Tag Archives: copyright

Why was my internet throttled?

Over the last few days my internet has felt super slow. I couldn’t work out why? So after a number of tests on my local gigabit network, turning things on and off I decided something was happening further up the pipe. But what? Ping times to all the usual big services was fine. But pull up a webpage and it was hit or miss that it would load half the components.

It was time for a email by to my ISP (ukfsn.org) asking what was going on? The email I got back within a hour or so said this…

I’ve just checked the line and I can see that it is showing as being blocked due to repeated copyright infringement notices.

Please contact Enta support to resolve this.

Unfortunately I am not able to resolve this for you as they will require confirmation from you that you are not engaging in file sharing or similar activities around material that is subject to copyright restrictions.

Enta provide the actual pipe to my ISP (ukfsn) as they provide to many others. Generally ukfsn care little about (within extremes) what you do with the internet and don’t monitor its customers. But it seems somebody further up stream is doing it for them and worst still they are throttling bandwidth.

I called Enta, they explained what they thought was happening and suggested I should turn off all machines and devices on the connection till I know what’s happening. I explained I had already done so and seen nothing suspicious and they turned the throttling off, saying they will monitor the situation. At no point was I blamed which was good because I was planning on going crazy if they dared accuse me.

I originally thought it was a government thing but Hadley pointed me at this story.

The British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), which together with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) has agreed the voluntary regime with the ISPs, said that the warning letters issued by ISPs will be sent out on the basis of evidence gathered by the rights holders.

“In order to help protect their copyrights, rights holders monitor public peer-to-peer swarms, looking for their copyright content being made available illegally,” the BPI said in a statement. “When they discover copyright content being made available illegally, they capture the evidence, verify the copyright content and record the IP address, date and time stamp. A summary of this evidence is then be provided to the ISPs, who establish which of their customers was using the IP address on that date and at that time and send an ‘alert’ to that subscriber.”

I’m still a little unsure if what they did was really fair or even legal? I want to see the evidence, but what can I do with it? Maybe I’ll get a few days credit to my truly unlimited connection? A letter of apology? Is it worth it? Tell you what if it happens again I’ll be spitting blood!

Is copyright reform on the way?

Torrentfreak has a thoughtful piece about copyright reform. As you can imagine its swings towards a very liberal reform, which sounds about right to me.

Let’s take a look at what happened when the compact cassette arrived. It was sort of an analog removable hard drive with music, that you plugged into an analog music player – the new thing at the time being that you could also write to it. Cassette players popped up everywhere, in particular in a form called ghettoblasters, where you’d carry a rather large box with loudspeakers and two cassette slots around, not to mention quite a few batteries.

Note that I wrote two cassette slots. All of these players also advertised how good they were at copying cassette tapes. You’d pop in the source tape, put a blank tape in the recording slot, and hit a gigantic button named “copy”. This was a feature that was heavily advertised – the better the blasters were at copying, the more music its owner would be able to collect.

The record industry at the time went absolutely ballistic, and said “home taping is killing music” in a largely ridiculed campaign. The bands at the time gave them the finger and printed that logo with the text “home taping is killing record industry profits” instead, adding “we left the reverse side [of the tape] blank, so you can help”. Nevertheless, this was the start of the war against ordinary people copying, something that has only escalated to ridiculous levels today. (Can you imagine a two-slot DVD player being sold today that would have a huge red button marked COPY on it?)

Nice example which later goes on…

When today’s teenagers have grown up enough to be pulling the strings, do you really believe they’ll buy the fairytale stories of how the monopoly construct that all of them saw as plainly abusive, oppressive, and extortionate is needed “for the artists to get paid”? When all they saw – when all everybody saw – was a monopoly construct that silenced artists, silenced challenges to the establishment’s status quo, killed technological innovation, and made sure that rich multinational corporations could buy the power they wanted?

There’s not a chance they’ll buy the fairytale stories from the copyright industry. They’ll all remember their own firsthand experiences. And they’ll kill the monopoly entirely, to thunderous applause.

I certainly like to imagine this to be true, but it doesn’t seem to include the fact people, the average slide of people towards a conservative outlook.

Of course this is nothing compared to the works of Lawrence Lessig’s thoughts, which must be read if your interested in this area.

Soundclouds dispute grows up… a bit

One of the my big issues with Soundcloud was the dispute process…

Well it seems to have grown up and learned a trick from Youtube.

Our automatic content protection system has detected that your sound “The impossible wall of trance mix” may contain copyright content. As a result, its publication on your profile has been blocked.

You can dispute this report, if you believe the copyright content has been mistakenly identified or if you have obtained all the necessary rights, licenses and/or permissions to upload and share this material on SoundCloud.

Please do so by filling out our dispute webform at the following link:https://soundcloud.com/settings/disputes/

Unlike before you can dispute it but of course its hard to understand which part is being disputed in a mix… So its not exactly great…

Some things Cory Doctorow said recently

Portrait by Jonathan Worth 2, credit Jonathan Worth, link to http://jonathanworth.com

Cory Doctorow’s agreements are usually pretty powerful but recently these two have had me reaching for the sky…

The Coming War on General Computation (the video is well worth watching… along with the transcript)

Techdirt breaks it down…

So today we have marketing departments who say things like “we don’t need computers, we need… appliances. Make me a computer that doesn’t run every program, just a program that does this specialized task, like streaming audio, or routing packets, or playing Xbox games, and make sure it doesn’t run programs that I haven’t authorized that might undermine our profits”. And on the surface, this seems like a reasonable idea — just a program that does one specialized task — after all, we can put an electric motor in a blender, and we can install a motor in a dishwasher, and we don’t worry if it’s still possible to run a dishwashing program in a blender. But that’s not what we do when we turn a computer into an appliance. We’re not making a computer that runs only the “appliance” app; we’re making a computer that can run every program, but which uses some combination of rootkits, spyware, and code-signing to prevent the user from knowing which processes are running, from installing her own software, and from terminating processes that she doesn’t want. In other words, an appliance is not a stripped-down computer — it is a fully functional computer with spyware on it out of the box.

Cory on “User uploads to YouTube hit one hour per second” (worth reading the whole thing)

A common tactic in discussions about the Internet as a free speech medium is to discount Internet discourse as inherently trivial. Who cares about cute pictures of kittens, inarticulate YouTube trolling, and blog posts about what you had for lunch or what your toddler said on the way to day-care? Do we really want to trade all the pleasure and economic activity generated by the entertainment industry for *that*? The usual rebuttal is to point out all the “worthy” ways that we communicate online: the scholarly discussions, the terminally ill comforting one another, the distance education that lifts poor and excluded people out of their limited straits, the dissidents who post videos of secret police murdering street protesters.

All that stuff is important, but when it comes to interpersonal communications, trivial should be enough.

The reason nearly everything we put on the Internet seems “trivial” is because, seen in isolation, nearly everything we say and do is also trivial. There is nothing of particular moment in the conversations I have with my wife over the breakfast table. There is nothing earthshaking in the stories I tell my daughter when we walk to daycare in the morning. This doesn’t mean that it’s sane, right, or even possible to regulate them

And yet, taken together, the collection of all these “meaningless” interactions comprise nearly the whole of our lives together. They are the invisible threads that bind us together as a family. When I am away from my family, it’s this that I miss. Our social intercourse is built on subtext as much as it is on text. When you ask your wife how she slept last night, you aren’t really interested in her sleep. You’re interested in her knowing that you care about her. When you ask after a friend’s kids, you don’t care about their potty-training progress — you and your friend are reinforcing your bond of mutual care.

If that’s not enough reason to defend the trivial, consider this: the momentous only arises from the trivial. When we rally around a friend with cancer, or celebrate the extraordinary achievements of a friend who does well, or commiserate over the death of a loved one, we do so only because we have an underlying layer of trivial interaction that makes it meaningful. Weddings are a big deal, but every wedding is preceded by a long period of small, individually unimportant interactions, and is also followed by them. But without these “unimportant” moments, there would be no marriages.

 

 

Wasted human effort, what’s a responsible citizen to do?

a bike that can only run on special roads.

I had to connect two things together earlier today.

Found via Brooksoid, the oatmeal comic about trying to watch game of thrones. And Torrentfreak’s A Responsible Citizen Not Only Shares Culture, But Destroys The Copyright Industries.

…sharing became a matter of being responsible as a citizen. Sharing culture was not only a good deed in humankind, it was also taking civil responsibility for preservation of our common heritage, a responsibility that neither the industry nor governments took on themselves to fulfill.

Framerate show is a good show for this type of thing, shame its very American centric.

I find the grey area which a responsible citizen inhabits, very interested. So many interests and so much money and time is spent on protecting a system which is impossible to protect. This is certainly why things like Creative Commons and micropayment systems like Flattr gives me such joy…

Funny enough

Moon Venus Mercury & Mars

Me and Simon were walking home the other day talking about the patent nightmare (as you do) and Simon said,

We could be on Mars by now but instead we’re wasting effort stopping people stealing Coldplay records!

Although Simon was slightly confusing or at least mixing up the patent problem with the copyright problem, that sentence alone is pretty elegant and sums up a lot of thinking I’ve had over the years.

The next day, I pursued him to mention it and it got re-tweeted by people like myself. He then came back with this

Everything and anything that prevents the progress of our species in the pursuit of profit.

Ant Miller followed up with…

@cubicgarden @si_lumb can I have that on a t-shirt please…

You can just imagine a brand of Tshirts with Copyright and Patent reform slogans… (remember when Google and Patent reform was hot on peoples lips).

This also drives me to once again have a UK version of Framerate… the issues are different enough. Cristiano Betta and myself have talked about a techgrumps for films, tv and media for a long while, maybe the tipping point is nearing?

So how about it people?

More on that Youtube Video

After I got a automatic/robot take down for my intrusive TV demonstrate from the Black Mirror episode 2. I’ve decided to see what I can do to get the video back online, by going through the YouTube process instead of just posting it somewhere else.

However there seems to be little I can do…

Copyright Info: Intrusive TV?

Your video, Intrusive TV? , may include content that is owned or administered by these entities:

  • Entity: Channel 4 Content Type: Audiovisual content

As a result, your video has been blocked in these locations:

Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, United Kingdom

What should I do?

No action is required on your part. Your video is still available everywhere not listed above.

What can I do about my video’s status?

Please note that the video’s status can change if the policies chosen by the content owners change. You may want to check back periodically to see if you have new options available to you.

Under certain circumstances, you may dispute this copyright claim. These are:

  • if the content is mistakenly identified and is actually completely your original creation;
  • if you believe that your use does not infringe copyright (e.g. it is fair use under US law);
  • if you are actually licensed by the owner to use this content.

I need more information. I want to learn more about the dispute process.

Please take a few minutes to visit our Help Centre section on Policy and Copyright Guidelines, where you can learn more about copyright law and our Content Identification Service.

So as you can see its only blocked in the country of its origin, which strikes me as totally backwards…! Oh well, I could say a lot about this but to be totally fair, its not Channel4… Its some automated process doing automatic takedowns on behalf of Channel4. Who was it that said code is law?

Goodbye, let’s mix…

I moved away from lets mix years ago even before they did the dirty on the Pacemaker with Pioneer, although its still a shame to see its going…

It is with great regret that Let’s Mix today announces that the Letmix.com mix streaming site will go offline on January 1st 2012. This decision follows the reassessing of our licensing restrictions, alongside a critical evaluation of the business case for our service. Our intention to expand on our operations had fundamentally outgrown the Let’s Mix site.

The closing of Let’s Mix is not the result of complaints from copyright holders. It is a decision based on the equation of cost for hosting and delivering copyrighted components, versus the ability of monetizing use of the site.

We found that as the business of music streaming evolved, so would we need to. Had we desired for Let’s Mix to grow any bigger, we would also have been forced to impose strict limitations on mixes in ways neither we nor our users would have wanted to. Faced with the proposal of sacrifizing user experience and scale, we were forced to reach the difficult decision of seizing all activity at Let’s Mix.

It has been a great pleasure to enjoy the hours upon hours of mixed music, and we are thankful for the many discoveries we have made listening to your mixes.

We have already begun offering our members the ability to download their own music mixes when logged in to their accounts. These are after all your music compilations, and we encourage you to download backups of these unless you don’t already have these in place.

Access to the service in its entity will be terminated on January 1st 2012.

Good to see them providing Data portability of mixes at least… Maybe the ability to transfer to Mixcloud would be good… Although looking at the export ability, it only allows you to download the media file and none of the metadata…. Shame

Paramount goes with no DRM bittorrent distribution

I’ve been meaning to blog this for a while but

In a little over two months time, the long-awaited horror movie The Tunnel will receive its world premiere. Rather than a traditional theatrical release, the movie – which is set in abandoned real-life tunnels under Sydney, Australia – will make its debut online for free with BitTorrent. Simultaneously it will be released on physical DVD, to be distributed by Hollywood giant Paramount Pictures.

I almost fell off my chair when I heard the news that Paramount will be releasing the Tunnel for free on bit torrent with no DRM of any kind!

No matter what the film is like, Paramount and the guys behind the tunnel have basically won. A film which would have gone straight to DVD somewhere in a junk bin somewhere could just have been elevated to the most downloaded movie of May (maybe).

Someone in Paramount must have done the maths…

The movie budget was $135000 and to be honest any film will easily eat that for a worldwide publicity. On top of that, its a small risk. The copyright owners (the team who created the film keep the copyright and are licensing it to Paramount) have created something which looks like a cross between Blair witch project and Creep so its got limited mainstream appeal. In actual fact, it would have made more sense of films like FAQ: about time travel would have blown away everything else if they had choose to do release in the same way. I also wonder if the process can be popular enough to get stuff back into the cinemas? Bit like my experience of Donnie Darko.

Paramount gets a Kudos +1 from me…

Replacing Copyright, is it time?

Ars Technica, has a nice piece about a couple of efforts to replace the current copyright law with something much more enlightened.

Suggesting something new to replace it can be a harder job, and Litman turns her attention to that task in an unpublished new paper called “Real Copyright Reform” (PDF). Part of a spate of recent reform proposals (Public Knowledge is heading another high-profile effort, for example), Litman’s quest to reform the 1976 Copyright Act is, as she acknowledges, quixotic.

“None of these proposals is likely to attract serious attention from Congress or copyright lobbyists,” she writes. “Right now the copyright legislation playing field is completely controlled by its beneficiaries. They have persuaded Congress that it is pointless to try to enact copyright laws without their assent.”

Still, academics have never limited themselves to something as tawdry as “reality,” and Litman’s theoretical work here is no exception. Her entire reform proposal is based on a few key principles: returning power to both creators and consumers, radically simplifying the law so that people can understand it without a lawyer, and beating the record companies, publishers, and movie studios about the head with a shovel.

Who might object to that? The big distributors, for one, would probably not be pleased with any plan devoted to ousting “the current vested intermediaries from their control of pieces of copyright, and return that power to the creators.”

I had a read through the PDF of Jessica Litman’s and although I found it hard to follow at first, it started making a lot of sense. The arguments and references seem to be up to scratch but as the whole piece concludes on, the fact that Copyright was never written to cover the millions of ordinary people who want to share there culture with one another. The last few extensions to Copyright have had such a massive chilling effect, maybe it is time to relook the whole damm thing from scratch, even if its going to take a lifetime it will be worth it for our children and there children.

Piracy sounds too sexy, say copyright holders

Pirate child

From ArsTechnica

For years, we’ve heard complaints about using the term “piracy” to describe the online copyright infringement—but most have come from Big Content’s critics.

As noted copyright scholar William Patry argued in his most recent book, “To say that X is a pirate is a metaphoric heuristic, intended to persuade a policymaker that the in-depth analysis can be skipped and the desired result immediately attained… Claims of piracy are rhetorical nonsense.”

That may well be true, but copyright holders have long preferred the term, with its suggestions of theft, destruction, and violence. The “pirates” have now co-opted the term, adopting it with gusto and hoisting the Jolly Roger across the Internet (The Pirate Bay being the most famous example).

Some of those concerned about online copyright infringement now realize that they may have created a monster by using the term “piracy.” This week, at the unveiling of a new study for the International Chamber of Commerce which argued that 1.2 million jobs could be lost in Europe as a result of copyright infringement by 2015, the head of the International Actors’ Federation lamented the term.

“We should change the word piracy,” she said at a press conference. “To me, piracy is something adventurous, it makes you think about Johnny Depp. We all want to be a bit like Johnny Depp. But we’re talking about a criminal act. We’re talking about making it impossible to make a living from what you do.”

Translation: we should have chosen a less-sexy term.

Gutted, they built up this stupid image of pirates and its totally back fired on them. Another win for remix culture I would say. Heaven knows what they will come up with instead.

Digital Music is not a loaf of bread which can be stolen

In a long series of things which I've been meaning to blog for a while. I saw this on Torrent Freak.

Singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy is part of the growing group of artists that understands that there’s more to music than selling pieces of plastic, and suing your fans.

In an interview with Wired Magazine (from a while ago), Tweedy said:

A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that’s it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it’s just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work.

Jeff Tweedy is the leadsinger of the popular band Wilco, that won two Grammy’s back in 2005. He doesn’t consider copying and remixing as evil, but as a way to facilitate creativity.

On the official website of the band from Chicago we even see a link to the BitTorrent tracker where Wilco fans actively share high quality recordings.

Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator. People who look at music as commerce don’t understand that. They are talking about pieces of plastic they want to sell, packages of intellectual property. I’m not interested in selling pieces of plastic.

For those who are interested in the copyright debate, here’s a presentation by Larry Lessig titled “Who owns Culture“. The presentation served as an intro to conversation about p2p and free culture by Jeff Tweedy and Larry Lessig (audio link).

This all comes at a time when EMI music CEO and Chairman Alain Levy tells an audience at the London Business School that the CD as we know it is dead. And to top that, the IPPR released a study on why copying of CDs and DVDs for personal use should be legalised.

IPPR Deputy Director Ian Kearns said:

Millions of Britons copy CDs onto their home computers breaking copyright laws everyday. British copyright law is out of date with consumer practices and technological progress.

A recent survey among 2135 British adult consumers shows that most people don’t even know that they are breaking the law. Of all the people that participated in the survey, 55% said that they have ever copied CDs onto other equipment. However, only 19% actually knows that this behavior is illegal.

Well what more can you say? Three interesting stories in the downfall or change of the music industry.

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