, just a hobbyist) this has zero impact on me?

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Did reading comprehension drop when I was away? The headline is "YouTube to block indie labels as subscription service launches" and all of the comments regarding terms are about Google's upcoming streaming service. The videos in question are already on YouTube so there's no "independent labels" refusing permission for them to be up there.

      The Guardian article is pretty unambiguous about it too.

  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:35PM (#47255803)

    What's an "Indie Musician"? My kids singing Happy Birthday©?

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:36PM (#47255813)

    A few weeks ago a couple of characters in Doonesbury were looking for a new slogan for their company. Their choice was: "Don't be Google". This stuff just adds more weight to their decision.

    So don't be Google! [washingtonpost.com]

    • by Russ1642 (1087959)

      "Don't be so successful that you make billions of dollars!" - sounds like a great business slogan

      • If I have to choose between money and being good, I'll take being good, and I'd prefer that the companies I work with do likewise by making an effort to find ways to make money by being good. Google used to do that. Nowadays? Not so much.

  • Risking irrelevance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:37PM (#47255825)

    I wonder if this will turn out to be Youtube's first step towards irrelevance to the youth market.

    This seems like a familiar story from Microsoft and IBM: think your company is so indispensable that you start demanding more of your users and/or partners. And in doing so, make people start looking for alternatives.

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      This seems like a familiar story from Microsoft and IBM: think your company is so indispensable that you start demanding more of your users and/or partners. And in doing so, make people start looking for alternatives.

      Yet despite that, both companies stock continue to do well. I can't really even tell you what IBM does anymore since they've shed their PC, laptop, and server business to Lenovo. Yet their stock continues to be higher now then what it was during any of the previous bubbles in the 90s and 2000s

      • by PrimaryConsult (1546585) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:03PM (#47256107)

        What does IBM do? AIX, Mainframes, PowerPC architecture, and z. They are shedding all the divisions where they actually have to compete, and are focusing only on things that people are either already locked in to, or that they are the only vendor of. The stock is going up because when the dust has settled, they still have a huge number of high profile customers who are paying through the nose for their products, but are not wasting resources on things with thin margins.

      • The short answer is that they've moved in to consulting. There's a whole (mildly interesting) book "Who says elephants can't jump" about their transition.

  • Not evil.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wbr1 (2538558)
    First, as pointed out, it is removed from YouTube, not google search results. This is annoying to the artists, but Youtube belongs to google. They set the terms for you hosting videos there at no cost to you. If the terms are unfair, simply go elsewhere. Perhaps Vimeo. Google is not killing babies or clubbing seals or blackmailing your momma to get you to publish on their streaming service. In fact, I do not know that their streaming service has much share against the likes of iTunes, Amazon, Pandora,
    • by PPH (736903)

      They set the terms for you hosting videos there at no cost to you.

      Not any more. If you are making money off your work, Google/YouTube wants a piece of it. And they are doing nothing more for you than the people who recorded and uploaded their baby singing.

      Is this right or wrong? Good question. But be prepared to have search results for your web site pulled if Google finds out you are making money off it and not buying ads through them. Google is no longer in the search business.

      • But be prepared to have search results for your web site pulled if Google finds out you are making money off it and not buying ads through them. Google is no longer in the search business.

        Do you have any evidence of google pulling sites that do not buy ads through Google ? If Google were to do something like that its quality as a search engine would drop and people would go elsewhere - it would be search engine suicide.

    • First, as pointed out, it is removed from YouTube, not google search results. This is annoying to the artists, but Youtube belongs to google. They set the terms for you hosting videos there at no cost to you.

      And here I thought Google was making their money back on the advertising. That said, them owning the service still doesn't make it not evil. I remember a software company was brought up on antitrust charges for similar things back in the 90s. What were they named? Tinysoft? Macrosoft? Oh well.

  • Hello Google. How the fsck do you think this won't get you large fines for unfair competition practices in the European Union? By forcing people to have you represent them, you are being unfair competition to other streaming web sites and small record labels. You may have oodles of lawyers up your sleeve, but even they won't be able to get away with this in the EU.
    • Google is not such a huge market leader for video than Microsoft is for Desktop OS. In the video platform market there is still something like real competition.

    • Hello Google. How the fsck do you think this won't get you large fines for unfair competition practices in the European Union?

      Maybe they're not worried. (Unlike MicroSoft) they've been fined before in Europe and the US and found a way to get out of it by promising relatively minor changes to how they do business for a limited time.

    • Well, google can offer two options.
      Join and get paid.
      After we take you down, post it again but this time no ads and therefore no money.
      You can still show your videos all you want.
      Google does not have to pay their price for showing their videos.

    • by DamonHD (794830)

      Because YouTube is not a monopoly and it's not unreasonable or unfair of it to try to recover costs (or, gasp, make a profit) somehow.

      Nothing stops you nor anyone else hosting elsewhere or on your own physical server etc etc. I have several (media) servers around the world but for the latest media I put up YouTube was convenient and fast and free. Bandwidth is not free, even for Google.

      Rgds

      Damon

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > Because YouTube is not a monopoly

        In your mind, how much of the market does it take for youtube to qualify as a monopoly? Are you one of those sophists who says it isn't a monopoly as long as there is somebody else, anybody else, no matter how small their marketshare?

        Because youtube has 94% of the market. [udemy.com] And by the definition of most reasonable people that easily qualifies as a monopoly. [economicshelp.org]

        > it's not unreasonable or unfair of it to try to recover costs (or, gasp, make a profit) somehow.

        They are makin

  • by sproketboy (608031) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:53PM (#47256003)

    ASK TOOLBAR!!!!!!!!!!! RAGE!

  • by PseudoCoder (1642383) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:55PM (#47256023)
    Sounds like an opportunity for MySpace to try to reclaim some of that territory. Anybody know if MySpace has the chops to turn this into a good thing for them?
    • Sounds like an opportunity for MySpace to try to reclaim some of that territory. Anybody know if MySpace has the chops to turn this into a good thing for them?

      [crickets]

  • Summary is Awful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SJ2000 (1128057) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:17PM (#47256255) Homepage
    This summary is complete misrepresentation, from the very start of the article.

    YouTube will remove music videos by artists such as Adele, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead, because the independent labels to which they belong have refused to agree terms with the site.

    Whoever wrote that summary clearly has an agenda.

    • They refused to agree to the revised terms which are unnegotiable, which indies are claiming to be unfavorable [wordpress.com].
  • by jwdb (526327)

    How is this not an abuse of monopoly regulations? They're using their influence in one sector - online videos - to strong-arm customers in another sector. That's what Microsoft got in trouble for with Windows and IE, right?

  • It says that musicians, who are signed with an indie label that has not agreed to the "terms", will have their videos removed/blocked.

    What "terms"? How does this affect indie musicians who are not signed to an affected indie label (or an indie label at all)? Do they also have to agree to these so-called "terms"?

    Maybe if Google had someone who wasn't a low-grade moron marketroid answering such questions with real answers, they could avoid egg on their face, as well as rotten tomatoes, then torches and pitchf

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