In the wake of the near miss that was SOPA/PIPA, the forces of the Internet are looking to exact some revenge, to go on the attack if you will. MPAA President and former Senator Chris Dodd presented an inviting target recently when he said on Fox News that the entertainment industry’s campaign contributions to politicians would be tied to their support of anti-piracy legislation. The result is a White House petition calling for a bribery investigation, and an Internet heavyweight calling for Dodd to be fired.
Hey, did you know that Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist and Reddit are trying to turn you into their corporate pawns? We didn’t either, but to hear MPAA honcho Chris Dodd tell it, the “gimmick”y blackout darkening the Internet today isn’t actually a way for tech sites to spread awareness about a critical issue to a possibly uninformed segment of the population – instead, it’s just a “stunt,” an “abuse of power” designed to punish users and elected officials alike. In related news, two of SOPA’s and one of PIPA's co-sponsors have asked to have their names removed from the bill.
Zediva thought it had things all figured out. Allow users to rent a DVD player in a data center someplace with a hot new release movie in the slot, then stream them the output from the DVD player. Zediva claimed that was no different than the consumer renting the disc themselves. The courts didn’t agree and have now upheld a preliminary injunction and shut Zediva down for good. The company has also been ordered to pay the MPAA $1.8 million.
Industry trade groups like the RIAA and the MPAA have been beating on Congressional doors for years now in a fruitless attempt to restrict Internet access for rampant file-sharers. Thanks to a tangled web of possible political and legal ramifications, the government's been hesitant to drop the banhammer on everyday pirates. Sick of the foot-dragging, the content associations just went Dirty Harry. No, they didn't take the law into their own hands – they bypassed it completely by forging a deal with the largest ISPs, who will now take a "graduated response" against file-sharers at the copyright owners' command.
While so-called “three strikes laws” have been passed in several countries to kick those repeatedly accused of copyright infringement off the Internet, Cnet is reporting that some US ISPs are not waiting for the government to impose such a system. Several companies including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are reportedly deep in talks with entertainment companies to establish tough punishments for alleged file sharers.
Last year, more than 70 domains were seized by the Department of Homeland Security for copyright infringement and replaced with layered 1990s drop-shadow graphics so eye-bleedingly bad they may have violated the Geneva Convention. Some of those seizures were as legally questionable as the government’s design sensibilities, targets of the copyright industry rather than real criminals. Rather than get shy about extralegal crackdowns, the New York DHS decided to double down.
The movie studios have been floating the idea for months now, but according to All Things D, premium video on demand is launching soon. The system is being endorsed by four of the big studios: Warner, Sony, NBC-Universal, and Fox. Customers in select markets with DirectTV and Comcast service will have the option to pay $30 to rent films that are still in theaters. Pricey, but it might make sense.
Content owners tend to speak frequently about the huge problem that p2p donwloads have caused for their businesses. A recent recording industry report said the music business would "struggle to survive unless we address the fundamental problem of piracy." A new report from NPD group, however, lets us all know how big of a problem piracy really is. As it turns out, only 9% of American internet users are pirates.
A recent Danish study had some interesting things to say about the public's perception of various crimes. No surprise that most offenses are considered by respondents to be socially unacceptable, but in the instance of piracy, 70% of respondents said that it was socially acceptable to some degree. Bad news for a movie and music industry that has spent the last decade leading a war against p2p.