Tag: big content.

Big Content Blames Canada

Big content pressure groups the MPAA and RIAA have waded into Canada, claiming that it is a “safe haven” for copyright infringers and pirate sites.

It moaned that the Canadians “notice and notice” system is ineffective at deterring pirates and that the broader legal copyright regime fails to deter piracy.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has released its latest 301 ‘watch list’ submission to the US Government which is based on the numbers of complaints Big Content has against nation states.

Canada is discussed in detail with the recommendation to put it on the 2017 Special 301 ‘watch list.’

One of the main criticisms is that, despite having been called out repeatedly in the past, the country still offers a home to many pirate sites.

“For a number of years, extending well into the current decade, Canada had a well-deserved reputation as a safe haven for some of the most massive and flagrant Internet sites dedicated to the online theft of copyright material,” IIPA writes.

It all seems rather unfair given that the Canadians shut down the popular torrent site KickassTorrents, which was partly hosted there. The IIPA is worried about the emergence of stand-alone BitTorrent applications that allow users to stream content directly through an attractive and user-friendly interface. Basically, they are moaning about Popcorn Time.

The IIPA reports that several websites offering modified game console gear have also moved there to escape liability under US law.

The group specifically highlights R4cardmontreal.com, gamersection.ca and r4dscanada.com among the offenders, and notes that “This trend breathes new life into Canada’s problematic ‘safe haven’ reputation.”

Big Content claims Canada’s legal regime fails to deal with online piracy in a proper manner. This is also true for the “notice and notice” legislation that was adopted two years ago, which requires ISPs to forward copyright infringement notices to pirating subscribers.

But the main issue appears to be that there is no evidence that any of the anti-piracy crackdowns have worked. Big Content thinks that this is because there are no punishments involved for frequent offenders. Despite the failure of any measures to stop online piracy Big Content wants  to see crucifixions.

“…simply notifying ISP subscribers that their infringing activity has been detected is ineffective in deterring illegal activity, because receiving the notices lacks any meaningful consequences under the Canadian system,” IIPA writes.

It admits that the ‘notice-and-takedown’ remedy that most other modern copyright laws provide does not work but it does provide some incentives for cooperation, incentives that Canada’s laws simply lack,” Big Content muttered.

Torrent sites scuttled by DoS attacks

pirate-bayIt would appear torrent sites are being hammered by DDoS attacks and the reason is related to their banning of .’unofficial’ proxy services.

ExtraTorrent faced tons of cyberattacks over the last three days. Most of them were DDOS attacks. Cloudflare couldn’t help because we get 40 to 50 million requests from the US every hour.

The site temporarily limited several functions to save resources including login functionality so there were no fresh torrents. In addition, the site’s operators have removed the added protection against unofficial mirror and proxy sites.

It is believed that the added protection layer may be the reason why the site is under attack. A few days ago ExtraTorrent received an email threatening attacks, if its operators didn’t remove the encryption within 24 hours.

Blocking out “unofficial” proxy sites is a pain in the arse for many users who might be paying for a proxy so that they don not get caught by Big Content downloading material. However the site registered the proxy site as being unofficial because it is not a big name or registered.

The Pirate Bay is also down at the time of writing. Users who try to access the site get a CloudFlare downtime warning, or a new Captcha error.


Aussies giving up piracy for legal streaming

pirate-bayAussie content pirates are giving up their torrenting now that big content has made legal streaming more available.

A report commissioned by the Australian government has found a drop in piracy rates for 2016 which is attributed to improved
availability of legal streaming alternatives.  In other words if Big Content stops being paranoid and starts being nice to people they are more likely to stop pirating. Who would have thunk it?

What is more amusing is that pirates are more likely to buy the legal streaming product.

This flies in the face of statements made by anti-piracy groups who insist that Aussies simply don’t want to pay for legal content. However, the report seems to confirm that Aussie pirates only download when they are being treated badly by content providers.

Down-under Big Content was been slammed for treating Aussies as second class citizens debuting material later, less conveniently, and at increased cost.  It appears to have been pulling up its socks lately and is being rewarded by drops in piracy.

The Department of Communications and the Arts sampled 2,400 people aged 12 and up. It aimed to understand consumption of four types of online content – music, movies, TV shows, and video games. It also sought to understand attitudes to piracy, including the role pricing plays in media consumption.

Six out of 10 Internet users consumed at least one item of digital content during the period, slightly up from in the same period 2015. Downloading had dropped from 43 percent in 2015 to 39 percent. Despite it being the most popular download category overall, the largest drops were witnessed in the music sector, from 29 percent last year to 26 percent in 2016.

Streaming increased from 54 percent to 57 percent since last year, with TV shows and movies making the biggest gains.

“The proportion of internet users who streamed TV programmes increased from 34 percent to 38 percent and the proportion of internet users who streamed movies increased from 25 percent  to 29 per cent ,” the report said.

The most-consumed content were TV shows (41 percent), music (39 percent) and movies (33 percent) and video games (15 percent).

“In 2016, 27 per cent of consumers or sharers had used Netflix, up from nine percent  in 2015, and making it the third most popular service overall. The proportion using Netflix for movies increased from 16 percent in 2015 to 41 percent in 2016, and the percentage using Netflix for TV programs rose from 12 percent in 2015 to 31 percent in 2016, meaning it was the most popular service for both movies and TV programs,” the report reads.

The report estimates that, over the first three months of 2016, 23 percent of Australian internet users aged 12+ consumed at least one item of online content unlawfully, which equates to approximately 4.6 million people. This was a significant drop from the 26 per cent who had consumed unlawful content in 2015.

The survey indicates that pirates were also the biggest consumers of legitimate content. In 2016, just six percent of internet users exclusively obtained content from pirate sources.

This confirms Swedish findings which showed that people who pirate some content are also more likely to pay.

Half of the consumers cited convenience as the main reason to use paid services, with 39 percent citing speed. Wanting to support creators and not wanting to use pirate sites tied at 37 percent each but the former was down from 43 percent in 2015.

43 percent of infringers said that better pricing would be the factor that would be most likely to reduce their consumption of illicit content. Availability came second, with 35 percent  complaining about content not being available in Australia at the same time as elsewhere, and 31 percent  complaining about a lack of availability.

Big Content orders old version of Ubuntu to be censored

she-wronged-him-right-c2a9-paramountWhile Google is normally pretty good at stopping daft take-down requests from the movie studios, it seems to have missed a doozy.

Paramount Pictures ordered a takedown of a link to a 32-bit alternate install image Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS because it apparently infringed on Paramount movie ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction‘.

The link pointed to a stock and dated old Ubuntu release which has nothing to do with the god awful flick.

For some reason Google has complied with the request and scrubbed the link to the page in question from its search index.

Fortunately, only a single URL was affected by this notice, and it is a URL pointing to an old version of Ubuntu that few people are likely to search for.

Big Content floods Google with millions of take down requests.  The fact it has failed to stop any piracy and ends up taking down legit content is probably a sign that whatever method it is using is not working.

Big Content coins it in

taylor-swift-is-the-apple-of-musicDespite Big Content telling the world+dog that it was nearly bankrupt due to torrenting pirates, it made an absolute fortune last year.

According to new Futuresource figures, last year was the most successful year the music industry has seen in 15 years.

While people didn’t spend nearly as much on music as they did in the heady days of the early 2000s before digital music, piracy and streaming turned the market upside down. But the amount of money spent by music fans is growing. In 2015, industry revenue grew five percent, reaching nearly $19 billion.

Futuresource looked at revenue from sales of CDs, vinyl and other physical media, of subscription services such as Spotify and Apple Music, and of pay-per-download outlets including iTunes.

A lot of the cash appears to be coming from streaming, which Big Content fought tooth and claw claiming that it would lead to more piracy. Streaming hasn’t been fully adopted worldwide. The Germans and Japanese, for example, still spend most of their music budgets on CDs.

Hollywood asks US to save it from a court case

Liberty-Net-His-Masters-VoiceBig Content has asked the US government to pick a fight with a foreign government over a copyright case that it does not want to fight any more.

The court battle is a long running affair against the Antigua based software company SlySoft. Despite an earlier conviction SlySoft continues to offer its DVD and BluRay ripping tools.

Big Content wants the US government to place Antigua on the Priority Watch List.

An Antiguan court found Slysoft owner Giancarla Bettini guilty of six charges under the 2003 Copyright Act and ordered him to pay a fine of $5,000 per offense. Failure to pay would result in six months in jail for each offense.

SlySoft’s owner immediately filed an appeal which effectively put the convictions on hold. After two years the appeal has yet to begin and AnyDVD remains widely available.

In what appears to be a last-ditch effort, AACS is now asking the United States Trade Representative to take on the matter. The licensing company is asking the government to place Antigua on its copyright Priority Watch List.

Placing Antigua on the Priority Watch List is a logical next step, according to AACS, which will put pressure on the Caribbean island and force the government take it a bit more seriously.

But this is not the first time that large US interests have leaned on Antigua. In 2005 the WTO ruledthat the US refusal to let Antiguan gambling companies access their market violated free-trade.

In 2007 the WTO went a step further and granted Antigua the right to suspend US copyrights up to $21 million annually.

Antigua opted to start their own pirate site, with permission from the World Trade Organization. Sadly this site never saw the light of day and the US and Antigua are trying to hammer out a compromise.

Kim Dotcom to face US court

Kim Dotcom, Wikimedia CommonsInternet presence Kim Dotcom will be extradited from New Zealand to the USA to face charges there, a court has ruled.

Dotcom, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand, has vowed to fight the decision to extradite him to the USA.

If he loses, he faces a number of charges including money laundering, copyright breaches and racketeering.

These charges carry hefty penalties in the USA.

Big Content alleges that Dotcom has cost them as much as $500 million.

Three years ago, US enforcers shut down his megaupload.com web site and laid charges against Mr Dotcom, who changed his surname from Schmitz to reflect the zeitgeist.

Apple mothballs TV plan, blames big content greed

old-school-tvFruity cargo cult Apple is giving up on its over hyped television plans – at least for now

The Tame Apple Press claimed that Jobs’ Mob was expected to take on September 9, boldly going where Intel and Microsoft had failed.  It even claimed that Apple’s latest television hardware had spaces which would be filled by an internet television streaming service.

However the hardware launched on time but without the matching TV service, making it a chocolate teapot of streamers.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has mothballed plans to offer a live internet based television service and is instead focusing on being a platform for media companies to sell directly to customers through its App Store.

Jobs’ Mob’s original plan was to sell 14 channels for $30 to $40 a month and it is blaming the media companies for making the plan fail because they were “too greedy”. Yeah irony thy name is Apple.

Broadcasters such as CBS and Twenty-First Century Fox had licensed programing. But a lack of content led Apple to scrap plans to announce the service at the September 9 event.

Bloomberg said Apple had not given up entirely on releasing an internet TV service, which has slowly been pulling viewers away from traditional television service providers.

Big Content told to sling its piracy hook in Sweden

Captain_Hook_(Hook)A Swedish court has told Big Content that the legal system can’t be used to force ISPs to ban whoever a music or film mogul does not like.

The District Court of Stockholm court ruled that the country’s internet service providers cannot be forced to block controversial Swedish file-sharing site Pirate Bay.

Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry wanted to force Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget block Pirate Bay because it was ignoring their calls.  Its argument was that if the ISP was not censoring whoever Big Content said it should, then it was helping the pirates.

But the court found that Bredbandsbolaget’s operations do not amount to participation in the copyright infringement offences carried out by some of its ‘pirate’ subscribers.

Bredbandsbolaget said that is only job was to provide customers with internet access and ensuring the free-flow of information, it should not be forced into the censorship business.

Presiding Chief Magistrate Anders Dereborg said that the court said it is not in a position to authorise such a ban as the rights holders want and therefore rejects their request.

The move was a little unexpected.  The courts have been rolling over for Big Content through-out Europe. The only EU country that has not done so has been the Netherlands.

The Pirate Bay was founded in Sweden in 2003, allows users to share music, film and other files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.

In 2009 Fredrik Neij and three other Swedes connected with The Pirate Bay were found guilty of being accessories to copyright infringement by a Swedish court.

They were each given one-year jail terms and ordered to pay $3.6 million in compensation.

Big Content gets legal poke in the eye

US court in texas

US court in Texas

Big Content’s methods of automatically issuing take down notices of material it considers pirated received a poke in the eye from the US courts.

A US appeals court ruled that copyright holders must consider “fair use” before demanding the removal of videos that people post online.

In a closely followed case over a home video of a toddler dancing to the Prince hit “Let’s Go Crazy.” In that case Stephanie Lenz of Gallitzin, Pennsylvania had in February 2007 uploaded to YouTube a blurry 29-second clip of her 13-month-old son Holden happily bobbing up and down to “Let’s Go Crazy,” a 1984 song by Prince and The Revolution that played in the background.

Lenz said she thought her family and friends would enjoy seeing the toddler, who had just learned to walk, dance as well.

But Universal, which enforced Prince’s copyrights, persuaded YouTube to remove Lenz’s video, citing a good faith belief that the video was unauthorised.

Lenz had the video restored and sued Universal over the takedown notice, seeking damages.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has now made it tougher for content providers such as Universal Music Group to force Internet service providers to remove material.

“Copyright holders cannot shirk their duty to consider – in good faith and prior to sending a takedown notification – whether allegedly infringing material constitutes fair use,” Circuit Judge Richard Tallman wrote for a 3-0 panel.

In January 2013, US District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Francisco said copyright holders must consider fair use, but denied Lenz’s misrepresentation claim.

Upholding that ruling, Tallman said there can be liability if a copyright holder “knowingly misrepresented” in a takedown notice that it had a good faith belief that a video “did not constitute fair use.”

But he also said courts should defer to a copyright holder who has a “subjective good faith belief” to the contrary.

The 9th Circuit said Lenz failed to overcome this hurdle, and instead may seek nominal damages for the “unquantifiable harm” she suffered.

Corynne McSherry, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation representing Lenz, said the decision “sends a strong message that copyright law does not authorize thoughtless censorship of lawful speech.”