politics  

The report noted that some within MIT believe “there has been a change in the institutional climate over recent years, where decisions have become driven more by a concern for minimizing risk than by strong affirmation of MIT values.”

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has been widely condemned as extreme in both its sweeping scope and its grave punishments. Sentencing guidelines suggest Swartz faced up to seven years in prison.

To his supporters, MIT bears some responsibility for that fact. MIT officials privately told the prosecutor that the university had no interest in jail time, but refused to oppose his prosecution publicly or privately, despite repeated entreaties from Swartz’s father, his lawyers, and a couple of faculty members, who argued MIT had the institutional heft to influence the US attorney’s office.

via Aaron Swartz and MIT: The inside story – Metro – The Boston Globe.

What is Piracy? Jean-Philippe Vergne at TEDxWesternU – YouTube.

What is Piracy? Jean-Philippe Vergne at TEDxWesternU – YouTube.

Taunts aside, Tankafetast’s operators appear to be trying to raise the profile of the site. They have launched a clothing range, consisting mainly of t-shirts carrying a range of pro-filesharing slogans such as Keep Calm and Download and Support Your Local Uploader, plus a few with defiant messages on Tankafetast’s return.In addition, on Saturday the site’s operators announced that in celebration of the site’s return they would be hiring three cinemas in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm and giving away tickets to fans of the site. The first viewing has been announced as taking place this Thursday for the premiere of the new Bond movie, Skyfall.What is interesting to observe here is that when it comes to file-sharing the Swedes are very defiant indeed, even in the face of adversaries such as the government and police. Whether the site will be able to back up its defiance with long-term uptime remains to be seen, but even that seems to be more likely than their aim this week of giving away at least hundred of their cinema tickets to girls.

via Raided PRQ Torrent Site is Back and Hiring Cinemas To Celebrate | TorrentFreak.Taunts aside, Tankafetast’s operators appear to be trying to raise the profile of the site. They have launched a clothing range, consisting mainly of t-shirts carrying a range of pro-filesharing slogans such as Keep Calm and Download and Support Your Local Uploader, plus a few with defiant messages on Tankafetast’s return.In addition, on Saturday the site’s operators announced that in celebration of the site’s return they would be hiring three cinemas in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm and giving away tickets to fans of the site. The first viewing has been announced as taking place this Thursday for the premiere of the new Bond movie, Skyfall.What is interesting to observe here is that when it comes to file-sharing the Swedes are very defiant indeed, even in the face of adversaries such as the government and police. Whether the site will be able to back up its defiance with long-term uptime remains to be seen, but even that seems to be more likely than their aim this week of giving away at least hundred of their cinema tickets to girls.

via Raided PRQ Torrent Site is Back and Hiring Cinemas To Celebrate | TorrentFreak.

The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus has just released its 2012 International Piracy Watch List. In addition to countries such as China, Russia and Ukraine, this year Italy and Switzerland make fresh appearances in the list. Both countries are accused of not doing enough to combat online infringement with the latter allegedly proving itself as a “magnet for rogue sites.”

via New Anti-Piracy Watchlist Zooms In On File-Sharing Tolerant Countries | TorrentFreak.The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus has just released its 2012 International Piracy Watch List. In addition to countries such as China, Russia and Ukraine, this year Italy and Switzerland make fresh appearances in the list. Both countries are accused of not doing enough to combat online infringement with the latter allegedly proving itself as a “magnet for rogue sites.”

via New Anti-Piracy Watchlist Zooms In On File-Sharing Tolerant Countries | TorrentFreak.

“IFPI has inadvertently made available its own confidential internal report, penned by none other than IFPIs chief anti-piracy officer, which details its strategy against online piracy for major recording labels across the globe. The document, 30-pages long, talks about file sharing sites, torrents, cyberlockers, phishing attacks, expectations from Internet service providers, mp3 sites and a lot more. The document is a global view representation of IFPIs problems, current and future threats, and the industrys responses to them.”A few tactics: shutting down music services, requiring file lockers filter uploads or be shut down interesting, since the DMCAs one good provision is the safe harbor, and proactive filtering could mean losing that protection, lobbying for DNS blocking legislation, pressuring ISPs into extra-legally enforcing their will, disrupting payment processing for pirate sites through blacklists, and providing “training built around real world experiences and challenges rather than focusing on theory” on copyright law to judges and legal bodies.

via Leaked IFPI Report Details Anti-Piracy Strategy – Slashdot.“IFPI has inadvertently made available its own confidential internal report, penned by none other than IFPIs chief anti-piracy officer, which details its strategy against online piracy for major recording labels across the globe. The document, 30-pages long, talks about file sharing sites, torrents, cyberlockers, phishing attacks, expectations from Internet service providers, mp3 sites and a lot more. The document is a global view representation of IFPIs problems, current and future threats, and the industrys responses to them.”A few tactics: shutting down music services, requiring file lockers filter uploads or be shut down interesting, since the DMCAs one good provision is the safe harbor, and proactive filtering could mean losing that protection, lobbying for DNS blocking legislation, pressuring ISPs into extra-legally enforcing their will, disrupting payment processing for pirate sites through blacklists, and providing “training built around real world experiences and challenges rather than focusing on theory” on copyright law to judges and legal bodies.

via Leaked IFPI Report Details Anti-Piracy Strategy – Slashdot.

Its a dynamic thats been particularly pointed for Dodd, given his efforts to move forward on legislation preventing theft of intellectual property. The Protect I.P. Act and its counterpart in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act, had broad bipartisan backing last year when Dodd was in his first months with the movie biz and was joined by the recording industry, book publishiers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the effort.”Were in a transformative period with an explosion of technology thats going to need content,” he said.But Internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter campaigned effectively against the legislation, mobilizing users on grounds that the new rules would impede the free flow of information on the Internet.”Google chose wisely by making Hollywood the enemy,” Dodd said ruefully.He said Saturday that the industry will need to take a far more nuanced approach to promoting future antipiracy legislation.”Were going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented,” he added. “Were on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery.”

via Dodd touts outreach on IP, bizs humanitarian efforts – Entertainment News, Film News, Media – Variety.Its a dynamic thats been particularly pointed for Dodd, given his efforts to move forward on legislation preventing theft of intellectual property. The Protect I.P. Act and its counterpart in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act, had broad bipartisan backing last year when Dodd was in his first months with the movie biz and was joined by the recording industry, book publishiers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the effort.”Were in a transformative period with an explosion of technology thats going to need content,” he said.But Internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter campaigned effectively against the legislation, mobilizing users on grounds that the new rules would impede the free flow of information on the Internet.”Google chose wisely by making Hollywood the enemy,” Dodd said ruefully.He said Saturday that the industry will need to take a far more nuanced approach to promoting future antipiracy legislation.”Were going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented,” he added. “Were on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery.”

via Dodd touts outreach on IP, bizs humanitarian efforts – Entertainment News, Film News, Media – Variety.

A nagy forgalmazók megveszik a politikusokat, hogy rendőrt uszíthassanak családokra, csak mert azok Garfield-et néznek a monitoron.

Az internet többek közt arra való, hogy kulturális tartalomhoz juthassunk, a napi hírömlenytől az elmélkedősebb anyagokon át a tudásbázisokig és tovább. Aki pedig azt állítja, hogy mindez ingyenes, és hogy a torrentezés bűn, az vagy téved, vagy hazudik. A hazugság, az tényleg bűn. Persze, a lopás is bűn, de ha valamiért fizettünk, akkor annak magunkhoz vétele nem lopás.

via Tanítsuk meg torrentezni a gyerekeket! – Különvélemény – Balavány György blogja.A nagy forgalmazók megveszik a politikusokat, hogy rendőrt uszíthassanak családokra, csak mert azok Garfield-et néznek a monitoron.

Az internet többek közt arra való, hogy kulturális tartalomhoz juthassunk, a napi hírömlenytől az elmélkedősebb anyagokon át a tudásbázisokig és tovább. Aki pedig azt állítja, hogy mindez ingyenes, és hogy a torrentezés bűn, az vagy téved, vagy hazudik. A hazugság, az tényleg bűn. Persze, a lopás is bűn, de ha valamiért fizettünk, akkor annak magunkhoz vétele nem lopás.

via Tanítsuk meg torrentezni a gyerekeket! – Különvélemény – Balavány György blogja.

Earlier today, Megaupload released a pop video featuring mainstream artists who endorse the cyberlocker service. News of the controversial Mega Song even trended on Twitter, but has now been removed from YouTube on copyright grounds by Universal Music. Kim Dotcom says that Megaupload owns everything in the video, and that the label has engaged in dirty tricks in an attempt to sabotage their successful viral campaign.

This morning we published an article on a new campaign by cyberlocker service Megaupload.

Site founder Kim Dotcom told TorrentFreak he had commissioned a song from producer Printz Board featuring huge recording artists including P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, The Game and Mary J Blige. These and others were shouting the praises of Megaupload.

By this afternoon #megaupload was trending on Twitter as news of the song spread. Little surprise interest was so high; Megaupload is described as a rogue site by the RIAA and here are some of their key labels’ artists promoting the service in the most powerful way possible – through a song.

And then, just a little while ago, the music stopped. Visitors to YouTube hoping to listen to the Mega Song were met with the following message.

Mega Song Blocked

TorrentFreak immediately contacted Kim to find out what was happening.

“Those UMG criminals. They are sending illegitimate takedown notices for content they don’t own,” he told us. “Dirty tricks in an effort to stop our massively successful viral campaign.”

So did Universal have any right at all to issue YouTube with a takedown notice? Uncleared samples, anything?

“Mega owns everything in this video. And we have signed agreements with every featured artist for this campaign,” Kim told TorrentFreak.

“UMG did something illegal and unfair by reporting Mega’s content to be infringing. They had no right to do that. We reserve our rights to take legal action. But we’d like to give them the opportunity to apologize.”

“UMG is such a rogue label,” Kim added, wholly appreciating the irony.

A few minutes after this exchange Kim contacted us with good news. After filing a YouTube copyright takedown dispute, the video was reinstated. But alas, just seconds later, it was taken down again.

“We filed a dispute, the video came back online and now it’s blocked again by UMG and the automated YouTube system has threatened to block our account for repeat infringement,” Kim explained.

TorrentFreak spoke with Corynne McSherry, Intellectual Property Director at EFF, who says this type of copyright abuse is nothing new.

“This appears to be yet another example of the kind of takedown abuse we’ve seen under existing law — and another reason why Congress should soundly reject the broad new powers contemplated in the Internet Blacklist Bills, aka SOPA/PIPA.

“If IP rightholders can’t be trusted to use the tools already at their disposal — and they can’t — we shouldn’t be giving them new ways to stifle online speech and creativity,” McSherry concludes.

Sherwin Siy, Deputy Legal Director at Public Knowledge, worries that this type of sweeping power would only be augmented with the arrival of the SOPA anti-piracy bill in the US.

“If UMG took down a video it has no rights to, then what we have here is exactly the sort of abuse that careless, overzealous, or malicious copyright holders can create by abusing a takedown law,” he told us.

“What makes this even worse is that UMG, among others, is pushing to expand its power to shut people down by fiat–SOPA lets rightsholders de-fund entire websites with the same sort of non-reviewed demand that removed this video,” he concludes.

Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom informs us that he has now submitted an international counter notification to YouTube, informing them that UMG has no rights to anything in the video and that the label abused the YouTube takedown system to sabotage the company’s business.

“It’s ridiculous how UMG is abusing their intervention powers in YouTube’s system to stop our legitimate campaign. They are willfully sabotaging this viral campaign. They own no rights to this content,” Kim insists.

“What UMG is doing is illegal. And those are the people who are calling Mega rogue? Insanity!”

Streisand Effect, here we come again.

Update: “The fact that this expression could be silenced by a major label — without any apparent infringement — should be seriously troubling to anyone who cares about artists’ speech rights,” says Casey Rae-Hunter, Deputy Director, Future of Music Coalition. “If this can happen to Snoop Dogg and others, it can happen to anyone.”

via Universal Censors Megaupload Song, Gets Branded a “Rogue Label” | TorrentFreak.

Movies and TV are one of America’s biggest exports and biggest employers, with over 2 million Americans working in the entertainment community. But today, this American success story is facing a threat like never before – content theft. Content theft costs U.S. workers $5.5 billion annually in lost earnings. The real victims aren’t stars or studios or networks; they’re middle class people in all 50 states who make their living in film and television.This Creative America documentary explores this important issue and what you can do about it. Visit creativeamerica.org to learn more.

via Content Theft: The Big Picture on Vimeo.

Analysis: Did the content industry lose the legal battle?

Do you remember back in 2001 when Napster shut down its servers? US courts found Napster Inc was likely to be liable for the copyright infringements of its users. Many of Napster’s successors were also shut down.

Aimster and its controversial CEO were forced into bankruptcy, the highest court in the US strongly suggested that those behind Grokster and Morpheus ought to be held liable for “inducing” their users to infringe, and Kazaa’s owners were held liable for authorisation by our own Federal Court. Countless others fled the market in the wake of these decisions with some, like the formerly defiant owners of Bearshare and eDonkey, paying big settlements on the way out.

By most measures, this sounds like an emphatic victory for content owners. But a funny thing happened in the wake of all of these injunctions, shutdowns and settlements: the number of P2P file sharing apps available in the market exploded.

By 2007, two years after the US Supreme Court decided Grokster, there were more individual P2P applications available than there had ever been before. The average number of users sharing files on file sharing networks at any one time was nudging ten million and it was estimated that P2P traffic had grown to comprise up to 90 percent of global internet traffic. At that point content owners tacitly admitted defeat, largely abandoning their long-time strategy of suing key P2P software providers and diverting enforcement resources to alternatives like graduated response or “three strikes” laws.

Why is it that, despite being ultimately successful in holding individual P2P software providers liable for their users’ infringement, content owners’ litigation strategy has failed to bring about any meaningful reduction in the amount of P2P development and infringement?

Physical vs digital

I would argue pre-P2P era law was based on a number of “physical world” assumptions. That makes sense, since it evolved almost exclusively with reference to physical world scenarios and technologies. However, as it turns out, there is often a gap between those assumptions and the realities of P2P software development.

Four such physical world assumptions are particularly notable in explaining this phenomenon.

The first is that everybody is bound by physical world rules. Assuming this rule had universal application, various secondary liability principles evolved to make knowledge and control pre-requisites to liability. But software has no such constraint. Programmers can write software that will do things that are simply not possible or feasible in the physical world. So once the Napster litigation made P2P programmers aware of the rules about knowledge and control, they simply coded Napster’s successors to eliminate them – something no provider of a physical world distribution technology ever managed to do.

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In response, the US Supreme Court in Grokster created a brand new legal doctrine, called inducement, that did not rely on either knowledge or control. That rule was aimed at capturing “bad actors” – those P2P providers who aimed to profit from their users’ infringement and whose nefarious intent was demonstrated by “smoking guns” in their marketing and other communications. But the inducement law failed to appreciate some of the other differences that make the software world special and thus led directly to the explosion in the number of P2P technologies. In understanding why, three other physical world assumptions come into play.

One is that it is expensive to create distribution technologies that are capable of vast amounts of infringement. Of course in the physical world, the creation of such technologies, like printing presses, photocopiers, and VCRs required large investment. Research and development, mass-manufacturing, marketing and delivery all require massive amounts of cash. Thus, the law came to assume that the creation of such technologies was expensive.

That led directly to the next assumption – that distribution technologies are developed for profit. After all, nobody would be investing those massive sums without some prospect of a return.

Finally comes the fourth assumption: that rational developers of distribution technologies won’t share their secrets with consumers or competitors. Since they needed to recoup those massive investments, they had no interest at all in giving them away.

All of these assumptions certainly can hold up in the software development context. For example, those behind Kazaa spent a lot on its development, squeezed out the maximum possible profit and kept its source code a closely guarded secret. By creating a law that focused on profits, business models and marketing, the Supreme Court succeeded in shaking out Kazaa and its ilk from the market.

But the Court failed to appreciate that none of these things are actually necessary to the creation of P2P file sharing software. It can be so inexpensive to develop that some university programming courses actually require students to make an app as part of an assignment. When the software provider puts in such a small investment, there’s much less need to realise a profit. This, combined with widespread norms within the software development community encouraging sharing and collaboration, also leads to some individuals making the source code of their software publicly available for others to adapt and copy.

When the US Supreme Court created its new law holding P2P providers liable where they “fostered” third party infringement, as evidenced by such things as business models, marketing and internal communications, the result was an enormous number of programmers choosing to create new applications without any of those liability attracting elements. In the absence of any evidence that they had set out to foster infringement, they could not be liable for inducement, and having coded out of knowledge and control they could not be held liable under the pre-P2P law either.

The end result? The mismatch between the law’s physical world assumptions and the realities of the software world meant that the law created to respond to the challenges of P2P file sharing led to the opposite of the desired result: a massive increase in the availability of P2P file sharing software. The failure of the law to recognise the unique characteristics of software and software development meant the abandonment of the litigation campaign against P2P providers was only a matter of time.

Dr Rebecca Giblin is a member of Monash University’s law faculty in Melbourne. Her new book Code Wars tells the story of the decade-long struggle between content owners and P2P software providers, tracing the development of the fledgling technologies, the attempts to crush them through litigation and legislation, and the remarkable ways in which they evolved as their programmers sought ever more ingenious means to remain one step ahead of the law. The book explains why the litigation strategy against P2P providers was ultimately unsuccessful in bringing about any meaningful reduction in the amount of P2P development of infringement.

Visit codewarsbook.com where you can read the first chapter in full. Physical copies can be ordered online from stores like Amazon and Book Depository, and electronic copies are available via Google books at a heavily discounted price.

via How litigation only spurred on P2P file sharing – Telco/ISP – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au.

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