Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy

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in 28.05.2012, 365: the 2012 edition, 365:2012, Abstract, Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Day 149, Fan, Video

149 of 366

  • Photo owner: Jay Daverth
  • Date Taken: Mon, 2012-05-28 20:44
  • Date Uploaded: Tue, 2012-06-19 14:02
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Fans -- can't sleep without them, and they're my go-to safety shot!
31 May

Techie Tuesday – Leahy’s Orwellian Protect IP Act blocked!

in Congress, Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Entertainment, Intellectual Property, Internet, Law Enforcement, Piracy, Politics, Techie Tuesday

Image via Wikipedia

Some good news in the world of copyfighting!  I mentioned this bill in last week’s link purge, but under the authorship of the entertainment Mafioso, PIPA was intended to provide the DHS and private corporations with additional authority to seize the top-level domains of dangerous terrorists file sharing websites and bring lawsuits against those, such as Google, who provide links to them (Google has already vowed to fight any such measures).  I don't know if the bill is officially dead, but for the time being it has been effectively put on hold by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

“The internet represents the shipping lane of the 21st century,” Wyden said in a statement. “It is increasingly in America’s economic interest to ensure that the internet is a viable means for American innovation, commerce, and the advancement of our ideals that empower people all around the world. By ceding control of the internet to corporations through a private right of action, and to government agencies that do not sufficiently understand and value the internet, PIPA represents a threat to our economic future and to our international objectives,” he said.

Even if you equate file-sharing with digital piracy you should care about killing this bill for several reasons:

  • In the most benign sense, it is wholly unnecessary – domains can already be ‘seized’ (albeit with a tremendous assault on due process) through a number of judicial channels and the DMCA provides the means through which to stop Google et al from linking to them.  Codifying this behavior only reinforces the governments right to intervene in the only port of free expression currently in existence.
  • It forges an unholy alliance between federal law enforcement and private enterprise whereby the same industries who decry government intervention in the free market are all too eager to expect taxpayers to foot the bill for their civil complaints.
  • It has nada zip zilch to do with national security and the DHS should not be compelled to expend resources on enforcing private litigation while actual security concerns remain unchecked.
  • Finally, for the massive expense it is entirely ineffective.  Seized domains simply rely on existing mirrors to bridge the short amount of time it takes to respawn elsewhere.  And thanks to sympathetic programmers everywhere, systems are popping up like MAFIAAfire that make it even easier for users to find them.

When you consider the the War on Drugs whose crippling expense is paralleled only by its spectacular failure, It’s inconceivable that we want to extend such tactics to the virtual world on behalf of a few, dying private companies.

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16 Apr

UK’s TalkTalk will not comply with draconian Digital Economy Bill

in Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Entertainment, Intellectual Property, Video

For those who are unfamiliar with such bills, there has been a major worldwide push, lead by those poor, suicidal bastards in the entertainment industries, to force internet service providers (ISPs) to cut off customers after three, unsubstantiated accusations of copyright infringement.  291106riaa

At least one company  has proven willing to stand up for common sense:

After the election we will resume highlighting the substantial dangers inherent in the proposals and that the hoped for benefits in legitimate sales will not materialise as filesharers will simply switch to other undetectable methods to get content for free.

In the meantime we stand by our pledges to our customers:

  • Unless we are served with a court order we will never surrender a customer’s details to rightsholders. We are the only major ISP to have taken this stance and we will maintain it.
  • If we are instructed to disconnect an account due to alleged copyright infringement we will refuse to do so and tell the rightsholders we’ll see them in court.

Not likely to see this level of consumer advocacy in a U.S. ISP anytime soon.  I imagine something a little more like this:

06 Mar

Free ebooks correlated with increased print-book sales

in Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy

As someone with my second book on the way, I find myself torn between not wanting to fight with my publisher yet remaining faithful to my ideals regarding CC licensing.  After all, it is much more important to me to be read than to make a few extra sheckles off of my ideas.  Besides, I’m fairly certain that having a larger reader base will lead to more actual book sales – even if there are more people reading for free.  Finally, there is a bit of empirical evidence to back it up.

Those publishers who insist on draconian, DRM-crippled merchandise might want to consider this little gem from Brad Colbow (click to enlarge):the_brads_drm

20 Feb

Why you should rip your DVDs

in Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Entertainment, Software

Not sure who to credit on this, but there is a fun little info-graphic hosted at i.imgur on the difference between a “pirated” DVD and one purchased legally.GxzeV

As one who has purchased many more DVDs than than is considered healthy by the American Medical Association, I can say that the very first thing I do is rip them to a DVD-R.  The original goes straight into a drawer where it either rots for eternity or gets re-ripped if (and often when) I end up destroying the backup.  This is partly because of what is described in this picture, partly because I want to be able to play them on my computer without having to use up my 5 change limit on region-locking, and partly because the materials they use to produce these DVDs are notoriously flimsy and wouldn’t last 10 seconds with my two year old.

If you’re looking for some good software on DVD-ripping, I recommend checking out Handbrake which is a nice one-click affair (and of course free).  Also free for all of your computer region woes, you might want to grab a copy of DVD43.

08 Feb

Please sign (or at least READ) the Public Domain Manifesto

in Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Intellectual Property

In the midst of our ongoing debates over file-sharing and the latest twisted headlines from the RIAA, the discourse seems to have slipped into whether artists need to be compensated for their work (which they should) and whether the poor suicidal copyright watchdogs have gone over the deep end in attacking their own consumers (which they have).  Yet it is important to remember that this is more than just an economic debate – this is part of an ongoing struggle to determine the appropriate line between comodification and our cultural evolution.

1478541769_e0d931e329 Let’s face it – to varying degrees, we all enjoy what Hollywood spews out no matter how trite and repetitive it can be.  Such endeavours require a substantial amount of capital and investors should be able to profit from their work if we expect them to continue being produced.  Much as in the publishing and music industries, copyright law has existed for the purpose of safeguarding this monetisation.  Yet it is important to remember that copyright is meant to be of a finite duration.  This allows artists to profit from their work while also ensuring that future generations are able to continue building on this work when it enters the public domain.  As James Boyle of The Public Domain notes:

Our markets, our democracy, our science, our traditions of free speech, and our art all depend more heavily on a Public Domain of freely available material than they do on the informational material that is covered by property rights. The Public Domain is not some gummy residue left behind when all the good stuff has been covered by property law. The Public Domain is the place we quarry the building blocks of our culture. It is, in fact, the majority of our culture.

Perpetual copyright effectively consolidates our cultural heritage into the hands of a few wealthy industrialists and restricts creative expression worldwide.  This trend must be stopped. 

You can read the full Manifesto here and please take the time to sign it.

19 Jun

The Self-Defeating and Ineffectual Weaponry of Internet Gatekeepers

in Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Internet

Nice piece up from Cory Doctorow (of BoingBoing) on the perils of trying to suppress the internet as an alternate means of distribution:

So, how do you use copyright to ensure that the future is more competitive and thus more favorable to creators and copyright industries? horsebuggy

It's pretty easy, really: Use your copyrights to lower the cost of entering the market instead of raising it.

What if the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had started out by offering MP3 licenses on fair terms to any wholesaler who wanted to open a retailer (online or offline), so that the cost of starting a Web music store was a known quantity, rather than a potentially limitless litigation quagmire?

What if the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the North American Broadcasters Association made their streams available to anyone who paid a portion of their advertising revenue (with a guaranteed minimum), allowing 10 million video-on-demand systems to spring up from every garage in the world?

What if the Authors Guild had offered to stop suing Google for notional copyright violations in exchange for

04 Jul

Primitive DVD players

in Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Funny, Video

I've been using computers as my video delivery system for so long that I've completely forgotten how obnoxious it is to use a dedicated DVD player.  But reality gave me a swift kick in the eyeballs during a recent hotel stay where I tried to play a DVD in their complimentary player only to realize that I am forced - yes, forced - to watch each and every precious moment of those fun-filled anti-piracy videos, followed by the interminable (literally 'without termination') FBI warning. 

To make matters worse, being a new dad I am wholly incapable of sustained viewing pleasure and frequently had to pause the video, only to engage the system's sleep program.  After which I was forced, once again, to watch the stupid warning.  Time. after. fricken'. time.

Anyway, positive spin is that it reminded me of this little gem from The IT Crowd: