Archive for November 2007

Anti-piracy trade bodies

November 30, 2007

The FT reports on rumours that EMI’s new owners might cut back on trade body funding (such as BPI, IFPI, RIAA). Whilst the cutting back on the RIAA may look sensible given EMI’s appalling performance in the US and the RIAA’s hapless performance in dealing with piracy in the US EMI need to consider that they are dealing with a global problem.

Trade bodies can give their members useful economies of scale not available to individual members. In something like the fight against content piracy most companies share the same targets.

Guy Hands wants EMI to be a 360 degree music company (or something ) but at the moment he has only recorded music and publishing. If he turns his back on the united method of fighting online piracy he further risks one of his core asset types before he has grown other revenue streams. Dangerous.

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More ISP action. This time Holland.

November 26, 2007

The music industry has been focusing some of it’s anti-piracy action on ISP’s. As reported in France it seems to be moving forward apace with some level of agreement between ISPs, content owners and the government.

In Holland, music industry body BREIN has been hassling ISP LeaseWeb to the point where they want Bit Torrent indexes to clear off by Dec 1 – see http://torrentfreak.com/forced-exodus-of-bittorrent-sites-071122/ 

This may not seem that significant until you consider that Netherlands has been somewhat a safe haven and LeaseWeb has been ISP of choice in that haven, at one time or another providing homes for indexes and/or trackers such as Torrentportal.com , Btjunkie.org , Btmon.com , Meganova.org , MyBittorrent.com , Sumotorrent.com , Bitenova.nl , Slotorrent.net , Stmusic.org ,  and Speedtorrent.to

Now will all these sites move to other ISP’s in Holland – such as KDIS, EuroAccess or TrueServer – or will the other popular Dutch ISP’s feel the same way as LeaseWeb? I don’t know what made LeaseWeb take this action but it must have been a commercial decision or one provoked by possible costly legal proceedings .

One other question. Where is the film industry in all this current anti-piracy activity?

“The advent of a civilised internet” … in France

November 23, 2007

These were President Sarkozy’s words this morning as he oversaw the signing of an agreement between the content industries, ISPs and the French government. This agreement is the outcome of the Olivennes commission which was convened earlier this year to look into ways to diminsh online piracy. In Europe this may be looked back on as a defining moment in relationships between ISPs and content industries.  

In short the French government is backing the creation of an Administration Authority which on receipt of complaints from content owners (or their chosen administrators) will send messages via ISPs to end users infringing copyright.

First message is a warning to cease infringing activity, second message results in suspension and the third results in the user having their internet account terminated.

The Administration Authority also has the power to sanction ISPs for not acting or to request they implement measures (such as filtering) to prevent further infringing activities.

The quid pro quo?  One year after this process is set up and working the labels will ensure French catalogue is available for conventional download store sale without DRM (excepting subscription models I believe). An Online Piracy Observatory (!) will be established to monitor levels of piracy.

For the film companies they will be committing to diminish the release window between cinema screening and release of DVD which, let’s face it, mid-term will be  their strategy anyway.

It is important to note that this undertaking draws a distinction between the professional pirate and the casual pirate and applies only to the latter.

Consumer groups, such as UFC-Que Choisir have spoken out against this, and it is true there are some issues about establishing an extra-judicial authority to do this kind of thing, but it does get the full weight of the law off the back of the consumer for copyright infringment whilst giving the content companies the roadbloack they want.

Definitely one to watch, but I’m surprised the BBC has missed this one. FT takes a neutral reporting position: 

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/562f2a02-993b-11dc-bb45-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1

Jay Z and iTunes

November 21, 2007

There has been a lot of chatter about Jay Z’s recent decision to only sell his new album as a complete album . Consequently the album is not on iTunes because iTunes wish to allow users to cherry pick tracks. The debate has argued the artistic merits of Jay Z’s decision, which is fair enough, but the point may also be about making a stand against iTunes. Jay Z is no longer an artist only. I wonder if in the future we are going to see more artist albums where the tracks are not separated, e.g. the tracks segued on Abbey Road.