The threat of malware could turn people away from piracy Last week the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA)* released a study that found websites offering free, pirated content were rife with malware. According to the report, 33% of content theft sites exposed users to malware. Every month 12 million U.S. visitors to these sites open themselves up to the theft of personal data, or worse. To assess the impact that this malware threat might have on American’s web surfing habits the DCA conducted two surveys on December 10-13. The first examined behavior and opinions of 1,000 Americans, while the second focused on 500 Americans aged 18-29...Read More
Lots of news in the copyright, piracy and privacy world of late. Here’s some worth a look:
First up, this thoughtful piece by Nelson Granados on Forbes.com “How Piracy Is Still Hurting The Filmmakers And Artists You Admire.” Granados takes direct aim at the fallacy that piracy doesn’t cause damage to Hollywood studios.
“Many think naively that studios cannot be hurt too much, because after all, you hear mostly about the movies that make hundreds of millions of dollars. But the reality for many filmmakers is that they often live on the edge, seeking financing to produce quality content, and enduring high uncertainty about whether they will be able to pay off debt and have any profit left. Given the high fixed cost of producing a quality movie, losses from piracy can be the difference between making a profit or not.”
He notes that a number of “peer-reviewed” studies quantify this damage. Bottom line, like any industry, Hollywood depends on making a return on its investment in order to stay alive. No matter what piracy apologists allege, that’s a basic economic fact. Granados also touches on the particular vulnerability faced by independent filmmakers.
Most artists struggle to make ends meet as they pursue their creative work with passion and dedication. Piracy may be tipping the next Quentin Tarantino over the financial edge into bankruptcy, and we will all lose.
As I’ve often said, we (consumers) won’t be aware of what we are missing if it isn’t made. Piracy’s damage can be insidious and, to the public, somewhat invisible, but ultimately it diminishes the quantity (and quality) of film offerings we have to choose from.
YouTube will pay copyright court costs for a few users–not because it’s right–but to protect Google’s bottom line
According to a story in today’s NY Times, the folks at YouTube are ready to pony up cash to support some of its users “fair use” claims in court.
“YouTube said on Thursday that it would pick up the legal costs of a handful of video creators that the company thinks are the targets of unfair takedown demands. It said the creators it chose legally use third-party content under “fair use” provisions carved out for commentary, criticism, news and parody.”
You’ve probably read a lot about “fair use” lately. It’s the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s mantra and if the folks there had their way, pretty much everything and anything would be considered “fair use.” Fair use an important legal doctrine and when applied properly (criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research) is not an infringement of copyright. However, these days, too often is used as a disingenuous defense for copyright theft.
The tech-funded campaign to turn villains into victims
When a court recently ruled that a snippet of a Prince song was indeed “fair use” in the notorious Dancing Baby case it gave a boost to efforts to use fair use as a cudgel against rights holders who legitimately assert their rights using the DMCA takedown process.
Note that the actual video at the center of this case was reposted after the uploader sent a counter-notice. The only reason the case ended up in court was because the uploader, Stephanie Lenz, filed suit and the only reason she did so was because she was bankrolled by the EFF. The EFF saw it as an opportunity to advance its Google-funded agenda.
Google continues to dodge responsibility for its role in promoting online piracy
This past week members of the House Judiciary Committee traveled to California to hold a pair of roundtable discussions on the future of copyright. On Tuesday committee members were in Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley, and on Wednesday traveled to Los Angeles to hear from a variety of stakeholders discussing everything from overhauling an out-dated U.S. Copyright Office to DMCA circumvention for tractor repairs.
Though I wasn’t at the LA event, I read with great interest a report in Variety by Ted Johnson that documented an exchange between Google’s legal director for copyright, Fred von Lohmann and Richard Gladstein, founder of Film Colony…von Lohmann’s posturing on Google’s piracy problem is nothing new, but it is worth pointing out how his statements are carefully crafted to dovetail with Google’s own (vague) propagandistic promises.
YouTube Red’s new subscription streaming service offers consumers (and pirates) ad free content to watch (and steal).
YouTube has decided to enter the subscription streaming fray with the announcement yesterday of its new (ad-free) premium channel, YouTube Red. Despite the unfortunate choice of a name —similar to a rather notorious porn site that has both the word “red” and “tube” in its title– YouTube is hoping its new endeavor will catch some of the ad-free streaming mojo enjoyed by the popular subscription based offerings of Netflix, HULU, and Amazon Prime. And, like the others, YouTube will develop its own slate of “YouTube Originals.”