Archive for March 2007

Physical piracy business decimated by internet piracy

March 27, 2007

There is a great story on Torrentfreak about how internet piracy has caused a downturn in business for an internet pirate. A sob story which leads to a salutory lesson at the end (and the danger of doing nothing in the face of change applies to all businesses):

P2P is a very powerful machine and although Tony could see that his operation was feeling its effects, he admits that he sat back and did nothing about it and consequently, his business has paid the ultimate price.

It is interesting how many people in the comments think profiting off piracy is the lowest of the low but piracy for personal enjoyment is not frowned upon.  

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UK University bans BT sites

March 16, 2007

Cardiff University has banned Bit Torrent sites from being accessed through the university network. In response to large numbers of notices from the IFPI, the university has had to take action. Of course not all BT indexes link to illegally posted content but I am sure this is the easy way to deal with the attention of the IFPI.

In the US the RIAA has targetted universities and recently published a Top Twenty Five of universities based on how many notices had been sent from college admins to students. The increased workload on college admins in responding to notices might see some internet traffic curtailed, but since much piracy is over the LAN other ways of dealing with it will need to be applied.

This year the no. of legal downloaders will overtake no. of illegal downloaders

March 14, 2007

Since I could find nothing on the NPD site about this I have to shamelessly quote in full what MusicAlly had to say (somewhat ironic on a site about piracy but I hope you give them full credit for being the only source on this particular news item):

The NPD Group predicts that the number of legal music downloaders will overtake the number of P2P users this year, but says that the volume of files bought legally will still be swamped by the number being traded illegally via P2P or pirated CDs. NPD estimates that in 2006, there were 15 million US households where someone actively downloaded at least one music file from a P2P service, and 5 billion files downloaded in total. Limewire took a 62% share of P2P downloads, although BitTorrent-style services are on the rise. Meanwhile, in 2006 NPD says there were nearly 13 million US households using paid download services, with 500 million tracks in total. iTunes has a 70% share of these households.

Interesting, I wonder how NPD cater in their stats for the fact that many legal downloaders are also legal downloaders…

South African artists mobilise against piracy

March 13, 2007

Back in April last year there was a protest march in Johannesburg against music pirates – attended both by musicians and some figures from the music industry in South Africa.

In the report I read a number of artists speak out about how they feel when they see their product pirated, among them:

Afro Pop star, Ntando Bangani said, “Artists are like everyone else, we wake up everyday and have to go to work just like you, the only difference is that we rely on the royalties from the music we make to support ourselves. If someone pirates our music, they’re actually taking the money that should be coming to us instead of them!”

Apparently they marched past the area known for companies producing pirate material but they were all shut for the day. Obviously with physical piracy there is an identifiable target to point to.

It’s very rare and strangely refreshing to read anti-piracy messages coming from artists rather than industry bodies and there is also something more credible in these quotes than the oft-quoted Lars from Metallica talking about it back in 2000 when suing Napster.

Bolt settles with Universal

March 9, 2007

The FT reports that Universal Music has settled with Bolt for about $10m and a deal involving pay per play and split of advertising. With suits still outstanding against MySpace and Grouper this may prove a model for future settlements and also fuel to further suits from Unviersal and others as there are still endless sites involved in infringements of copyrighted content and chucks of $10m soon add up.

Music industry sues Yahoo! China – (not) a repeat of Baidu?

March 7, 2007

The music industry has filed a much anticipated, or at least expected, law suit against Alibaba which runs Yahoo! China. The Shanghai Daily mentions eleven plaintiffs in a suit led by the IFPI. The suit relates to copyright infringements on music, lyrics and ringtones and requests approximately $700,000 in damages, which seems low, but relates to a couple of hundred songs.

So won’t this just be another Baidu? Well the original Baidu case was filed in 2005, prior to The Protection of the Right of Communication Through a Network legislation which came into force on July 1st 2006. The legislation effectively outlaws deep-linking to infringing content. So the Alibaba/Yahoo! case will be argued on a different legislative footing against the backdrop of an appeal by the IFPI on the Baidu ruling. Incidentally the IFPI had been sure to win Baidu last year given a decision in 2005 against Baidu in a similar case brought by Push Music (an EMI subsidiary). This shortly before Google ditched it’s share-holding in Baidu.  Just to show how fast the business world moves you may recall that EMI pulled out of the IFPI action against Baidu to forge a partnership

Funnily enough back in 2005 Yahoo! China was suing Baidu over unfair competition.

Webcast royalty rate

March 6, 2007

There is a reasonable summary of the US webcast rates decision here. In fact there is much comment in the blogosphere and speculation of its possible effects. Will internet radio stations like Pandora and last.fm go to the wall? If so, it is a great loss to the nascent online music market and may push people towards unlicensed services. However, I attended an event a few months ago where a representative of last.fm was complaining about the rates labels were demanding in direct negotiations, but in the meantime they are serving much unlicensed material. So they currentlty are unlicensed for some content and any label agreements may involve the issue of back payments too.  There is an appeal pending and last time this happened rates were reduced slightly.