News tagged: Fileswapping
A little less than two years ago, most of the large ISPs joined a new anti-piracy initiative crafted by the entertainment industry dubbed the Copyright Alert System. In CAS, users are given warning letters for copyright infringement as has long been industry practice, but ISPs will also give users a slap on the wrist for the behavior, ranging from brief filtering of websites (until users agree to receipt of "educational" material) to temporary throttling.
While the CCI (the Center for Copyright Information, tasked with overseeing the program) has suggested six strikes has been a smashing success, new leaked MPAA documents
suggest the entertainment industry isn't actually sure if the new program is accomplishing much of anything:
The U.S. system is “not yet at scale” or operating with “enough education support” according to the MPAA. As a result the CAS has not made an “impact on the overall [piracy] landscape."...“No current information as to the behavior of users who appear to stop P2P infringement – do not know whether [they are] migrating to other pirate systems or to lawful services,” the statement reads.
That latter bit is a nod to the fact that most copyright infringers with a brain have simply shifted to the use of BitTorrent proxy services to hide their behavior from the eyes of their ISPs and entertainment industry infringement trackers. The MPAA's solution to this problem? Make the program bigger, get more ISPs on board, and bring in more industries to make claims.
BitTorrent has tried many times over the years to distance itself from piracy and monetize Bram Cohen's ingenious invention and the BitTorrent brand to various degrees of unsuccess. The latest hope to broaden the company's relevance is Malestrom -- BitTorrent's new, P2P-based browser. story continues..
A new report indicates that the MPAA is making a renewed push to try and erode ISP safe harbor provisions, ultimately forcing them to filter and censor access to websites the entertainment industry deems infringing. Sources tell Torrent Freak
that the entertainment industry, worried about another SOPA-esque backlash, are working on ways to erode ISP safe harbors using existing law.
The Pirate Bay website
was taken offline yesterday after a raid by Swedish police confiscated servers and site hardware from a Mountain-side data center in Nacka
(pdf). Two years ago the remaining, un-arrested Pirate Bay members proclaimed
that they'd moved the website entirely to the cloud, making it raid proof.
The MPAA has launched a new website named WhereToWatch.com
that's intended to direct users away from pirated content and toward legitimate sources for movies and television, though it's unclear if any user who visits the Pirate Bay is going to be swayed by the website's guidance.
The MPAA was quick to compile a list
(pdf) of all of the nice things media outlets and users online are saying about the new website.
For a few years now Digital Rights Corp (aka Rightscorp) has been trying to turn copyright infringement notices into a revenue stream, sending accused pirates letters telling them they can avoid court battles if they just pay a $20 fee
. Rightscorp's latest campaign has them partnering with Miramax, demanding $20 from anyone their records show shared Quintin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" via BitTorrent
. If Rightscorp's history with music piracy is any indication, that first $20 may only be the beginning:
The $20 request is an attractive amount for people to put a complaint completely behind them, and Rightscorp clearly know that, but discussions on community sites suggest that file-sharers are beginning to realize that paying up a few bucks might only be the beginning. Rightscorp often send users a $20 claim for a single track and then once that amount is paid their target discovers that they’re on the hook for the rest of the songs on the album they downloaded, at $20 per track thereafter.
While most ISPs have agreed to turn over customer information quickly, some ISPs like Mediacom, Windstream and Grande Communications have been fighting these requests
for several years now.
With the entertainment industry's "six strikes" program now a year and a half old, the entertainment-industry organization behind the effort (Center for Copyright Information) says that the program is set to double in size this year
. That means not only more warnings, but more partner ISPs, and more content industries demanding that warnings be sent out to broadband subscribers:
In addition to sending more notices, the CCI will also consider adding more copyright holders and ISPs to the mix.
Speaking recently at the IP Summit in London, Former Senator turned MPAA boss Chris Dodd pronounced his love
for forcing ISPs to block and filter websites accused of aiding copyright infringement. Despite the fact filters can be easily bypassed by anyone with a modicum of technical knowledge, often accidentally filter legitimate content
, and appear to have done nothing to slow piracy, Dodd believes filters are the "most effective tools anywhere in the world" at fighting piracy.
To prove it, the MPAA released a report this week supporting their own thesis: Internet filters are a really great idea
. While their findings run in contrast with previous studies and the MPAA doesn't show their methodology, the group insists that:
“Recent research of the effectiveness of site blocking orders in the UK found that visits to infringing sites blocked declined by more than 90% in total during the measurement period or by 74.5% when proxy sites are included,” it reads.
Unlike the UK the MPAA has struggled to get laws passed that encourage filters here in the States, though TorrentFreak argues
that the MPAA is preparing a new push to have the US voluntary six strikes initiative
A British man has received nearly three years in prison
for pirating a copy of Fast and Furious 6
. 25-year-old Philip Danks was the first person in the world to seed the file on BitTorrent networks after recording the film from the back of the theater with a hand-held camera. Danks pleaded guilty to three charges of distributing pirate copies of films (he also sold DVD copies of the film), and was sentenced to 33 months in prison. Investigators didn't have to work hard to identify Danks; he'd posted "Seven billion people and I was the first. F*** you Universal Pictures" on his Facebook page.
directs our attention to a leaked memo sent to T-Mobile staff
that indicates T-Mobile is going to start clamping down on customers who use their T-Mobile LTE connections for peer-to-peer file sharing. The memo notes that starting August 17, T-Mobile will begin reaching out to these users to remind them to read terms and conditions, which prohibits a number of behaviors including P2P.
Despite efforts in several countries to impose ISP-level website filters blocking the site, operators of the Pirate Bay state that their web traffic has doubled since 2011
. While Denmark banned the site first, ISPs in both the UK and Netherlands were required to block access to the website in 2012. The Pirate Bay does not break down the traffic by country, so it's possible that filters did block users in those countries with growth coming from elsewhere. Most of the filters are easy to bypass; The Pirate Bay notes that about 9% of all visitors are using a proxy -- either to bypass the filters or avoid ISP copyright infringement warning letters.
After spending millions of dollars
over countless years on plans to implement "three strikes" anti-piracy measures on the ISP level, the UK government has finally come to the conslusion that having ISPs play content nanny does little to deter piracy. Instead of previous, more aggressive plans to boot repeat offenders off of the Internet, a new plan taking effect in 2015
would simply warn users four times that they're violating copyright -- with no follow up punishment:
Starting in 2015, persistent file-sharers will be sent four warning letters explaining their actions are illegal, but if the notes are ignored no further action will be taken. The scheme, named the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP), is the result of years of talks between ISPs, British politicians and the movie and music industries. The UK’s biggest providers – BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and Sky – have all signed up to VCAP, and smaller ISPs are expected to follow suit.
The UK's approach now more closely approaches the six strikes anti-piracy practices now established in the States
, where users are bombarded with "education material" and warned several times about copyright abuses, but are never disconnected -- with offenses untracked as users move between ISPs.
The concern now is that these data collection efforts will ultimately be used for either fines or legal action down the road as the entertainment industry pushes for expansion of these programs into the sort of heavy-handed territory they originally envisioned.
Back in February the makers of the film Dallas Buyers Club filed a lawsuit
(pdf) against 31 anonymous Internet users accused of having downloaded the movie illegally. One of the film's backers is Voltage Pictures, the company that came to fame for suing 5,000 P2P users en masse
for downloading their film The Hurt Locker,
before heading to Canada to bully smaller ISPs
The entertainment industry and incumbent ISP anti-piracy "six strikes" system recently reached its one year anniversary, and despite the Center for Copyright Information claiming the program was a smashing success, they released little to no detail on program stats
. The program for the last year has involved ISPs tracking repeat copyright offenders then either throttling them or blocking website access until they acknowledge receipt of "educational" materials.
For the last few years Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Cox have done battle against select copyright trolls, provided
said trolls are focused on areas of media these companies don't care much about (like porn
). Most of these copyright trolls fire off pre-settlement letters and file suit against anonymous file traders en masse -- in the hopes of scaring users into paying cash without a trial.
With Hulu's owners being Comcast NBC, Viacom and Disney, it's probably not particularly surprising to see news that Hulu is now blocking VPN users over "piracy" concerns
. Hulu has quietly implemented an IP blocklist for all of the major VPN providers, primarily as a way to block people outside the United States from watching broadcast content. Unfortunately, the block has also stopped U.S. users who use VPNs around the clock to protect privacy from accessing the service. “We have an existing relationship with Hulu and are reaching out to them directly to see what we can do about fixing this issue," states Andrew Lee, CEO of Private Internet Access.
A final ruling in the European Court of Justice has confirmed that it is legal for lower EU courts to force ISPs to block sites that infringe copyright, despite the fact that some broadband providers wish it were otherwise. The decision will bolster a growing trend in European countries for rights holders to pursue their interests by petitioning ISPs to block sites, either through the courts or through various forms of legislation. story continues..
A little more than a year ago, most of the large ISPs joined a new anti-piracy initiative crafted by the entertainment industry dubbed the Copyright Alert System. In CAS, users are given warning letters for copyright infringement as has long been industry practice, but ISPs will also give users a slap on the wrist for the behavior, ranging from brief filtering of websites (until users agree to receipt of "educational" material) to temporary throttling. story continues..
Most of you should clearly recall the train wreck that was the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a proposed law that was broadly and overwhelmingly criticized
for its attempt to force ISPs and search engines to filter user access to "infringing" websites (among many, many other bad ideas). The House Judiciary Committee this week started the engine on what's to be a rebranding of the disastrous SOPA anti-piracy effort, which will this time be pushed under the moniker "notice and staydown."
These new push is yet another expansion of already dubious copyright law, with a focus once again on stripping ISPs of their safe harbor protections in order to make them content nannies.
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