middlemen  

Detecting (and Stopping) Robot PiratesPosted by Phil Davis ⋅ Jul 11, 2016 ⋅ 4 CommentsFiled Under piracy, Sci-Hub, Security Pirate SeasPirate Seas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)On the high seas, you can see a pirate approaching for miles. This gives the captain and crew time to prepare themselves against the onslaught, warn other ships, and call the naval authorities for help. On the Internet, pirates act with stealth. Often, you don’t even know that you’ve been boarded until the pirates have left

Source: Detecting (and Stopping) Robot Pirates | The Scholarly Kitchen

In Table 1 the results are presented, both for the overall Utrecht dataset and broken down by publisher. In total, 2878 of 2968 unique DOIs could be resolved, the others giving error messages. Availability Utrecht Sci-Hub downloads through publishers Table 1 – Availability of Utrecht Sci-Hub downloads through publishers Overall, 75% of Utrecht Sci-Hub downloads would have been available either through our library subscriptions (60%) or as Gold Open Access/free from publisher (15%). In so far as thes

Source: Sci-Hub: access or convenience? A Utrecht case study (part 2) | I&M / I&O 2.0

Depending on whom you ask, Sci-Hub — the piracy network for academic journals — is either the Robin Hood of academic publishing or a parasite preying upon for-profit publishers. A lawsuit filed by Elsevier, the publishing giant, led to the suspension of one of Sci-Hub’s most prominent domain names last week, but the network continues to allow millions of academic articles to be downloaded around the world.What do the authors of the papers think? Do they feel they’ve been ripped off? Are they flattered? After Science revealed the 10 most-downloaded papers on Sci-Hub, The Chronicle spoke to three authors whose articles appeared on the list.There’s no obvious formula for a widely downloaded Sci-Hub article. Topics of popular papers range from wind-turbine tests to iron deficiencies. Publication dates of the 10 articles range from 2000 to 2015, but most of them were published more than five years ago. Some of the papers are kept behind journal paywalls; others, published through open-access models, are already available free.That might raise eyebrows: Why bother to pirate material that is already available free? For some Sci-Hub users, who see piracy of paywalled articles as a financial necessity, it could be the convenience of finding every paper in one place. But many academics whose work has been widely downloaded on the site say they’re not sure what it all means — or whether the popularity of their work on Sci-Hub is anything more than an interesting footnote.Jordan S. Pober, Yale UniversityUntil last month, Jordan S. Pober had never heard of Sci-Hub.In Context: Are Researchers Missing What Matters Most?Download a booklet that is a starting point for discussion of the mission of university research. Inside you’ll find a special package of stories by Paul Basken, a senior reporter at The Chronicle, who examines how scientists can turn their work into societal solutions. Already have an account? Log InMr. Pober, a professor of pathology and translational medicine at Yale University, first learned of the piracy site when a colleague forwarded him an email about the Science article. “It’s flattering, but it’s a dubious honor,” he says. Mr. Pober was one of several authors contacted by The Chronicle who wasn’t aware of the site’s existence until recently. At 67 years old, he generally uses only university libraries to gain access to journal articles. “It’s a generational thing,” he says of Sci-Hub’s success.His article, “Efficient Gene Disruption in Cultured Primary Human Endothelial Cells by CRISPR/Cas9,” was published in the American Heart Association’s Circulation Research journal in the summer of 2015. Mr. Pober’s research determined that the endothelial cells, which are derived from umbilical-cord blood and are non-cancer-forming, could be divided by the genome-editing approach and cloned. This method, he says, is an important advancement in cell therapy and tissue engineering. The paper was downloaded just over 2,000 times from September 2015 through February 2016, making it the ninth-most-downloaded paper on Sci-Hub during that time.What makes the paper so popular? Mr. Pober says he knew his work had gained attention, just not with online pirates. The research was something of a real-world hit too: It was promoted by Circulation Research as one of its 10 most-read articles of 2015, and Mr. Pober says the journal temporarily offered it to the public free.Mr. Pober says the article’s subject matter is likely to have played a big role in its popularity. “In biology there has been this technology revolution of being able to manipulate cells genetically by the use of CRISPR/Cas9, but there have been limitations of this approach,” he says.Mr. Pober says he doesn’t mind that many people download his paper free since he didn’t make money from its publication. In fact, like most academics, he paid to submit his article.”I’m torn in the sense I think it would be better for the science community if findings were made freely available,” he says. “But I’m not sure how to sustain functions of society journals.”Parwiz Abrahimi, Yale UniversityMr. Pober might not have known what to make of his appearance on the Science list, but Parwiz Abrahimi, a medical Ph.D. student in Mr. Pober’s research lab and a co-author of the CRISPR paper, was excited when he came across the article by chance. To him, the paper’s popularity on Sci-Hub was “an honor.” And it made sense: “CRISPR papers are hot right now,” he says.As a researcher attempting to get his work disseminated to as many people as possible, he feels Sci-Hub is actually helping. “I never felt people were pirating my work,” he says. He has never used the piracy site, but he says he has many friends in Iran and Afghanistan for whom it is the only way to read many academic articles.Of course, not everyone who uses the piracy site does so out of that kind of need. Data retrieved by Science show that many downloads come from the United States, and many Americans using the site

Source: What Do the Authors of Sci-Hub’s Most-Downloaded Articles Think About Sci-Hub? – The Chronicle of Higher Education

When publishers lock away the results of research, it hurts us all. On this site, we’ll talk to people in all walks of life who need access to research but can’t get it because of restrictive publishing practices. Here are some of the people we’ll be talking to:

Source: Who needs access? You need access! | Public access to scientific research makes all our lives better

Just as spring arrived last month in Iran, Meysam Rahimi sat down at his university computer and immediately ran into a problem: how to get the scientific papers he needed. He had to write up a research proposal for his engineering Ph.D. at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. His project straddles both operations management and behavioral economics, so Rahimi had a lot of ground to cover.

Source: Who’s downloading pirated papers? Everyone | Science | AAAS

Deeper thought and reflections will be much more evident in the many recent articles and posts I’ve linked to below. I’m also mostly concentrating on the most recent Sci-Hub flare up rather than older posts.

Source: The Sci-Hub story so far: Main event or sideshow? – Confessions of a Science Librarian

There is no question that Sci-Hub is illegal. They are keeping the site live despite a legal injunction. Elbaykan is happy to talk to the press and make specious legal arguments, but has never actually had the courage to show up in court. As the OA advocates, librarians, and publishers try to create a more open and collaborative environment, they should condemn this solution and realize the harm their silence will cause.

Source: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to OA | The Scholarly Kitchen

There’s been a lot of concern in some corners of the world about the Finch Report‘s preference for Gold open access, and the RCUK policy‘s similar leaning. Much of the complaining has focussed on the cost of Gold OA publishing: Article Processing Charges (APCs) are very offputting to researchers with limited budgets. I thought it would be useful to provide a page that I (and you) can link to when facing such concerns.This is long and (frankly) a bit boring. But I think it’s important and needs saying.

Source: What does it cost to publish a Gold Open Access article? | Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

If a for-profit business cannot prosper without demanding huge amounts of free labor, then surely the business model needs reinventing. And if enough professors refuse to referee without compensation, the reinvention will begin.

Source: Want to Change Academic Publishing? Just Say No

He says that many colleges have been targeted by Sci-Hub. In one case at Marquette, a professor received an email stating that he or she needed to update his or her university user name and password by following a link. Once on the site, which was actually in New Zealand, the faculty member typed in new credentials, which were then captured by what the publisher later linked to Sci-Hub.”Then you start seeing your downloads going to unusual locations or downloads that are occurring in huge quantities — thousands of downloads,” Mr. Sanchez says.Typically, the publisher notices such irregularities first, notifies the college, and tells it to shut down the problem quickly. At Marquette, additional layers of security were added, the IP addresses of the compromised accounts were given to the publisher, and the faculty member changed the user name and password within 24 hours. But, Mr. Sanchez says, “it puts us in a tough situation.”

Source: Librarians Find Themselves Caught Between Journal Pirates and Publishers – The Chronicle of Higher Education

We asked the spokesman of the illegal e-book website Sci-Hub about open access, the future of copyright, the money policy of Elsevier and other publishing houses and last, but not least Alexandra Elbakyan’s role as something of a Jeanne d´Arc of piracy. The interview was performed by our visiting author Manuel Bonik.Sci-Hub recently had to change the domain, because the old one was confiscated after the administrator refused to delete all e-books from Elsevier. Sci-Hub is the biggest illegal source for

Source: e-book piracy: interview with Alexandra Elbakyan from Sci-Hub

Operators of Internet repositories that provide illicit free access to millions of research papers seem determined to keep up their services, despite being barred by an injunction.

A New York district court ruled on 28 October that online services such as Sci-Hub and the Library Genesis Project (Libgen) violate US copyright law. The court ruled in favour of academic publisher Elsevier, which in June filed a complaint against the main operators of the sites for unlawfully accessing and distributing its copyrighted papers.

Sci-Hub downloads articles by aping university IP addresses and stores them in a repository that now contains more than 46 million papers.

Access to the site’s web domain was suspended following the injunction. But Sci-Hub, which is advertised as a service “to remove all barriers in the way of science”, has since moved to a different domain. Its revamped site continues to provide unauthorized free access to millions of papers.

Other pirate services, including Libgen, which also allows users to freely download audiobooks, and BookFi, a free repository of more than 2 million books, have also resurfaced on different Internet domains.

Hide and seek

Sci-Hub had an average of 80,000 visitors per day before its previous domain was blocked, says Alexandra Elbakyan, a former neuroscientist who started the site in 2011. The number of users has since dropped to about 30,000 per day, she says.

It is just a matter of time until Sci-Hub’s new domain name, which is administered by a UK-based Internet company, will be suspended, thinks Eli Dourado, who researches Internet governance and intellectual property at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center in Arlington, Virginia.

But the site also has an alternative anonymous address that can be reached by users of the Tor network, a group of servers that encrypts Internet traffic and disguises its origins.  “I could see the site staying up quite a long time through the use of Tor,” Dourado says.

Elbakyan, who was born and educated in Kazakhstan and is now based in Russia, says she doesn’t think that reviving her site violates the New York court ruling, because Sci-Hub is not a US-based company, and she is not a US citizen or resident of New York. That is incorrect, as Sci-Hub infringes US copyright law simply by serving its content to US citizens, says Toby Butterfield, a lawyer with the firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz in New York.

In principle, foreigners can be fined by US courts, Dourado adds — but if they do not have any assets in the United States, there is no simple way for the government to collect the fines.

Copyright clash

“We are definitely not going to stop spreading the knowledge,” says Elbakyan, who believes that any limitation on the free distribution of scientific knowledge is unacceptable. She says she hopes that the case will raise awareness of a lack of access to relevant literature faced by many scientists.

In his October ruling, New York district judge Robert Sweet argued that “Elbakyan’s solution to the problems she identifies, simply making copyrighted content available for free via a foreign website, disserves the public interest”.

In a statement on the case made before the court ruling, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in Washington DC said: “Sci-Hub’s and Libgen’s scheme to reproduce and distribute copyrighted works poses a significant threat to book and journal publishing and to authors and scholarly societies reliant on the royalties derived from sales and subscription income.”  On concerns about lack of access for less privileged researchers, the AAP added that scientific publishers, including Elsevier, grant academic institutions in more than 100 developing countries free or very cheap access to scientific literature.

Sci-Hub’s approach has parallels with people who set up sites to illegally distribute music, notes Butterfield. “Scientific publishers are finding themselves in the same spot that record companies faced a few years ago,” he says. “It was only when iTunes and other services made it swift, easy and cheap to buy individual songs that people began turning away from infringement to get their music. So publishers, like record companies before them, have little choice but to get redress from blatant infringers in whatever ways the courts will allow.”

Asked for comment, an Elsevier spokesperson said that the lawsuit was supported by the wider publishing industry and referred Nature’s news team to the AAP.

Tom Allen, president of the AAP, says that his organization will use all available legal means to block access to pirated papers and that the group will continue to support Elsevier’s New York lawsuit. “We will continue to make domain administrators aware of the Sci-Hub enterprise, and urge all service providers to refrain from supporting the sites, which both the operator has admitted and the court found to be illegal,” Allen says.

Elsevier is not the only publisher whose copyrighted papers are available on Sci-Hub. Nature’s parent company – Springer Nature – is another; it says it does not wish to comment on the case. (Nature’s news team is editorially independent of Nature’s research editorial team.)

Nature
doi:10.1038/nature.2015.18876

Source: Pirate research-paper sites play hide-and-seek with publishers

STM Consultation on Article Sharing

Introduction

To gain a better understanding of the current landscape of article sharing through scholarly collaboration networks and sites, STM conducted an open consultation across the scholarly community in early 2015. The aim of this consultation was to facilitate discussion by all stakeholders in order to establish a core set of principles that clarify how, where and what content should be shared using these networks and sites, and to improve this experience for all. Our hope for this initiative is for publishers and scholarly collaboration networks to work together to facilitate sharing, which benefits researchers, institutions, and society as a whole.

Source: SCN Article Sharing Consultation 2015 – STM

Two weeks ago, the entire editorial board of the journal Lingua quit and announced they would launch a new journal named Glossa. Lingua’s executive editor Johan Rooryck said the reason for the resignation was that Elsevier, which publishes Lingua, did not comply with the editors’ request to turn the journal into an open access publication. Lingua has existed since 1949 and is among the top-3 linguistic journals on Google Scholar. The Lingua/Glossa case is a good opportunity to reflect upon our understanding of open access.

Source: Is our understanding of Open Access too shortsighted? Rethinking publishing infrastructure and ownership.

In recent years, low-cost booksellers have proliferated on the web. But how does a company that’ll sell you a book for a penny make a profit?

Source: A Penny for Your Books

 

Operations like Thriftbooks step in and buy these landfill-bound books, sight unseen, for around 10 cents a pound. Thriftbooks has 10 warehouses across the country, each with its own name. Ward says each of them is “about the size of your typical Walmart,” somewhere between 70,000 and 90,000 square feet. The enterprise is still largely a human operation: Between 15 and 18 people at each warehouse sift through the truckloads of books, sending more than 80 percent of the material immediately to the recycling plant. (Hey, it’s better than the dump.) That 80 percent may include stuff that’s obviously garbage: old three-ring binders, notebooks, half of a Bible. Anything that might possibly be sellable is scanned into the company’s database.

Discover Books, another major used bookseller on Amazon, is also based in the Seattle area. Unlike Thriftbooks, Discover Books relies on automated scanners to enter books into its system, which can handle more than 60 books per minute. “If there’s any history of that book online, our system will pick it up,” says Tyler Hincy, Discover Books’ vice president of marketing.

Each company takes pains to pick out any rare books that might be difficult to scan automatically. The systems rely on barcodes and International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), relatively recent innovations in the history of book publishing. Thriftbooks has a special “vintage” team dedicated to picking out rare, older books, trained to recognized first editions. Discover Books relies on its regular scanning system to pick out potentially valuable vintage books.

From that point on, it’s all about software. Say a new copy of “A Visit From the Goon Squad” is scanned into the database. The software races to figure out how many copies are in stock, how many copies have been sold, how the price has changed over time, what the current average, high and low prices are on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Half.com, AbeBooks, eBay and Alibris, and decides: Do we want this book? If the software’s algorithm decides that this is a book that can be sold and is worth selling, it will be stocked and automatically listed in the online marketplace where it has the best chance to be sold. This all happens tens of thousands of times per day.

This is a game of pennies and lightning-quick readjustment. Buyers have no particular loyalty to any of these sellers; it’s all about what’s cheapest and what’s listed first. Each company, seeking an edge, builds and zealously guards its own software. Ward was the lead developer on Thriftbooks’ software before he became president. He has 12 developers, a full-time data scientist and two financial analysts on his staff. Discover Books’ software is known in-house as Trim2. “We have software that we’ve spent years and a lot of money on,” Hincy says, “tweaking to be as optimal as possible to give that book the best opportunity to be sold.”

Elsevier journals — some facts Update: figures now in from Imperial. See below.Further update: figures in from Nottingham too.Further update: figures now in from Oxford.Final update: figures in from LSE.

Source: Elsevier journals — some facts | Gowers’s Weblog

A long piece on pirate libraries’ role in the knowledge economy (in Dutch).
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The creator of Popcorn Time, software which lets people watch movies illegally online, has chosen to reveal his identity and speak out about his experiences developing the site.TorrentFreak reports that 29-year-old designer Federico Abad from Argentina revealed his identity in an interview with Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.Abad explained that he was inspired to create Popcorn Time because internet speeds in Argentina are so bad and because major movies often reach Argentinian cinemas months after they are released in the US.Developer Abad said that he recruited other people around the world using Twitter and Facebook. They worked overnight to create Popcorn Time and eventually “had concentration problems at work because of the project.” Abad said that he worked so hard on the project that his girlfriend left him.Popcorn Time let users illegally stream movies online for free. But it was shut down by Abad in 2014 after authorities put pressure on the site. Since then, other similar sites have launched that that use the same software. There’s even a Popcorn Time app.Popcorn TimeAbad said that he decided to shut down the project when he noticed that a lawyer working for Warner Brothers had viewed LinkedIn profiles belonging to developers working on Popcorn Time.“We do not know how, but he had managed to track us down. We were quite put out. We thought it was a scare tactic,” he said. “And we were frightened. None of us were anonymous anymore. They knew where we worked and where we lived.”

Source: The creator of piracy service ‘Popcorn Time’ has revealed his identity | Business Insider

These are heady days for supporters of open access (OA), who argue that the results of publicly-funded research should be made freely available to all, not just those who can afford subscriptions to the scientific journals in which they are published.Earlier this year, the World Bank announced that it would adopt an open access policy for all its research outputs and “knowledge products”, which will be entered into a central repository to be made freely accessible on the internet.Last month, the British government said that, in future, it will require all the research it funds in British universities to be made openly accessible, with authors paying publishers a fee (funded out of research grants) to make this possible – a position already adopted by the influential Wellcome Trust. The move was rapidly followed by an announcement from the European commission that the same rule will apply to all commission-funded research.The UK’s Department of International Development recently announced all its research will be made freely available. And publishers such as BioMed Central are pioneering open access journals in developing regions such as Africa.

Source: Developing world gains open access to science research, but hurdles remain | Global development | The Guardian

But an article published in March by the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology found it was starting to occur, albeit slowly.“Various text-sharing platforms distribute tens of millions of documents online for free,” the study found. “However, these are still unknown to most of academia. Only a handful of articles acknowledge their existence in short passages, and no systematic study of the available collections has been undertaken until now.”

Source: Australian academics seek to challenge ‘web of avarice’ in scientific publishing | Science | The Guardian

Then there are the quieter exclusives; already-released music that appears on one service but not another because of the vagaries of record-label licensing. I had considered switching to Tidal permanently after signing up last week, because the interface is nearly identical to Spotify (what’s missing are social-listening capabilities and a desktop app, though it’s possible both features are on their way), and because I like many of the artists who co-own the platform. But I keep running into gaps in its library; Grimes’s excellent 2012 album Visions, for example, and the well-reviewed new release from Jlin, are on Spotify but not Tidal. So what am I supposed to do? Pay for two services? Make up the important gaps by buying albums on iTunes, even though it’s not clear which gaps will be permanent? These aren’t the most pressing problems in the world, but they are, at least, more pronounced inconveniences than the ones streaming consumers have faced in the past few years.

When the new Beats arrives, this state of affairs may get more hectic. In an interview with Billboard, Jay Z made clear that Jimmy Iovine, the legendary record executive who now works with Apple, had been competing with Tidal for celebrity-musician endorsements. This might explain why big names like Taylor Swift and Drake didn’t join their friends Nicki Minaj and Madonna at last week’s press conference; it’s possible they’re aligned with Beats instead. Apple’s huge market reach and deep pockets also means that record companies have another party to negotiate distribution rights with, which gives labels power to ask for more favorable deals. It seems likely that this will lead to the various services’ catalogues becoming patchier, perhaps fluctuating over time à la Netflix’s Friends-one-month-then-gone-the-next offerings. (Probably not as dramatically, though; it’s in labels’ interest, generally, to have their music as widely available as possible.)

via With Tidal, Beyonce and Rihanna Prove That the Golden Age of Streaming Is Over — The Atlantic.

Traditional television watching is declining faster than ever as streaming services become a mainstream feature in American homes, according to new research by Nielsen.

Adults watched an average of four hours and 51 minutes of live TV each day in the fourth quarter of 2014, down 13 minutes from the same quarter of 2013, according to Nielsen’s fourth-quarter 2014 Total Audience Report. Viewing was down six minutes between the fourth quarter of 2013 and 2012. And between 2012 and 2011, viewing time actually increased for live TV.

At the same time, more homes turned to online video, with 40 percent of U.S. homes subscribing to a streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or Hulu compared with 36 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Nielsen. Netflix is by far the most popular streaming service, in 36 percent of all U.S. homes, and Amazon Instant Video is in 13 percent of homes.

The trends have rattled the entertainment industry, with broadcast and cable networks scrambling to take on new competitors on the Web. Cable networks have seen steep ratings declines, which got much worse in the last six months of 2014. Cable ratings among adults fell 9 percent in 2014, three times the rate of decline over 2013, according to Michael Nathanson, an analyst at Moffett Nathanson research.

“It’s hard to ignore our belief that technology is disrupting viewer consumption of linear network programming,” Nathanson wrote in a recent research note.

In response, companies such as HBO, NBC and CBS are launching their own streaming services. The moves could unleash a fast demise of the cable and satellite industries that have fed TV networks with licensing fees.

Television is still king, with viewers of all ages getting the vast majority of their video entertainment and news from live programs and using time-shifted services such as DVRs. But even older viewers — the stalwarts of traditional TV — are spending less time watching live TV and programs saved on DVRs.

Between 2012 and 2014, viewers ages 50 through 64 watched one hour and 12 minutes less of traditional TV each week; they increased viewing of videos over the Internet by 22 minutes. Viewers ages 35 through 49 watched two hours and five minutes less of traditional TV each week and increased viewing of online videos by 35 minutes.

via Americans are moving faster than ever away from traditional TV – The Washington Post.

Welcome to Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries; Valiant Entertainment for Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, and X-O Manowar; Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga; Barry Eisler’s John Rain novels; Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series; and The Foreworld Saga by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Eric Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, and Cooper Moo. Licenses for more Worlds are on the way.

via What Is Kindle Worlds?.

New record company figures out of France suggest that artists receive just 68 cents from every €9.99 monthly music streaming subscription – as major labels keep hold of 73% of payouts from the likes of Spotify.

French recorded music trade body SNEP, whose members include Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music,  ran a recent study with Ernst & Young to discover where money paid by a subscriber to the likes of Spotify or Deezer ultimately ends up.

As you can see below, in terms of the turnover that these platforms generate, the major labels (‘producteurs’) take home the lion’s share, pulling in an average of €4.56-per-subscriber every month after tax.

In terms of the total subscription payment, that’s a 46% share of the spoils.

However, further analysis from MBW gives a more interesting split: who takes home what from the revenues paid out by streaming companies to music rights-holders.

If SNEP’s figures are correct, €6.24 of every €9.99 subscription is paid to music rights-holders – that’s what’s left after tax and the digital platforms’ fee.

That would means the labels keep 73% of payouts from Spotify/Deezer etc.

They’re followed by writers/publishers with a 16% share, and then artists – mostly paid by their labels – who get 11%.

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 16.24.46

Here’s how that €9.99 turnover payout share looks when you divide it up by percentage – both in terms of total revenue, and the recipients of the €6.24 payout by Spotify/Deezer etc.

Majors1 Majors2

How can the majors justify taking home such a huge chunk? Well, SNEP and E&Y’s research doesn’t stop there: they also estimate how much each party brings home in net pre-tax profit.

That means scoping how much major labels, publishers and digital platforms spend on costs – including marketing, making and/or distributing the music in the first place.

Here things get debatable: the net income of labels and digital platforms is, in SNEP/E&Y’s eyes, estimated at just 5% of total revenue.

That, in itself, will be a highly contested figure; many managers would argue that a 95% margin of cost doesn’t ring true on digital platforms devoid of packaging, breakages and returns.

Applying the 5% profit margin to SNEP’s figures changes the percentages of ‘take home’ money quite dramatically, as you can see below.

SNEP and E&Y calculate that labels earn €0.26 net profit for each subscription, while digital platforms earn just €0.10 per €9.99.

These tiny profit margins – if at all accurate – go some way to explaining why even the biggest streaming services find turning a profit no easy task.

It’s also the exact reason why managers want more streaming cash for their artists… and why major labels say they can’t pay it.

Profit streaming

 

Major labels keep 73% of Spotify premium payouts – report – Music Business Worldwide.

And if CDs are truly dead, then digital music sales are lying in the adjacent grave. Both categories are down double-digits in the last year, with iTunes sales diving at least 13 percent.

via Digital music sales on iTunes and beyond are now fading as fast as CDs. – The Atlantic.

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Universal Music claims that a private company providing commissary services to prisons across the US is selling inmates pirated music in the form of mixtapes, and it wants the courts to stop it.

via Pirated music infiltrating US prisons, record label says | Ars Technica.

In the digital era where, thanks to the ubiquity of electronic copies, the book is no longer a scarce resource, libraries find themselves in an extremely competitive environment. Several different actors are now in a position to provide low cost access to knowledge. One of these competitors are shadow libraries – piratical text collections which have now amassed electronic copies of millions of copyrighted works and provide access to them usually free of charge to anyone around the globe. While such shadow libraries are far from being universal, they are able to offer certain services better, to more people and under more favorable terms than most public or research libraries. This contribution offers insights into the development and the inner workings of one of the biggest scientific shadow libraries on the internet in order to understand what kind of library people create for themselves if they have the means and if they don’t have to abide by the legal, bureaucratic and economic constraints that libraries usually face. I argue that one of the many possible futures of the library is hidden in the shadows, and those who think of the future of libraries can learn a lot from book pirates of the 21st century about how users and readers expect texts in electronic form to be stored, organized and circulated.

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In The Netherlands, people spend about half as much on recorded music as they did in 2003. They spend about twice as much on live music as on CDs, downloads, and streaming.

Other countries have shown this shift from recorded to live revenue, including the UK, but nowhere as dramatically as in The Netherlands. However, consumer spending on music bounced back in 2013, arguably due to increased contributions from streaming services like Spotify:

via Adventures in the Lowlands: Spotify, Social Media and Music Festivals | Spotify Insights.

 

The failure of the Fire Phone has been widely cited as the reason for Amazon’s disastrous quarter, but a darker cloud has settled over the world’s biggest online retailer. The core of Amazon’s business—its original reason for being: selling books and other media—has grown wobbly. The problem: many people no longer want to buy stuff. They’d rather rent.

Amazon is not alone. This long-predicted shift in consumer priorities–from ownership to access—also seems to be taking a bite out of Apple, another business that depends on convincing people to buy things. For companies built on the practice of purchasing media, it’s time to reexamine basic assumptions.

During the last quarter, Amazon’s North American sales of media—books, music, movies, games—grew five percent compared to the same time a year ago. This may sound respectable. But that figure turns out to be the lowest year-over-year growth in North American media sales in more than five years, says Colin Gillis, an analyst at Wall Street outfit BGC Financial.

“Given the dispute with book publisher Hachette, it is hard to not view that the very public dust up had a negative impact on media sales, both from the decision to stop selling certain book titles and a possible backlash against Amazon from readers,” Gillis says.

The problem: many people no longer want to buy stuff. They’d rather rent.

But according to Amazon, a leading culprit is something that at least sounds much more innocuous: textbooks. “As you look at our North American media growth rates, one thing that we are seeing is certainly a shift from a textbook standpoint from purchase to rental,” Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak told analysts on Thursday. More customers also are renting rather than buying digital media, Szkutak said.

The irony is that in both cases, these are problems Amazon created for itself. Textbook rentals have exploded in part because Amazon makes it so easy. Instead of a would-be renter and lender having to track each other down one-on-one, the owner of a used text book can simply put it up on Amazon. (It’s a model textbook publishers hate, because they only make money on new book sales, which is one reason textbook prices are going through the roof).

Similarly, Amazon has made streaming media so easy that the practical incentive to buy diminishes. Renting or buying digital video from Amazon, for example, never has to involve a download. You never really have to “have” it. It simply streams from Amazon’s cloud to apps, browsers, and over-the-top internet TV boxes. The setup would seem to work to Amazon’s favor because you’re still paying Amazon money—but not as much, perhaps, as you’d pay to own.

A Bite Out of Apple

At the same time as the stock market started hammering Amazon on Friday, a report surfaced that Apple was having its own problems with owning. The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported that digital music sales on iTunes had declined 13 percent to 14 percent since the start of the year. This worries the music industry, the Journal said, because Apple is the world’s biggest seller of music.

If fewer people are buying music from Apple, fewer people are probably buying music, period. The reason is obvious, and much as with Amazon, it’s a problem Apple is largely responsible for creating. The rise of streaming music apps wouldn’t be possible without powerful, portable, connected digital devices that have access to significant bandwidth for transferring data quickly. In other words, the iPhone is very much responsible for streaming becoming a viable, popular way to consume music. As the Journal notes, Apple acknowledged this trend with its purchase of Beats Music, a deal that included both its headphone and streaming music businesses.

In a recent New York Times Magazine piece, writer Dan Brooks lamented the loss of a certain kind of cultural identity deeply tied to the ownership of music: the record collection. The culprit: streaming music services that give everyone everywhere access to nearly every song ever recorded:

The bad news is that we have lost what was once a robust system for identifying kindred spirits. Now that we all share the same record collection, music snobs have no means to recognize one another. We cannot flip through a binder of CDs and see a new friend, a potential date. By making it perfectly easy to find new music, we’ve made it a little more difficult to find new people.

The irony, Brooks notes, is that streaming has brought once obscure music out of hiding: searching for tiny acts is as easy as searching for the biggest Top 40 stars. But it’s not only hipster obscurantism that streaming has upended. The most mainstream tech companies, the ones that have made access versus ownership easier than ever, are now experiencing their own losses because they’ve helped make accessing easier than owning. The only winners here seem to be consumers.

Well, except for one thing: If no one gets paid, nothing gets made.

via Apple and Amazon Have a Problem: People Don’t Want to Buy Stuff Anymore | WIRED.

 

libraryjournal: Original comic by John Kleckner, modified by an anonymous librarian.

libraryjournal:

Original comic by John Kleckner, modified by an anonymous librarian.

via élet és könyvtár lite (libraryjournal: Original comic by John Kleckner,…).

Digimarc Guardian Customer Support : Announcements.

Adobe has just given us a graphic demonstration of how not to handle security and privacy issues.A hacker acquaintance of mine has tipped me to a huge security and privacy violation on the part of Adobe. That anonymous acquaintance was examining Adobe’s DRm for educational purposes when they noticed that Digital Editions 4, the newest version of Adobe’s Epub app, seemed to be sending an awful lot of data to Adobe’s servers.My source told me, and I can confirm, that Adobe is tracking users in the app and uploading the data to their servers. Adobe was contacted in advance of publication, but declined to respond. Edit: Adobe responded Tuesday night.And just to be clear, I have seen this happen, and I can also tell you that Benjamin Daniel Mussler, the security researcher who found the security hole on Amazon.com, has also tested this at my request and saw it with his own eyes.

via Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries – The Digital Reader.

Home StoryFBI chief: Apple, Google phone encryption perilousBy Ken DilanianAssociated PressPosted: 09/25/2014 02:06:09 PM PDT# Comments | Updated: about 18 hours agoWASHINGTON — The FBI director on Thursday criticized the decision by Apple and Google to encrypt smartphones data so it can be inaccessible to law enforcement, even with a court order.James Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters that U.S. officials are in talks with the two companies, which he accused of marketing products that would let people put themselves beyond the law’s reach.Comey cited child-kidnapping and terrorism cases as two examples of situations where quick access by authorities to information on cellphones can save lives. Comey did not cite specific past cases that would have been more difficult for the FBI to investigate under the new policies, which only involve physical access to a suspect’s or victim’s phone when the owner is unable or unwilling to unlock it for authorities.FILE – In this Sept. 23, 2014 file photo, FBI Director James Comey speaks at the FBI Albany Field Office in Albany, N.Y.FILE – In this Sept. 23, 2014 file photo, FBI Director James Comey speaks at the FBI Albany Field Office in Albany, N.Y. Mike Groll/AP Photo”What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to hold themselves beyond the law,” Comey said. At another point, he said he feared a moment when “when people with tears in their eyes look at me and say, ‘What do you mean you can’t?'”

via FBI chief: Apple, Google phone encryption perilous – San Jose Mercury News.

The Art of Unblocking Websites Without Committing Crimes | TorrentFreak.

Last month UK police took down several torrent site proxies and arrested their owner. Now a UK developer has created a new & free service that not only silently unblocks any website without falling foul of the law, but one that will eventually become available to all under a GPL 3.0 license.

networkThe blocking of sites such as The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents and Torrentz in the UK led to users discovering new ways to circumvent ISP-imposed censorship. There are plenty of solutions, from TOR and VPNs, to services with a stated aim of unblocking ‘pirate’ sites deemed illegal by UK courts.

Last month, however, dozens of these went offline when the operator of Immunicity and other related proxy services was arrested by City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit. He now faces several charges including breaches of the Serious Crime Act 2007, Possession of Articles for Use in Fraud, Making or Supplying Articles for use in Frauds and money laundering.

While it’s generally accepted that running a site like The Pirate Bay is likely to attract police attention, merely unblocking a domain was not thought to carry any such risk. After all, visitors to torrent sites are just that, it’s only later on that they make a decision to infringe or not.

In our earlier article we discussed some of the possible reasons why the police might view “pirate” proxies to be illegal. However, there are very good arguments that general purpose proxies, even ones that are expressly setup to bypass filtering (and are able to unblock sites such as Pirate Bay), remain on a decent legal footing.

One such site is being operated by Gareth, a developer and networking guru who grew so tired of creeping Internet censorship he began lobbying UK MPs on the topic, later moving on to assist with the creation of the Open Rights Group’s Blocked.org.uk.

After campaigning and documenting Internet censorship issues for some time, Gareth first heard of last month’s proxy arrest during a visit to the United States.

“I was at DefCon in Las Vegas when the news of the Immunicity arrest reached me and I realized that for all my volunteer work, my open source applications, operation of Tor relays, donations and letters to MPs to highlight/combat the issues with Internet censorship, it was not enough,” the developer told TorrentFreak.

“I felt that this issue has moved from a political / technical issue to one about personal liberty and Internet freedom. e.g. first they came for the ‘pirate proxies’, then the Tor operators, then the ISPs that don’t censor their customers. The slippery slope is becoming a scary precipice.”

Since his return to the UK, Gareth has been busy creating his own independent anti-censorship tool. He’s researched in detail what happened to Immunicity, taken legal advice, and is now offering what he hopes is an entirely legal solution to website filtering and subsequent over-blocking (1)(2).

“Unlike Immunicity et al I’m not specifically building a ‘Pirate Proxy’. Granted people might use this proxy to navigate to torrent websites but were I to sell a laptop on eBay that same person may use it for the same reasons so I see no difference,” he explains.

“In fact Section 44, subsection 2 of the Serious Crimes Act 2007 even states [that an individual] is not to be taken to have intended to encourage or assist the commission of an offense merely because such encouragement or assistance was a foreseeable consequence of his act.”

The result of Gareth’s labor is the anti-censorship service Routing Packets is Not a Crime (RPINAC). People who used Immunicity in the past should feel at home, since RPINAC also utilizes the ability of popular browsers to use Proxy Auto-Config (PAC) files.

In the space of a couple of minutes and with no specialist knowledge, users can easily create their own PAC files covering any blocked site they like. Once configured, their browser will silently unblock them.

Furthermore, each PAC file has its own dedicated URL on RPINAC’s servers which users can revisit in order to add additional URLs for unblocking. PAC ‘unblock’ files can also be shared among like-minded people.

“When someone creates a PAC file they are redirected to a /view/ endpoint e.g. https://routingpacketsisnotacrime.uk/view/b718ce9b276bc2f10af90fe1d5b33c0d. This URL is not ephemeral, you can email it, tweet it (there is a tweet button on the left hand side of the site) etc and it will provide the recipient with the exact same view.

“It’ll show which URLs are specified to be proxied, which have been detected as blocked (using the https://blocked.org.uk database) and if the author passed along the password (assuming the PAC was password protected) they can add or remove URLs too,” Gareth explains.

“Each view page also has a comments section, this could allow for a small collection of individuals to co-ordinate with a smaller subset of password possessing moderators to create a crowd sourced PAC file in an autonomous fashion. There is also a ‘Clone’ button allowing anybody to create their own copy of the PAC file with their own name, description and password if the PAC file they’ve received isn’t quite what they need.”

This user-generated element of the process is important. While dedicated ‘pirate’ proxy sites specifically unblock sites already deemed illegal by the UK courts (and can be deemed to be facilitating their ‘crimes’), RPINAC leaves the decision of which sites to unblock completely down to the user. And since no High Court injunction forbids any user from accessing a blocked domain, both service and user remain on the right side of the law.

In terms of use, RPINAC is unobtrusive, has no popups, promotions or advertising, and will not ask for payment or donations, a further important legal point.

“To avoid any accusations of fraud and to avoid any tax implications RPINAC will never ask for donations,” the dev explains. “The current platform is pre-paid for at least a year, the domain for 10. At a bare minimum PAC file serving and education for creating local proxies will continue indefinitely.”

Finally, Gareth notes that without free and open source software his anti-censorship platform wouldn’t have been possible. So, in return, he has plans to release the source code for the project under the GPL 3.0 license.

RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime can be found here and is compatible with Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE. Additional information can be sourced here.

4chan adopts DMCA policy after nude celebrity photo postingsSite agrees to remove “bona fide” infringing material if asked.

via 4chan adopts DMCA policy after nude celebrity photo postings | Ars Technica.

A complex system of rules and governance mechanisms control the lives of piratical P2P file-sharing darknets and ensure the survival and the quality of the shared P2P resource pool. In some communities these rules include the voluntary intellectual property (IP) protection as well. I show three different examples of voluntary, bottom-up IP regimes in piratical file-sharing communities. I demonstrate that though the emergence of such norms may sound counter-intuitive, they are in fact logical consequences in the development of the underground file-sharing scene. I then move to discuss whether or not the long-term consolidation of such norms is harmonious with the default ethical vision of copyright. Here I show that current practices in the IP field are scattered in both the legal and the ethical dimensions, and stable (social, business) practices consolidate not according to their legality but according to whether they comply with the default ethical vision. Finally I suggest that voluntary IP regimes can be effective enforcement mechanisms that rights-holders should begin experiment with.

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netzpolitik.org: Are you breaking any laws?

Jotunbane: Several 🙂

netzpolitik.org: Do you care? Why (not)?

Jotunbane: Sure I care. But what can I do? The laws are wrong on several different levels (the copyright monopoly have been extended 16 times in my lifetime alone, and will continue to be extended every time Mickey Mouse is getting close to the public domain). There will always be consequences when you decide to break the law and the risk of punishment is clearly part of the equation. Under US law I could get fined $150.000 for each infringement, but this is not a question of money, it’s a question of doing the right thing. Sharing is caring, so of course I care.

 

Interviews with E-Book-Pirates: “The book publishing industry is repeating the same mistakes of the music industry”.

 

The error message that launched this whole investigation.

Darrell Whitelaw / Twitter

For years now, Internet users have accepted the risk of files and content they share through various online services being subject to takedown requests based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and/or content-matching algorithms. But users have also gotten used to treating services like Dropbox as their own private, cloud-based file storage and sharing systems, facilitating direct person-to-person file transfer without having to worry.

This weekend, though, a small corner of the Internet exploded with concern that Dropbox was going too far, actually scanning users’ private and directly peer-shared files for potential copyright issues. What’s actually going on is a little more complicated than that, but it shows that sharing a file on Dropbox isn’t always the same as sharing that file directly from your hard drive over something like e-mail or instant messenger.

The whole kerfuffle started yesterday evening, when one Darrell Whitelaw tweeted a picture of an error he received when trying to share a link to a Dropbox file via IM. The Dropbox webpage warned him and his friend that "certain files in this folder can’t be shared due to a takedown request in accordance with the DMCA."

Whitelaw freely admits that the content he was sharing was a copyrighted video, but he still expressed surprise that Dropbox was apparently watching what he shared for copyright issues. "I treat [Dropbox] like my hard drive," he tweeted. "This shows it’s not private, nor mine, even though I pay for it."

In response to follow-up questions from Ars, Whitelaw said the link he sent to his friend via IM was technically a public link and theoretically could have been shared more widely than the simple IM between friends. That said, he noted that the DMCA notice appeared on the Dropbox webpage "immediately" after the link was generated, suggesting that Dropbox was automatically checking shared files somehow to see if they were copyrighted material rather than waiting for a specific DMCA takedown request.

Dropbox did confirm to Ars that it checks publicly shared file links against hashes of other files that have been previously subject to successful DMCA requests. "We sometimes receive DMCA notices to remove links on copyright grounds," the company said in a statement provided to Ars. "When we receive these, we process them according to the law and disable the identified link. We have an automated system that then prevents other users from sharing the identical material using another Dropbox link. This is done by comparing file hashes."

Dropbox added that this comparison happens when a public link to your file is created and that "we don’t look at the files in your private folders and are committed to keeping your stuff safe." The company wouldn’t comment publicly on whether the same content-matching algorithm was run on files shared directly with other Dropbox users via the service’s account-to-account sharing functions, but the wording of the statement suggests that this system only applies to publicly shared links.

We should be clear here that Dropbox hasn’t removed the file from Whitelaw’s account; they just closed off the option for him to share that file with others. In a tweeted response to Whitelaw, Dropbox Support said that "content removed under DMCA only affects share-links." Dropbox explains its copyright policy on a Help Center page that lays out the boilerplate: "you do not have the right to share files unless you own the copyright in them or have been given permission by the copyright owner to share them." The Help Center then directs users to its DMCA policy page.

Dropbox has also been making use of file hashing algorithms for a while now as a means of de-duplicating identical files stored across different users’ accounts. That means that if I try to upload an identical copy of a 20GB movie file that has already been stored in someone else’s Dropbox account, the service will simply give my account access to a version of that same file rather than allowing me to upload an identical version. This not only saves bandwidth on the user’s end but significant storage space on Dropbox’s end as well.

Some researchers have warned of security and privacy concerns based on these de-duplication efforts in the past, but the open source Dropship project attempted to bend the feature to users’ advantage. By making use of the file hashing system, Dropship effectively tried to trick Dropbox into granting access to files on Dropbox’s servers that the user didn’t actually have access to. Dropbox has taken pains to stop this kind of "fake" file sharing through its service.

In any case, it seems a similar hashing effort is in place to make it easier for Dropbox to proactively check files shared through its servers for similarity to content previously blocked by a DMCA request. In this it’s not too different from services like YouTube, which uses a robust ContentID system to automatically identify copyrighted material as soon as it’s uploaded.

In this, both Dropbox and YouTube are simply responding to the legal environment they find themselves in. The DMCA requires companies that run sharing services to take reasonable measures to make sure that re-posting of copyrighted content doesn’t occur after a legitimate DMCA notice has been issued. Whitelaw himself doesn’t blame the service for taking these proactive steps, in fact. "This isn’t a Dropbox problem," he told Ars via tweet. "They’re just following the laws laid out for them. Was just surprised to see it."

via Dropbox clarifies its policy on reviewing shared files for DMCA issues | Ars Technica.

Recording industry earns more from fan videos than from official music videosYouTube generates more money for record labels through fan-made videos than official music videos, a global recording industry report says.

via Recording industry earns more from fan videos than from official music videos | Toronto Star.

An open source textbook on open source cultures (in Hungarian).

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So, Did Tim Ferriss’s BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

So, Did Tim Ferriss's BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

At Least 8% of All Pirate Bay Traffic Now Provided By Proxy Services | TorrentFreak.

At Least 8% of All Pirate Bay Traffic Now Provided By Proxy Services | TorrentFreak.

Comcast Wants to Monitor and Convert Pirating Subscribers | TorrentFreak.

Comcast Wants to Monitor and Convert Pirating Subscribers | TorrentFreak.

The Government of Antigua is planning to launch a website selling movies, music and software, without paying U.S. copyright holders. The Caribbean island is taking the unprecedented step because the United States refuses to lift a trade “blockade” preventing the island from offering Internet gambling services, despite several WTO decisions in Antigua’s favor. The country now hopes to recoup some of the lost income through a WTO approved “warez” site.

Antigua and Barbuda is a small country in the Caribbean that for years had a flourishing gambling industry.

A few years ago 5% of all Antiguans worked at gambling related companies. However, when the U.S. prevented the island from accessing their market the industry collapsed.

“What was once a multi-billion dollar industry in our country, employing almost 5% of our population has now shrunk to virtually nothing,” Antigua’s High Commissioner to London, Carl Roberts, said previously.

Hoping to rebuild the gambling business Antigua filed a dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO), which they won.

In 2005 the WTO ruled that the US refusal to let Antiguan gambling companies access their market violated free-trade, as domestic companies were allowed to operate freely. In 2007 the WTO went a step further and granted Antigua the right to suspend U.S. copyrights up to $21 million annually.

TorrentFreak is informed by a source close to Antigua’s Government that the country now plans to capitalize on this option. The authorities want to launch a website selling U.S. media to customers worldwide, without compensating the makers.

The plan has been in the works for several months already and Antigua is ready to proceed once they have informed the WTO about their plan. Initially the island put the topic on the WTO meeting last month, but the U.S. blocked it from being discussed by arguing that the request was “untimely.”

This month Antigua will try again, and if they succeed their media hub is expected to launch soon after.

Antigua’s attorney Mark Mendel told TorrentFreak that he can’t reveal any details on the plans. However, he emphasized that the term “piracy” doesn’t apply here as the WTO has granted Antigua the right to suspend U.S. copyrights.

“There is no body in the world that can stop us from doing this, as we already have approval from the international governing body WTO,” Mendel told us.

TorrentFreak is in the process of obtaining details of the content to be offered and the prices to be charged. One option would be to ask users for $5 a month in return for unlimited access to U.S. media.

As predicted, the suggestion to suspend U.S. copyrights is already meeting resistance from United States authorities.

“If Antigua actually proceeds with a plan for its government to authorize the theft of intellectual property, it would only serve to hurt Antigua’s own interests,” the U.S warned in a letter to the WTO last month.

According to the letter Antigua will ruin their chances of getting a settlement should they approve a site that sels U.S. copyrighted goods without compensating the makers.

“Government-authorized piracy would undermine chances for a settlement that would provide real benefits to Antigua. It also would serve as a major impediment to foreign investment in the Antiguan economy, particularly in high-tech industries,” the U.S. added.

Antigua doesn’t appear to be impressed much by these threats and is continuing with its plan.

If the Antiguan media portal indeed launches, it will make headlines all across the world, which may result in the site becoming one of the larger authorized suppliers of U.S. media on the Internet.

via Antigua Government Set to Launch “Pirate” Website To Punish United States | TorrentFreak.

For another 10 years, Universal Pictures content will not be seen on Netflix.

Universal inked a deal with HBO on Monday that gives HBO exclusive rights to all Universal films for another decade. This is an extension of a previous exclusive agreement and means, essentially, that rival services like Starz and Netflix won’t be getting ahold of Universal’s movies anytime soon.

The extension is likely a reaction to Netflix’s agreement with Walt Disney pictures for exclusive access to Disney animated features and films until 2016. But HBO may not be able to compete on the same level as Netflix. HBO was called “the closest thing Netflix has to a direct competitor” by a Forbes contributor on Monday, but close to Netflix it is not.

via HBO Signs Deal With Universal, Continues To Make Life Difficult For Netflix, Consumers.For another 10 years, Universal Pictures content will not be seen on Netflix.

Universal inked a deal with HBO on Monday that gives HBO exclusive rights to all Universal films for another decade. This is an extension of a previous exclusive agreement and means, essentially, that rival services like Starz and Netflix won’t be getting ahold of Universal’s movies anytime soon.

The extension is likely a reaction to Netflix’s agreement with Walt Disney pictures for exclusive access to Disney animated features and films until 2016. But HBO may not be able to compete on the same level as Netflix. HBO was called “the closest thing Netflix has to a direct competitor” by a Forbes contributor on Monday, but close to Netflix it is not.

via HBO Signs Deal With Universal, Continues To Make Life Difficult For Netflix, Consumers.

Cord Cutting Is The New File-Sharing

Janko RoettgersJuly 15, 20124 cord cutting,

opinionPrint

Cord cutting will kill Hollywood. Cord cutting doesn’t exist. Cord cutting is the future. Cord cutting is only done by poor kids who will change their ways when they get a real job: These days, it seems like everyone is talking about cord cutting, the trend of people ditching their pay TV subscription for online alternatives.

I’ve written many stories about the subject over the years as well, and I’ve been making how-to videos for people interested in cutting the cord.

But lately, all that rhetoric about cord cutting has been sounding awfully familiar, and I started to wonder: Where had I heard that before? And then it hit me: Cord cutting is the new file-sharing.

Of course, I don’t mean to say that all cord cutters are pirates. Sure, a subset of them are definitely getting their TV show fix from BitTorrent sites and cyberlockers after ditching cable, especially in countries where no legal alternatives exist. But in the U.S., many people instead turn to Hulu, Netflix and even free over-the-air TV once they cut the cable cord.

Still, cord cutting and file-sharing have a lot in common. On the surface, both are about paying less for movies and TV shows. But take a closer look, and you’ll realize that money is only part of the equation. What really unites cord cutters and file-sharers is that they want to take their media consumption into their own hands.

via Cord Cutting Is The New File-Sharing | TorrentFreak.Cord Cutting Is The New File-Sharing

Janko RoettgersJuly 15, 20124 cord cutting,

opinionPrint

Cord cutting will kill Hollywood. Cord cutting doesn’t exist. Cord cutting is the future. Cord cutting is only done by poor kids who will change their ways when they get a real job: These days, it seems like everyone is talking about cord cutting, the trend of people ditching their pay TV subscription for online alternatives.

I’ve written many stories about the subject over the years as well, and I’ve been making how-to videos for people interested in cutting the cord.

But lately, all that rhetoric about cord cutting has been sounding awfully familiar, and I started to wonder: Where had I heard that before? And then it hit me: Cord cutting is the new file-sharing.

Of course, I don’t mean to say that all cord cutters are pirates. Sure, a subset of them are definitely getting their TV show fix from BitTorrent sites and cyberlockers after ditching cable, especially in countries where no legal alternatives exist. But in the U.S., many people instead turn to Hulu, Netflix and even free over-the-air TV once they cut the cable cord.

Still, cord cutting and file-sharing have a lot in common. On the surface, both are about paying less for movies and TV shows. But take a closer look, and you’ll realize that money is only part of the equation. What really unites cord cutters and file-sharers is that they want to take their media consumption into their own hands.

via Cord Cutting Is The New File-Sharing | TorrentFreak.

According to the Federal Court, RapidShare has to take all “technically and economically reasonable precautions” without compromising its business model to ensure that its users do not upload Atari’s game. The Court also noted that by not installing a word filter RapidShare may have already breached the “reasonable” threshold.One of the additional steps that the Court said RapidShare must take is to monitor a “manageable number” of third-party sites that offer “link collections” of content available on RapidShare. Should it find them indexing a copy of Atari’s game available on RapidShare it should then delete it from its servers.

via Supreme Court: RapidShare Liable For Copyright Infringement – Sometimes | TorrentFreak.According to the Federal Court, RapidShare has to take all “technically and economically reasonable precautions” without compromising its business model to ensure that its users do not upload Atari’s game. The Court also noted that by not installing a word filter RapidShare may have already breached the “reasonable” threshold.One of the additional steps that the Court said RapidShare must take is to monitor a “manageable number” of third-party sites that offer “link collections” of content available on RapidShare. Should it find them indexing a copy of Atari’s game available on RapidShare it should then delete it from its servers.

via Supreme Court: RapidShare Liable For Copyright Infringement – Sometimes | TorrentFreak.

Speaking at a University of Melbourne seminar last evening, AFACT boss Neil Gane conceded that TV and movie fans might be driven to piracy by delays, but when the same question was framed slightly differently, it proved problematic.

Linking to TorrentFreak’s statistics, ITNews reports that they asked Gane if piracy rates were lower on shows that were fast-tracked to Australia. He was unable to answer.

AFACT’s members have spent huge sums of money suing local ISP iiNet, yet appear to have a problem answering a fundamental question such as this. The answer, of course, (particularly given Gane’s earlier concession over delays) is that they do recognize that bringing shows more quickly to market in areas such as Australia will reduce piracy, but internal politics restrict them from doing so.

But instead, Gane told the seminar that members of AFACT believe that fans of Game of Thrones are behaving unreasonably when they don’t want to wait an additional week to see the show.

via Anti-Piracy Boss: TV Fans Are Unreasonable For Wanting Content Quicker | TorrentFreak.Speaking at a University of Melbourne seminar last evening, AFACT boss Neil Gane conceded that TV and movie fans might be driven to piracy by delays, but when the same question was framed slightly differently, it proved problematic.

Linking to TorrentFreak’s statistics, ITNews reports that they asked Gane if piracy rates were lower on shows that were fast-tracked to Australia. He was unable to answer.

AFACT’s members have spent huge sums of money suing local ISP iiNet, yet appear to have a problem answering a fundamental question such as this. The answer, of course, (particularly given Gane’s earlier concession over delays) is that they do recognize that bringing shows more quickly to market in areas such as Australia will reduce piracy, but internal politics restrict them from doing so.

But instead, Gane told the seminar that members of AFACT believe that fans of Game of Thrones are behaving unreasonably when they don’t want to wait an additional week to see the show.

via Anti-Piracy Boss: TV Fans Are Unreasonable For Wanting Content Quicker | TorrentFreak.

Sites such as isoHunt, KickAssTorrents and Extratorrent are often characterized as lawless piracy havens that disregard the rights of content creators. But is this really the case? Not according to the site owners who say they are no different from Google. All the BitTorrent sites contacted by TorrentFreak say they remove content when they’re notified, with the number of requests processed ranging from just a handful to 1,680 per day.

pirate googleEntertainment industry groups including the RIAA and MPAA view BitTorrent sites as a major threat.

The owners of BitTorrent sites, however, believe they do nothing wrong. In fact, to the surprise of many copyright holders they are very responsive when they are asked to remove infringing links.

While it’s common knowledge that The Pirate Baydoes not remove any copyright infringing links from its site, all of the other major BitTorrent sites do honor DMCA-style takedown requests. In this regard they are no different from other major search engines such as Bing and Google.

TorrentFreak asked several of the most popular BitTorrent sites (and top DMCA targets on Google) about their takedown policies. Although they differ quite a bit in terms of the number of requests they receive per day, they all remove copyright infringing links on a daily basis.

With 1,680 takedown requests per day, BitSnoop is the most-targeted site. Since December last year they complied with 363,956 requests. The top DMCA sender is Nate Glass from takedownpiracy.com.

BitSnoop’s top DMCA takedown senders

ExtraTorrent receives between 20 and 30 requests per day and approximately 3,000 links are removed every month. The response time to process DMCA requests varies from a few hours to three days according to ExtraTorrent’s administrator.

KickAssTorrents also deleted thousands of torrents every month, and this number is rising rapidly. In May KAT removed 19,005 torrent files, up from 7,604 in January.

Inspired by Google, the site is currently working on a detailed web-interface where the public can view takedown statistics.

“We are very serious about removing copyrighted content following DMCA requests. We have staff who review and process all incoming requests. On working days the processing time of these requests never takes longer than several hours,” KickAssTorrents’ owners told TorrentFreak.

isoHunt receive relatively few DMCA notices considering the size of the site. The site’s founder, Gary Fung, told TorrentFreak that they receive about eight requests per day. Since the site started, isoHunt has responded to 18,000 individual notices emailed by copyright holders.

Fung notes that the volume of takedown requests has increased over the years but that they always respond within five working days. This responsiveness is often met with surprise by the senders.

“With the hundreds if not thousands of copyright holders we’ve talked to, some have even come back to say thanks and commented that we aren’t what they expected, in terms of answering with their wishes and speed of our takedowns,” Fung told us.

“While the DMCA is by no means perfect nor is it a law of my country, I do stand by it as the closest thing we have to an amicable process between copyright holders and internet intermediaries that is international by nature. It’s unfortunate some choose to ignore it and sue instead, for reasons purely political.”

isoHunt’s founder further emphasizes that they are no different from Google when it comes to respecting the DMCA. Google previously distanced itself from isoHunt and other torrent search engines, but Fung disagrees.

“Since we index any and all BitTorrent sites on the Internet, for links to files on BitTorrent swarms, I would like to call Google bullshit on how their search engine is any different from ours, in nature as an Internet intermediary or intention to comply and work with copyright holders.”

Many other BitTorrent site operators share Fung’s opinion on this matter.

While BitTorrent sites may link to relatively more copyrighted content than Google, they comply with the same takedown requests. In this regard it’s ineffective for copyright holders to ask Google to censor isoHuntBitSnoopKickAssTorrents and Extratorrent links.

But perhaps that’s too easy?

via Top Torrent Sites Respect Copyright Takedowns, Just Like Google | TorrentFreak.ebsites Charge A Fee To Process Copyright Takedowns?Copyright Holders Punish Themselves With Crazy DMCA TakedownsAnti-Piracy Co. Blames

via Top Torrent Sites Respect Copyright Takedowns, Just Like Google | TorrentFreak.

.http://fortunebrainstormtech.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/041112-us-v-apple-complaint.pdfhttp://fortunebrainstormtech.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/041112-us-v-apple-complaint.pdf

Copyright Removal Requests – Google Transparency Report.Copyright Removal Requests – Google Transparency Report.

A lengthy analysis on the Megaupload case in Magyar Narancs, a Hungarian weekly.
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This article examines what appears to be the most important factor shaping file sharing: the failure of traditional cultural markets to efficiently supply the demand in the online environment. Its findings are based on tracking the traffic of movies on three Hungarian P2P networks. This dataset is then matched with cinematic distribution data of the films tracked in P2P transactions. Central to our analysis is the assessment of two piracy paradigms: substitution and shortage, that is, whether pirated content is available through legal or only illegal channels. Shortage-driven downloaders are found to outnumber those downloading only current theater releases. Nonetheless, the supply of films available for downloading is more affected by parameters of cinematic distribution than it is by box office success. Therefore, part of the sales effort directly contributes to propping up piracy.
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The Russian based “Pirate Pay” startup is promising the entertainment industry a pirate-free future. With help from Microsoft, the developers have built a system that claims to track and shut down the distribution of copyrighted works on BitTorrent. Their first project, carried out in collaboration with Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures, successfully stopped tens of thousands of downloads.

via Microsoft Funded Startup Aims to Kill BitTorrent Traffic | TorrentFreak.The Russian based “Pirate Pay” startup is promising the entertainment industry a pirate-free future. With help from Microsoft, the developers have built a system that claims to track and shut down the distribution of copyrighted works on BitTorrent. Their first project, carried out in collaboration with Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures, successfully stopped tens of thousands of downloads.

via Microsoft Funded Startup Aims to Kill BitTorrent Traffic | TorrentFreak.

In fact, though there are hundreds of file sharing sites, an extremely small number of colo-location providers (six of them) provide infrastructure to these sites that generate more than 80% of all Internet file sharing traffic. Like other niche industries, file sharing has evolved with a specialized ecosystem / cyber supply chain.

via DeepField Networks.In fact, though there are hundreds of file sharing sites, an extremely small number of colo-location providers (six of them) provide infrastructure to these sites that generate more than 80% of all Internet file sharing traffic. Like other niche industries, file sharing has evolved with a specialized ecosystem / cyber supply chain.

via DeepField Networks.

Apple alone — even though iPhones account for just 9 percent of mobile phones sold — reaps about 75 percent of the mobile phone industry’s profits, and that number continues to grow. (Apple’s segment of U.S. sales is much higher, as is its share of smartphone sales.)

Should this economic trend continue, Apple will be the Microsoft of mobile platforms, the SAP of mobile apps, and the Oracle of mobile services. If you’re an Apple fanboy, that’s great news and would suggest a world very much like that of the Macintosh or iPod/iTunes: integrated, fun, innovative, and functional.

via The dark side of Apple’s dominance | Mobile Technology – InfoWorld.Apple alone — even though iPhones account for just 9 percent of mobile phones sold — reaps about 75 percent of the mobile phone industry’s profits, and that number continues to grow. (Apple’s segment of U.S. sales is much higher, as is its share of smartphone sales.)

Should this economic trend continue, Apple will be the Microsoft of mobile platforms, the SAP of mobile apps, and the Oracle of mobile services. If you’re an Apple fanboy, that’s great news and would suggest a world very much like that of the Macintosh or iPod/iTunes: integrated, fun, innovative, and functional.

via The dark side of Apple’s dominance | Mobile Technology – InfoWorld.

The delays and queue restrictions are part of an overall effort by Warner Brothers to boost its ailing DVD sales. The company thinks that by lengthening the time it takes for a movie to reach other platforms, it will increase demand for the DVD, and in turn make more money. Once a move reaches rental services and streaming video platforms, Warner Brothers stands to make far less revenue.Not allowing Netflix users to conveniently wait out the delayed availability of new DVDs fits within Warner Brothers new strategy. The company clearly wants consumers to feel the inconvenience and discomfort of not being able to watch these newly released movies immediately because it makes the option of buying the DVD much more attractive.

via Warner Bros. now adding restrictions to your Netflix DVD queue | VentureBeat.The delays and queue restrictions are part of an overall effort by Warner Brothers to boost its ailing DVD sales. The company thinks that by lengthening the time it takes for a movie to reach other platforms, it will increase demand for the DVD, and in turn make more money. Once a move reaches rental services and streaming video platforms, Warner Brothers stands to make far less revenue.Not allowing Netflix users to conveniently wait out the delayed availability of new DVDs fits within Warner Brothers new strategy. The company clearly wants consumers to feel the inconvenience and discomfort of not being able to watch these newly released movies immediately because it makes the option of buying the DVD much more attractive.

via Warner Bros. now adding restrictions to your Netflix DVD queue | VentureBeat.

An analysis of the SOPA debate the the Hungarian weekly Magyar Narancs.
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A short piece on transborder ethnic piratical networks on mindennapi.hu
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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.

What would it mean in terms of revenue if ALL BitTorrent traffic moved to Netflix?If we assume that BitTorrent and Netflix users consume roughly the same amount of content again an assumption favoring the movie studios, then this is an easy calculation. Netflix would generate a third more revenue. Based on the shareholders report of the last quarter of 2010 where most of the torrent stats in this article are based on this translates into $198 million additional revenue for Netflix.Based on more recent stats contained in Netflix’s third quarter filing of this year, the increase in revenue would be $266 million for that quarter.

via MPAA Costs Hollywood More Than US BitTorrent Piracy | TorrentFreak.

ReDigi bills itself as “The World’s First Online Marketplace For Used Digital Music,” but the RIAA is not impressed. Categorically rejecting the “first sale” doctrine as a safe harbor, the Recording Industry Association of America has sent the ReDigi digital music resale site a letter (PDF, hat tip: Cnet) that effectively demands that the company abandon its business and open its sales records to RIAA’s lawyers. Cease and desist your “infringing activities,” the missive warns. But that’s the least of it.

via RIAA wants ReDigi out of the business of selling “used” iTunes tracks.

Today’s digital, global, on-demand media landscape has had only minimal effects on Hollywood’s “windowing” addiction—pushing out films in stages to theaters, then pay-TV, then satellite, then physical rental. Studios are continuing to push their “buyers only” window during which a film could be purchased at stores like Wal-Mart, but would not yet be available for rental.Blockbuster won’t go along with the request to delay new release rentals for 28 days after they first go on sale. In retaliation, Warner Bros. has refused to sell films directly to the chain, forcing Blockbuster to source those movies elsewhere. It’s the same tactic used by the studios on RedBox, which doesn’t get DVDs for rental until they have been on the retail market for four weeks.“The question is: how do we make ownership more valuable and attractive?” Warner Bros. Home Entertainment President Kevin Tsujihara told the Financial Times. “We have started the process of creating a window in bricks-and-mortar DVD and Blu-ray rental.”Blockbuster can work around the studios’ wishes because DVDs and Blu-ray discs are physical objects and thus subject to the “first sale doctrine” in the US; after purchase, the seller can’t continue to exert control over the objects. That’s not true of online streaming and downloads, giving the studios much greater power to control the windows of services like Netflix.

via Blockbuster trying to evade Warner Bros’ 28-day “buyers only” window.

Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell has spoken out once again on the issue of piracy.Newell reiterates what he’s said on previous occasions. DRM doesn’t work and pirates are not per se after free stuff.“One thing that we have learned is that piracy is not a pricing issue. It’s a service issue,” he says.“The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates.”“For example, Russia. You say, oh, we’re going to enter Russia, people say, you’re doomed, they’ll pirate everything in Russia. Russia now outside of Germany is our largest continental European market.”Newell argues that instead of hurting legitimate customers with DRM, you have to give them something that’s superior to the pirated counterpart.‘It doesn’t take much in terms of providing a better service to make pirates a non-issue,” Newell says.

via Valve: Piracy is a Service Issue | TorrentFreak.

Miramax CEO Mike Lang and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos gave a keynote talk at the MIPCOM conference. The two discussed the challenges they face in the continuously changing digital world. Both agreed that piracy is not much of an issue as long as you give consumers what they want. Digital monopolies, such as Apple’s dominance in the music industry, are a far bigger threat.

pirateIf we believe the words of the MPAA and RIAA, piracy is the root of all evil resulting in billions of dollars in losses every year.

However, not all of the big players in the entertainment business subscribe to this theory. During the MIPCOM conference where movie and TV moguls gather, Miramax CEO Mike Lang and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos touched on the subject of piracy. Both appeared to have a rather positive stance towards the issue.

Lang, whose company today debuts the Blu-Ray version of the cult classic Pulp Fiction, emphasized that people don’t necessarily want to pirate, as long as they get what they want. “Innovate or die,” should be the motive of entertainment industry companies, where it’s key to listen to customers.

“Piracy has not been the bigger issue for our company,” Lang noted. “I think all consumers at some point in their life , whatever market of the world, don’t want to pirate. They really don’t.”

via Digital Monopolies A Bigger Threat Than Piracy, Says Miramax CEO | TorrentFreak.

BitTorrent is no longer the dominant player when it comes to file-sharing on the Internet. The five largest English language websites dedicated to swapping files are all related to centralized file-hosting services, also known as cyberlockers. The Pirate Bay and Torrentz are the only BitTorrent sites that managed to secure a spot in the top 10.

via Top 10 Largest File-Sharing Sites | TorrentFreak.

It’s been a week since Fox stopped offering free access to its TV-shows the day after they air on television. The TV-studio took this drastic step in the hope of getting more people to watch their shows live and thus make more revenue. TV-viewers, however, are outraged by the decision and have massively turned to pirated sources to watch their favorite shows.

foxOne of the main motivations for people to download and stream TV-shows from unauthorized sources is availability. If fans can’t get a show through legal channels they turn to pirated alternatives.

This is one of the reasons why Hulu drastically decreased TV-show piracy in the U.S. Viewers are happy with the legal streaming option it offers them, but not all studios see that as a success.

Starting last Monday, Fox began delaying the availability of new episodes on Hulu and Fox.com for 8 days. The decision goes directly against the wishes of the public but Fox will take this disappointment as collateral damage in the hope that the delay will result in more live viewers and better deals with cable and satellite distributors.

When the plan was first announced last month we predicted that it could lead to a significant boost in online piracy of Fox shows, and this does indeed turn out to be the case.

Over the last week TorrentFreak tracked two Fox shows on BitTorrent to see if there was an upturn in the number of downloads compared to the previous weeks, and the results are as expected. For both Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef the download numbers have surged.

During the first 5 days, the number of downloads from the U.S. for the latest episode of Hell’s Kitchen increased by 114% compared to the previous 3 episodes. For MasterChef the upturn was even higher with 189% more downloads from the U.S. For MasterChef; the extra high demand may in part have been facilitated by the fact that it was the season finale.

Aside from BitTorrent, there are of course many other options for people to catch up with a missed episode. YouTube for example, from where tens of thousands of people streamed the latest Hell’s Kitchen episode.

Instead of Hulu or Fox, the pirates get the praise. On YouTube and BitTorrent sites many users thank the uploaders for making the shows available.

“You so rock and allowed me to keep my promise to my son. I promised if he cleaned for one hour he could watch Hell’s Kitchen with me. He was excited and then disappointed that we couldn’t watch it on Hulu or Fox.com,” WithurShield writes.

“Thanks a lot for uploading these, Hulu used to be my go-to but alas, they have failed me,” minniemica adds.

On the other hand, several users who went to Hulu expecting to see a fresh episode left comments berating Fox (although most target Hulu) for their decision not to make the episodes available for free.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I went to Hell’s Kitchen and Master Chef. Right in the middle of the series idiot at Hulu decided to through in the pay services. At least have the decency to wait till the end [sic],” one commenter writes on Hulu.

“What I don’t like is up until now I have been able to watch the episode of Hell’s Kitchen the day after it airs and all of a sudden they now want me to pay for it?” another commenter adds.

There is no doubt that the Hulu delay is not in the best interests of TV-viewers. Although it might be a good business decision in the short term, one has to doubt whether driving people to ‘pirated’ content is a wise choice. To many viewers it is clearly a step backward.

Instead of artificial restrictions the public demands flexibility when it comes to entertainment. They want to decide when and where they want to watch something, and right now video streaming sites, BitTorrent and even the old VCR do a better job at this than Fox.

“I’m going to go buy a DVR or dust off my VCR and I will be recording my tv shows from now on,” a commenter writes on Hulu.

via Fox’s 8-Day Delay on Hulu Triggers Piracy Surge | TorrentFreak.

Pachter predicts Netflix’s streaming content licensing costs will rise from $180 million in 2010 to a whopping $1.98 billion in 2012.

via Studios are starting to play hardball with Netflix – Jul. 11, 2011.

“Mac sales rose 28 percent year-over-year during Apple’s last quarter, while PC sales declined 1 percent

There are now 54 million active Mac users around the world.

Mac sales have outpaced the broader PC market for 5 years, 22 straight quarters

Apple has sold 200 million IOS devices to date …

… which accounts for more than 44 percent of the mobile market

25 million iPads were sold in the device’s 14 months of availability

15 billion songs have been sold from the iTunes store …

… making Apple the #1 music retailer in the world

130 million books have been downloaded from iBooks

There are 425,000 apps in the app store

90,000 of them are designed specifically for the iPad

14 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store in less than 3 years

Apple has paid some $2.5 billion to developers building apps for the app store

There are 225 million iTunes Store accounts, all of them with associated credit cards and 1-click purchasing

There are 50 million Game Center users. XBox Live, which has been around for a lot longer, only has about 30 million

IOS users send more than 1 billion Tweets a week

To date, about 100 billion push notifications have been sent to iOS devices

The iPhone 4′s camera is the second most used camera on Flickr”

via Digital Stats.

At the D9 Conference this morning, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings credited his company with helping to beat piracy — at least in the U.S. Now, he says, the challenge is to outcompete copyright infringement in places like Korea, where it runs rampant.

“One of the things that we’re most proud of is we’re now finally beating BitTorrent,” Hastings told AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher. Thanks to services like Netflix, Hastings said most Internet video is now paid for in the U.S. The hard part for content providers, he said, was coming up with a service good enough that people were willing to pay for, rather than just searching for free content on the Internet. Netflix has been able to provide that service by making its streaming videos available across a vast number of devices, and giving subscribers access to a wide range of library content for a relatively low price.

Netflix has also enabled content owners to make money on shows they previously weren’t monetizing. Hastings offered up Joss Whedon’s Firefly as one example of a series that had a rabid fan base that couldn’t find it under legal means prior to appearing on Netflix. At the same time, he quelled any rumors that the company could bring Firefly back from the dead.

via Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Finally Beating BitTorrent’ — Online Video News.

People don’t necessarily buy Blu-ray players for the discs, but to access Netflix instead. However, once they take the players home, they apparently decide to buy a few discs and see what all the fuss is about. Despite the massive growth of Netflix, Blu-ray users are beginning to buy more discs than they did in the two previous years, according to NPD. This means that Netflix may actually help Hollywood to sell Blu-ray discs by moving away from shipping discs itself.

via Netflix helps boost Blu-ray player and disc sales — Online Video News.

American Internet users, get ready for three strikes “six strikes.” Major US Internet providers—including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable—have just signed on to a voluntary agreement with the movie and music businesses to crack down on online copyright infringers. But they will protect subscriber privacy and they won’t filter or monitor their own networks for infringement. And after the sixth “strike,” you won’t necessarily be “out.”Much of the scheme mirrors what ISPs do now. Copyright holders will scan the ‘Net for infringement, grabbing suspect IP addresses from peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. If they see your IP address participating in a swarm for, say, Transformers, they will look up that IP address to see which ISP controls it, then fire off a message.ISPs have committed to forward such notices to subscribers—though, crucially, they won’t turn over actual subscriber names or addresses without a court order. This is a one-way notification process.

via Major ISPs agree to “six strikes” copyright enforcement plan.

2011 márciusának végén bezárt a Songo.hu, Magyarország utolsó olyan internetes zeneáruháza, mely nemcsak magyar, de nemzetközi kiadók anyagait is árusította. Ezzel beállt abba a sorba, mint a korábban már bezárt, Magyar Telekom által üzemeltetett Track.hu, illetve a CLS kiadó Mp3music.hu zeneáruháza. Ma már csak egyetlen, letöltéses modellen alapuló zeneáruház, a Dalok.hu üzemel, a többiekhez képest sokkal szerényebb kínálattal, hiszen csak magyar előadók zenéit kínálja eladásra. A megszűnés különösen fájó a hazai jogvédő szervezeteknek és zenei tartalomtulajdonosoknak, hiszen a bevezetni tervezett „kalóztörvény” egyik kiindulópontja az volt, hogy létezik olyan legális forrás, ahonnan a zenei tartalmak jelentős része beszerezhető. A most kialakult helyzet viszont komoly munícióval szolgál azoknak, akik az illegális letöltést azzal védik, hogy legális módon nincs lehetőség zenei tartalmak beszerzésére.

Pedig a kezdetek optimizmusra adtak okot.

A 2000-es évek első évtizedének derekára a hazai szélessávú internetes hálózatfejlesztés eredményeképpen a fogyasztói oldalon megjelent az igény arra, hogy az interneten már ne csak szöveges tartalmat lehessen fogyasztani, hanem egyéb audiovizuálisakat is. Több oka is van annak, hogy első körben a zenei tartalmat kínáló online áruházak jelentek meg. Egy cd-nyi tömörített zenei tartalom letöltése maximum tíz percet vett igénybe, míg egy film esetében ez meghaladta volna az egy órát is az akkori sávszélességek mellett. További előny volt az is, hogy a zenei tartalmak jogtulajdonosai relatív koncentráltak voltak (a négy nemzetközi zenei kiadó és a korábbi állami monopóliumból átalakult Hungaroton). Optimizmusra adott okot az is, hogy 2005 közepére már félmilliárd zeneszámot töltöttek le az Apple Itunes Store-jából.

Eleinte biztatóan alakultak a forgalmi adatok, azonban 2008-ra a növekedés megállt, majd ugyanazzal a dinamikával csökkenésbe váltott. A legális online zeneletöltés sikertelenségének okait vizsgálva láthatjuk, hogy a kudarcban az értéklánc összes szereplője szerepet vállalt. A nemzetközi kiadók anyagaik átadásakor ragaszkodtak a másolásvédelmi technológiák bevezetéséhez. A digitális jogvédelmi (DRM) rendszereknek azonban megvan az a hátrányuk, hogy erősen korlátozzák a fogyasztó szabad választását a zenehallgatás tekintetében. A DRM rendszer platformfüggetlenségének hiánya a nem Windows-alapú számítógépek és különösen az okostelefonok piaci részesedésének robbanásszerű növekedésével jelentősen csökkentette a potenciális vásárlók számát, hiszen ezekkel már nem lehetett meghallgatni a megvásárolt zenéket. Nem segítette a piac fejlődését az a tény sem, hogy a nemzetközi kiadók nagyon szigorú területi korlátozással adták át anyagaikat, így a felvevőpiac Magyarországra korlátozódott. Ez viszont a méretgazdaságosság elérését akadályozta meg, hiszen nincsenek nagyságrendbeli különbségek fejlesztés, üzemeltetés és beruházás tekintetében egy 10 milliós vagy egy 100 milliós piac kiszolgálása esetén. Viszont egy tízszer akkora piac esetén tízszer gyorsabb megtérüléssel lehet számolni.

A kudarc egy másik oka az árban keresendő. Sajnos a nagykereskedelmi árak és a jogdíjak megállapítását követően kialakuló végfelhasználói ár sok esetben megegyezett a hagyományos cd-ével, sőt néha még meg is haladta azt. Mindezt úgy, hogy a megvásárolt virtuális zene – a digitális tömörítés miatt – rosszabb minőségű, mint a cd, illetve a hagyományos lemezekkel ellentétben nem adja meg a vásárlóknak a fizikai birtoklás érzetét. A közös jogkezelők piacromboló hatású, magas minimumdíjú jogdíjszámításának következtében az eladott zenék jelentős hányadánál a fizetendő jogdíj önmaga elérte a bruttó 70 forintot. Tovább drágította a végfelhasználói árakat a fizetési szolgáltatók magas tranzakciódíja is.

Az árak nem vették figyelembe a fogyasztási attitűd változását sem. Húsz-harminc évvel ezelőtt egy átlagos zenehallgató jellemzően 3-500 dalt tartalmazó kazetta- vagy lemezgyűjteménnyel rendelkezett, addig a mai zenefogyasztó akár tízezres repertoárt is hallgathat. Ez pedig azt jelenti, hogy az egy dalra jutó fajlagos szabadidő töredékére csökkent, így annak értéke is töredékére esett. Emellett pedig az átlag magyar internetfelhasználó az évek során úgy szocializálódott, hogy az interneten található tartalmak a szabad jószág kategóriájába esnek, így nem érez belső késztetést arra, hogy azokért fizessen.Mindezen körülmények miatt egyre szélesebb körben terjednek el azok a nézetek, melyek szerint a zenei kiadók már elvesztették a harcot, és csak idő kérdése, hogy mikorra válnak teljesen ingyenessé a zenei tartalmak. Egy biztos, a hagyományos üzleti modell az internetes zenefogyasztásban halott, ha már eleve nem halva született. Ma nincs a világon olyan fizetős, internetes zenei szolgáltatás, amely önmagában nyereséges lenne. Az oly sokszor példaként felhozott Apple zeneáruház is csak a magas fedezeti hányaddal rendelkező hardvereladás nyereségességéből keresztfinanszírozott, önmagában nem lenne életképes.

Persze az élet nem áll meg, a jogtulajdonosok, szolgáltatók újabb és újabb üzleti modelleket húznak elő a cilinderből. Pár éve a reklámalapú streamingszolgáltatások tűntek befutónak. Azonban az egyik legkomolyabb szolgáltatónak, a Spotifynak az a lépése, hogy megszünteti az ingyenes szolgáltatást (pontosabban annyira lekorlátozza, hogy az gyakorlatilag felér a megszüntetéssel), és havidíjassá teszi azt, mutatja, hogy ez a modell sem vált sikeressé. Hasonló alapon működik a pár hete Magyarországon elindított Superbox.hu, amely havidíjas konstrukcióban kínál korlátlanul zenét. Komoly hibája, hogy csak egyetlen nemzetközi kiadó anyagát tartalmazza, valamint a felhasznált technológia következtében mobileszközökön nem élvezhető. A korábbi hasonló hazai szolgáltatások tapasztalatait figyelembe véve sajnos ettől a szolgáltatástól sem várható komolyabb áttörés.

Végül pedig azoknak, akik lemaradtak a fizetős online zenei piac vesszőfutásáról, és szeretnék ugyanezeket a problémákat valós időben megfigyelni: „kapcsoljanak át” az ebookok piacára! Érdemes.

(forrás: Kreatív )

Rene Summer, Director of Government and Industry Relations at Ericsson, offers some similar suggestions. Speaking for Ericsson, Summer states that copyright holders should stop their calls for harsher anti-piracy legislation, and focus their attention on giving consumers what they really want.“Current restrictions have forced European consumers into a digital exile. Seeking an appropriate way to access legal digital content, and unable to satisfy this legitimate desire through a legitimate digital alternative, many resort to illegal file-sharing. Economic rights holders spare little expense in pursuing and prosecuting these individuals, and do not hesitate to ask courts or policymakers to mandate Internet service providers ISPs and other intermediaries to police such behavior,” Summer writes.

via Ericsson: File-sharing Is a Symptom Not the Problem | TorrentFreak.

We are informed by the BBC that the MPA is in the UK High Court today seeking to force the ISP British Telecom to block us from Stephen Fry’s web browser. Charming, we thought, bloody charming: “A Newzbin2 themed costume party, with horsehair wigs, and no-one invited us.” The MPA didn’t invite us, BT didn’t invite us, the court didn’t invite us. Team R Dogs would have loved to have had some say.What is worse is that it is a UK legal first: the first time anyone there has sought a blocking order in the High Court. The only blocking so far has been done by British Telecom using their Cleanfeed system to filter out kiddyporn sites on a list created by the Internet Watch Foundation, but that has been done without a court order.If the MPA get this injunction they will certainly, in the mould of the Internet Watch Foundation, start to add to the list other sites that offend them, e.g. the Pirate Bay. All of this will probably also be secret and, like us, not subject to an appeal or any due process.

via Press statement for immediate release. 29/6/2011 | NZBlog.

Signing a deal that makes anyone a net profit participant in a Hollywood movie deal has always been a sucker’s bet. In an era where studios have all but eliminated first dollar gross and invited talent to share the risk and potential rewards, guess what? Net profit deals are still a sucker’s bet. I was slipped a net profit statement below for Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the 2007 Warner Bros sequel. Though the film grossed $938.2 million worldwide, the accounting statement below conveys that the film is still over $167 million in the red. Text continues below…harry potter net profits

via STUDIO SHAME! Even Harry Potter Pic Loses Money Because Of Warner Bros’ Phony Baloney Net Profit Accounting – Deadline.com.

Now on sale in some online marketplaces: cheap, illegal access to SciFinder, an extensive database of scholarly articles and information about chemical compounds run by a division of the American Chemical Society. The sellers are pirates, hawking stolen or leaked SciFinder account information from college students and professors.”There are reseller Web sites in China where we’ve purchased access to our own products for pennies on the dollar,” says Michael Dennis, vice president for legal administration and applied research at the Chemical Abstracts Service, the division that publishes SciFinder. “We’re shutting down hundreds of these every couple of months,” he says, though in some cases the publisher has trouble taking effective action against sites in other countries.

via Academic Publisher Steps Up Efforts to Stop Piracy of Its Online Products – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Book chapter on the reason d’etre of cultural black markets.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Myself and a few friends were very angry that certain people only seem to want to profit from recordings like the Toy album, so when we saw the eBay auction and heard of someone else selling discs for $55, I decide to upload it and give it away,” Brigstow told TorrentFreak.

via Unreleased Bowie on BitTorrent: Pirate Sabotage Turned Cultural Blessing | TorrentFreak.

There are two principle components of the new value chain of television hyperdistribution: the producer and the advertiser. An advertising agency is likely acting as an intermediary between these two, connecting producers to advertisers, working out the demographic appeal of particular programs, and selling ad payload into those programs; this is a role they already fulfill – although at present they work with the broadcast networks rather than the producers. There is no role for a broadcaster in this value chain; the audience has abandoned the broadcaster in favor of a direct relationship with the program provider. That said, the broadcasters are uniquely qualified to transform themselves into highly specialized advertising agencies, connecting advertisers to producers; this is something they already excel at.

This is clearly a viable economic model: the producer gets paid at least as much for their programming as they would have received from a broadcaster, and probably more; the advertiser gets a cheaper ad buy; and the audience continues to receive free television programs. This is a win-win-win scenario, unless you're a broadcaster.

via Mindjack – Piracy is Good? Part Two: The New Laws of Television.

Wikileaks represents a new type of (h)activism, which shifts the source of potential threat from a few, dangerous hackers and a larger group of mostly harmless activists — both outsiders to an organization — to those who are on the inside. For insiders trying to smuggle information out, anonymity is a necessary condition for participation. Wikileaks has demonstrated that the access to anonymity can be democratized, made simple and user friendly.

Read the rest of this entry »

A piece in the Infocommunications and Law journal on pricing problems and piracy. In this piece I argue that the problem is not that pirates and ISPs are not willing to pay rightsholders, but that legitimate businesses cannot get the right price with which they could outcompete the black market. I argue that if there is a room for intervention, it must be concentrated on forcing rights holders to set a price which reflects local market realities, instead of forcing ISPs or their users to pay a levy for file-sharing.
Read the rest of this entry »

Hulu Blog

The Hulu team is often asked about our thoughts on the future of TV. The following represents our point of view, which has been materially influenced by our daily interactions with users, advertisers, and content owners. We are fortunate to have such meaningful interactions with these three customer sets, and we are relentlessly inventing better ways to serve them.

Slashdot

“The Guardian reports that Britain’s two biggest record labels, Sony and Universal, plan to beat music piracy by making new singles available for sale on the day they first hit the airwaves hoping the effort will encourage young people to buy songs they can listen to immediately rather than copying from radio broadcasts online. Songs used to receive up to six weeks radio airplay before they were released for sale, a practice known as ‘setting up’ a record. ‘What we were finding under the old system was the searches for songs on Google or iTunes were peaking two weeks before they actually became available to buy, meaning that the public was bored of — or had already pirated — new singles,’ says David Joseph. Sony, which will start the ‘on air, on sale’ policy simultaneously with Universal next month, agreed that the old approach was no longer relevant in an age where, according to a spokesman for the music major, ‘people want instant gratification.'”

Slashdot

“Ambiguity surrounds the real impact of digital book piracy, notes Brian O’Leary in an interview with O’Reilly Radar, but all would be better served if more data was shared and less effort was exerted on futile DRM. ‘The publishing industry should be working as hard as we can to develop new and innovative business models that meet the needs of readers. And what those look like could be community-driven. I think of Baen Books, for example, which doesn’t put any DRM restrictions on its content but is one of the least pirated book publishers. As to sales, Paulo Coelho is a good example. He mines the piracy data to see if there’s a burgeoning interest for his books in a particular country or market. If so, he either works to get his book out in print or translate it in that market.'”

Gabriella Coleman – Technology – The Atlantic

 

Anonymous, who have been on a week long sprint/spree to paralyze website sites like Mastercard and Paypal, are often described in the news as a “group” with “members.” This is usually followed by a series of prolonged qualifications and caveats because many characteristics we usually associate with groups don’t seem to apply comfortably with Anonymous: there are no leaders, anyone can seemingly join, and participants are spread across the globe, although many of them can be found on any number of Internet Relay Chat Channels where they discuss strategy, plan attacks, crack jokes, and often pose critical commentary on the unfolding events they have just engendered. Earlier this week, The Economist listened in on the IRC channels, opening a fascinating window into the order behind the seeming chaos of Anonymous and providing a sense of how the Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks are coordinated by a trusted group of Ops who leverage the labor of thousands of other contributors.

But there is a lot more to how Anonymous, at least in this operation, deliberate about their mission, make decisions, and produce collective statements, such as Manifestos. Here I want to give a fuller picture of what it looks like to participate in Anonymous, how they arrive at some consensus, how they change tactics, and how they use technology to produce collaboratively. Although this is quite an incomplete picture, it will perhaps give a more human face to an operation that otherwise seems faceless.

As mentioned already, IRC is where many participants congregate. They do so in very large numbers to coordinate attacks, debate, and simply watch. In the constant streams of chatter (and they are often multiple channels), there is always a strange mix of pragmatic imperatives with more philosophical or critical takes on the events:

(11:23:42 AM) XXXX Well until we get real orders, just keep attacking MasterCard, until we get real orders(in the topic)Well until we get real orders, just keep attacking MasterCard, until we get real orders(in the topic) migs.mastercard.com.au port . . .

(11:23:43 AM) YYYY: i think most of people here do not fight because of something… they are fighting because of the fight… such a shame

We see here how one participant is trying to rally the infantry to stay on target but this is followed by critical commentary on motivations behind the attacks. But is it the case that “most people here do not fight because of something?” In reality, it is hard to tell. In some ways, it may be impossible to gauge the intent and motive of thousands of participants, many of who don’t even bother to leave a trace of their thoughts, motivations, and reactions. Among those that do, opinions vary considerably.

And yet there are other statements made by Anonymous that do give a clear sense that some fight for “something” and that this is part of a larger political plan, even if surely not everyone participates in Anonymous for noble causes. Along with IRC, Anonymous have also made ample use of collaborative writing software, in this case Pirate Pad (which rose from the ashes of Etherpad) and do so to coordinate actions, pick targets, and write manifestos. If IRC is where the cacophonous side of Anonymous is most clearly manifest, then the documents and conversation on Pirate Pad reflect a calmer, more deliberate and deliberative side of Anonymous, where participants offer arguments that are picked apart or supported through reasoned debate.

Take for instance a snapshot from a document written by 31 anons, 16 writing simultaneously:

biella_600.jpg

Here they get into a few more details as to who and why they attack:

biella2.jpg

From at least this vantage point Anonymous starts to look more like a group of seasoned politics activists, debating the merits and demerits of actions and targets, warning for example, not to attack the media. Even if these documents cannot be taken as the totality of Anonymous, they reveal that some of the participants do engage in strategic and political thinking.

These documents are not, however, the only place where participants deliberate or announce tactics. IRC, as I noted, is where so much of the action and the coordination occurs.

As I was writing this up, a number of participants were calling for a change of tactics: (12:25:13 PM) AAAA: Decision: Our message has come across. We have been mentioned in medias, blogs and other sources. Our response has been succesful. Our point has come across. We need to stop all attacks now and focus on organization, so that future attack may come in tenfold strength. Stop all attacks!

And yet, did this happen? There are some signs — like Operation Leakspin — that it has. But it’s too early to make a real determination. And Anonymous has shown that it’s willing to change as circumstances change. And the news that Julian Assange expects to be charged for espionage could shift things for Anonymous, as this tweet makes utterly clear. Stay tuned.

biella3.jpg

 

TekGoblin

 

Netflix announced today that they have brokered a deal with Disney-ABC to add their content to the Netflix library. The deal should add a substantial number of new TV shows and Movies to instant watch. The episodes will be added rather quickly to instant watch only 15 days after initial telecast. Here is a list of the new additions to Netflix:

  • Prior season episodes of current ABC hit series “Grey’s Anatomy,”  ”Desperate Housewives” and, for the first time on Netflix, “Brothers & Sisters,” all of which are among the network’s most successful and popular TV franchises in recent years.
  • Every episode of recent ABC favorites “Lost” and “Ugly Betty,” the latter making its streaming debut at Netflix.
  • Each season of several hit series from ABC Studios, including “Scrubs” and “Reaper,” which are both new additions to Netflix.
  • A host of content from the Disney Channel, including the hits “Phineas and Ferb” and “Good Luck Charlie,” which are also new to Netflix; updated and expanded offerings of “The Suite Life on Deck” and “Wizards of Waverly Place;” and library offerings from the smash hits “Hannah Montana” and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.”
  • A wide range of content from ABC Family, marking the introduction of ABC Family content streaming from Netflix.  Included are the hit series “Greek,” “Make It or Break It,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Melissa & Joey.”

With much more content to come. Netflix also recently added a new plan that included no dvd rentals but unlimited streaming for only $7.99 a month down from the original $8.99 plan.

 

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Library of the Zrínyi Miklós University have organized a conference of the web and the library. My presentation asks the question whether the libraries need to follow the fate of their quickly dematerializing books.

A tudomány ünnepe keretében Webpolgár címen rendezett konferenciát a Zrínyi Miklós Nemzetvédelmi egyetem könyvtára.  Nagy sikert aratott az előadás, ami azt a kérdést teszi fel, hogy követik-e a könyvtárak a dematerializálódó könyveik sorsát…

ars techica

YouTube will begin paying French artists when their works show up on the site, thanks to a new deal with three French royalty societies. The agreement only affects videos viewed in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, but it does cover clips and movies uploaded to YouTube from 2007 all the way through 2013.

Google’s new agreement affects screenwriters and filmmakers represented by Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD), Société Civile des Auteurs Multimedia, and the Société des auteurs dans les arts graphiques et plastiques, the company said during a press conference on Thursday (covered by the Wall Street Journal). The agreement follows a similar one made earlier this year between Google and France’s leading royalty society for musicians, SACEM.

Like other agreements made in other parts of Europe—as well as the US—the royalty societies will get a cut of YouTube’s ad revenues in exchange for permission to host the clips. Google didn’t disclose the terms of the deals, but it’s likely that the payments will vary depending on how many views each of the films gets from Internet users in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Whether the films will be viewable to users outside of those countries isn’t clear.

Making these agreements hasn’t always been easy for YouTube. The site had to block “premium” content in the UK in 2009 thanks to a disagreement over royalties. Warner Music made waves in 2008 for pulling all of its content in the US after licensing negotiations broke down. It’s a fine line to walk—content owners can definitely benefit from the exposure of their materials to a wider audience, but they want to make sure YouTube’s not getting a free ride either.

“This is a happy moment after nearly 10 years of misunderstanding,” said SACD director general Pascal Rogard. “It shows that there is a middle ground between protecting authors’ rights and making [content] available online.”

 | TorrentFreak

 

Operation Payback has been without a doubt the longest and most widespread attack on anti-piracy groups, lawyers and lobbyists. Despite the massive media coverage, little is known about the key players who coordinate the operation and DDoS attacks. A relatively small group of people, they are seemingly fuelled by anger, frustration and a strong desire to have their voices heard.

operation paybackIn the last two months, dozens of anti-piracy groups, copyright lawyers and pro-copyright outfits have been targeted by a group of Anonymous Internet ‘vigilantes’ under the flag of Operation Payback.

Initially DDoS assaults were started against the MPAA, RIAA and anti-piracy company AiPlex Software because these outfits had targeted The Pirate Bay. Those DDoS attacks were later replicated against many other targets that have spoken out against piracy or for copyright, resulting in widespread media coverage.

Even law enforcement agencies showed interest in the operation recently. Last week CNET reported that an FBI probe is underway, and TorrentFreak personally knows of at least one court case against a person that was associated with the operation.

Besides covering the results of the DDoS attacks and website hacks, very little is known about the people who are part of the operation. Who are they? What do they want, and what are their future plans? In this article we hope to solve a few pieces of the puzzle.

After numerous talks with people who are actively involved in Operation Payback, we learned that there are huge differences between the personal beliefs of members.

We can safely conclude that this Anonymous group doesn’t have a broad shared set of ideals. Instead, it is bound together by anger, frustration and the desire to be heard. Their actions are a direct response to the anti-piracy efforts of pro-copyright groups.

Aside from shared frustration, the people affiliated with the operation have something else in common. They are nearly all self-described geeks, avid file-sharers and many also have programming skills.

When Operation Payback started most players were not looking to participate in the copyright debate in a constructive way, they simply wanted to pay back the outfits that dared to target something they loved: file-sharing.

Many of the first participants who set the DDoS actions in motion either came from or were recruited on the message board 4Chan. But as the operation developed the 4Chan connection slowly disappeared. What’s left today are around a dozen members who are actively involved in planning the operation’s future, and several dozen more who help to execute the DDoS attacks.

An Anonymous spokesperson, from whose hand most of the manifestos originated, described the structure of the different groups to us.

“The core group is the #command channel on IRC. This core group does nothing more than being some sort of intermediary between the people in that IRC channel and the actual attack. Another group of people on IRC (the main channel called #operationpayback) are just there to fire on targets.”

Occasionally new people are invited to join the command to coordinate a specific attack, but a small group of people remains. The command group is also the place where new targets are picked, where future plans are discussed, and where manifestos are drafted. This self-appointed group makes most of the decisions, but often acts upon suggestions from bypassers in the main IRC channel.

Now let’s rewind a little and go back to the first attacks that started off the operation in September.

The operation’s command was ‘pleasantly’ surprised by the overwhelming media coverage and attention, but wondered where to go from there. They became the center of attention but really had no plan going forward. Eventually they decided to continue down the road that brought them there in the first place – more DDoS attacks.

What started as a retaliation against groups that wanted to take out The Pirate Bay slowly transformed into an attack against anyone involved in anti-piracy efforts. From trade groups, to lawyers, to dissenting artists. Since not all members were actively following the copyright debate, command often acted on suggestions from the public in the main IRC channel.

What followed was an avalanche of DDoS attacks that were picked up by several media outlets. This motivated the group to continue their strategy. Anonymous’ spokesperson admitted to TorrentFreak that the media attention was indeed part of what fuelled the operation to go forward. But not without some strategic mistakes.

As the operation continued more trivial targets were introduced and the group started to lose sympathy from parts of the public. While targeting the company that admittedly DDoSed The Pirate Bay could be seen as payback by some, trying to take out Government bodies such as the United States Copyright Office and UK’s Intellectual Property Office made less sense. In part, these targets were chosen by anarchistic influences in the operation.

“I fight with anonops because I believe that the current political system failed, and that a system based on anarchy is the only viable system,” one member told TorrentFreak. “I encouraged them to go after political targets just because I like Anarchy.”

The Anonymous spokesperson admitted to TorrentFreak that mistakes were made, and command also realized that something had to change. The targets were running out and the attacks weren’t gaining as much attention as they did in the beginning. It was a great way to gather attention, but not sustainable. In fact, even from within the operation not everyone was convinced that DDoS attacks were the best ‘solution’.

“I personally don’t like the concept of violence and attacking, but violence itself does raise attention,” Anonymous’ spokesperson told TorrentFreak.

“Attacking sites is one side of the story, but this operation would finally have to serve a purpose, otherwise it wouldn’t exist. We all agree that the way things [abuse of copyright] are currently done, is not the right way.”

Last week command decided to slow the DDoS attacks down and choose another strategy, mainly to regain the focus of attention. It was decided that they would make a list of demands for governments worldwide. In a move opposed to the desires of the anarchic influences, command decided to get involved in the political discussion.

Copyright/patent laws have to change, they argued, and from the bat they were willing to negotiate. They called for scrapping censorship, anti-piracy lawsuits and limiting copyright and patent terms, but not getting rid of copyright entirely. Interestingly, there is also no word in the demands about legalizing file-sharing.

To some this new and more gentle position taken by Anonymous came as a complete surprise. We asked the spokesman of the group about this confusing message and he said that there are actually several political parties that already adopt a similar position, like the Pirate parties and the Greens in Europe.

However, according to the spokesman (who wrote the latest manifesto with other members in Piratepad) they consciously chose this set of demands. “Some of us have the vision of actually getting rid of copyright/patents entirely, but we are at least trying to stay slightly realistic.”

“What we are now trying to do, is to straighten out ideals, and trying to make them both heard and accepted. Nobody would listen to us if we said piracy should be legal, but when we ask for copyright lifespan to be reduced to ‘fair’ lengths, that would sound a lot more reasonable,” the spokesman told TorrentFreak.

The demands have been published on the Operation Payback site for nearly a week, but thus far the media coverage hasn’t been as great as when they launched their first DDoS. Some have wondered whether this is the right path to continue in the first place, as it may get in the way of groups and political parties that have fought for similar ‘ideals’ for years already.

The spokesman disagreed and said that Operation Payback has “momentum” now.

So here we are nearly two months after Anonymous started Operation Payback. The initial anger and frustration seems to have been replaced by a more friendly form of activism for the time being. The group wanted to have their voice heard and they succeeded in that. However, being listened to by politicians and entertainment industry bosses might take more than that.

 

Tracker interjúk (Frissítve) – Asva.info

 

Még a múlt héten szervezkedtünk egy kicsit, és próbáltunk segítni a Hírtv-nek, hogy kapcsolatba lépjenek a tracker tulajokkal. Végül három tracker küldte vissza a válaszát felhívásunkra, ezeket most egy egyesítetett interjúban közöljük.

 

– Érintette-e a szerver razzia?

1st: Igen, érintett sajnos minket is. Lefoglalták a webszerverünket, amin az oldalunk futott.

BD: Igen érintett a razzia, két, félmilliós gépet vittek el, amit ha vissza is adnának, a képen látható szakszerű tárolás, kezelés miatt hibásan kapnánk vissza.

moon: Igen. Mi is kaptunk felszólítást a jogvédőktől, de a servergépet nem foglalták le.

BladeSector: Közvezlenül nem, viszont közvetve több, mint 2 hétre leállítottuk a fel és letöltést.

– A rendőrség elérhet-e Önhöz, vagy a userekhez?

1st: Kérdéses, hogy az akció elsődleges célja a hazai torrentforgalom megbénítása volt-e, vagy a trackerüzemeltetők és felhasználók felelősségre vonása. Utóbbi esetben elképzelhető, hogy megpróbálják ráhúzni a vélt jogsértéseket a felhasználókra. Ugyanakkor az ügyben eddig nyilatkozatot tett jogászok véleménye szerint ezen jogsértések bizonyítása a trackerüzemeltetők esetében is nehéz, sőt egyes vélemények szerint lehetetlen. Ezen kívül meggyőződésünk, hogy a lefoglalt trackerszerveren felhasználókra terhelő bizonyíték nem található.

BD: Felvettem a kapcsolatot a rendőrséggel, megadtam az elérhetőségemet, így bármikor behívhatnak. A userekhez elérhetnének, de nem fognak, mert nem ez volt a cél. Feleslegesen pánikoltatták egymás a userek, de a jó szóra nem hallgattak. Ma a PROART vezetője megerősítette, hogy nem kívánnak a userek ellen eljárni.

moon: Természetesen az userekhez nem érhetnek el, kódolt merevlemezen vannak az adatok servern. A server tulajához annál inkább.

BladeSector: A leállás során biztonsági lépéseket készítettünk, így a felhasználók biztonságban vannak.

– Milyen látogatottsága volt? Hány regisztrált tagot jelent?

1st: Az oldalnak naponta átlagosan 45 ezer egyéni látogatója volt. Hétvégenként nem ritkán 65 ezer feletti volt ez a szám. Az utóbbi időben nagyjából 50 ezer regisztrált tagunk volt.

BD: 65 ezer user átlagos látogatottság 250 fő 24/7

moon: Nálunk 21 ezer tag volt regisztrálva, ez átlagosan napi 7 ezer egyedi látogatást jelent, és közel 25ezer oldal letöltést.

BladeSector: A razzia előtt 6ezer tagot számoltunk, azóta 5570-re csökkent, bízunk benne, hogy mindenki visszajön, aki accountjának törlése mellett döntött. Ez átlag napi 1000-1500 egyedi IP-t, és többezer oldalletöltést jelent.

– Meglepte-e, hogy ekkorát ütött a rendőrség?

1st: Mindenképpen megdöbbentő volt az akció súlya. Ilyen drasztikus eljárásra nem hiszem, hogy akárki is számított a hazai p2p világban. Még inkább szokatlan, hogy az elsődleges célpontok az ingyenes fájlcserét biztosító, az adatforgalomból nem profitáló oldalak voltak. Többször hangsúlyoztuk mi is, hogy a trackerszerveren nem található illegálisan forgalmazott, jogsértő adattartalom, ennek tükrében még inkább alaptalannak érezzük az eljárást. Furcsa továbbá az is, hogy oldalunk semmiféle előzetes figyelmeztetést vagy a vélt jogsértő tartalmak eltávolítására való felszólítást nem kapott.

BD: Ha arra irányul a kérdés hogy a nekem okozott kárt előre láttam, akkor igen, benne volt a pakliban.Ha a teljes torrenttársadalomra vonatkozik a kérdés, akkor nem gondoltam, hogy az ingyenes oldalakat viszik. Reméltem a fizetősek, akik hasznot húznak,azokat fogják vegzálni.

moon: Igen. Bár sejteni lehetett, hogy előbb utóbb ismét várható razzia, de ilyen mértékű, ilyen határozott fellépésre senki nem számított.

BladeSector: Nem gondoltam, hogy az ingyenes oldalakkal szúrnak ki ennyire, de szokás mondani, “aki k*rvának megy, ne sírjon ha b*sszák”, persze sírtunk miis eleget.

– Lehetett-e belső információja a rendőrségnek? Valaki segíthette-e a nyomozókat a trackerek közül?

1st: A talpon maradt trackerek jelenlegi, akció utáni működését látva mindenképp jogos a felvetés. Elgondolkodtató, hogy egyes jelenleg is működő oldalak szabad regisztrációval és folyamatos reklámozással próbálnak toborozni felhasználókat a lefoglalt oldalak közönségéből. Ezen oldalak közül kettő tudomásunk szerint elérhető közelségben volt és van a hatóságok számára, mégse foglalták le a szerverüket. Erős a gyanú, hogy e két oldal háborítatlan működése összefüggésben lehet azzal, hogy információkat, tippeket szolgáltattak a hatóságnak.

BD: A hírekkel ellentétben, a rendőröknek, és a többieknek is van elérésük. Nem akarom nagyon védeni a rendőröket, de ők tényleg parancsot teljesítettek.

moon: Ez könnyen meglehet, bár nem kell túl nagy zseninek lenni ahhoz, hogy valaki egy domain és a hozzá tartozó ip-cím alapján lenyomozza, honnan, mely szolgáltatótól fut az oldal.

BladeSector: Nem a rendőr fog úgy dönteni, hogy most akkor márpedig mi lefoglalunk 3 napig! Valaki utasította, annak a valakinek lehet fülese.
Ahogy több ezellen küzdő politikus, bíró, és egyéb szerv dolgozója használta a p2p protokollt, úgy ezek az emberek is tagjai lehettek az oldal(ak)nak.
Előfordulhat, hogy valamelyik tracker is ludas, viszont miért vágná maga alatt a fejszét. Annyira nem biztos a helyzet, hogy legközelebb nem vele kezdik.

-Hogyan juthattak el a rendőrök a szerverekhez?

1st: Minden hálózatra csatlakoztatott szervergép rendelkezik IP-címmel, ennek követésével el lehet jutni a géphez. A nyomozás pontos technikai részleteiről célszerűbb lenne a hatóságot kérdezni.

BD: :) Az oldalak nevei a google keresőben bármikor megnézhetők, az ip keresővel kiadja pontosan hol van a domainhoz tartozó ip, és a gép ha megvan a parancs, akkor azzal a kütyüvel a kezében bemegy, és hátulról kihuzogatják a netkábelt. Ahol a jel megszakad, azt a gépet keresték. (leegyszerűsítve)

moon: Jól kidolgozott akció és tracker lista alapján. Ehhez már csak házkutatási parancsra volt szukség, amit be is szereztek, gond nélkül.

BladeSector: A szerverig eljutni tulajdonképpen nem kell mérnöknek lennünk, tracert is végigköveti az útvonalat, de bármilyen ingyenes domain-tool kiírja a szerver publikus adatait, onnantól meg már csak egy házkutatási parancs a megfelelő teremben.

– Sokan azzal indokolják a letöltést, hogy drágák a jogdíjas termékek. Ön szerint is így van ez?

1st: Egy premier DVD bolti ára 4-5000 Ft (melyek minősége gyakran silány), a premier mozijegyek ára pedig bőven 1000 Ft felett van egy nagyvárosi vetítőteremben. A jogtiszta számítógépes szoftverek ára egyes operációs rendszerek esetén 100 ezer Ft-os nagyságrendű, és akkor még nem is beszéltünk vírusirtó, szövegszerkesztő és egyéb alapprogramokról. Ha még arra a luxusra is ragadtatnánk magunkat, hogy számítógépünkön játszani szeretnénk, szintén 10 ezer forintos nagyságrendben kell kiadnunk 1-1 játékért. Nyilvánvaló, hogy ezek az árak a magyar jövedelmi viszonyok tükrében irreálisak. Egy átlagos magyar család egész egyszerűen nem engedhet meg magának ilyen kiadásokat, esetleg csak alkalmanként. Az ár mellett további elősegítő tényezője a letöltésnek, hogy a magyar piacon egyre növekvő igény van HD tartalmakra, mellyel a forgalmazók egyáltalán nem tartanak lépést. Emellett számos sorozat nem jelenik meg a TV vetítés után nemhogy HD minőségben, de semmilyen megvásárolható formában.

BD: Az én indokom főleg az lenne, hogy több féle dolgot meg tudok nézni, és válogathatok. Sok olyan filmet vettem meg eredetiben, amit ha nem szedem le, és nézem meg, soha eszembe nem jutna megvenni. Ha egy sorozat tetszik, a többi részt is megveszem. A usereket megszavaztattuk, nagy részük arra szavazott, hogy megnézni, informálódni. A második helyen a kipróbálom megveszem verzió volt. Ugyanis megnézik, sikerfilm 10 ezer, de mondjuk 1 év múlva már 2 ezerért is elérhető.

moon: Teljes mértékben! Ha lenne itthon is Magyar Online zene és film bolt megfizethető áron, biztos hogy sokan használnák. Például ha lenne Magyar iTunes, amit már sokan régóta hiányolnak.

BladeSector: Mint minden, ez is relatív. Ha azt nézzük, hogy egy Film legyen mondjuk 5ezer forint akkor az 25 dollár, vagy 17 euró, hogy ne menjünk olyan messze az országokkal.
Egy kezdő fizetés Ausztriába 1200-1500 euró + juttatások + üzemanyag hozzájárulás, de maradjunk 1500nál. 420ezer forint.
Éljünk nagy lábon, legyen a rezsi 150 ezer. Költsünk el kajára, meg mindennapi cuccokra 100 ezret, adjunk a gyereknek heti 5 ezer zsebpénzt, és még mindig maradt 150, ha jól számolom.
Miért ne vegyem meg azt a félévente kiadott új játékot,meg egy két filmet havonta..  Nálunk mi van, egy családi ház rezsije takarékosan (130 négyzet, 5 tagú család) 90-100 ezer.
Apuka keres jóesetben 150 et, anyuka minimálbér, ha nem mindegyik, egyik fizetés egy az egybe a számlákra, és akkor éljünk egy hónapig. Ruha, kaja, pia, bérlet, üzemanyag.
Nem fér bele. Még néha egy-egy mozi sem, mert bárhogy számolom, legyen 1000 a jegy, kukorica + kóla = 1000, 1000Ft/Fő. És akkor még nem számoltuk az utazást, meg az aznapi kaja, pia stb. ha messzebb van a mozi.
Máshogyan kellene gondolkozni a hazai kereskedelemben.

– Mekkora fogásnak minősül ez? A rendőrség szerint világviszonylatban is jelentős.

1st: A kérdés az, mit gondol a hatóság jelentős fogásnak. Ugyanis nyugodtan kijelenthető, hogy ennek az akciónak az időleges elrettentésen kívül semmiféle haszna nem volt, még jogvédő szemmel sem. Látszatintézkedésnek és az ilyen ügyekkel foglalkozó rendőrségi osztály létjogosultságának igazolására mindenképp az lehetett. Pár kisebb-nagyobb bezáró trackeren kívül az eredmény mindössze annyi, hogy új néven, vagy újraindítva folytatódik a nagyobb trackerek működése a továbbra is fennálló letöltési és közösségi-társasági igényt kielégítendő. A lefoglalások miatt minden nagyobb tracker olyan óvintézkedéseket (pl. szervergépek külföldre költöztetése) tesz majd a jövőben, melynek folytán a szervergépek a magyar rendőrség számára elérhetetlenek lesznek, ezáltal egyre kevésbé lehet majd ellenőrizni a fájlcserét. Emellett a meglévő, sőt növekvő letöltési igényt követve újra elharapózik majd a sms-warez szervereken folyó letöltés is. Egy biztos, a jogtiszta szoftverek forgalma nem fog ettől nőni. Valódi javulást nem lefoglalással, nem a szabad forrású szoftverek terjedésének akadályozásával, hanem a jogtiszta szoftverek árának mérséklésével, illetve jogtiszta online letöltési lehetőségek biztosításával lehetne elérni. Ez utóbbi egyébként a jogvédő szervezetek rég óta előszeretettel hangoztatott ígérete. Kár, hogy ebben évek óta nem történik előrelépés.

BD: Elvitték a legnagyobb oldalakat. Jelenleg utkeresés van, de legtöbb oldal ujra el fog indulni.A nagy fogást a seedszerverek, a fizetős ftp, sms -ben lehetett volna. Mindegy mit mondanak, főleg azt amit akarnak, de ha 50 géppől, 15 oldal volt, akkor ott oldalanként 2-5 GB adat volt.A maradék szerverekben nem lehet ennyi adat:)

moon: Mivel az egyik legnagyobb oldalt is elvitték, ahol közel 100 ezer user volt regisztrálva, valamint sok kisebb oldal is elhullott, ezek tudatában kijelenthető, hogy jelentős fogás. Talán az eddigi legnagyobb.

BladeSector: Fogás… Hogy mit, nem tudom. Csak tovább kelti az ellenszenvet és felháborodást az emberekben. Aki eddig megvette, az ezután még annyira sem fogja. Én eddig megvettem, ami tetszett, amire úgy gondoltam megérdemli a szerző.
Ezután inkább gyűjtök új szerverre, hátha elvinnék azt is.

– Ön leállt-e, vagy szünetelteti, vagy külföldre “menekül”?

1st: Az első lehetőség fel sem vetődött bennünk. Jelenleg szüneteltetjük az oldal működését, mialatt kutatjuk a legoptimálisabb körülményeket az újrainduláshoz.

BD: Egyik sem :) Más domain alatt elindulunk, és a folytatás pontos menetét kidolgozzuk. Vagy szigorítsanak, vagy enyhítsenek, de ez így szélmalomharc….

moon: Külföldi serveren tovább folytatjuk amit elkezdtünk, nem hátrálunk meg. Bár ilyenkor mindig felmerül, hogy bedobjuk a törölközőt, van-e értelme tovább, de még kitartunk.

BladeSector: Mint említettem, 2 hetes átalakítás folyt, de az oldal közösségi (Üzenőfal, Fórum) funkciói működtek.

– Felháborodtak ettől a vehemens támadástól?

1st: Természetesen felháborítónak tartjuk ezt a lépést. Fentebb kifejtettük, hogy egyrészt a trackerszerverek lefoglalása egyáltalán nem volt indokolt, emellett az akció hozadéka egyértelműen ellentétes a vélt jogvédői és hatósági szándékkal.

BD: Felháborodni értelmetlen. Az eljárás sajnos jogszerű volt, hisz az üzemeltetők tudták mi vár rájuk. Mindettől amin felháborodtunk az pont a lényeg amit fent is írtam, hogy a fizetősek, támogatásosok maradtak.

moon: Természetesen! Váratlanul ért mindenkit, minden tracker tulajdonost.

– Üzlet vagy szórakozás, esetleg valamiféle lázadás a fáljcsere?

1st: Az első semmiképp sem; mélységesen elítéljük a nyerészkedő oldalakat, melyek alatt az sms-warez szervereket, illetve az olyan oldalakat értjük, melyek sms-regisztrációval illetve sorozatos átveréssel próbálnak meg pénzt kicsalni a felhasználóktól. Nálunk ugyan volt támogatás opció, de csakis önkéntes alapon fogadtunk el adományt és kizárólag az oldal fenntartására és fejlesztésére költöttünk belőle. Aki úgy gondolja, a torrenttrackerek működtetése aranybánya, az nagyot téved. Aki üzemeltet egy trackert, annak sok esetben inkább ráfizetés ez, mint anyagi haszon. Szórakozás vagy lázadás? Inkább úgy fogalmaznánk, hogy a torrentezés egy szemlélet, mely ötvözi a közösségi szellemet, az „add vissza, amit kaptál” elvét és a letöltés igényét. Egy tracker élete korántsem csak a letöltésről szól. Egy trackeren akkor érzik magukat jól a felhasználók, mikor a fájlcsere lehetősége mellett a fórumon beszélgethetnek, pályázatokon vehetnek részt. Egy minőségi oldal sokkal többet ad, mintsem hogy letöltőhelyként funkcionáljon.

BD: nekem szórakozás,a fizetősöknek üzlet, és mindent bele lehet magyarázni, de lázadásnak semmiféleképpen nem nevezném. Volt egyszer egy ellenzéki képviselő, aki egyszer azt mondta, polgári engedetlenségből, ne fizessünk adót. Ebből kiindulva polgári engedetlenségből, nem akarok több piócát eltartani (főleg hogy magyar zene, film nem volt nálunk….)

moon: Lázadásról nem beszélnék, mert ez nem az. De nyílt titok, hogy vannak olyan oldalak akik hasznot húznak ebből is. SMS-ért támogathatod őket, vagy csak Banki átutalással küldesz nekik pénzt, bizonyos kreditért cserébe. Mi nem használtunk ilyen eszközöket, non-profitban megy a dolog, nincs támogatási lehetőség sem. Számunkra szórakozás az egész, jót tenni másokkal, és a végén látni, olvasni egy köszönömöt! Ezért csináljuk.

BladeSector: Számunkra hobbi, tanulás, a lehetőségek kihasználása, embertársaink segítése, munkánk gyümölcse.

 

TorrentFreak

A new Internet traffic trends report released by the Canadian broadband management company Sandvine reveals that global P2P traffic is expanding, with BitTorrent as the key player. In North America, more than half of all upstream traffic (53.3%) on an average day can be attributed to P2P. The report further signals some really interesting regional differences in P2P use, such as the dominance of Ares in Latin America.

Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education

 

You’ve heard it before: Digital technologies blew up the music industry’s moneymaking model, and the textbook business is next.

For years observers have predicted a coming wave of e-textbooks. But so far it just hasn’t happened. One explanation for the delay is that while music fans were eager to try a new, more portable form of entertainment, students tend to be more conservative when choosing required materials for their studies. For a real disruption in the textbook market, students may have to be forced to change.

That’s exactly what some companies and college leaders are now proposing. They’re saying that e-textbooks should be required reading and that colleges should be the ones charging for them. It is the best way to control skyrocketing costs and may actually save the textbook industry from digital piracy, they claim. Major players like the McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson, and John Wiley & Sons are getting involved.

To understand what a radical shift that would be, think about the current textbook model. Every professor expects students to have ready access to required texts, but technically, purchasing them is optional. So over the years students have improvised a range of ways to dodge buying a new copy—picking up a used textbook, borrowing a copy from the library, sharing with a roommate, renting one, downloading an illegal version, or simply going without. Publishers collect a fee only when students buy new books, giving the companies a financial impetus to crank out updated editions whether the content needs refreshing or not.

Here’s the new plan: Colleges require students to pay a course-materials fee, which would be used to buy e-books for all of them (whatever text the professor recommends, just as in the old model).

Why electronic copies? Well, they’re far cheaper to produce than printed texts, making a bulk purchase more feasible. By ordering books by the hundreds or thousands, colleges can negotiate a much better rate than students were able to get on their own, even for used books. And publishers could eliminate the used-book market and reduce incentives for students to illegally download copies as well.

Of course those who wanted to read the textbook on paper could print out the electronic version or pay an additional fee to buy an old-fashioned copy—a book.

Some for-profit colleges, including the University of Phoenix, already do something like this, but the practice has been rare on traditional campuses.

An Indiana company called Courseload hopes to make the model more widespread, by serving as a broker for colleges willing to impose the requirement on students. And it is not alone. The upstart publisher Flat World Knowledge recently made a bulk deal with Virginia State University’s business school, and last month the company hired a new salesperson devoted entirely to “institutional sales” of its e-textbooks. And Daytona State College, in Florida, is negotiating with publishers to test a similar arrangement.

The real champions of the change are the college officials signing the deals. They say they felt compelled to act after seeing students drop out because they could not afford textbooks, whose average prices rose 186 percent between 1986 and 2005, and continue to shoot up each year far faster than inflation.

“When students pay more for new textbooks than tuition in a year, then something’s wrong,” says Rand S. Spiwak, executive vice president at Daytona State, who is leading the experiment there. “Our game plan is to bring the cost of textbooks down by 75 to 80 percent.”

Apple reset the sales model for music, with its iPod players and market-leading online store, and the company is likely to try to enter the e-textbook market as well. But watch out, publishers, the change agents for textbooks may just be traditional colleges.

Moving the Tollbooth

Courseload, the e-book broker, started in 2000, when a co-founder, Mickey Levitan, a former Apple employee inspired by the company’s transformative role in the music industry, devised the idea and teamed up with a professor at Indiana University at Bloomington to try it. But the company failed to find enough takers, and it all but shut down after a brief run.

Then last year an official at Indiana, Bradley C. Wheeler, called Mr. Levitan and talked him into trying again.

Mr. Wheeler is part of an effort at the university to bring down textbook costs, and he remembered a conversation he had had with Mr. Levitan about the idea 10 years ago. Back then, Mr. Wheeler was just a professor of business, but now he is also vice president for information technology and able to help try the approach, which he calls “moving the tollbooth” for textbooks.

“Universities are going to have to engage in saying, This is how we want e-textbook models to evolve that are advantageous to our students and our interests,” he told me this month.

For three semesters Indiana has tested Courseload’s system, which brings in content from various publishers and allows annotation and other features. So far the company has persuaded McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and John Wiley to participate. During those first experiments, students were not charged, and the university and Courseload paid for the e-textbooks. But Mr. Wheeler said that in the spring the university would try at least one pilot where students would pay a mandatory fee for the e-textbooks, which he expected to be about $35 per course in most cases.

Company and university officials gingerly approached two key groups early on: students and state legislators. Mr. Wheeler said student-government officials he talked to were supportive. Mr. Levitan said that the legislators generally opposed new fees, but sympathized with the project’s goal of reducing overall costs to students and said they would not oppose it.

Mr. Levitan said the company was running tests at a handful of colleges, though he declined to name them.

The Virginia Pilot

Mirta Martin, dean of Virginia State’s business school, speaks passionately about her reasons for taking part in the experiment with Flat World, which makes e-textbooks standard in eight courses this fall.

“For our accounting books senior year, there’s nothing under $250,” she told me this summer. “What the students were saying is, We don’t have the money to purchase these books.”

Last year Ms. Martin became so frustrated over hearing stories about students who were performing poorly because they could not afford textbooks that she pledged that no needy student would go without a book. At first she asked community leaders and others to donate to a fund to pay for the books of students who sought financial help. Last year that project bought $4,000 worth of books for students.

But Ms. Martin felt that the philanthropic model was not sustainable, so she began reaching out to publishers to see if the institution could get some sort of bulk rate that would allow it to pay for textbooks for all students.

In its standard model, Flat World offers free access to its textbooks while students are online. If students want to download a copy to their own computers, they must pay $24.95 for a PDF (a print edition costs about $30). But the publisher offered the Virginia State business school a bulk rate of $20 per student per course, and it will allow students at the school to download not only the digital copies but also the study guide, an audio version, or an iPad edition (a bundle that would typically cost about $100).

Tricky issues remain, though. What if a professor wrote the textbook assigned for his or her class? Is it ethical to force students to buy it, even at a reduced rate? And what if students feel they are better off on their own, where they have the option of sharing or borrowing a book at no cost?

Proponents of the new model argue that in time policies can be developed and prices can be driven low enough to win widespread support.

If so, more changes are bound to follow. In music, the Internet reduced album sales as more people bought only the individual songs they wanted. For textbooks, that may mean letting students (or brokers at colleges) buy only the chapters they want. Or only supplementary materials like instructional videos and interactive homework problems, all delivered online.

And that really would be the end of the textbook as we know it.

 

WSJ.com

ABC, CBS and NBC are blocking TV programming on their websites from being viewable on Google Inc.’s new Web-TV service, exposing the rift that remains between the technology giant and some of the media companies it wants to supply content for its new products.

Full-length episodes of shows like NBC’s “The Office,” CBS’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and ABC’s “Modern Family” can’t be viewed on Google TV, a service that allows people to access the Internet and search for Web videos on their television screens, as well as to search live TV listings. Logitech International S.A. and Sony Corp. began selling devices running the software this month.

Spokespeople for the three networks confirmed that they are blocking the episodes on their websites from playing on Google TV, although both ABC and NBC allow promotional clips to work using the service. ABC is owned by Walt Disney Co., CBS is part of CBS Corp., and NBC is a unit of General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal.

“Google TV enables access to all the Web content you already get today on your phone and PC, but it is ultimately the content owners’ choice to restrict their fans from accessing their content on the platform,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

The move marks an escalation in ongoing disputes between Google and some media companies, which are skeptical that Google can provide a business model that would compensate them for potentially cannibalizing existing broadcast businesses.

Over the summer, Google pressed major media companies to optimize their websites and videos to work more seamlessly with Google TV. Some outlets, including Time Warner Inc.’s HBO and Turner Broadcasting networks, did so. Even NBC Universal’s CNBC embraced the service, optimizing some content to work specifically on Google TV.

But many other companies declined to specifically optimize their websites, and some held out the possibility that they could block their content from the service, as the three networks are now doing. Some TV executives said they were worried their shows would be lost in the larger Internet. Some, including Disney and NBC, were also concerned about Google’s stance on websites that offer pirated content, according to people familiar with their thinking.

Disney executives, for example, asked that Google filter out results from pirate sites when users search for Disney content, like “Desperate Housewives.” But they were unsatisfied with Google’s response, according to people familiar with the conversations.

News Corp.‘s Fox Broadcasting and Viacom Inc.’s MTV aren’t blocking Google TV from playing episodes on their websites, according to a spot check Thursday. Spokespeople for Fox and MTV confirmed they are not currently blocking Google TV, but the Fox spokeswoman said “a firm decision has not yet been reached.” News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.

For its part, Google has tried to assure broadcasters and content owners such as Disney that Google TV’s search feature is optimized to promote their TV broadcasts and own websites’ video content rather than pirated content, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In addition, Google has also told broadcasters and content owners they can submit requests to Google to delete unauthorized results from the Google TV search feature, just like they do for results in Google’s traditional Web search engine, this person said.

Some shows—from siblings of the networks that are blocking their content—were working on Google TV on Thursday. Shows from the CW network, which is jointly owned by CBS and Time Warner, appear to play on Google TV, as do some from Lifetime, a cable channel jointly owned by Walt Disney Co., Hearst Inc., and NBC Universal.

Google won’t directly make money from the sale of the Google TV software, but the software’s use will benefit Google’s ad-supported Web search engine and is expected to increase viewership of the ad-supported YouTube site, which is owned by Google. The company also has been in talks with Madison Avenue’s media-buying firms to discuss how to sell ads on the Google TV interface without interfering with TV commercials, people familiar with the matter have said.

But the three networks are also not alone in blocking their content. Video site Hulu, whose owners include Disney, NBC Universal and News Corp., also blocks its video from being played through the Google TV interface. Spokeswomen for both Hulu and Google said the companies are in talks to bring the Hulu Plus subscription service to Google TV.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303339504575566572021412854.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection#ixzz13IlB7D8R

Epicenter | Wired.com

 

Netflix instant accounts for 20 percent of all non-mobile internet use during prime time in the United States, according to a new study.

Streaming media — real-time entertainment — accounts for 43% of peak period traffic in the U.S., according to Sandvine, which helps ISPs manage their networks and thus has access to buckets of information about usage patterns.

But Netflix alone accounts for nearly half of that between 8 and 10 p.m., and that usage comes from only 1.8 percent of the service’s subscribers.

“Per-user, Netflix is the heaviest user of downstream bandwidth in North America: the average fixed access Netflix connection is 1 megabit per second,” Sandvine said in reply to an e-mail question. “On mobile networks, per user, only Slingbox (at almost 800 kbps) is heavier than Netflix (~125 kbps).”

Streaming video is the most bandwidth-intensive use of the internet, but there are plenty of other choices — starting with YouTube. So the dominance of Netflix, which only offers “studio” fare, would seem to indicate that there is an enormous appetite for profession programming delivered from the cloud.

Good news for Hulu, Amazon Unbox and even YouTube, should its movie rentals service gain traction. Better news for the content creators, assuming they can come up with a killer streaming revenue model and as if they needed any more proof that on-demand, internet delivery is the future. Bad news for cable and satellite — protestations by CEO Reed Hastings notwithstanding.

But Hastings does see that streaming is the engine for Netflix now. “In fact, by every measure, we are now primarily a streaming company that also offers DVD-by-mail,” Hastings said in conjunction with the company’s earnings report Wednesday [pdf]. “At the same time, the introduction of our streaming offering in Canada in late September has provided us with very encouraging signs regarding the potential for the Netflix service internationally.”

 

Blockbuster files for Chapter 11 protection | Business | The Guardian

The loss-making DVD rental chain Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US today, after being hammered by mail-order and online film rental services.

EXCESS COPYRIGHT: Some Thoughts on the Google Book Settlement Hearing of February 18, 2010

1. Is this an appropriate use of the class action process, especially in view of the many prestigious groups, corporations and individuals who have objected to the ASA? In other words, to what extent does the class involved adequately represent affected authors and publishers, not to mention countless other stakeholders, including librarians and scholars?

2. Can a class action settlement go well beyond the original pleadings and, effectively, change the law both for the past and for the future in a way that would otherwise be impossible at this point in time if it were to be attempted in Congress and/or through a treaty?

3. Given the extraordinary complexity of the settlement documentation and the relatively short notice period, can affected authors, publishers and other stakeholders realistically come to informed conclusions?

4. Is it appropriate to use class action litigation to arguably transform the normally “exclusive rights” basis of copyright law, which requires explicit permission, into an opt-out regime, where permission will be given unless specifically refused in writing? The deadline for total “opting out” was January 28, 2010. Google argues that even those who didn’t opt out by January 28, 2010 will have plenty of opportunities to exercise control over their works down the line for many purposes – but this will still require further “opt out” or other action.

5. Would the Settlement, if approved, put the United States into contravention of international law with respect to such basic concepts as those of national treatment, mandatory exclusive rights, and the three step test? None other than the Hon. Marybeth Peters, U.S. Register of Copyrights raised the national treatment issue in her testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.

6. What will be the antitrust implications of the ASA, given the dominant or monopoly position that Google will have with respect to several markets that it is creating by virtue of this Settlement, i.e. access to orphan works, and, above all the sole portal to search engine access to the database of tens of millions of books (the great “Library to Last Forever”, as Sergey Brin himself calls it)?

7. What are the implications of views such as this by prominent US IP antitrust lawyer Gary Reback?

8. What are the extraterritorial implications of this agreement, which requires authors of books published in Australia, Canada (including French language books) and the UK (the “foreign publishing countries”) to have opted out by January 28, 2010 or be bound by it? It also covers books published in these countries, even for the countless authors who are not citizens or residents of these foreign publishing countries or the USA. Unlike United States works, there is no requirement for the foreign works to have been registered in the US Copyright Office. Given the practice of simultaneous or near simultaneous publication of countless English language books in the foreign publishing countries, Google will acquire an enormous number of books in their database that would not fit into the necessarily tighter definition of a US work, which requires publication and registration in the USA. Moreover, many French books published in Quebec but originating from anywhere in the world including France would be included.

9. What about the countless past agreements signed between authors and publishers that were silent or at best ambiguous about electronic rights?

10. What about the privacy rights of potential users?

Here are some Canadian-focussed questions, which Judge Chin will not likely answer but others may eventually have to face:

1. Why has the Government of Canada apparently been uninvolved and uninterested in the GBS? There has been no public consultation that I am aware of. France and Germany have become engaged at the official level. On the other hand, Canadian officials who would normally be involved in an issue such as this haven’t been.

2. Where are the several prominent Canadian trade associations and collectives that should have provided some useful specific advice and potentially some representation for Canadian authors, publishers, librarians etc. on these issues?

3. What are the implications of the Google Partner Program, which appears to allow publishers to feed into Google’s database for very extended access the books of many authors, who may have been and still may be unaware of the Program?

4. Why is this shaping up to be a battle between scholarly and other individual authors. ranging from the most obscure to J. K. Rowling herself on the one hand and big corporate publishers on the other? I note that the Canadian Publishers’ Council and the Association of Canadian Publishers (which together represent the big multinational and major Canadian publishers) are recommending approval of the Settlement at the same time that they attempting to intervene to fight “flexible fair dealing” and push back on the CCH v. LSUC decision in the Access Copyright K-12 case currently before the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal. On the other hand, many independent Canadian authors and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (“CAUT”) are opposing the GBS. Naturally, the database will be far more important for innovation and research purposes with respect to scholarly works than, for example, light romance novels (no offence to the fan fiction crowd).

5. Although vast numbers of Canadian published books by thousands of Canadian authors will be drawn into this settlement, most of the bells and whistles of the Google Books database will presumably not be available in Canada with respect to most of the database. This is because Google is necessarily putting up something of a firewall around this database since, even though there may be some extraterritorial aspects to the settlement, the Settlement not surprisingly purports not to affect activities implicating copyright rights in foreign countries outside of the USA.

6. Canadians may wish to read, if nothing else, the submissions of Google itself and the US Department of Justice (which supports the basic goals of the ASA but reiterates that it is still “a bridge too far” and should not be approved as is). Canadians will also want to read the few but important submissions from Canada. As well, there are “must read” submissions from Pam Samuelson and many notable advocacy groups on all sides, and corporate interests, including Microsoft and AT&T.

The last few weeks were busy. I had many media appearances partly because of the p2p study, partly because of the interest generated by these appearances.

On the recently released p2p study:

On other issues in the media:

2008 folyamán szisztematikus méréseket végeztünk néhány, Magyarországon meghatározó jelentőségű bittorrent trackeren a célból, hogy részletes, jó minőségű képet alkothassunk a peer-to-peer feketepiacok működéséről, súlyukról, jelentőségükről a kulturális piacok egészének szempontjából.

Az így nyert adatokat végül a magyarországi mozipiac elemzéséhez használtuk fel, mivel a mozis disztribúció esetében állnak rendelkezésre nyilvánosan az általunk gyűjtöttekhez mérhetően jó minőségű és részletességű adatok. A most elkészült elemzés tehát a p2p film-feketepiac és a mozifilm-forgalmazás egyes legális csatornáinak egymáshoz való viszonyát térképezi fel, mégpedig a következő három szempont szerint:

  • a feketepiaci kínálat alakulása: mitől függ, hogy melyik film és mikor válik a feketepiacon is elérhetővé?
  • a feketepiaci kereslet alakulása: mitől függ, hogy egy-egy filmnek hány letöltője lesz?
  • a p2p fájlcsere, mint autonóm fogyasztási logika leírása: mi a fájlcserélők, mint önálló tartalom-szerkesztő, tartalom-csomagoló, tartalom-terjesztő közösségek működési logikája?

Az elemzésben a feketepiac 2008 májusában és júniusában mért forgalmát, a Magyarországon 2004 után bemutatott premierfilmek forgalmazási adatait, valamint a magyarországi mozik 2000 utáni játszási adatait használtuk fel. Az elemzés nem egészen 5000 különböző film mozis és/vagy feketepiaci forgalmára terjed ki.

A  filmek feketepiaci forgalmát és a moziforgalmazás jellegzetességeit összevető, Lakatos Zoltánnal közösen írott tanulmányunk innen letölthető.

A feketepiaci kínálat
A legális forgalmazók szempontjából a legfontosabb kérdés az, hogy meg lehet-e akadályozni a mozis terjesztésbe kerülő filmek kiszivárgását a fájlcserélő hálózatokra, azaz befolyásolni lehet-e a feketepiaci kínálatot. A kutatás eredményei szerint a vizsgálat ideje alatt a feketepiacra kikerült 3600 film háromnegyede olyan alkotás volt, ami csak 2000 előtt, vagy egyáltalán nem volt mozikban, és csak alig 4%, azaz 152 film volt olyan, ami a kikerülése időpontjában a mozikban is látható volt. A vizsgált időszakban a mozikban játszott filmek közül minden ötödik került ki valamilyen formában a fájlcserélő hálózatokra. Azt a – forgalmazók szempontjából megnyugtatónak tűnő – tényt, hogy a feketepiacon elérhető filmek túlnyomó része mozis forgalmazásból már kikerült, archív tartalom, némileg árnyalja, hogy azok a filmek, amik viszont a mozis forgalmazással egy időben a feketepiacon is elérhetők, éppen a komoly PR-ral támogatott, a kiadók nagy várakozásaitól kísért, ezért sok kópiával forgalmazott (többségében nyilván hollywoodi) közönségfilmek közül kerülnek ki. A p2p kiszivárgás esélyét tovább növeli, ha a filmet sokan látják és/vagy nemzetközileg is sikeres. Minél erősebb promóciót kap egy film, annál valószínűbb, hogy kikerül a kalózhálózatokra. A p2p feketepiac kínálatának egy része erősen marketing-vezérelt.
Egészen más a helyzet a mozik műsorából hiányzó filmeknél. Ez utóbbiak kalózmegjelenését a moziforgalmazás jellemzői alig magyarázzák. Annyit mondhatunk csupán, hogy a kevesebb helyen vetített filmek a mozik programjából kikerülve kissé érdekesebbek lesznek a fájlcserélők számára, és hogy a múltban játszott filmek p2p jelenlétének esélye független a korábbi közönségsikertől, azaz korábban a filmre eladott mozijegyek számától.
Ez utóbbi jelenséggel függ össze, hogy egyes rétegműfajokba (pl, zenei, dráma, vagy romantikus filmek közé) sorolható filmek p2p elérhetősége akkor ugrik meg, amikor mozikban már nem játsszák őket. Míg a rétegműfajok esetében a fájlcserélő hálózatok archívum-funkciót töltenek be, addig más, esetleg gyorsabban avuló filmeket felsoroltató műfajok (fantasy/sci-fi, kalandfilm) esetében az aktuálisukat vesztett filmek hamar kikopnak a feketepiacról is.

A feketepiaci kereslet
A feketepiaci kereslettel foglalkozó szakaszban mindenekelőtt arra voltunk kíváncsiak, milyen tényezőkkel magyarázható az, hogy melyik filmet mennyiszer töltenek le. Azt találtunk, hogy a letöltések számára legnagyobb hatással ismét csak a kópiaszám, azaz a forgalmazói marketing-erő volt.: minél több pénzt költ a forgalmazó a mozis kereslet növelésére, annál többen nézik meg a filmet a fájlcserélők közül is. Nem találtuk azonban nyomát jelentős mértékű helyettesítésnek a mozi és a torrent között: a vizsgált két hónapban vetített filmek esetében 1 millió 650 ezer eladott jegy mellett 158 ezer letöltést regisztráltunk, azaz csak minden tízedik mozinézőre jut egy, a filmet ingyen megnéző fájlcserélő. Az alacsony helyettesítési aránynak az lehet a legfőbb oka, hogy a moziélmény alig, és csak bizonyos műfajok esetén váltható ki egy rossz minőségű p2p kópia kis-képernyős megtekintésével.

A fenti ökölszabály ez egyes műfajok esetében némileg módosulhat. Az akció/thriller és a bűnügyi filmek az átlagnál kisebb mozis közönséget vonzottak, fájlcsere-forgalmuk mégis jóval átlag feletti volt. E műfajok közönségében valószínűleg felülreprezentáltak a férfiak, sőt a fiatal férfiak ― vagyis az a demográfiai csoport, amelyik a fájlcserélő-populációban is teljes lakosságon belüli arányát jelentősen meghaladó súlyt képvisel. E műfajok közönségének fájlcseréléssel foglalkozó szegmense szinte reflexszerűen lecsap a trackereken megjelenő legújabb „erőszakfilmekre”. Az erőszakfilmek kiugró kalózkeresletével szemben a romantikus filmek az átlagnál nagyobb mozis közönséget, viszont az átlagnál kevesebb fájlcserélőt vonzottak, amire viszont épp a „kettesben mozizás” jelenségére adhat magyarázatot.

Ami a moziban már nem látható filmeket illeti: a letöltött teljes filmvolumen több mint fele magyarországi mozikban 2000 óta nem játszott produkció. A felhasználók kevesebb, mint 10%-a töltött le kizárólag a letöltés idejében mozikban játszott filmeket, kétharmaduk éppen moziműsoron lévő és mozikban már nem játszott filmeket egyaránt letölt. Meglepően magas, közel 30% azoknak az aránya, akik csak moziban nem vagy régen vetített filmeket töltöttek le.

A fájlcserélők, mint autonóm fogyasztási közösségek
A folyamatos jogi fenyegetettség a korábban nyíltan fájlcserélő felhasználókat rejtőzködésre kényszeríti. A zárt ajtók mögé visszavonuló felhasználók kegyeiért számtalan tematikusan, nyelvileg, a felhasználói kör érdeklődésében, a közösség minőségében különböző fájlcserélő oldal verseng egymással. E közösségek mindegyike a maga logikája szerint válogat a világban elérhető számtalan tartalom közül.
Kutatásunkban három, magyar nyelvű, mainstream, tematikusan nem specializálódott közösség tartalomfogyasztási mintáit vizsgáltuk és azt találtuk, hogy e közösségek tartalomfogyasztása műfaji értelemben strukturálatlan, azaz a fájlcserélők kihasználják az ismeretlen kipróbálásának kockázat- és költségmentes lehetőségét, és tetszés szerint kalandoznak különböző műfajok között.

A nem specializálódott, mainstream p2p kereslet műfaji strukturálatlansága arra utal, hogy a fájlcserélésnek köszönhetően a tetszőleges ízlésű filmfogyasztó számára az „elkalandozás” saját preferenciájától, új műfajok, stílusok kockázat nélküli kipróbálása nem csupán elvi, hanem a gyakorlatban is kiaknázott lehetőség. A p2p kalózpiac egyik oldalán a tematikus struktúrák sokkal pontosabban jelennek meg, mint korábban ― köszönhetően annak, hogy a speciális tartalomtípusok köré szerveződő közönség kiszolgálása elől eltűnnek azok a méretgazdaságossági korlátok, melyekbe a piaci viszonyok között működő csatornák szükségszerűképpen beleütköznek. Másrészt az általános érdeklődési kört kiszolgáló hálózatok által a fogyasztóiknak felkínált tartalmi kalandozás, exploratív nomadizmus radikálisan különbözik az ezt a lehetőséget legális piacokon a televízió által biztosító channel-surfing, „zapping” élményétől. A p2p felhasználó a „véletlenül odakapcsolok-belenézek-nem tetszik-elkapcsolok” tévés logika helyett a „nem tudom mi ez-de letöltöm-kipróbálom-legfeljebb letörlöm-de az is lehet, hogy archiválom” aktív érdeklődést feltételező logikájával választ a tartalmak között.

További fontos tényező, hogy ezeken a csatornákon a programot maguk a felhasználók állítják össze: ők kérik, készítik el, szerkesztik be a műsorfolyamba, teszik elérhetővé be a friss kópiákat. A torrent-alapú filmdisztribúció egy viszonylag rövid életciklusú, az aktuális legális kínálatot koncentráltan, a felhasználók ad-hoc érdeklődését pedig fragmentáltan megjelenítő jukeboxhoz hasonlítható, ahol a kereslet az éppen aktuálisan felkerült néhány tucat, esetleg párszáz film között oszlik el. A filmes fájlcsere valahol félúton van a legális piacról mára szinte teljesen kikopott videokölcsönző és a tematikus tévécsatorna között, ahol a kínálatot és a programot a hálózatok közösségét alkotó felhasználók folyamatosan és interaktív módon alakítják. A globális feketepiacon elérhető tartalomkínálat körül helyileg releváns kontextusok alakulnak ki, amelyek a végső soron mindenki számára egyformán elérhető digitális kínálatot a helyi közösség igényei, értékei, érdeklődése alapján szűrik.
A fájlcsere mint sajátos szabályokkal, modus operandival bíró tartalomdisztribúciós infrastruktúra és a köré szerveződő fogyasztói közösségek térnyerése arra figyelmeztet, hogy a filmes disztribúciót nemcsak az alkotások elsődleges piaci jellemzői (ár, kínálat) felől, hanem a tartalmak fogyasztásának kontextusa, a tartalmak összefűzéséből létrejövő programming oldaláról is kihívás éri. A feketepiacok működése részben megelőlegezi, részben visszaigazolja a kulturális piacok átalakulásának azt a hipotézisét, mely szerint a disztribúciós szűkösség korában a termelők és a disztribútorok által generált és dominált kontextusok helyét fogyasztók által generált és tartalombőséggel jellemezhető kontextus veszi át. Ebben a tekintetben az online feketepiac (Magyarországon legalábbis) egyértelműen hiánypótló szerepet tölt be.

 thestar.com

Chet Baker was a leading jazz musician in the 1950s, playing trumpet and providing vocals. Baker died in 1988, yet he is about to add a new claim to fame as the lead plaintiff in possibly the largest copyright infringement case in Canadian history. His estate, which still owns the copyright in more than 50 of his works, is part of a massive class-action lawsuit that has been underway for the past year.

The infringer has effectively already admitted owing at least $50 million and the full claim could exceed $60 billion. If the dollars don’t shock, the target of the lawsuit undoubtedly will: The defendants in the case are Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada, the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association.

The CRIA members were hit with the lawsuit in October 2008 after artists decided to turn to the courts following decades of frustration with the rampant infringement (I am adviser to the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, which is co-counsel, but have had no involvement in the case).

The claims arise from a longstanding practice of the recording industry in Canada, described in the lawsuit as “exploit now, pay later if at all.” It involves the use of works that are often included in compilation CDs (ie. the top dance tracks of 2009) or live recordings. The record labels create, press, distribute and sell the CDs, but do not obtain the necessary copyright licences.

Instead, the names of the songs on the CDs are placed on a “pending list,” which signifies that approval and payment is pending. The pending list dates back to the late 1980s, when Canada changed its copyright law by replacing a compulsory licence with the need for specific authorization for each use. It is perhaps better characterized as a copyright infringement admission list, however, since for each use of the work, the record label openly admits that it has not obtained copyright permission and not paid any royalty or fee.

Over the years, the size of the pending list has grown dramatically, now containing more than 300,000 songs.

From Beyonce to Bruce Springsteen, the artists waiting for payment are far from obscure, as thousands of Canadian and foreign artists have seen their copyrights used without permission and payment.

It is difficult to understand why the industry has been so reluctant to pay its bills. Some works may be in the public domain or belong to a copyright owner difficult to ascertain or locate, yet the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Bruce Cockburn, Sloan, or the Watchmen are not hidden from view.

The more likely reason is that the record labels have had little motivation to pay up. As the balance has grown, David Basskin, the president and CEO of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd., notes in his affidavit that “the record labels have devoted insufficient resources for identifying and paying the owners of musical works on the pending lists.” The CRIA members now face the prospect of far greater liability.

The class action seeks the option of statutory damages for each infringement. At $20,000 per infringement, potential liability exceeds $60 billion.

These numbers may sound outrageous, yet they are based on the same rules that led the recording industry to claim a single file sharer is liable for millions in damages.

After years of claiming Canadian consumers disrespect copyright, the irony of having the recording industry face a massive lawsuit will not be lost on anyone, least of all the artists still waiting to be paid. Indeed, they are also seeking punitive damages, arguing “the conduct of the defendant record companies is aggravated by their strict and unremitting approach to the enforcement of their copyright interests against consumers.”

Business | guardian.co.uk

The ContentID system has also thrown up some unexpected market intelligence about Rowan Atkinson’s hapless character. He turns out to be hugely popular in Saudi Arabia. The company that manages the use of Mr Bean footage online, MyVideoRights, says that this creates commercial opportunities for the producer, which can negotiate deals with broadcasters and DVD distributors in the country.

Ashley MacKenzie, chief executive of MyVideoRights, says better fingerprinting of web content means more companies now feel they are in control of their copyright material. “Up until two years ago Mr Bean and Tiger Aspect couldn’t have done anything. Now we can go into this system and claim back content,” he said.

Broadband | News | PC Pro

The temporary closure of the Pirate Bay had the unforeseen side effect of forcing torrent sharers underground and causing a 300% increase in sites providing access to copyright files, according to McAfee.

In August, Swedish courts ordered that all traffic be blocked from Pirate Bay, but any hope of scotching the piracy of music, software and films over the web vanished as copycat sites sprung up and the content took on a life of its own.

“This was a true ‘cloud computing’ effort,” the company said in its Threats Report for the third quarter. “The masses stepped up to make this database of torrents available to others.”

“Pirate Bay is just a redirect site to lead people to sources where they can get media and other files,” McAfee security analyst Greg Day told PC Pro. “Once it was temporarily shut down, those people still wanted the torrents so they went elsewhere, and that meant lots of other sites popped up to take advantage – we saw a 300% increase in sites hosting and distributing movies and software.”

According to Day, in the days prior to the shutdown, treasure-hunters used anonymising software to gain access and copy the indexes that Pirate Bay used to redirect users to other computers hosting torrents.

Once the indexed data was in the public domain, open-source code was available to anyone who wanted to help with redistribution of torrents. While the Pirate Bay was offline there were four times as many sites offering access to the torrents.

“The Pirate Bay example shows how difficult it is to ‘stop’ data once it is on the web,” the report says. “A website can be shut down, but anyone who has accessed the content may still be able to redistribute it.”

Movie fans might have to wait to rent new DVD releases — latimes.com

LA Times

Some major studios, grappling with sharply declining DVD revenue, are considering a policy to make new releases initially available for purchase only.

For those who like renting movies, Hollywood may soon have a message: Prepare to wait.

In an effort to push consumers toward buying more movies, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would block DVDs from being offered for rental until several weeks after going on sale.

Under the plan, new DVD releases would be available on a purchase-only basis for a few weeks, after which time companies such as Blockbuster Inc. and Netflix Inc. would be allowed to rent the DVDs to their customers. The move comes as the studios are grappling with sharply declining DVD revenue, which has long propped up the movie business.

TorrentFreak

“The risk that rights holders will remove all content on The Pirate Bay at the date of acquisition is estimated as inexistent by GGF. GGF’s assessment after talks with the entertainment industry is that the majority of the content will remain on The Pirate Bay,” they say.

Zeropaid

The music industry knows how to hang out itself, even if it lacks the correct length pf rope. EMI, certainly reeling from declining physical album sales like the other Big 4 record labels, is now apparently telling independent album retailers that it will no longer sell them CDs.

That’s right, EMI apparently told them over the phone a few weeks ago, an oddly perverse means of notification, that henceforth it will no longer sell them physical albums and that they must go to “one stops” like Wal-Mart or Best Buy to buy product like everybody else to then in turn sell.

“Several I have spoken with are so upset that they vow never to buy any EMI catalog again–or any new artist releases either,” says Wayne Rosso, former president of the P2P program Grokster, on his blog. “Only the certifiable hit product that they know will sell. They will no longer take chances on new EMI artists.”

It’s a odd turn of events for EMI, adding another blow to its physical CD sales while inversely arguing that illegal file-sharing is the real culprit behind declining revenues. If its concerned with losses then why get rid of customers? It just doesn’t make any sense.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that one stops don’t have nearly the selection needed to maintain an indie retailers bottom line, nor could they ever hope to have a price point necessary to make a living.

In short, the loss of EMI’s catalog means the job of indie record stores to stay in business just got even tougher.

Nice job EMI.

Beyond Binary – CNET News

Of all the losses suffered by the music industry, one of the biggest may be the fact that nearly all of the investors that once were building digital music services have moved on.

“There are not a lot of entrepreneurs involved in this space,” said David Pakman, a music industry veteran and now venture capitalist at Venrock Associates.

By Pakman’s count, there have been 109 venture-backed digital music start-ups. Fewer than five, though, produced a substantial return, he said.

“Investors lost a lot of money in this space,” he said, speaking on a breakfast panel at the Fortune Brainstorm: Tech conference here. The loss for the industry, he said is that entrepreneurs have moved on to areas like Twitter and Facebook.

FT.com / Technology –

Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its online iTunes store.

The talks come as Apple is separately racing to offer a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution. The device could be launched alongside the new content deals, including those aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music, according to people briefed on the project.

Physical album sales have fallen sharply as music retailing has evolved from CD album purchases in retail outlets to digital downloads of songs from online stores.

Although consumers continue to purchase large amounts of digital music, they are buying individual tracks rather than higher-margin albums.

Apple is working with EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group, on a project the company has codenamed “Cocktail”, according to four people familiar with the situation.

The labels and Apple are working towards a September launch date for the project, which aims to boost interest in albums by bundling liner notes and video clips with the music.

“It’s all about re-creating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music,” said one executive familiar with the plans.

Apple wants to make bigger purchases more compelling by creating a new type of interactive album material, including photos, lyric sheets and liner notes that allow users to click through to items that they find most interesting. Consumers would be able to play songs directly from the interactive book without clicking back into Apple’s iTunes software, executives said.

“It’s not just a bunch of PDFs,” said one executive. “There’s real engagement with the ancillary stuff.”

The music companies declined to comment.

Album sales in the US fell 14 per cent in 2008 to 428.4m units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks retail sales data.

The new touch-sensitive device Apple is working on will have a screen that may be up to 10 inches diagonally.

It will connect to the internet like the iPod Touch – probably without phone capability but with access to Apple’s online stores .

Apple is gambling that it can succeed where everyone else has flopped, including Microsoft, which tirelessly pushed a tablet-ready version of its Windows operating system as a personal favourite of founder Bill Gates.

The entertainment industry is hoping that Apple, which revolutionised the markets for music players and phones, can do it again with the new device.

“It’s going to be fabulous for watching movies,” said one entertainment executive.

Book publishers have been in talks with Apple and are optimistic about their services being offered with the new computer, which could provide an alternative to Amazon’s Kindle.

Comprehensive Management of Music Rights for Songwriters and Performing Artists – BMG RM.

Bertelsmann AG and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (“KKR”), announced today that they have agreed to create a joint venture to develop a global music rights management business to which Bertelsmann AG will contribute its BMG Rights Management music rights unit. Upon funding of the transaction, Bertelsmann will own 49 percent in the joint venture and KKR will own 51 percent. Bertelsmann AG’s Hartwig Masuch, currently CEO of BMG Rights Management, will continue as CEO of the new company.

The new company will benefit from BMG Rights Management’s know-how in licensing and administrating music rights, its large number of music catalogues and artists, the established BMG brand and its experienced management team. KKR will significantly enhance BMG Right Management’s financial position and create new growth potential by providing access to its global network. The partners envisage building a major music rights management business over the medium term through organic growth and acquisitions. KKR expects to contribute to BMG’s development by providing substantial equity investments through its European private equity funds.

“KKR shares our views on future business models for the music industry. I am excited to work with such a partner. With many high-visibility contracts and the foundation of an international organization in six European countries, it has taken BMG Rights Management only nine months to position itself successfully in the market. Songwriters and performers respond very well to our service oriented approach,” said Hartwig Masuch, CEO of BMG Rights Management and CEO of the joint venture. When BMG Rights Management started its business in October 2008, its rights catalogue consisted of about 200 artists; since then, another 100 contracts with songwriters and other rights owners have been signed.

“With access to meaningful investment capital, we expect the partnership with KKR to contribute significantly to accelerating the development of the business. We complement each other perfectly for this venture. We both want to broaden BMG’s global reach faster than originally anticipated. In this way we will be able to actively participate in the expected market consolidation,” said Thomas Rabe, Bertelsmann CFO and Chairman of the joint venture. With the music industry at an important turning point, the market for licensing and administration of music rights presents attractive growth opportunities. Among other things, it is driven by the increasing importance of music in the licensing of other areas beyond the recording business, such as broadcast and live performances as well as the synchronization of broadcasting, commercial and movie productions.

“The music rights sector offers opportunities for significant growth across the globe. BMG has proven leadership and a strong track record of organic growth. Our financial strength combined with BMG’s sector expertise will create a unique platform for building up a global music rights management business,” said Johannes Huth, European Head of KKR. In the context of this transaction, BMG Rights Management will be integrated into the equity fund Bertelsmann set up two years ago. The company will be developed from this platform. KKR’s funds will invest into a new holding company of BMG Rights Management. The foundation of the new joint venture is subject to approval under applicable competition laws. The parties expect to complete the transaction within a few months.

Total Telecom

Online video service reinvents itself as technology provider for media companies.

Joost NV, an online video service launched by the founders of Skype, is retreating from the consumer market and replacing its high-profile chief executive.

The New York-based company, which provides television programming over the Web, said it would reinvent itself as a technology provider that will enable media companies to publish Internet video under their own brands.

The move marks a dramatic shift by Joost, which was founded in 2006 but failed to live up to its early hype. Internet users have instead flocked to Google Inc.’s YouTube for user-generated content or sites like Hulu LLC, a joint venture between News Corp., General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal and Walt Disney Co. dedicated to TV programs.

“In these tough economic times, it’s been increasingly challenging to operate as an independent, ad-supported online video platform,” said Mike Volpi, who will step aside as Joost’s chief executive as part of the restructuring.

Mr. Volpi will be replaced as CEO by Matt Zelesko, senior vice president of engineering. Mr. Volpi, a key architect of networking giant Cisco Systems Inc.’s acquisition machine during the dot-com boom, will remain chairman of Joost’s board.

Mr. Volpi said the changes will result in layoffs but didn’t say how many people would be leaving the company. Joost employed about 100 people prior to the restructuring.

Joost was founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, creators of Internet telephone service Skype, but the company got off to a rocky start largely because it required users to download software, while rivals such as YouTube and Hulu let people stream video directly from Web sites.

Mr. Volpi joined the company two years ago and his first order of business was to relaunch Joost as a streaming Web service, but that improvement wasn’t enough to overcome the company’s early missteps.

CNET News

The suit appears to have been initiated by Music Copyright Solutions (MCS), which claims to administer copyrights for more than 45,000 compositions. MCS is named as the lead plaintiff, along with a number of songwriters including Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad fame. These folks allege that Microsoft, Yahoo, and RealNetworks improperly licensed the rights to more than 200 compositions that they offered as on-demand streams or limited downloads via the Zune Marketplace, Yahoo Music, and Rhapsody.

Surely these companies paid somebody for the rights to offer these songs. But there’s a catch, which TechDirt pointed out earlier Tuesday: these companies may have licensed the rights to the recordings, but that doesn’t mean they licensed the rights to the compositions (also known as publishing rights). As section 23 of the legal filing puts it:

In order to transmit, perform, reproduce and deliver any sound recording of any musical work via ‘On-Demand Streams’ or ‘Limited Downloads,’ Defendants must first obtain not only the rights for the sound recording itself, but also the rights for the underlying musical composition that is embodied on said musical recording.

Maybe, maybe not–that’s up to the court to decide. But that’s not the insane part. The insane part is that the plaintiffs are alleging that each time one of the defendants made any recording of a covered song available, that’s a copyright violation, and they’re seeking damages of $150,000 per violation (or the amount the defendants earned from streaming those songs, whichever is more). So, for example, the lawsuit claims that Yahoo Music offered Conway Twitty’s recording of “Fifteen Years Ago” on six different greatest hits albums. The plaintiffs allege that constitutes six copyright violations, which would mean damages of $900,000. Overall, the lawsuit names more than 200 songs, and a far greater number of recordings, meaning that the potential liability for each defendant would be tens of billions of dollars–that’s far greater than the total amount of revenues these companies ever earned from any of these services.

Digital Media – CNET News

The Recording Industry Association of America has prevailed in its copyright fight against Usenet.com, according to court documents.

In a decision that hands the RIAA an overwhelming victory, U.S. District Judge Harold Baer ruled in favor of the music industry on all its main theories: that Usenet.com is guilty of direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement. In addition, and perhaps most important for future cases, Baer said that Usenet.com can’t claim protection under the Sony Betamax decision. That ruling says companies can’t be held liable of contributory infringement if the device is “capable of significant non-infringing uses.”

Baer noted that in citing the Betamax case, Usenet.com failed to see one important difference between it and Sony. Once Sony sold a Betamax, an early videotape recorder, the company’s relationship with the buyer ended. Sony held no sway over what the buyer did with the device after that. Usenet, however, maintains an ongoing relationship with the customer and does has some say in how the customer uses the service.

Umair Haque

“…Sales of his recordings through Sony’s music unit have generated more than $300 million in royalties for Mr. Jackson since the early 1980’s.”

Want to know why we have a zombieconomy? Because the beancounters killed the incentives to create real value.

Let’s use MJ’s tragic death as a mini case-study. $300 million over, for example, 25 years? That’s $12 million a year.

I’m deliberately leaving out ads, endorsements, concerts, etc., to focus on the the structural problems in one industry: music.

If the world’s biggest pop star only made $12 million a year from his recordings, why would anyone make serious music? Where did the rest of the money go? Why, straight into record labels’ pockets. Did they make better music with it? Nope — they made Britney and Lady GaGa. And that’s how they killed themselves: by underinvesting in quality, to rake in the take.

Wait a second — that sounds familiar. You can add back in the endorsements, etc. now — they only double the figure: to about $25 million.

If the world’s biggest pop star only made $25 million a year in total, something’s very, very wrong. Where’s the rest of the money? Why can’t a resource as scarce as the King of Pop capture more value?

After all, that’s not even mega-rich.

The world’s top hedge fund “managers” regularly pull in hundreds of millions. That’s an order of magnitude difference.

No wonder everyone wants to be a banker, investor, or [insert beancounter here]. There’s no money left in anything else.

That’s the big problem behind the zombieconomy. We don’t reward people for creating, growing, nurturing, or even remixing assets. We just reward them for allocating the same old assets.

That ‘s not an economy: it’s just a game of musical chairs.

Hence, no new finance, healthcare, educational, auto, or, yes, music, industry — for decades.

“…Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’alls neighborhood.”

Indeed. Everytime you look at today’s economic landscape — you should see the Thriller video playing in your head. Because what we’ve built is a zombieconomy, where little net value is created.

And MJ’s death-by-financial-desperation should be a case study in that zombieconomy if ever there was one. Yes, he spent money on absurdly ludicrous stuff. But if top hedge fund managers can do it — why couldn’t the world’s most famous singer?

PS — The ultimate irony? I can’t even link to the Thriller video. It’s unavailable on YouTube in the UK…”due to copyright restrictions”. Lulz.

LA Times

Hans Pandeya, CEO of Global Gaming Factor, said he intends to cooperate with studios and record labels to turn Pirate Bay into a copyright-friendly business.

“We’re a publicly listed company, so whatever we take over has to be legal,” he explained. “To be legal, you have to have content providers who are paid. That’s what we want.”

Convincing Pirate Bay’s reported 20 million users accustomed to getting content for free into paying customers will an extremely difficult task, but Pandeya said he plans to make an enticing offer.

“To compete with free file sharing, you have to beat it,” he said. “What’s better than zero? Well, that’s paying somebody $1.”

Global Gaming Factor plans to pay Pirate Bay users to let their computers be part of a worldwide peer-to-peer system that can transmit data for Internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast. Theoretically, it could vastly reduce the bandwidth costs of ISPs, which are struggling to keep up with the rapidly growing amount of traffic moving through the ‘Net, much of it because of illegal piracy.

Participating computer owners could use the money deposited into their account to buy and download songs, TV shows or movies.

The Pirate Bay – A világ legnagyobb BitTorrent trackere

TPB might change owner

Yes, it’s true.

News reached the press today in Sweden – The Pirate Bay might get aquired by Global Gaming Factory X AB.

A lot of people are worried. We’re not and you shouldn’t be either!

TPB is being sold for a great bit underneath it’s value if the money would be the interesting part. It’s not. The interesting thing is that the right people with the right attitude and possibilities keep running the site.
As all of you know, there’s not been much news on the site for the past two-three years. It’s the same site essentially. On the internets, stuff dies if it doesn’t evolve. We don’t want that to happen.

We’ve been working on this project for many years. It’s time to invite more people into the project, in a way that is secure and safe for everybody. We need that, or the site will die. And letting TPB die is the last thing that is allowed to happen!

If the new owners will screw around with the site, nobody will keep using it. That’s the biggest insurance one can have that the site will be run in the way that we all want to. And – you can now not only share files but shares with people. Everybody can indeed be the owner of The Pirate Bay now. That’s awesome and will take the heat of us.

The old crew is still around in different ways. We will also not stop being active in the politics of the internets – quite the opposite. Now we’re fueling up for going into the next gear. TPB will have economical muscles to let people evolve it. It will team up with great technicians to evolve the protocols. And we, the people interested in more than just technology, will have the time to focus on that. It’s win-win-win.

The profits from the sale will go into a foundation that is going to help with projects about freedom of speech, freedom of information and the openess of the nets. I hope everybody will help out in that and realize that this is the best option for all. Don’t worry – be happy!
Posted Today 10:43 by TPB

Pandora Internet Radio –

Dear Pandora Visitor,

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

The Becker-Posner Blog

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

I wonder if Judge Posner will stop writing his blog because I linked to his post.

Billboard.biz

What’s your reaction to the recent Pirate Bay verdict?
There is a sad irony there that they get a similar verdict and they’re similarly powerless to stop the piracy. For many years, I argued to deaf voices that the industry needed to do some public education campaign about music appreciation. That there wasn’t enough sense that music had value, that it mattered. The record companies themselves weren’t used to being companies that were answerable to the public. Chalk it up to the old flavor of rock and roll, which is “against the man.” Since artists were always against the man, and record labels always represented the man, it didn’t matter that they were giving the artist millions of dollars in advances, they were still the bad guy. Essentially, fans adopted that same anti-record company viewpoint and therefore ripping off the man created some extra joy, not just a convenience factor. All of the good things that the music industry has done over the years, and they have done many – I don’t think any industry has done as much to give back and work in communities and respond to crises – hasn’t really changed that old viewpoint. Now, the only and best the industry can do is focus much more aggressively on partnering with artists to derive revenue from the whole of a musical experience. Artists still need partners. There’s no reason record companies shouldn’t be those partners.

PC Magazine

British cable TV operator Virgin Media is to launch an unlimited music download subscription service through a partnership with the world’s largest music company, Universal.

The music industry has been desperate to boost digital sales in recent years to overcome online piracy, and the agreement comes a day before a British report sets out how the creative and telecoms industries should tackle the problem.

People familiar with the service said it would cost 10-15 pounds ($16.30-$24.50) per month, which could appeal to parents concerned by children accessing illegal sites.

The service, which both sides described as a world first, would allow Virgin Media broadband customers to both listen by streaming and download to keep as many music tracks and albums as they want from Universal’s catalog.

The music will be in the MP3 format, meaning it can be played on the vast majority of music devices, including the iPod and mobile phones.

The service, which would compete with Apple’s iTunes, is set to launch later this year.

Virgin said as part of its cooperation with the music industry it would also work to prevent piracy on its network by educating users and would, as a last resort for persistent offenders, suspend Internet access.

Virgin said no customers would be permanently disconnected.

TorrentFreak

Starting today, Mininova will use a content recognition system that detects and removes torrent files linking to copyright infringing files. The system will also prevent the torrents from being re-uploaded to mininova later on.

TorrentFreak

In Germany, the file-hosting service Rapidshare has handed over the personal details of alleged copyright infringers to several major record labels. The information is used to pursue legal action against the Rapidshare users and at least one alleged uploader saw his house raided.

Slashdot

Quantos writes with word that in Sweden, in addition to a drop in traffic following the introduction of the IPRED anti-file sharing law, the country also saw a doubling of legal downloads. “The sale of music via the Internet and mobile phones has increased by 100 percent since the Swedish anti-file sharing IPRED law entered into force last week, according to digital content provider InProdicon. ‘…I don’t know if this is only because of IPRED, but it is definitely a sign of a major change,’ said managing director Klas Brännström. InProdicon provides half of the downloaded tunes in Sweden via several online and mobile music services.” Meanwhile The Pirate Bay’s anticipated VPN service has seen over 113,000 requests for beta invitations since late last month; 80% are from Sweden. Traffic numbers may begin to rise again once the service goes live.

Fox fired up over ‘Wolverine’ review – Entertainment News, Technology News, Media – Variety

Has longtime Fox News entertainment blogger Roger Friedman been fired? It depends whom you ask.

On Saturday News Corp. released a statement saying the Hollywood gadfly had been “terminated.”

But on Sunday afternoon Friedman told Daily Variety that he had not been let go.

Fox News released its own missive when asked on Sunday afternoon if Friedman had been ousted. “This is an internal matter that we’re not prepared to discuss at this time,” a Fox News spokesperson said.

For its part, the studio weighed in Friday with its own statement, calling Friedman’s actions “reprehensible.”

Friedman came under fire for posting a review of a pirated version of 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Both Fox News and 20th Century Fox are divisions of parent company News Corp.

Friedman posted a review of the film Thursday, one day after an incomplete version of the tentpole was leaked on the Internet, a breach that occurred a month before the film’s release and that could potentially cost the studio millions in box office receipts.

After Friedman’s positive “Wolverine” review hit the Web, the fanboy blogging community, which had largely called for a boycott of any reviews of the film, immediately lobbied for Friedman’s dismissal.

RopeofSilicon.com, which posted a screen grab of Friedman’s item, echoed the sentiments of many bloggers when it wrote: “Where does FoxNews.com come up with the balls to publish a review of an unfinished illegal copy of a film their sister company is so desperately trying to squelch the existence of?”

As of Sunday afternoon, Friedman’s Fox 411 blog was still on FoxNews.com’s website; however, the offending “Wolverine” item had long since been pulled and deleted from the website’s cache.

The whole sequence of events looks like a case of corporate synergy gone awry, as three different divisions of News Corp. couldn’t even agree on the fate of Friedman.

Fox News’ boss Roger Ailes has strained relations with other News Corp. division execs, and, in fact, the entire Fox News division has an entirely different style than the rest of the company.

But Fox News is a cable ratings hotshot and contributes mightily to the conglom’s bottom line. Friedman’s posting was bound to cause friction between the two News Corp. divisions especially considering that Friedman’s Fox 411 blog is a top traffic draw for FoxNews.com.

Studio execs began to hear about Friedman’s post Friday and called for the matter to be addressed by its sister company, though stopped short of asking for Friedman’s ouster. The studio’s statement said: “We’ve just been made aware that Roger Friedman, a freelance columnist who writes Fox 411 on Foxnews.com — an entirely separate company from 20th Century Fox — watched on the Internet and reviewed a stolen and unfinished version of ‘X-Men Organs: Wolverine.’ This behavior is reprehensible and we condemn this act categorically — whether the review is good or bad.”

Calling Foxnews.com an entirely separate company from 20th Century Fox was an interesting choice of words, given that they’re sibling companies.

It took another day — and a torrent of negative press aimed at News Corp. in the blogging community — before News Corp. took action. Late Saturday night, News Corp. released a statement saying: “Roger Friedman’s views in no way reflect the views of News Corp. We, along with 20th Century Fox Film Corp., have been a consistent leader in the fight against piracy and have zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy. When we advised Fox News of the facts they took immediate action, removed the post, and promptly terminated Mr. Friedman.”

Index – Tech – Negyvenmilliós büntetés a fájlcserélők megsegítése miatt

A filmstúdiók a gatyáját is leperlik annak a francia postásnak, aki részletesen leírta a weboldalán, hogy miként kell letölteni a filmek kalózmásolatait.

Egy francia bíróság 130 ezer euró, azaz körülbelül 39 millió forint kártérítés megfizetésére kötelezte Sébastien Budin postást, akit azzal vádoltak, hogy illegális filmletöltéshez nyújtott segítséget portálján. A 26 éves filmrajongó az általa létrehozott stationdivx.com webodalra feltette kedvenc filmjeinek az adatait, és azokat a kulcsszavakat, amikkel más rajongók könnyen letölthették a kalózportálokról a filmeket.

A 20minutes.fr portál jelentése szerint a stationdivx.com több mint egy éven át segítette a letöltőket, és a 130 ezer eurót a 20th Century fox, a Warner, a Disney és a többi filmgyár követelte Sébastien Budintól.

A postás fellebbezett az ítélet ellen, és azzal védekezett, hogy ugyanazokat a kulcsszavakat a Google-on is meg lehet találni. Szerinte nem sértett törvényt, csak más filmrajongóknak akart segíteni, önzetlenül. A felsőbb fórum döntésére váró Sébastien Budin segítseteknekem (www.soutenezmoi.free.fr [1]) címen új portált nyitott

wired

Google on Monday launched free downloads of licensed songs in China, while sharing advertising revenue with major music labels in a market rife with online piracy.

Lee Kai-Fu, president of Google in greater China, said one reason Google lagged in the mainland search market was because it did not offer music downloads, the missing piece to its strategy in a market where it trails leader Baidu.com.

BBC NEWS | Technology

YouTube will not reverse its decision to block music videos to UK users despite a plea from the Performing Rights Society to change its mind.

It is removing all premium music videos to UK users after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the PRS.

Patrick Walker, YouTube’s director of video partnerships said it remained committed to agreeing terms.

But such agreement needed to be done “at a rate which is sustainable to all”, he told the BBC.

Thousands of videos were made unavailable to YouTube users from late on 9 March.

Patrick Walker, YouTube’s director of video partnerships, told BBC News that the move was “regrettable” but that it continued to talk to the PRS.

“The more music videos YouTube streams, and the more popular those music videos are, the more money YouTube will generate to share with the PRS and its song writers. It’s a win-win arrangement.

YouTube, however, cannot be expected to engage in a business in which it loses money every time a music video is played – that is simply not a sustainable business model.” he said.

Steve Porter, head of the PRS, said he was “outraged… shocked and disappointed” by YouTube’s decision.

In a statement, Mr Porter said the move “punishes British consumers and the songwriters whose interests we protect and represent”.

The PRS has asked YouTube to reconsider its decision as a “matter of urgency”.

This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties
PRS statement

The body, which represents music publishers, added: “Google has told us they are taking this step because they wish to pay significantly less than at present to the writers of the music on which their service relies, despite the massive increase in YouTube viewing.

“This action has been taken without any consultation with PRS for Music and in the middle of negotiations between the two parties.”

The Music Publishers Association (MPA) joined with the PRS is urging Google to rethink.

“Music publishers are in the business of getting their music heard by as wide an audience as possible, and websites such as YouTube rely on this music to attract traffic. It is difficult to see how anyone’s interests are served by denying the YouTube community the content they most enjoy,” said MPA chief executive Stephen Navin.

Lord Carter, the UK’s Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting, has also waded into the debate.

Giving evidence before the Business Select Committee the minister said he suspected a degree of “commercial posturing on the part of both parties” but said the row was indicative of a wider issue.

“It is an example of the question of how do you price and fund content in the digital world?” he said.

“We have had decades of content being funded in one way – via the license fee and advertising – and that model is changing at a rapid speed,” he told MPs.

Mr Walker told BBC News the PRS was seeking a rise in fees “many, many factors” higher than the previous agreement.

He said: “We feel we are so far apart that we have to remove content while we continue to negotiate with the PRS.”

“We are making the message public because it will be noticeable to users on the site.”

Consumers must be scratching their heads in amazement at such obstacles to delivering legal content in a timely and straightforward fashion.
Darren Waters, Technology editor, BBC News website

Read more on the Dot.Life blog

The majority of videos will be made inaccessible over the next two days.

YouTube pays a licence to the PRS which covers the streaming of music videos from three of the four major music labels and many independent labels.

Stream online

While deals with individual record labels cover the use of the visual element and sound recording in a music video, firms that want to stream online also have to have a separate deal with music publishers which covers the music and lyrics.

In the UK, the PRS acts as a collecting society on behalf of member publishers for licensing fees relating to use of music.

YouTube stressed that it continued to have “strong partnerships” with three of the four largest record labels in the world.

Mr Walker said the PRS was asking for a “prohibitive” rise in the cost of a new licence.

While not specifying the rate the PRS was seeking, he said: “It has to be a rate that can drive a business model. We are in the business for the long run and we want to drive the use of online video.

“The rate they are applying would mean we would lose significant amounts of money on every stream of a music video. It is not a reasonable rate to ask.”

New deal

YouTube has also complained of a lack of transparency by the PRS, saying the organisation would not specify exactly which artists would be covered by any new deal.

“That’s like asking a consumer to buy a blank CD without knowing what musicians are on it,” a statement from YouTube UK says on its official blog.

YouTube is the world’s most popular online video site but has been under increased pressure to generate more revenue since its purchase by Google for $1.65bn in 2006.

“We are not willing to do this [new licensing deal] at any cost,” said Mr Walker.

He said the issue was an industry-wide one and not just related to YouTube.

“By setting rates that don’t allow new business models to flourish, nobody wins.”

Services such as Pandora.com, MySpace UK and Imeem have also had issues securing licence deals in the UK in the past 12 months.

Fabchannel Blogpages

Although a lot of labels are facing serious problems these days, they seem to be incapable of starting meaningful partnerships with more than a few worldwide players. You would think that when the end nears they would come out of their shells and start creating new formats and platforms themselves and with others. But the opposite seems to be true. Their focus is getting even shorter and cash is the only king. That really did it for me. After 9 years of trying we still do not have the fuel to keep our service alive: rights to record the majority of concerts in our venues.

CNN.com

Muziic, created by teen developer David Nelson, has built an iTunes-like interface on top of YouTube. The service enables users to stream YouTube’s music to their PCs without fiddling with videos. Users can build playlists and organize songs in a way similar to iTunes.

CNET blogger Matt Rosoff first wrote about the service and gave it a favorable review. “Any song that’s been uploaded to YouTube is available in Muziic,” Rosoff wrote. “This includes music unavailable on most commercial services, like the full Pink Floyd performance at Live 8 and Led Zeppelin’s one-off performance in 2007.”

FileShareFreak

Experienced BitTorrent users know a thing or two about private trackers – some sites are just better than others. This could translate to fastest pre-times of new releases; trackers with the most diversity and number of torrents; community-focused trackers; and even the rarity of an account weighs heavily on what is deemed “in demand”. We scoured high and low on torrent forums everywhere to find out what trackers are in hot demand, and tallied up the results – #1 shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

To compile this data we visited torrent forums and counted (really!) each and every tracker request that was posted, including ones that were ‘filled’. Our stats went back as far as July, 2008. Sites that were used included:

NYTimes.com

Hollywood may at last be having its Napster moment — struggling against the video version of the digital looting that capsized the music business. Media companies say that piracy — some prefer to call it “digital theft” to emphasize the criminal nature of the act — is an increasingly mainstream pursuit. At the same time, DVD sales, a huge source of revenue for film studios, are sagging. In 2008, DVD shipments dropped to their lowest levels in five years. Executives worry that the economic downturn will persuade more users to watch stolen shows and movies.

TorrentFreak.com, a Web site based in Germany that tracks which shows are most downloaded, estimates that each episode of “Heroes,” a series on NBC, is downloaded five million times, representing a substantial loss for the network. (On TV, “Heroes” averages 10 million American viewers each week).

But if media companies are winning the battle against illegal video clips, they are losing the battle over illicit copies of full-length TV episodes and films. The Motion Picture Association of America says that illegal downloads and streams are now responsible for about 40 percent of the revenue the industry loses annually as a result of piracy.

“It is becoming, among some demographics, a very mainstream behavior,” said Eric Garland, the chief executive of BigChampagne.

via Nina Paley’s blog

Lloyd Kaufman, Chairman of the IFTA, delivers a speech on media consolidation and the dangers it poses to independent art.

O’Reilly Radar

That’s pretty much my view, too. DVDs (mentioned in the note at the start) became a big boon for the studios, once their crazy ideas about self-destructing Divx discs went the way of the Dodo. The studios have a very long history of betting against technology people want, and on technology people don’t want. This is just another such case. The technology people want always wins in the end — no duh — and usually benefits the businesses who fought that technology to the death. Here’s hoping the technology people want — Boxee — doesn’t wind up benefiting the studios fighting it now.

TechCrunch

Earlier today we detailed the chaotic history and recent trouble at TotalMusic, an experimental music initiative created by Sony BMG and Universal Music Group designed to rethink the way music was streamed on the web. After a round of layoffs and the shutdown of Ruckus, a streaming music service acquired by TotalMusic last year, the company looked like it was in bad shape. In what will likely be the most official statement we’ll get, Jason Herskowitz, the company’s VP of Product Management, has confirmed in a blog post that the music labels have indeed pulled the plug on TotalMusic

TorrentFreak

French record labels have received the green light to sue four US-based companies that develop P2P applications, including the BitTorrent client Vuze, Limewire and Morpheus. Shareaza is the fourth application, for which the labels are going after the open source development platform SourceForge.

Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters

“AT&T and Comcast, two of the nation’s largest Internet service providers, are expected to be among a group of ISPs that will cooperate with the music industry in battling illegal file sharing, three sources close to the companies told CNET News. The RIAA said last month that it had enlisted the help of ISPs as part of a new antipiracy campaign. The RIAA has declined to identify which ISPs or how many. It’s important to note that none of the half dozen or so ISPs involved has signed agreements. But as it stands, AT&T and Comcast are among the companies that have indicated they wish to participate in what the RIAA calls a ‘graduated response program.'”

Mashable

Have you checked out Monty Python’s YouTube channel? It’s got a selection of their brilliant (as always) clips, and it’s got links to buy their DVDs on Amazon. As those crazy Monty Python dudes put it,

“We’re letting you see absolutely everything for free. So there! But we want something in return. None of your driveling, mindless comments. Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies & TV shows and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years.”

And you know what? Despite the entertainment industry’s constant cries about how bad they’re doing, it works. As we wrote yesterday, Monty Python’s DVDs climbed to No. 2 on Amazon’s Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent.

NYTimes.com

After years of futile efforts to stop digital pirates from copying its music, the music business has started to copy the pirates.

An entrance on Sunday at the music industry’s conference in France, where Nokia said it was expanding Comes With Music.

Online and mobile services offering listeners unlimited “free” access to millions of songs are set to proliferate in the coming months, according to music industry executives.

Unlike illegal file-sharing services, which the music industry says are responsible for billions of dollars in lost sales, these new offerings are perfectly legal. The services are not really free, but payment is included in the cost of, say, a new cellphone or a broadband Internet access contract, so the cost to the consumer is disguised. And, unlike pirate sites, these services provide revenue to the music companies.

“Two thousand nine should be the year when the music industry stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb,” said Feargal Sharkey, a former punk rocker who now heads UK Music, a trade group for the British music industry.

TorrentFreak

Every year, RIAA’s global partner IFPI
publishes a digital music report, which can be best described as a one
sided view of the state of digital music consumption. For several years
in a row the report has shown that the sales figures of digital music
have gone up, but still, the industry continues to blame piracy for a
loss in overall revenue.

One of the key statistics that is hyped
every year, is the piracy ratio of downloaded music. Just as last year,
IFPI estimates that 95% of all downloads are illegal, without giving a
proper source for this figure. Interestingly, those who take a closer
look at the full report (pdf), will see that only 10% of the claimed illegal downloads are seen as a loss in sales.

Every year, RIAA’s global partner IFPI publishes a digital music report, which can be best described as a one sided view of the state of digital music consumption. For several years in a row the report has shown that the sales figures of digital music have gone up, but still, the industry continues to blame piracy for a loss in overall revenue.

One of the key statistics that is hyped every year, is the piracy ratio of downloaded music. Just as last year, IFPI estimates that 95% of all downloads are illegal, without giving a proper source for this figure. Interestingly, those who take a closer look at the full report (pdf), will see that only 10% of the claimed illegal downloads are seen as a loss in sales.

The Register

A new report suggests that Apple and Tesco, not P2P file sharers, should take the most blame for the woes of the British music industry.

The report, prepared privately by consultants Capgemini for the Value Recognition Strategy working group, set out to examine the “value gap”, the amount sound recordings revenue has fallen in the UK since 2004. The report remains confidential, but details are starting to emerge.

The consultants suggest that “format changes” and price pressure from discounted CDs on sale in supermarkets, are most to blame for this “value gap”.

However, the report gives lie [not “life”, as a typo suggested – ed.] to the idea that P2P file sharing stimulates demand for sales, or is even a neutral factor. This idea has given comfort to the powerful anti-copyright lobby, backed by internet users who want digital music for free – and find endless justifications to avoid paying for it.

Capgemini calculates that of £480m lost to the industry since 2004, £368m was the result of format changes: principally the unbundling of the CD into an “a la carte” selection of digital songs. Of the remainder, 18 per cent was lost to piracy.

Add this to the more recent news from p2pnet.net:

“It is a basic principle of economics that as price increases,
demand decreases. Customers who download music and movies for free
would not necessarily spend money to acquire the same product.”

p2pnet has been saying that for years,
pointing out RIAA and MPAA claims that files shared equal sales lost
are pure fiction dreamed up to enable corporate entertainment cartels
to attack their own customers in a bid to gain control of how, and by
whom, product is managed and distributed online.

Now, in a 16-page opinion, “District Judge James P. Jones, sitting
in the Western Disrict of Virginia, denied the RIAA’s request for
restitution, holding the RIAA’s reasoning to be unsound,” says Recording Industry vs The People.

David Barrett says on Pho

Mininova, founded in January 2005, soon became one of the most successful torrent sites. The site has grown steadily over recent months, and for a few weeks now the millions of daily users have been downloading well over 10 million torrents a day.

In 2008 the site passed several milestones, and in December Mininova broke a new record of 44.7 million unique visitors in one month. More users download more torrents, and just about every three to four months the site added another million torrent downloads to its counter. Today, just a few days into 2009, Mininova is close to recording the 7 billionth download, a double up compared to a year ago.

Mininova co-founder Niek told TorrentFreak that he expects this growth to continue in the new year. “Traffic is still growing according to Quantcast and Google Analytics. Unless something drastically changes, I see no reason why this will be different in 2009,” he commented. – Torrentfreak

In comparison, iTunes traffic:

  • iTunes has now sold six billion songs (it crossed the 5 billion mark last June).
  • Over 10 million different tracks are available on iTunes.
  • Starting today, 8 million songs are DRM-free, and all 10 million will be DRM free by the end of March.
  • There are now over 75 million accounts on iTunes linked to credit cards.
  • In fiscal year 2008, Apple sold 9.7 million Macs
  • Mac sales grew twice as fast as the overall PC market.

The last billion songs took about five and half months to sell, which was the same pace more or less that it took Apple to get to its fourth billion (January, 2008) and fifth billion songs (June, 2008). So iTunes sales are no longer accelerating, despite many more iPhones and iPods out there. It makes you wonder what the saturation point is for consumers buying songs from iTunes. One thing to cheer about, DRM is now officially dead (it looks like Apple traded variable pricing for getting rid of DRM), but I’m not sure that is going to spur sales much. – Techcrunch

22 December 2008 – New Scientist

Will Page and Gary Eggleton at the MCPS-PRS Alliance – a UK body that collects royalties for musicians when their songs are played on air or downloaded – and Andrew Bud from the cellphone software company mBlox have analysed a year’s worth of downloads from a well-known internet music store. They found that of the 13 million tracks available, 52,000 – just 0.4 per cent – accounted for 80 per cent of downloads.

Recording Industry vs. The People

In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, the defendant has moved for all court proceedings to be televised over the internet through Courtroom View Network. The motion argues:

Information
is the currency of democracy, sunshine laws open government. The
federal court is open not only as a court of justice but a forum of
civic education. WE the PEOPLE are the ultimate check in our
constitutional system of checks and balances, we the people of the
integrated media space opened and connected by the net in a public
domain. Net access will allow an intelligent public domain to shape
itself by attending and engaging in a public trial of issues
conflicting our society.

Net access to this litigation will
allow an interested and growingly sophisticated public to understand
the RIAA’s education campaign. Surely education is the purpose of the
Digital Deterrence Act of 1999, the constitutionality of which we are
challenging. How can RIAA object? Yet they do, fear of sunlight shone
upon them.

Net access will allow demonstration by the parties to
the jury of the nature and context of the copyright infringement with
which Joel Tenenbaum is charged.

Net access will allow an
intelligent public domain to shape itself by attending and engaging a
public trial prosecuted by a dying CD industry against a defendant who
did what comes naturally to digital kids.

Net access will allow
educational and public media institutions to build a digital archive
and resource for understanding law akin to Jonathan Harr’s A Civil
Action reconceived in execution for legal pedagogy in a digital age,
Another Civil Action. The immediacy of net-based access to court
opinions already allows lawyers, professors, students, and reporters to
better keep abreast of the most recent legal developments, but none
with the immediacy the Net allows.

If the motion is granted, it will be the first RIAA case of which we are aware to be televised.

Motion and memorandum of law in support of internet audio-visual coverage
Declaration of John Shin
Declaration of Charles Nesson

Webisztán –

Első látásra a hazai Momu.hu (More Music) koncepciója nekem gyanús. Az oldalon regisztráció után egy mp3 adatbázisban keresgélve összeállíthatom a saját playlistemet (rejtélyes okból minimum öt számnak lennie kell benne), és hallgathatom. A készítők szerint ez azért legális, mert csak sorban hallgathatom meg a számokat, nem ugrálhatok köztük és nem tekerhetek bele a felvételekbe. Így az egész egy online rádióként működik, – legalábbis szerintük – jogszerűen. Persze a működés könnyen kicselezhető, elég csak összeválogatni tetszőleges négy számot, és mindig az utolsóként hozzáadni amit hallgatni akarunk, mivel azt játssza le elsőnek.

Hogy a Momu.hu mennyi jogdíjat fizet a rádióadásokért, azt nem tudom, de abból ítélve nem sokat, hogy az oldalon sehol nem érhető el adat az oldal működtetőjéről, adatfelhasználási elveiről, nincs kapcsolatfelvételi lehetőség, sőt ha már regisztráltunk, tagságunk törlésére sincs lehetőség.

Intellectual Property Watch

By David Cronin for Intellectual Property Watch
BRUSSELS – Europe’s copyright rules are ill-suited to an age when millions of music files can be accessed at the click of a mouse, a Brussels conference has been told.

About eight million tracks by musicians from a wide variety of genres can now be listened to via the internet, a figure that is projected to rise to 12 million by 2012. With the entertainment industry estimating that 90 percent of music downloads are illegal and sales of CDs having declined sharply over the past few years, some technology firms are urging that the whole basis of copyright law needs to be rethought.

Kurt Einzinger, president of the Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA), believes that attitudes to music have changed so fundamentally that the “established copyright regime is not fit for the internet.”

“I personally have LPs [records] of The Rolling Stones and Cream at home,” he said. “But my kids get a piece of music and they listen to [it] and that’s it. They don’t keep it. They wouldn’t pay one euro or one dollar for listening one time to a piece of music.”

While acknowledging that there is a “culture of disrespect for copyright rules,” he added that “when downloading, people don’t feel they are illegal, they don’t feel they are doing something wrong.”

Einzinger was speaking at a conference organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that took place in Brussels on November 24 and 25.

A markedly different view was offered by Feargal Sharkey, former singer with Irish punk-rock band The Undertones.

Now chief executive of UK Music, which represents artists, record companies, managers and royalty collecting societies, Sharkey contended that the “voice of the creator is frequently overlooked” in the debate about the internet.

The proliferation of free downloading, he said, is a contributory factor to the often meagre income of artists, citing estimates that more than 80 percent of musicians in Britain earn less than €15,000 euros per year.

“The copyright system was introduced to protect true originality,” he added, stating that freedom of expression does not confer “a freedom to steal and plagiarise.”

A ‘memorandum of understanding’ between the British government, the recording industry and technology firms signed during July aims to set up new business models, which allow listeners access to music using whichever means they prefer but in a way that “the creator gets paid,” according to Sharkey.

Jean Bergevin, a European Commission official handling single market issues, suggested there is considerable confusion about how copyright legislation applies.

Many internet service providers have claimed that they merely host data and should not be held responsible for whether its content violates copyright law. But Bergevin stressed that the European Union’s directive on electronic commerce, which dates from 2000, does not make such firms “fully exempt from liability.” Once they receive knowledge that copyright is not being respected, they are supposed to take action. Yet he said that the issue of how courts should interpret what constitutes knowledge in such cases is “an issue that might require some clarification.”

His colleague Jean-Eric de Cockborne, an official dealing with audiovisual policy, described internet piracy as “a massive problem.” While he insisted that “doing nothing is not an option,” he argued that it would be premature to introduce fresh laws.

“It is unlikely that new punitive legislation will be adopted,” he added. “There is a very strong political view on the need to balance the protection of intellectual property rights with other fundamental rights, in particular data protection and the right to information.”

Jürgen Becker, vice-president of GEMA (the society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights in Germany), complained that “copyright is not being adequately protected online” and that a “crisis of copyright” has been taking place for the past two decades. His organisation, he noted, has initiated legal action in Germany in a bid to pressurise internet firms into blocking access to websites which breach copyright rules.

“All rights-owners agree that they do not wish to put up with this any longer,” he said. “But the options open to them in this respect are limited. Only lawmakers – both national and European – are in a position to remedy the situation.”

Technology | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co, is teaming up with Google Inc on a multi-year partnership in which Google will act as a broker to sell TV advertising on some NBC cable channels.

In a joint statement, the two companies said NBC Universal will offer advertising time from several of its cable networks for Google to sell advertising through its Google TV Ads service.

The deal, set to go into effect in coming months, covers advertising inventory on Sci Fi, Oxygen, MSNBC, CNBC, Sleuth, and Chiller, with more NBC Universal channels possible in the future, the companies said.

“Advertisers using the Google TV Ads platform can reach NBCU Cable’s national audience and gain access to viewership data at an unprecedented scale,” the NBC Universal and Google statement said.

Mike Pilot, president of NBC Universal sales and marketing, and Tim Armstrong, Google’s president of advertising and commerce for North America, said that the partnership would make TV ads more accountable.

Through an existing deal with DISH Network, the Google TV Ads service can report second-by-second TV usage data allowing advertisers to measure viewership of their ads more precisely. The NBC-Google partnership extrapolates on the data supplied by Dish set-top boxes in millions of U.S. homes.

NBC Universal and Google have also agreed to work together to adapt the Google TV Ad service for use in local TV markets. They are also collaborating on custom marketing and research projects using Google TV Ads to survey audience trends.

NME.COM

Estelle has seen her latest album, ‘Shine’, and single ‘American Boy’, plummet in the US charts after they were removed from download site iTunes in the country.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Estelle’s record label, Warner, removed the releases from iTunes in an attempt to encourage fans to buy physical copies of them instead – which earn more money for the company.

‘American Boy’ had been sitting at number 11 in the US Billboard singles chart, but it fell to number 37 following its removal from iTunes.

‘Shine’ dropped to number 159 in the albums chart, after peaking at number 38.

A spokesperson for Warner said that the move was part of strategies “uniquely tailored to each artist and their fanbase in an effort to optimise revenues and promote long-term artist development”.

Index

“A magyar filmvagyon piacképes részének 70-80 százaléka már ki van adva dvd-n, az elmúlt években nagyon sok jelent meg” – mondja Tolmár külön felsorolva, hogy animációsfilmeket, közönségfilmeket, vígjátékokat volt érdemes megjelentetni. Még ha a nemzeti filmvagyonba tartozó cirka kétezer filmnek ez a piacképes rész csak a tizede is.

paidContent:UK

One of the UK’s top ISPs is preparing to launch an unlimited music service that would see it pay record labels for songs illegally downloaded by its customers, paidContent:UK can reveal.

Playlouder MSP (music service provider), which first tried the model for itself back in 2003, said it will facilitate the service for the broadband operator, starting early next year. Co-founder Paul Sanders would not name the ISP, but a source last month told paidContent:UK Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) was holding some kind of talks with the vendor.

For more on the digital music industry, attend our EconMusic conference on Sep. 23 at the Natural History Museum in London. Early bird ticket sales are now open…

More after the jump…

Now that the biggest six ISPs have pledged to reduce illegal downloading on their networks, they need commercial alternatives that will prove similarly enticing – and subscriptions offering tunes-on-tap are emerging as the front runner for consumers already plucking free music from the “celestial jukebox”.

Playlouder’s service lets users legitimately download from channels like Gnutella, BitTorrent and more – the list goes on – because the “deep packet inspection” technology, installed on the broadband infrastructure, recognises every song downloaded over the ISP network, no matter which protocol, and reimburses rightsholders accordingly. Subscribers to the music package will even be allowed to share tunes amongst themselves because every transfer is anonymously tracked using Audible (NSDQ: ADBL) Magic, but proliferation to non-subscribers will be blocked.

The effective legitimisation of P2P channels many consider “illegal” could be a watershed – but depends on whether the ISPs can convince customers to pay a monthly fee for unlimited access they’re already getting gratis. The thousands of warning letters they’ve pledged to send may help shepherd freeloaders away from free, creating new markets. Recent research showed 95 percent of UK consumers copy music and last week’s study showing the scale of Radiohead BitTorrents suggested many listeners are loathe to use official legal channels, so a framework that extracts money from P2P, without weening users off their favourite habit, could be a winner.

“We are confident that we will have something quite good to announce in the next couple of months,” Sanders said. “We’ve just done another round of (seed) finance from senior figures in the financial community and the music community, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that if we didn’t think there was good news coming down the pipe. We’re starting the process of principal finance, we’re looking for about £4 million; it takes us through to profitability because it will essentially finance this first large ISP deal.”

For Sanders, what is Playlouder’s first ever client in five whole years of operating comes better late than never. Formed out of the early music webzine of the same name, Playlouder in 2003 debuted MSP, its own attempt at an £18-a-month ISP service with bundled music package. Three years in, and squeezed out by the ISP big boys, however, the outfit had signed only a handful of subscribers and was mothballed to a mere R&D project while Playlouder switched to focus on selling the service to the bigger providers.

On both counts, the service was way ahead of its time, conceived when labels were still advocating DRM. Speaking to me in Playlouder’s reclaimed Hoxton warehouse that is every inch the 90s trendy dot.com HQ, a weary Sanders bares many battle scars from half a decade mediating between those in the often mutually incomprenhesible ISP and music worlds, all in pursuit of the subscription dream. It’s been an uphill struggle that has taken its toll financially, too – asked if the business is supporting itself, Sanders admitted: “No, we have almost no revenue.”

But now the industry’s growing interest in the subscription music model (Sky, Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Orange et al all launching one) could finally mean real business for Playlouder, and Sanders is in the unique position of having learned more than perhaps anyone in the UK about the emerging consumer model that promises to restore to the music business much of the revenue it’s lost to piracy.

“Patience is a virtue,” he said. “This is a very slow business, I can tell you. But I haven’t been working on this for five years to decide not to prove the model at the last minute – this is new territory for ISPs and the music industry.” Perhaps hinting at the upcoming ISP deal: “If some things that we know are happening come to fruition, then we should see a breakthrough early next year. It’s not rocket science – give ‘em what they want, ask them to pay for it.” Sanders said subscriptions would bring a “huge amount more” money to music because customers buy only 2.4 albums a year (approx (£24) but would pay £5 per month (£60 annually) for unlimited access.

Playlouder is licensed to use music from EMI, SonyBMG, several indies and one more big label is on the way, Sanders revealed. So confident is he in what could finally be the realisation of his original goal, however, Sanders has ruled out selling equity to any ISP – despite approaches from both broadband and music providers – hoping instead to sell the service to “as many of them as possible”. The Playlouder system will work on any ISP’s network, Sanders said.

Internet Evolution –

In this test, we configured 13 different P2P clients using a total of 10 different P2P protocols to verify detection accuracy. For each of the major P2P protocols – BitTorrent, eDonkey, and Gnutella – we used two different clients. Client implementations of the same protocol may differ slightly, so we wanted to verify whether the devices could detect all implementations of a P2P protocol and distinguish between different clients.

Other Internet applications like Web sessions, video streams, file transfer, and email were sent alongside the P2P traffic in order to reproduce a typical mix of Internet traffic. The challenge was to detect the P2P protocol traffic volume accurately – not allowing any sessions to escape the device’s attention.

Positech Games

A few days ago I posted a simple question on my blog. “Why do people pirate my games?”. It was an honest attempt to get real answers to an important question. I submitted the bog entry to slashdot and the penny arcade forums, and from there it made it to arstechnica, then digg, then bnet and probably a few other places. The response was massive. This is what I found:

USATODAY.com

The success of the video game Rock Band is drumming up revenue for the music industry.

Virtual rockers downloaded roughly 2.5 million songs in the eight weeks since the game launched on the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 systems.

Rock Band, developed by Harmonix, which also created Guitar Hero, comes with 58 playable songs including the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter and Metallica’s Enter Sandman. But many more tunes can be downloaded over the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live for prices varying from 99 cents to $2.99.

InformationWeek

The Higher Education Opportunity Act, passed Wednesday by the House and Thursday by the Senate, promotes education, legal alternatives, and improved monitoring of campus networks.

If signed into law by President George W. Bush, the bipartisan bill would require publicly funded universities and colleges to teach students and employees about illegal downloading, distribution of copyrighted materials, and related campus policies.

The bill also requires universities and colleges to create plans to prevent piracy by using technology and to present legal alternatives. The bill would provide grants to support those efforts.

| Bit Player | Los Angeles Times

RealNetworks reported that subscribers to its paid music services (Rhapsody and Real’s premium Internet radio stations) dropped slighted in the final three months of 2007, from 1.925 million to 1.9 million in the previous quarter. Rival Napster on Wednesday reported a similar drop in the fourth quarter, from about 750,000 to 743,000.

guardian.co.uk

The agreement between internet service providers, the government, and the music industry to send angry letters to music fans who are downloading free music is a smokescreen, intended to obscure the crisis the record industry is facing.

This agreement has come about as a result of music industry pressure on ISPs who are, after all, facilitating their customers’ free music downloads. If this were an ordinary copyright infringement case, the record companies would put their lawyers onto the ISPs. However, everyone knows that the music industry is using internet sites, particularly the big social networks such as MySpace, to promote their artists.

It is just not in the music industry’s interest to bite the hand of the ISPs, which provide them with access to potential customers. But on the other hand, the industry does have a case against the ISPs – so what is to be done? I imagine some corporate boardroom representing the ISPs shrugged their shoulders and said “well I suppose we could send them a warning letter”. The industry moguls replied “yeah a warning letter – that’ll do it”.

But of course a warning letter won’t do it. Without some kind of legal framework to back it up, it’s nothing more than a gesture. The real problem for the record companies is that the ground is changing beneath them. New technology has made it possible for people to acquire music without going through the traditional route of buying objects in a shop.

Rather than fighting this trend, the industry itself needs to find new methods of collecting royalties. The only real moral argument the industry has that will work with music fans is that the artist should be rewarded financially for providing them with music. Yet everyone knows that historically the record industry has paid artists a fraction of the price paid by the public for albums and singles.

What needs to happen is for the industry to reverse its priorities, put artists to the fore and pay them a larger share of the price in return for their support in the transition to new business models. It is doesn’t take a huge amount of imagination to conceive of other ways of levying royalties where original music is used. The way we get radio in the UK offers two simple examples.

On one hand, we have the BBC service, where for the price of the licence fee you can listen to as much radio as you like. On the other hand, there is commercial radio, which is free at the point-of-use to you, the listener. However, the fact that it is free doesn’t mean the music content is not paid for. Royalties are paid to musicians from the sale of advertising that appears between the songs. Either of these two models could be applied to music.

A licence fee could be paid, allowing you to download as much music as you like, which will be simpler to police as you would need to presumably give your licence number before you download anything. Or sites such as MySpace, which make billions of dollars in advertising revenue without paying for any content whatsoever, could reverse that trend and start paying royalties to musicians and other content providers.

In an ideal world, such royalties or the blanket licence fee would not be paid to music companies themselves but to an independent collection agency that would pay the money directly to artists. The music industry treats the internet as a threat, whereas for artists it gives us an opportunity to get closer to our audience than ever before. We must be very, very careful that we don’t alienate those fans and make it impossible for the next generation of singer-songwriters to have viable careers.

The Register

Thousands – or to be more precise, six thousands – of lucky alleged infringers a week are to be informed of the error of their ways, according to the terms of the deal struck this week between the British government and six major ISPs. They will in the first instance be “informed when their accounts are being used unlawfully to share copyright material and pointed towards legal alternatives.”

And in the second instance? That is yet to be determined, and the ISPs and rights holders signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the government have been sent off for four months to figure out the ‘or what?’ bit of the deal.

In the meantime those letters will be cranking out. The targets will be identified by “music rights holders” who will pass the data on to the ISPs, who will then run the system as a trial for three months. So that’s about 70,000 letters in total, the number of suspects being dependent on whether they’re going to bombard the same people with information regarding the unlawful nature of some of their account’s activities, or whether they go for a ‘one per deviant’ rule.

The evidence of this trial period will be analysed, and depending on what that tells them they’ll agree with Offcom an escalation in numbers, a widening of content coverage (presumably to video), and “a process for agreeing a cap.” That is, not a cap in itself, but a process for agreeing one. This (we speculate) might take into account factors such as cost of stamps to ISPs, level of music business profitability, percentage of deviants in total user base, ratio of ridicule experienced by music industry to ridicule experienced by ISPs, and the price of sardines. Or something.

The two aspects of the letter – drawing the user’s attention to the infringement and pointing them at legal alternatives – are likely to be important in determining the success of the trial. Some users – possibly, as Feargal Sharkey thinks, most – are likely to be scared off when they learn that somebody’s watching them, but adequate legal alternatives (which the ISPs say they’re going to set up) will have to exist in order for the customers to be directed to them, and to carry on using them.

It seems doubtful that this will be the case in four months time, when the working group is due to report back back with proposals to deal with the hard cases. Despite fevered reporting in some newspapers, ‘three strikes’ doesn’t figure in this and the measures being considered are light on savagery. “The group will… look at solutions including technical measures such as traffic management or filtering, and marking of content to facilitate its identification. In addition, rights holders will consider prosecuting particularly serious infringers in appropriate cases.”

The ISPs already do traffic management, so that could just mean more of the same. Content marking would have to be done by the rights holders and would simplify filtering, if they decided they were going to do filtering, while rights holders busting serious infringers is pretty much what rights holders do already.

Fevered press coverage of a ‘crackdown on filesharers’ seems to derive in the main from the government’s “alternative regulatory options”. These are effectively various things the Nasty Party might do if the preferred option of voluntary measures and a little light rule-making enforced by Offcom doesn’t pan out. One of these light rules will ensure “that all ISPs are required to undertake an appropriate level of action to achieve the desired result.” So the ISPs signing the MOU won’t be disadvantaged by users fleeing to refusenik ISPs, because there will be no refusenik ISPs -“ISPs who choose not to engage in the self-regulatory arrangement would remain bound by the underlying requirement to have an effective policy on unlawful P2P file- sharing.”

Currently four tougher alternatives to this regime are being floated, and they still don’t include ‘three strikes’. Option A1 proposes legislation making it possible for rights holders to get personal data of infringement suspects on request, rather than having to apply for a court order. This would make it cheaper to sue infringers than it currently is, and could possibly mean an increase in prosecutions, but this only seems possible if the rights holders decided all deals were off, threw their toys out of the pram and went nuclear. Or they might just want to add everybody to their mailing lists, but we doubt that.

Option A2 seems similarly BPI-friendly. “Typically, under the terms of the contract between an ISP and an Internet service subscriber, the subscriber is not allowed to use the account for illegal purposes. Obliging ISPs to take action to enforce this contractual term in some way, for example to warn, suspend or terminate the Internet accounts of file-sharers, or to use other technical options would avoid lengthy, costly legal action.”

Getting the ISPs to “implement their own terms and conditions” is one of the BPI’s refrains, and if they were to do this in accordance with the BPI’s wishes, then they’d be warning people, suspending them, kicking them off… Which could indeed end up looking and feeling like three strikes, but these are alternative options, remember – they are not currently on the table.

Option A3 is basically Option A2, but sitting in between the rights holders and the ISPs would be a third party regulatory body which would assess the evidence, direct the ISP to take appropriate action and hear appeals and complaints. This would be costly and complex – and the government seems not to like it much.

Finally, Option A4 (there are no B options, or if there are they’re secret) covers filtering equipment. The government seems quite taken with this, claiming:

“There are technologies available which can filter Internet traffic. These can identify particular types of file (eg music files), check whether the file is subject to copyright protection and then check whether the person offering the file for download has the right to do so. If no such permission is found, the filter can block the download. These technologies vary in their effectiveness and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy given the lack of conformity between different computer and software technologies.”

And: “If the download is in breach of copyright the filter can block the download before it has been completed. No breach therefore occurs.”

Which is cool, if true. The rights holder doesn’t lose revenue because there’s no infringement, the ISP doesn’t need to do any threatening or booting, and it “may not require costly regulatory processes to be established or require issues of data protection to be addressed.” It could indeed be the government’s preferred magic bullet if all of that turned out to be true.

Unfortunately: “Opinion seems to be divided between stakeholders on whether filters could be an effective, long-term, cost-effective way of tackling not only P2P piracy but also other forms of copyright infringement. It might be valuable, in addition to moving forward on P2P, if rights holders and ISPs jointly investigated the technical, legal and cost issues around filters and assessed their utility in addressing unlawful online activity.”

Which is how the filtering bit got into the brief for the MOU group that’s reporting back in four months. Tune in then to see whether the ISPs and the BPI can save their marriage. ®

Wired 13.01:

Anathema is a so-called topsite, one of 30 or so underground, highly secretive servers where nearly all of the unlicensed music, movies, and videogames available on the Internet originate. Outside of a pirate elite and the Feds who track them, few know that topsites exist. Even fewer can log in.

HEXUS.gaming

On receiving an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast last week for his services to computer gaming, the Northern Irish video game developer, David Perry, whose creations include Earthworm Jim, MDK, Messiah , Wild 9 and Enter the Matrix, believes that the Western games industry will eventually combat piracy problem by offering games for free.

Perry believes that the western world will soon follow the same business model that has worked well in Asia, where software is offered as a free download and revenue is made from micro-payments for extras such as new characters and weapons.

Speaking in Belfast after his award, Perry said:

“They had so much piracy that they decided to stop charging for the games. Instead, there’ll be a charge for things you might want to use in the game.”

“Your character might have a plain white T-shirt. If you wanted a nicer one you could have it for a dollar. Or perhaps you could buy a magic sword for a knight for a dollar.”

Though the idea may sound far-fetched, EA has already paved the way for the invasion of free games into the Western world by launching its ‘Play 4 Free’ business model and its first free game, Battlefield Heroes, due for release this summer.

It remains to be seen whether others will follow, but with an estimated £2bn lost every year due to piracy, developers may not have much of an option.

TorrentFreak

Jesse Alexander has co-produced and written for both ‘Heroes’ and ‘Lost’, two of the most successful TV-series today. In addition to millions of viewers on TV, both shows are are also extremely popular on BitTorrent. In fact, millions of people share a single episode and this can go on to 10 million downloads per episode.

One could argue that their availability on BitTorrent actually helped ‘Lost’ and ‘Heroes’ to build a stronger fanbase. With torrents, no-one has to miss an episode anymore which keeps the fans more engaged. So called “pirates” advertise the shows to their friends, or write about it on their blogs. Accordingly, when we asked Jesse Alexander whether he thinks that BitTorrent might have helped to reach a broader audience, he answered with a clear cut “Yes”.

Not that Jesse wants everybody to get the shows off BitTorrent, but he said that it certainly signals that there is a market for on-demand and interactive TV. “People watching shows such as Lost and Heroes on BitTorrent is the present world reality,” Jesse told TorrentFreak. TV networks have to recognize this, give their viewers more ways to interact with the shows, and find ways to generate revenue from every member of the global audience.”

“It’s the same for music artists. The reality is, people share music. Artist now make money by driving people to concerts, through community websites, and by offering exclusive events. TV networks are focusing too much on one exclusive product, instead of building a community. This is a mistake I think.”

The success of Heroes on BitTorrent didn’t pass by the cast of the show unnoticed either. “The cast and the people behind the scenes have all been talking about it,” Jesse said. As an example he mentioned last year’s promotional tour in France, where the actors were recognized by hundreds of fans, even though the show had not even premiered on TV yet.

Alexander has hit the nail on the head. This is in fact one of the main reasons why shows like ‘Heroes’ are so popular on filesharing networks. It can take up to six months after the US premiere before these shows are aired in Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. Jesse agreed that this is indeed one of the major causes of piracy. “This gap is something that is certainly going to change in the future,” he added.

Jesse went on to say that in the near future, thanks to the Internet, the viewers of TV-shows will see more interactive components and alternate realities they can participate in. The future of TV will be more international, with real interaction, and shows will be more and more integrated into the core part of an online community.

When we asked Jesse if he has ever downloaded TV-shows off BitTorrent, he told us: “I can’t confirm or deny, but I’m familiar with all kind of new technologies.” I guess we all know what he’s trying to say.

It is no surprise that Jesse is more positive towards new technologies than some others in the entertainment industry. Last week we reported on the upcoming “Pirate TV” show that he is working on, together with Matt Mason, the author of ‘The Pirate’s Dilemma’.

“Matt’s book needs to get a broader audience,” said Jesse. “We want to discuss the negative and the positive side of piracy, and place things in a broader historical context. We want to start a real conversation about the future of intellectual property.”

We’re happy to join the debate, what about you?

Information Week

The Motion Picture Association of America has proclaimed victory with a criminal conviction against a peer-to-peer Web site operator.

A federal jury convicted 26-year-old Daniel Dove of EliteTorrents.org, a site that distributes movies before their official release. Dove’s conviction on charges of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement marks the eighth successful prosecution stemming from a national crackdown on sites that distribute copyrighted content through P2P networks. It’s the first time a federal jury has handed down a criminal conviction for P2P copyright infringement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Prosecutors said Dove recruited a small group of EliteTorrents members with high-speed Internet connections and served as an administrator as they uploaded pirated content. They said he operated a high-speed server to distribute content through BitTorrent technology.

Investigators who participated in “Operation D-Elite” uncovered evidence showing EliteTorrents had more than 125,000 members and promoted distribution of about 700 movies, which were downloaded more than 1.1 million times.

Dove will face sentencing Sept. 9. He could spend up to 10 years in prison.

Dove’s conviction “sends a clear message that when presented with clear-cut evidence, jurors have little tolerance for the willful, deliberate, and widespread distribution of protected content,” said Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of the MPAA.

“The MPAA commends the federal jury in Big Stone Gap, Va., for their thoughtful deliberations in this case and for valuing the protection of intellectual property in the United States,” he said.

The Register

The BPI has written to 800 Virgin Media customers warning them to stop sharing music files or risk losing their broadband connection.

The letters came in an envelope marked: “Important. If you don’t read this, your broadband could be disconnected.” But Virgin told Radio 1’s Newsbeat that the phrase was a mistake and the letters were part of an education campaign. Virgin said it was not making any kind of accusation and that it was possible someone other than the account holder was involved.

When the Virgin campaign was revealed last month the company assured us that the letters were not part of a “three strikes” process. The BPI has pushed ISPs to warn users three times for copyright infringement before cutting off their broadband.

The individuals were identified by the BPI which, as we exclusively revealed , is working on a similar scheme with BT. The BPI letter sent on by BT warns of further action including “litigation and suspension by BT your internet connection”.

At least one Virgin customer who received a letter in June told Newsbeat he was certain it was not him or his flatmates who were responsible for downloading the Amy Winehouse song. He said it was possible that someone had used the flat’s wireless network.

Will McGree said: “The campaign is doomed to fail. Virgin will lose a lot of customers over this because people don’t like to be accused of stealing music over their morning coffee.

“It made me feel betrayed. I was under the impression that I paid a broadband company to keep my internet connection protected.”

The BPI has been busy lobbying the government for stronger laws against file sharing. But the government seems to be resisting the pressure and is instead pushing the music industry and ISPs to get talking to find a licensed, and paid for, form of file sharing.

Although BT and Virgin are supporting the BPI’s approach others, notably Carphone Warehouse, are refusing to co-operate.

A survey last month found 63 per cent of internet users were downloading unlicensed music.

Epicenter from Wired.com

Jesse Alexander, co-producer of “Heroes” and “Lost,” says file sharing isn’t all bad.

It’s mighty big of him to admit, given that P2P has undoubtedly eaten profits from his shows — downloads of “Heroes” and “Lost” can run up to 10 million per week.

Alexander sees the silver lining, though.

“People watching shows such as ‘Lost’ and ‘Heroes’ on BitTorrent is the present world reality,” Alexander told Torrent Freak. “TV Networks have to recognize this, give their viewers more ways to interact with the shows, and find ways to generate revenue from every member of the global audience.”

Incidentally, Alexander is also reportedly working on a 13-part TV show about piracy.

Filmmaker Michael Moore has a similar take: He has said on the record that he doesn’t have a problem with people who download his movies, as long as they don’t make a profit off it.

Ofcom

To date, Ofcom has not made a lot of public noise about the piracy issue. But that should not be mistaken for a lack of interest or concern. Our formal locus may be limited. But this sort of piracy is something that affects network operators, ISPs, content creators and consumers – and as the converged regulator we have of course been keeping a watchful eye on developments.

The issue is critical. An operator investing in next generation networks will not want it clogged up with illegal peer-to-peer content if that means no-one will pay to ensure a return on the investment, as we have seen in some Asia Pacific markets. And content providers, self evidently, do not want illegal traffic undermining their investment in IPR.

This is a crucial issue for both network providers and content creators. It has not touched every company in these spheres yet, but it will do. We very much hope that a commercial or voluntary agreement can be found to resolve these difficult issues. As the converged communications regulator, if we can play a constructive role in helping to find a common solution in the best interests of companies and consumers we would be very happy to do so.

Index

Néhány éve az EliteTorrents az internet egyik legmenőbb torrentoldala volt. A nevéhez hűen eredetileg kiválasztott kevesek titkos oldalának készült, aztán egyre inkább elterjedt a híre, és amikor a Star Wars előzménytrilógia befejező része, a Sith bosszúja ezen az oldalon keresztül szivárgott ki az internetre a premier előtt, a média is felfigyelt rá.

Az FBI 2005-ben az amerikai filmkiadók szövetségének segítségével elkapta az EliteTorrents üzemeltetőit, és bíróság elé állította őket. Az oldal két adminisztrátorát, Scott McCauslandet és Grant Stanleyt már 2006-ban elítélték, néhány ezer dolláros bírságot, és öt-öt hónap börtönt kaptak (plusz McCauslandnek a próbaidején Windows kell használnia [1], mert az ellenőrző szoftver, amivel az FBI követi az online ténykedését, nem megy Linuxon).

Két társával ellentétben Daniel Dove a végsőkig ragaszkodott ahhoz, hogy ártatlan, de a vádnak végül sikerült annyi bizonyítékot [2] felhalmozni, ami meggyőzte a bíróságot ennek ellenkezőjéről. Dove a fájlcserélőre a friss tartalmakat feltöltő szűk elitréteg vezetője volt, és 700 film illegális másolatainak megosztását bizonyították rá, amit 1,1 millióan töltöttek le a hálózatról. A büntetése maximálisan tíz év lehet; ha ilyen súlyos lesz az ítélet, az azt jelzi, hogy az amerikai zene- és filmkiadók egyre agresszívabban lépnek fel a fájlcserélők ellen.

Asva.info

Zárásként, mert olvastam a kérdések között szeretném megcáfolni, hogy mi ezért az egészért sohasem kaptunk semmilyen anyagi támogatást. Saját pénzből finanszírozzuk a forrásokat, a hw-eket, az internetet és még sorolhatnám, amit nekünk nem fizet ki senki. Köszönet érdemli azokat akik az évek során meg-megújúlva képesek még mindig kitartani emelett a helyzet mellett és továbbra is önzetlenül dolgoznak azért, hogy nektek letöltőknek jó legyen. Külön tisztelet az archívumok kezelőinek akik nem csak a friss filmekkel foglalkoznak, hanem ügyelnek arra, hogy régi gyöngyszemek is letölthetőek legyenek, ha már a magyar kiadók nem tartottak rá igényt! Hamarosan itthon is elérhető lesz a hd sugárzás, kiváncsian várom ki lesz az első igazi hd capper…
Azoknak akik az elmúlt napok alatt csak mocskolódni tudtak, és hangoztatták, hogy majd jön a helyükre 5 másik: én valahogy nem látom, hogy az eltelt 2 nap alatt jelentkezett volna a megszűnt 5 csapat helyére 25 új másik. Így is telített a piac, talán jobb lenne ha egymás dupeolgatása helyett mindenki olyan munkára szentelné az idejét és pénzét ami még nem elérhető. Ha ezt sikerülne megvalósítani már hatalmas lépés lenne egy jobb warezvilág felé. A rengeteg torrent-csapat miatt pedig ez nem fog megvalósulni, mert így mindenki első kézből fér hozzá a saját csapat releasehez, holott 1 max 2 óra elteltével ugyanaz lenne elérhető minden helyen. De ha nekik egyszerűbb fizetni a sávszélt és a ripboxot a lelkük rajta.
És bármilyen hihetetlen tényleg letesszük a lantot, igen hiányozni fog egy jóideig, de az ebből fakadó rengeteg időt sokminden másra is fel lehet használni. Köszöntem a figyelmet.

Ars Technica

Hollywood has been granted another victory in its war against piracy, this time at the expense of two linking sites that the Motion Picture Association of America believes profited from enabling copyright infringement. Both ShowStash.net and Cinematube.net have been hit with multimillion dollar judgments recently for copyright infringement of various movies and TV shows.
Even though ShowStash and Cinematube didn’t host any of these files, both were found guilty of contributory copyright infringement, according to the judges’ opinions, because they searched for, identified, collected, and indexed links to illegal copies of movies and TV shows. Aside from monetary damages, both sites are now prohibited from engaging in further activity that would infringe upon the studios’ work.

The damages totaled $2.7 million for ShowStash and $1.3 million for Cinematube, neither of which were particularly well-known to the general Internet community. The MPAA doesn’t seem to care much that it gives free publicity to these tiny sites when it makes announcements of its litigation plans, however. The organization apparently hopes that others will merely feel threatened by the prospect of paying out millions of dollars and shut down voluntarily.

The Register

Nokia will be handing over its entire handset profit margin – and more – to the record industry for its “Comes With Music” progamme, according to media analysts.

The Hollywood Reporter this week reports that Nokia is paying the world’s biggest label, Universal Music Group, $35 per handset to bundle access to the label’s catalogue. Punters are allowed to keep music they download.

Music business insiders expressed astonishment to us at Nokia’s generosity: it’s seven times what some privately estimated the deal was worth. Paid Content puts the payment to UMG at $33.5 per handset for the first 2.5 million units, falling as volumes increase.

But what if Nokia succeeds in replicating the deal with other labels? Then the extent of the programme becomes apparent. One blog, basing its estimate on market share, figures the subsidy would rise to $116 per handset. But that’s a lowball figure, we reckon: it excludes publishing royalties, and underestimates the size of the indie sector which is as high as 40pc of the market, particularly with the yoof demographic Nokia wants.

The back of our envelope shows a figure closer to $150 per handset.

Either way, that comfortably wipes out any hope of a profit for Nokia on the CWM. The average selling price of a mobile handset is a shade over $100; Nokia’s gross margin around a third of that.

The pride of Finnish business has been undergoing a crisis of confidence in recent years – making it easy pickings for new media consultants. These are typified by WiReD magazine’s Chris Anderson, who recently lectured the company on the wisdom of giving stuff away. “Zero” was a “Radical Price”, he advised. And “Minus Eighty” sure is a radical profit margin, Chris!

How the music business must wish it met “paytards” like Nokia every day.

Threat Level from Wired.com

University of Florida professor Michael Moulton thinks copyright law protects the lectures he gives to his students, and he’s headed to court to prove it.

Moulton and his e-textbook publisher are suing Thomas Bean, who runs a company that repackages and sells student notes, arguing that the business is illegal since notes taken during college lectures violate the professor’s copyright.

Faulkner Press filed suit in a Florida court Tuesday against the the owner of Einstein’s Notes, which sells “study kits” for classes, including Professor Michael Moulton’s course on “Wildlife Issues in the New Millennium.”

Those notes are illegal, Faulkner and Moulton contend, since they are derivative works of the professor’s copyrighted lectures.

If successful, the suit (.pdf) could put an end to a lucrative, but ethically murky businesses that have grown up around large universities to profit from students who don’t always want to go to the classes they are paying for.

TorrentFreak

Following a huge increase in complaints from the music, movie and software industries, the four major Japanese ISP organizations have agreed that they will work with copyright holders to track down copyright infringing file-sharers and disconnect them from the internet.

 - News – The Phoenix

“While networks may have legitimate network issues and practices, that does not mean that they can arbitrarily block access to certain network services,” said FCC chairman Kevin Martin. “The commission is ready, willing and able to step in if necessary to correct any practices that are ongoing today.”

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Reuters.com

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – A Danish court has ordered Denmark-based Internet service provider Tele2 to shut down its customers’ access to the popular file-sharing site Pirate Bay, Danish IT magazine Computerworld reported on Monday.

Computerworld said on its Web site that a court had ordered Denmark’s Tele2 — one of the Nordic country’s largest Internet providers — to close access to the site at the request of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

On its Danish Web site, the IFPI said Frederiksberg county court had ordered an Internet provider to shut down its customers’ access to The Pirate Bay.

“The provider had agreed to follow the order and it is expected that other Internet service providers will voluntarily follow the court order,” the organization said.

Tele2 Denmark was bought last year by Norway’s Telenor from Swedish telecoms operator Tele2 and has about a 4 percent market share of Denmark’s roughly 2 million Internet subscriptions.

Tele2 and Telenor were not immediately available to comment, however, Tele2’s regulatory director Nicholai Pfeiffer told Computerworld Tele2 would abide by the ruling.

Other large Danish Internet service providers said they would not immediately follow the order.

The restriction is another blow for the Internet-based music and film sharing site. Last week four men linked to Pirate Bay were charged by a Swedish prosecutor with conspiracy to break copyright law.

BBC NEWS | Technology

In February 2006, a part-time Canadian music student established a modest, non-commercial website that used collaborative wiki tools, such as those used by Wikipedia, to create an online library of public domain musical scores.

Within a matter of months, the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) featured more than 1,000 musical scores for which the copyright had expired in Canada.

Within two years – without any funding, sponsorship or promotion – the site had become the largest public domain music score library on the internet, generating a million hits per day, featuring over 15,000 scores by over 1,000 composers, and adding 2,000 new scores each month.

In mid-October this year the IMSLP disappeared from the internet.

Universal Edition, an Austrian music publisher, retained a Canadian law firm to demand that the site block European users from accessing certain works and from adding new scores for which the copyright had not expired in Europe.

The company noted that while the music scores entered the public domain in Canada 50 years after a composer’s death, Europe’s copyright term is 20 years longer.

Fool.com

Published reports in both Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal claim that News Corp.’s (NYSE: NWS) 20th Century Fox has inked a deal with Apple to provide video rentals through the iTunes storefront.

New York Times

Nokia, the telecommunications company, and the Universal Music Group, the recording company, said on Tuesday that they would offer unlimited free downloads of Universal songs to buyers of certain Nokia phones as a way to promote cellphones as media devices and to develop new revenue for a music industry struggling with piracy.

Under the agreement, Universal will let users download its entire catalog at no cost for 12 months, and keep the songs at the end of that time. Users will be able to download the songs to new Nokia phones or to their computers via mobile or fixed-line broadband connections.

Mashable!

or so they say. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nielsen has partnered with Digimarc to create something called the Digital Media Manager; a service offering media companies the ability to track copyrighted video content online.

How does Nielsen plan to tackle the tough task of tracking copyrighted video? Well, they’ve got the expertize on analyzing data, and they’ve already digitized about 95% of US TV programming for the purpose of their ratings service, which definitely helps. Still, many have tried – Audible Magic, for example – and haven’t exactly succeeded, mostly thanks to the fact that today you can effortlessly encrypt data which makes it impossible to analyze. We’ll have to wait and see what Nielsen and Digimarc have in stock. One thing is certain: this move will not make them the most popular company around.

WSJ claims that Nielsen has approached Google and News Corp with their service, which is nearly finished and might be officially announced as early as today.

Wired

This year, 22 percent of all music sold in the US will move through iTunes. “If iTunes gets up to 40 or 50 percent, they’ll have too much power for anyone else to enter the business,” says James McQuivey, who analyzes the digital music industry for Forrester Research. If the labels want out, they have two choices: Find a way to unseat the iPod or allow iTunes’ competitors to sell unprotected files that can play on Apple’s ubiquitous device.

| Mark Cuban’s blog – CNET Blogs

I’m not a Comcast customer. I happen to get service from Verizon, ATT and Time Warner at various locations where I pay for internet service.

If I was a Comcast customer, I would tell them, as I am now telling all the services I am a customer of:

BLOCK P2P TRAFFIC , PLEASE

As a consumer, I want my internet experience to be as fast as possible. The last thing I want slowing my internet service down are P2P freeloaders. Thats right, P2P content distributors are nothing more than freeloaders. The only person/organization that benefits from P2P usage are those that are trying to distribute content and want to distribute it on someone else’s bandwidth dime.

Does anyone really think its free ? That all the bandwidth consumed with content being distributed by P2P isn’t being paid for by someone ? That bandwidth is being paid for by consumers. Consumers who pay for personal, not commercial applications. When consumers provide their bandwidth to assist commercial applications, they are subsidizing those commercial applications which if it isn’t already, should be against an ISPs terms of service.

Thats not to say there isnt a place for P2P. There is. P2P is probably the least efficient means of distributing content in the last mile. Comcast, Time Warner, etc should charge a premium to those users who want to act as a seed and relay for P2P traffic. After all, that is why P2P is used, right ? For content distributors to avoid significant bandwidth and hosting charges. That makes it commercial traffic far more often than not. So make them pay commercial rates.

That will stop P2P dead in its tracks. P2P isnt so good that people will use it when they have to pay for all the bandwidth it consumes. It will die a quick death. That will speed up my internet connection.

thats a good thing.

So hang in there Comcast

m

FT.com / Home UK /

Anti-piracy moves ‘hurt sales’By Andrew Edgecliiffe-Johnson for Financial TimesPublished: November 20 2007 02:00 | Last updated: November 20 2007 02:00Retailers are urging the music industry to drop piracy protection for online downloads after new figures showed the average Briton has bought fewer than three digital tracks in the past three years.Incompatible proprietary technologies, aimed at defeating rampant piracy in the digital music era, are instead “stifling growth and working against the consumer interest”, said Kim Bayley, director-general of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).Her warning comes as high street retailers and digital music specialists watch pre-Christmas sales trends nervously. The music industry makes at least 40 per cent of its revenues in the fourth quarter, but the traditional sales build-up has started later than usual.Although Leona Lewis – the X Factor winner backed by Simon Cowell’s Syco label – this month notched up the highest first-week album sales for a debut artist, album volumes are down 11 per cent, or 12m units, for the year to date, according to the Official UK Charts Company and Music Week.Recorded music companies had been “quick to complain” that the slide in CD sales had not been offset by growth in digital music, Ms Bayley said, but their embrace of digital rights management (DRM) systems “might have added to the slow take-up of legal digital services”.Just 150m tracks have been downloaded legally in the UK over the past three years, she added. “Sadly, that amounts to an average of less than one 79p per download per head of population per year.”The ERA’s appeal comes as more companies experiment with the DRM-freeMP3 format, following a pre-emptive challenge in February by Apple’s Steve Jobs. Most recently, Universal Music this month began offering its classical and jazz catalogue in MP3 format.In April, EMI “unlocked” its catalogue, charging consumers a premium for DRM-free versions of its music on Apple’s iTunes store, and has since signed deals with other digital retailers for MP3 files encoded at more than twice the quality of standard audio files.”There are certainly experiments, but there’s still a certain element of resistance within the music industry,” Ms Bayley said. “At the moment, [DRM] just puts consumers off,” she said, adding that confusion about formats was driving people toward illegal downloads.She cited research this month that found consumers were almost four times as likely to choose an MP3 file as a DRM-protected track when the two were offered alongside each other.The ERA, which represents high street retailers and online sites, said it was making the appeal now in the hope that music companies would drop DRM protections before the Christmas season and the January sales rise, when consumers load up the iPods they receive at Christmas.

The Social – CNET News.com

In his keynote speech on Wednesday morning at the Media and Money conference hosted by Dow Jones and Nielsen, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner talked about writers as though they were a minority group that he didn’t particularly understand well. “I like writers. Some of my best friends are writers,” he said as though attempting to save face. But nevertheless, his foremost epithet for the ongoing Writer’s Guild of America strike was “stupid.”

“I see stupid strikes, and I see less stupid strikes. I see smart strikes,” Eisner said in the keynote, which was structured as a conversation with Neil P. Cavuto, senior vice president and managing editor of Fox Business News. “This is a stupid strike.”

The problem, Eisner said, is that the Writer’s Guild is lobbying for a bigger cut of the profits from digital distribution–and according to the former Disney chief, those profits simply aren’t there. Eisner, now the head of a private investment firm called The Tornante Company, has launched an online video studio called Vuguru, and said that it’s still more or less a fruitless labor. Vuguru’s debut series, a serial mystery called Prom Queen, “didn’t make money,” he said.

TorrentFreak

With the demise of oink, many music aficionados were left with little in the way of similar sites. However, true to the hydra phenomenon, a week later and several new sites have sprung up to replace it. We asked the admins of two of these sites for their future plans.

TorrentFreak

Mininova reached another milestone as they just passed the 3 billion .torrent download mark. The impressive number of 3 million daily users now download almost 10 million .torrent files a day.

Ars technica

A handful of consumer groups, including members of the Savetheinternet.com coalition, have asked the Federal Communications Commission to stop Comcast from interfering with BitTorrent and other P2P traffic. A new complaint (PDF) filed by Public Knowledge and Free Press accuses Comcast of “secretly degrading” P2P traffic, calling it a violation of network neutrality principles, and asks the FCC to enjoin Comcast from blocking P2P traffic in the future.

The complaint comes in the wake of revelations the Comcast is using Sandvine to actively interfere with and block some BitTorrent, Gnutella, and even Lotus Notes traffic. The ISP is using forged TCP reset packets, which tell both ends of a connection that the other party has reset the connection, to accomplish the task. Comcast admits to managing traffic on its network to ensure a “good Internet experience” for all of its customers. The company argues that its management techniques will occasionally “delay” traffic, but denies that it blocks or degrades traffic, despite evidence to the contrary.

Silicon Alley Insider

Napster’s 2Q highlights: Revenues are up 24% y/y, to $31.6 million, and the company has stopped burning cash. The lowlights: It’s no longer burning money because it’s retreating from its core business: Selling all-you-can-eat music subscriptions. A year ago the company spent $8.5 million on sales and marketing, and this quarter that number had shrunk to $5 million.

The results: six months ago the subscription music service had 830,000 subs, three months ago it had 770,000, and now it has 750,000. The company says that last drop was expected, because kids stop using the service during the summer. But it’s not as if those numbers will swell this fall: NAPS projects only a 4% revenue increase for next quarter.

So instead of talking up its core subscription business, Napster is now pinning its hopes on the mobile industry. Music on your cellphone may one day be a real business, but hard to see why Napster is going to be the company that will capitalize on it. In the meantime, Napster has concluded that PC-based music subscriptions aren’t a growth business — the same conclusion that Yahoo! Music, RealNetworks and MTV have already come to.

The Register

The record industry is pressing the UK’s ISPs for a deal that would see persistent illegal file sharers automatically booted off the net.

High-level talks between the ruling council of internet trade body ISPA and the Music Publishers Association are aiming to settle the historic tension between the two industries.

Comments from a government Minister yesterday hint that an unlikely bargain could be approaching. Lord Triesman said talks are “progressing more promisingly than people might have thought six months ago”.

People familiar with the negotiations say the ISPs would prefer a financial penalty to a full disconnection.

The providers are concerned that terminating access is a disproportionate response. The internet is rapidly becoming an essential part of national infrastructure for consumers, they argue, not merely a source of entertainment.

And from the ISPs’ perspective, the government is sending out mixed signals on the issue.

The Canadian Press

LONDON – British and Dutch police shut down what they say is one the world’s biggest online sources of pirated music Tuesday and arrested the website’s 24-year-old suspected operator.The invitation-only OiNK website specialized in distributing albums leaked before their official release by record companies, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said.

Many among OiNK’s estimated 180,000 members paid “donations” to upload or download albums, often weeks before their release, and within hours albums would be distributed through public forums and blogs across the Internet. Users were invited to the site if they could prove they had music to share, the IFPI said.

The IFPI said more than 60 major albums were leaked on OiNK so far this year, making it the primary source worldwide for illegal prerelease music.

Prerelease piracy is considered particularly damaging to music sales as it leads to early mixes and unfinished versions of artists’ recordings circulating on the Internet months before the release.

Police in Cleveland, in northeast England, said they were tracing the money generated through the website, expected to amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The arrest of a 24-year-old IT worker at a house in Middlesbrough, northeast England, followed a two-year investigation by Dutch and British police and raids co-ordinated by Interpol.

Cleveland police said the man, whose name was not released, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and infringement of copyright law.

OiNK’s servers, in Amsterdam, were shut down by Dutch police, the IFPI said.

“OiNK was central to the illegal distribution of prerelease music online,” said Jeremy Banks, the head of the IFPI’s Internet Anti-Piracy Unit.

“This was not a case of friends sharing music for pleasure. This was a worldwide network that got hold of music they did not own the rights to and posted it online.”

and an OINK user who thinks otherwise…

“Personally i’ve never downloaded a pre-release album on oink (don’t need oink for that, every public tracker has those kind of releases). I like OiNK because you could find that extremely-rare edition that you’d have died for and you could listen to it and decide if that was worth your money.
If you couldn’t find a release on oink, those record probably simply did’t exist.

oh…i’m so sad…”

TechCrunch

P2P music sharing and sales service Grooveshark has raised their level of compensation for sharing music from 10 cents to 25 cents a track, their entire profit on each sale.

Dear customer, we regret to announce that the Virgin Digital service is due to close.

We will be taking no new customers from today, Friday 21st September.

On Friday the 28th September we will cease selling tracks and access will be for current Club users only.

On Friday the 19th October the site will close for all customers.

If you have purchased tracks from the service then we recommend that you back up your music files – Information about backing up and re-downloading your tracks

TECH.BLORGE.com

Amazon’s long awaited DRM-less music download store just hit the web, and, for a moment there, I thought it might have become vaporware. Thankfully, that didn’t turn out to be the case, giving me a chance to put the store through its paces. Here’s my review of the Amazon MP3 Download Store.

Amazon is going out on a limb here, offering DRM-less MP3 tracks at 256kbps at $0.89 per song. DRM-less music download stores have been done before, but they usually lack in music selection. Amazon is looking to change the music download world by giving users the opportunity to do anything they want with their music while offering a huge selection of both popular and unpopular/underground artists, but does it do this well?

Zeropaid

Server operators start closing down operations there after courts rule can be held liable for $28,000 USD in damages for each song it facilitates the illegal sharing of.

Over the past two weeks, ED2K users have been noticing that their very-reliable German-based servers have been disappearing. First, about a dozen “Big Bang” servers started refusing connections. Shortly afterward, the half-dozen “DonkeyServer” servers stopped indexing the users’ files.

With no word from the operators as to why the servers are no longer functioning, network users worldwide have been speculating as to the reason.

Now it appears that the root cause of the server disruption has been linked to a recent judgment by a regional German court in Hamburg (Az. 308 O 273/07). The ruling clearly defined a monetary value for which to hold server operators liable for the illegal file-sharing of copyrighted music they facilitate.

Even though a server may not contain any actual portion of a copyrighted song, if the mere facilitation of the copyright infringement is found to have occurred the server operator can then be held liable for 20,000 Euro (about $28,000 USD) per song!

Businesswire

“SpiralFrog is committed to solving music piracy by changing the way people discover music with free content, an engaging site and finally offering a real alternative to illicit file-sharing,” said Mohen.

“Our Apologies.

At this time, the SpiralFrog Web site is available only to residents of the United States of America and Canada.” sais Spiralfrog.

Back to piratebay.

Ars Technica

A new peer-to-peer music service developed by a “team of enterprising college students” has a novel twist on the music sales business: give users a cut of the sales. Grooveshark is currently in beta and claims to have signed a number of independent labels up for its service. All the sales traffic will go over a P2P network, and users will be “rewarded” for sharing their music.

P2P-based music stores are nothing new. Indeed, a number of P2P networks have tried to go legit after running afoul of the RIAA, none with any notable success. The most recent example is LimeWire, which recently announced plans to begin selling MP3s encoded at 256Kbps. LimeWire has managed to sign on a couple of notable distributors, including Nettwerk Productions, home to Avril Lavigne, Sara McLachlan, and the Barenaked Ladies, among other acts.

There are a couple of significant differences between LimeWire and Grooveshark’s business models, however. First, LimeWire will start out as a direct-download site, with the P2P component coming later. Also, Grooveshark’s virtual tip jar feature appears to be unique among the P2P music stores.

Grooveshark is banking on users being attracted to the idea of getting a cut of the action when someone downloads a track from their PC. At 99¢ per non-DRMed MP3, the user’s cut isn’t going to be much more than a few cents after the artist, label, and Grooveshark take their share, but it may be enough to convince some music fans to sign up for the service and share some of their bandwidth.

Listening Post – Wired Blogs

If you’re looking for a way to grab music from peer-to-peer networks without that nagging feeling that you’re depriving a starving artist of her next meal (or a label exec of that Learjet upgrade), Grooveshark might help. It’s a P2P app like Limewire or Kazaa, except you have to pay for tracks (“around $0.99”). The artist/label takes their cut, and then Grooveshark splits the remainder 50/50 with the user who uploaded the track to the buyer.

Once the service launches (it’s in private beta), you’ll be able to purchase tracks via the web, but you’ll need to run a small client (Linux/Mac/Windows) in order to share. The system apparently selects the highest bitrate file available when you purchase a track, and all tracks are delivered in the unprotected MP3 format. Artist information is created and edited using a wiki-style collaborative system. Bands and artists whose music is not already shared by Grooveshark users can share their own music in order to seed it into the system.

This is an interesting concept, but one problem is likely to be the size of the music catalog, because songs aren’t available unless the artist/label want them to be. Grooveshark says “it has gotten interest of a ton of independent labels as well as some larger ones (Magnatunes/Naxos/Sheridan Square),” but in order for a store like this to be useful, it has to be truly comprehensive.

One way to solve the problem would be to allow all music to be sold through the site, only paying the artists and labels who register — sort of like SoundExchange does.

Update: Grooveshark is in fact going to index songs from any label so the catalog problems I mention above shouldn’t be a factor. Problem solved?

We’re back!

Suprnova has been down for some years due to some heavy pressure from the copyright lobby. The former owner sloncek donated suprnova to The Pirate Bay – and as you know, we like to kick ass and bow for noone!

We were going to keep this site a secret until we had finished it, but of course it leaked, that’s how internet works. So now that the word is out, we’re releasing it!

Please consider these first weeks/months as a beta test. Since we love all you guys and gals so much we decided to keep it an open beta test.
That means, please behave, don’t complaint to much and if you discover any weird bugs or problems, let us know.

Some of you have also already discovered our new forum, Suprbay! Which is a joint forum for both Suprnova and The Pirate Bay. Discuss movies, music, love and whatever with your fellow pirates.

Finally, some words for non-internet loving companies: This is how it works. Whatever you sink, we build back up. Whomever you sue, ten new pirates are recruited. Wherever you go, we are already ahead of you.
You are the past and the forgotten, we are the internet and the future.

y’arr!

o0o

variety

Starbucks may not be the powerful promotional partner Hollywood thought it would be.

Paramount
Classics’ “Arctic Tale” has become the second pic backed by the coffee
giant not able to translate the company’s caffeine buzz into strong box
office. (Starbucks previously backed Lionsgate’s “Akeelah and the Bee.”)

The
environmentally focused docu revolving around polar bears and walruses
has earned $484,000 since bowing July 25. Pic’s widest opening on 227
theaters occurred in its fourth week of release Aug. 17. It plays in
158 venues in its fifth frame this weekend.

National Geographic
Films produced “Arctic,” as well as surprise hit “March of the
Penguins,” which went on to earn $77 million for Warner Independent in
2005.

Par Classics (a division of Paramount Vantage) had hoped
the success of the penguin tale would rub off on its own pic and help
sell more tickets.

But it also hoped that having Starbucks aboard
would raise awareness for the film and entice the company’s 44 million
weekly customers to hit the multiplexes.

Starbucks installed
signage and stickers in 6,800 of its stores, printed “Arctic”-branded
cup sleeves, sold plush walruses and the pic’s soundtrack and sponsored
discussions in select stores nationwide about climate change. Materials
for the movie also appear on the company’s website.

Chain doesn’t
have video screens in its stores as rival Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
does, so footage from a pic it pushes can’t be displayed in stores.

Campaign runs in stores in the U.S. and Canada through Monday.

Starbucks
said it didn’t go further and create a themed Frappuccino, for example,
because it didn’t want to overly commercialize the tie-in.

“With
all of our entertainment options, we are careful to promote our
products and projects in a tasteful manner and not to interfere with
the coffeehouse experience,” said Ken Lombard, prexy of Starbucks
Entertainment.

Starbucks’ pic deals go beyond a traditional promo
pact like that of, say, General Motors for “Transformers,” because
Starbucks collects a percentage of a movie’s profits in return for its
marketing muscle.

And that unusual payoff pact winds up putting a
bigger spotlight on the results of the films the company decides to
back — especially given that Starbucks does not invest in the
production of the films it promotes.

Promo partners are
increasingly becoming a studio’s best friend, with brands ponying up
their own marketing dollars to help push pics and make their companies
seem more appealing to customers through entertainment tie-ins.

Starbucks
has long been considered a potential powerhouse for Hollywood,
especially after helping launch music artists and assisting more
familiar ones to sell CDs.

But it hasn’t fared as well on the film front.

“Arctic
Tale’s” performance has been chilly so far. Its $484,000 compares with
the $4 million “Penguins” had earned by the end of its fourth week when
it played on 132 screens.

“Akeelah,” the first film Starbucks
promoted, ultimately earned $19 million. Pic still turned a profit
given its $8 million production budget (Lionsgate spent around $20
million to market it). But industryites had expected it to earn more
given Starbucks’ backing and rhetoric from the Seattle-based company
that it’s a bona fide entertainment player.

“We are an innovative
company that is not afraid to go outside of our comfort zone, and
‘Akeelah’ and ‘Arctic Tale’ showed us the coffeehouse can be a means to
introduce films to our customers they might not normally be exposed
to,” Lombard said.

Pics also are a way to associate Starbucks with a particular message — climate change in the case of “Arctic Tale.”

“We
introduced ‘Arctic Tale’ to our customers because we want to spark a
dialogue about environmental issues,” Lombard said. “The coffeehouse is
a great place to inspire such discussion. There is no more important
issue facing our planet today than climate change.” The tie-in was an
“avenue to get people of all ages to talk … and hopefully be inspired
to be a part of the solution.”

But studios ultimately want
Starbucks customers to be inspired to buy tickets; the B.O. tallies
show that Starbucks may still need to massage its marketing efforts
when it comes to studio partnerships.

When it announced the
“Arctic Tale” deal, Lombard said the company had “learned its lesson”
as a result of its “Akeelah” campaign, saying it needed to make a
better effort to let customers know it wants them to “go see” the films
it promotes.

“We are still evaluating our ‘Arctic Tale’
promotion,” Lombard said. “Nonetheless, we are always looking to
provide tangible customer experiences that educate and inspire
discussion and go beyond traditional movie marketing.”

Par
Vantage and National Geographic Films execs say that while they’re
disappointed with the B.O. for “Arctic Tale,” they’re happy with
Starbucks’ effort and look forward to sales of the eventual DVD in the
company’s stores.

“They were great partners and awesome to work
with,” said one National Geographic exec. “They did everything they
said they would do. I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.”

Given
some of the negative critical reaction to the U.S. version of “Arctic
Tale,” National Geographic Films is lobbying to sell the European
version of the docu on DVD, complete with a different score, songs and
narration.

Starbucks pushed a healthy number of “Akeelah” DVDs.
It’s also sold other studio titles like Warner Bros.’ “Happy Feet” and
Sony’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

But then again, a DVD can be easily picked up and purchased as a customer is ordering a grande vanilla latte.

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117970763.html

 – New York Times

NBC Universal, unable to come to an agreement with Apple on pricing, has decided not to renew its contract to sell digital downloads of television shows on iTunes.

The media conglomerate — which is the No. 1 supplier of digital video to Apple’s online store, accounting for about 40 percent of downloads — notified Apple of its decision late yesterday, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked for anonymity because negotiations between the companies are confidential.

A spokesman for NBC Universal, part of General Electric, confirmed the decision, but otherwise declined to comment. A spokesmen for Apple declined to comment. The decision by NBC Universal highlights the escalating tension between Apple and media companies, which are unhappy that Apple will not give them more control over the pricing of songs and videos that are sold on iTunes.

NBC Universal is also seeking better piracy controls and wants Apple to allow it to bundle videos to increase revenue, the person familiar with the matter said.

NBC Universal is the second major iTunes supplier recently to have a rift with Apple over pricing and packaging matters. In July, the Universal Music Group of Vivendi, the world’s biggest music corporation, said it would not renew its long-term contract with iTunes. Instead, Universal Music said it would market music to Apple at will, which would allow it to remove its songs from iTunes on short notice.

The action by Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal’s chief executive, will not have an immediate impact on iTunes. The current two-year deal extends through December, so a vast video catalog — some 1,500 hours of NBC Universal’s news, sports and entertainment programming — will remain available on iTunes at least until then.

Among the most popular NBC Universal shows available for sale on iTunes are “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Office” and “Heroes.” The company has been talking to iTunes about offering Universal movies, but has not done so to date because of piracy concerns.

The two companies could still reach an agreement on a new contract before their current deal expires. While each side has so far refused to budge, the talks will continue and have been free of acrimony, the person familiar with the matter said.

But the defiant moves by NBC Universal and Universal Music could embolden other media companies that have been less than thrilled with Apple’s policies. NBC Universal was the second company to sign an agreement with Apple to sell content on iTunes, and its contract stipulated that Apple receive notice of plans to cancel 90 days before the expiration date. Otherwise, the deal would automatically renew according to the original terms.

Assuming similar provisions in deals negotiated with media companies like CBS, Discovery and the News Corporation, a parade of 90-day windows will be coming due.

A move by NBC Universal to walk away or withdraw a large amount of content would probably hobble Apple’s efforts to move deeper into the sale of video-focused consumer electronics like the iPhone and a new class of iPods. While Apple’s early efforts in this area depended on music to fuel sales, analysts say video is what will drive much of Apple’s retail business in the future.

The iTunes service wields incredible power in the music business, since it accounts for more than 76 percent of digital music sales. And its influence is on the rise: Apple recently passed Amazon to become the third-biggest seller of music over all, behind Wal-Mart and Best Buy, according to the market research firm NPD.

But the sale of video online is still at a nascent stage. Media giants like NBC Universal are aggressively trying to move into the business — in part to avoid the piracy that has plagued music companies — but the revenue they earn from online video sales does not yet have a material impact on their financial performances.

So some media companies feel they have the upper hand: Apple, for now at least, needs their content more than they need Apple. And there are an array of companies — like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Sony — that would love to have NBC Universal as a partner to muscle in on Apple’s turf.

Then there is NBC Universal’s own Hulu.com, a venture in partnership with the News Corporation to build a video portal to compete with YouTube.

The risks that media companies face in removing content from well-known Web sites involve perception and promotion. NBC Universal could anger consumers by preventing them from easily watching shows and movies in the most popular way — through iTunes and the iPod. Television networks and movie studios have vigorously tried to avoid being branded with the same anticonsumer sentiment that has worked against the record labels.

And because iTunes is so popular, NBC Universal would lose an increasingly important way of marketing entertainment products, particularly fledgling television shows, to consumers.

For months, most media companies have grumbled that Apple underprices video and audio content as a way to propel sales of a much more significant profit center: iPods and related merchandise. (One noteworthy abstainer from the grumbling is the Walt Disney Company, which has Apple’s chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, as a board member.)

The iTunes service has sold songs for 99 cents each since its beginning four years ago, except for the recent introduction of songs without copy protection. Episodes of television shows sell for $1.99, with movies priced at $9.99.

NBC Universal and other companies say they want to increase prices by packaging content— say an episode of “The Office” with the movie “The 40- Year-Old Virgin,” because they both star the comedian Steve Carell.

In the past, Apple has argued that a range of pricing would complicate the iTunes experience and squelch demand.

The official Hungarian translation of the last HP book is due in February 2008, but fans can’t wait: they started to publish the translated parts (as they proceed) online.

The internet has killed the release windows, and now it raises the question: can legitimate publishers afford to wait with the translations, or they need to create an international secure infrastructure of translators, who are able to produce the localized version by the time of the release of the originals?

(note: the chinese fan-tran is available in full)

Index – Neten az új Harry Potter magyar kalózfordítása

Már magyarul is hozzáférhető az interneten a Harry Potter napról-napra bővülő kalózfordítása. Sőt a kalózfordítás kalózfordítása is. Ezernyi topic született már a témában, szavazni is lehet, hogy melyik a jobb. A hivatalos Harry Potter jövőre jelenik meg magyarul.

techwack

Belgian music copyright group SABAM has been reported to have asked the country’s leading telecom company Belgacom to commit to blocking or filtering illegal music file sharing.

This report was first published by the Belgian daily Le Soir which claimed that the telecom company has been given eight days to react.

Incidentally, this new development takes place just days after a Belgian court’s decision which ordered Belgian ISP, Scarlet to implement measures to block or filter copyright-infringing material on p2p networks like torrents.

A spokesman for Belgacom however responded back in a statement: “As access provider our role is simply to transport information. We are not opposed to technical solutions but under the sine que none condition that they do not hamper our clients’ privacy.”

Los Angeles Times

Universal Music Group declined to renew its yearlong deal to license songs to Apple Inc. in the most public clash to date between a record label and the top retailer of digital music.

The largest of the four major labels informed Apple last week, people familiar with the matter said Monday.

Universal has no plans to stop selling music over Apple’s iTunes music store, which sells a majority of digitized tracks in the U.S., the people said.

But top Universal executives wanted the right to offer exclusive tracks to other Web retailers that could emerge, such as Amazon.com.

Under the previous deal with Apple, Universal was obliged to sell on iTunes any music it sold digitally elsewhere.

New York Times

The Universal Music Group of Vivendi, the world’s biggest music corporation, last week notified Apple that it will not renew its annual contract to sell music through iTunes, according to executives briefed on the issue who asked for anonymity because negotiations between the companies are confidential.

Instead, Universal said that it would market music to Apple at will, a move that could allow Universal to remove its songs from the iTunes service on short notice if the two sides do not agree on pricing or other terms in the future, these executives said.

Universal’s roster of artists includes stars like U2, Akon and Amy Winehouse.

Representatives for Universal and Apple declined to comment. The move, which comes after a standoff in negotiations, is likely to be regarded in the music industry as a boiling over of the long-simmering tensions between Mr. Jobs and the major record labels.

With the shift, Universal appears to be aiming to regain a bit of leverage — although at the risk of provoking a showdown with Mr. Jobs.

Music industry attacks Sunday newspaper’s free Prince CD | | Guardian Unlimited Business

The eagerly awaited new album by Prince is being launched as a free CD with a national Sunday newspaper in a move that has drawn widespread criticism from music retailers.

The Mail on Sunday revealed yesterday that the 10-track Planet Earth CD will be available with an “imminent” edition, making it the first place in the world to get the album. Planet Earth will go on sale on July 24.

One music store executive described the plan as “madness” while others said it was a huge insult to an industry battling fierce competition from supermarkets and online stores. Prince’s label has cut its ties with the album in the UK to try to appease music stores.

The Entertainment Retailers Association said the giveaway “beggars belief”. “It would be an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career,” ERA co-chairman Paul Quirk told a music conference. “It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.

“The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday.”

Los Angeles Times:

AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network — the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so.

The San Antonio-based company started working last week with studios and record companies to develop anti-piracy technology that would target the most frequent offenders, said James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president.

The nation’s largest telephone and Internet service provider also operates the biggest cross-country system for handling Internet traffic for its customers and those of other providers.

The Pirate Bay is experimenting with the tipping model. I wish them all the best.

Playble – Paying Artists for Free Music

The Pirate Bay has started a unique collaboration with the members of the Swedish rock band Lamont and their manager Kristopher S. Wilbur. After lengthy discussions about the future of the record industry and its implications for the many talented artists and songwriters around the world, we discovered that we held the same vision. The shared insight that the record industry—with its current business model—is outdated inspired the birth of Playble.com.

This innovative music site will allow users to download music by artists for free and still support them financially. Playble.com will give companies with strong brands the opportunity to support music and artists directly. Welcome to Playble.com.

via zeroPaid

Qtrax, the upcoming first legal ad-supported P2P network due to launch this September, has announced today that it has added content from Sony BMG Music Entertainment to its offerings of free MP3s.

Through this agreement, Qtrax users will be able to access songs for a predefined number of times for free, most likely five when it comes to the most popular artists. Each time a user plays a track, the Qtrax player will also offer fans click-to-buy purchase options. Users will also have to view some sort of advertising before each song is played.

“We are pleased to announce that we have completed this agreement with Qtrax, and look forward to working with them as part of our ongoing campaign to build new opportunities for our artists within the digital marketplace,” commented Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business & U.S. Sales, Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

Qtrax, which plans to debut in September, already has deals in place to offer content from Warner Music Group and EMI Group as well.

Two Hungarian music lover/journalist/artist from the Hungarian language Quart music blog tried to purchase two songs they recently reviewed: an Arcade Fire album and an LCD Sound System album from various online services. The whole article is here in Hungarian, I try to sum up their experiences in English:

iTunes
The iTunes store doesn’t accept Hungarian bank-cards. This option is out.

eMusic
Huge catalog of indie records, but sadly nothing from the big 4, so no Universal distributed Arcade Fire and no Warner distributed LCD.

Rhapsody, Napster
They don’t accept Hungarian bank-cards either.

Zune Marketplace
Zune is not sold in Hungray.

Sony Connect
The songs are tied to Sony devices, which they do not own.

Yahoo! Music Jukebox
This service had serious performance problems, after 20 minutes of trying and several complete freezes they have given up trying.

Allofmp3.com
Perfect service, great prices, but (percieved as?) illegal, and they wanted to play by the rules.

Beatport.com
Great service, but neither of the desired bands are in the catalog. So they have bought something else, in mp3.

Audio Lunchbox
Like eMusic.

Dalok.hu
This Hungarian service is run by the collecting society of performing artists. For little more than 0.50 USD one can buy songs from Hungarian performers. Works great, the price is right, through the catalog needs some expansion.

Songo.hu
Half a million songs in this Hungarian music store, but no LCD or Arcade Fire. Expensive and wma-bound.

T-Online Zeneáruház
The first service where they could find at least a song from the new LCD album. But this is the last good thing that can be said about this service: expensive, wma-bound, extremely user-unfriendly.

Mp3music.hu
Small, but friendly store run by CLS records. No AF or LCD.

So at the end of the day, instead of buying two full albums, preferably in mp3 format, they ended up having only one song in wma. What do music companies think, what will Hungarian potential music buyers do when they realize that even though they are part of the European Union, even though they are willing to pay for music, all they experience is the utter failure of the market?

I would really appreciate if you could share your experiences with us here about how y

Kevin J. Delaney. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Apr 17, 2007. pg. A.1

newtube-wsj.gif“It’s out there — you just have to hunt around for it a bit,” says the 28-year-old Mr. [Sam Martinez]. Like many similar sites, YouTVpc relies heavily on video-sharing sites outside the U.S., such as a French outfit called Dailymotion and Ouou.com in China. Mr. Martinez estimates that about 40% of the shows and films on the site — including episodes of “Desperate Housewives” and Fox’s “Prison Break” are provided by Ouou.com.

Last year Mr. Martinez’s childhood friend, Mr. [Billy Duran], built on the idea and created a site called “VTele” as an assignment for a computer-science class at Central New Mexico Community College. Through it, users could view TV shows and movies that he and Mr. Martinez copied from DVDs and uploaded to the school’s computer servers. The 23-year-old Mr. Duran says he got an “A” on the project. But within a month, the site attracted so many users that some of the school’s computer servers crashed. Administrators threatened Mr. Duran with expulsion.

Mr. Duran dropped out of Central New Mexico, and the two friends relaunched the site in September. At first it relied on volunteers to store video files on their own servers, until a user pointed Mr. Martinez to Dailymotion. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh — gold mine!'” recalls Mr. Martinez. “We had all 18 seasons of ‘The Simpsons’ in two hours.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft changes tune on selling DRM-free songs

Following digital music pioneer Apple Inc.’s lead, Microsoft Corp. said it will soon sell digital music online without digital rights management (DRM) protection.

Microsoft’s apparent change of heart on selling DRM-free music came in response to Apple’s deal earlier in the week to sell unprotected content from recording company EMI Group PLC. The company previously claimed that DRM was necessary for current and emerging digital media business models.

“The EMI announcement on Monday was not exclusive to Apple,” said Katy Asher, a Microsoft spokeswoman on the Zune team, in an e-mail to the IDG News Service today. She said Microsoft has been talking with EMI and other record labels “for some time now” about offering unprotected music on its Zune players in an effort to meet the needs of its customers.

“Consumers have made it clear that unprotected music is something they want,” Asher said. “We plan on offering it to them as soon as our label partners are comfortable with it.”

Critical Culture

Karagarga calls itself “a private bittorrent community specializing in arthouse, alternative, cult and classic movies”. I call it: a treasure-trove of world cinema. Want some Jacques Rivette to pass your evening? Take your pick from 14 films. How about some Yasujiro Ozu? There are 39 to choose from. Satyajit Ray? Kazimierz Karabasz? Nicholas Ray? 32. 10. 21. How about a huge list of film noir, a detailed write-up of films from Quebec, or helpful introductions to films, film movements, and filmmakers you haven’t discovered yet? Check, check, and check. In fact, all encompassed, Karagarga’s history of movies contains over 13,000 films! All with passionate discussion, background info, and links to subtitles (some hand-made) in a variety of languages; and all constantly up-kept to make sure the rips are of the highest quality possible.

What you won’t find at Karagarga, however, are mainstream films, screeners, or anything shot with a camcorder inside a movie theatre. If that’s what you’re looking for, the Internet is already teeming with more than enough sites to tickle your urge. If, on the other hand, you’re interested in a community of worldwide cinephiles dedicated to the preservation and experience of over one hundred years of cinema, come on in, and join. It’s free. It’s fun. You’ll make friends.

The link below will take you to the sign-up page:

join Karagarga!

Oh, and there are some broad time and quantity limits on accepting new members, so, as the curlers say: hurry hard!

TimesOnline

About to leak a copy of the new Arctic Monkeys album on the net? Don’t bother unless you’re willing to risk a knock on the door from the Web Sheriff.

Cutting-edge bands who built a following by letting fans trade MP3 song files are secretly hiring web enforcers to track down and remove unauthorised leaks that might destroy album sales.

The web detectives trace the source of a leak and individuals found to have deliberately spread copyright-protected material receive a personal visit followed by legal threats.

This sounds very-very familiar. Adrian Johns has a wonderful article on “Pop music pirate hunters”,  telling the story of early 1900’s British music publishers who used barely legal private enforcement hitmen to intimidate sheet music pirates. Well worth a read.

What I propose is an aggressive six-month trial by a major P2P service (any
takers?) that could finally give us clear insight into the behavior of
P2P users. Is it about interoperability, community and deep catalog, or
is it all about free? We need to know.

Here’s how it would work: Leave the service exactly as it is: no
filtering, no DRM, no changes to its current offering of unprotected
MP3s. The rare tracks, bootlegs-they all stay there. Just charge for
each piece of content and split the revenue between the service and the
content owners.

Read the rest of this entry »

TorrentFreak

If the likes of the MPAA, RIAA and IFPI are to be believed, file-sharing is causing worldwide havok, costing billions of dollars and creating unemployment. It’s true that some people are feeling the P2P effect; they’re called ‘physical pirates’ and one of them says that file-sharing has ruined his business.

 – International Business Times –

Tired of being turned away at the theater box office when a movie’s
sold out? Unhappy there’s no art-house theater in your neighborhood to
cater to your hoity-toity theatrical tastes?
Those days could be ending, say representatives of Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment and a company called Digital Cinema Implementation Partners.

The three are working on a new digital film delivery system that, if successful, could give theater operators the flexibility to put a popular movie on an extra screen as quickly as the demand for it arises. At the same time, theater operators could boot out a surprise stinker and even book in for a day or two an art-house film with a small but devoted audience.

“Our goal really is to have the easiest, fastest, most reliable, most cost-effective content delivery technique possible to the theaters we represent,” said Travis Reid, Chief Executive of Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, which is working with Warner Bros. and Universal.

The process, still in the early stages of development, would use satellite and broadband delivery systems to beam digital films directly to theaters, rather than have them copied onto hard drives and delivered by hand, as for the most part they are now, said Darcy Antonellis, Warner Bros.’ executive vice president for distribution and technology.

That kind of rapid delivery, Reid said, would allow theater operators the flexibility to economically market niche films that could be shown for just a day or two to a targeted audience. It would also allow operators to quickly find more screens for surprise hits.

“We believe that if we can make that a very efficient process, very fast, they’ll be able to respond to audience demands more,” he said.

Beaming an encrypted version of a digital film directly to the theater should also cut down on film piracy and bootlegging, Antonellis said, by eliminating the number of opportunities for people to get their hands on the movie as it is transit.

DCIP is owned equally by the Regal, AMC and Cinemark theater chains, which have 14,000 screens in North America. The new system would be available to those and other interested theater operators, Reid and Antonellis said. About 2,200 U.S. theater screens currently show digital films.

Officials with the venture wouldn’t offer a date by which they hope to have the system in place or give a cost estimate.

“I think the latter part of this year we’ll likely be doing some testing,” said Antonellis. “Our hope is as things progress and … as the projectors roll out there will be a lot more activity.”

Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Radio listeners weary of hearing the same songs over and over may have something to cheer about: Broadcasters have tentatively agreed to anti-payola settlements that could shake up music playlists at some of the nation’s largest radio chains.

Four major broadcast companies would pay the government $12.5 million and provide 8,400 half-hour segments of free airtime for independent record labels and local artists, The Associated Press has learned.

The agreement is aimed at curbing payola — generally defined as radio stations accepting cash or other consideration from record companies in exchange for airplay. The practice has been around as long as the radio industry and was made illegal after scandals in the late 1950s.

Two Federal Communications Commission officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because final language has not been approved by the full commission, said the monetary settlement is part of a consent decree between the FCC and Clear Channel Communications Inc., CBS Radio, Entercom Communications Corp. and Citadel Broadcasting Corp.

The settlement was reached at the same time as a separate deal designed to lead to more airtime for smaller record companies and their lesser-known artists as well as local musicians.

The American Association of Independent Music, a group of independent record labels, has received a commitment from the same four broadcasters for the free airtime, the officials said.

In addition to airplay, the broadcasters and the independent labels have also negotiated a set of “rules of engagement” that will guide how record company representatives and radio programmers interact.

The free airtime would be granted to companies not owned or controlled by the nation’s four dominant music labels — Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and EMI Group.

This is the most important thing that has happened on the intellectual property front lately. Former Soviet president Gorbachev asks Microsoft’s Bill Gates not to pursue IP litigation against a high school teacher in Perm who used pirated software in classroom because:

– he is poor
– he is dedicated his life to teaching
– he was just using  pirated software, but has not installed and/or downloaded it,
– because the possible punishment (imprisonment is Siberia) is disproportionate.

The situation is super-interesting because if Gates does not do anything (claiming that he cannot, or can but not willing to) intervene, that will create super -bad PR not only for him as a philanthropist and Microsoft, as a company, but for all IP cases as well.

But by intervening, he admits, that such legal actions around the world are initiated by a handful of individuals like him, and he also admits that there are exceptions from copyright infringement, in some or all of the cases above.

Seems very much like a loose-loose situation.

MOSNEWS.COM

Prosecutors accuse Ponosov, headmaster of a middle school in the Perm region, of violating Microsoft’s intellectual property rules by using computers in his school that contained unlicensed copies of the firm’s software.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Monday asked Microsoft
co-founder Bill Gates to intercede on behalf of a Russian teacher
accused of using pirated software in his classroom.

“A teacher, who has dedicated his life to the education of children and
who receives a modest salary that does not bear comparison with the
salaries of even regular staff in your company, is threatened with
detention in Siberian prison camps,” read the letter, posted on the
Internet site of Gorbachev’s charitable foundation www.gorby.ru.

FT.com

Google’s strategy for its newly acquired YouTube site was dealt a serious blow on Friday when Viacom, the owner of MTV, demanded that all its clips be removed from the user-generated internet company’s site.

Viacom, which owns youth brands such as Nickelodeon and Comedy
Central, made the demand after months of negotiations with YouTube and
Google. It said more than 100,000 affected video clips on the YouTube
site had generated more than 1.2bn video streams.

The
move threatens to wreck Google’s attempts to cement commercial
relationships with traditional media groups, which supply most material.

Since
acquiring YouTube for $1.65bn in October, Google and Eric Schmidt, its
chief executive, have made a frantic effort to forge relationships with
traditional media companies. They have managed to sign short-term deals
with
CBS, Warner Music, Sony-BMG and Universal Music.

Discussions
with Viacom appeared to break down over the splitting of advertising
revenues from Viacom content. There was also a fight over which company
would make those sales.

Viacom executives were frustrated that
YouTube had failed to implement a content-monitoring system by the
beginning of the year, as it had promised, so companies could easily
tell when their material was being posted.

It accused Google and
YouTube of reaping all the revenue from their material “without
extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the
effort and cost to create it”.

YouTube said it would comply with the request.

“It’s
unfortunate that Viacom will no longer be able to benefit from
YouTube’s passionate audience which has helped to promote many of
Viacom’s shows,” YouTube said in a statement. “We take copyright issues
very seriously. We prohibit users from uploading infringing material,
and we cooperate with all copyright holders to identify and promptly
remove infringing content as soon as we are officially notified.”

Viacom
and other traditional media groups are eager to distribute their
content to audiences of social networking and user-generated websites,
which are wildly popular with young consumers. But they are wary of
losing commercial and editorial control.

They complain that most
clips posted on the sites are derived from their copyrighted work and
have been appropriated without permission.

Viacom believes it
has particular leverage because it specialise in youth-oriented and
short-form video clips. It has previously demanded that clips from
programmes such as Comedy Central’s Daily Show be removed.

Under
US copyright laws, sites are protected from legal action as long as
they respond in a timely manner to requests to remove unauthorised
material.
NBC Universal, Disney and Viacom complain that they have to monitor hundreds of thousands of clips.

Variety.com – Spanish pirates flip for disk drives

Spain’s uphill battle against piracy is getting steeper.

The reason: small modem-like boxes, with remote controls and a computer USB plugs. Sold in department stores, they sport names like Best Buy’s Easy Player Jumbo Plus HD 400GB or Argosy’s Mobile Video GDD 400 GB.

They’re hard disk drives that plug into PCs and then TV sets, allowing downloaded movies easy TV play. Their sales are rising fast. “They’re steady little earners,” said one retailer over the Christmas season.

Prices have held, ranging from the Easy Player’s E379 ($493) to $194 for a drive from Woxster, a Spanish brand. But with sales ramping up, the drives are increasing capacity and features, such as photo and memory disk storage.

As hard disk usage seeps from Spanish geekdom to the mainstream, Spanish Internet piracy has hit Himalayan heights. According to consultancy Gfk, 43% of Spaniards pirate movies.

BBC NEWS | Business |

YouTube founder Chad Hurley confirmed to the BBC that his team was working on a revenue-sharing mechanism that would “reward creativity”.

The system would be rolled out in a couple of months, he said, and use a mixture of adverts, including short clips shown ahead of the actual film.

Speaking to the BBC after the session, he declined to
give further details, saying that YouTube was still working out the
technology and processes involved – both for the rewards system and the
video clip advertising system.

Guardian Unlimited Technology

The BBC is in advanced negotiations with Google to make programming available via a branded channel on the search giant’s video-sharing site, MediaGuardian.co.uk can reveal.

It is understood that BBC executives are keen that the deal, which involves BBC Worldwide and the BBC, is eventually expanded to include putting content on Google-owned YouTube.

BBC Worldwide is understood to be looking at commercial options for the agreement, such as a share on contextual advertising that will run alongside BBC content.

Several large broadcasters in the US have similar arrangements with
Google-owned YouTube including CBS, which claimed 200,000 extra viewers
for The Late Show with David Letterman after clips from the show were
posted on the video-sharing website.

FT.com / Companies / Media & internet – Online ads ‘shun user-generated video’

User-generated video sites such as YouTube and MySpace will earn only a fraction of the advertising budgets available for more professional online programming, according to a study.

Such sites’ advertising revenues stand to grow from $200m last year to $875m by 2010, but this will account for just 15 per cent of the total online video advertising budget, according to Screen Digest, the media analysis company.

The report echoes News Corp’s admission that its Fox movie studio
and television content will be more important than home-made clips for
capturing online video advertising, a market which Screen Digest
expects to expand from $1.1bn last year to $6.2bn by 2010.

Peter
Chernin, News Corp president said at a recent conference: “We do not
see big advertisers advertising with YouTube or MySpace. They have
concerns about the content … and there is no scarcity value for the
content … so there is very little ability to monetise video
advertising on user-generated video.”

Digital World Norway Outlaws iTunes

Norway has […] declare[d] that Apple’s iTunes store is illegal under Norwegian law.

Now this is insane and clearly against the interest of the artists.

The insanely great songs Apple won’t let you hear. – By Paul Collins – Slate Magazine

JAPAN SALES ONLY

“Killer Tune” is just that: It sounds like the Killers, and it is killer. It’s one of the most popular iTunes downloads for the band Straightener—but you haven’t heard it.

You can’t hear it.

The iTunes Music Store has a secret hiding in plain sight: Log out of your home account in the page’s upper-right corner, switch the country setting at the bottom of the page to Japan, and you’re dropped down a rabbit hole into a wonderland of great Japanese bands that you’ve never even heard of. And they’re nowhere to be found on iTunes U.S. You can listen to 30-second song teasers on the Japanese site, but if you try purchasing “Killer Tune”—or any other tune—from iTunes Japan with your U.S. credit card, you’ll get turned away: Your gaijin money’s no good there.

And there are 20 more countries where iTunes users can lurk among
the samples, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, and
Australia. They won’t let you buy their songs, either. You can find an
EP of Scottish sensations the Fratellis at iTunes United States, for
instance, but their hit glam singalong “Chelsea Dagger” is in nearly
every country except the United States. (Their randy burlesque video for it, naturally, is all over YouTube.)

Even
so, window-shopping in the Japan store remains particularly
instructive. Why? Because variable pricing—a label demand that Apple
loudly and successfully fought off
in other countries—has quietly appeared there in the form of 150- and
200-yen songs. Whether “Killer Tune” gets the success it deserves or
not, someday we might all be turning Japanese.

Independent Online Edition > Business News

The music industry opened up a new front in the war on online music piracy yesterday, threatening to sue internet service providers that allow customers to illegally share copyrighted tracks over their networks.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI, said it would take action against internet companies that carry vast amounts of illegally shared files over their networks. It stressed that it would prefer not to pursue such a strategy and is keen to work in partnership with internet providers.

John Kennedy, the chairman of the IFPI, said he had been frustrated by internet companies that have not acted against customers involved in illegal activity. He warned that litigation against ISPs would be instigated “in weeks rather than months”. Barney Wragg, the head of EMI’s digital music division, said the industry had been left “with no other option” but to pursue ISPs in the courts.

The New York Times has an excellent article on the different views on mash-up culture:

Did you miss Eminem’s hit movie “8 Mile”? You’re in luck: Many of its rap battles and other major scenes are available for viewing on YouTube, the video-sharing Web site owned by Google. Indeed, until recently, the entire film was there, broken up into 12 nine-minute chunks to get around YouTube’s ban on longer clips.

An 18-year-old YouTube user calling himself Yosickoyo posted the movie six months ago. He declined to give his real name, but said in an e-mail message that he had made the film available as a favor to others who had shared movies. “I just want to thank them by uploading a movie that I have,” he wrote.

NBC Universal, whose Universal Pictures distributed “8 Mile” in 2002,
did not appreciate the gesture. The company asked YouTube to take down
the clips after it learned of them from a reporter.

“I think studios will sue if they don’t get a licensing deal they like,” said Jessica Litman, a professor at the University of Michigan
Law School. “My guess is if I were a movie studio, getting a cut of the
money is more profitable than shutting it down. But it’s complicated,
very complicated, and it’s only going to get worse.”

No one knows exactly how much Hollywood-derived content is uploaded to
the site without the studios’ consent, but academics and media
executives estimate it could be anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent.

The studios are happy to have some of their content on YouTube. Marc
Shmuger, chairman of Universal Pictures, said that for each new
release, Universal’s marketing team sends out a digital “tool kit” to
sites like YouTube with studio-approved graphics, clips, sound effects
and music videos that can be shared.

Mr. Shmuger said the studios need to embrace sites like YouTube because
they are the future of movie marketing. “If you want to be involved in
the cultural debate, you have to allow consumers to be more actively
involved,” he said. “That’s a different world order which we are not
used to.”

Already, several major music companies, including Universal Music
Group, once a corporate sibling to Universal Pictures but now owned by Vivendi,
have forged agreements with YouTube, which makes its money from
advertising, that allows music to be played in videos for a fee.

“We don’t want to kill this,” said Larry Kenswil, a Universal Music executive. “We see this as a new source of revenue for us.”

“I don’t consider any of this stuff piracy,” said Professor Litman of
the University of Michigan. “Folks are taking snippets and making them
their own.”

Ron Wheeler, a senior vice president of content protection at Fox
Entertainment Group, said that even though Fox was not being paid for
the right to use the “Napoleon Dynamite” clips, the company had not
asked that the video be taken down.

“We are not in the business of just saying no, but we do consider it unauthorized use,” Mr. Wheeler said.

Brian Grazer,
a producer of “8 Mile,” said some of the mashups he had seen were
“pretty hip.” But he said he, too, viewed them as a form of piracy: “It
bothers me artistically. Here’s this thing where you have no control;
they are chopping it up and putting your memories in a blender.”

The Directors Guild of America is already taking a hard line. The guild’s president, Michael Apted,
said in a statement that he and his fellow directors would challenge
the unauthorized use of any work. “We will aggressively protect our
members’ creative and economic rights,” he said.

Mr. Cotton, the NBC Universal lawyer, said that the YouTube
removal-request game could continue for only so long. “Sand is running
out of the hourglass,” he said. “Companies aren’t prepared to sit by
and not let this be addressed.”

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FCC proposal could end payola probe

WASHINGTON — FCC commissioners are mulling a staff proposal that could resolve the agency’s investigation into payola allegations between the record labels and major radio broadcasters, according to industry and government sources. While details of the Enforcement Bureau’s proposal were sketchy, sources said that radio station groups would be required to set aside a certain amount of airtime for music produced independently. The radio groups also would agree to a code of conduct and an education program, the sources said. As part of the deal, the radio broadcasters would not admit to any wrongdoing.

The interesting thing is that when payola first emerged it was used by independents to promote a genre not carried by the majors then: rock’n’roll. Payola was a tool to crack the majors’ grip on the distribution channels. I wonder if p2p and CC distribution is the new way to crack the majors’ (who how own all the then independents) grip on the marketing and distribution channels.

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Independent Online Edition > Americas

A group of rock ‘n’ roll’s elder statesmen have launched a legal battle against the owners of a website that sells music memorabilia and rare recordings – claiming they never gave permission for the items to be sold.

“Sagan simply doesn’t have the legal rights to exploit and profit from the extraordinary success of these musicians,” said Jeff Reeves, one of their lawyers. “This memorabilia was created in the first place for the purposes of promoting concerts and as gifts for fans and concert crew. Graham himself did not have the right to sell, reproduce or otherwise exploit these materials as a promoter, and neither does Sagan, who was not authorised to purchase these materials and who has absolutely no connection to the artists or their music.”

I don’t see the problem creating a secondary market for memorabilia. What is going to be next? Trying to control the second hand bookstores and used CD stores?

Yahoo! Canada News

Several major record labels sued the operator of the Russian music website AllofMP3.com, claiming the company has been profiting by selling copies of music without their permission. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in New York against Moscow-based Mediaservices, which owns AllofMP3 and another music site, allTunes.com.

What kind of authority a US federal court has over a Russian company?

BBC NEWS | Technology

Hundreds of episodes of BBC programmes will be made available on a file-sharing network for the first time, the corporation has announced.

The move follows a deal between the commercial arm of the organisation, BBC Worldwide, and technology firm Azureus.

The agreement means that users of Azureus’ Zudeo software in the US can download titles such as Little Britain.

Until now, most BBC programmes found on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks have been illegal copies.

The titles will be protected by digital rights
management software to prevent the programmes being traded illegally on
the internet.

Users will also be able to link to programmes from blogs, social networks and fansites.

No pricing structure for the BBC content on Zudeo has been revealed.

Interfax China:

Shanghai. December 19. INTERFAX-CHINA – Shanghai Push Sound Music & Entertainment Co. Ltd. won a case against Kuro, a mainland operator of peer-to-peer software, setting a legal precedent in China, Shanghai Push’s lawyer said.

“This is a milestone in the online copyright field,” Rong Chao, who represented Shanghai Push, said. “The judge’s ruling didn’t solely rely on the central servers the company keeps, rather the judge made full consideration of the intentions of the company. The key point is that the copyright infringement was organized – the company charged money and its activity could be defined as active inducement.”

However, Rong didn’t think any cases against individual users would be filed. “Individual users conducted direct copyright infringement, but due to state policy and other reasons, I don’t think it’s smart to file lawsuits against individuals.”

Index – Tech:

A szervert lefoglalták, az üzemeltetőt feljelentették, házkutatást tartottak nála és kihallgatták, majd amikor az eljárás bűncselekmény hiányában megszűnt, pótmagánvádat is beterjesztettek ellene. De a ProArt teljes jogi arzenálja sem volt elég a Diablo Hub nevű fájlcsereközpont kiiktatására, az ügy a hangzatos nyilatkozatok ellenére a vádemelésig sem jutott el. Az ország egyik legnagyobb fájlcserélője most rágalmazás és hamis tanúzás miatt ellenperelné a szerzői jogvédő ernyőszervezetet.

The Register:

The leading DRM digital download service, Apple’s iTunes, has experienced a collapse in sales revenues this year according to analyst company Forrester Research.

While the iTunes service saw healthy growth for much of the period, since January the monthly revenue has fallen by 65 per cent, with the average transaction size falling 17 per cent. The previous spring’s rebound wasn’t repeated this year.

Forrester revealed some fascinating details about iTunes purchasing habits. Some 3.2 per cent of online households (around 60 per cent of the wider population) bought at least one download, and these dabblers made on average 5.6 transactions, with the median household making just three a year. The median transaction was slightly under $3.

“iTunes sales are not cutting into CD sales,” he elaborated to us, “they’re an incremental purchase at best.

“There’s a problem here. CD sales have fallen 20 per cent over five years. The message here is not that CD sales are coming back, the ability to obtain pirated music is now so widespread the DRM looks to consumers more like a problem than a benefit.”

Forrester and Nielsen’s figures merely confirm that what the industry is losing in falling CD sales, it isn’t gaining in DRM downloads.

Musicians Oppose Media Consolidation: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance:

Radio consolidation is shrinking playlists and creating a homogenized musical landscape, several singers and songwriters told the Federal Communication Commission on Monday. “Big radio is bad radio,” Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America, told FCC commissioners in the second of six public meetings nationwide. “You can drive I-40 from Knoxville to Barstow, California, and hear the same 20 songs on every country radio station.”

FT.com / World / International economy – Universal, MySpace set for landmark battle:

The legal battle brewing between Universal Music and MySpace could shape the broader commercial relationship between traditional media companies and a new generation of internet start-ups that rely on them for content.

Mr Zittrain said that the DMCA probably favoured the user-generated sites but that their case was hardly airtight.

“If I had to place a bet, I think they would probably pull it off. But there is plenty of room for a judge to rule on the equities,” he said.

Content companies could also be bolstered by the Supreme Court’s ruling last year against Grokster, an online file-sharing service.

Az Internet Archívum főhadiszállása SF Presido kerületében, egy volt katonai területből átalakított üdülő-övezetben, a volt postamester házikójában  található. Péntekenként déltől nyitott ebédet tartanak, azaz bárki odamehet és haverkodhat az archívumi dolgozókkal. Ezen a héten a nyugati part egyik legnagyobb kábítószer témájú magánkönyvtár tulajdonosa is megjelent, hogy ha lehet, szívesen digitalizáltatná, és közzétenni a negyven évnyi drog-aktivista múlt minden közzétehető (értsd: szerzői joggal már nem védett) hordalékát. Néhány gyöngyszem, ami a táskájában rejlett: Mordechai Cooke drogügyi klasszikusának, a The Seven Sisters of Sleep-nek első, dedikált kiadása, egy szintén első kiadás Harper, Olive ponyvaregényéből, a The opium smugglers of ‘Frisco, or, The crimes of a beautiful opium fiend, és néhány hasonló fajsúlyú ritkaság.

Az Internet Archívum masszív erőforrásokat fordít arra, hogy digitalizálni tudjon speciális gyűjteményeket, magánkönyvtárakat. Mind a Google mind a Microsoft nekilátott a nagy, egyetemi könyvtárak szkennelésének, úgyhogy a digitalizálási nyomás Brewster Kahle non-profit alapítványán némileg kisebb, de a helyzet nem feltétlenül vált egyszerűbbé. A számtalan szakgyűjtemény és magánkönyvtár digitalizálása mellett nem tettek le arról, hogy olyan könyveket is digitalizáljanak, amikkel a két nagy is foglalkozik. Az ok egyszerű: a nyílt, ingyenes, szabad hozzáférést biztosító IA nem bízik a két nagyban. Nem tudni mi lesz, ha bármelyikük megszűnik, nem tudni, hogy mikor, milyen megfontolások mentén teszik fizetőssé, vagy technikailag nehezen hozzáférhetővé a public domainban levő könyveket a jövőben, és így tovább.

Ezért aztán két helyszínen ( az UC Berkeley egyetemi könyvtárának raktárában és San Francisco belvárosában) kétszer 8 órás műszakokban kétszer két tucat ember foglalkozik a folyamatosan érkező könyvek digitalizálásával. Egy-egy műszakban a saját maguk által fejlesztett, két, tükörreflexes Canon fényképezőgépet használó rendszeren kb. 800 könyvvel végeznek.

A következő lépés az lesz, hogy ezeket a digitalizáló állomásokat kiteszik közterekbe: múzeumokba, könyvtárakba, hogy bárki, akár egy-egy könyvet is bedigitalizálhasson, megkaphasson dvd-n.

Russia agrees to shut down Allofmp3.com | CNET News.com:

Russia has agreed to shut down Allofmp3.com and other music sites based in that country that the U.S. government says are offering downloads illegally.

The nation has struck the agreement with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as it seeks entry to the World Trade Organization. The U.S. has suggested that it would hold up Russia’s acceptance in the WTO unless leaders there took action against digital piracy.

“Russia will take enforcement actions against the operation of Russia-based websites,” according to a press release issued November 19 by the U.S. Trade Representative. “(Russia will) investigate and prosecute companies that illegally distribute copyright works on the Internet.”

On Wednesday, Allofmp3.com was still operating. Gretchen Hamel, a spokeswoman for Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, said that she didn’t know when the deal requires the Russian government to begin taking action.

Allofmp3.com has denied charges of piracy by pointing out that the company is compliant with Russian copyright law. It says it is careful to pay royalties to artists via the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society, which claims to represent copyright holders.

Ongoing crisis in academic-journal pricing is the focus of recent colloquium:

From 1986 to 2003, the unit cost of serials purchased by academic research libraries rose by 215 percent compared with a 68 percent rise in the consumer price index over the same time period, said Doug Brutlag, professor of biochemistry and current chairman of the Academic Council’s Committee on Libraries.

There is a big discrepancy between the prices charged by for-profit and nonprofit journals, reported Ted Bergstrom, professor of economics at the University of California-Santa Barbara, in a talk titled “The Changing Economics of Scholarly Journals.” Bergstrom presented data comparing journal costs in 2004 that showed that the price-per-page of for-profit journals was about three times the average price-per-page of nonprofit journals.

Google Book Search is a plagiarist’s nightmare. – By Paul Collins – Slate Magazine:

But wait, you might ask, don’t people accidentally repeat each other’s sentences all the time? It seems to me that this should not be unusual. Yet try plugging that last sentence word by word into Google Book Search, and watch what happens.
It: Rejected—too many hits to count
It seems: 11,160,000 matches
It seems to: 3,050,000
It seems to me: 1,580,000
It seems to me that: 844,000
It seems to me that this: 29,700
It seems to me that this should: 237
It seems to me that this should not: 20
It seems to me that this should not be: 9
It seems to me that this should not be unusual: 0

It seems to me that this should not be unusual is itself … unusual.

Legal Music Services Compared:

Music Services Compared

MPAA sues over DVD-to-iPod service:

After the iPod gained the ability to play videos, services sprung up that would rip your DVDs and reencode them for viewing on your iPod. Useful, but illegal in the US. The Motion Picture Association of America has decided to sue one of those DVD ripping and reeconding services. Earlier this month, Load ‘N Go Video was sued by Paramount Pictures in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit accuses Load ‘N Go Video of copyright infringement and violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Based in Boston, Load N’ Go was founded in 2005 to help consumers get video content on to their portable media players. Load N’ Go also sells iPods and DVDs, and will rip DVDs for its customers and load them on to their iPods. The customer then gets the iPod with the movies loaded on it and a copy of the DVD that she legally purchased. The DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent copy protection, even for fair use purposes, so Load N’ Go’s prospects do not look good. The implications of this case are even more troubling. Not only could the MPAA sue any other companies performing similar services, but they clearly believe that they can sue you for ripping DVDs and moving the content to your iPod or other digital media player.

RED HERRING

Lawsuits against P2P applications are old news in the peer file sharing market. So the story goes, a company gets sued, makes a few compromises to please the record industry and stays alive if it has the financial means to do so. But another application or service pops up to fill its place.

Now some analysts think the record industry should stop suing and instead look for ways to benefit from the technology. “The major label recording business is in heaps of trouble… they’ve [spent time] building a strategy to knock down P2P that might have been better spent on some other initiatives. But they’re certainly showing no signs of moving off it,” said Joe Fleischer, CEO of media research firm Big Champagne.

Despite being in the middle of a legal battle with the record industry, P2P service LimeWire is in talks with record labels and working on a “conversion plans for users,” said LimeWire consultant Laura Tunberg with consulting firm We Get It. She explains that LimeWire wants to give users legal purchasing options.

“A lot of users want a legitimate product,” said Ms. Tunberg. “We believe a certain percentage of our user base will be converted, and that this is a viable business model.”

“If you take away the free, a lot of the appeal of peer-to-peer clearly goes away,” said Mr. Mitchell. “It’s going to take some innovative and clever software development to drive the legitimate marketplace.”

via reuters



SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is set to begin helping customers buy advertisements in 50 U.S. newspapers in a test of how the Web search leader can extend its business into offline media, the company said on Sunday.

Google said it has invited more than 100 advertisers already buying ads through its Web marketing system to join a three-month test of a Print Ads service that places ads in daily papers including the New York Times and Washington Post.

If the trial is successful, Google could extend the program to hundreds of thousands of its online advertising customers, offering newspapers a broad new sales channel that could help offset an ongoing decline in classified print advertising.

“For advertisers, it gives them access to a network of newspapers through an online interface and the ability to potentially reach a new customer base,” Google spokesman Michael Mayzel said in response to questions via e-mail.

A year ago, Google, of Mountain View, California, began an earlier test in which it started selling print advertising in a handful of magazines, including PC Magazine. However, demand for the service was slow to take off, executives said in May.

Mayzel contrasted the earlier magazine program to the current newspaper test by saying that, “This test is not an auction and we are not buying and reselling ad space.”

In effect, Google is giving greater control over how ad sales are made. Advertisers log into the Google AdWords system and select newspapers and available ad space, then upload the advertising artwork. But newspaper publishers retain creative and financial control over whether to approve or reject bids.

The advertisements will appear in 50 metropolitan newspapers, including the Boston Globe, Seattle Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Chicago Tribune, along with papers in the Gannett Co. Inc. (GCI.N: Quote, Profile, Research) newspaper chain, the Google spokesman said.

Print advertising joins efforts by Google to expand into radio and video ads, allowing it to move beyond its Web-search marketing business that delivers pay-per-click text ads on its own site and others and accounts for the bulk of its revenue.

Google already offers click-to-play video ads through Web sites in its ad affiliate network. It has said it plans to start a public test of its Google Audio Ads that brokers ads on radio stations by the end of this year, Mayzel said.

During the test program, Google’s services will be free, but it plans on taking a sales commission eventually. “In the future, we will set up a revenue share model where the majority of the ad revenue will go to the publisher,” he said.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Favorite old flicks online / Startup inDplay to link archives with digital world:

Along with Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, Hearst is giving angel funding to the Redwood City startup inDplay Inc., which hopes to solve this problem. “There are libraries and libraries of these films just sitting around lying fallow,” Hearst said. “With inDplay, we hope to … (create) a place where the library owners can broker deals with customers who want to license them.”

via cnn:

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FT.com / Technology – Microsoft in digital book deal:

Microsoft on Tuesday took another step into Google’s terrain by announcing a deal with a digital scanning company to produce digital books.

Kirtas Technologies, which makes high-speed scanners and the software to edit and organise books, will scan works for Microsoft’s Live Book Search Web-based application. The books will become available early next year.

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new partnership to scan books from Cornell University’s library. Microsoft has already agreed partnerships with the British Library and libraries at the University of California and the University of Toronto.

Slyck News – iPod Sales help Apple Soar:

Today Apple is a premier technology firm. But don’t thank the Mac, at least not entirely. According to Apple’s financial report from last quarter, the company sold over 8.7 million iPods in the last quarter. Mac sales were also impressive, with a record 1.6 million units sold. Total revenue generated by the iPod equaled $1.6 billion, while the Macs made up the difference with over $2.2 billion in sales. What about the left over billion?

iTunes continued to played a small role in Apple’s revenue with about $452 million in sales. This represents a substantial increase of 70% from the same quarter in 2005, but is actually a drop of 1% from the 3rd quarter of this year. It’s clear from Apple’s financial report that the iTunes music store is no where near the money maker that the iPod or Mac represent. Although $452 million is hardly a number to dismiss, iPod’s dominance in the market is powered by factors other than Tunes.

Free-for-all over Russian music site – Print Version – International Herald Tribune:

Free-for-all over Russian music site By Thomas Crampton International Herald Tribune WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2006 PARIS A Moscow-based Web site that the U.S. Commerce Department has branded as the world’s highest- volume online seller of pirated music announced plans Tuesday to release hundreds of thousands of albums free. Low prices and ease of use have made AllofMP3 a consumer favorite among music download sites, but the site – which claims to operate legally under Russian copyright law – faces continuing legal battles with the music industry and harsh criticism from the U.S. government. On Tuesday, the credit card company Visa International said it had suspended card service to the site, citing concerns over copyright issues. The U.S. trade representative, Susan Schwab, has warned that continued operation of the site signals a lack of respect for intellectual property law that could jeopardize Russia’s long-sought entry into the World Trade Organization. The company, which lists no telephone number on its Web site and normally declines all comment, undertook a rare public relations offensive Tuesday. Vadim Mamotin, director general of the site’s parent company, Mediaservices, spoke through a translator during an interview by telephone with the International Herald Tribune and then participated in an online chat with 59 journalists. Defiant, Mamotin maintained that the company operated legally under Russian law. “In six years of operation we have never been convicted by a Russian court or declared illegal,” Mamotin said, speaking through the translator. “Under Russian law we are 100 percent legal.” The site, which claims five million subscribers and a growth rate of 5,000 a day, remunerates artists by paying 15 percent of its revenue to a collecting agency, the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society, or ROMS by its initials in Russian, Mamotin said.

Rolling Stone : Wal-Mart Wants $10 CDs:

Getting Wal-Mart excited about carrying a record is at the top of every label’s to-do list, but it’s harder than it sounds. There is an immense cultural chasm between slick industry executives and Severson’s team of three music buyers at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Only one of the three had ever worked in music retailing — until that person moved to a new division in August and was replaced by someone who previously bought Wal-Mart’s salty snacks.

p2pnet.net – the original daily p2p and digital media news site:

While Wal-Mart represents nearly twenty percent of major-label music sales, music represents only about two percent of Wal-Mart’s total sales.

“If they got out of selling music, it would mean nothing to them,” the story has a label executive saying. “This keeps me awake at night.”

That’s end of the Ars Technical excerpt, but there’s more – a lot more – in the Rolling Stone story, and the conclusion is especially interesting.

“Major labels insist that the low prices mass retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy demand are impossible for them to achieve,” it says, talking about whether or not the Big Four will ever drop their CD prices. But it has Best Buy senior vice president Gary Arnold saying,

“The record industry needs to refine their business models, because the consumer is the ultimate arbitrator. And the consumer feels music isn’t properly priced.”

So? So maybe WalMart can get CD prices lowered across the board, says Hannibal

TheStar.com – Why YouTube won’t be Napster redux:

Given these changes, what is the likelihood that a new licensed P2P model will come to the fore in the near future? Better than you might think.

There are several such initiatives currently underway, the most advanced of which appears to be Noank. The brainchild of Terry Fisher, a Harvard law professor, the system is billed as a “digital media exchange” and is expected to launch in China sometime next year. Once operational, it will enable ten million Chinese university students to freely download music and movies with no technological restrictions. The service will be funded by a mandatory student fee (similar to a student activity fee), with 85 per cent of the proceeds distributed to participating artists and content owners. Fisher estimatesc that the service will generate $200 million (U.S.) per year from these fees alone, with additional advertising revenue possibly doubling that figure.

iTWire

The Jobs interview, which marked the fifth anniversary of iPod, revealed that the Apple co-founder claims that if you charge the market a price it will accept for music, users will forgo illegal downloads and pay iTunes to download tracks.

What Jobs didn’t say, however, is that the strategy only works up to a point. Of the hundreds and sometimes thousands of tracks that each iPod owner has on his or her player, on average only 20 to 25 were bought through iTunes.

The changing art of measuring TV viewership – Network World:

Nielsen Media Research cannot collect data about what people watch on handheld video-viewing gadgets or from PCs streaming network TV shows. While Nielsen estimates around 90% of TV viewing still happens in homes, it’s this burgeoning 10% that TV networks and advertisers are desperate to delve into.

 “The industry is just dehydrated for this data,” says Bob Luff, Nielsen’s CTO, who oversees the design of the technology used to collect and measure TV viewing habits in more than 40,000 Nielsen homes. “But how do you measure what’s on a video iPod at 38,000 feet on an airplane’s fold-down tray?”

Techcrunch » Blog Archive » Amie Street Takes Innovative Music Model Into Beta:

DRM-free music marketplace Amie Street is announcing its beta launch this morning. (Note: it looks like it’s having traffic issues today, but it is coming up if you’re patient.) We wrote about the company’s alpha launch and interesting demand-driven pricing model here in July. Songs uploaded by artists fluctuate in price according to demand over time. Users get recommendation tokens for each dollar they put into the system and get free credits if the songs they recommend rise in price. Artists receive 70% of sales proceeds. The company is angel funded, with one of the most notable angels being Robin Richards of MP3.com fame.

Skype’s Venice Project Revealed:

Skype’s Venice Project Revealed The company is combining professionally produced TV and videos with the Internet, and BusinessWeek.com got the first look

The existence of the project was first reported on by BusinessWeek.com in July (see BusinessWeek.com, 7/24/06, “Kazaa, Skype, and now ‘The Venice Project'”). BusinessWeek.com has since received an exclusive demonstration of how the system works.

To get started, users need to download a piece of software from the Web and install it on their PCs. When they boot up, the software will connect to the Web and open a full-screen window displaying “near high-definition” quality video images.

While the software turns your PC screen into something that looks a lot like your TV, the capabilities go far beyond anything you’ll experience in your den. Jiggle your computer mouse, and a variety of tools appear along the edges of the screen, even as the video continues to play. At the bottom of the screen, there are controls like those on a DVD player, including stop, pause, and fast-forward, as well as a search window to find new videos. An image on the left includes a menu of preset channels. And on the right, there’s a set of interactive tools that let you share video playlists with friends or family. An image at the top of the screen identifies the channel and the name of the clip you’re watching. All of the images can be expanded by clicking on them with a mouse.

WSJ.com – TV Downloads May Undercut ABC Stations:

Last Thursday morning, Apple Computer Inc. started selling an episode of the hit television series “Lost” through its iTunes Music Store for $1.99 after the show aired the night before on ABC. It marked the first time a popular show was made available for legal downloading over the Internet so quickly after its original airing. With that, Apple may have helped open a Pandora’s box for the media business. The Cupertino, Calif., company and its first TV partner — Walt Disney Co., the parent of ABC — have taken a potentially significant step in the dismantling of a decades-old system for distributing TV programming to viewers, a move that could have profound long-term consequences for broadcasters, cable systems and satellite companies if more users download shows instead of watching them the old-fashioned way.

Apple’s deal with Disney, which also includes past and current episodes of “Desperate Housewives,” “Night Stalker” and “That’s So Raven,” is already causing waves in the TV business. On Friday, Leon Long, the president of the association representing ABC’s affiliate stations, expressed misgivings about the partnership, which was announced publicly by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Robert Iger at an event last Wednesday. In a letter Mr. Long sent to the president of the ABC network, Alex Wallau, Mr. Long said ABC affiliates are concerned that they weren’t given an opportunity for financial participation in a new form of distributing shows that derives value through the promotion and broadcasting of affiliates.

The letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, says: “It is both disappointing and unsettling that ABC would embark on a new — and competitive — network program distribution partnership without the fundamental courtesy of consultation” with its affiliates.

Mr. Long, who runs the ABC affiliate WXON in Biloxi, Miss., didn’t return calls seeking comment. Mr. Wallau said he would respond to the affiliates this week but declined to comment further.

For TV affiliates, Apple’s new offering “is really bad,” says Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. “You don’t get anything. You just get a smaller audience,” he says.

Also concerned about the Apple-Disney partnership are the unions that represent TV-show writers, producers, directors and actors. Soon after Disney and Apple’s announcement, those unions issued a joint statement saying, “We look forward to a dialogue that ensures our members are properly compensated for this exploitation of their work.”

Patric Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America West, says the Apple-Disney pact would fall under current guidelines that cover video-on-demand and other forms of pay TV, which is 1.2% of the licensing fee that a production entity receives for retransmitting a TV show or movie. Apple and Disney haven’t said how they’re splitting the revenue from the $1.99 sale of TV episodes.

It’s unlikely Apple will cause a meaningful diversion of viewers from traditional TV in the near term. For now, it offers less than a half-dozen TV series from Disney through iTunes. Shows can take more than an hour to download if users don’t have the speediest Internet connection. And the video quality is inferior if displayed on a large television, though the picture looks better on a computer or one of Apple’s new video-capable iPod portable players.

But the partnership with Disney may be merely a first step for Apple, which said it expects to offer more TV shows. If downloading episodes over the Internet proves popular, analysts believe Apple will get permission to offer shows with better-fidelity pictures. Any success Apple has won’t go unnoticed by other online media powerhouses with expanding video initiatives like Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which could all help extend TV downloading to more viewers.

FURTHER READING

 

 Page One: Comcast Builds a Mini Internet1
10/13/05
 
 Video Comes to the iPod2
10/13/05
 

The Disney deal with Apple is part of a whirl of efforts at all major media companies to explore new means of distributing TV shows. Live broadcasts of news channels like MSNBC are now available on cellular phones. Programmers typically make hit shows available on DVD within a year after the episodes have aired on a network.

On cable networks, there’s a growing selection of TV shows available through video-on-demand, though hit shows aren’t typically available for on-demand viewing as quickly as iTunes is putting Disney programming on the Internet. Cable giant Comcast Corp., for instance, has been trying for some time to strike a similar deal with Disney to offer “Desperate Housewives” on video-on-demand soon after it airs on the network. These talks haven’t advanced to a serious level because Comcast generally prefers to get content for video-on-demand free of charge, which it typically offers at no additional charge to subscribers beyond their regular monthly cable bills.

The technologies are all part of the slow death of “appointment viewing,” the mantra networks lived by for decades as they sought to habituate viewers to watching shows at one time on one outlet. The growth of TiVo and other personal video recorders that make it easy for viewers to record shows and watch them when they like, while skipping through commercials, helped undermine the networks’ control over viewing habits.

If Apple is able to assemble enough top-notch TV programming for iTunes, it could prove vexing to cable operators like Comcast. In the past, cable operators have faced pressure by politicians and consumer groups to offer individual channels “a la carte,” rather than forcing all subscribers to pay for large packages of programming that most don’t watch in their entirety.

Apple is, in effect, giving consumers the opportunity to cherry-pick programs for $1.99 each, though analysts expect it will be years before Internet companies represent a viable alternative to cable TV. On the other hand, the iTunes video offerings could help boost demand for the high-speed cable Internet connections supplied by Comcast and others.

TV advertisers, too, could someday be forced to adapt if Internet downloading of shows takes off, since the programs Apple is selling are commercial-free. Advertisers typically pay fees based on the size of TV audiences; if audiences shrink, they pay less. The Apple deal “is part of the changed world that we are living in,” says Peter Gardiner, a media executive at Interpublic Group’s Deutsch ad agency. “This is about finding news ways to distribute content and it’s up to us to find new ways to advertise.”

Publishers aim for some control of search results | Tech&Sci | Internet | Reuters.com:

Global publishers, fearing that Web search engines such as Google Inc. are encroaching on their ability to generate revenue, plan to launch an automated system for granting permission on how to use their content. Buoyed by a Belgian court ruling this week that Google was infringing on the copyright of French and German language newspapers by reproducing article snippets in search results, the publishers said on Friday they plan to start testing the service before the end of the year. “This industry-wide initiative positively answers the growing frustration of publishers, who continue to invest heavily in generating content for online dissemination and use,” said Gavin O’Reilly, chairman of the World Association of Newspapers, which is spearheading the initiative.

Variety.com – Yahoo tests ‘Right’ to MP3 downloads:

In a first for mainstream pop music, Yahoo! will sell Jesse McCartney’s new album “Right Where You Want Me,” from Disney-owned Hollywood Records, in the unprotected MP3 format.

“We’re trying to be realistic,” said Ken Bunt, senior VP of marketing at Hollywood Records. “Jesse’s single is already online and we haven’t put it out. Piracy happens regardless of what we do. So we’re going to see how Jesse’s album goes (as an MP3) and then decide on others going forward.”

“We think this is a really good experiment, because copy protection is not doing anything to stop people from stealing when you can just get unprotected tracks off of a CD or get music illegally online,” said Yahoo! Music topper Dave Goldberg. “We think it’s good to make it easy for consumers to get digital music on whatever device they want and for companies like us to not be reliant on one particular technology company for how our consumers can access music.”

Because Apple doesn’t license the copy-protection technology behind iTunes, musicstores like Yahoo!, Napster and Rhapsody that want to sell major-label music have to use Microsoft’s alternative.

EMusic is currently the only online musicstore that sells songs in MP3 format, but it specializes in indie music and doesn’t have any major-label tracks.

FT.com / Companies / Media & internet – Disney’s iTunes sales hit 125,000:

Disney has sold 125,000 online film downloads less than a week after agreeing to make its titles available on Apple’s iTunes store. The sales have added about $1m in incremental revenue to the media company, according to chief executive Bob Iger, who expressed confidence that revenues from the new film venture could reach $50m in its first year. “Clearly, customers are saying to us that they want content available in multiple ways,” Mr Iger said at an investor conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs. Disney broke with other Hollywood studios when it agreed last week to make 75 titles available on iTunes at prices ranging from $9.99 to $14.99.

Boing Boing: Amazon Unbox to customers: Eat shit and die:

Amazon’s new video-on-demand store may sound like a good idea, but once you take a look at the “agreement” you enter into by giving them your money, that changes. The Amazon terms-of-service are among the worst I’ve ever seen, a document through which you surrender your rights to privacy, integrity of your personal data, and control over your computer, in exchange for a chance to pay near-retail cost to watch Police Academy n-1. As Ben Franklin might have said: They that can give up general purpose computers for the sake of a little eye candy deserve neither computers nor eye candy.

Slyck News reports:

The content database has been online since around new years 2004. This means that any content free of copyright or content allowed by the author to be distributed freely are more than welcome in the content database.

http://content.emule-project.net/

Wired News runs an uber-interesting story on the  Secrets of the Pirate Bay:

“The general perception is that they are doing something good … they’ve always had this image, very ideological,” says Tobias Brandel, the reporter who broke the story. If the Pirate Bay turns out to be a collection of businessmen profiting off of piracy via porn ads and online poker, it would lose popular support in the moralistic Swedish society. And if the Pirate Bay’s crew is eventually convicted of copyright crimes “they will have a much harder punishment,”

So, the dilemma, according to Wired and the swedish journalist representing the “swedish moral (minimum) consent” is that stealing a la Robin Hood is okay, but keeping a share of the bounty is bad.

Apart from the fact that pirating is not by definition an altruistic activity, lets think for a moment about the economics of this case.
Providing access to “pirated” material comes with a cost. The two images show the difference:

The first 3 servers of pirate bay

The current configuration of 12 Hewlett-Packard ProLiant DL140 servers.

And these are only the hw costs. The costs of litigation, police raids, and eventually the inevitable conviction are much-much higher. These guys are willing to pay that price for

The Pirate Bay’s jaunty image was blemished when a July 5 article in the Swedish daily paper Svenska Dagbladet revealed the site’s hidden financial life for the first time. Posing as an internet firm seeking advertising on the Bay, the paper phoned Eastpoint Media, which sells banner ads for the Pirate Bay in Scandinavia. Eastpoint revealed to the reporter that they place 600,000 Kr of ads per month — about $84,000 U.S.

for an indefinite amount of (but possible not very long) time. So this is the wage of fear (Le salaire de la peur) for providing links to 3.513.240 torrent files on the net. Good to know.

After so many companies failing in court to RIAA I am wonderning what they were hoping for? That noone will notice the several million users? Do they have a good defence?

Slyck News’ Thomas Mennecke speculates that:

Many believed, as did LimeWire, that their open source nature would preserve their existence – at least for some time to come.

I do not see that commercially exploting an open source software would mean an excuse from being sued. But anyway, whom will RIAA sue after they take LimeWire out? All the contributors who have developed the code?

LimeWire’s open source nature may not save the company from the RIAA’s onslaught, but it may save the Gnutella network. LimeWire’s newest features and talent comes from the open source world; even if Lime Group vanishes tomorrow, development won’t.

Well said.

GUse this tool to find downloadable mp3s on Google.

This is just great. The right search term for google is:
intitle:index.of “mp3″ +”Artis Name” -htm -html -php -asp “Last Modified”

icLiverpool reports: “TECHNOLOGY allowing bands to sell their music direct to fans on the internet and protect against piracy will give more power to musicians. That’s the claim of Liverpool firm Safesell which is behind the system that plays on any Windows-compatible pc or mobile.

It can be sent to friends by email or peer-to-peer file sharing. At the end of a promotional period anyone wishing to play the track again is invited to buy a license online.

Co-founder Brian Pond said: “Safesell is the first product in the world to offer everything you need to sell music or video direct to customers. “It provides downloading in a format which cannot be pirated; it allows the artist to control pricing of tracks and album and the quality of download, the territories and currencies they want to deal with; and it manages the payments.””

Now that is really interesting, a real alternative to the traditional middlemen like record companies and marketplaces. I hope it will work out at the end, and it will charge reasonable transaction fees.