Just as the website’s title suggests, WhereToWatch is a portal that informs the American public about which websites offer legitimate video content. We’re almost certain that the regular user will go and check MPAA’s website before watching a video online, but is this the best of what the movie industry can offer?
A pretty big list of legal video services (categorized into movie services and TV stations), including Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, ShowTime, Verizon (On Demand), HBO Go, and iTunes, are shown on MPAA’s website, along with a message from the industry that goes like this:
“Want to get movies and TV shows easily and quickly online, on your tablet or on your mobile device? Here’s a fast-growing array of ways to find and connect with the content you love. This list is aggregated based on services available to users in the U.S. While the set of services offering movies and TV shows differ by country, several of these are available in multiple countries.”
A decent question would be: “Considering that even people who have never used the internet know about Amazon, Netflix and services alike, how exactly will WTW going to fight piracy?”
Well, here’s the thing: opening up a website with plenty of legal alternatives is way easier than coming up with an anti-piracy legislation that preserves your online/offline rights, while keeping content creators happy. But does the MPAA care about its consumers and money makers? We’ll leave you answer that question.
As far as WTW is concerned, MPAA’s Chairman Chris Dodd said:
“There have never been more ways to access movies and television legitimately online, and those platforms continue to grow and develop thanks in large part to a copyright system that encourages innovation, risk and growth.”
“The companies I represent are committed to continuing to create and develop the best ways for audiences to enjoy the entertainment they love.”
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
After many years of hard work and dedication, Bram Cohen made BitTorrent Live available for public use. The technology behind BT Live is expected to change everything we know about live streaming; to secure its future, the American computer programmer has filed a patent application.
“We plan to shape the future of live broadcasts and want to work with broadcasters to accomplish that,” Cohen said in a statement.
BT Live is unique, in terms of both structure and technology, Cohen said in the patent application that was filed this month.
It was far from easy to come up with this technology, but Cohen’s passion for the complex managed to turn BT Live from dream to fact.
“Doing live streaming well on the Internet has long been a problem. Peer to peer live-streaming has always suffered from high latency, meaning there is typically a lot of delay between when a broadcast happens and when end users see it, typically dozens of seconds or minutes,” Cohen told TorrentFreak.
“BitTorrent Live allows a broadcaster to stream to millions of people with just a few seconds of latency. This is new, and unique, and potentially world-changing.”
The American programmer assures BitTorrent’s community that the patent is not going to restrict users’ access to the new protocol. BT Live will be free to use for both end users and publishers.
“We want people to use and adopt BitTorrent Live. But we aren’t planning on encouraging alternative implementation because it’s a tricky protocol to implement and poorly behaved peers can impact everyone. We want to ensure a quality experience for all and this is the best approach for us to take,” he said.
“To get slightly more technical, the way BitTorrent Live works is by making subsets of peers responsible for subsets of data. High robustness and low latency is achieved by using a screamer protocol between those peers.”
“For the last hop it uses a non-screamer protocol to regain congestion control and efficiency. There is redundancy and some waste in the screaming, but that’s kept under control by only using it to get data to a small fraction of the peers.”
Cohen is confident that BT Live will greatly improve home entertainment, as he believes that television will sooner or later adopt the internet into its infrastructure.
“I believe that inevitably all video streaming will be done over the Internet. It’s simply a better technology for doing so. On a technical level the cable approach is expensive and can only reach subscribers, as opposed to the Internet which can reach anyone,” he told TF.
“So far the one thing cable infrastructure has managed to still do better is live broadcasting. But the BitTorrent Live technology makes it practical to move that to the Internet without being cost prohibitive. We plan to shape the future of live broadcasts and want to work with broadcasters to accomplish that.”
Although BitTorrent is still seen by many as a technology used to infringe copyright, Bram Cohen begs to differ. His struggle to make BitTorrent a reliable and legitimate business goes as far as to make the best of it for both the public and content creators.
In this video, the computer whiz explains not only why BitTorrent will succeed where other file-sharing protocols failed (see the fate of Napster and LimeWire), but also why several huge companies (including Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia) rely on peer-to-peer.
On the other side, the music and movie industry, alongside with internet providers involved in the “six-strikes” program, explained their plans for the future at a Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee hearing.
The hearing included a presentation from MPAA’s Senior Vice President Marianne Grant, who explained how the industry plans to gather evidence on illegal file-sharing. On that regard, the MPAA will (mainly) monitor BitTorrent users, as it’s believed that the peer-to-peer protocol is the main source for downloading movies and TV-shows. Grant also explained that the MPAA is planning on sending copyright alerts to “the right subscribers”.
“The thing about BitTorrent is that it’s very efficient at dividing large files up into small pieces and assembling them very quickly on the user’s computer. For film and television it’s by far the best way to get what you want, if you’re interested in that,” she said.
Furthermore, the MPAA will make a list of movies and TV-shows. The list will goto a tracking company (MarkMonitor), that will search for the respective files on torrent portals.
“We don’t want to send a single notice that isn’t a valid notice. We want to make sure that every single one of them is supported by evidence and a robust communication methodology that makes sure that someone couldn’t come from left field, and send one and pretend to be us,” Grant said.
The tracking company is also responsible with establishing whether an alleged infringer is indeed sharing the “flagged” file or not. Once this is established, the gathered evidence will be sent to the ISP. From here on, the internet provider is to send a copyright alert to the subscriber.
Although the industry takes pride into the system’s accuracy, only time will tell whether it will actually work as planned or not.
See Grant’s speech here – starting with minute 25.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Hollywood studios in a lawsuit against the popular torrent indexer we know as isoHunt. The judge explained why isoHunt and its founder Gary Fung are not fit for safe harbor.
With several million torrents indexed and more than 7.5 million visitors, isoHunt was one of the most beloved services of this kind. We say “was”, because the service is probably going to close its gates permanently after the Ninth Circuit decided to hold the website and its owner accountable for inducing copyright infringement.
Judge Marsha Berzon notes (read the entire ruling here) that isoHunt was doing more than just gathering and classifying torrent files.
“Each time a torrent file is added to isoHunt, the website automatically modifies the torrent file by adding additional backup trackers to it,” she said.
Moreover, she also pointed to the fact that isoHunt kept an updated list of popular movies and TV shows, and featured a handy electronic message board.
A handful of movie studios, headed by Columbia Pictures, filed the lawsuit, claiming that isoHunt is guilty of inducing copyright infringement. The district court found Fung liable for contributory infringement; as a result, the court issued an injunction in which Fung was told to cease all activities that facilitate infringement of the plaintiff’s copyrighted content – that means removing roughly 21.000 works, including Dave, 21, and Cars.
In response, isoHunt’s founder used the Grokster case to point out that his service was doing nothing but indexing content.
“We cannot agree,” Judge Berzon replied.
“Unlike patents, copyrights protect expression, not products or devices. Inducement liability is not limited, either logically or as articulated in Grokster III, to those who distribute a ‘device.’”
However, the movie studios still had to prove Fung’s intent to induce copyright infringement, and apparently they did.
“Like Grokster’s advertisements—indeed, even more so—Fung’s posts were explicitly ‘designed to stimulate others to commit [copyright] violations,’ and so are highly probative of an unlawful intent,” the judge wrote.
To be more specific, the plaintiffs proved that isoHunt invited its users to “upload a torrent” for each of the 20 highest-grossing movies playing in the U.S. theatres at the time.
The judge agreed with the studios, who said that “if one provides a service that could be used to infringe copyrights, with the manifested intent that the service actually be used in that manner, that person is liable for the infringement that occurs through the use of the service.”
Fung’s was also denied safe harbor, as the Ninth Circuit believes that torrent trackers are not fit to be called “service providers” under the DMCA.
Combine that with the circuit’s decision that Fung had “red flag” knowledge about a wide range of infringing activities, and you’ll have a judge Berzon noting that “the record is replete with instances of Fung actively encouraging infringement, by urging his users to both upload and download particular copyrighted works, providing assistance to those seeking to watch copyrighted films, and helping his users burn copyrighted material onto DVDs. The material in question was sufficiently current and well-known that it would have been objectively obvious to a reasonable person that the material solicited and assisted was both copyrighted and not licensed to random members of the public, and that the induced use was therefore infringing.”
Fung’s only victory was over the injunction. The court of appeals asked the lower court to modify the injunction’s wide range accordingly.
In response to this ruling Henry Hoberman – the global general counsel for the MPAA, said:
“This ruling affirms a core principle of copyright law: Those who build businesses around encouraging, enabling, and helping others to commit copyright infringement are themselves infringers, and will be held accountable for their illegal actions. It also strikes an important blow in the fight to preserve the jobs of millions of workers in the creative industries, whose hard work and investments are exploited by rogue websites for their own profit.”
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry
After losing an important battle last year (the ratification of SOPA), Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA, is showing reluctance to the new anti-piracy legislation, saying that he “wasn’t enthusiastic” about it.
Apparently, Chris Dodd had learned his lesson after failing to push the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act forward. In that sense, MPAA’s CEO spoke with the Congress about new and better ways to fight online piracy, while also reminding them that these measures should be nothing like SOPA.
Instead, Chris Dodd is now considering the alternatives.
“I’m looking for a much different approach,” he told The Wrap.
After speaking at the National Press Club, Chris Dodd participated at a question & answer session about how much of a different approach is he thinking. In that regard, he acknowledged the fact that “We need both content and technology.”
“We must strike a balance between the desire for a free and open internet and the protection of intellectual property,” he continued.
“The future cannot be about choosing one over the other –between protecting free speech OR protecting intellectual property–it must be about protecting both.”
It’s almost unbelievable to hear those words from the mouth of the man who almost killed the internet, but this apparent change of heart could mean serious business in the near future.
Dodd was also asked about “Zero Dark Thirty”, a movie that portraits the death of Osama Bin Laden.
The question followed some raised eyebrows from three senators who said that a scene from the movie suggests that information which led to the killing of the Al-Qaeda leader was obtained through torture.
“It is a movie. There is a lot of poetic license in creation of this life force. This isn’t a documentary,” Dodd answered.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Downloads, Entertainment Industry, Legal P2P News & Issues
Here comes another study to confirm what all of us, with an Internet connection, some decent information-search and a bit of reasoning, know: filesharing users – not only are they not harmful for the music industry but actually are its main source of income
A study recently commissioned by Google shows that American P2P users purchase 30 % more music. That is, of course, and again, contrary to what RIAA and MPAA would have lawmakers and the law-abiding, model-to-society citizens think; after all, aren’t pirates the reason all economy stumbles and aren’t they to blame when things in the industry don’t go as big, fat, platinum-skin, heads of the this-is-how-people-must-be-entertained business want them to?
For this research Google commissioned Columbia University’s American Assembly research center; the latter conducted a study among US citizens on the subjects of file sharing and copyright enforcement. According to the data found by the survey, Americans kindda hate methods such as the use of bandwidth throttling and disconnection as penalties for downloading copyrighted stuff.
However, the most important and relevant finding this search revealed is that US P2P users tend to buy 30 percent more music than those who don’t use filesharing on regular basis. While I’m certain this proof will just join the existing stack of such evidence showing filesharing is actually beneficial for the artists and will not have much impact on the ways the industry deals with copyright issues and illegal downloading I can only hope like millions of others that soon enough more people would realize that those who share more, are interested in more, can appreciate more and actually, pay more for music.
From the study: