The MPAA Responds To The Blackouts With Self Pitying Prose

In response to the Internet-wide blackout in protest of the gagging SOPA/PIPA bills, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) – a major backer of these bills – has issued a statement claiming that the sites that protested had made their users corporate pawns and abused their power to arm-twist the US Senate to reconsider what may be one of the most important bills for the country. Chairman and CEO of the MPAA, Senator Chris Dodd issued a statement which is on the official MPAA website. The statement is bereft of any real logic and is instead full of contorted facts that paint the MPAA as an honest and upright association that only serves the US citizens and not its own pockets.


Initially, I did not believe it. Actually, I still cannot believe it. I cannot believe that the CEO of the MPAA actually thinks that the general public can actually buy what he is saying:-

It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”

How is a user-supported protest – like that on Reddit – and a community-driven protest – like that on Wikipedia – a “gimmick”? Perhaps it is time to go back to the boardroom and find out what exactly is the problem with a bill that is receiving so many negative reactions throughout the country as well as across the world. Maybe, just maybe, these bills are a gateway to the Land Without Free Speech Or Information.

Has the MPAA’s CEO and Chairman thought about that? I think not.


Major US ISPs Agree to a Six Strikes Plan for Copyright Violators

CopyrightMajor internet service providers in the US, including AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon, have agreed to limit the services of repeat copyright offenders. Unsurprisingly, the agreement was welcomed by both RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). Cary Sherman, the RIAA’s president, hailed the pact as groundbreakingclaimed that it ushers in a new day and a fresh approach to addressing the digital theft of copyrighted works.

The pact comes after RIAA and MPAA’s scaremongering tactics failed to have a significant effect on piracy. The new “Copyright Alert System” takes a more nuanced approach and focuses strongly on educating the subscribers. The process highlighted by the mitigation measures document is as follows:

First Infringement: An ISP, in response to a notice from a copyright holder, will send an alert to a subscriber notifying the subscriber that his/her account may have been misused for online content theft, that content theft is illegal and a violation of the published policies of the ISP, and that consequences could result from any such conduct.

Second Infringement: If the alleged content theft persists despite the receipt of the first alert, the subscriber may get a second similar alert that will underscore the educational messages, or the ISP may in its discretion proceed to the next alert.

Third Infringement: If the alleged content theft persists after educational alerts are sent, then an additional alert will be sent which will include a conspicuous mechanism (such as a click-through pop-up notice, landing page, or other mechanism) asking the subscriber to acknowledge receipt of the alert.

Fourth Infringement: If, after this alert asking for acknowledgment, the subscriber’s account again appears to have been used in connection with online content theft, the subscriber will be sent yet another alert that again will require the subscriber to acknowledge receipt.

Fifth Infringement: If, after these educational and acknowledgment alerts, the subscriber’s account still appears to be engaged in content theft, the ISP will send yet another alert. At this time, the ISP may take one of several steps, referred to as Mitigation Measuresreasonably calculated to stop future content theft. These Mitigation Measures may include, for example: temporary reductions of Internet speeds, redirection to a landing page until the subscriber contacts the ISP to discuss the matter or reviews and responds to some educational information about copyright, or other measures (as specified in published policies) that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter. ISPs are not required to impose any Mitigation Measure which would disable or be reasonably likely to disable the subscriber’s voice telephone service (including the ability to call 911), e-mail account, or any security or health service (such as home security or medical monitoring). The ISP may also waive the Mitigation Measure. Any and all steps an ISP may take will be specified by their published policies.

Sixth Infringement: If, after this latest alert, the subscriber’s account still appears to be engaged in content theft, the ISP will send yet another alert and will implement a Mitigation Measure as described above. We anticipate that very few subscribers, after repeated alerts, will persist (or allow others to persist) in the content theft.

Before any of the mitigation measures are imposed, the subscriber can request an independent review, which has a waivable $35 filing fee. The subscriber can also take up the matter in a court of law.

Crucially, this pact “does not, in any circumstance, require the ISP to terminate a subscriber account”. Neither does it create any formal legal procedures or new laws. Consequently, it also doesn’t protect subscribers from being directly sued by the right holders.

What is MAFIAAfire? Is Mozilla a Terrorist Organization?

mafiaa-fire-logoWhy is Mozilla the target of a take-down notice from U.S. Homeland Security and what the heck is MAFIAAfire?

Back in December of last year, I asked a simple question: is Homeland Security Now Working for the Recording Industry?. In the article, I explained how the MPAA and RIAA (Movie and Music industry groups) have bribed the U.S. Congress with millions of dollars and now have ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), a division of DHS (Homeland Security) in their pockets.

ICE has seized dozens of website domains over the last few months, supposedly to crack down on piracy and copyright infringement. Several new sites were taken down this week and new targets were likely suggested to ICE by the MPAA or RIAA. In a congressional hearing last month, ICE director John Morton admitted that his organization was acting on tips from industry representatives,and other leads.

Here’s what you’ll see if a site was taken down by ICE.

Google Clears Its Name in BitTorrent Case, Was Not Involved in the First Place

The best defense that BitTorrent search engines have churned up lately is that they are “just like Google” in their operation. They allow users to search around information that is lying around the web. Until now, Google has shown little interest in these MPAA cases against torrent search engines, though it has kept a close watch on them. However, this time, Google has responded to the case as a third party in the MPAA vs. isoHunt case, even though it is not a part of any of these cases.


Image via: Digital Digest

Google wants to clear its name in cases where torrent clients say they are like Google. The U.S. District Court of California grounded isoHunt last year in March by issuing a list of 1000 critical keywords; they had to filter in their searches. Google has written to the court,

This cases raises issues about the interpretation and application of the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512 et seq. (DMCA) and common-law rules governing claims for secondary copyright infringement. Google has a strong interest in both issues,

Google had taken the consent of both MPAA and isoHunt before issuing this testimony. While MPAA was not keen on having Google intervening in the case, isoHunt wanted Google to speak, hoping that it will get some support. As a sudden turn of events, Google has accepted isoHunt being a true pirate and has also criticized the MPAA for its decisions.

It seems like Google has cleared its name in the matter by setting a clear definition of what a pirate search engine does and how it is different from what Google does. Additionally, Google has also pointed out places where the MPAA is going wrong.

Rapidshare Hires Entire Lobbying Firm to Fight the RIAA/MPAA in the US

RapidShare has hired an entire lobbying firm to fight its cause in the US. RapidShare was accused of promoting and allowing illegal file sharing. The charges were laid by the RIAA/MPAA and the lobbying firm will defend RapidShare’s case in the US. RapidShare servers are based in Germany while the headquarters are in Switzerland. This has made it hard for the RIAA to issues a takedown notice. In addition, RapidShare has much to lose from a takedown.

The  RIAA has rightfully accused RapidShare of illegally hosting digital media, especially pre-released television series and movies. The accusations have even listed these illegal downloads as the main source of traffic for these file-sharing websites like RapidShare.

The lobbying firm RapidShare hired is proving to be useful. It has already presented a comparison of RapidShare and Google. RapidShare is ready to impose filtering of content. However, even this filtering will not guarantee that the RIAA declares RapidShare innocent and leaves it alone. The RIAA gets financial backings, which amount to more than $1.8 million as that is just the amount the reportedly spent last quarter. Doing the math, we can well estimate the pressure it puts upon its law firms.

An interesting thing to watch in this case will be how seriously RIAA takes the Google-RapidShare analogy. It will possibly play a key role in deciding RIAAs next move.


4Chan Takes Down RIAA, MPAA In A Pre-Meditated Attack

4Chan the notorious board who go beyond anime images have brought down the piracy watchdogs of the music and media industry in a pre-meditated DDoS attack, which might definitely be a big blot on these two powerful agencies.

RIAA 4Chan

Piracy is hard to tackle, but the music industry has RIAA and MPAA who track torrents and other downloads by placing "moles" in the downloads that are then used to track illegal downloaders and then sue the hell out of them.

However, in an about turn the members of the notorious 4Chan board have struck at both the MPAA and RIAA, systematically taking down both of their websites through a DDoS attack started out by Anon of infamous 4Chan /b/ group.

The RIAA attack which was pre-meditated and openly published was even more devastating for the agency since they already had prior info on the attack and couldn’t do anything about it. Currently the RIAA websites are too slow to open and sometimes even fail to load.

So is the 4Chan group really targeting RIAA and MPAA for them coming after illegal users, or is this a show off of the powerful Internet democracy where everyone has a right to speak what they want to?

No statement yet from RIAA or MPAA, but it might not be a surprise if they decide to sue millions of Anon users for the DDoS attacks Winking smile. This is probably the 4th high profile attack by 4Chan, with Gawker Media and Verizon being their other recent victims.

(Source: TechCrunch)

US Government Agrees, Piracy Stats Are Bloated

We all are aware of the MPAA and    RIAA crackdown on file sharers and torrent seeders over the last two years.  Well now that the crackdown is getting cold, recent studies have shown that it was all overrated. Most of the piracy claims and stats were overrated. The Government Accountability Office of the US government has checked and declared that it is

difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts

of software and music piracy. This study has been conducted over a year and a 32-page report has been released in PDF format.

There was a factor of a “Substitution Rate” in earlier estimates of piracy. According to it, every lost sale was considered as a piracy. So basically, just the fact that you did not buy the software and  inquired  about it added to the piracy figures. It did not matter if you really bought a pirated copy after that, or just switched to a free alternative.

MPAA went further to manipulate stats to show that college student accounted for 44% of piracy when the actual figure was close to 15%. Though, later they covered up by calling it a human error. Now, we all know it was a human error though not so much of a humane error!

An interesting citation from the released PDF say that file sharing can actually help in sales and promotion. It appears at  Techdirt and  says,

Consumers may use pirated goods to ‘sample’ music, movies, software, or electronic games before purchasing legitimate copies,” the GAO continued. “(This) may lead to increased sales of legitimate goods.