Tag Archives: copyright

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Leaks Again

By Drew Wilson

The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) has once again leaked. The freshly leaked details re-confirms some of human rights and activists worst fears about the Intellectual Property chapter. We go in-depth into this secretive agreement to show what (if any) has changed and what remains on this secret agreement between countries around the world.

There may be many news stories that surface on broadcast media in your area. However, what is not likely to appear in local newspapers or mainstream news broadcast is the latest revelations coming from the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (or, as it is commonly referred to, the TPP in short). Major multinational corporations have direct access to it along with top negotiators who represent each individual country involved, but common citizens and even elected members of government are shut out of the process. How do we have access to some details of this agreement? It’s all thanks to Wikileaks which released a leaked copy of the updated draft agreement. We present to you full coverage of what is in this agreement as we read the details ourselves. For better referencing, we shall refer to the PDF version of this leaked copy.

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Opinion: Why Malware as an Anti-Piracy Method is Doomed to Fail

By Drew Wilson

Late last month, a report by the IP Commission caused a stir amongst advocates. Among the recommendations was the call to hack into an alleged copyright infringer’s computer and either delete infringing material, lock down the computer altogether, or physically destroy the computer entirely. Drew Wilson offers his thoughts on the subject of malware as an anti-piracy measure as mentioned in this report.

BoingBoing covered this story and pointed to 2 paragraphs in the 84 page PDF file. These paragraphs are found on page 81 in the PDF file. They are:

Additionally, software can be written that will allow only authorized users to open files containing valuable information. If an unauthorized person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For example, the file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user’s computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account. Such measures do not violate existing laws on the use of the Internet, yet they serve to blunt attacks and stabilize a cyber incident to provide both time and evidence for law enforcement to become involved.

The second paragraph (immediately following on the same page) reads:

When theft of valuable information, including intellectual property, occurs at network speed, sometimes merely containing a situation until law enforcement can become involved is not an entirely satisfactory course of action. While not currently permitted under U.S. law, there are increasing calls for creating a more permissive environment for active network defense that allows companies not only to stabilize a situation but to take further steps, including actively retrieving stolen information, altering it within the intruder’s networks, or even destroying the information within an unauthorized network. Additional measures go further, including photographing the hacker using his own system’s camera, implanting malware in the hacker’s network, or even physically disabling or destroying the hacker’s own computer or network.

As is typically the case, reports like this are often written by people who have no idea how technology works. When I read these two paragraphs, it was immediately clear that the author was under the false assumption that computer files operate like physical property. As anyone with a hint of knowledge about how computers work know, if a file is downloaded, it’s simply copied from one computer to another rather than physically moved.

Additionally, when DRM is encoded into a file, release groups typically disable it before having it distributed amongst topsites which often make their way down the file-sharing food-chain. So, proposing the idea of using measures to disable access to certain files on a person’s computer has been defeated long ago. In fact, some software developers even went so far as to encode trojan horses into pieces of software should the copy protection be removed (Re: Gladiator vs. Air incident). This tactic failed in the end anyway. The only people who would be affected by such measures are people who purchase software legitimately. If their system was disabled by a false alarm, then it would only encourage software piracy, not deter it because the pirated version would be seen as more secure than the legal version by potential customers.

Even if it became the norm to implant rootkit technology or ransomware, there would be more of a deterrence to use Windows operating systems. People would be encouraged to use Linux distributions instead because rootkit technology is typically aimed at operating systems like Windows and Mac computers. In fact, as a user of legally purchased software, I’ve come across numerous instances where I am suddenly locked out of my own software because the key system was buggy. This was both in Mac environments and Windows environments on completely different networks. The common link between these cases was that it was Adobe software. If Adobe failed to create a properly functioning key system, what chances do other smaller vendors have in the first place?

The best possible result that such a policy and/or law would have is encourage users to have two separate computers – one for pirated software and one for legitimate software. That is the best case scenario this policy could hope to achieve.

There would be numerous pitfalls to such a policy as well. One of the biggest I can foresee is that vendors who are foolish enough to even attempt it are opening themselves to legal liability. If a computer system is locked down because of a false alarm on a business network, I would say that the company in question has every reason to sue for loss of productivity. If a whole network is disabled in an office building of a few hundred employees for a whole day because of a bug in whatever the DRM system has, it’s not out of the question that a seven figure lawsuit would result.

At the end of the day, this document was clearly drafted by someone who has, at best, a very distorted and inaccurate idea of how computers work. The author came up with this weird fantasy where computer programs operate like the Doctor from Star Trek Voyager. Reality ultimately disagree’s with the author of this report.

This article was published yesterday on ZeroPaid.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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Rightsholders Sue ISPs for Selling Internet Access

By Drew Wilson

Rightsholders have said for years that the Internet is little more than a vehicle for “stolen” merchandise. Still, few rightsholders these days are willing to take such a direct approach to stop file-sharing as Sabam has recently. The Belgium rightsholder organization is suing ISPs for selling access to the Internet without paying royalties to copyright holders.

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South Korea Three Strikes Law Under Re-Examination Pressure

By Drew Wilson

The three strikes law concept has been falling on hard times in these last few months. The only country we haven’t heard about much that has implemented a three strikes law is South Korea. Now we have. Apparently, the laws have resulted in numerous takedown requests, multiple suspensions and little in the way of results when it comes to stopping piracy. Human rights organizations are calling on the government to re-examine the laws due to, in part, possible violations of human rights.

Hailed as the be-all, end-all solution to stopping Internet piracy, rightsholders from major multinational corporations have been trying to push the three strikes law in multiple countries over the last few years. A few countries caved from the the lobbying pressure and implemented such laws to keep the foreign corporations happy. It seemed that implementation meant that the laws were successful for these rightsholders as they pressured other countries to follow suit because of this new “international standard” for stopping piracy. Yet, what were the results of these laws? Did it slow down piracy in the end? Are music sales exploding on the charts? Unfortunately, it seems that everywhere such a law or policy was implemented, failure ensued.

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TorrentLitigation Adds Insight into File-Sharing Lawsuits

By Drew Wilson

The lawsuit campaign against individual file-sharers is probably one of the older online anti-piracy efforts record labels and movie studios have used. While the anti-piracy efforts employed today are more complex, there are still plenty of file-sharing lawsuits going around. That is where TorrentLitigation comes into the picture. It’s a website not only devoted to shedding light on file-sharing lawsuits, but also aims to support those on the receiving end of a legal notice and asking for help.

Whenever the subject of file-sharing lawsuits come up in discussion, there tends to be a strong reaction to the litigation tactics employed by different rightsholders with respect to the sharing of copyrighted material online. One might react with opposition to these lawsuits, saying something like the litigation tactics has been damaging between rightsholders and customers generally. Another reaction might be strong support for the lawsuits because one feels that it’s one of the few things rightsholders can do to protect their intellectual property. A third reaction could be of confusion because the subject in question employs two very complex and different subjects – those being copyright law and technology. Putting it all into perspective can be a rather tricky proposition, but that is one of the functions of TorrentLitigation.

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Returning New Zealand Soldier Fined Under Skynet Law

By Drew Wilson

Another person in New Zealand was fined under the New Zealand Three Strikes Law (or Skynet). This time, it was a member of the armed forces accused of downloading unauthorized works. He was fined $255.97 after receiving his third strike notice. The problem? He was serving his country in Afghanistan when the alleged infringement took place.

One of the many general criticisms of the three strikes law anywhere is that it would snag innocent people. In New Zealand, the Three Strikes law is guilt upon accusation, so it could even fine innocent people. That’s what happened to a soldier who was serving a tour in Afghanistan. He returned to New Zealand only to find that he received his third strike for copyright infringement. He was subsequently fined $255.97 because his guilt was simply presumed.

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Opinion

Opinion: Combining Several Bad Ideas Won’t Stop Piracy

By Drew Wilson

Last week, a report suggested that the government agency HADOPI was gearing up to combine website blocking, three strikes laws, search engine demotion and the cutting off of forms of revenue as a means to try and put the squeeze on piracy. Drew Wilson offers his opinion on the matter.

One thing I’ve been noticing lately is the fact that a number of implementations and variations of a three strikes law have been going sideways. The US six strike policy through the Copyright Alert System become a security disaster for users, the French variation shows that after implementation of the three strikes law only saw the continued slide of music sales, and the New Zealand variation has become little more than a money losing prospect. I think that when the music industry pushed the three strikes law, they hoped that one variation or another would prove to be some sort of magic bullet to fix all the industry woes. Now that every single one of these variations are starting to go sideways, the industry is becoming desperate and are wanting to prop this policy up with something – anything – just to try and prove that this policy is worth pursuing in other countries.

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Time Warner Cable Hacked for Six Strike Participation

By Drew Wilson

The Copyright Alert System rolled out last week and the system has a lot to be desired in terms of protecting the users security (among other things). Many are unhappy about it and, recently, one group hacked an ISP over it.

Time Warner Cable’s support website was defaced last week. The defacement was carried out by a group calling themselves “Nullcrew”. From Web Pro News:

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US Six Strike Policy – A Security Disaster for Users?

By Drew Wilson

Last week, we pointed to a report that the US Copyright Alert System was beginning to roll out this week. Now that it has, we’ve seen how alerts will be sent to users and it’s far worse than we originally thought.

Ars Technica able to obtain screenshots of what an alert looks like for Comcast users. What we originally thought was that the alerts would be sent via e-mail to the subscribers. We thought this because that was how DMCA notices are sent out. Instead, they will be injected into the users web browser session and shown when the user receives a strike. An excerpt from Ars Technica:

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IIPA Wants Italy on Piracy Watchlist for Having Privacy Laws

By Drew Wilson

We’ve been covering the different countries the IIPA (International Intellectual Property Alliance) wants on their piracy watchlist. So far, the submissions were either demanding everything and the kitchen sink, had a host of problems in their logic or both. The submission about Italy is no exception to this. We explore why.

The biggest thing that stuck out for us when it came to why the IIPA wants Italy on the special 301 report is the fact that Italy has privacy laws. Enforcement of copyright laws can occur with user privacy – particularly with a notice-and-notice regime. Unfortunately, it seems that the IIPA wants to trash the privacy laws in favor of laws found in the United States. This is unfortunate, but considering who we’re dealing with, not entirely surprising. Here’s one mention of the privacy laws:

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