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Category — BigMedia v P2P Providers

Ars Technica: Why Piracy is More Common than Legal Video Downloads

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersDRM-Free ServicesFYIiVOD/iTVNew Business ModelsPiracy

Ars Technica: Why Piracy is More Common than Legal Video Downloads

Warez.com: Piracy, the clear choice for 2006 

Dale's Comment: Each of these articles make the same essential point. Piracy of video content is pervasive because it provides consumers with a product they want – a vast selection of high quality content, meeting the tastes of both the masses and the long tail – with the ability to use/view the content on any device and with any software/service of their choosing. Something the TV and movie-industries fail to provide to the very consumers eager to purchase it from them – if only it was conveniently available at fair prices and under fair use terms.

This oft-quoted remark by Disney co-chair Ann Sweeney made at a conference in October, shows at least that the industry is finally starting to grapple with the issue: 

"We understand now that piracy is a business model. It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do – through quality, price and availability. We we don?t like the model but we realise it?s competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward."

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Davis Freeberg Interviews DivX CEO Jordan Greenhall

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersFYIiVOD/iTVNew Tech

Davis' interview of DivX, Inc.'s CEO Jordan Greenhall is interesting. There isn't much here that is new to me but it is topical given DivX's recent public offering. One bit that was new to me was his explanation of why the inclusion of DivX encoding technology within CE devices like PVRs didn't make much sense until recently. Unlike decoding, encoding media to DivX is computationally intensive. Until a couple months ago DivX encoding chips where far more expensive than the inexpensive larger hard drives needed for use with less efficient codecs. With the emergence of cheap encoding chips it now makes sense for manufacturers to start embedding them within CE devices in conjunction with the DivX codec. 

The interview covers the history of the company, the current status and trends (YouTube, convergence) and where this promising, yet controversial, company and its technology are headed.

Dale's Comment: I had to smile when I read Greenhall's answers. Having lived in Silicon Valley for a few years, and having left it, his "Silicon Valley-speak" reminds me of the good old bubble days.  Take this snipped for example:

So the fact that DivX technology is associated with that path is a really interesting physical manifestation, but the reality of the value proposition is that the market, the community itself is a value proposition, so what you’ll find is, if you map our progress on a go forward basis …

Silicon-valley-speak notwithstanding, its an interesting interview of an interesting man in control of an important technology. Good work Davis!

Sources: Davis Freeberg

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Google Torrents

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersBigMedia v. P2P UsersDRM Arms Race

As the RIAA systematically works to shut down Torrent Sites around the Internet, some enterprising person at Digg Torrents found a way to use Google to search for and download torrent files. Torrent files are small files containing the data used by BitTorrent clients to locate the specific content (ie: a video, a document, music etc.) available for downloading from other BitTorrent users at that particular moment in time.

[Nov 18 Update: Since I first posted this, the service has changed its name from Google Torrents to Digg Torrents and moved to the new URL linked-to below. The name has changed but the use of Google to find torrents has not.]

Sources: Digg Torrents

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StreamCast Loses District Court P2P File Sharing Case

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersDecisions

Text of Decision
In attempting to apply the Supreme Court's new "inducement" doctrine from MGM v. Grokster, District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, the same judge that in an earlier ruling had cleared StreamCast of infringement charges, found "…evidence of StreamCast's unlawful intent … overwhelming", held StreamCast liable for inducing Morpheus users to infringe on copyright and granted the plaintiffs summary judgment. Subject to any successful appeal, StreamCast is liable for up to $150,000 for each copyrighted song or movie shared with Morpheus which, of course, trends towards a damages value of $infinity! :)

The rather unclear Supreme Court doctrine of inducement requires a "clear expression or other affirmative steps" beyond mere distribution of P2P software to find infringement. Judge Wilson held that the test was met because: (i) Internal e-mails by StreamCast executives showed their awareness of users' infringements, they were eager to insure the supply of copyrighted content on the network, (iii) they implemented features that made it easier to infringe, and (iv) they failed to implement technology that could have deterred some infringements.

After MGM v. Grokster, Sharman Networks (Kazaa), Grokster, iMesh (Bearshare), eDonkey, Qtrax, Mashboxx and others settled. StreamCast was one of the few that decided to fight on. A StreamCast spokesperson said the company may appeal. LimeWire remains the only other large P2P Player still fighting on.

Sources: Ars Technica | EFF | New York Law Journal | Kathy Kirkman | L.A. Times | Chron.com (AP) | Daily Tech | MP3.com | Internet News | The Register | Slyck | Reuters | P2PNet | techdirt | Wired (AP) | cbc.ca | RIAA Press Release | DRM Watch

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LimeWire Countersues RIAA Alleging Conspiracy

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersCases

Text of Amended LimeWire Counter Claim (Nov 17, 2006)
Text of LimeWire Counter Claim (Sept 25, 2006)
Text of Arista Complaint Against LimeWire (Aug 4, 2006)
On August 4, the music industry sued LimeWire as it had every other major P2P provider before. LimeWire's parent, Lime Group LLC, has filed a counter suit alleging that the case against it is "part of a much larger conspiracy to destroy all innovation that content owners cannot control and that disrupts their historical business models". LimeWire also charges the record companies with trying to extend their monopoly by forcing music distributors to work only with their affiliated filtering system supplier. LimeWire says it developed a filtering application to prevent illegal downloading and encourage legal content purchasing. But the record companies refused to give the developer access to the metadata that uniquely identifies each song in order for the filtering system to work.

Sources: Slyck | The Register | CrunchGear | Mercury News (AP) | Pocket-lint | Beta News | Computer World (IDG) | Macworld | MP3.com | GMSV | Recording Industry vs. The People

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Who Needs Kazza or eDonkey when You Have Google?

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersBigMedia v. P2P UsersDRM Arms RacePiracy

The recording industry has successfully shuttered several peer-to-peer networks of late. To what end? This recent Digg.com entry demonstrates how easy it is to find and download almost any music without DRM restrictions using a simple Google search. What's more, there is no way that I know of for such downloads to be traced by the means currently employed by the RIAA. No P2P application installations are needed, no attendant spyware, no messy port forwarding, no TPM circumvention is involved, just a simple Google search and download.

Dale's Comment: The RIAA can feel self-satisfied that it is successfully shuttering P2P Networks and ratcheting four digit settlements out of hapless P2P users unwilling or unable to fight the thousands of recent RIAA lawsuits, but until the content industries realize that they need to provide a fair way for honest users to purchase downloadable content, there will always be alternative ways for end users to pirate DRM-free content. The content industry needs to realize and accept the fact that there will always be some amount of piracy. Once it accepts this fact, it can turn its attention to providing first-rate and fair download services that meet the legitimate needs and expectations of honest people. Until they do, there's always Google, AllofMP3.com or the next new thing. Here's a terrific and topical EFF Article: The Consumer is Always Wrong: A User's Guide to DRM in Online Music.

Source: Digg.com

Web Sites that Automate this Google Search: CyberWyre | G2P Tyoogle

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eDonkey Settles for $30M and Shuts Down after Adverse Ruling

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersDecisionsSettlements

After a judge in New York's southern district ruled that eDonkey facilitated illegal activity by allowing users to swap copyrighted material over the eDonkey2000 network, MetaMachine Inc., the firm behind eDonkey, Overnet and their P2P variants, has agreed to cease distribution of their P2P software and to pay the RIAA $30 million to avoid a copyright infringement suit. The company also agreed to take measures to curtail file sharing by existing eDonkey and Overnet users. Despite the shutdown and settlement, existing users of eDonkey, and an open source version called eMule, will likely go on sharing files unabated. While BearShare, Kazza, Grokster and others have settled with the RIAA, Warez P2P, Limewire and Soulseek are examples of major P2P services that have not settled. The judge must approve the final terms of the eDonkey settlement.

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Sources: ars technica | CNet | San Jose Mercury news (AP) | MP3.com | Slyck | CDfreaks.com | PC World | Mac World | Playfuls | PC Pro | BetaNews | The Register | Syndey Morning Herald | DRM Watch

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iMesh Raises BearShare from the Dead and Takes it ‘Legit’

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersNew Business ModelsSettlements

Back on May 9 I reported that the Free Peers had settled with the RIAA for $30M, shut down its BearShare P2P service and sold the BearShare assets to iMesh owner Musiclab. As it turns out, like Kazza before it, iMesh is re-introducing a new version of Bearshare (version 6 – currently in beta). BearShare 6 includes a “ToGo” portable music subscription, compatible with Windows Plays for Sure portable music players, as well as social networking features. The service will not be compatible with iTunes, iPods or the forthcoming Zune service from Microsoft. Subscribers will have access to 15 million songs, including 2.5 million from major labels. It will start with a free 30-day beta trial and eventually start charging a monthly fee.

Sources: MP3.com | TechWeb | Business Wire | ZD Net | Reuters | iTnews Australia | P2P Weblog | BetaNews

Related P2P Going ‘Legit’ Posts:

Related iMesh/Bearshare Posts:

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Music Industry Sues Limewire

Categories: BigMedia v P2P Providers

Text of Complaint
Text of LimeWire’s Counter Claim
Like Napster, Kazaa, Grokster, Streamcast, Bearshare and others before it, the music industry has set its legal sights on LimeWire, a leading P2P content distribution service. In a suit filed in Manhattan federal court, the record companies accuse LimeWire of profiting from illicit downloads of their music, saying “the scope of the infringement is massive”. In the complaint they are accused of contributory copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, and, uniquely, common law copyright infringement. In September of 2005, Limewire and other P2P software providers were served with cease and desist letters. Since then BearShare, eDonkey and WinMX all ceased operations as a result of the letter. LimeWire continued.

Sources: CNet | Slyck | L.A. Times (AP) | DRM Watch | ZDNet | Silicon.com | Afterdawn | CD Freaks | Reuters

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NYTimes: New File Sharing Techniques Are Likely to Test Court Decision

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechBigMedia v P2P ProvidersNew Tech

Kazaa Settles for $100M+ and Goes ‘Legit’

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersSettlements

After many years of legal battles both in North America and Australia, Sharman Networks, the owners of the popular Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network, (owned by the founders of Skype) have settled with the international record labels (Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music) for in excess of $100 million U.S. Sharman will distribute music through licensing arrangements and has agreed to filter out non-licensed content. Sharman had lost an important decision in the Federal Court of Australia in September 2005, but on February 20, 2006 had said they were going to appeal that decision. Under the settlement agreement, major record companies will be entitled to 20% of proceeds of eventual music sales through the system.

Sources: New York Times | L.A. Times | ARIA Press Release | Red Herring | ars technica | BBC | Daily Telegraph (Aus) | Herald Sun (Aus) | Slyck | SiliconValley.com | Xinhaunet (China) | San Jose Mercury News | Toronto Star | Seattle Times (AP) | VNUNet | Washington Times | CNet | ZDNet | PC World (Aus) | USA Today | Bloomberg

Related Kazaa Posts:

Related P2P Going 'Legit' Posts:

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Lawyer who Fights the RIAA Speaks Out

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersBigMedia v. P2P Users

EFF: Frequently Awkward Questions for the Entertainment Industry

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersBigMedia v. P2P UsersDRM Analysis

In this fun article, the EFF suggests a dozen or so questions that should be asked of the Entertainment Industry when challenging their legal/technological tactics used to thwart emerging technologies that they perceive as threatening their business models.

Source: EFF

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One Year After Grokster Decision: File Sharing Continues to Unabated

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersPolicy Analysis

Text of U.S.S.C. Grokster Decision
I link to several “one year after” stories. The essence of these stories, as anyone who has paid attention over the last year knows, is that, while the law suits may continue, and the content industry legal tactics may be changing, Internet-based file sharing not only continues but has increased.

Dale’s Comment: As has been the pattern of the content industry for a century, fighting new technologies may stem the inevitable tide for awhile, but in the end, the content industry will have to adapt its business models to the Internet era. As with all the technologies they opposed in the past (player pianos, FM radio, VCRs, cassette tapes and more), the content industry will, of necessity, embrace consumer-friendly and fair Internet music distribution business models and, despite themselves, will likely be even more profitable when they do. The question is, how long will they persist with this futile battle.

Sources: San Jose Mercury News | MSNBC | LA Times | Star Tribune

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As Promised, The Pirate Bay is Back!

Categories: BigMedia v P2P Providers

Less than a week after being shuttered by police in Sweden, from servers in The Netherlands, the Pirate Bay is back at its original domain, thepiratebay.org.

Sources: The Register | Wired | Slyck | Digital Spy | P2PNet | Security Pro News

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MPAA Sues Another Torrent Site – This time ISOHunt

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersCases

It appears that The Pirate Bay is not the only Torrent search site under attack by the MPAA, Canada-based ISOHunt is now the subject of an MPAA lawsuit.

Sources: CBC  |  ISOHunt Forum Discussion  |  P2PNet

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BitTorrent Site PirateBay.org Raided – Servers Seized

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersPolice Actions

The site was raided by Swedish law enforcement and its server farms confiscated. Three were arrested. It’s servers host only .torrent files, not actual copyrighted material. As a tracker site, ThePirateBay.org’s function is to index .torrent files and to direct BitTorrent traffic and maintain the swarm (uploads and downloads).The legality of indirectly linking to copyrighted material has apparently not yet been tested by Swedish courts.

Sources: ars technica | Slyck | CNet | Forbes | ABC News (AP) | Wired | The Register

Dale’s Comment: Another one down, infinite tracker sites to go!! But is it? The day after the raid, The Pirate Bay promised to be up and running again within days – in another country. I’ll keep you posted.

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China Bans File Sharing Without Copyright Owners Permission

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersBigMedia v. P2P UsersLaws

The Chinese government has passed a new regulation to ban the uploading and downloading of Internet material without the copyright holder’s permission. The production, import and supply of devices that are capable of evading or breaching technical measures of copyright protection and technical services are prohibited under the regulation. The new regulation provides for a fine up to 100,000 yuan (12,500 U.S. dollars) and confiscation of computer equipment for those who breach copyright.

Sources: People’s Daily Online  |  ars technica
 
Dale’s Comment: Of course, the real question is, will China enforce this law in any way.

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German Police Charge Thousands in eDonkey Raids

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersPolice ActionsPrivacy

German authorities searched over 130 premises of alleged eDonkey pirates in Cologne and Bergheim on Tuesday. Police have charged thousands of eDonkey users alleging they were sharing up to 8,000 copyrighted works. The individuals face large fines of up to $19K and even jail time.

Sources: BBC | Slyck | Register | ZDNet | Reuters | MP3.com | United Press Int’l | Mac World

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Torrentspy Sues the MPAA for Conspiracy and Invasion of Privacy

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersCasesPrivacy

Text of Complaint
Torrentspy has filed a lawsuit against the MPAA, accusing the group of conspiracy, unlawful business practices, misappropriation of trade secrets, violations of the California Invasion of Privacy Act, and more. Valencie Media, the operators of TorrentSpy allege that the MPAA hired a former business associate to hack into its systems to access its confidential information.
Sources: ars technica | San Jose Mercury News (AP) | PC Magazine | The Register | CNet | ZDNet | ComputerWorld | Slyck | Security Pro News
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Bearshare Settles with RIAA for $30M and Shuts Down

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersSettlements

Under the proposed judgment, which still must be approved by the court, the operators of once-popular Bearshare, Free Peers, has entered into a $30 million settlement with the RIAA to settle copyright violation charges against and down. BearShare’s assets, including the domain name and list of BearShare users, were sold to iMesh.

Sources: ZDNet | BBC | Red Herring | L.A. Times (AP) | MP3.com | BetaNews | Canada.com | Billboard Radio Monitor | Wall St. Journal | DVD-Recordable.com | afterdawn.com | P2PNet

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Congress Readies Broad New Digital Copyright Bill

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersBigMedia v. P2P UsersDMCA-like LawsLegal Reform

Text of Bill
According to CNET, Rep. Lamar Smith, and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI), backed by the content industry, is about to introduce the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006 which would expand the DMCA’s restrictions on software that can bypass copy protections and grant federal police more wiretapping and enforcement powers. Loosely, quoting from the article, the proposed law:

  • Creates a new federal crime of just trying to commit copyright infringement. Such willful attempts at piracy, even if they fail, could be punished by up to 10 years in prison.
  • Boosts criminal penalties for copyright infringement from five years to 10 years (and 10 years to 20 years for subsequent offenses). The Act targets noncommercial piracy including posting copyrighted photos, videos or news articles on a Web site if the value exceeds $1,000.
  • Creates civil asset forfeiture penalties for anything used in copyright piracy. Computers or other equipment seized must be “destroyed” or otherwise disposed of, for instance at a government auction. Criminal asset forfeiture will be done following the rules established by federal drug laws.
  • Says copyright holders can impound “records documenting the manufacture, sale or receipt of items involved in” infringements.
  • Permits wiretaps in investigations of copyright crimes, trade secret theft and economic espionage. It would establish a new copyright unit inside the FBI and budgets $20 million on topics including creating “advanced tools of forensic science to investigate” copyright crimes.
  • Amends existing law to permit criminal enforcement of copyright violations even if the work was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Source: CNet | ars technica | Professor Ed Felton | IPAC

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First Beijing P2P Infringement Case Heads To Court

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersCases

Beijing Secondary People’s Court has begun to hear a lawsuit filed by Shanghai Busheng Music and Culture Company against Beijing Feixingwang Music Software Development Company, who is accused of software copyright infringement.

Sources: China Tech News

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StreamCast to Slug it Out Against the MPAA/RIAA in the Courts After All

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersCases

After previously stating it was going to settle its dispute with the RIAA and MPAA, Sreamcast, which is responsible for the file-sharing program Morpheus, has done an about face and is going to take its chances with a jury trial. Lower courts have been kinder to P2P litigants than was the Supreme Court which held Grokster liable for “promoting” and “encouraging” infringement by the users. As with Torrentspy’s decision to fight the MPAA last week, Streamcast will argue that it neither promotes nor encourages infringement by its users and is therefore not responsible for any copyright infringement by its users.

Sources: ars technica | Boston Herald | Business Week | MP3.com | commercialappeal.com | L.A. Times

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Spanish Police Target BitTorrent & eDonkey Sites

Categories: BigMedia v P2P ProvidersPolice Actions

The global campaign against BitTorrent and eDonkey2000 indexing sites continues. In apparently the first Spanish action of its kind, Spanish police arrested 15 administrators/owners related to 17 BitTorrent and eDonkey2000 indexing sites. While the sites themselves are located outside of Spain, the Spanish-resident operators were the target of the arrests.

Sources: Slyck  |  Addict 3D  |  CD Freaks.com  |  Asociacion de Internautus (Spanish)
 
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