October 22, 2003

Australians Sue ISP for Hosting Pirated Materials [7:39 am]

From Slashdot; Aust ISP in ‘world first’ music industry court case

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the world, the Australian music industry has listed an Internet service provider (ISP) as a respondent in a court case involving alleged music piracy.

E-Talk Communications, trading as Comcen Internet Services found itself in Federal Court in front of Justice Brian Tamberlin in Sydney this afternoon charged with making money from the provision of copyright-infringing music files. This is the first time the music industry has accused an ISP of being directly involved in piracy by allowing its infrastructure to be used for file-trading activities, according to Michael Speck, the manager of Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), who led the industry’s investigation.

[...] The tactic marks an escalation in the simmering battle between the music industry and the ISPs over how much responsibility the latter should take for any copyright infringing behaviour of their subscribers. Around the world the music industry is attempting to force ISPs to hand over the details of specific customers, and the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) pulled out of negotiations with the Internet Industry Association (IIA) over differences on this issue.

“This case proves what the music industry has been saying about the Internet industry for many years, that music piracy is an integral part of the ISP business model,” Speck told ZDNet Australia . He added that the evidence uncovered in this case proves that ISPs know how much illegal file sharing is happening on their networks, and they embrace it for the revenue.

Note that Mr. Speck is making a career of this: Speck on P2P

The Slashdot discussion, Aussie Music Industry Sues ISP Over Filesharing, raises a point not given in the article:

Wrong wrong wrong wrong (Score:2)

by ghostrider_one (182445) on Wednesday October 22, @05:50AM (#7279370)

The body of this article is completely wrong.

The site in question does not host infringing content, it is merely a bunch of links to other sites where allegedly infringing content can allegedly be had. It’s bad enough they’re suing the operator of the site, it’s worse that they’re suing his ISP. If the music industry succeeds in criminalising this type of activity, you could be sued simply for linking to kazaalite.com or napster.com

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A Surprising Response to the MPAA’s Block of Oscar DVDs [7:27 am]

From E!Online News: L.A. Critics Call Off Awards

Now it’s getting nasty.

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association is the latest group to gripe over the Motion Picture Association of America’s decision to ban screeners for Hollywood award voters: But the L.A. reviewers are going one step forward than writing a nasty letter–instead, they’re flat-out scrapping their annual awards in protest.

[...] “The ban on screeners seriously inhibits our ability to work as professionals and compromises the integrity and fairness of the evaluative process,” the group said in a statement.

All the grumbling seems to be having some effect.

MPAA boss Jack Valenti, who earlier said he would not rescind the ban, held a closed-door meeting on Thursday with reps from all the major studios to discuss a compromise that would prevent illegal duplication and distribution of screeners but placate those who want to send out copies to voters.

Although no decision has been finalized, several alternative plans were bandied about, including mailing out watermarked tapes that can be traced back to individual voters or just sending out tapes for films playing in fewer than 800 theaters.

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ZDNet/Reuters on the Broadcast Flag [7:17 am]

Now here’s some propaganda: FCC mulls digital ‘flag’ to sink TV pirates. This is a spin on the issue that ought to be attackable.

Consumer advocates have warned that consumers will have to buy new DVD players if they want to play programs that have been recorded on machines that recognize the digital “flag.” But agency officials stressed that that always happens when new technology hits the market.

“It will simply prevent consumers from illegal piracy, from mass distribution over the Internet, which is the problem with the music file sharing,” Kenneth Ferree, head of the FCC’s media bureau, said.

Note here, for example, this blatant narrowing of "fair use" of recorded television programs:

Consumers will still be able to make unlimited copies of their favorite shows and watch them in various rooms of their homes, but they will not be able to send them over unsecured networks until protections are established, the officials said.

“Why should anyone in the world buy if it’s on the Internet,” said Andrew Setos, president of engineering at News Corp.’s Fox Entertainment Group.

See it also at Wired News: Digital TV Ain’t Gonna Be Free. Also note that Donna has picked up just how many others out there are disgusted by those who published this position-paper disguised as news.

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