News tagged: Fileswapping
Wikileaks this week released a copy
of the latest version of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) that has been under construction behind closed doors for years. As we've long noted
, the TPP attempts to take some of the worst aspects of U.S. copyright law and foist them upon the globe. Mike Masnick at Techdirt has a good take
on what the TPP will do to copyright law in general, most notably making serious broad-scale copyright reform impossible.
On the broadband front, TPP continues the effort to make ISPs more liable for enforcement of copyright infringement on their networks. In other words, higher prices whether you pirate or not as the carrier passes notification, filtering and anti-piracy Whac-A-Mole support costs on to you.
Canadian law Professor Michael Geist points out
that there's a rift forming between the United States and Canada on just how liable ISPs should be, with the U.S. and Australia pushing for greater content blocking and possibly broadband user account termination:
The US proposal, which enjoys support from Australia (and support for some provisions from Singapore, New Zealand, and Peru) features far more conditions for ISP limitation of liability that could lead to subscriber service termination and content blocking (Canada, Brunei, Vietnam, and Mexico oppose the approach).
The entertainment industry's "Copyright Alert System" (aka "six strikes) was launched back in February
with the cooperation of major ISPs including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable. While the program integrates "educational" material and a variety of short-lived punishments ranging from throttling to click through warnings, early indications are the program hasn't had much if any impact on BitTorrent piracy traffic
for a variety of reasons (users hiding behind VPNs or proxies, no punishment after the sixth "strike").
Public policy researchers at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center have crafted a new website dubbed Piracydata.org
that takes a look at the ten most pirated movies each week and examines how many of them are available to stream, rent or own digitally. Not too surprisingly, none are available to stream, and very few are available to rent or own.
Sunday night's Breaking Bad series finale not only broke viewership records for AMC (10.3 million U.S. viewers), it also broke piracy records. story continues..
A new study by NetNames commissioned by Comcast NBC Universal released this week
tries to get a handle on the global scope of online piracy. According to the study, some 432 million people engaged in copyright infringement during January of this year in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific alone.
A new study out of Australia has found that graduated response anti-piracy programs simply don't work. A new research paper from Monash University
studied anti-piracy systems that have been deployed in France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea and the UK.
In the UK, where ISPs are now being forced to impose Internet filters to block everything from BitTorrent websites to porn, some carriers are going the extra mile and taking this mandate to mean they should block VPNs as well
. After ISPs signed a voluntary code of conduct requiring they block all porn by default
(unless you're in Parliament, where viewing porn is apparently all the rage during free time
), some UK ISPs have started blocking tools allowing users to bypass those filters:
...VPN provider iPredator is already blocked under the “adult filter” of some, if not all, mobile providers.
For years data has repeatedly shown
that the entertainment industry's scorched earth tactics (ranging from suing grandmothers to trying to get people thrown off the Internet entirely) have never been as effective in combating piracy as simply developing cheap, easy, and good digital distribution platforms. While the industry is still having a hard time understanding this (especially on the video side), we've come a long
way from the days when legitimate music, game and video digital distribution options were often impossible to find.
Rights holders and the UK government are asking UK ISPs to voluntarily compile lists of IP addresses of copyright offenders for lawsuits and potentially even disconnection. Under the Digital Economy Act, which passed in 2011, the UK technically already has a 'three strikes and you’re disconnected' law
on illegal filesharing, a troubling law which all involved have cleverly gotten around by doing close to nothing to enforce it.
The entertainment industry and ISP joint "Copyright Alert System" (aka "six strikes) has had absolutely no impact on piracy statistics, judging from a preliminary look at popular BitTorrent website traffic levels. The six strikes program was launched back in February
with the cooperation of major ISPs including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Speaking recently in Edinburgh about his Netflix series "House of Cards," Kevin Spacey talked briefly about the difficulty in getting the show made without the traditional costly pilot "audition" process, as well as the way Netflix's decision to release entire seasons at once gives control to the consumer. From there, Spacey shifts his conversation towards a message the entertainment industry has had a hard time learning. story continues..
In response to the growing number of countries that have forced ISPs to ban access to The Pirate Bay, the website has launched their own Pirate Browser
, which uses the Tor network to skirt government censorship. "It's a simple one-click browser that circumvents censorship and blockades and makes the site instantly available and accessible," the Pirate Bay explains in a blog post
. "No bundled ad-ware, toolbars or other crap, just a Pre-configured Firefox browser." The browser is currently Windows only, though the folks behind the website say that Mac and Linux versions will be offered soon.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes this week crowed that piracy of the hit HBO show Game of Thrones
is not an entirely bad thing because it brings attention to the show, the boss joking that heavy piracy is almost as good as winning an Emmy
. "If you go to people who are watching it without (subscriptions), it's a tremendous word-of-mouth thing," the exec told investors on their recent earnings call.
AT&T has recently been busy filing numerous patents that will help the nation's largest telco more closely monitor BitTorrent networks and file transfers. According to Torrent Freak
, none of the ideas have been implemented yet, but all involve more closely snooping on user file transfers, then potentially reporting the user to copyright holders or suspending accounts entirely.
Earlier this year the Supreme Court refused to hear
the case of the now-infamous Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who was forced by the RIAA to pay $222,000 in damages for downloading just 24 songs. The refusal ended an eight year battle between the RIAA (who has since moved on from lawsuits, for now) and Thomas-Rasset, who was the first to stand up to the RIAA in court (albeit poorly).
Finally following recommendations from a government study, it looks like France has officially stopped disconnecting users from the Internet
under their taxpayer-funded "graduated response" anti-piracy initiative. The move comes after France just got done disconnecting the first pirate ever
under the program, a user who was disconnected for two weeks (except for e-mail, instant messaging and other VOIP services) and faced a 600 Euro ($800) fine. While disconnections might be gone the program itself is going strong, with users now avoiding disconnection but facing fines up to 1500 euros for repeated infringement.
Speaking at a debate at the University of Westminster in London, Google recently proclaimed that it's far more effective to go after copyright infringing websites as a business, than it is to try and filter them from search engine results. "Blocking websites, I don’t think is as effective as going after them as a business," Google's UK Policy manager Theo Bertram told attendees
. "The supply that was going to Megaupload had simply shifted to a whole new range of middle-ranking pirate sites. My worry is if we're going after them one at a time with blocking, you start getting into the whac-a-mole thing," Betram said. Granted going after them as businesses is a game of whac-a-mole as well, as the bungled attempt to shut down Kim DotCom makes pretty clear.
With the entertainment industry and most major ISPs now jointly engaged in a graduated response anti-piracy effort
(ranging from warnings to connection throttling), most copyright infringers have simply moved to BitTorrent VPN and proxy services in order to hide their activities from ISPs. As such, it seems inevitable that the entertainment industry was going to make these operations their new primary target. Overseas companies like Peter Sunde's iPredator VPN (which we discussed back in 2010
) are now being blocked by credit card companies
Following the introduction of restrictions against file-sharing services, Mastercard and Visa have now started to take action against VPN providers. This week, Swedish payment provider Payson cut access to anonymizing services after being ordered to do so by the credit card companies. VPN provider iPredator is one of the affected customers and founder Peter Sunde says that they are considering legal action to get the service unblocked.
Here in the States, Bram Cohen's BitTorrent has tried to distance itself from such services
by blocking their ads on uTorrent, and it seems like only a matter of time before the entertainment industry gets Congress to pass new laws targeting such services.
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