Dale Dietrich
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Category — Big Media

Techcrunch » BitTorrent Raises $25 million, Bram Cohen is History

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressFinancingsiVOD/iTV

Internet-TV Aggregators are Popping Up like Dandelions

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechiVOD/iTVNew TechPiracy

I don't know what is in the air these days, but Internet-TV aggregators seem to be popping up all over the Internet. I recently blogged about Tioti and the TVUPlayer, each of which have received substantial press coverage owing to their controversial nature. 

Over the last few days, I have become aware of dozens of online TV, movie and other aggregators running the gamut from sites streaming literally hundreds of live TV channels over the Internet to others indexing and hosting thousands of TV shows and movies for instant viewing over the Internet. 

Many of the live broadcast feeds are likely accessed from Internet feeds supplied by the content owners themselves. But, I'm guessing, others are likely redirected Slingbox or similar streams. As you can read in my TVUPlayer post, the company's CEO, Paul Shen, believes he can escape U.S. copyright infringement liability using the DMCA's ISP safe harbor. He argues that the streams are made available from the service's users and not hosted directly by his company.   

peekvid and QuickSilverScreen in particular, seem to be the most blatantly infringing services of the lot. They directly index over a thousand TV shows, movies, cartoons etc. for instant viewing. Users can select a particular TV series from a list and then directly view selected episodes – on demand. Movies can similarly be selected and viewed on demand. If peekvid is located in the U.S., I suspect it won't be long before the link fails to work owing to NAB and MPAA legal actions. QuickSilverScreen was located in the U.S. until Fox sent it a cease and desist letter. The proprietor has sold it to someone offshore and it continues to operate unabated from an offshore location. 

In no particular order, here are only a few of the dozens of live TV aggregation sites that have popped up recently.

All of these have the following features in common:
  • They all actually worked when I tried them
  • Of the dozens of other aggregators available, these sites required no prior signups or passwords. 
  • Unlike Tioti and the TVUPlayer, no plugins or downloads were required for these sites to work – simply show up, click and watch.
  • My browser, Firefox 2.0, is set to disable popups and redirects – all worked without popups or redirects 
  • Many of the video streams were resizable – even to full screen in many contexts
This is clearly a new trend, or at least a new trend to me. In light of the fact that iCrave TV was so quickly shut down in 2003 for doing essentially the same thing, it is surprising to see so many seemingly thriving. I gather that most, if not all, are hosted in far-off countries outside the reach of NAB and the MPAA – for now. As AllofMP3.com has recently discovered, locating offshore will not, alone, keep you outside the reach of the U.S. copyright lobby.
 
See also the Digg.com comments to an original story about Streamick.com that provided the spark to get me blogging about this.

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ifpi Board Member Quoted as Saying Major Labels About to Abandon DRM

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressDRM-Free ServicesNew Business Models

I just came across this New Music Strategies blog post quoting Paul Birch, Managing Director of indie-label, Revolver Records, and independent member of the ifpi's board of directors, as saying the following in an e-mail:

DRM as we know it is over. There may be Son of DRM but that’s another matter. Right now its dead, the majors are moving towards the new model. The one thing you can be sure of is they will still be at the centre of the world music industry whatever happens. The independents are another matter. As our sector’s share has fallen by almost half in just over twelve months, the new model for us is partnership. It always was, I’m just not sure we got it.

The ifpi is Europe's version of the RIAA. This from the man who, on the ifpi's website, is quoted as saying:

"I hate what's happening with illegal downloading. People who love music shouldn't do this. The music industry provides huge choice. By stealing music you deny other people that choice in the future. Some may say it does not affect new and eclectic music. The fact is that it is precisely this kind of music which gets displaced. For small businesses it's particularly tough. Most of us came into this business not to get rich but because we love music. No one who loves music would steal it."

Later in the comments portion of the blog post Mr. Birch confirmed he made this statement but qualifies it as a prediction based on rumblings at board meetings – rather than known fact.

Dale's Comment: If Mr. Birch is quoted accurately and his predictions are true, much of my work here would be done. Ha! I'll believe it when I see it! :)

Sources New Music Strategies

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Universal Music Group Sues MySpace over Video Transcoding Service

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechCasesCopyrightPiracy

Universal Music Group has sued Myspace for providing a transcoding service. Myspace users upload videos to their MySpace account and Myspace transcodes them into formats playable by its users. Alleging that MySpace "encourages, facilitates and participates in the unauthorized reproduction, adaptation, distribution and public performance,", UMG is seeking an injunction and unspecified damages, including up to $150,000 for each unauthorized music video or song posted on the Web site. Until last week the two were in licensing discussions. To paraphrase Clausewitz, lawsuits such as this are just business negotiations by another means.

Dale's Comment: This is an interesting claim. It may very well turn on the facts. As I understand them, MySpace is agnostic as to what the content is. It has taken some steps to limit infringing uploads. In this case its servers accept user video uploads, examine the format, if not a supported format they then transcodes it into a playable format. This seems to be similar to what YouTube and other video hosting sites do. But YouTube signed a licensing agreement with Universal (and others) after being threatened with a lawsuit. If Myspace fights this, it will likely argue that it is an ISP, and all they are providing is a tool that can be used by their users for legitimate or illegitimate purposes. Assuming that MySpace is otherwise responding to Universal's DMCA take-down notices, this transcoding service may very well fall within the DMCA's safe harbour.

Sources: TechCrunch | Reuters | Yahoo! News (AP) | Forbes | *Law.com | VNUNet | MTV | CIO Today | Out-law.com | PCPro | Silicon.com | BBC | CNet | DRM Watch

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P2P Download Defendant Argues Kazaa Settlement Covers Him (Greubel)

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P Users

Text of Greubel's Answer to RIAA Complaint

This is an intriguing and novel defense. In addition to David Greubel Argues that Kazaa's $100M+ Settlement with the music industry in July covers any copyright infringement he might have be involved with as a user of KaZaa. He is also arguing, as in the Lindor case, that $750 per song damages per downloaded song is excessive in light of the 70¢ per song lost revenue actually suffered by the recording industry.

Sources: Recording Industry v. The People |ars technica | P2PNet | TechDirt

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Paramount Sues Loan ‘N Go For Loading Purchased Movies Onto Customer iPods

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechCasesDMCA-like LawsFair Use/DealingNew Business Models

Text of Complaint (Nov 3, 2006)

This one doesn't surprise me. It is more of the same – big media bites off its nose to spite its face by bringing lawsuits against any new business model that they don't sanction. In this case, Boston's Load 'N Go offers a service to their DVD-purchasing customers, by copying their purchased movie onto an iPod. You would think Paramount would appreciate vendors adding value for customers buying Paramount's products. But no, they choose to sue, presumably to force honest purchasers to purchase the movie twice, once on DVD and again as a download. The DMCA makes such copying, even for what otherwise would be fair use, illegal. So, thanks to the DMCA, Paramount seems to have a case. Chalk another one up for Paramount and another loss for honest consumers. This is precisely the thing that drives honest consumers to BitTorrent.

[Nov 29 Update: No doubt Paramount wishes to do what Warner Bros is now doing with videos sold at Walmart. According to CNN, Techcrunch and others, if you buy Warner's “Superman Returns” at Wal-Mart, you can pay an additional $1.97 to play it on portable devices, $2.97 more to play it on PCs or laptops, or $3.97 to play it on either portable devices or PCs/laptops. Ah, the old Big Media nickel and diming profit strategy. Don't you love it!]

[Nov 30 Update: Ha! It appears the EFF has come to the same conclusion - I wonder if they read my blog before writing this.]

Sources: Engadget | ars technica | ComputerWorld | TechWeb | NeoSeeker | Information Week | MacWorld | Torrentfreak | CNet | PC Advisor | EFF | EFF 2

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TIOTI – Another Web-based TV Service Combining Legitimate TV with BitTorrent Feeds

Categories: Big Media v InternetiVOD/iTVNew TechPiracy

TIOTI (Tape it of the Internet) is another web service in beta that intends to provide legitimate TV and pointers to TV show torrents for download through BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent and Azureus. According to the TIOTI Website:

We currently index 1,600+ TV shows – 90,000+ episodes – and we are matching everything up with content sources like iTunes, AOL and Amazon Unbox – with more to come.

Our beta feature set allows you to do exactly what it says on the tin and do it in style. With integrated message boards, groups, personalised badges and an extensive API, we have lots more great stuff coming soon too.

Dale's Comment: It appears the TIOTI founders believe they can steer clear of the many recent lawsuits brought against torrent host sites by including only pointers to torrents hosted elsewhere rather than the torrents themselves. I have little doubt that this presumed 'safe harbour' will be quickly tested in the courts if TIOTI becomes at all successful.

I have added myself to the waiting list to test this out once it expands its beta. I'll report back what I see if/when I join the beta.

Sources: TIOTI's Website | Techcrunch 1 | Techcrunch 2 – Paul Cleghorn (Founder) Interview | PVRWIre | TorrentFreak Interview with founder Paul Pod | Guardian Unlimited

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Judge Allows RIAA Defendant to Argue $750-per-song Damages are Unconscionable

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersCases

WestLaw Version of Decision – (2006 WL 3335048 (E.D.N.Y.)) (Nov 9, 2006)
Decision Granting Leave to Amend Answer (Nov 9, 2006)
RIAA Response
Text Constitutional Challenge
The standard RIAA consumer file-copying suit seeks $750 damager per illegally downloaded song. As I reported last May, Marie Lindor argued that this amount is unconscionable when the average download price per song is 99¢ per song. Judge David Tragger agreed and has permitted the defendant to amend her defense to include that argument.

Texas Law Review Article on the Topic by: J. Cam Barker

Sources: Recording Industry vs The People | ars technica | afterdawn | the Inquirer | P2PNet | Howard Knopf

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Users Find Work-a-Round to Defeat 360 Marketplace Region Coding

Categories: DRM Arms RaceDRM CircumventionRegion Coding

If you follow Major Nelson’s (Larry Herb’s) day-to-day missives about what is available for download through the Xbox 360 Marketplace, you’ll note that many arcade games, game demos, trailers and other downloadable content is only available in certain regions of the world. This has lead to much consternation among Microsoft’s international customers. But the issue was brought to a head recently when, for the first time, North American XBox Owners were initially restricted from downloading a Rainbow Six: Las Vegas demo that was available for download by European users. This doesn’t happen very often to U.S. customers.

As a result, some clever users found a way around Microsoft’s XBox 360 region-specific MarketPlace download restrictions. You can read about them in the linked articles below.

Dale’s Comment: Just as Sony had legitimate legal reasons for opposing Lik-Sang’s import of PSP systems into the UK, no doubt Microsoft has legitimate legal reasons for restricting access to content on a country by country basis. For example, game publishers/developers that provide downloadable content to Microsoft probably have granted exclusive distribution/marketing and other rights to that content in the prohibited regions to others. My hope/expectation is that over time licensing and distribution deals will be structured to recognize the increasingly globalized nature of the market so as to anticipate and, indeed, facilitate global distribution/downloads without this kind of constraint.

Sources: Gizmodo | SAGN

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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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Music Downloading Judged Legal in Spain

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersDecisions

A Spanish Judge has ruled that downloading music, as "a practised behavior where the aim is not to gain wealth but to obtain private copies" is not illegal or criminal activity in Spain. The judge ruled that article 31 of the Intellectual Property Law in Spain established a right to obtain copies of music without permission, provided they were for private use and not for profit. The Spanish recording industry will appeal.

Dale's Comment: Given the recent Swedish and Finish decisions, it appears judges in different European countries are applying the European copyright directives differently in this regard.

Sources: OUT-LAW.com | The Register | P2PNet | Typically Spanish | *Guardian Unlimited | San Jose Mercury News | PC Pro

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RIAA Sues the Kids after Soccer Mom Fights Back

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersCases

The RIAA had initially sued Patricia Santangelo, a divorced mother of five for illegal music downloading. Santangelo, whom a federal judge called “an Internet illiterate parent” plead her innocence and was interviewed on television shows saying that the RIAA was demanding $7,500 to settle the case. The RIAA claims her 20 year old daughter, Michelle, acknowledged downloading music in prior testimony and that the friends of her 16 year old son, Robert, implicated him as well. So, the RIAA is suing them too.

Dale’s Comment: One wonders if this is some form of retribution for speaking out publicly about this. No doubt this is also an attempt by the RIAA to get their message out to the average parent in hopes that they will police the downloading activities of their children more closely.

Sources: CBS | cbc.ca | Journal News | Newsday.com | Recording Industry v. The People

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Shawn Hogan Files Motion to Dismiss MPAA Case Based on Faulty Copyright Registration

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersCases

Text of Motion to Dismiss Last August I wrote about millionaire Shawn Hogan's decision to fight back against the MPAA's allegation that he illegally downloaded "Meet the Fockers". His defense was that he did not do this and wouldn't have since he already owned the DVD. During pre-trial discovery Hogan's legal team discovered that the copyright to the movie was registered by Universal City Studios, LLLP and not the plaintiff to the lawsuit, Universal City Studios Productions LLLP. The plaintiff counters that rights to the movie were assigned to it prior to the filing of a faulty copyright registration. Hogan has filed a motion to dismiss on the following grounds:

  1. section 17 USCS § 411(a), of the U.S. Copyright Act provides:
    …no action for infringement of the copyright in any work shall be instituted until registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title…

  2. section 17 USCS § 408(a) provides that only the "…owner of copyright or of any exclusive right in the work may obtain registration of the copyright claim…" and
  3. since the plaintiff, if it is the owner, did not register the copyright, it has no standing to assert a claim of infringement.

Dale's Comment: If the court does dismiss the claim on this basis, however, the plaintiff could correct the copyright registration problem and institute the action a new. We'll see.

Sources: Text of Motion to Dismiss | Recording Industry v. The People | Shawn Hogan's Blog | TechDirt

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YouTube Faces Heightened Copyright Scrutiny Since Google Buyout Announcement

Categories: Big Media v InternetBigMedia v NewTechDMCA-like LawsFair Use/DealingiVOD/iTVNew Business Models

As you can see from the "Related Posts" links, below I have blogged about YouTube's copyright liability in the past. It seems like the deep-pockets behind YouTube's new parent, Google, have brought out the copyright infringement vultures, and those that wish to speculate on the future (or demise) of YouTube specifically and copyright infringement on the Internet generally. The stories linked-to below are only a few of the avalanche of stories and blog posts on this topic over the last week.

Faced with an increased level of DMCA take-down notices, YouTube is busily working on taking down 10's of thousands of copyrighted works as requested by media owners. It's a difficult chore. Some 60,000 new videos are posted on YouTube every day. Offending materials are often put back up as soon as they are taken down.

YouTube says it will take a tough action to avoid such problems in the future and has committed to developing and deploying technology that can sniff out copyrighted video clips and bits of music. YouTube will also provide "copyright owners with user identification information" of users that post infringing content – after receiving a valid subpoena (See this CNet article).

While there may be some bumps and no doubt many legal hurdles and lawsuits along the way, if I were a betting man, I'd bet that YouTube will survive all legal challenges in-tact. This is a new and emerging area of the law. The DMCA provides the s. 512(c) safe harbour for this (the take-down scheme). YouTube is complying with its take-down obligations under the DMCA and similar laws around the globe.

More interestingly, YouTube's 10 minute video clip limit can dovetail with the self-interest of Big Media – those most likely to sue, and have the resources need to sue, Google. After initially fighting with YouTube over the posting of this Natalie Portman skit on Saturday Night Live, in the face of a furor from Internet bloggers, NBC backed-off, and allowed the post to remain on YouTube for awhile. NBC discovered that YouTube was a terrific way to promote its show as new and hip to a coveted younger demographic. Ahhhhhhhhh —- self interest (with strong lobbyists) … wins every time!

Sources: New York Times | ABC News | BBC | Forrester | PVRWire | Information Week | Fox News | ars technica | Mark Cuban 1 | Mark Cuban 2 | Mark Cuban 3 | Register | Variety | Forbes (AP) | CNet 1 | CNet 2 | Slate

Cranky Geeks Videocast on Topic (Episode 31) John C. Dvorak, Sebastian Rupley, West Coast Editor, PC Magazine, Matt Mullenweg, Founder, WordPress.org, Gary Messiana, CEO, Netli, Inc.

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Danish Court Blocks AllofMP3.com

Categories: Big Media v InternetCasesDecisionsDRM-Free Services

One of Europe's largest ISPs, Tele2, has been ordered by a Danish court to block AllofMP3.com, the controversial Russia-based MP3 etailer. To my knowledge, this is the first decision of its kind anywhere in the world. The decision sets somewhat of a precedent insofar as there is now an affirmative obligation of a Danish ISP to effectively censor the sites their customers can access. Tele2 has said it will appeal the decision.

Dale's Comment: This ruling can be easily circumvented by Danish web surfers simply by using any of the numerous anonymizer sites on the Internet.

Sources: Slyck

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TiVo Continues to Fight the Good Cablecard/Ingegration Ban Fight

Categories: BigMedia v NewTechDigital TVFCC

More than ten years ago, Congress passed an act requiring cable companies to adopt the CableCard technology. The FCC has promulgated C.F.R. 76.1204(a)(1), requiring cable operators to implement CableCard technology into their set-top boxes. After failing in their court challenges to invalidate the law/rules, the cable industry has repeatedly asked for, and been given, extensions to deadline. Last year, the FCC mandated a final deadline of July 1, 2007 once and for all. In keeping with their stalling tactics, Charter, Verizon, Comcast and the NCTA have, again, requested varying waivers from this mandate. Since TiVo's Series 3 product relies on the cablecard standard, TiVo opposes these waiver petitions and is lobbying hard to thwart these requests so as to to firmly establish the Cablecard standard. I, for one, support TiVo whole-heartedly. Enough is enough.

Sources: Engadget | ZatzNotFunny.com | TiVo's Oct. 13 Letter to the FCC | Gizmodo

Discussed here: TiVoCommunity

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TVUPlayer – Watch Most Any TV Station Anywhere

Categories: Big Media v InternetiVOD/iTVNew TechPiracy

Hearkening back to the days of iCrave.TV, the TV networks and studios have another imminent battle on their hands. The TVU Player (downloadable here) from TVU Networks in Shanghai, China. TVU Player allows anyone to place a broadcast signal on the Internet for view by anyone.  See Review here: (WebTVHub)

November 6, 2006 Update: Paul Shen the CEO of TVU Network was interviewed by CNET:

He acknowledged that much of the content on the TVUPlayer belongs to others but denied being a video pirate. Users of his technology are responsible for any copyright violations, Shen said, and they are the ones who stream the TV broadcasts–though he conceded that they are able do this only through the use of his technology.

Mr. Shen also claims that his technology was intended as a demonstration of technology only and that it "can help broadcasters mine a rich new distribution platform and advertise to new customers".

Dale's Comment: Given the Chinese jurisdiction, this one may be harder for the MPAA et. al. to shut down. However, PVR Wire says that Paul Shen lives and works in Northern California. Mr. Shen may wish to talk to the folks behind iCrave TV and SportingStreams.com to see how receptive the broadcast industry will be to this kind of help! :)

Original Sources: Gizmodo | Web TV Hub | PC Magazine | ABC | P2P-Weblog | Digital Journal | PVRWire

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Visa and Mastercard Stop Servicing AllofMP3.com

Categories: Big Media v InternetLobbyingNew Business ModelsPiracy

Both Visa and Mastercard have announced that it has stopped accepting transactions from AllofMP3.com, the Moscow-based, deep-discount, comprehensive music download service. It is the second most-used music download site on the Internet. It is popular because users can purchases songs how they want, in whatever format and bitrate they want without use-limiting DRM.

Mastercard justified this action by saying they do not "tolerate the use of its network for illegal activity." AllofMP3's notes that what it does is not illegal in Russia – and so far the Russian courts have upheld this view.

"The company believes the action taken by the world’s largest payment processors is arbitrary, capricious and discriminatory because Visa and MasterCard lack the authority to adjudicate the legality of AllofMP3’s activities and its determination that the company’s activities were illegal is patently erroneous and without legal merit. AllofMP3 has not been found by any court in the world to be in violation of any law."

"It is evident that Visa and MasterCard made the decision on factors other than legal grounds since the decision was not based on an adjudicated verdict by any court in the Russian Federation or, for that matter, anywhere in the world. To disqualify AllofMP3 based on a payment processing company’s whim is irresponsible and sets a bad precedence."

AllofMP3's immediate response was to start giving away music free to all-comers. It is considering talking legal action against the credit card companies. Some reports have said that it is considering moving to an all-advertising business model.

Dale's Comment: Despite the many actions of governments and courts around the globe, this is clearly the first real nail in AllofMP3.com's coffin. The major labels should establish a virtually identical service and charge up to ten times the price AllofMP3 charges and honest users like me would flock to their service. AllofMP3.com fills a critical need for honest music purchasers – a service where songs can be purchased where the user is not restricted as to the player she wishes to play the music on nor is she limited to the number and type of devices and services she can play her music on.

Sources: CNet | Information Week | Geek.com | Computer Business Review | Business Week | Warez | PC Pro | PC Magazine | Techwhack | Slyck | MP3.com | ars technica 1 | ars technica 2 | Forbes | afterdawn| T3

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First Swede Fined $2,700 for Sharing Four Songs Online

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P UsersConvictions

Dale’s Comment: Sweden is home of the infamous PirateBay.org and has long been seen as a relative haven for file sharing with lax copyright enforcement for file sharing thus far.

Sources: Chron | Reuters | Sydney Morning Herald | The West

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IFPI Launches 8,000 New Lawsuits in 17 Countries

Categories: BigMedia v. P2P Users

Following the recent successful conviction and settlements against North American P2P Providers, the IFPI has filed 8000 new lawsuits in 17 countries and P2P users using all the major peer-to-peer services, including BitTorrent, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Gnutella, Limewire, SoulSeek and WinMX. While most of the new law suits were filed in Europe and South America, suits have also been filed in Argentina, Austria, Singapore, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, France and Germany, plus others like Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Holland and Portugal. The IFPI claims that more than 2,300 people had already been fined or had paid compensation averaging about $3,100.

Dale’s Comment: The thousands of suits launched to date have not made a dent in file sharing. I wonder why these folks continue to think that suing their customers is a better idea than providing a fair way for honest people to purchase music online

Sources: Silicon.com | Herold Tribune | London Times Free Press | L.A. Times | Inquirer | PC World | ars technica | BBC | Reuters | CBC.ca | ABC | Red Herring | Toronto Sun | AfterDAwn | TechWeb | The Jurist | MP3.com | P2PNet | PC Pro | CNet | Business Week (AP) | MacWorld

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FYI: Billboard Magazine Questions Utility of DRM

Categories: DRM AnalysisDRM-Free ServicesFYINew Business Models

Feature Article: Billboard (via Reuters)

Discussed here: Macworld

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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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First a Song, Now a DRM-Free Album – Yahoo!

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressDRM-Free ServicesNew Business Models

Yahoo! is the proper exclamation for this event. On July 20, 2006, Yahoo! and Epic released the first single by a major U.S. label without DRM, Jessica Simpson's "A Public Affair" for $2.00 U.S. Now, Yahoo! and Hollywood Records are set to distribute an entire album, Jesse McCartney's "Right Where You Want Me" without DRM in MP3 or WMA format for $9.99 U.S.

Dale's Comment: These may seem to be baby steps. But for an industry content with suing tens of thousands of its customers rather than providing them with a fair and convenient way to purchase music online, this could be the beginning of something bigger.

Sources: ars technica | PC Pro | Bit-tech.net | After Dawn | Business Wire | Beta News

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