Rock stars say Google is to blame for enabling piracy

By on July 24, 2012 at 6:35 PM.

Rock stars say Google is to blame for enabling piracy

Google Piracy Accusations

Several rock legends, including Elton John, Robert Plant and Queen guitarist Brian May, sent a letter to the Telegraph on Tuesday accusing Google (GOOG) of enabling pirates to steal their music. The letter, which was also sent to British Prime Minister David Cameron, implored both the government and the private sector to do more to protect musicians’ intellectual property rights. The letter pointed the finger at search engines such as Google for being lax in blocking sites from search results that let users download copyrighted material for free, and said that the engines must “play their part in protecting consumers and creators from illegal sites.” Seeing so many high-profile musicians come out against online piracy must be intimidating to file-sharing sites, especially since the only musical champion they can definitively count as their own is Kim Dotcom. More →

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Anti-piracy group fined for stealing music

By on July 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM.

Anti-piracy group fined for stealing music

Anti-Piracy Group Fined

Oh, the irony. A musicians’ rights group in the Netherlands was fined this week for stealing music from a client, using it without his permission and failing to pay royalties. Music royalty collection agency Buma/Stemra approached Dutch musician Melchior Rietveldt in 2006 and asked him to create a composition that would be used in an anti-piracy advertisement, which the group said would be shown exclusively at a local film festival. One year later, Rietveldt purchased a Harry Potter DVD only to find that his piece was being used on DVDs around the world without his permission. More →

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‘Copyright cop’ anti-piracy ISP system delayed once again

By on July 13, 2012 at 9:15 PM.

‘Copyright cop’ anti-piracy ISP system delayed once again

Anti-Piracy System Delayed

Internet service providers are still planning to implement their plan to kick software pirates off their networks… at some point. The Daily Dot reports that the Copyright Alerts System (CAS) being designed by major ISPs has been once again delayed despite some media reports that it was supposed to launch this week. But that doesn’t mean pirates should rest too easy since the new “copyright cop” system — which uses a “six strikes and you’re out” notification system to warn alleged pirates six separate times before their service is degraded or temporarily revoked — is still slated to come online by the end of the year. More →

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ACTA anti-piracy treaty dead following defeat in European Parliament

By on July 4, 2012 at 8:00 AM.

ACTA anti-piracy treaty dead following defeat in European Parliament

ACTA Anti-piracy Treaty Defeated

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, has been defeated one last time following a European Parliament vote on Wednesday. The proposed legislation was often likened to a more comprehensive and global version of SOPA, intended to put standards in place that would protect intellectual property and combat piracy on an international scale. As TorrentFreak reports, ACTA was defeated 478 to 39 in a final European Parliament vote on Wednesday, putting an end to the proposal’s brief but tumultuous life. Lobbyists are expected to put forth new proposals in an effort to establish international IP protection similar to the measures proposed by ACTA. More →

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Woz goes to bat for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom

By on June 26, 2012 at 1:55 PM.

Woz goes to bat for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom

Wozniak Supports Megaupload Founder

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has never been one to shy away from courting controversy, even when it’s at the expense of his former company. This is why it’s not too surprising that Wozniak has come out in support of Kim Dotcom, the infamous Megaupload founder last seen yukking it up on Twitter and joking about the racketeering and money laundering charges he’s currently facing. In an interview with CNET, Wozniak said that Kim had gotten a bum rap, and he accused the American government of leveling trumped-up charges against him. “When governments dream up charges of ‘racketeering’ for a typical IT guy who is just operating a file-sharing service, or accuse him of mail fraud because he said he had removed files [to alleged infringing content] when he’d just removed the links to them, this is evidence of how poorly thought out the attempt to extradite him is,” Wozniak said. Later in the interview, Wozniak acknowledged that any copyright infringement Megaupload allegedly engaged in was wrong, but he also compared it to going over the speed limit while driving. More →

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Founder of illegal movie streaming site sentenced to 4.5 years in jail, $4.7 million fine

By on June 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM.

Founder of illegal movie streaming site sentenced to 4.5 years in jail, $4.7 million fine

File-sharing Shutdown

The founder of one of Europe’s leading illegal movie-streaming portals has been sentenced to 4.5 years in jail, Deutsche Welle reports. 39-year-old Kino.to founder “Dirk B.” received a reduced sentence from a German judge this week after confessing to copyright infringement crimes related to his site, which allowed users to stream copyrighted movies illegally. Prosecutors were seeking an 11-year sentence, however the defendant’s confession and apology earned him less than half that time. Dirk B. will also have to pay a $4.7 million fine related to a sample 1.1 million instances of copyright infringement, though it is alleged that the man earned as much as $8 million from advertising on Kino.to. More →

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Arrest half the world: More than 50% of computer users pirate software, study finds

By on May 31, 2012 at 10:40 AM.

Arrest half the world: More than 50% of computer users pirate software, study finds

Digital Piracy BSA Study 2011

More than half of computer users admit that they pirate software according to the findings of a recent study. The Business Software Alliance, a software industry lobbyist group dedicated to combating digital piracy, released its ninth annual Global Software Piracy Study earlier this month. For the first time, the new edition of the trade group’s report includes the results of a survey involving 15,000 computer users from 33 countries around the world where respondents were directly asked, “How often do you acquire pirated software or software that is not fully licensed?” More →

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Google Transparency Report details copyright-related takedown requests for first time

By on May 25, 2012 at 2:50 PM.

Google Transparency Report details copyright-related takedown requests for first time

Google Transparency Report 2012

In its latest Transparency Report, Google has included information about takedown requests related to copyright infringement for the first time ever. According to the data from this past year, nearly 8,000 copyright owners have contacted Google with requests to remove search results that lead to copyright infringing websites. Microsoft led the charge with more than 500,000 removal requests across 9,108 domains during this past month alone, and a total of 2,554,475 takedown request across 23,485 domains over the course of the past year. According to research done by TechDirt, the software giant was mainly targeting pirated Xbox content, which Google agreed to take down. Search results for the very same websites, ironically, often remain present on Microsoft’s Bing search engine. More →

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File-sharing prospers despite increased legislation

By on May 23, 2012 at 1:05 PM.

File-sharing prospers despite increased legislation

File Sharing Increases Despite More Legislation

Despite numerous attempts to halter file-sharing services such as The Pirate Bay, users continue to download copyrighted files. According to Lund University’s Cybernorms research project, file-sharing levels remain stable because those downloading the files out feel that they are doing nothing wrong, and the introduction of aggressive legislation has done little to reduce the amount of file-sharing carried out by young people, TorrentFreak reported. “In Sweden we saw a moderate drop in file sharing in 2009 when IPRED was implemented. Since then it has remained at approximately 60 percent among 15-25 year old people,” said researcher Marcin de Kaminski. “Our conclusion is that repressive actions that lack societal support may still have effects, but that the effects are limited.” More →

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Hollywood loves sequels: MPAA to push SOPA follow-up in 2013

By on May 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM.

Hollywood loves sequels: MPAA to push SOPA follow-up in 2013

SOPA Anti-Piracy Bill 2013

The first version was hardly a hit, but Hollywood is already planning a sequel to the Stop Online Piracy Act that it will push in 2013, reports claim. Comments made by Motion Picture Association of America chief executive Chris Dodd suggest that the MPAA will work to get a new anti-piracy billed passed next year, and it plans to take a more cunning approach. “We’re going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented,” Dodd said of the new legislation that the MPAA will push, according to Variety. “We’re on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery.” Details surrounding the organization’s plans were not discussed, and Dodd noted that he will not be able to lobby his former U.S. Senate cohorts until next year. “I can’t say anything to them about this for another seven months, but I think my colleagues understand how important this is.” SOPA was put on hold in January after a number of widely publicized protests rattled lawmakers. More →

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'Copyright cop' system for U.S. ISPs delayed

By on May 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM.

'Copyright cop' system for U.S. ISPs delayed

Anti-piracy ISP System Delayed

The new “six strikes” anti-piracy policy soon to be implemented by a number of major Internet service providers in the United States will reportedly stumble out of the gate. The policy, which is set to be adopted by Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and other ISPs, will see action taken against users caught downloading pirated files in six steps, ultimately resulting in bandwidth throttling or even service suspensions. The system responsible for managing the new policy may not be ready on schedule, however, and the targeted launch date of July 12th may slip back as a result. More →

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BitTorrent piracy found by study to boost music sales

By on May 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM.

BitTorrent piracy found by study to boost music sales

BitTorrent Piracy Study

A recent study found that contrary to arguments repeatedly posed by major record labels — and perhaps contrary to logic as well — BitTorrent piracy has a direct correlation to increased album sales. Between May 2010 and January 2011, North Carolina State University assistant professor Robert Hammond tracked BitTorrent download statistics for new albums ahead of their releases. He then compared his data to music sales figures and found what he believes to be a connection. “I isolate the causal eff ect of file sharing of an album on its sales by exploiting exogenous variation in how widely available the album was prior to its official release date,” Hammond wrote in his paper. “The findings suggest that fi le sharing of an album benefi ts its sales. I don’t fi nd any evidence of a negative e ffect in any specification, using any instrument.” Of course, the case may simply be that popular music is popular music; whether consumers steal it or buy it, massive marketing budgets help ensure that people are exposed to labels’ premier acts as much as possible, thus promoting demand. More →

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Torrent-busting 'Pirate Pay' may be illegal

By on May 15, 2012 at 3:25 PM.

Torrent-busting 'Pirate Pay' may be illegal

Pirate Pay Torrent

A Russian startup that received $100,000 of funding from Microsoft made headlines recently as its emerging efforts to battle digital piracy found their way to the spotlight. Dubbed Pirate Pay, the company’s technology launches attacks on groups of computers hosting pirated content, theoretically making it impossible for them to share copyrighted material. While the company claims to have already successfully trialed its technology when it blocked nearly 45,000 attempts to download pirated copies of a Russian film, one expert believes Pirate Pay’s system may be illegal. More →

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