Archive for the ‘Video/Film’ 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. 




August 28, 2007

An interesting article in the Guardian about fingerprinting videos and the issues it poses, how tech vendors are using different ways to counter the fact that hash recognition can easily be circumvented, and how it is an issue to YouTube.

The article really gets interesting at then end, where it talks about commercial value in the fingerprint itself being one of the reasons YouTube has gone it’s own way with developing a fingerprint solution rather than buying in from the likes of Audible Magic.

Also raised is the possiblity of targeting advertising by using a watermark to know what someone is watching:

“If someone could make money by generating ads just because a viewer watched [part of the film] Transformers, Paramount would want to be involved in that,” Ishikawa says. He warns content owners not to give up their content without a financial agreement: “They will be a commercial asset.”

The cost of policing digital piracy

August 9, 2007

The Wired blog runs this piece based on a WSJ article about US company Bay TSP and the work they do for content owners. What strikes me most about the article is the cost and the inefficiency of the whole process. Fair enough humans need to be involved – but $11 an hour for that kind of work. Prime candidate for offshoring. Some clients pay $500,000 a month for Bay’s services!

And classic quotes on the inefficiency of the scheme:

  • “‘By the time I send notices and take them down, they’ll be reposted,’ says [BayTSP analyst] Justin Hernandez…”
  • “When YouTube receives such [takedown request] emails, employees review them and then remove the clips.” 

Whackamole, cat-and-mouse, whatever you want to call it this process of finding copyrighted material and issuing takedowns has to be improved to be in anyway worthwhile for the content owners. In addition, when a service is licensed, the content identification still has to work. All the major labels are now signed up with YouTube and must have or be seeking answers to questions such as  – does the content owner get paid when a member of the public uploads? does YouTube track geography of user? who gets paid when labels have rights for same material in different countries, and so on.  I suspect most labels will be looking to fingerprinting to handle some of this. Whether it can remains to be seen. 

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. 

AT&T in anti-piracy initiatives with Hollywood studios

June 13, 2007

An interesting article in the LA Times about AT&T joining up with some of the Hollywood studios to try and develop technology to counter piracy on their network. It’s unusual for a company like AT&T to get involved in such discussions and the article speculates it is because AT&T now sells content over it’s network. One wonders what technologies they are looking at since many companies have already developed (mostly worthless) approaches to the problem of trafficking pirate entertainment content over networks.

Cinema staff in anti-piracy sting

June 13, 2007

MPAA apparently caught a bunch of people trying to record Spiderman 3 in movie theatres. I can only assume this was in pre-release screenings because, as the article says, it only takes one copy to get out for it to be available and surely it didn’t make it to release date without being pirated?

How piracy opened the door to anime in the US

April 27, 2007

There was an interesting article in the Technology Review back in 2004 about how videotaping of Japanese anime and the sharing of the tapes among fans opened the US market to anime. With no legitimate distribution channels the only way to see anime was to get a copy through the network of fans.

A similar article in Reason Magazine at the end opf 2006 talks about the amateur past time of subtitling the movies and how the first legitimate distributors in the US were when “fans went pro”.