November 5, 2004

MS Takes The Music eTailing Battle Overseas [5:46 pm]

Microsoft extends MSN music sales into Europe

Microsoft has expanded its MSN music store to eight European countries in a bid to beat Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

[...] The move follows Apple’s opening a few weeks back of stores targeting buyers in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Finland.

[...] [Arndt] Salzburg [MSN entertainment chief for EMEA and Latin America] claimed the MSN Music store was profitable business, but declined to provide details.

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Terry Fisher at the Harvard Coop Monday [5:22 pm]

The What’s New listing of the Harvard Coop reveals the following entry [via Joho the Blog]:

Nov 8 Discussion     7:00 PM

William Fisher will discuss “Promises To Keep: Technology, Law And the Future of Entertainment”

Location: Level 3

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MPAA Saturation Bombing [8:22 am]

Talk about an assault! In addition to this nifty graphic, we get a total of 9 press releases about the MPAA lawsuit plan.

  • Studios to Begin Suing Illegal Film Swappers

    “We all know that digital distribution is the wave of the future, and the studios have all supported legal download services in various ways,” Glickman said. “But we cannot allow illegal trafficking to derail legitimate new technologies that provide consumers with affordable, convenient access to high-quality movies on the Web. Trading a digital file of a movie online without paying its owners is no different than walking into a store and shoplifting a DVD.”

  • Print Ad: Scheduled to run week of November 15 (the “movie poster” with the chilling tag line: “LAWSUITS BEGIN THIS WEEK”)

  • Contacts Available for Comment on MPAA Announcement — many quotes, but here’s the one engineering to scare the most people, IMHO

    Dr. Parry Aftab

    Child Safety Advocate/Cybersecurity Lawyer

    Mother

    “The MPAA had no choice. After deploying a vast public-awareness campaign, working with universities, grammar schools, teachers and parents, some kids still don’t understand that movie downloading can be harmful, dangerous and illegal. It’s important that we as parents teach our children to use that filter between their ears and be good cybercitizens. Just because they can download copyrighted movies does not mean they should. We need to teach them to use technology responsibly and legally.”

    A question: Who’s making downloading “dangerous,” exactly?

  • Remarks by Gil Cates, Secretary Treasurer, Directors Guild of America

  • Statement by Governor Schwarzenegger at MPAA Press Event with UCLA

  • The Cost of Piracy - some nifty (and carefully framed) statistics, including:

    THE ECONOMICS OF MOTION PICTURES

    • Less than one in 10 films recoups its investment from domestic box office receipts.

    • Six in 10 films never recoup their original investment.
    • In 2003, the average cost of making, marketing and distributing an MPAA Member Company film domestically was $102.9 million. That cost swells another $40 million, on average, to create prints and advertising for

      overseas distribution.

  • Piracy and P2P Statistics - and here’s some more “info”

    • An average motion picture takes 12 to 18 hours to download on Fast Track

    • This drops to 3 to 6 hours on some of the newer services, and emerging technology has demonstrated the ability to drop that down to 6 seconds.
  • Preserving Out Options: How We Find Unauthorized Internet Activity (note the implications of what constitutes legal and illegal activity)

    A company that specializes in tracking the theft of copyrighted content on the Internet is working directly with our attorneys. This company connects to various P2P networks and searches for users offering one or more of our member companies’ motion pictures. This company uses the same core technical processes generally used by P2P users to identify each other and to search for files. Any relatively experienced user of these P2P networks can obtain the same information our contractor collects.

    Once this company identifies a P2P network user offering for download one of our member companies’ motion pictures, this company obtains that user’s IP address. When available, it also obtains the user’s screen name and examines the user’s publicly available computer directory for other files that match the names of our member companies’ motion pictures. Just as any other network user could do, this company then downloads at least one motion picture the user is offering.

  • Glossary - here we really get into the rhetorical/culture war

    Decode Content Scramble System (DeCSS) – Circumvention software that breaks the Content Scrambling System (see CSS) anti-copying software. The DeCSS software cannot legally be distributed in the United States.

    [...] Fair Use – A defense to copyright infringement liability in cases related to the limited reproduction and use of protected works for specific purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching or research.

    [...] Hard goods piracy [Ed. note: a new term?] – The illegal sale, distribution and trading of copies of motion pictures in any physical format, including videocassettes and optical-media products such as CDs and DVDs. Illegal hard goods are sold in flea markets, by street vendors and through traditional postal services from Web sites, online auction sites and email solicitations.

    [...] Identity theft [Ed. note: what's this doing in this list?] – The stealing of another person’s personal identifying information, such as their full name, social security number and credit card information, without that person’s knowledge and with intent to use it fraudulently.

    [...] Piracy – The violation of exclusive legal rights such as the infringement of a copyright. [Ed. note: now that's expansive!]

    [...] Streaming media – Audio or video files that are compressed for distribution over the Internet, to be viewed or watched in near-real time as the information arrives on an end user’s computer. With streaming media, a user does not have to download an entire file to begin listening to or watching it, but the user also does not then possess a digital copy of the file thereafter for repeated viewing or redistribution. [Ed. note: you hope!]

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The NYTimes & WashPost on the MPAA Move [7:58 am]

Movie Industry Preparing Suits on File Sharing — plus, an introduction to the villians of the piece, “young people.” (see earlier A Hint From Xeni (updated! again!) and It’s Official (updated))

The motion picture association did not say who would be sued, nor would it say whether it would go after heavy file sharers or people who have downloaded only a handful of films. Studios are entitled to damages of up to $30,000 for each illegally downloaded film under copyright law, but in cases where intent could be proved, damages could rise to $150,000, said Simon Barsky, the association’s general counsel.

Mr. Glickman acknowledged that the record industry lawsuits generated ill will among consumers, a result that concerns some movie studios, with Walt Disney voicing the most reluctance about pursuing legal action. Twentieth Century Fox and MGM have been most eager to pursue the strategy, according to studio executives involved in the issue.

[...] At the moment, there is no convenient way to download movies legally. Part of the solution to piracy, Mr. Glickman said, will be finding a commercial structure, similar to the dollar-a-song online music stores, that can “get movies to young people.”

From the Washington Post MPAA to Sue Over Movie File Sharing [pdf]

The suits are the first major act of Glickman’s new tenure and mark a fundamental split in philosophy from his predecessor Jack Valenti, who found filing suits against potential customers, as the Recording Industry Association of America has done, distasteful. Some studios shared the sentiment and were worried what the suits would do to their image, studio sources said. In the end, though, all signed on.

“I think it’s beyond stealing,” said Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. chief executive Alex Yemenidjian, among the strongest studio advocates for the suits. “It’s dangerous to teach an entire generation of American kids that stealing physical property is not okay but stealing intellectual property is okay.”

Ummm, so what is it, Mr. Yemenidjian?

And, talk about heavy handed:

The movie industry has launched an anti-piracy campaign modeled after its well-known movie-rating system. A new logo has a capital “I” and reads: “Illegal Downloading: Inappropriate for all ages.”

An MPAA poster shows hundreds of e-mail addresses and Internet addresses and reads: “Is This You? If you think you can get away with illegally trafficking in movies, think again.”

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A Little More on CacheLogic’s Report [7:50 am]

This image from the CacheLogic report that got discussion on Slashdot and in some of the articles on the MPAA’s pending litigation strategy is pretty striking, if legit. The amount of HTTP traffic, in particular, is stunningly small.

More striking is how their technology, “Deep Packet Inspection,” works. From a description of one of their products:

The Cacheswitch operates as an ethernet bridge or router inspecting network traffic. The optimised packet processing engine examines each packet and classifies it as P2P or non-P2P. Appropriate P2P requests are then redirected across a cluster of Cachepliance devices.

[...] The growth in P2P traffic and the emergence of new applications that employ stealth techniques to make traffic more difficult to identify and control have had a significant impact upon an ISPs ability to manage P2P traffic effectively.

The Cacheswitch identifies all key P2P applications including those using stealth techniques. The Cacheswitch provides detailed reporting and management information regarding the protocols in use, throughput, numbers of users and more to enable informed decisions to be made by network architects.

And, of course, their presentation has this slide:

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King Crimson, EMI and Digital Download Rights [7:22 am]

A look at digital royalties and the ITMS: Music biz in unauthorised downloads shock

A posting in Robert Fripp’s online diary provides some fascinating inside information on the poor and starving but caring, sharing music industry. Fripp and obscure but legendary band King Crimson have parted company with EMI/Virgin over digital download rights; not, apparently, because Fripp is agin downloading as such, but because he has just a couple of minor quibbles about distribution of the royalties.

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