Archive for the ‘US’ 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!








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.

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.

Antigua, China, the WTO and the US

August 31, 2007

Anyone in the online gambling industry, like my friend Joe Deacon, is well aware of the restrictions of the US gambling regulations. For those of you coming across this story for the first time there is a good timeline at Techdirt.

In short Antigua is arguing that the US is breaking the terms of its trade agreement with them by disallowing US citizens from placing bets. The WTO made a ruling in Antigua’s favour and since then the US has been trying all manner of tactics to wriggle out of liability even to the point of unilaterally altering the terms of the trade agreements to exclude online gambling.  

This story does get crazy though. Antigua is pushing for the WTO to rule that as compensation for US breaking the trade agreement Antigua may infringe copyrights of music/film. Aside from being an unusual and headline-grabbing form of compensation it is fraught with mis-application. Firstly it might be prohibited by Antiguan copyright laws and secondly how would Antigua ensure that the copyright owner is US avoidnig inadvertant copyright infringement on content from another country.

It is hard to take this situation seriously but will no doubt get some press as it plays out.

Meanwhile the US has requested that the WTO make a ruling on the complaint against China regarding copyright piracy made a few months ago. The complaint is not only about copyright infringment but includes issues relating to local Chinese law putting Western companies at a disadvantage in the distribution of entertainment products. More here.

China piracy – a brief look at the Sinascape

August 7, 2007

Every time I start to write about China it feels like there are too many things going on at once and the challenge is to pick the one or two key points worth talking about. I came across this article on Gary Gang Xu who has written a book on the current state of Chinese cinema.

Xu fills out the detail on the power struggle between US and Asian cinema which was understandably missing from MPAA’s report published last year (and re-iterated this year by the local China Film Copyright Association).

Xu tells us that pirating Hollywood films is widely tolerated – no surprised there. But what is more interesting is how Chinese films are not ignored by the pirates (as some sources have suggested) but are widely pirated and act as widely distributed adverts for a subsequent TV series bearing the same name. Apparently that is where the directors make their money, althout Xu also tells us that TV series are widely pirated too!

The change in the direction of the flow of cultural goods – i.e. historically from US to Asia, and now in both directions – may in the future provide an impetus to Chinese content owners to press for more rigorous protection of their copyrighted material.

The Musically newsletter recently reported on Music Label Competition in China and talked about how the “Chinese diaspora” may be a large future market for the music emanating from Chinese/Hong Kong/ Taiwan labels which currently constitues 60%  of the Chinese recorded music market (80% according to some other sources).

The first commercial music download services are launching, with locally priced subscriptions. Digital makes up at least 30% of revenues for labels. The expected popularity of mobile services makes it slightly easier to police soem casual piracy.

But when these Chinese labels start selling throgh digital services to Chinese overseas they may start to get an inkling of what their revenues might increase to if they could sell to the domestic market. At this point self-interest would dictate that they seek to minimise losses from piracy and turn to the government to take copyright issues and enforcement seriously.

With no obvious model to benefit from piracy like the pirated films promoting tv, and the other film model whereby Hollywood remakes Chinese films, Chinese music producers clearly have a different set of problems and interests which may be more aligned with the interests of the global recording industry than the Chinese moviemakers’ interests are aligned with the MPAA. 

Leader of online piracy group is jailed

June 26, 2007

A US court has jailed the British leader of an online piracy group, DrinkOrDie, which specialised in software cracks. Founded in 1993 the group ran until 2001 when raids in six countries broke up the group. As the BBC article points out the case was one of the first to involve extradition for IP crime.

GE step into the digital piracy arena

June 21, 2007

“Now that ISPs are moving to offer video-on-demand and some of their own content, facilitating the theft of content doesn’t make sense,”

Those were the words of GE’s Vice Chairman Bob Wright talking at a trade show earlier this week. gives a good summary of what Bob said but the interesting point, following the AT&T news last week, is that there appears to have been progress with getting US ISPs to terminate the accounts of users engaged in piracy. Wright says six of the eight largest ISPs in the US have agreed to adopt intially notification, followed by termination for repeated transgressions, for users engaged in online piracy.

The content industry, including NBC Universal (owned by GE), will be delighted if these intiatives are enforced and spread.