Shocking as it may seem, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) still isn’t happy with Google’s efforts to stamp out piracy. On its official blog this week, the RIAA once again bemoaned Google’s supposed lack of enthusiasm for removing links to alleged pirated content from its search results. In particular, the RIAA complained that online piracy is still thriving despite the fact that Google has removed 20 million links to alleged piracy sites from its search results. More →
ISPs’ new “six strikes” anti-piracy policies apparently aren’t enough to satiate the recording industry. As TorrentFreak reports, the Recording Industry Association of America has filed a whopping 665,564 URL takedown requests with Google (GOOG) over the past week, roughly triple its regular requests that average between 200,000 and 240,000 per week. TorrentFreak also says that the RIAA filed around 463,000 takedown requests the week before, so it seems as though the recording industry is really ramping up its campaign to get Google to remove alleged infringing URLs from its search results. Google this past summer updated its search algorithms to punish websites that were repeatedly flagged with legitimate copyright violations by lowering their rankings in search results.
The math is pretty simple: Buying a song off iTunes costs around $0.99, while downloading one illegally could cost around $21,800. CNET reports that a federal court in Massachusetts this week upheld a jury verdict against former Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum, who “was accused of illegally downloading 31 songs from a fire-sharing Web site and distributing them” despite repeated warnings that he stop doing so. U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel said that because Tenenbaum had knowingly and repeatedly ignored cease-and-desist orders, the $675,000 in damages awarded to the recording companies by a jury is entirely appropriate. More →
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said during an interview published on Sunday that Apple and Facebook pose serious threats to Internet freedom because of their closed approaches to software. While speaking with The Guardian, Brin said there are “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open Internet on all sides and around the world. I am more worried than I have been in the past. It’s scary.” The executive pointed to the “walled-garden” philosophy that sees companies like Apple and Facebook maintain tight control over third-party software on their respective platforms as the cause for his concerns. Read on for more. More →
Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and other Internet service providers in the United States will soon launch new programs to police their networks in an effort to catch digital pirates and stop illegal file-sharing. Major ISPs announced last summer that they had agreed to take new measures in an effort to prevent subscribers from illegally downloading copyrighted material, but the specifics surrounding the imminent antipiracy measures were not made available. Now, RIAA chief executive Cary Sherman has said that ISPs are ready to begin their efforts to curtail illegal movie, music and software downloads on July 12th. Read on for more. More →
The RIAA’s CEO Cary Sherman said that he hopes the Stop Online Piracy Act protest were a “one-time experience.” In an op-ed piece written in The New York Times earlier this month, Sherman accused companies such as Google and Wikipedia of exploiting their popular status to “misinform” the public. He also claimed that by opposing the bill, these companies “were supporting foreign criminals selling counterfeit pharmaceuticals to Americans.” In a separate interview, Sherman said he believes that “readers online” accepted misinformation being spread by Google and Wikipedia about SOPA and PIPA based on the assumption that “if it comes from these sources, it must be true.” He claimed members of Congress were “very frustrated that they couldn’t get out their side of the story.” Sherman continued, “hopefully that was a one-time experience that came from a lot of different things coming together where a lot of different people came to the conclusion that this was a terrible piece of legislation.”
The production studio behind the movie Hurt Locker, Voltage Pictures, is attempting to go after a record 24,583 illegal BitTorrent users. The studio has already filed lawsuits against 5,000 BitTorrent users who illegally downloaded Hurt Locker and, in an effort to make up losses due to piracy, it’s now going after more with the help of law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver. According to TorrentFreak, the lion’s share of subscribers — provided on a list to the U.S. District Court of Columbia — are Comcast customers (10,532). 5,239 are Verizon subscribers, 2,699 are Charter customers, and 1,750 are Time Warner users. The lawsuits will likely be tried over the next several years, however, as Verizon and Charter only offer up 100 and 150 customer IP-addresses per month. TorrentFreak suggested that Voltage Pictures would prefer to reach cash settlements with customers as opposed to taking each case to court individually. More →
It truly is the end of an era. AllThingsD is reporting that P2P file sharing service Limewire will shutdown “searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality” as the result of a court ruling last year that favored the recording industry. A Limewire spokesperson had this to say:
While this is not our ideal path, we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward. We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future.
If you have a drink in your hand, pour a little out for your homeboy Limewire… and go find yourself a good BitTorrent client. More →
Argentinian researcher Ch Russo and his gang of merry men have successfully hacked The Pirate Bay. Speaking with security blog Krebs On Security, Russo proved to have the “user names, e-mail and Internet addresses of more than 4 million Pirate Bay users.” The hack was executed through several SQL exploits which gave Russo access to “create, delete, modify or view all user information, including the number and name of file trackers or torrents uploaded by users.” Russo, who also has the usernames and MD5 hashed passwords of TPB’s administrators, said he has no interest in selling this information (although, he did say that he had: “briefly considered how much this access and information would be worth to anti-piracy companies employed by entertainment industry lobbying groups like the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America”). The Pirate Bay seems to have since plugged the site’s SQL vulnerability but has yet to release a statement or comment about the matter. More on this as it develops. More →
If you didn’t already think the people behind the RIAA and MPAA were insane, we’re positive that your opinion on them will change as soon as your read what the two associations have proposed in a recent letter to the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement. Here are but some of the changes the two have asked for:
- The installation of spyware on computers which would seek out and automatically delete illegally obtained media
- Censorship of the internet which would block the transfer of illegal files
- Giving border guards the authority to search one’s tech gear for illegal files
- The lobbying of foreign governments to follow suit
- Having the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security actively and swiftly enforcing copyright laws
Scary as hell, right?
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.
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]
On October 13, President Bush signed a highly controversial anti-piracy law. The dictator President has put into effect a law that will appoint an intellectual property czar (yeah folks, you heard it right) that will report directly to the President (again, you heard that right) on how to keep hax0rz from illegally obtaining copyrighted materials. The targets are primarily music, movies, and TV, but you can bet this will be leaking over to other stuff with copyrights. The bill was, of course, backed by none other than the RIAA and MPAA (our favorite institutions!). Say good-bye to the phrase “DRM Free” everyone. Apparently, counterfeiting and piracy costs the U.S. $250 billion annually… that’s a lotta billions for free tunes and movies. Any devices used in piracy may have to be forfeited to Big Brother, lest “firemen” come into your house and burn down your gadgets Fahrenheit 450 style.