Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services, Legal P2P News & Issues
Back in March it was our last report on the Jammie Thomas file-sharing case that lasted for nearly six years, caused a lot of controversy and ended with her having to pay a fine of $222.000 in damages to the RIAA for sharing, back in 2005, 24 songs via the defunct Kazaa p2p client. Now the 36-year ‘file-sharing mom’, as she became known, made the headlines again.
After years of dragging Thomas in courts the RIAA has proposed her a discount in exchange for some anti-piracy services she would help them with. Without trying to hide our satisfaction about it – Thomas answer was a big, fat: NO!
This case was the first to get hugely mediated and one of the most notorious since the RIAA started hunting down file-sharers. For fear that a soft penalty would affect the anti-piracy campaign, and RIAA’s image too much, the Obama administration stepped in, earlier, this year, speaking against any possible that reduction of the $222,000 fine.
After all the noise, Thomas is now left owing the RIAA a great of money which she can’t pay. This made the anti-piracy body consider another option and offered Thomas the ‘chance’ to work for them and reduce her fine.
She didn’t have to ponder much: “I’m not doing it,” was clearly uttered.
When commenting upon the issue the RIAA argues that all their attempts are well-intended and directed towards the less harmful solution:
“We have communicated to Ms. Thomas that we would consider a variety of non-monetary settlement options, which is up to her to offer. We think this is a gesture of a good will and we’re doing what we can to resolve this case in a manner that works for everyone.”
It seems that Thomas may file for bankruptcy and indeed the happy-end of this endless case may be quite hard to figure out. As TorrentFreak points out “everyone involved in the case ends up losing. Except the lawyers.” Although I wouldn’t really picture RIAA as a loser.
South African ISPs are bombarded with requests from copyright owners to hand over personal data of ADSL customers downloading unauthorized content via BitTorrent file-sharing clients
Reportedly, many of the country’s ISPs have received requests from copyright holders to give away personal information of their subscribers suspected of illegal file-sharing.
Fortunately, for the subscribers, however, it seems that most local ISPs are not really anxious to comply with the requests and release the confidential info partly because they do not adhere to local laws.
Mybroadband.co.za published comprehensive material on the issue which we’ll reproduce below:
Cybersmart CEO Laurie Fialkov said that they are receiving requests for subscriber information related to alleged copyright infringements all the time. These requests, said Fialkov, typically come from Sony.
The requests for Cybersmart subscriber info are typically aimed at BitTorrent users who have allegedly pirated movies or music.
Fialkov said that they do not provide any information to the companies because they have no jurisdiction in South Africa.
“Unless they follow the procedure outlined in the Regulation of Interception of Communications and provision of communication-related information Act (RICA), we are not obliged to provide them with any information. So we don’t,” said Fialkov.
Web Africa CTO Alan Kirton also confirmed that they receive requests for personal information from third party companies servicing the large media houses.
These requests, said Kirton, are nearly exclusively related to the use of BitTorrent services.
“The standard request is to disable the account while maintaining any evidence that may be relevant in a lawsuit,” said Kirton.
Kirton said that they do not act on these requests. “Web Africa takes the view that it is not responsible for policing the internet and will only act where required by South African law,” said Kirton.
Axxess marketing director Franco Barbalich said that it has been a long time since they have received a request for personal information.
Barbalich said that the previous requests came from the official content distribution companies, and were aimed at torrent users.
Barbalich said that they do not hand out any personal information of clients unless they get a court order. They do, however, forward the request to the client.
Curiously many other local ISPs said that they have not received such requests. Openweb, Vox Telecom and MWEB have all said that they have not received requests for the personal information of their subscribers on alleged copyright infringement grounds.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, Legal P2P News & Issues
The admin of three file-sharing websites was given more than a year and a half in prison by a court in Valencia for linking to unauthorized digital content
The sites in question were www.divxonline.info, www.estrenosonline.es and www.seriesonlines.es, and the charges that led to the conviction pointed to making movies and other copyright protected files available for streaming over the internet without consent from the rights owners.
While a few years back, Spain seemed to be very tolerant towards non-commercial illegal file-sharing, over the past year its measures against online piracy have toughened considerably.
The case followed a complaint by EGEDA (an organization that manages the rights of audiovisual producers), and the lobby group was quite satisfied with the court’s sentence against the admin – one year, seven months and 15 days of jail, along with a period of 21 months of inactivity.
“The importance of the sentence lies in that it supports the idea that providing links to protected works constitutes an unauthorized act of public communication and that responsibility is not exonerated once the accused is made aware of the illicit procedure, regardless of whether the links were provided by the administrator of third parties.” (EGEDA)
Richard Atkinson, head of the Anti-Piracy department at Adobe, believes that instead of blaming pirates for doing what they do, a way to make them paying customers must be found. As such, the popular company is cooking up a plan, and they’re not the only ones to do so.
This year’s Anti-Piracy and Content Protection Summit came with a rather astonishing surprise. David Kaplan, who is leading the Anti-Piracy Operations section at Warner Bros, made public the studio’s intention to reconsider its position on piracy and pirates. In other words, WB realized that piracy is actually acting as an agent for consumers’ needs. With that in mind, Warner Bros started to adjust its marketing plan in order to drive people towards legal content. Also, WB considers that right-holders could help by giving consumers exactly what they want and when they want it. We’ve already spoken about why people are more likely to go and pirate content instead of buying it, and it seems that the industry is finally getting the point.
The same idea is in Adobe’s mind.
“The strategy and concept of moving from traditional ‘enforcement-led anti piracy’ to a ‘business-focused pirate-to-pay conversion program’ is a BIG change, needing changes to operational elements as well as cultural elements,” Atkinson said.
“Everyone is tired of the entire concept and term ‘Anti-Piracy’, even the term ‘Content Protection’ too. It feels like an ongoing war that has been going on for 20+ years… with the same old good-guy vs bad-guy battles,” he continued.
He went on by saying that while online piracy is a problem not to be ignored, the solution to it lies in the hands of exactly those businesses who are trying to fight against it.
“The core fundamental aspect is not necessarily technology… it is UNDERSTANDING what is really going on. In my years working in this space, I have consistently found that very few people actually have FACTS about what is going on,” Atkinson believes.
“Once you have the facts, then it will change your beliefs and your actions,” he added.
Adobe is now taking a new approach by shifting their focus from boxed products to cloud-based subscriptions. To that end, the software company had already launched Creative Cloud, a solution to better the prices of Adobe Photoshop and several other products.
“I do not think people who pirate our software do it because they are bad people, or because they like to steal things. I just think that they decided that they can not afford it,” David Wadhwani working for Adobe said when Creative Cloud was launched.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, Movies, MP3, Digital Audio & Games
After filing appeal to a 2009 court order forcing Joel Tenenbaum to pay $22.500 for each of the 30 songs he shared, the outcome is not surprising at all: he still needs to pay up.
The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that Tenenbaum’s penalty must be carried out. Tenenbaum appealed the 2009 court order, arguing that the penalty is unconstitutional; as such, he asked for a either a retrial or for the award to be reduced via common law remittitur.
Despite his arguments, the court of appeals said that…
“Tenenbaum carried on his activities for years in spite of numerous warnings, he made thousands of songs available illegally, and he denied responsibility during discovery”.
“Much of this behavior was exactly what Congress was trying to deter when it amended the Copyright Act. Therefore, we do not hesitate to conclude that an award of $22,500 per song, an amount representing 15% of the maximum award for willful violations and less than the maximum award for non-willful violations, comports with due process,” the court continued.
Tenenbaum then explained to the court that he’s emptied the labels’ pockets with only $450, the overall price of the 30 albums.
“But this argument asks us to disregard the deterrent effect of statutory damages, the inherent difficulty in proving damages in a copyright suit, and Sony’s evidence of the harm that it suffered from conduct such as Tenenbaum’s,” the court said.
It seems that one of the longest copyright lawsuits is drawing to an end. Just like it did for the “file-sharing mom”case.
Read the court’s ruling in full here.