Items tagged "Piracy"

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DRM is Dead, Long Live DRM

July 20, 2009 DMCA , DRM , Filtering , Music Licensing , Piracy

DRM is dead, or so they say. With the “big four” major labels having completely abandoned DRM protection schemes for CDs and with online music juggernaut iTunes now offering all of its music DRM-free, you might think that the era of restricted music files and rootkit fiascoes is now behind us. But you would be wrong. While DRM may be dead as far as mainstream music distribution is concerned, many labels–both major and independent–continue to utilize various forms of DRM and watermarking when distributing music in specific contexts and for certain purposes. Perhaps the most visible category among these is the pre-release promo, generally a CD or digital file sent to journalists in advance of the street date for review purposes. In an article for the Washington City Paper, music journalist Mike Riggs sheds some light on the practice of sending DRM and watermark-laden music to critics:

I had been looking forward to reviewing Depart From Me, the new album by Definitive Jux rapper Cage, since I discovered 2005’s damn-near brilliant Hell’s Winter. When the package arrived one month in advance of the street date, I set aside everything I was doing and with trembling fingers popped the promo CD of Depart From Me into the computer. And after listening to the first minute and a half of every track, I tossed the CD in the trash. Why? Because Definitive Jux, in order to keep me from leaking the album, made the review copy nearly unlistenable by inserting promo drops–breaks in the music during which a voice says, “This is a promotional copy”–on every single track.

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H. R. 1319 wants you to know when you’re sharing files, but will drown you in pop-ups. UPDATE

May 5, 2009 Network Neutrality , P2P , Piracy

Back in March, Reps. Bono Mack, Barrow, and Barton introduced H.R. 1319, The Informed P2P User Act, a bill that was intended to "prevent the inadvertent disclosure of information on a computer through the use of certain "peer-to-peer" file sharing software." The bill tries to respond to the problem you may have read about or seen on TV where people have installed file sharing software on their computer and unintentionally exposed their private and sensitive information to the public. The bill will be at least part of what's discussed at today's House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. While the bill maybe well intentioned, it's flawed in a number of ways:

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Watching the Watchlists

May 1, 2009 ACTA , Fair Use , Patent , Piracy , Transparency

On Thursday, the US Trade Representative issued this year's Special 301 Report, which is meant to highlight countries that are seen as not doing enough to protect copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Countries are placed on a "Watch List" or a "Priority Watch List." Countries on the Priority Watch List face the possibility of trade sanctions.

Placement on the lists is based upon comments and consultations from interested parties—and the parties who keep showing the most interest in this process are the industry groups that profit from IP. The list has been used as a means for the content industries to add the weight of the US government to their gripes about the state of other countries' IP laws.

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MixApp: Group Listening in Your Living Room — On Your Desktop

March 19, 2009 Fair Use , P2P , Piracy

If you were to take your living room, complete with stereo and a few friends in lounge chairs, and shrink it down enough to squeeze it into the Internet’s tubes, you’d have MixApp. MixApp – currently in an invite-only beta – allows groups of friends to create virtual rooms where they can chat while they listen to a shared playlist. The music can come from multiple users’ libraries, and can be rearranged by anyone in the room. Everyone in the room hears the same music at the same time. And while right now, it’s Mac-only, PC and iPhone versions are on the way.

Sound familiar? It should. It’s a lot like what happens when you invite some friends over and listen to CDs at your house. The primary difference is that your friends can be in the room or across the country. And for groups of friends who share music as a common interest, MixApp provides an incredible opportunity to connect and share where distance was once an insurmountable barrier. So where's the catch?

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Reasons for (Cautious) Optimism on ACTA

March 17, 2009 Piracy , Trademark

Is ACTA a matter of national security? No. Is "national security" a reason to withhold documents for a FOIA request? Well, maybe. Is it a good enough reason to withhold text of the draft agreement? I don't think so.

Let me now attempt to make sense of those various, yet (I will argue) consistent statements.

ACTA is a proposed international agreement on aspects of IP enforcement, which could have broad effects on how signing countries treat copyright and trademark infringement.

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Movie Studios Compete with Free, Even in the Hardest of Times

March 2, 2009 Filtering , Piracy

The New York Times reports today that despite the hard times we're all experiencing, box office ticket sales are up 17.5% this year. That's great, it's clear that people need some entertainment right now and there's a lot of engaging and escapist films out right now. But how does this jive with the lobbying efforts by the MPAA to combat online file trading, like the recent push for copyright filtering as part of the stimulus package or last years PRO-IP enforcement bill? The studios' arguments just don't add up, while studio revenues clearly do.

Maybe we don't say it enough: "There's nothing wrong with making money from creativity!" That's arguably what at least part of copyright is about. But the studios keep arguing to law and policy makers that their lost control over their content equals lost revenue. Thus, they need

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UPDATE: Copyright Filtering in Stimulus Bill

February 10, 2009 Broadband , Fair Use , Network Neutrality , Piracy

After our Action Alert this morning, we are still on red alert at PK. Thank you for your efforts to fax to and call Congress. It looks like the proposed amendment did not slip into the stimulus bill but the bill now goes to the closed-door conference process. Here's an attempt to get you up to speed.

Substantive Arguments on Copyright Filtering

We've been talking about the topic for some time now, but some of you may not be up on the subject. The idea is that ISPs, using deep packet inspection, would match the files sent in the traffic of Internet users to a database of known movies and music (provided by Hollywood studios and the record labels).

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Will a New Commitment to Transparency Extend to ACTA?

February 3, 2009 Piracy , Trademark

Recently, the United States Trade Representative responded to a request for documents made by PK and EFF under the Freedom of Information Act. We were seeking information on ACTA, including as-yet unreleased draft positions and texts of the agreement.

Initially, we received 159 pages of documents, and now, a draft Vaughn index, indicating that the USTR had found some 1,390 additional pages of documents that matched what we were looking for in our request. Of these, 1,390 will be withheld under various statutory exemptions to the FOIA.

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‘Tis the Season Part IV: PK and allies to USTR – It’s Time for an Office of Innovation

December 23, 2008 Broadcast Flag , Fair Use , FCC , Piracy , WIPO Broadcasters Treaty

Last Friday, Public Knowledge wrapped up a busy week of Presidential transition team meetings. First, as part of the Open Internet Coalition, PK and a number of its industry and public interest allies met with FCC Agency Review team co-chairs Susan Crawford and Kevin Werbach to discuss the Coalition's priorities and how we would like to see them implemented.

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The Broadcast Treaty at the 17th Session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Right

November 8, 2008 Piracy , WIPO Broadcasters Treaty

The World Intellectual Property Organization's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights just finished meeting in its seventeenth session. On the agenda are three major areas of work: exceptions and limitations to copyright, the protection of audiovisual performances, and the protection of broadcasting organizations.

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