Tag: mpaa

Pirate books sites banned

tv-myths-captain-pugwash-431x300 The UK High Court has granted an application by The Publishers Association to have several major ‘pirate’ eBook sites blocked at the ISP level.

This will mean that pirated books will be treated in the same way as pirate film or movie sites.  The action requires BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE to block sites including Ebookee, LibGen and Freshwap within 10 days.

Site blocking has become the favoured tool of Big Content in Europe and the UK in particular. More than 120 domains are currently blocked by the country’s major ISPs, largely thanks to action taken by the movie and music industries plus soccer body The Premier League.

The Publishers Association has more than 100 members with combined revenues of £4.7 billion, went to the High Court to demand the blocking of several eBook focused download sites.

They are: Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre and Freebookspot.

PA investigations found that over 80 per cent of the material made available by the sites infringed copyright. In total the sites are said to offer in excess of 10 million titles.

PA and its members claim to have sent close to one million takedown notices directly to the sites and requested that Google remove 1.75 million related URLs from its search results.  However it seems that little actually happened.

In common with all previous similar actions initiated by the MPAA and BPI, The Publishers Association sued the UK’s leading ISPs – BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE – under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Presenting a case which demonstrated mass infringement on the eBook sites in question alongside evidence that the major ISPs have “actual knowledge” that their subscribers are infringing copyright, the PA argued that the sites should be blocked without further delay.

UK ISPs have long since given up defending these cases which is pretty much why the publishers won that quickly.

The ISPs listed in the injunction now have 10 days in which to implement a blockade.

High Court injunctions represent a new anti-piracy tool for The Publishers Association. In addition to its regular takedown work with search engines such as Google, The PA is also involved in City of London Police’s Operation Creative, run out of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). Last year PIPCU acted on The PA’s behalf by taking down a domain operated by eBook site OnRead.


Sony hits out at Wikileaks

Julian AssangeWikileaks has published a mass of Sony data on its site, based on the hack that Sony suffered at the end of last year.

Julian Assange, Wikileaks’ founder, claimed the publication of the hacked material was in the public interest because it revealed the machinations of multinational corporations. Assange is currently holed up in the Ecuador embassy in London, in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He said in a post on the Wikileaks web site that the information revealed close connections between the Sony corporation and lobbying activities at the heart of the US government in Washington DC.

There is nothing particularly new about this though – for years Intel, Microsoft and others have had little offices in Washington DC in a bid to influence American politicos to vo their way. Sony has also extensive links with the MPAA – but that isn’t much of a surprise either.

Sony hit out against the publishing of the hacking information – suggesting that Wikileaks was colluding with criminals by publishing the material.

Assange said that the material is newsworthy and belongs in the public domain. He said Wikileaks would make sure the information stayed up on the web.

MPAA collects IsoHunt scalp

The Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) has managed to shut down IsoHunt, one of the longest running filesharing torrent operations.

Gary Fung, owner of IsoHunt.com, has agreed to a settlement and as a part of the deal the torrent indexing site will close down.  He will also be allowed to remove the horse’s head from his bed.

The judge Jacqueline Chooljian, cancelled the hearing which was planned after she was informed that both the parties came to a deal.

According to an MPAA press release, isoHunt.com agreed to halt all operations worldwide in connection with a settlement of the major movie studios’ landmark copyright lawsuit against the site and its operator Gary Fung.

The settlement included terms under which Fung will be prohibited from profiting by infringing content produced or copyrighted by MPAA and its member studios.

The breakthrough in the case happened in March when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against IsoHunt.com and Fung stating that there was enough unrebutted evidence in the summary judgment record to prove Fung offered his services with the object of promoting their use to infringe copyrighted material.

There was the usual self congratulations from the MPAA about how the Isohunt closure will send a strong message to all those who encourage, enable and help others “to commit copyright infringement are themselves infringers, and will be held accountable for their illegal actions”.

However the case did not exactly go the MPAA’s way. Only a few days ago the MPAA was told off by the judge for seeking damages several times the total worth of isoHunt.

The MPAA asked the court for $110 million, when it admitted that isoHunt only has $5 or $6 million.

The Judge said that by stripping Fung of all his assets there is no actual deterrence. It actually makes no odds taking someone’s money 50 times over.

The site was still up this morning when we looked for research purposes. 

MPAA claims Megaupload shutdown was "massive success"

Big Content has told the Office of the US Trade Representative that the shutdown of Megaupload was hugely successful.

The MPAA claimed that the Megaupload shut down massively disrupted file sharing and this carried over to linking and BitTorrent sites.

Now it wants the US government to conduct similar action against The Pirate Bay, Extratorrent, isoHunt, Kat.ph and several other file-hosting and linking sites.

According to TorrentFreak, the MPAA told the US Government that as a direct result of the Megaupload takedown many other “rogue” sites were rendered useless.

MPAA’s Michael O’Leary said that when Megaupload.com and Megavideo.com were taken down, many linking websites, custom search engines, and custom streaming scripts that relied on the sites for content became inoperable.

Some websites were abandoned by their operators, others lost traffic, while still others shifted their business model.

For example, Wupload.com disabled file sharing. Affiliate programs that paid uploaders for content were also discontinued or removed by many hubs.

Infringing content was purged by operators in bulk, which was followed by uploaders who deleted their own files to prevent the hubs from profiting on the uploads without paying incentives, O’Leary wrote.

While this might be true, the report fails to mention the fact that the Megaupload take down might have been illegal. Already, it is starting to look like the evidence presented to shut down the company might have been fixed. The Justice Department told Megaupload to hang onto some files for an investigation and then charged the company for holding onto pirated content.

The New Zealand extradition hearing against Megaupload’s founder Kim Dotcom is floundering after it was found that the police acted illegally in raiding his home.

If the shutdowns are  found to be illegal, the MPAA paper is simply saying that if the government acts illegally it can shut down websites at the request of the movie studios on the basis of spectral evidence.  Something most people will have worked out.

The MPAA also ignored the effect the shut downs may have had on many legitimate businesses.

In a recent blog post MPAA’s head of research, Julia Jenks, said the Megaupload shutdown might not be all that positive for the industry itself either. 

Big Content puppet wants bits of SOPA back

US Republican senator Lamar Smith is doing his best to get one of the worst aspects of the much rejected SOPA law back on the statute books.

Smith is so concerned that his chums in the entertainment business were spending too much money running around the world threatening foreign governments to bring in tough new copyright laws, that he wanted US taxpayers fund the work. After all Hollywood was broke and the US government had pots of cash it did not know what to do with.

His plan is to pay for civil servants to rush around the world with a brief case of MPAA and RIAA leaflets and threaten countries that do not comply with “repercussions.”

While the MPAA and RIAA might be ignored by small governments, the fact that these would be employees of the US government which is quite famous for invading other countries with high tech weapons, and nukes if things go wrong, is more likely to get attention.

According to Tech Dirt  the diplomatic corp would call these “IP attaches” and they would have diplomatic status.

What is strange is that Smith is a Republican, who apparently is worried about smaller government and taxation, both of which are affected by this daft idea. After all a sane politican would think that if Big Content wanted to lobby countries it should pay for it and do it itself.

Fortunately for humanity this idea was rejected by a lot of politicans, including Smith’s fellow Republicans, who saw the writing on the wall for SOPA.

But that has not stopped Smith getting all wiggy with it and trying to bring the idea back, only bigger and better than before.

He has come up with the Intellectual Property Attache Act. This bill is being fast tracked in the hope that no one will notice it and not inconvience Smith with any anti-SOPA protest.

The new law creates those tax payer funded “diplomats” but attaches them to the US Patent and Trademark Office, and sets them up as their own agency. What could go wrong?

MPAA hatches plan to revive SOPA

Big Content has not learnt any lessons after its attempt to get its tame politicians to vote in the SOPA law failed.

Christopher Dodd, the former Connecticut senator, said that he was having words with his friends about trying to rush some SOPA-style legislation on the books.

Ars Technica reports that he was not going to go into any detail because the pesky great unwashed would rise up and stop it.

Asked if the fact that the White House told him to go forth and multiply had created tensions with Hollywood, Dodd said he was not talking about last winter.

He just hoped the president would use his “good relationships” with both Hollywood and the technology industry to bang a few heads together.

However, he did rule out one particular myth – which claimed that the Megaupload raid was to show how powerful the movie industry was after the anti-SOPA blackout. Dodd said that it was just a coincidence. The FBI had been planning the raid for 19 January because Dotcom was planning to hold a birthday party on that day, and so a number of key Megauplaod figures would be there.

Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said that it was amazing that a mere two months after 14 million people voiced their opposition to SOPA and PIPA, that the head of the Motion Picture Association of America said the flawed law could be reworked in the back rooms of Washington.

The chances of anything that looks like SOPA passing Congress in the near future, fingers crossed, seems slim. SOPA has become a term to mean pushing legislation that sparks a major Internet backlash. Dodd’s chums who are still in Congress apparently do not want to be SOPA’d.

One possible canditate to keep the movie industry happy is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Dubbed the new SOPA, it is actually a cyber security bill which encourages the sharing of data between the government and private industry.  It does have a limited anti-piracy component but it worries people more because of the ability of an alliance of private and public organisations to snoop on people.

Dotcom confident copyright cartel is on the back foot

Controversial MegaUpload boss Kim Dotcom found himself in a spot of bother when Big Content decided he was the next target they had to go after. But, in an interview, Dotcom seems outwardly confident that the US indictment is on the losing path.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, Dotcom said that the indictment is flimsy as the very best. He said that all in, the only examples Big Content had against him are two copyrighted songs. One was a 50 Cent MP3. Although the indictment suggests a “single click on the link” sends a user to a MegaUpload page making the song available for download, Dotcom insists that the file was sent purely as a test to the company’s CTO and that, regardless, he owned the song legally anyway.

He told TorrentFreak that the song had “zero downloads”. The other file mentioned in the indictment was a Louis Armstrong song – Dotcom claimed that it was sent by another defendant also as a private link.

“According to the Department of Justice,” he said, “I am an infringer, and this is all they got? One song?”

Besides, Dotcom claimed, the copyright holders have wildly exaggerated his position. Although the indictment says Dotcom insisted on a 5,000 link deletion limit per day, it turned out Warner Bros ended up with the power – given voluntarily – to delete 100,000 each day. In fact, big media companies like Disney, Warner, and Fox allegedly wanted partnerships with MegaUpload.

Dotcom also believes that a copyright cartel with close ties to Washington had targeted him and Megaupload for political point-scoring rather than for monetary reasons.

While Big Content throws its legal clout at Dotcom, he thinks it is doing the US a disservice over anything else: the case will scare off businesses who depend on hosting, cloud, payment processes and ad networks. In turn, that more liberal countries will be able to steal the business away from the US – with the job losses “substantially” outweighing the “inflated losses claimed by the MPAA & their billionaire club.”

TorrentFreak’s full interview, along with links to related posts, can be found here.

MPAA boss should be fired

Wikipedia founder Jimmy  Wales has waded into Motion Picture Association of America chairman Christopher Dodd saying that he should be fired.

Dodd angered Wales by telling Fox News that senators bribed by the MPAA to support it should be doing what they are told.

“Don’t ask me to write a cheque for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,” Dodd said.

He also said that Wikipedia’s decision to blackout its site in protest of SOPA constituted an abuse of power.

Wales pointed out that such statements make the MPAA out to be a corrupt, Congress-buying organisation. He said that 10 million people contacted Congress to call for the axing of SOPA and PIPA.

“That’s not an abuse of power, that’s democracy and Dodd had best get used to it,” Wales said.

According to Venture Beat,  Wales told the audience at the Design Life Digital conference in Munich that he believes digital piracy is a very real problem that needs to be addressed with better legislation.

Hollywood needed to come back to the table and talk to Silicon Valley with a little more humility. The laws need to be tweaked, Wales admitted, but the world does not need a Draconian new regime. 

MPAA boss calls for bribed politicians to toe the line

An online petition has called for a Senate investigation after the Motion Picture Association of America called for its bribed sock puppets in Washington  to toe the line and not bow to pressure from the great unwashed.

The MPAA’s chairman Chris Dodd is under fire for remarks he made on Fox News, warning those politicians that his group has bribed will lose financial contributions from Hollywood unless they support tougher anti-piracy laws.

According to the LA Times, while the US knows that corporate lobby groups bribe politicians with campaign contributions, it is one of those things that it’s rude to talk about. However, Dodd put it fairly bluntly and in a way that the US press could not really ignore.

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake,” said Dodd. “Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”

And it is starting to look like there has been a backlash against it.

On Sunday, an online petition claiming more than 10,000 signatures demanded that the White House investigate comments made by Dodd in his interview.

The petition says that the comments represent “an open admission of bribery and a threat designed to provoke a specific policy goal. This is a brazen flouting of the ‘above the law’ status people of Dodd’s position and wealth enjoy.”

But just in case you thought that it was a slip of the tongue. MPAA spokesman Howard Gantman pointed out that Dodd was making the obvious point that people support politicians whose views coincide with their own. When politicians take positions that people disagree with, those people tend not to support those politicians.

In other words, we paid for you to bring in anti-piracy laws, we do not expect you to give up when it makes you unpopular. 

MPAA puts Google on its black list

Google is in trouble. Big Content has reacted badly to Eric Schmidt’s comments in the UK about ignoring government demands to block file sharing websites.

Schmidt said Google would fight against such laws being looked at in the US and UK, which he thought would bring in Chinese style censorship.

The MPAA’s Michael O’Leary was incadescent with rage over the comments which he dubbed as arrogant and meant that it thought Google was above the law.

O’Leary said that he had heard this “the law does not apply to me” sort of comment before, but it came from content theives and Google should know better.

The RIAA spat that a head of a multi-billion dollar leading American company is openly suggesting defying the will of Congress and its President. After all, these are people who the RIAA has bought, er, enabled to be elected, er, lobbied.

The spokesman said that Schmidt’s comment contradicted the testimony of Google’s General Counsel that the company takes copyright theft seriously and is willing to step up to the plate in a cooperative and serious way.

The Copyright Alliance said Google was trying to scare off officials eager to defend American creativity and American jobs. Schmidt’s remarks were corporate imperialism.

Actually, Big Content has been dying to get its teeth into Google for a long time.

There have been talks that it would attempt to sue the outfit for providing links to illegal torrents, although this has never quite happened.

To be fair to Schmidt he never said he would ignore the law, just that Google will fight it.

A Google spinner said that while it did respect what the PROTECT IP Act was trying to accomplish, it was working closely with Congress to make sure the bill targets sites dedicated to piracy while protecting free expression and legitimate sites.

However, that is not good enough for Big Content, which is trying to put itself up as the champion of law against the anarchic Google.

In the end it will come down to who has the best lobby drinks cabinent in Washington, Big Content or Google. 

Google could find that Big Content has arranged for an anti-trust hearing or two.