Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, Legal P2P News & Issues
In their struggle to fight digital piracy the entertainment industry have learned a lot about their “enemy”. As such, the industry plans on adopting a rather different approach to deal with copyright infringement.
The Center for Copyright Information is the fruit of the collaboration between the MPAA and the RIAA along with five of America’s most established internet providers – AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. Its goal is to construct a system that handles digital copyright infringement.
The system will work as such: once the copyright holder pin-points a pirate, it will send his ISP a notice explaining that illegal activity is happening that address. The internet provider will then send an e-mail, warning the pirate about the alleged copyright infringement while also directing him or her towards legal alternatives of procuring movies or music.
“It’s sort of a new model of cooperation enabling the movie and music companies to be able to identify allegedly infringed files and pass those notices on to subscribers to their ISPs,” said Jill Lesser – Executive Director of the CCI.
“If it works right, it’s not going to be seen as punitive but as helpful.”
This alert system is called the “six-strikes rule”.
After receiving two strikes, you’ll get a warning e-mail. The next two strikes will force you to confirm your receipt of the notice via a landing page or pop-up window.
After the fifth strike mitigation measures will kick start. This means that the internet provider can tamper with your download and upload speeds for a couple of days, while also forcing you to watch educational videos or make you call their office to explain your activity.
The sixth and final strike will send you directly in the wolf’s arms, read content providers.
Furthermore, if you are to receive copyright infringement notices but know that you haven’t downloaded anything illegal, an independent board will take interest into your claims for a filling fee of $35 – which will be refunded if you win.
“We’re moving away from simply rapping people on the hands to try to giving them the info they need to get to various kinds of media content in a way that is both legal, accessible, and cost-effective,” Lesser said.
E. Michael Harrington – music business professor and member of the Future of Music Coalition Advisory Board – said the initiative looks similar to past approaches, claiming that will not make much of a difference.
“When you try education, that can be a complicated subject,” he said.
“You’d have to try to educate someone on every aspect of copyright. I think it’s just late. People can get music any way they want…Those who want to be clever can stay clever.”
According to the NDP Group, digital piracy is on the fall in the US, going down from 16% in 2007 to 9% in 2010. However, it is yet unclear if this is due to RIAA’s efforts or thanks to the legal alternatives such as iTunes, Spotify, or Rhapsody.
“We need to have access to everything, everywhere, at any time and in any format,” Harrington said.
“Record labels just have to get more creative and offer things to people the way they want them at reasonable prices. That’s actually a really old-fashioned idea.”
“They’re not saying illegal as much. The tag has gotten a little better,” he concluded.
More on how to deal with the Six-Strikes system can be read here.
(via Business Time)
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services, Legal P2P News & Issues
In an attempt to improve their methods of combating piracy, UK’s communications regulator – Ofcom – has released a revised version of the Initial Obligations Code.
The code is seen as a key part of the debated and delayed Digital Economy Act (DEA). The revised version explains how and when ISPs should send warning letters to their customers. According to the IOC, the warning system will only apply to the largest internet providers. For example, one ISP must have more than 400.000 fixed line broadband connections.
Which providers fall under these requirements? Well, BT for starters, then Orange UK, O2, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.
This means that Mobile Broadband operators and Wi-Fi providers are not to be included in the Code. An explanation would be that the costs are rather high compared to the expectations of actually reducing piracy by making use of this system. However, this applies only to commercial operators, while libraries and other similar services may have to do the same as big ISPs.
The letter system is based on Copyright Infringement Reports (CIR) from copyright holders. Their goal is to inform subscribers that their accounts are used for unlawful activity. Furthermore, they will only be sent via first class mail. As for copyright owners, they’ll need Ofcom’s approval on the gathered evidence before using this system.
The letters are also to include educational information, promoting legal alternatives of digital content, while also advising on how to protect one’s network from being used for copyright infringement. Rights holders are also expected to put some money into awareness campaigns to educate the consumer about the effect of piracy and to develop attractive online services to offer their content“.
Unlike the three-strikes system, ISPs can send only one letter a month (in any given month). This is good news for internet providers as they can keep their costs at a minimum. However, if one receives 3 or more letters on a period of 12 months, the ISP is then obliged offer anonymous information to copyright owners (when they request it).
Next step is for rights holders to seek a court order which requires the ISP to identify the customer, which may lead to legal action for copyright infringement under the 1988’s Copyright Designs and Patent Act.
“These measures are designed to foster investment and innovation in the UK’s creative industries, while ensuring internet users are treated fairly and given help to access lawful content. Ofcom will oversee a fair appeals process, and also ensure that rights holders’ investigations under the code are rigorous and transparent,” said Claudio Pollack – Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director.
According to Ofcom, broadband customers can challenge any allegations (within 20 days) via an independent appeals body established by the regulator, but they’ll have to pay a £20 Subscriber Appeal Fee.
However, Ofcom – instructed by UK’s Government – revoked subscribers’ rights to appeal on any grounds they want. So, if someone’s having their Wi-Fi network hacked, it’s going to be a hell of a task to prove their innocence.
The DEA also mentions account disconnection, speed restrictions and website blocking. Ofcom was not too fond to website blocking. It said that these measures will “only be considered after the Code has been in force for at least 12 months” and would need further legislation and the Parliament’s approval.
This would also require Ofcom to form an independent appeals process with judicial oversight.
“Digital revenues are going up, the music and film industry are moving in the right direction, yet this cumbersome policy is still lumbering forward. Ofcom are being asked to put lipstick on a pig with this code. The appeals are a joke.
The Government has decided that ‘I didn’t do it’ is not a defence. Some people will almost certainly end up in court having done nothing wrong,” said Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group.
“The Government is proposing that consumers must pay a £20 fee to challenge accusations of copyright infringement under the Digital Economy Act.
Copyright infringement is not to be condoned, but people who are innocent should not have to pay a fee to challenge accusations.
Consumers are innocent until proven guilty. Twenty pounds may sound like a small sum, but it could deter those living on low-incomes from challenging unfair allegations. Ultimately consumers could be subject to “technical measures”, including being cut off from the internet, and the ability to appeal is therefore critical to ensure consumers who have done nothing wrong are not deprived of essential internet access further down the line.
This fee is intended to prevent “vexatious appeals”. But this could be achieved without pricing low income consumers out of their right to appeal, by giving the Appeals Body the power to fine those who have brought frivolous appeals. However, the best way to reduce unnecessary appeals is for Ofcom to require a high standard of evidence from copyright holders, preventing thousands of notifications being sent out on the basis of flimsy evidence,” Chief Executive of Consumer Focus Mike O’Connor said.
The first notifications are expected to be sent at the beginning of 2014. Also, which ISPs should fall under the Code are to be named after the Code has been in operation for six months.
Ofcom will regularly send reports to the Government, informing on the effectiveness of the Code while also forwarding initiatives from copyright owners.
A consultation for Ofcom’s revised draft code will be open until 26th July 2012. Then it will be reviewed by the European Commission. The goal is for the Code to reach the Parliament sometime at the end of this year.
Boxopus comes and changes the way we torrent as it replaces any file-sharing client, and downloads your files directly to your Dropbox account.
The new service called Boxopus completely eliminates the need for a torrent client as it efficiently builds a bridge between cloud storage services and the file-sharing world.
The web application uses Dropbox’s API, meaning that you can link both by simply using your Dropbox account. After that’s done, all you have to do is download – files are kept in a special folder.
Dropbox is a cloud-based service, meaning that it syncs files with all of your devices. However, a selective sync feature is also present, proving to be quite useful when it comes to downloading large files.
As far as security is concerned, Boxopus guarantees it, but requires your e-mail in order to register.
The web application is drag-and-drop oriented, making it easy to use. One more feature worth mentioning is the one-click Boxopus download button which can be integrated into websites. Several portals, including TorrentReactor, Fulldls.com, Vertor.com and Torrentzap.com have already chosen to add this “button”, a TF report confirms.
At the moment using Boxopus is completely free, but paid subscriptions are to be implemented in the near future.
Hardly had Boxopus taken off when news about its banning came storming on the web. Apparently, Dropbox doesn’t want the BitTorrent’s bad rep to be in any way associated with its cloud storage service. Of course, the decision left the Boxopus developers with a bitter taste. The time, money and energy invested in the project have been wasted due to a very unhealthy fear with which the copyright owners have manged (and continue to do so) to dominate the market and scare off damn good innovations.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services, Legal P2P News & Issues
Jimmy Wales – co-founder and promoter of the online non-profit company Wikipedia – has urged UK authorities yesterday to stop US’ efforts to extradite a 24-year-old British student wanted for copyright infringement.
Richard O’Dwyer was arrested two years ago from his university dorm. The operation was conducted by British officers aided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on grounds of copyright infringement. It was alleged that the young student was running a file-swapping website named TVShack.net – a service which enabled its users to share movies and TV-shows links, most of them copyrighted. U.S. authorities claim that Richard made over $200.000 from advertising on a period of three years.
In his defense, Jimmy Wales said that posting links is not a crime:
“Richard O’Dwyer is the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public,” he stated in an online petition posted on Change.org.
In only a couple of hours the petition gathered over 20.400 signatures.
Furthermore, The Guardian has also showed its support, saying that the case was “unfair” and “absurd”.
We’ll keep you posted with this as soon as possible.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Matt Mason is the writer of the best-seller entitled The Pirate’s Dilemma. When he first wrote the book (2008), the author highlighted the importance of digital markets, pointing to technology professionals and their influence in this area.
People within the file-sharing are not considered to be thieves, but rather digital entrepreneurs who are able to reshape the media industry into their “image”, Mason believes.
Today, the idea of file-sharing has reached the farthest corners of the Earth, even in some countries where file-sharing and the Internet itself is controlled by abusive regimes (such as China and North Korea). Studies have shown that piracy is actually increasing album sales, and people like Sean Parker – co-founder of Napster – have become billionaires.
With that in mind we can only say that Mason was a true visionary of his time. Now he’s executive director of marketing for BitTorrent – a company which can easily call itself the biggest file-sharing company on the planet, with more than 160 million users. BitTorrent also managed to raise more than $40 million in funding, and is largely used by other huge companies such as Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It looks like BitTorrent crosses the barrier that separated them for such a long time from a legitimate business, as they plan to put legitimate content on the first place, thus monetizing the digital space.
Ryan Holiday of Forbes asked Matt about what he feels regarding the monetization of content distribution and the future of peer-to-peer content. Here’s what he had to say:
For the last 18 months or so at BitTorrent we’ve been working with a hand-picked selection of artists, filmmakers, TV producers, DJs, game developers and authors to put their work in front of our users to see if we could generate positive returns. Overall, the results have been staggering. For years academic institutions and even industry organizations like the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) have been publishing studies showing that file-sharers spend more money on content and engage with it at a deeper level. After nearly two years of experiments with content, we now know that to be true.
We helped Pioneer One, a TV show pilot, reach enough people and generate enough money in donations that the producers were able to fund the entire first season of the show. We distributed a bundle of music for Pretty Lights, a DJ from Colorado, last December. That bundle was downloaded over 6 million times and generated 100,000 new opt-in email sign-ups on Pretty Lights’ website. That’s 100,000 real fans he can engage with and earn income from for the rest of his career. Last month we released a BitTorrent Bundle of new music from Counting Crows, who had asked us to help generate word of mouth to promote their new album. Before working with BitTorrent, they were being mentioned in social media channels once every eight hours. After we launched the BitTorrent Bundle, they were being mentioned once every two minutes.
The point of all this is to examine the new business models content creators can build using the BitTorrent ecosystem, and use the results of these experiments to create the tools creators will need to do this better. The internet’s potential as a place where content can thrive has not been delivered on yet. Creators are struggling to release media online in ways that make sense.
It’s still hard to build a direct connection to a fan base. We make more giant media files than ever before but it’s still hard to share large files over the Internet using anything other than the BitTorrent protocol. It’s still hard to find the content you want in the format you want it in, and it’s hard for artists to deliver that to their fans. It’s still hard to monetize content in meaningful ways and keep all your data. We hope to change that by using the insights gleaned from these experiments to create the ecosystem creators deserve.
Peer-accelerated technology is an idea that’s time has come. The BitTorrent protocol has always been the fastest way to move large files. The technology currently moves between 20% and 40% of global web traffic every day, and among other things BitTorrent Inc. is busy working on new ways to monetize content distribution, new uses for peer-accelerated technology and a new live-streaming protocol that has the potential to be as world-changing as the original BitTorrent technology.