Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, Legal P2P News & Issues
The administration’s annual report reveals US’s intention to change its anti-piracy plan. The Obama Administration advises for more transparency when it comes to protecting Intellectual Property and international agreements, while emphasizing on the importance of how IP enforcement communicates with IP stakeholders.
This year’s report offers a perspective on how the administration handled the IP front, while listing statistics about how ICE and the US Justice Department have been handling copyright infringement thus far. Also, it underlines the fact that, although both Hollywood studios and internet service providers have come up with voluntary schemes to curb piracy, there’s a need to test the cogency of these designs.
As far as transparency is concerned, the Obama Administration implies that an advisory group should be put together, while keeping an “open door policy”, by making the group publish its plans via Federal Register notices and other notification methods.
There’s also the issue of how IP laws are enforced. To that, the report highlights the need of a federal law capable of keeping right-holders satisfied on a regular basis. Since 2009, the report continues, the US Attorney’s Office had filed 178 IP cases targeting 254 defendants. On the other hand, ICE and Homeland Security started 1.251 IP investigations, arresting 691 infringers in the process.
Last but not least, the report addresses the issue of “fair use”.
“…the Administration believes, and the U.S. Copyright Office agrees, that authors (including visual artists, songwriters, filmmakers, and writers) would benefit from more guidance on the fair use doctrine,” the report notes.
Also, the Copyright Office’s intention is to publish “major fair use decisions, including a summary of the holdings and some general questions and observations that may in turn guide those seeking to apply the decisions to their own situations.”
You can read full report here.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
According to an 84-page long report, sent by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property to the US government, the entertainment industry is tired of all these “games” and is ready to go berserk on pirates. In other words, the industry proposes a new alternative: fill pirates’ computers with malware!
Let’s take another look at what the American entertainment industry is asking. The commission believes that by infecting suspected infringers’ computers with malware – that’s a very wide range of viruses, including rootkits, spyware, and Trojans – they would back down?
Well, let’s take another shot at this. The industry believes that pre-installed software would accurately establish whether someone (that someone being you while using your personal computer for, obviously, personal stuff) is doing anything illegal, specifically, downloading and/or uploading copyrighted content. The software would then block those files or the computer altogether, until the user (that’s you again) takes responsibility for his or hers actions.
Here are just two paragraphs of the document:
Software can be written that will allow only authorized users to open files containing valuable information. If an unauthorized person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For example, the file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user’s computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account. Such measures do not violate existing laws on the use of the Internet, yet they serve to blunt attacks and stabilize a cyber incident to provide both time and evidence for law enforcement to become involved.
While not currently permitted under U.S. law, there are increasing calls for creating a more permissive environment for active network defense that allows companies not only to stabilize a situation but to take further steps, including actively retrieving stolen information, altering it within the intruder’s networks, or even destroying the information within an unauthorized network. Additional measures go further, including photographing the hacker using his own system’s camera, implanting malware in the hacker’s network, or even physically disabling or destroying the hacker’s own computer or network.
The commission’s goals, as posted on their official website are to:
- Document and assess the causes, scale, and other major dimensions of international intellectual property theft as they affect the United States
- Document and assess the role of China in international intellectual property theft
- Propose appropriate U.S. policy responses that would mitigate ongoing and future damage and obtain greater enforcement of intellectual property rights by China and other infringers
While the organization’s proposal looks like a really bad tragi-comedy movie, other issues spring like mushrooms after a heavy rain. If, somehow, the US government agrees on such provisions, would this method apply to Hollywood’s studios as well?
We only ask because there are plenty of hints that the entertainment industry itself (amongst other powerful organizations, including the FBI) is using peer-to-peer technology, and not just for downloading legal content.
You can read the commission’s full report here.
From a blog post signed by the Recording Industry Association Of America we found out that 20 million takedown requests were sent to Google just last year. Furthermore, a similar number of demands were received by infringing websites. Did all this effort help?
“Every day produces more results and there is no end in sight. Importantly, the targets of our notices don’t even pretend to be innovators constructing new and better ways to legally enjoy music—they have simply created business models that allow them to profit from giving someone else’s property away for free. So while 20 million might sound impressive, the problem we face with illegal downloading on the Internet is immeasurably larger. And that is just for music,” RIAA wrote.
One of RIAA’s VPs – Brad Buckles – is pointing the finger at the search engine, claiming that its actions account for nothing.
“We are using a bucket to deal with an ocean of illegal downloading. Under a controversial interpretation by search engines, takedown notices must be directed at specific links to specific sound recordings and do nothing to stop the same files from being reposted as fast as they are removed.
It is certainly fair for search engines to say that they have no way of knowing whether a particular link on a specific site represents an illegal copy or not. Perhaps it’s fair for them to make that same claim at the second notice. But what about after a thousand notices for the same song on the same site? Isn’t it simply logical and fair at some point to conclude that such links are infringing without requiring content owners to keep expending time and resources to have the link taken down?” he wrote.
To no surprise, RIAA’s blog post comes just as the Congress is getting ready to take another look at US’ copyright law and DMCA.
“The DMCA was intended to define the way forward for technology firms and content creators alike, but some aspects of it no longer work,” Buckles signaled.
“It was passed before Google even existed, or the iPod, or peer-to-peer file-sharing or slick websites offering free mp3 downloads. It was after the DMCA that Napster, and Grokster and Limewire and Grooveshark and Megaupload, to name just a few, came on the scene. In particular, it’s time to rethink the notice and takedown provisions of the DMCA,” he concluded.
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.”
Also known as the Center for Copyright Information, the organization lost not only its company status, but also the right to enforce the “six-strikes” system. The CCI violated state laws and is now forced to close down its doors, at least for a period of time.
Founded in 2011 by the entertainment industries, in collaboration with five of US’s most prominent internet providers, the Center for Copyright Information was put together with a clear purpose: to educate the public about copyright infringement and enforce the American copyright law.
After multiple delays, the Copyright Alert System was finally launched by the CCI on February 2013, but proved to have a short life due to some irregularities.
The Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) revoked CCI’s legal right to conduct its business on US soil.
“If entity’s status is revoked then articles of incorporation / organization shall be void and all powers conferred upon such entity are declared inoperative, and, in the case of a foreign entity, the certificate of foreign registration shall be revoked and all powers conferred hereunder shall be inoperative,” the DCRA explained.
As such, the CCI is now facing civil penalties and probably fines. Furthermore, its name is no longer protected by US laws, so be on guard for scammers who may register under CCI’s name.
“When a Washington DC corporation is revoked by the DCRA, its name is reserved and protected until December 31st of the year the corporation is revoked. After December 31st, other business entities may use the corporations name,” DCRA wrote on their website.
Although the CCI could be, at the time being, sleeping with the fishes, it may also run under a different name.
Don’t gloat yet, because the organization is much likely to come back. As a matter of fact, a TorrentFreak’s source that’s connected to the CCI claimed that the necessary paperwork for the CCI to take its status back had been filed.