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Print 38 comment(s) - last by maugrimtr.. on Nov 12 at 9:30 AM

If you download files via bittorrent, you may receive a menacing notice

With lawsuit campaigns generating a firestorm of negative publicity and in general losing far more than they make in settlements, big media is turning to a new tactic on its "war" on piracy.

I. Warnings Rollout

This week AT&T, Inc. (T), Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC), and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) will become test candidates for a new system of warnings to customers who file share.  The rollout will last about two months, and by the end pirating customers may be in for unpleasant surprises.

The media industry will largely be "footing the bill" for the piracy policing.  Their efforts rely on a company called MarkMonitor, which trolls BitTorrent networks, collecting IP addresses.  MarkMonitor recently became a subsidiary of Thomson Reuters Corp. (TRI) in July, ending over a decade of independence.  The company has made a name for itself fighting against illicit online drug marketplaces and so-called travel agency "brand-jacking".  Now it sets its sights on the biggest challenge of them all -- trying to sneak around the underbelly of the peer-to-peer piracy and data-mine information on its participants.

The information collected will be anonymized and sent to the ISPs, who will in turn match it to their customers and send out warnings.  The initial warning will be a "friendly" notice with suggestions of how to obtain content legally and tips on securing your connection (in case the infringer is a third party).

If customers do not heed the warning and continue to show up on MarkMonitor's list, they will next be asked to sign a waive acknowledging they received the latest warning.  After that, additional warnings will earn "mild" punishments, including throttling the user's connection or forcing them to watch "educational" anti-piracy programming in order to keep connected.

Piracy Warning
Digital pirates will face warnings and mile punishments, thanks to a new alliance between ISPs and big media.

Users who feel they have been unjustly notified can challenge the notice -- but it will cost them.  The cost per challenge is a one-time fee of $35 USD.

The program is being overseen by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI).  Its big media backers including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), both notorious in their own right for committing for-profit "piracy" of small content-producers' work.  Other major participants in the CCI are individual big content producers including Sony Corp. (TYO:6758), The Walt Disney Comp. (DIS), News Corp. (NWS) (and its Fox subsidiaries), and Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV) subsidiaries UMG and EMI.

II. Piracy Killer? Uncertainty Remains

No one knows quite how well the system -- geared at annoying pirates enough to change their ways -- will work.  But assuming that big media sticks to its promise of not terminating file sharers, it's at least a step forward from the punitive and unaccountable tactics used in the past -- tactics that hurt both customers and the media industry's pocketbooks.

Piracy is a tough puzzle.  

One question is whether it is harmful in the first place.  After all, copying illicitly a digital work is somewhat different than stealing a physical commodity.  Some evidence indicates that piracy is not truly costing the industry any revenue (in the sense that customers often use piracy to sample, and would not necessarily buy the content legitimately in the absence of piracy).  Some evidence even points to piracy increasing revenues, evidenced by studies that show pirates purchase more music legally than their peers.

DVD Burning
It is unclear whether piracy hurts media revenue. [Image Source: MiNDFOOD]

So what exactly are the best ways to stop online piracy?  Much promise exists in the option of ad-supported content models, such as internet radio.  But the challenge is getting big media on board with these kinds of new technologies, when their executives are often fearful that they will hurt their company's bottom line.

A final question is whether the industry will keep its promise regarding no terminations, or whether this is simply a prelude to more draconian measures.  In a recent leaked letter the RIAA expressed its desire to terminate pirates.  But of course, such a plan would likely be resisted by the ISPs who balk at the idea of turning away paying customers.  In the face of that resistance it's unclear whether big media could manage to push any sort of more punitive plan into place.

Source: CCI



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RE: Innocent until proven... oh wait, no
By theapparition on 10/22/2012 4:43:56 PM , Rating: 4
While I don't agree to any of these actions, let's not get carried away thinking our rights are being violated. Innocent until proven guilty only applies to matters of the government, not between private parties that have contractual obligations towards on another.

This is a contract between two private parties, and you're free to leave them if you don't agree with their new provisions.

You can't be prosecuted, thrown in jail or be waterboarded. Our eyes aren't being held open clockwork orange style. No one is forcing us to do business with any of these companies.

Again, I don't agree with it. But let's keep things in perspective.


RE: Innocent until proven... oh wait, no
By ritualm on 10/22/12, Rating: 0
RE: Innocent until proven... oh wait, no
By maugrimtr on 10/23/2012 8:27:14 AM , Rating: 5
If it costs too much, I suggest not buying it. Stealing it remains a criminal act which is why ISPs are desperate to block that avenue from being explored. Maybe it's about time law enforcement got involved. I have a feeling that being formally charged and dragged to court in handcuffs would be a sufficient deterrent.

Of course that is the problem in a nutshell. Since law enforcement is not involved, piracy has gained social acceptance. Folk admit to it openly on forums and in comments. Instead of having the law enforced, we instead have some association ply their money to election candidates, buy themselves lots of favours, and take to the task of privatising (i.e. skipping over the annoyance of due process and presumption of innocence) the enforcement of laws through civil and ISP actions.

The whole situation is ludicrous.


RE: Innocent until proven... oh wait, no
By Dr of crap on 10/23/2012 9:16:15 AM , Rating: 3
Let's see - do you
-take personal calls while at work?
-copy/print personal items on your work printer?
-eat a grape at the market to determine if they're good tasting before buying?
-get too much money back in change and keep it?
-get extra food in your bag from the drive through window and don't bring it back?
-find that the check out person didn't ring up a item at the store yet you don't go back and fix the mistake?

THESE ARE ALL stealing. Did you think any of these require the cops or jail time? You sir are a bit over thinking this problem.

The time is 1990.
I buy a CD. My friend hears it and wants a copy. I make one and give it to him. This repeats over and over again.
Seems harmless to me to make a copy for my friend. How am I do know that it gets copied a thousand times? Better call the cops. I need to PAY for my SINS!


RE: Innocent until proven... oh wait, no
By mcnabney on 10/23/2012 9:42:13 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, most people don't do those things. If you consider those to be acceptable societal behaviors - I would assert that you are the problem in society.


By Dr of crap on 10/23/2012 10:26:54 AM , Rating: 5
Really - you haven't any of these things happening?
You must live in Utopia!


By maugrimtr on 11/12/2012 9:30:34 AM , Rating: 1
Pirating, as defined in context with modern terms, is a stranger uploaded a copy of some movie/show/album so lots of other strangers can download it and pay nothing. Quit trying to cover it with a friendly facade of friends exchanging physical copies on load (where the right to resell is already established, i.e. it's actually legal to do so!).

Also stop lurking behind the excuse of minimal costs. A grape or some extra fries in the drive though is hardly worthy of the cops' attention while technically illegal. Pirating a movie, distributing to thousands of willing accomplices, can run into serious money. This is the same fallacy running through your friend-copied-my-1990s-cassette excuse.

Piracy is illegal. Those who engage in it are criminals. Those who engage in distribution or serial offences are criminals who need a jail term. This is simple common sense.

What we have now is a law enforcement who won't go after these criminals actively, abdicating their responsibilities to companies whose only recourse is to lobby politicians, buy rights-eroding legislation and seek to force ISPs into the policing that the federal and state governments refuse to undertake.

The media companies are assholes, of course, but they get away with being assholes because out government has failed in its duty.


By inperfectdarkness on 10/23/2012 11:29:09 PM , Rating: 2
ISP's aren't eager to clamp down on piracy because it's stealing; ISP's are eager to clamp down on piracy because it means their pathetic, badly manged, woefully outated infrastructure can be retained at its current level of ineffectiveness because the bandwidth isn't being hogged.

Out of all of these, Time-Warner is probably the only ISP with the alterior motive of protecting copyright material. Frankly, I don't know why anti-trust hasn't knocked the stuffing out of TW. Having a content provider and ISP rolled into one is a bad, bad, INCREDIBLY bad idea.

P.S.

Good luck finding me. I'm behind 7 proxies.


By theapparition on 10/23/2012 9:49:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Jamie Thomas got royally screwed by the RIAA and you're still standing here saying "you can't be prosecuted, thrown in jail or be waterboarded"... so much fail.

You say I fail, but I suggest you go back and read the verdict and perhaps understand the law.

She was sued in a CIVIL court. She was not prosecuted. There was no District Attorney, the state or federal government didn't come after her. The RIAA did in a CIVIL trial. She was found guilty of copyright infringement in a CIVIL case, not a CRIMINAL one. As of now, she isn't in jail, no could she be put in one over this.

Do you see the difference. This is no different in concept than Apple suing Samsung in CIVIL court. Do we see Samsung executives being hauled away in shackles over that verdict. I'm not sure you could buy a clue if you even knew where to look.

And I know my original comment wasn't popular, but it was 100% factual. I'll reiterate that I don't agree what's being done here, or what happened to Jamie Thomas. But just screaming about due process isn't going to help. You have to understand the law. Due process has nothing to do with contracts between private parties (unless it's specifically outlined in the contract like NFL mediation procedures).

quote:
The other party imposes a contract on you and threatens to break your neck if you don't comply. Free to leave? Bogus.

Sigh. So here's how it works. You call up Comcast and want their service. At some point, you'll sign a Terms of Service (ToS). Do you read that? If not, you should. In there, it states that they can terminate your service for doing anything illegal or even things that they just might not like (running a home web server, for example). If you don't like the terms, then no one is forcing you to sign the contract. If Comcast changes the contract, then you're free to leave. If they find that you've violated the ToS, then they might stop service.

But at no time is there any threat of violence (break your neck, really?) or jail time, or anything else. Just disolution of the contract. That's it. Not a big deal.

quote:
God damn you are delusional.

People with mental problems always tend to think they're fine, and everyone else around them are the crazy ones. So keep thinking that the rest of the world is out to get you. The sad fact is that I agree with you in principle, but you're a little to blind to see that.


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