Thursday 3 September 2015

The CopyKat - keeping bang up to date with the technoKats

Facebook has responded to criticism from top web video creators who have accused the social networking giant for failing to prevent Facebok users  from posting their videos without permission.  Facebook already has a technology partner, Audible Magic, that helps it identify unauthorized video content through audio fingerprinting and Now the company is introducing a video matching technology product designed to quickly identify videos uploaded by people that are duplicates of videos already uploaded directly by the creators. As it stands, the new technology will not be fully automated. Creators will have access to a Web-based dashboard that will allow them to identify videos they’d like to monitor. If the system finds a matching video, the creators then have the option to report the clips to Facebook. More here.

Having recently 'upgraded' to Windows 10 operating system  I can't say that I am that impressed with Microsoft at the moment. The new software is counter intuitive - clunky - and all the bad things that Microsft should probably avoid developing when faced with the growing dominance of all things Apple. What I didn't notice was that Microsoft had recently announced further steps to protect Windows 10. Luckily Ian Dowling at Reddie & Grose did and in a very good article on digital piracy, Ian notes that according to an updated End User License Agreement from Microsoft, "Windows 10 will allow Microsoft to download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent access to services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorised hardware peripheral devices. Presumably in an attempt to roll out such countermeasures against all users, Microsoft has been offering free upgrades to Windows 10 to all users of Windows 7 or 8.1, including those running non-genuine versions of the operating system, seemingly an attempt to lure copyright infringers into its anti-piracy net." 

The DRM protection on Netflix's ultra-high definition content has been broken for the first time, allowing pirates to upload a 4K episode of Breaking Bad to a private torrent site - a mighty 18GB of high quality piracy. TorrentFreak reports that iON uploaded the episode to a private torrent tracker. It has already been downloaded a few times and is expected to make it to public providers eventually.  Leaked drafts of the 4K copy protection agreement between Sony and Netflix reveals that the streams are generally well-protected. They also include a watermark so that leaks can be traced back to the source.

And so it comes to this: ABS Entertainment, which owns a catalogue of golden oldie recordings, including tracks by Al Green, has filed lawsuits in both California and New York against US radio giants CBS, iHeartMedia and Cumulus, claiming the broadcasters are infringing its copyrights by playing pre-1972 repertoire without licence. The radio firms are expected to argue against any suggestion that they need licences to play pre-1972 sound recordings, with CBS Radio already saying it will "vigorously defend" the lawsuits. You can read more on this whole topic, and the current claims brought by Flo & Eddie of the Turtles , the claims brought by the record labels and much much more on pre-1972 copyright legal shenanigans on CMU here

Thanks to a recent contract with Sony Music, Russia's Zvooq has become the country's only fully licensed and independent music service. The platform was already licensed by Warner Music and Universal. Currently, Zvooq uses a freemium model - incorporating both ad-sponsored and subscription tiers -- and is planning to introduce a new subscription model for the market, in which a specific advertising brand will pay for subscriptions of selected users.

And what of those MegaUpload servers - locked away and unused ever since the anti-piracy investigations into Kim Dotcom and his team? Well, the US government doesnt need them and doesn't want them and doesn't want to pay for them .... United States Attorney Dana Boente has now said: "The government has already completed its acquisition of data from the Carpathia servers authorised by the warrant, which the defendants will be entitled to during discovery. As such, there is no basis for the court to order the government to assume possession of the Carpathia servers or reimburse Carpathia for 'allocated costs' related to their continued maintenance". TorrentFreak says that Boente told the court "The United States continues to request that the court deny any effort to impose unprecedented financial or supervisory obligations on the United States related to the Carpathia Servers".

The online system used to register initial copyright claims at the U.S. Library of Congress has failed after scheduled maintainence on August 29th - with no solution to the problems with eCO on the horizon. sight. This means users will have to revert to 'snail mail' and post in paper copies of registration forms for the time being. The eCO website informs users that there is no "estimated time for service resumption." A spokesperson told FCW that the CIO team is "working to restore the system as quickly as possible."

A Canadian firm which had been releasing low cost CDs of public domain recordings by the Beatles, the Beach Boys  and the Rolling Stones, amongst others, is accusing two major record labels of using their clout and their combination of both recording and music copyrights to circumvent provisions of Canadian copyright law that had put some recordings by the Fab Four and others into the public domain. The term of copyright protection for sound recordings for Canada was extended from 50 years to 70 years this year. The extension was not applied retrospectively, so gives the extended term of protection to recordings from 1965 onwards. Now record label Stargrove has filed a 408 page complaint with the Canadian Competition Tribunal claiming market interference by the vertically integrated music giants, Universal and Sony, who have blocked releases of public domain sound recordings: It is alleged their publishing arms (for Sony this is Sony/ATV) instructed the local music collection society Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) to refuse mechanical licences for the compositions included in the recordings. The complaint says the refusal of licences means that rights holders are denying Stargrove mechanical licences on the usual trade terms (contra to Section 75(1) of the Competition Act), and that the moves are a violation of the illegal price maintenance provisions (Section 76 of the Competition Act) designed to keep Stargrove out of the market and maintain market share and higher pricing, and a further violation of Section 77 of the Competition Act. Stargrove has asked the Competition Tribunal to order a stop to the violations and to enter into an agreement on standard trade terms. More here.

And finally - here's a novel way to have a go at those who might, and might not, be illegally streaming or downloading movies. U.S. attorney Carl Crowell has taken the unusual step of using Oregon's"going equipped" state laws against them on behalf of movie company clients - in effect trying to argue that mere possession of Popcorn Time software (a service that has been called the "Netflix for Torrenting") is a criminal act under Oregon state law ORS 164.235 which bars the possession of "burglary tools" and which says that a person commits the crime of possession of a burglary tool or theft device if the person possesses a burglary tool or theft device and the person (a) Intends to use the tool or device to commit or facilitate … a theft by a physical taking; or (b) Knows that another person intends to use the tool or device to commit or facilitate a … theft by a physical taking. In the UK ISPs have been ordered by the High Court to block access to websites hosting Popcorn Time software. More on TechDirt here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

By the way, maybe I'm the only one, but when you said "U.S. attorney" instead of "American attorney," I thought you were referring to an actual United States Attorney, i.e., a federal prosecutor. See So at first, before clicking on the article link, I thought it was an actual government official taking this absurd view on the Oregon statute. I'm glad to see that it was just a private attorney.