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Thoughts on the Copyright Alert System

July 7, 2011 Broadband , DMCA , Filtering , P2P , Piracy

UPDATE: Added mention of the $35 appeal fee in the "Appeals" section below.

Today, major ISPs joined the RIAA and MPAA in announcing a joint program to deal with file-sharing. The document governing this agreement, a "Copyright Alert System," is hosted here. Public Knowledge and the Center for Democracy and Technology issued a joint statement on the CAS, available here.

Beyond that, what does this agreement represent? It extends some of the characteristics of some ISPs' existing voluntary notice-forwarding agreements, while stopping short of a three-strikes-and-you're-out procedure.

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LimeWire Liable for Inducement, Vicarious Copyright Infringement

May 12, 2010 Enforcement , Filtering , P2P , Piracy , RIAA

Today, a federal district court in New York found LimeWire liable for inducing copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement. The court’s decision, at least on those aspects of the case, may not be terribly surprising, given the precedent set in earlier cases like Grokster, Aimster, and Napster. But a few details of the court’s ruling deserve further mention.

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RCN Settlement Demonstrates the Perils of ISP Self-Regulation

April 20, 2010 BitTorrent , Network Neutrality , Non-Discrimination , P2P , Regulatory Reform

When the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals called into question the FCC’s ability to protect broadband users earlier this month, the ongoing debate about the legal classification of broadband services took on a new urgency. While we’ve argued that the Commission should waste no time in reclassifying broadband as a “telecommunications” (Title II) service, others have suggested that no action from the Commission is necessary, seeing how Comcast’s blocking of BitTorrent was an isolated act that no other ISP is likely to emulate. As if on cue, cable provider RCN has provided us with a timely reminder that Comcast isn’t the only ISP that has stood accused of blocking its users’ traffic. In a proposed settlement for a suit brought against the ISP for throttling its users’ peer-to-peer traffic, RCN is not only not held accountable for its actions, it’s also not prohibited from using similar network management techniques in the future. As this series of events demonstrates, if we’re going to rely on the ISPs to self-regulate, we might as well kiss the open Internet goodbye.  

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Walmart Buys Vudu, Becoming a Disruptive Peer-to-Peer Video Provider

February 24, 2010 Broadband , Competition , DMCA , Network Neutrality , P2P

Just as it has sought to offset slower CD sales with its digital music store, Walmart–the nation's largest DVD retailer–is looking to insure against lower DVD sales by purchasing the online video company Vudu.

But Vudu isn't just another Internet video company with a loopy name offering a pure over-the-top video service. Like Sezmi, its delivery method is an interesting hybrid. While Sezmi leverages free over-the-air TV, leased spectrum, and broadband (with ample local storage as a force multiplier), Vudu uses a hybrid peer-to-peer model. Content is both delivered to a Vudu device through a standard client/server model, as well as peer-to-peer between different Vudu devices. Additionally, content is pre-positioned at the edge of the network to increase the number of peers.

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Streaming, Sports, SOC, and Stuff.

December 18, 2009 DMCA , FCC , P2P , Piracy , SOC

Although overshadowed by Joe Biden's big party for his Copyright buddies, the good folks at the House Judiciary Committee staged their own holiday party for Hollywood. Since "p2p" is now passe, the Judiciary's Secret Santa brought Hollywood a whole new villain to attack in the name of piracy, streaming media. (Hey everyone, remember when 'streaming media' was the good way to get content online because it could be protected unlike that evil peer-2-peer stuff so Hollywood pretended they loved streaming media so they could outlaw peer-2-peer? Boy, we were so young back then . .

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