Archive for the ‘Europe’ category

What’s on ?

April 23, 2008

eDonkey has been on the receiving end of much music industry legal action in recent months. Last September a number of German eDonkey servers were taken offline after a court issued an injunction against them. User numbers halved – temporarily. In January this year the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN won judgement against an eDonkey hashlinksite, Shareconnector.

Would the file-sharing community miss a lot if eDonkey went down? Well some recent research from iPoque gives interesting indications of what people use eDonkey (and Bit Torrent) for.

Across the regions looked at – Germany, Southern Europe and Middle East – patterns of usage vary. the most popuilar BT and eDonkey music downloads are in the form of discographies (i.e. more than one album at once). In ME and Southern Europe over half of the top 75 audio was discogs. Neither the top BT audio nor the top eDonkey audio downloads closely reflected the charts and in Southern Europe much of the top downloads appeared to be local language.

BT video downloads are primarly movies, with some pornography featuring in the Top 75 for Germany. On eDonkey on ther other hand every region is sharing porn. A cursory look at the titles and one can make the generalisations that Southern Europeans like anal, Germans like lesbians and the odd animal, and the Middle East has more specialist and suspect interests like shemales and children.

When it comes to eBooks English is the prevalant language with Sat Nav data being particularly in demand in Southern Europe.

Mp3newswire reports on a new Digital Music News research report which shows continued rapid growth in use of Bit torrent and increased consolidation in P2P client apps so maybe eDonkey will get killed by IFPI/MPAA anyway and users migrate. 



P2P not legalised in Italy

February 5, 2008

Seems that tech site Ars Technica slipped up in reporting that Italy had inadvertently legalised peer to peer. Whilst the news has predictably spread like wildfire all over the blogosphere and tech press it is not entirely true. More to come…

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 

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 , , , , , , , , ,  and

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:

Rants about copyright laws come before fact-checking

September 24, 2007

Variety reported that the German government had made it illegal to copy CDs, even for personal use. The story was then picked up by BoingBoing which, fortunately, allows comments on its posts thereby enabling users who had read up some of the German reportage (e.g.) to reveal inaccuracies in Variety’s article.

From the users comments it becomes clear that:

  • ‘the law still allows people to make copies of CDs and DVDs for personal use as long as those media do not have any protection mechanism on them. what makes this illegal is the cracking of a protection mechanism.’
  • ‘the part of the new copyright law which says that breaking copy protection or encryption is illegal is actually not new, this was already the case before.’
  • ‘The private copy becomes illegal if it’s made from an illegal source.’
  • The levies system is being slightly updated.

 Now the Variety article sits on the internet hopelessly inaccurate and out of date whilst the BoingBoing article is an example how to use your readership to your advantage. Hell, I well know that Boing Boing is dead against anything copyright owners do to stick up for their IP but at least it is happy to stand corrected when it runs away with itself.

French ISP enhances offering with (unlicensed) music services

August 29, 2007

Music companies and ISPs have an uneasy relationship at the moment in many European countries as the music industry tries to get ISPs to take some responsibility for the illegal traffic passing through their networks.

Neuf Cegetel, a French ISP, recently announced a new music venture offering free downloads from the Universal Music catalogue to new broadband sign-ups. In response announced a new deal with to provide the music for its homepage. Deezer used to be and was closed down earlier this year. SACEM, the French publishers society, has licensed Deezer, but Universal Music has asked for its catalog to be withdrawn.

In the Ratiatum article the point is raised that SACEM could grant a license if Deezer was considered like radio, but this is unlikely and as such each music company (like Universal) must strike it’s own deal with the service.

It is not surprising that Free would launch an attack against Neuf Cegetel’s offer, but to do so with a service that has only the agreement of the publishers society is a faux pas in the eyes of the music companies.

Meanwhile Deezer is laughing as it’s traffic of French visitors increases enormously taking it from an Alexa ranking of about 70,000 3 weeks ago to nearer 1,500 this week. Although today the site is down with a note saying it will be back tomorrow – for legal reasons or because it can’t cope with the volume of visitors?

Tel père, tel fils

August 14, 2007

Ars Technica report on a new EC sponsored Eurobarometer survey, with the great headline ‘Papa pirates, so I do, too’.  The survey of 29 countries, which suggests Euroteens online behaviours are converging, is interesting partly because the audience surveyed is so young – 9-10 and 12-14 years old.

Predictably downloading music/film/video/games is more widespread among the older age group, and boys in particular. Excuses are rife since it appears to the kids surveyed that everyone is doing it, even their parents.

A comment I have heard previously, that reappears in this survey, is that if something is illegal it would not be on the internet. It’s worrying that kids might have a trust of the medium that is this deep.

Their biggest fear, on the other hand,  appears to be getting a PC virus!

 The report itself is here – p. 54 for the sectoin on illegal downloading.