Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services, Legal P2P News & Issues
A new report from policy control company Sandvine states that BitTorrent accounts less and less for the traffic generated in the US
According to the recently published research, BitTorrent only generated 9.2 per cent of peak-period traffic over the past six months, compared to 20.5 per cent in 2012 and 26.4 per cent in 2011. The company points to streaming video services such as Netflix and the likes and the fact they have made improvements in terms of availability of their subscriber-based, paid-for, on-demand content for this great drop in popularity of the controversial file sharing protocol.
“We believe as more over-the-top Real-Time Entertainment sources are made available to subscribers in the future, the rate of decline in share will begin to accelerate,” says the report.
Reportedly, Netflix managed to hold on to a leading 29 per cent peak-period traffic share in the US. YouTube came in second, but also went up 1.6 per cent this year compared to last year (from 13.8 to 15.4 per cent).
Things, however, behave differently when it comes to Europe where BitTorrent peak period traffic share remained high at 40.63 per cent and in the Asia Pacific region where BitTorrent is still the undisputed leader of traffic (because, says the report, here services like Netflix have not penetrated the market yet).
From the report: “Subscribers are likely using applications like BitTorrent to procure audio and video content not available in their region. We believe that Filesharing’s share of traffic may have finally reached its peak in terms of traffic share and will begin to experience a steady and significant decline, as paid OTT video services continue to expand their availability throughout the region.”
Last month in an interview with MotherBoard, Matt Mason, BitTorrent’s Executive Director of Marketing and Content, brought arguments on why ISPs should seriously consider to use the protocol themselves.
A porn-producing studio called AF Holdings sued over a thousand individuals on grounds of copyright infringement. A court order forcing the defendants’ ISPs to reveal their identities is now being appealed, with chances to win an important battle against copyright trolls.
Verizon, AT&T, Bright House, and Cox are just some of the internet service providers that took the side of their subscribers, by appealing a District of Columbia court’s decision (presided by Judge Beryl Howell), which was given last year. The ruling stated that ISPs must give in the identities of the 1,058 defendants.
“The contact information that Plaintiff seeks is not necessarily a reliable indicator of the true identities of the ‘Does’ who allegedly downloaded Plaintiff’s pornography,” the ISPs argued.
The ISPs continued by saying that many of the defendants are not even living near the District of Columbia. Furthermore, Cox, AT&T, and Bright House pointed to the fact that they are not offering residential contracts in that district.
The court’s decision, the ISPs said, could set a precedent for “coercive and unjust” settlements,
Just like the US entertainment industry used to do, AF Holdings sues a large number of people in one go, expecting for internet providers to reveal their identities, and then rip the defendants’ pockets with quick settlements, hoping that they will not seek justice out of the embarrassment of such a lawsuit.
The Nevis-based (an island in the Caribbean) studio owns copyright on a handful of adult-oriented movies, and that’s about it. The internet service providers believe that, in fact, AF Holdings is a front for Prenda Law, a law firm involved in the case.
Backing up this not so far-fetched theory is a recent ruling given by Los Angeles district judge Otis Wright, who asked Prenda’s lawyers about their legal strategy; they refused to give details, saying that this would incriminate them.
“Evidence elicited in the related AF Holdings case reflects that Plaintiff’s cases are being prosecuted for the sole benefit of Prenda Law’s principals, who are the beneficial owners of Plaintiff and have created fake owners or forged signatures in court filings to hide their interests in these cases,” the appeal reads.
As a result, Judge Wright ruled that:
“Copyright laws originally designed to compensate starving artists allow starving attorneys in this electronic-media era to plunder the citizenry.”
“It is clear that the Principals’ enterprise relies on deception.”
If ISPs win the appeal, would it mean the end (or at least a good shake of the bad tree) of the copyright trolling era?
Stay tuned to find out!
Société d’Auteurs Belge – Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij (also known as SABAM) is the Belgian association representing rightsholders (that is authors, composers and publishers) that reportedly sued some of the country’s ISPs for making a buck out of their internet packages without paying royalties to copyright holders. Well, that sounds interesting!
According to a report by PCWorld:
Sabam wants the court to rule that Internet access providers Belgacom, Telenet and Voo should pay 3.4 percent of their turnover in copyright fees, because they profit from offering high speed Internet connections that give users easy access to copyright protected materials, the collecting organization said in a news release Tuesday.
Since 2000, revenue generated from copyright levies imposed on physical media have declined by 54 percent, Sabam said. This “huge loss” has not been compensated by collections from online services like iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, it added.
ISPs over the years have profited from the switch to online media consumption and they have offered unlimited Internet access with very high download speeds in advertising campaigns, Sabam said. “The Internet access providers have never paid copyright levies for this activity. They hide behind their status as intermediary, without taking responsibility for the information transmitted over their networks,” the organization said.
However, the profit derived from Internet subscriptions in part comes from the intensive use of protected repertoire, Sabam said. Therefore the ISPs should start paying levies, it said. Because negotiations showed that the ISPs are not willing to start paying those levies voluntarily, Sabam decided to sue the three biggest Belgian ISPs in the Brussels Court of First Instance on April 12.
One question that makes total sense would be: if internet service providers are bound to pay royalties to rightsholders, does this mean file-sharers who download copyrighted content without permission get a guilt-free-pass, since all of their activity on the internet is already covered by their respective ISP? It’s not likely for rightsholders to adhere to such a solution, but instead choose the old fashion way – that of suing individuals who infringe copyright.
Furthermore, will this case be a starting point for other countries to force their internet service providers into paying up? It could be, as we’ve seen in the past with the “three strikes program”, but only time will tell for sure. What is sure is that the United States, for example, would have to rewrite the entire DMCA for that to happen.
However unlikely it is for ISPs to pay royalties to rightsholders in other countries, they are worried about a new kind of trend emerging out of these actions.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
While The Pirate Bay moves its ship from one domain name to the other (read an updated report here), Norway cooks a plan to put the notorious website (and all services alike) to an early grave. Modifications to Norway’s Copyright Act suggest website blocking, while allowing rightsholders to spy and pursue file-sharers. This week, the proposed amendments received a green thumb from the country’s parliament.
Norway’s stance on file-sharing has been put under pressure starting with 2009, when the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and some of the country’s movie studios asked Telenor (Norway’s biggest internet service provider) to block access to The Pirate Bay. The ISP refused, saying that there’s no legal basis for such an action. As such, a lawsuit followed, and the court’s ruling favored Telenor. The next year, specifically in February 2010, an appeal was filed by a rightsholder. This second attempt was also rejected.
Obviously, a change in the Copyright Law was needed, so in May 2011 the Ministry of Culture made public the new proposals. This Monday, the country’s parliament reviewed the proposed amendments; the Labor Progress Party, Socialist Left Party, Christian Democrats, and Conservatives voted “yes” on the bill. The only “no” came from the opposition.
The amendments aim to pin-point and prosecute not just those who facilitate copyright infringement, but also those who share copyrighted content without consent from rightsholders. As such, a rightsholder can force internet service providers to “prevent or impede access” to websites that have “extensively made available material that clearly violates copyrights.”
As far as those who run “rogue” websites are concerned, the amendments state that if the owner is unknown or has an undisclosed address “…the case can be decided without the person concerned being given an opportunity to comment.”
End-users will face the full extent of the modified Copyright Act (if the amendments pass) with no regard for Norway’s data protection laws.
“If it is likely that copyright or other rights under this law have been violated, the court may, notwithstanding the confidentiality provided by the Electronic Communications Act, at the request of the licensee, require a provider of electronic communications to disclose information that identifies the owner of the subscription used for the violation,” the modifications read.
“In order that the petition should be granted, the court must find that the arguments in favor of disclosure outweighs the interest of confidentiality. In assessing the court shall weigh the interests of the subscriber against the licensee’s interest in gaining access to the information taking into account severity, scope and effects of the violation.”
According to Jens Christian Koller of the Parliamentary Information Service, the amendments are still to pass a second review of the parliament before formal adoption.
“In practice therefore these amendments to the Copyright Act have been adopted, but it is still not correct to say that it has already been formally adopted by the Parliament. What you can say is that it is now very difficult to stop this law,” he told Teknofil.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Colin Dixon has recently posted on Nscreenmedia his recent interview at NAB with Eric Klinker, President and CEO of BitTorrent whose presence there proved that NAB sees in BitTorrent a potential partner for broadcasters.
In the interview the subject of ISPs vs. BitTorrent was brought up and Klinker stressed that their technology could indeed be very beneficial for the former and make a big financial difference. One explanation why this “collaboration”did not yet occur would be that many ISPs are also pay-TV providers and that the “brand perception gets in the way.” When it comes to BitTorrent, file-sharing or p2p technology, the issue of security is easily pushed forward and ISPs surely hold it as a strong case against the aforementioned potential partnership. Addressing the matter, Klinker said that torrent delivery was always a mere a transport mechanism and one cannot say that it’s either secure or insecure in itself because the files being transfered (shared) can be subjected to any content protection system so it actually depends on how it is being accomplished.
In the article Dixon makes a very just inquiry as to “why ISPs have not embraced the torrent architecture within their networks.” He goes on explaining that “since it is a peer-to-peer protocol, a request for a file is served by the closest machine with a copy” and that what this means is that “the file does not need to be requested from a server outside the ISPs network. This is a good thing for ISPs because they must pay for the interchange connection to the Internet. So the BitTorrent approach could save operators money.”
Another issue adressed was live delivery and according to Klinker, BitTorrent has come up with a fresh new protocol based on the same peer-to-peer concepts as the file-based client. He said that the new protocol requires no server and provides “organic scaling” where “the more people using the solution the better it works since each user brings more computing power to help support delivery.”