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Piracy

French ‘Three Strikes’ law fails to cut piracy
January 23, 2014 | 7:32 pm

Remember that French “three strikes” law, Hadopi? Ars Technica reports that a recent study has shown that it has had no significant effect in getting people to stop downloading content illicitly.  In the survey of 2,000 French Internet users, 37.6% admitted to illicit downloading. Those who knew about the Hadopi monitoring were no less likely to download illicitly, though there was a slight (but “insignificant”) decrease in the intensity of their downloading. (And the people who knew it was monitoring thought it was monitoring more than it really was!) There was a slight bump in sales, but that was considered...

Wearing Google Glass to a movie theater leads to interrogation by federal agents
January 21, 2014 | 2:23 pm

google-glass-prescription-lenses-900-80Here’s an article that points out a problem that will only become more common as wearables do. A member of the Google Glass program had prescription lenses on his Glass, and wore them everywhere as his regular glasses. He didn’t have any other prescription glasses, so he wore them to a movie, with the Google Glass part turned off. He’d been to an AMC theater with the Glass three times, but this particular time (watching the new Jack Ryan movie, no less) a federal agent came in, plucked the glasses off his head, and proceeded to accuse him of...

NetNames wants you to believe its textbook piracy figures, buy its services
October 18, 2013 | 10:35 am

NetNames Statements by "domain management, online brand protection and online security" company NetNames about the size of the problem of textbook piracy in the UK are being picked up by the BBC and The Bookseller magazine. According to the BBC report quoted, 76 percent of a sample of 50 popular textbook titles were available for download on one file sharing site alone. The reports do focus on the issue of textbook pricing and availability as much as on piracy per se. NetNames' director of piracy analysis, David Price is quoted at length on the issue of textbook pricing, emphasizing that publishers need...

GenCon 2013 Interview: Phil Reed, COO of Steve Jackson Games
October 6, 2013 | 5:00 pm

GEDC1300I last spoke to Phil Reed, COO of Steve Jackson Games, at GenCon in 2011. We discussed e23, Steve Jackson Games’s DRM-free PDF e-book store, which had expanded far beyond its original intended goals of just republishing out-of-print stuff to publishing in-print stuff at the same time as or even before it came out in print. I caught up with him again at GenCon 2013 for another brief interview. We touched on e23’s ongoing success, but Reed had more to say on the subject of Kickstarters—something that was on the minds of a number of other writers and industry...

UK Publishers Association backs police IP crackdown – but does it make sense?
September 16, 2013 | 11:18 am

The UK Publishers Association has come out strongly in support of the City of London Police's creation of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), launched in the UK to tackle criminal IP abuse. “The launch of Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit is a hugely significant development in the fight against online intellectual property crime which undermines the creative industries on a daily basis," said Richard Mollet, CEO of The Publishers Association. "We applaud the Intellectual Property Office in providing funding for this new Unit. We now look forward to working collaboratively with PIPCU and other rightsholders in upholding the...

Copyright vs. Common Sense
September 12, 2013 | 11:21 am

Two tales of copyright idiocy crossed my inbox yesterday. The first, by Techdirt's Mike Masnick tells the tale of the Village People's Victor Willis, who has regained the right's to many of his band's famous songs under the 'termination rights' clause, which allows artists to regain copyright of their songs after 35 years, no matter to whom they had assigned it. Willis, as Masnick reports, is trying to use his new ownership rights to stop the current version of the band from performing songs such as YMCA for which they are known. The second story comes my way via BoingBoing, who...

German publishers hit newspapers with criminal complaint for naming e-book piracy site
September 9, 2013 | 12:44 pm

German book publishers have taken another step in fighting e-book piracy by suing two newspapers that interviewed the operator of a piracy website. Der Tagesspiegel and Die Zeit have been hit with a criminal complaint after the papers ran an interview with a representative of TorBoox, according to a post on Melville House. I followed the links back to the original story on the German site Buchreport. After using Google translate, the report states: “According to information from buchreport criminal complaint against the newspaper publishers was made. The accusation: Aid for copyright infringement.” It seems German publishers are trying to squash piracy any...

Ex-copyright czar Victoria Espinel becomes head of Software Alliance
August 30, 2013 | 9:27 pm

Remember “copyright czar” Victoria Espinel? We mentioned her a couple of times back in 2010—when she called for public comments on the state of IP law,, when the comments came in. and then when they were made public. Some interesting stuff on the state of intellectual property law there, and what the stakeholders thought was important—notably, they all complained about online piracy without a single word about counterfeit physical goods. Huh. Espinel popped up again in 2011 when she recommended that Congress make illegally streaming copyrighted content online a felony offense in some cases. Although our article on the...

Trader Joe’s vs. Pirate Joe’s
August 28, 2013 | 3:48 pm

Pirate Joe'sTechdirt is one of many who have been covering the curious tale of Pirate Joe—aka Michael Hallatt, a Vancouver entrepreneur who has set up a store in which he sells, at a markup, products he purchases at the Trader Joe's chain on the American side of the border. Hallatt claims he is doing nothing wrong—he buys his "merchandise" at full retail price and is permitted to sell them if he wishes to under the first-sale doctrine. Trader Joe's begs to differ and has filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement. Mike Masnick makes some useful points in his discussion of the case. Firstly, he...

Dutch Justice Ministry faces awkward questions on BREIN anti-piracy moves
August 27, 2013 | 11:41 am

Following the news reported earlier in TeleRead about moves by BREIN, the Dutch copyright-holders’ group, to organize retention of e-book buyer data for up to two years after purchase in order to help trace pirated e-books to their sources, Dutch parliamentarians have apparently taken up the issue themselves. According to an official notice posted on Overheid.nl, "the central access point to all information about government organisations of the Netherlands," Dutch Labour Party parliamentarian Astrid Oosenbrug put a series of questions in the lower house of the Dutch parliement to the Ministry of Security and Justice on August 20th, asking, among other...

Textbook Piracy: Growing problem or reasonable solution?
August 23, 2013 | 6:59 pm

online learningCollege ended about 10 years ago for me. That wasn’t the dark ages of technology. We all had laptops and cell phones and constantly checked email. We all worried about the prices of textbooks too. Part of me wonders what it would be like if I went to college now. Colleges are starting their fall semesters right about now, and students are scrambling to find cheap versions of their textbooks for classes. These costs add up. College students find themselves spending hundreds of dollars just on books alone. I was lucky, and tended to read the books in the library or buy them...

Dutch courage needed as Netherlands copyright group BREIN seeks e-book buyer data
August 16, 2013 | 12:10 pm

NetherlandsAn ugly spat is brewing in the Netherlands, normally regarded as a staid and relatively free-thinking jurisdiction, over draconian moves by the local copyright enforcement body to gain access to e-book customer data to track piracy. According to a report in TorrentFreak based on original Dutch sources, local e-book vendors working with the eBoekhuis platform have agreed with BREIN, the Dutch copyright-holders' group, to digitally watermark e-book downloads and to link the watermarks with individual purchasers. The buyers' details will not only be logged for two years, but will also be compared against watermarks of any pirated copies found online, and...