Archive for the ‘Legal and policy’ category

The US piracy Watch List

May 16, 2008

Apparently Canada has been added to the IAPC watch list (Billboard), joining illustrious piracy havens such as China and Russia. The fact that the US has this list is somewhat a joke since it is itself one of the biggest digital content piracy melting pots. Among the biggest threats to US content are the number of casual pirates in the US itself, and the scale of commercial digital piracy being enabled by numerous sites.

Where do I start?

Google-hosted blogs linking to infringing content – this is now a substantial source of unreleased music content leaking.

Limewire – a case lumbering it’s way to court.

Soulseek – as far as I can see has been left alone.

The huge number of file-lockers hosting infringing content.

Social networks used for large-scale infringement (e.g. Hi5, Bebo and Multiply).

BitTorrent index sites (e.g. TorrentReactor, TorrentPortal and BTmon)

When will this fat-bellied, dinosaur of a country think about getting its own house in order and leading by example before putting other countries on lists? They’ll be handing out detentions next!








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…

Torrentspy loses case before trial starts!

December 19, 2007

Digital Music News reports that the MPAA has won a case against Torrentspy since the judge threw out the case on the basis that Torrentspy had been lying under oath and tampering with evidence during the discovery process. Weird one.


October 23, 2007

Whilst shutting down The Pirate Bay is so far eluding the content owners the music industry has just reported a success against one of the most notorious private Bit Torrent sites – OiNK. The press release from the IFPI says that UK and Dutch police carried out raids and a male was arrested in the UK. You can bet this raid is an important one since OiNK prides itself on getting high-quality, clean copies of pre-release albums for release to the internet and is therefore high up in the food chain of pre-release piracy.

How long does it take to get there?

October 9, 2007

I haven’t written much of late. Instead I have just been following news waiting for something inspiring. I am increasingly convinced that for content owners the fight against digital piracy is a legal one. Software, film and music companies need to come together and pick off their targets one by one – personal storage sites, Bit Torrent indexes, blogs – in amenable legal jurisdictions. Drive out the VCs, drive out the advertisers and make it harder to build a business based on infringement.

The consumer is ever resourceful and follows the path of least resistance. In the music industry people are being bombarded by stories about Radiohead’s tip jar album release (to see what people paid sign up here), announcements about required cultural change at EMI from Guy Hands and the news that Facebook is working on a music platform. There are some pointers here to what is needed on the consumer access side – different consumption models, music everywhere, a range of price points from zero (like ad funded) to premium – what has been described as music like water. Unfortunately shoring up CD sales seems to be slowing the key players down.

In this context the fact that Jupiter will be publishing a report soon showing that “a large proportion  of European regular Social Networkers buy music they discover on networks” is very interesting and may surprise some music industry insiders. (Read the rest of Mark Mulligan’s blog entry on Facebook here). 

The idea that you might want to buy or somehow “own” music that you discover at the point of discovery applies to all sorts of contexts, not just online. I want to add a new song that I hear on the radio to my library at that moment rather than remember to look for it later- more and more radio dates are synchronised with digital release dates of singles. But what about releasing digitally as soon as an album leaks to the internet? What about releasing straight from the studio, and with footage from the recording?

An aside:

For those cynical about why social networks are anything new, and I have had my doubts at times, Marc Andreson takes some time to draw comparisons between the feature set of Geocities and Facebook (and Ning). Those of us who were involved in Web pre-2.0 will remember whose feature set is described in an article here – it’s more than pmarca’s feature set for Geocities but nothing compared to the Web 2.0 generation of social networking sites. 

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.

Prince suing the digital big boys

September 14, 2007

Prince has been sucked in by publicity hungry company Web Sheriff , giving them an opportunity to crow about themselves like they did a few months ago. Anyway the Sheriff announces that Prince is going to sue YouTube, eBay and Pirate Bay plus possibly others. I don’t suppose the Pirate Bay suit will get very far but may add weight to any industry activities in that direction.

Some of the press have suggested it is a shame that an artist who was so ahead of the game (NPG Shop and Club etc) with digital would resort to suing, but I think that misses the point that his work is being exploited on a huge scale against his wishes and any campaign for control of and remuneration for use of copyrighted works could do with a high profile artist in there.

Despite the publicity this will gain it’s a shame to spend his earnings from extended touring on lawyers!