All around the world, people who pre-release media onto the Internet face the prospect of harsh treatment if caught. The crew at EliteTorrents felt the full force of the DOJ for their uploading of Star Wars: Episode III, the uploaders on OiNK face uncertainty as their criminal trial is delayed again, and Kevin Cogill, the Chinese Democracy uploader, faces a year of confinement.
In September we reported that a Japanese man had been caught uploading the movie ‘Wanted’ before its Japanese theatrical release. Kazushi Hirata, a 33 year old from the city of Sendai, had painstakingly added Japanese subtitling to the movie, before uploading it to the Winny network. Following a complaint from Japan’s answer to the MPAA (Japan and International Motion Picture Copyright Association), Hirata was tracked down by the Kyoto Prefectural Police, the same department responsible for the 2004 arrest of Isamu Kaneko, the creator of the Winny software.
Less than a month after his September 20th arrest, November 11th saw Hirata pleading guilty to violating Japan’s copyright laws and faced the prospect of up to 10 years jail and a $95,000 fine. Yesterday the court came back with its sentencing decision.
Hirata was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for three years.
‘The conviction sends an important message about the illegality of movie piracy,’ said Jimca executive director Yasutaka Iiyama adding, ‘Respect for intellectual property rights is critical to Japan’s economy and cultural identity.’
The arrest of Mr Hirata is believed to be the first in Japan relating to the uploading of a pre-release movie.
Yahoo to Anonymize User Data After 90 DaysYahoo announced it would begin forgetting what users do on its site after 90 days pass in order to better protect their privacy. The move makes Yahoo the leader among giant search engines, and shows that continued pressure from European regulators is changing how internet giants handle your personal information. But will Yahoo’s attempt to make itself more privacy friendly than Microsoft or Google help or hurt the ailing tech company?
(Via Wired News.)
Wikileaks Posts Secret Bomb-Stopper Report — Did They Go Too Far?: “The secret-spilling site posts a classified report, showing how bomb-stopping jammers work. Has Wikileaks put troops in danger as a result?
(Via Wired News.)
US – Study by Parents Television Council Finds YouTube Filtering Lacking: “(Filtering Facts)
Parents Television Council has just released a study of YouTube’s filtering. extremely graphic content and harsh profanity are just a click away for kids entering seemingly innocent search terms on YouTube. The PTC’s study not only analyzes content in 280 of the most popular YouTube videos, but also takes into account the text commentary and advertisements that were available alongside the videos. The 20 highest-ranked YouTube videos from each of the site’s most popular search terms yielded an extraordinary amount of graphic and adult-themed content.
David Burt, who runs the Filtering Facts blog, comes to simlar conclusions. He found video clips already tagged by YouTube as adult content – but YouTube’s filter doesn’t catch them. This compares unfavourably with Google text search and Google image search using ’strict filtering’.”
(Via QuickLinks Update.)
Ironically, the decision by the RIAA to stop their mass lawsuits is followed by a proposal to target an even larger group of Internet users. The music industry lobbyists state that they are in the process of cutting deals with ISPs to target Internet subscribers that repeatedly infringe on the copyright of the major record labels – the so called three-strikes approach.
This means that millions of people will receive warning emails from their Internet service provider, based on ‘evidence‘ gathered by a third party with a vested interest in the outcome. This will also mean, however, that thousands of individuals will receive emails in error, as the evidence gathering techniques are not as solid as the anti-piracy outfits say. There have been a lot of false accusations already, and this was recently confirmed in mainstream media by the BBC show Watchdog.
The move from individual lawsuits to controlling piracy at the ISP level seems to be the new trend this year. Many countries have looked into the possibility of disconnecting file-sharers from the Internet, often gently pushed by anti-piracy lobbyists. France was the first to present their ‘three-strikes’ law earlier this year, which would allow anti-piracy outfits to police the Internet. The IFPI now plans to implement this worldwide, with or without legislation.
It wont stop there though, if the RIAA gets its way ISPs will also have to pro-actively check for copyrighted content on their network. In their list of suggestions for the controversial ACTA proposal, the RIAA wants ISPs to spy on the files that are transferred by their customers, and check them against a reference database of ‘copyrighted files’.
ISPs worldwide are not looking forward to policing their networks, but they might find themselves with no other option. Adding further pressure, the RIAA wants ISPs to be held liable for the copyright infringement that takes place on their network, as their proposal suggests ‘…in the absence of proof to the contrary, an Internet service provider shall be considered as knowing that the content it stores is infringing or illegal, and thus subject to liability for copyright infringement…’
So, while dropping the mass-lawsuits might be considered to be a step forward by some, the change in tactics might very well result in a virtual police state where consumers (and ISPs) are guilty until proven innocent. The RIAA has lost some major battles in court, but if they gain control over ISPs, the future might be even darker than the past.
The Recording Industry Association of America has signaled a major strategy shift in its war against the downloading of copyrighted music, saying it would largely abandon its practice of suing violators. Instead, the RIAA will work with internet service providers to sever abusers’ net connections.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)