Court of Appeals rules FCC cannot impose net neutrality

By on April 6, 2010 at 1:58 PM.

Court of Appeals rules FCC cannot impose net neutrality

fcc-logo

The net neutrality movement received a huge blow today when the US Court of Appeals sided with Comcast in its claim that the Federal Communications Commission lacks legal authority to demand ISPs shape internet traffic. Over the past few years, the FCC has grown increasingly concerned that ISPs would throttle connection speeds for things such as peer-to-peer file sharing and streaming media in order to dedicate more bandwidth to services it can better capitalize on. Comcast first challenged the FCC on net neutrality in 2008 when the FCC reprimanded Comcast for throttling the connections of clients who used a large amount of bandwidth through P2P networking.

As a rule of thumb, we at BGR are not in favor of government agencies (whether independent or not) imposing rules upon industries, although in this instance we’re actually finding ourselves disappointed if only for the fact we believe net neutrality must become a reality. More →

75 Comments

Warner Bros. looking for a student intern to spy on torrent users

By on March 29, 2010 at 9:24 AM.

Warner Bros. looking for a student intern to spy on torrent users

big-brother

Just because we might associate the company with loveable characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck doesn’t mean the characters who are running the show at Warner Bros. Entertain UK have similar personalities. After all, they’re the ones that came up with the brilliant idea of hiring a student intern, paying him or her £17,500 ($26,212 USD) over the course of a year and having them engage in a bit of digital espionage. The intern, who is to be “IT literate” and currently enrolled as a student pursuing a degree in computer science, will be charged with infiltrating torrent sites and creating bots which sniff out media which Warner Bros. and NBC Universal hold the copyrights to. Here’s a snippet from the job description:

During the 12 month internship, duties will include: monitoring local Internet forums and IRC for pirated WB and NBCU content and in order to gather information on pirate sites, pirate groups and other pirate activities; finding new and maintaining existing accounts on private sites; scanning for links to hosted pirated WB and NBCU content and using tools to issue takedown requests; maintaining and developing bots for Internet link scanning system (training provided); preparing sending of infringement notices and logging feedback; performing trap purchases of pirated product and logging results; inputting pirate hard goods data and other intelligence into the forensics database; selecting local keywords and submitting local filenames for monitoring and countermeasure campaigns and periodically producing research documents on piracy related technological developments. Various training will be provided.

Yikes. More →

46 Comments

Comcast settles P2P traffic throttling class action suit

By on December 23, 2009 at 12:07 PM.

Comcast settles P2P traffic throttling class action suit

Ironic Comcast Ad - The Slowskys

Back in 2007 and 2008, internet service provider Comcast was accused of throttling packet data traveling over its network; more specifically, packet data that was deemed to be P2P traffic, a la BitTorrent.  The story goes: Comcast denies the whole thing, the Associated Press, smelling blood, launches an investigation, and customers’ suspicions are confirmed. After the AP published its report — stating Comcast was indeed throttling, or in some instances outright blocking, data flowing over ports commonly used by P2P sites and programs —  Comcast suddenly remembered that it was, perhaps, doing a little “network management.” Class action lawsuits suits ensued (pun intended). Today it looks like Comcast has settled one of the suits, filed out of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, for a cool $16 million. The ISP maintains the settlement is to “avoid a potentially lengthy and distracting legal dispute that would serve no useful purpose”…right. Now, those who enter into the class action settlement aren’t going to be on easy street as they are guaranteed no more than $16 for their troubles, but can you really put a price on damning the man? More →

19 Comments

RIAA abandons the practice of suing Joe the Plumbers, will go after ISPs instead

By on December 19, 2008 at 4:17 PM.

RIAA abandons the practice of suing Joe the Plumbers, will go after ISPs instead

In an uncharacteristically rational move, on the surface at least, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has decided that it will stop suing individuals caught downloading pirated music and will instead focus solely on asking the pirates ISP to either serve warning or kill their internet connections. This tactic is by no means new and is in fact standard practice in many countries across the world where, you guessed it, it makes little to no difference in levels of music piracy. But hey, at least the RIAA has finally realized that its spending $100,000 to sue a struggling single-mom diner waitress for $25,000 after catching her downloading a few pirated CDs is plain stupid, especially when there isn’t a hope in the world that it’ll ever collect a penny from her.

Read

17 Comments

New anti-piracy tool targets file sharing; Media giants rejoice, the world laughs

By on October 28, 2008 at 7:25 PM.

New anti-piracy tool targets file sharing; Media giants rejoice, the world laughs

piracy

When Kevin Bermeister of Kazaa fame and Michael Speck, former head of Music Industry’s anti-piracy arm join together to form a new company called Brilliant Digital Entertainment, you know the outcome will not be good. The brainchild of this duo is an application called Copyrouter that will use deep packet inspection to detect illicit files shared on the Internet.The application has been promoted as “the tool” that will eradicate child pornography but its true intent is much more nefarious. If it can sniff out child porn which is great, but it can also sniff out pirated media like movies, music, and games. The application is brilliant in its execution. Any customer attempting to access a file deemed “illegal” by the application will be redirected to a legal version which they can purchase. The legal version of the file is provided by the ISP who will bill the customer and receive a cut of the proceeds. Nothing like dangling the carrot of easy revenue in front of the ISPs to give them incentive to run the application on their network. As expected, “there is keen interest from ISPs, law-enforcement agencies and film and music publishers in the United States and Europe.” One problem, though… Copyrouter is unable to handle BitTorrent traffic! Seriously. The same swarming technology that makes BitTorrent so efficient also makes it impossible for the Copyrouter application to examine and identify BitTorrent files as “illegal”. Let’s hope our revenue motivated and politically pressured ISPs, don’t foist this upon us anytime soon.

[Via DSL Reports]

Read

20 Comments

Another $40,850 goes into the RIAA’s copyright infringement coffers

By on September 1, 2008 at 12:49 PM.

Another $40,850 goes into the RIAA’s copyright infringement coffers

Arizona resident Jeffrey Howell learned some a hard lessons this past week. If you are being sued for copyright infringement, get a lawyer and if you are served with a lawsuit that tells you not to tamper with your hard drive, don’t go ahead and format it anyway. In an unfortunate turn of events last week, the second high profile RIAA copyright infringement case came to a screeching halt as it was revealed that the defendant Howell had tampered with the evidence. Howell uninstalled Kazaa, deleted its logs, and formatted his hard drive after receiving the lawsuit; thereby making any evidence irretrievable. The RIAA argued and the judge agreed that “The deliberate destruction… by itself, compels the conclusion that such evidence supported Plaintiffs’ case.” The case was found in favor of the RIAA and a final judgment was announced today. Howell must now cough up a mere $350 in court costs and whopping $40,500 in statutory damages. This case was notable as the RIAA was handed a big setback last April when a judge ruled that simply making a file available on a P2P network did not constitute copyright infringement. A crushing blow to the legal basis of the RIAA’s infringement cases. Too bad it had to end so badly.

Read

13 Comments

First Conviction Handed Down in EliteTorrents Case

By on June 30, 2008 at 10:04 AM.

First Conviction Handed Down in EliteTorrents Case

While the popularity of torrents has shown no signs of dwindling any time soon, the MPAA-fueled case against EliteTorrents just saw its first conviction. Back in 2005, Homeland Security agents served search warrants in various locations around the country as part of “Operation D-Elite” that resulted in 10 arrests. What a fantastic use of the country’s counterterrorism resources. Now more than three years later Clintwood Virginia resident Dale Dove has been convicted of felony copyright infringement and conspiracy, and has become the first man to be convicted as a result of the case. According to prosecutors of the case, Dove was the ringleader in the group of pirated content suppliers that was EliteTorrents. Dove apparently maintained a server of his own and played a part in recruiting others to supply content and servers. While Dove represents the first conviction in this case, he will not be the first to serve time as a result. In 2006, EliteTorrents server administrator Scott McCausland pleaded guilty to two copyright-related charges tied to the distribution of Star Wars: Episode III and served five months in jail plus an addition five months of house arrest (during which has wasn’t allowed to use Linux). Dove’s sentencing will take place in September; good luck buddy.

Read

18 Comments