Aurous has nothing to do with SOPA | The Illusion of More

In fact, when the lawsuit was first announced, The Trichordist rather humorously (though not at all facetiously) announced an “office betting pool” as to how soon the Electronic Frontier Foundation would file an amicus brief on behalf of Aurous. And while no serious IP attorney may reasonably defend Aurous against the infringement claims, that hasn’t stopped the EFF from repeating the latest mantra of Internet industry defenders: That [insert plaintiff here] is behaving as though SOPA became law. Although the EFF has not filed an amicus brief or anything so official on behalf of Aurous, here’s the tweet they sent out, as Ellen Seidler reports on Vox Indie:

Once again, @RIAA asks a court to order the entire world to block & filter an app they don’t like.

While, all this SOPA chatter may be pretty good spin—and a great way to belabor the narrative that rights holders are just insidious, draconian, evildoers hating on freedom—the references to SOPA are entirely specious. I mean not even close.

Bottom Line: Aurous is a Domestic Business

SOPA/PIPA were exclusively written to target foreign-based piracy sites that are beyond the reach of U.S. jurisdiction for criminal proceedings, with the objective of starving these sites of both U.S. traffic and U.S. revenue.


The Times They Are A-Changin | Guest Post by Marc Ribot

Guest post by Marc Ribot.

The deceptive premises of the NYTimes Editorial “Keep the Internet Free of Borders” 8/10, begin with the title, which leads one to believe that this ITC case will take something away that actually exists.   In fact, the Internet is not now and has never been,  “free of borders”. Copyright law prohibits unlawful distribution of copyrighted works outside national borders and has strict provisions on import and export of copyrighted works. The Internet has never been free of copyright law, because copyright  is nation-based. That’s why a new treaty was adopted to address the cross-border issue of distribution of works for blind and reading impaired persons- the Marrakesh Treaty adopted in 2012-, and why a global treaty for libraries is now under discussion: to make cross-border distribution legal in certain cases,  precisely because right now it’s restricted.  Even Google knows that the Internet has national borders.  It found a way to respect them for Google Books-  a mechanism to prevent export of copyrighted works to other countries. There are patent rules too.  All universities have policies regarding import and export of patented material. Export control rules and guidelines already cover patented material/trade competition and have NEVER  been restricted to physical goods.

When the editorial extrapolates its argument to the record industry, it goes even further afield.  ” The I.T.C. has long had the power to forbid companies from importing physical goods like electronics, books and mechanical equipment that violate the patents, copyrights and trademarks of American businesses…The commission’s order to ClearCorrect was the first time it had sought to bar the transfer of digital information.”

The Times takes the RIAA to task for supporting the decision: “Groups like the…Recording Industry Association of America are supporting the commission’s view… that, as trade increasingly becomes digital, the definition of “article” should include data.”

Yet when there was actually legislation on the table supporting the alternative remedies to ITC intervention that the editorial now claims to favor,  the NY Times took the exact opposite position ( Beyond SOPA 1/28/12), and supported empowering the ITC:  “By giving the International Trade Commission sole authority to determine infringement, [the OPEN Act] would…[give]  copyright holders powerful new tools to protect themselves [while] protecting legitimate expression on  the Web from overzealous content owners.

Funny how ‘Times’ change.

In any case, the alternate remedies proposed in last weeks editorial simply don’t apply to recording artists works.  “There are far better ways to [protect…patents and copyrights]….Align could sue ClearCorrect and seek damages for patent infringement. Or the company could ask a judge to order ClearCorrect to stop selling products made using the information contained in the files.”

Sounds great: but asking a judge to order an infringing company to stop selling [physical] products made using information contained in infringing files’ isn’t relevant for people whose product is the files themselves.  And  of course, suing companies profiting from infringement is precisely what musicians can’t do, thanks to the Safe Harbor Clause of the DMCA. That clause exempts online businesses from the normal responsibility of companies for violations of the law occurring on their premises.

Is the NY Times now going to support ending Safe Harbor protection for companies whose business models are based on aiding, abetting, and profiting  from infringement?  Such a position would be the only way musicians could have access to its suggested remedy.

We certainly hope so, because while congress has failed to effectively regulate the unfair black market destroying the value of our work, our industry has crashed and our livelihoods are suffering.

Our problem isn’t new technology itself, but the failure of government to regulate new and unfair forms of exploitation. The internet has borders: it is bound internationally by the laws of sovereign nations, and internally by laws which protect the rights of citizens. It also has hugely powerful corporations attempting to violate those borders on a massive scale in order to create consumer ‘facts on the ground’ which render those rights politically un-enforceable.

International borders aren’t the only boundaries threatened by big tech’s drive to profit from infringement: the consequences of the failure of government to stand up to this corporate manipulation won’t stay neatly contained within the music industry.  Nor will the effective nullification of citizens rights stop at those protecting artists.  Its a slippery slope, baby.

– M ribot

Google Can Bite Me | The Illusion of More

Never wanting to lose an opportunity to be bizarrely two-faced, Google is sending around a little graphic today to all you GMail users implying that stopping SOPA in January of 2012 actually enabled creativity to continue to thrive on the Web. Never mind that nothing in SOPA could have stopped you or me or any other would-be creator from uploading our works, ideas, or captured events to the Web; that’s just pesky reality.

But Google isn’t satisfied just to effect public policy in its own interests, it also wants to behave like the abusive and negligent father, who creepily shows up with a smile and a hug when his kid wins an award or becomes famous.

After all, this week isn’t just the anniversary of SOPA Blackout Day, it’s also the week Google received its 100 millionth takedown notice from recording artists who would rather not have their works exploited without permission or compensation. So, the whole, “we protected creativity together” message just kinda makes the skin crawl. Y’know?


Bills to Eliminate Pirate Sites like The Pirate Bay get Unanimous Approval | IBT

AGCOM, an independent Electronic Communications Authority of Italy, devised various measures to bring down the pirate websites and their owners. The measures put forward have been unanimously approved. The new system that ensures the fast removal of copyrighted content by hosts and blocking of various file-sharing websites will be implemented on March 31, 2014.

In the past, Italy has emerged as a nation that is taking proactive actions to tackle pirate sites and other online piracy issues. Numerous leading torrent websites like Kicka** Torrents and The Pirate Bay are blocked at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) level after orders from different courts.



If the Internet Breaks and No One Notices, Did it Really Happen?

Google Slammed by Mississippi Attorney General for “Inaction” on Piracy

If the Internet Breaks and No One Notices, Did it Really Happen?

We’ve heard a lot about how protecting artists rights would “break the internet”, turns out the internet seems to be doing just fine. So much for all of the chicken little fear mongering from Silicon Valley interests that have been profiting by illegally exploiting artists and creators for over a decade.

The world is waking up. Dear Larry, the internet is not breaking, it’s time to “get over it.

French court orders search firms to block pirate sites | BBC

A court in France has ordered Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to block 16 video-streaming sites from their search results.

The High Court in Paris ruled the websites were dedicated to the “distribution of works without consent of their creators”.

“Search engines are incredibly skilful, yet they are still leading consumers to illegal money-making sites even when the searcher is seeking legal content online,” said Chris Marcich, president of MPA in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“The present situation is confusing for consumers, damaging the legal download market and legitimising copyright theft. The decision in France clearly is a step in this direction.”

Several internet service providers were also ordered to block the sites.

UK Police crackdown on pirate site ads | BBC

Websites illegally hosting copyrighted content have been targeted by City of London Police.

“Operation Creative is being run… to really get to grips with a criminal industry that is making substantial profits by providing and actively promoting access to illegally obtained and copyrighted material,” said Supt Bob Wishart.

The scheme encourages offenders to change their behaviour so that they are operating within the law, he added.

“However, if they refuse to comply we now have the means to persuade businesses to move their advertising to different platforms and, if offending continues, for registrars to suspend the websites,” he said.

Irish Internet firms ordered to block file-share sites | Irish Independent

THREE major music companies have been granted orders which will allow internet service providers here to block access to a file-sharing website as part of efforts to prevent “wholesale copyright theft” on “a grand scale”.

The judge was satisfied many of those were engaged in copyright infringement, devastating the ability of a generation of creative people to make a living from their talents.

USA What Does Hotfile’s Closure Mean to You? – Plagiarism Today

With the closure of Hotfile, questions are raised about what this means for content creators and the cyberlocker industry. Here are a few likely outcomes.

The judge in the case also ordered Hotfile that, if it wishes to remain open, it has to use “digital fingerprinting” to filter out infringing works. However, Hotfile, either unable or unwilling to comply with that request, has decided to shut down its site, effective immediately.

Hotfile’s closure is easily the biggest case of a cyberlocker being forced offline through legal action since Megaupload in January 2012. However, with nearly two years passed since Megaupload’s shuttering, the Web, especially for illegal downloads, is already a very different place.

Real Censorship | nycRUEN

During the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), critics of the legislation portrayed its process of identifying foreign black market domains and then blocking them from gaining easy profits from, and access to, the US online audience, as “censorship” — full stop.

It bothers me that representatives from Google or the EFF, Reddit, etc. are so quick to lump in the attempt to protect artists rights with the political censorship of China or Iran. It is entitlement of the privileged at its worst and demonstrates to me how desperate some people are to excuse freeloading by any means necessary. But, the wonders of technology simply do not excuse clear cases of exploitation.


Intellectual property — Our forgotten constitutional right? | Fosters

This story originally ran on Constitution Day, but we just got hipped to it now. Worth the read.

Cyber-piracy increasingly costs the U.S. economy money that instead of creating and supporting jobs goes into the pockets of criminals. The government must act, and swiftly, by exercising its constitutional responsibility to ensure that this trend is reversed. This may require breaking some new ground and should be done only after careful, principled debate, with respect for liberty and adherence to our other, equally important, constitutional rights.

If the framers could understand this matter in the eighteenth century, we must believe the current Congress can grapple with it today. Previous efforts to update our intellectual property protection system were defeated in a flurry of misinformation. The proposed legislation may have been opaque and overly broad, but the concerns expressed by many conservatives and libertarians were overstated.

On this Constitution Day, let’s remember that even in the Founder’s concept of a limited federal government, it is the proper obligation of that government to secure the property of its citizens against lawlessness. Protecting intellectual property is a property rights issue. There is a difference between liberty and lawlessness: We should favor the former and oppose the latter. On Constitution Day we should think about the protection of intellectual property rights on the Internet as a logical, contemporary extension of the basic Constitutional rights of authors, scientists and inventors that our framers set forth so plainly two and a quarter centuries ago.


Weekly Recap and News Sunday Nov 11, 2012

Grab the coffee!

Recent Posts:
* Madison Avenue and Media Piracy, Are Online Ad Networks the Birth of SkyNet?
* Bad News, Good News, Bad News. Internet Radio “Fairness” Act Sponsor and Conservative UT Congressman Chaffetz Taunts Musicians; Admits to Belief in Evolution; Urges Government Interference In Markets.
* Muzzling Free Speech By Artists: IRFA Section 5 Analysis
* Lobbyist For CCIA Makes All Kinds of Wild Claims About Copyright Management Organizations. BMI ASCAP SOCAN SAMI Included in Charges of Corruption.

From Around The Web:

Friday’s End Notes 11/09/12 (Essential Weekly Reading)

Dan Ariely
How to Stop Illegal Downloads
“Before it was my book being illegally downloaded, I was more on the “Information wants to be free” end of the spectrum. The sudden, though predictable, shift in my feelings when I found my own work being downloaded for free was a jarring experience.”

Digital Music News
Goldman Sachs Is About to Invest $100 Million In Spotify…
Dear Pandora, You Totally Suck. Signed, Songwriters…
Pandora Is Now Suing ASCAP to Lower Songwriter Royalties…

Spotify Is Having A Good 2012: Revenues Could Reach $500M As It Expands The Digital Music Market

Songwriters Are Left Out of Pandora’s Royalty Plan: Guest Post by Downtown Music’s Justin Kalifowitz

The Hill:
NAACP blasts Pandora-backed Internet royalty bill

The New York Times:
A Clash Across Europe Over the Value of a Click

The Precursor Blog:
Google’s Top Ten Anti-Privacy Quotes — Part 3 In Google’s Own Words Series
“We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about”Google Chairman Eric Schmidt 10-1-10 per the Atlantic

Torrent Freak:
Supreme Court Rejects Hearing For Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde
RapidShare Limits Public Download Traffic to Drive Away Pirates
“Six-Strikes” BitTorrent Crackdown May Target Private Trackers

Columbia Journalism Review:
Audit Notes: digital ads, margins of error, freehadists – French publishing’s online revenues make the Americans look good

Music Tech Policy:
IRFA and the Future of Music Policy Summit: Why Would FOMC Miss An Opportunity to Defend Artist Rights?
Stretching the Possibilities of Offensiveness, Pandora Demonstrates How to be Ugly at Scale

The Washington Examiner:
Report: Google and Facebook competing for an Obama cabinet slot

Digital Trends:
Sorry, Internet, SOPA had zero effect on election day results
“Of the 24 House Members up for reelection who co-sponsored or otherwise supported the highly contentious anti-piracy legislation, all but three won reelection on Tuesday. This includes Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, of Texas, SOPA’s author and chief co-sponsor who became the Internet’s Enemy No. 1”

Free Online Music in China Coming to An End?