Archive for copyright

Virgin Media’s Filesharing Tracking System

Posted in copyright with tags , , , on November 29, 2009 by lindahurd

This is an interesting article about Virgin Media’s trial of its new filesharing monitoring system.  It says that right now they are using this technology merely to gather information about the amount of copyright infringing filesharing that’s occuring in the UK, and that the data they collect will be anonymous.  It may be anonymous right now, but what does the future hold for this monitoring system?  Will the British government eventually use it to prosecute copyright infringers?

From the article:

“To begin with at least, Virgin Media’s implementation will focus on music sharing. The ISP is preparing a legal download service in partnership with Universal, the largest of the four major record labels, which it hopes will be the “carrot” to Lord Mandelson’s “stick” of technical measures against those who persistently infringe copyright.

“Understanding how consumer behaviour is changing will be an important requirement of Virgin Media’s upcoming music offering and, should they become law, the Government’s legislative proposals will also require measurement of the level of copyright infringement on ISPs’ networks,” said Jon James, Virgin Media’s executive director of broadband.”



Steal This Film

Posted in copyright with tags , , on November 28, 2009 by lindahurd

This is another must-see film for those interested in piracy and copyright disputes.  This documentary is about intellectual property, copyright, and how the Internet has contributed to the copyright war.  It tells the story of The Pirate Bay and the multiple lawsuits filed against them. 

From the Wikipedia page:

Steal This Film is a film series documenting the movement against intellectual property produced by The League of Noble Peers and released via the BitTorrent peer-to-peer protocol.

Two parts, and one special The Pirate Bay trial edition of the first part, have been released so far, and The League of Noble Peers is working on “Steal this Film – The Movie” and a new project entitled “The Oil of the 21st Century”.[2] Boing Boing‘s Cory Doctorow called it ‘an amazing, funny, enraging and inspiring documentary series’.

Part Two of Steal This Film[8] (sometimes subtitled ‘The Dissolving Fortress’) was produced during 2007. It premiered (in a preliminary version) at the “The Oil of the 21st Century – Perspectives on Intellectual Property” conference in Berlin, Germany, November 2007.[9]

Thematically, part Two examines the technological and cultural aspects of the copyright wars, and the cultural and economic implications of the internet. It includes an exploration of Mark Getty‘s infamous statement that ‘intellectual property is the oil of the 21st century’. Part two draws parallels between the impact of the printing press and the internet in terms of making information accessible beyond a privileged group or “controllers”. The argument is made that the decentralised nature of the internet makes the enforcement of conventional copyright impossible. Adding to this the internet turns consumers into producers, by way of consumer generated content, leading to the sharing, mashup and creation of content not motivated by financial gains. This has fundamental implications for market-based media companies. The documentary asks “How will society change” and states “This is the Future – And it has nothing to do with your bank balance”.”

RiP: A Remix Manifesto

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 28, 2009 by lindahurd

If you’re at all interested in remixing, mashups, copyright, RiP: A Remix Manifesto is a must-see film.  It follows mashup artist Girltalk and goes in depth about the mashup culture.


“Immerse yourself in the energetic, innovative and potentially illegal world of mash-up media with RiP: A remix manifesto. Let web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, serve as your digital tour guides on a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.

Biomedical engineer turned live-performance sensation Girl Talk, has received immense commercial and critical success for his mind-blowing sample-based music. Utilizing technical expertise and a ferocious creative streak, Girl Talk repositions popular music to create a wild and edgy dialogue between artists from all genres and eras. But are his practices legal? Do his methods of frenetic appropriation embrace collaboration in its purest sense? Or are they infractions of creative integrity and violations of copyright?

You be the judge by watching RiP: A remix manifesto.”

You can watch it for free at or download it here and pay what you want for it.

The coolest thing about this film is that you can contribute to it, remix it, etc.  For example, they had a times square clip on their website that they got people to remix, and then used it in the film.

Britain’s “Three Strikes” Law

Posted in copyright with tags , , on November 24, 2009 by lindahurd

In August 2009, the British government proposed  “three strikes” law to combat piracy on the Internet.  It cuts off Internet access to households that are accused of copyright violation three times.  This proposed law caused a lot of commotion and controversy.  For a while there was even a petition circulating to stop this law from being passed.

The Digital Economy Bill was summarized a few days ago in the Queen’s speech, and it sounds even more restrictive and anti-copyright than ever.  The three strikes law is just part of the Digital Economy Bill.  It also includes age ratings for video games.

The introduction of the three strikes law is a two-step process. “Initially the government will aim to educate consumers and, those identified as downloading illegal content, will be sent letters.”  Then, households even suspected of copyright infringement via the Internet will be cut off completely after three violations.  This portion will be enforced in Spring 2011.

Copyright protection is important, but not at the cost of hounding so-called “pirates”.  This law is protecting and limiting the digital industry, not encouraging expansion, innovation, and creation!  Is protection at the expense of the freedom of the citizens really worth it?  And who really benefits here?  With regards to music, the three-strikes law is more for the protection and profit of the record industry, not the musicians.

According to Cory Doctorow, my favorite blogger and proponent of Creative Commons, the Digital Economy Bill includes:

“£50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing. A duty on ISPs to spy on all their customers in case they find something that would help the record or film industry sue them (ISPs who refuse to cooperate can be fined £250,000).

But that’s just for starters. The real meat is in the story we broke yesterday: Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he’s planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of. And of course, Mandelson’s successor in the next government would also have this power.

What isn’t in there? Anything about stimulating the actual digital economy. Nothing about ensuring that broadband is cheap, fast and neutral. Nothing about getting Britain’s poorest connected to the net. Nothing about ensuring that copyright rules get out of the way of entrepreneurship and the freedom to create new things. Nothing to ensure that schoolkids get the best tools in the world to create with, and can freely use the publicly funded media — BBC, Channel 4, BFI, Arts Council grantees — to make new media and so grow up to turn Britain into a powerhouse of tech-savvy creators.”


BBC News: Government Lays Out Digital Plans

What does this law do?  It stifles creativity and forces people to live in fear of copyright violations.  In regards to the evolving record industry (and the digital economy as a whole), they can’t just STOP copyright infringement with this strict law.  They need to change their business model and take the industry as a whole in a new direction that involves embracing creativity and liberal copyright laws.  Copyright laws shouldn’t be so open to adjustment.  Peter Mandelson should not have the power to spy on citizens and make up punishments.  The Digital Economy Bill sounds a bit too much like 1984.  It’s scary, really.

Warner Music Group’s “Music Tax”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 9, 2009 by lindahurd

A few months ago I heard about Warner Music Group’s plan to introduce a blanketed fee for  music downloaded on college campuses.  I wasn’t exactly sure how this would work, but I recently stumbled across an article about the service called “Choruss”.  It isn’t an actual music tax, but it definitely seems like one.

It’s an experimental service involving a few colleges.  According to the article “Music Industry Changes Tune of New Program to Fight File Sharing,

“the colleges would pay the music industry a blanket licensing fee, similar to what radio stations pay to air popular songs. There was also discussion of the record labels’ signing a ‘covenant not to sue’ for any illegal downloading of their songs by users on participating campuses, he said.”

Who does this really help?  Not necessarily the consumers.  First, from what I understand, this only applies to music under the Warner Music Group (WMG) label.  Second, there are other music services out there that are of higher value than Choruss.  If consumers pay for the music they download, they want to have choices.  Consumers do not want to be limited in their purchases.  Lastly, does WMG think that this will stop file sharing?  It seems like it could be a good deterrent against piracy, but it definitely won’t stop it.

Additionally, It’s hard to tell by this article whether or not the fee paid by students is required.  It seems like it is a fee forced upon all students, which is why it is negatively referred to as a “music tax”.  If it is required, this isn’t fair to students.  Hey, not all of us download music illegally or WANT to pay for WMG’s music downloading service.  We may prefer to get our music from other sources and don’t want to be forced to pay for Choruss.

The one major upside of this service: Unlimited use of the music you download.

“The most unusual feature of Choruss is that users would be able to download any song in the collection to their own computers, with no restrictions. Unlike Apple’s iTunes, which charges about a dollar per song for unrestricted downloads, this would be an all-you-can-grab song buffet. Want to make CD’s? Sure. Put thousands of songs on your iPod? No problem. Even after students stop paying the Choruss subscription fee, they will be able to keep all the songs they have downloaded. ‘They get to keep them the rest of their lives,’ as Mr. Griffin put it. That differs from some subscription music services, which allow access only while users are active members of the service.”

Illegal Downloaders Spend More on Music

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 8, 2009 by lindahurd

Is it really a surprise that those who download the most music illegally also spend more on music?’s Cory Doctorow says,

“…People who are music superfans do more of everything to do with music: they see more live shows, listen to more radio, buy more CDs, buy more botlegs of live shows, buy more t-shirts, talk about music more, do more downloading — all of it.”

So tell me again why the music industry is targeting and prosecuting their biggest consumers?

I find it funny that someone had to do a study to figure that one out.  It seems pretty obvious that those who illegally download the most music are also those who end up spending the most on music.