Tag Archives: law


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


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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Quebec Solidaire Asks European Lawmakers for Alliance Against CETA

By Drew Wilson

Battle lines are already beginning to form as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Late last month, the word was that CETA was weeks away from completion. Now, reports are surfacing that social democratic group Quebec Solidaire has sent a letter to European lawmakers urging them to join the resistance against the impending agreement.

We’re continuing out extensive coverage of the developments revolving around the various trade agreements that are presenting a real threat to Internet freedom. We reviewed known provisions in the secretive agreement and they included extension of the terms of copyright and possibly a three strikes law which has been draining money out of both the New Zealand and French economies with no real measurable results for the long term.

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RIANZ Spends $250,000 on Three Strikes Law to Reap $616.57

By Drew Wilson

The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) finally convicted its first file-sharer under the now tested New Zealand three strikes law. While RIANZ may be feeling satisfied it got a result, the money spent may raise some questions over the effectiveness of such a law.

We’ve been covering the developments of the New Zealand three strikes law for close to a month now. When we reported on the first conviction, one of the things we discussed is the possible similarities between the Skynet law and HADOPI – particularly how the balance sheet didn’t look pretty for HADOPI. Now, today, New Zealand media is reporting on exactly this topic. Apparently, in order to get to this point in time, RIANZ spent a quarter of a million dollars to send out copyright violation notices. Since RIANZ has only gotten one conviction, the rewards for spending that money came to a grand total of $616.57 in fines.

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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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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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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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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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