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The fight against piracy enters a new phase, but no resolution in sight

Copyright groups and online file sharers are engaged in attrition warfare that has led to confusing government and ISP involvement.  The battle lines have been drawn, and internet users downloading and sharing files run the low risk of warnings and possible enforcement.

The United States government claims to have no interaction -- but supports the new six-strikes policy -- with the recently created Center for Copyright Infringement (CCI) effort between ISPs and copyright groups.  The partnership will offer a sort of copyright alert and reeducation program that has only led to confusion and uncertainty among file sharers.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) group published a short blog post that highlights some issues related to the controversial framework.

Governments in the European Union have tried to find different methods to attack piracy, but have had varying results.  Spanish file sharing sites brought to court for linking to copyrighted works recently scored a victory, which only proves the difficulty in punishing these sites.  Meanwhile, Italian ISPs are facing legal action after ignoring a ban against a torrent site.

France implemented a three-strikes system to possibly boot repeat offenders, and more than 18 million file sharers have been tracked.  However, budget and manpower issues have only led to 470,000 warnings issued to first-time copyright violators.  Just 20,000 letters were sent out as second warnings, and only 10 people are at risk of having a judge personally review their file sharing case.

The cat-and-mouse game between file sharers and copyright holders will continue for the rest of 2011, while very little is being done to reach a mutual agreement.  For example, the use of three-strikes laws have done very little to intimidate pirates to stop file sharing, while ISPs are criticized by subscribers and terrorized by copyright groups. 

Instead, BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer file sharers are getting better at masking their identities to prevent detection by watch groups.  However, the federal government has moved to domain seizures as a critical method to help fight Internet piracy, with the practice expected to accelerate.

Expect to see continued copyright group efforts against file sharers, while ISPs are also forced into turning over users rather than face court issues.  The federal government and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been recruited to lend an effective hand against pirates.

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RE: Stupid
By Thalyn on 7/15/2011 2:08:41 AM , Rating: 1
Ironically, I consider Steam to be a reason to not purchase a game. I have, on more than one occasion, picked up a retail box, read the blurb and been ready to put down some cash until I see the words "Steam" or "Steamworks". It's why I don't own Darksiders or Duke Nukem Forever, among others.


Because it doesn't work. I'm sure for some people it does. But for me, I gave up on it entirely after three events:

1) My brother bought Half-life. His PC at the time didn't have the power to run it, mine did, so we installed it on mine for him to play it. When it came time to uninstall it I removed the Sierra Utilities (the precurser to Steam) first - and it took 6gb of my other data with it. I had an 8gb drive at the time. Not impressed, and Sierra's response was "Next time, upgrade to version before uninstalling." No apology was given.

2) My brother, not having learned his lesson, was an early adopter of Half-life 2. He bought it, installed it onto his PC, and was subsequently not allowed to play it because of its online "protection" through an early incarnation of Steam. It was only a few days later when MadockX broke the protection and released the crack that my brother could play a game he legally owned.

3) My own purchase this time. I bought Mafia II. Thoroughly enjoyed the first one, figured I'd give Steam another go. It crashed no less than twice while trying to install Steam, and again when trying to finish the Mafia II installation. This is a supposedly mature system, and it was awful.

So, no, Steam is not done right. It's perhaps a step in the right direction as far as digital distribution is concerned, but it's not right.

If they really want to curb piracy, the first thing they have to do is stop assuming that everyone is a pirate. DRM, online only multi-player, always-active connection requirements... they all have to go. Next is to start pricing according to the actual quality of the product (something which will be much easier now that they're not paying for protection methods that don't work anyway). Lastly, they just need to release something worth playing - thus worth paying for.

It won't eliminate piracy (nothing will), but if you can limit it than so much the better.

RE: Stupid
By spacemonkey211 on 7/15/2011 8:47:32 AM , Rating: 2
1) I purchased the original Half-life (still even have the disk) and never had any problems that you mentioned. I've never heard of anything like taking 6gb's of a harddrive with it. Had it in college and installed on 30+ computers for lan parties and not one problem.

2) Most steam games require a one time internet connection to unlock and decrypt the game. When Half-Life2 came out the servers were flooded and it took a few days to sort out (still happens with the release of popular games). If you had waited or just left your computer on, you wouldn't have had a problem.

3) Once again, I've never really seem steam itself crash the whole computer in recent memory. Steam has crashed, but it usually isn't it's fault (ie: memory issues, overheating, Windows problems, graphics card instability).

Also in "most" cases Steam has pushed to have the DRM removed and only have it's encryption/login system when possible. It is the content providers that enforce the DRM, not Valve. They are usually the first to remove it when they are finally allowed.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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