Tag: piracy

Romans say embedding is not piracy

roman-mattressA Roman court has ruled that embedding does not constitute a copyright infringement.

The move overturns one of the 152 website blocks another court imposed last month, and ruled that that allowed the Italian site Kisstube to carry on as normal.

Kisstube is a YouTube channel, which also exists as a standalone website that does not host any content itself, linking instead to YouTube. Both the channel and website arrange content by categories for the convenience of users.

The Italian court’s decision was influenced by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) into an outfit called BestWater. In that case, the CJEU held that embedding or framing a video or image from another website is not copyright infringement if the latter is already accessible to the general public.

Another CJEU judgment, ruled that posting hyperlinks to pirated copies of material is only legal provided it is done without knowledge that they are unauthorised versions, and it is not carried out for financial gain.

The judge has assessed that there was no evidence of illegality of the link on Kisstube’s site, because it had received no “notice and takedown request”.

YouTube has a notice system based on the US DMCA, it was not interested in acting against Kisstube because there was no indication that the hyperlinks were to illegal material. Therefore it was not a pirate site and the BestWater ruling applied.

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.

Big Content verboten to outsource piracy enforcement

Liberty-Net-His-Masters-VoiceThe highest court in Germany has decided that ISPs might have to act as Big Content’s censors and block websites offering illegal music downloads, but only as a last resort.

The Federal Supreme Court said was that the copyright holders showed have to show they made reasonable attempts to thwart such piracy by other means and that might be a little difficult.

The court felt that Big Content was trying to outsource its enforcement to the ISPs and said that it was not doing enough itself to stop pirates.

The federal Supreme Court dismissed two cases brought by music rights society GEMA against Deutsche Telekom and music companies Universal Music, Sony and Warner Music Group against Telefonica’s O2 Deutschland.

It said on Thursday the plaintiffs did not make enough effort to halt the copyright violations in the first place but said Internet service providers could in principle be held responsible for blocking music illegally available on the Internet, even if the content remained available elsewhere.

GEMA, which acts to protect the rights of the owners of musical works, had demanded that Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s largest telecoms company, block the website “3dl.am” because it offered access to copyright-protected music.

In a separate case, the music companies wanted O2 Deutschland to block access to “goldesel.to,” part of the eDonkey network, a peer-to-peer file-sharing network for music.

The court said in its ruling: “The company that offers Internet access will only be held responsible for blocking the site when the copyright holder has first made reasonable efforts to take action against those who have themselves infringed their rights, like the website operators, or those who have enabled the infringement, like the Web hosting providers.”

The music industry says it loses billions of dollars every year from the illegal downloading of songs, depriving it of the revenue it needs to pay songwriters, artists, talent scouts, and people who come to install large swimming pools.

Big Content is not having a good time in Germany. A German court ruled in July that YouTube was only responsible for blocking copyright-infringing videos when they had been brought to its attention, and could not be expected to scan everything on the site.

SOPA is back from the dead

zombieAmericans who believed that they managed to kill off the SOPA anti-piracy bill with a little thing called democracy might be disappointed to know that the legal system is about to bring it in anyway.

The US Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit will hear oral arguments in ClearCorrect Operating against the International Trade Commission. It could give a federal agency the power to force ISPs to block websites which would by rights give Big Content the power to shut down any website it likes.

It was one of the provisions of the SOPA bill and apparently the Motion Picture Association of America never gave up on it.

SOPA as originally introduced included a provision allowing the Department of Justice to obtain court orders requiring ISPs to block their customers from accessing foreign websites deemed to be pirate sites.

A leaked MPAA memo suggests Big Content would seek to obtain the same sorts of orders against ISPs, simply using the International Trade Commission rather than the DOJ.”

The ClearCorrect case is about a 3D printing model file for invisible braces. ClearCorrect had a subsidiary in Pakistan create 3D models of braces, which it then sent from Pakistan to the US over the internet. ClearCorrect then 3D printed the braces in its Texas offices, a move that might infringe Invisalign patents.

Align Technologies, the parent company of Invisalign, went to the International Trade Commission (ITC), a federal agency that deals with imports that allegedly infringe intellectual property rights, such as shipments of fake Louis Vuitton shoes or knock off pharmaceuticals.

Since no physical goods came over the US border and a digital file was transported over the internet. Last year, the ITC determined that it had the legal authority, under a tariff law from 1930, to stop the transmission of infringing digital files.

This means that Big Content can include digital files in any complaints and order any pirate site banned from the US.

If ClearCorrect loses at the Federal Circuit, intellectual property owners, given its speed and powerful remedies, and those with cases involving digital downloads will head to the ITC for their takedown notices.

The leaked MPAA memo from 2014 advises, “[S]eeking a site-blocking order in the ITC would appear to offer a number of advantages over federal court litigation, at least at first blush.”

Because the ITC is an agency, not a federal court, it has different procedural rules that could greatly benefit rights-holders.

The Federal Circuit will hear oral arguments in ClearCorrect on August 11.

Piracy is legal in the EU sometimes

A court in the European Union has decided that Europeans are allowed to pirate content if they do so in a particular way.

Apparently if an internet user is streaming copyrighted content online, it’s legal for the user, who isn’t willfully making a copy of said content to view it. The pirate can only watch it directly through a web browser, streaming it from a website that hosts it, but it will be perfectly legal.

The ruling comes as part of a legal battle between a European media service Meltwater that used to include headlines from various news stories in daily digests sent to readers via email. Copyright holders including the Associated Press sued the company.

But in Europe the case crossed into strange territory. The group suing Meltwater argued that recipients of Meltwater’s emails had to pay license fees for the content they received, and the court basically ruled that Internet users who see content online, without actually willingly making a copy of it, should not be held accountable for any resulting copyright infringement.

Meltwater is not off the hook, but its clients certainly are. It also means that if someone streams content from their website they can’t be done for piracy. It does mean that viewers cannot be prosecuted.

This should be good news for all those German unternet users who received fines at home for streaming certain porn videos from a site last year. 

Big Content goes for UK pirate site shut down

Big Content is waving a list of 22 sites that it wants censored in the UK so that it does not have to change its 20th century business model.

The six main sites being gunned for are vkontakte, ex.ua, Zing, Filestube, The Pirate Bay and the Brazilian Degraçaémaisgostoso.org. But another 22 names are apparently on a list sent to the likes of ISP Virgin Media. Amongst these are Filestube, Extratorrent, Bitsnoop, Bomb-Mp3, Mp3skull, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Torrenthound, Torrentreactor and Monova.

In a statement, the RIAA said that it was highlighting some sites that were so central to the activities of a particular society that they almost single-handedly prevent the development of a legitimate online music marketplace.

Of course, if you talk to companies who want to sell music or films in the online marketplace they will tell you that their biggest problem is not the pirates, but Big Content which will not let them sell anything.

Ask Intel who is stopping its streaming online TV plans and it will not mention Pirate Bay, but will probably take you to one side and say “off the record” that it is the media mongols of California that are triggering the project.

BT has confirmed that it has been asked to block websites, but has said that it will only do so when a court tells it has no choice.

Virgin Media said that it was in the same boat and would only obey court orders addressed to the company. 

Big Content plans school brainwashing scheme

Big Content has somehow managed to convince US lawmakers that it should be allowed into schools and kindergartens to brainwash kids about piracy.

A new school curriculum being developed with the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and the nation’s top ISPs which will tell kids that P2P is worse than cheating on homework.

The program is going to be tested on children in California elementary schools later this year.

According to Wiredthe programme will be at different levels, starting in kindergarten through to the sixth grade. The goal is, bluntly, to claim that copying is theft.

This attempt at corporate brainwashing on developing minds has not gone down too well with civil liberties groups.

Mitch Stoltz, an intellectual property lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation said the material given to kids was thinly disguised corporate propaganda which was inaccurate and inappropriate.

He said that it falsely suggests that ideas are property and that building on others’ ideas always requires permission.

It implies that students should not be creating content but worrying about their impact on corporate profits.

The education material was prepared by the California School Library Association and the Internet Keep Safe Coalition in conjunction with the Centre For Copyright Infringement.

Each grade’s material includes a short video, and comes with a worksheet for teachers so they can get children to talk about filesharing as an evil curse.

In the sixth-grade version, teachers are told to ask children: “if a student copies a friend’s answers on a test or homework assignment, what happens?”

The answer is that the student is suspended from school or is failed. Teachers are instructed to tell their students that there are worse consequences if they commit a copyright violation.

However, the material does not talk about fair use and students are told that using works without permission is “stealing”.

Weakening his case somewhat, Stoltz pointed out that Justin Bieber got started singing other people’s songs, without permission, on YouTube.

“If he had been subjected to this curriculum, he would have been told that what he did was ‘bad, ‘stealing,’ and could have landed him in jail,” says Stoltz, accidentally presenting a good case for the programme.

The Internet Keep Safe Coalition president, Marsali Hancock, says fair use is not a part of the teaching material because sixth graders don’t have the ability to grasp it.

She said the group would later develop material for older kids that will discuss fair use.

Given that the whole thing is controversial, we would have thought it was better that kids were also instructed in the concept of sharing information and how it really works. 

China tackles piracy problem – by building its own OS

As part of the country’s drive to embrace open source software, China has contracted Canonical to help build an OS specifically with Chinese users in mind.

It is expected that the OS, dubbed Ubuntu Kylin, will be designed for desktops and laptops, and will ship with Chinese characters. The idea is to create an operating system that is in tune with the way Chinese people use their computers, plus supporting Chinese dates, the BBC reports

Both in-house Canonical staff and Chinese researchers will be working on the OS at a Beijing lab. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will collaborate with Canonical to come up with Kylin to run on servers, aimed at websites, online shops, and hosting.

The move will be a mixed bag for Western companies that traditionally have dominated the Chinese IT landscape. There have been increasing calls for the country to crack down on rampant piracy, including from Microsoft, that has insisted in the past illicit copies of Windows have been profligate. Washington previously hoped to exert pressure onto China to take action against piracy. This move seems to indicate a desire to, at the very least, reduce reliance on the West.

Bundled with Ubuntu Kylin will eventually be popular Chinese language services like Baidu maps, alternatives to Office and image management, and the Taobao shopping service.

By leaning on Linux for its IT, China will also be encouraging coders to build and modify their own versions of Kylin.

Sony comes up with interestingly simple DRM

Sony has come up with a method of detecting pirated software which it thinks is simple enough to overcome a lot of the problems of DRM.

DRM systems are usually complicated, easy to break and often punish those who bought the software legitimately.

According to application 20130047267, which was spotted by Dvicepublished in the US Patent and Trademark Office this month, devices using this technology will be able to identify whether a game is legitimate based on the amount of time it takes to load into the device.

It is a fairly simple idea. Pirates would have a real job getting cracked software to be the same size as the original. The time factor also makes it easier to tell if the content is “illegally transferred or pirated to another, unauthorised media type”.

It also makes it harder for pirates to reverse engineer such technology and circumvent the protections.

In theory a device will have a threshold of load time for legitimate content. If the media doesn’t pass the validation in terms of load time, the user would be unable to access the content, Sony said in its application.

Of course there are a few things that could still go wrong. It is also possible for drives to be faster, for example, that some games can be sped up by replacing a Playstation’s hard drive with a faster solid state drive. The patent says that could be solved by encoding the DRM with times for each type of drive. It would check it against a benchmark load time for that media type. This comparison is used to detect if the title may have been illegally transferred or pirated to another, unauthorised media type. Much of the success of this would depend on whether Sony can keep a hardware database up to date.

Harder to factor in is the fact that damaged Blu-ray disks have slower loading times. Software might not authenticate because it loaded slower due to a scratch on the disk. Any disk-reading laser degrades over time, which can lead to slower read speeds. If Sony’s DRM factors in those sorts of hardware problems it is not going to be any use as DRM. 

Antigua punishes US with state blessed "piracy"

Antigua’s government has hit on a wizard wheeze to force the US to stop illegally killing off its internet gambling industry.

The US government went on a puritan push against online gambling under the Bush administration. Since the tiny country made most of its money from online gambling, the US set up a trade blockade.

A few years ago, five percent of all Antiguans worked at gambling related companies. However, when the US prevented the island from accessing its market, the industry collapsed.

The World Trade Organisation rulings were in favour of the small country and the US ignored them.

Now, Antigua’s government is planning to launch a website selling movies, music and software, without paying US copyright holders.

The idea is that the country will recoup some of the lost income through a WTO approved “warez” site.

It has been a long time coming. The WTO allowed Antigua the right to suspend US copyrights up to $21 million annually.

According to TorrentFreak, the authorities want to launch a website selling US media to customers worldwide, without compensating the makers.

While the country will make money from the move, it is likely to drive Big Content insane. They will then lean on their tame US Senators to smooth things over.

The US saw which way this was going and tried to stop the WTO talking about it. However, the plan will be talked about this month and if Antigua succeeds, its media hub is expected to launch soon after.

Any business set up by Antigua to sell music, film and software cannot be considered piracy. It will be just as legitimate and legal as a regular shop.

The amusing thing is that the US’s puritan moves to stop gambling will have to be paid for by Hollywood and the software companies.

The US has warned that if Antigua does not do what it is told and proceeds with a plan for its government to authorise the theft of intellectual property, it would only serve to hurt Antigua’s own interests.

Antigua will ruin its chances of getting a settlement. Given that the US has not shown that it is willing to give any settlement so far, that is not much of a threat.