Monthly Archives: January 2013

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RIANZ – Downloading P2P Software Proof of Wrongdoing

By Drew Wilson

The day after New Zealand saw its first conviction under the so-called “three strikes law”, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) went on the airwaves to discuss the development. Managing director Chris Caddick said in a radio interview that the very act of downloading a file-sharing program in an and of itself is proof of wrongdoing.

We’ve been closely monitoring the situation in New Zealand where the three strikes law, sometimes referred to as the Skynet law, is making headlines. Earlier this month, Freezenet was one of the first this year to report on the developments that the first file-sharer would be convicted under the law that was financed and lobbied for by the United States.

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First File-Sharer Convicted Under New Zealand Three Strikes Law

By Drew Wilson

New Zealand is the latest in a growing list of countries convicting alleged copyright infringers over so-called three strikes laws. The accused denies involvement in every single accusation, but received a fine under the now tested law.

Earlier this month, we reported that the New Zealand three strikes law was going to be tested. Now, reports have surfaced that the tribunal has handed down its first conviction.

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Reports – Russia Gearing Up for New Piracy Crackdown

By Drew Wilson

News is surfacing that the Russian Ministry of Culture is gearing up for a new offensive against Internet piracy. According to both Russian and French reports, if a website owner receives a complaint of copyright infringing material, then the owner has 24 hours to remove it or face a fine.

One of the reports comes from Glavnoe (Russian) where the report says that that the website owner is not only responsible for the removal of the offending content within 24 hours, but is also responsible for preventing the spread of that same content. If the content isn’t remove, says the report, then website owners could face a fine of 3,000 to 5,000 USD for individuals and 30,000 to 50,000 USD for entrepreneurs.

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Opinion

Editorial: Why We Are a Long Way From Using Anonymous P2P Networks

By Drew Wilson

Every few years, the idea of using anonymous networks pops up in discussion from time to time. Often, this is the result of some event such as the RIAA suing users en-masse or ISPs throttling certain protocols. The latest prediction comes from a a posting on Slashdot in which the author says that the rise of anonymous networks is inevitable. Drew Wilson examines some possible barriers as to why it might not be so inevitable.

Let me first start off by saying that I’ve been actively around file-sharing discussions since at least 2005. I’ve passively watched these debates for longer, but if you want a hardcore date that I started participating in the debates, it’s about 2005. During that time, I’ve seen discussions surrounding anonymous networks crop up from time to time. I’ve seen people trying to propose file-sharing service “Ants” which actually suffered from some security vulnerabilities, Darknet networks, iP2P software, Freenet, Retroshare, the rise of Private BitTorrent websites and, of course, the increasing use of VPNs. Save for some adoption of Retroshare and an increasing interest in VPN, non of the above really took off compared to vanilla BitTorrent adoption and cyber lockers.

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Could the Recent German Court Ruling Affect CETA and TPP?

By Drew Wilson

Last week, a German court ruled that Internet access is “essential” for every day life. If someone’s access is disrupted, they are entitled to compensation. While it may sound mildly interesting on the surface, there’s the fact that current trade agreements being negotiated could allow rightsholders to disconnect users after repeated infringement. Could this represent a conflict on the horizon?

A report from Reuters notes a very interesting ruling was made in Germany. A man lost the ability to connect to the Internet on his DSL connection for two months in late 2008 and early 2009. Because, under German law, loss of an essential service means that person is entitled to compensation, the question was whether or not the Internet is an essential service. The court agreed with him and said that the Internet is an essential part of every day life.

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Anti-Circumvention Laws Struck Down in Columbia

By Drew Wilson

On the back of the news we broke earlier about a study on anti-circumvention laws, news has arrived that those kinds of anti-circumvention laws have been struck down in the constitutional court of Columbia.

It’s part of many trade agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), but those same kinds of laws have been struck down.

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Report – CETA Weeks Away from Completion

By Drew Wilson

One of the, according to activists, threats to the Internet is apparently nearing completion. CETA (Comprehensive economic and Trade Agreement) is reportedly weeks away from being finalized. While the text has mostly remained secret, leaked information revealed that it contains anti-circumvention language and a copyright term extension. There’s even the possibility of a three strikes law, but that has not been confirmed at this time.

While many outlets are currently focusing on the latest of Kim Dotcom’s latest startup Mega, the latest developments from CETA have managed to fly under the radar. A report on Canada.com says that CETA is weeks away from completion. If true, major battles in Canada and Europe over the future of the Internet could very well be around the corner – though we should point out that CETA is no stranger to delays.

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Mega Defends its Cryptographic System

By Drew Wilson

Mega was able to open with a bang as an untold number of users rushed to create accounts on opening day – so much so that the traffic ultimately brought down the website for about 48 hours for some users. Now that the website is up and running, some are criticizing the websites security. With these criticisms circulating on some outlets, Mega has opted to post some clarifications.

It seems that the opening few weeks for Mega hasn’t been entirely smooth. Of course, with just about any start-up, that isn’t really much of a surprise especially when the start-up deals with something complex like modern security measures. Still, with so much attention directed to the new site, it might not be a surprise that it would be under such heavy scrutiny in the first place. Let’s dig into some of the latest on this front of the website.

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New Study: Anti-Circumvention Laws Excessively Favours Rightsholders

By Drew Wilson

One of the issues brought up by activists in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was that included anti-circumvention language. Now, activists have new evidence to back them up. A recently published study says that copy protection laws are excessively favoring the content industry.

Anti-circumvention laws are already a fact of life in the United States. Thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), many content creators and business start-ups have to jump through new hoops just to use content that would have normally been allowed without the presence of copy protection. This is because breaking a piece of copy protection technology could legally be considered an act of copyright infringement. While individuals and organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have been working hard to put back in place exceptions through the regular review process that occurs in the US, people who innovate and remix have been still plagued with DMCA takedown notices from legacy industries on issues they originally thought would be perfectly legal.

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New Mega Website Experiences Mega Traffic Surge

By Drew Wilson

It was a much anticipated launch – Kim Dotcom’s new website “Mega” opened its doors today to much fanfare. While the website was greeted with positive reviews amongst outlets that were able to get an early sneak peak, the grand opening to the public caused such a surge in traffic, the load more or less brought the website down to its knees.

It’s probably one of the best problems a website administrator could ever hope for. On opening, the website gets inundated with so much traffic, it brings the website down to its knees. Our attempts to access Mega proved fruitless as we were greeted with server timeouts from the excess load. Of course, such a problem tends to be a temporary problem as either administrators work the servers to better handle such a load or the traffic dies down after a while.

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