Australian Copyright Amendment

4841330621_2c1e2f7a62_oThe Australian Senate has recently passed a Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill, which could soon force ISPs to block website which are deemed to be ‘facilitating piracy.’

This new bill will allow copyright holders, such as film studios and record labels, to apply to the Federal Court for an injunction requiring all Australian ISPs to block overseas website facilitating piracy. In order for the website to be blocked, the Rights holders must be able to prove to the court that the primary purpose of the website in question is to facilitate copyright infringement. Furthermore, the court will also factor whether the site’s operator has a “disregard” for copyright and the “flagrancy” of infringement that it allows.

While this law will not really affect anyone in the immediate future, numerous sites that facilitate copyright material may soon disappear. If the court’s order ISPs to block a website, then Australian Internet users will be met with dead ends to these websites, meaning they will no longer be available. The bill is designed to target BitTorrent sites, such as the Pirate Bay, which gives users access to enormous amounts of copyrighted material for free.

If you live in Australia and would like to learn more about how this new bill may affect you then check out this article.

Rightscorp Increases Revenue by 282% in Q3

Rightscorp, the copyright monetization company in Santa Monica has just increased the quantity of Internet Service Providers helping them combat illegal downloading of copyrighted material. At the beginning of the year, they had about 150 ISP participating in their cause, now they have over 200. This demonstrates a 33% growth in ISP participation for the company. Growth in ISP participation is a fundamental metric for company growth because an additional ISP represents thousands of potential copyright infringements that provide revenue for the company. Currently, Rightscorp represents about 15% of the Internet Service Providers in the country.

Copyright infringers take up a lot of bandwidth from their Internet Service Provider, so they have an incentive to fight copyright infringement using Rightscorp’s digital loss prevention technology. Rightscorp represents over 1.5 million copyright holders, partnering with platinum recording artists, major motion picture studios, award winning movies and authors, the country’s top TV shows, and many more. The company has closed well over 130,000 copyright infringement cases.

At the end of September, the company announced their third quarter earning results. Their three major metrics for growth are ISP participation, settlements closed and quantity of copyrights. The company announced that their year-over-year revenue growth was equal to 282%. The company was able to increase the amount of copyrights that their company held from 21,000 last year to 160,000 this year. The company closed 130,000 cases of copyright infringement cases, which was up from 75,000 last year. Considering the aforementioned increase in ISP participation, the company has well increased their three metrics used for revenue growth. With continued hard work and dedication to provide fair justice for copyright holders, Rightscorp is hoping to build on their most recent success and continue to grow.

Piracy in the Music Industry

Christopher Sabec Piracy in the Music IndustryFor artists, musicians, and production software developers, piracy has been a steadfast concern for a number of years. Despite preventative measures and regular advancements in online security, pirates maintain to be crafty. As are most, the issue of online media piracy is a two sided argument. On one hand, access to pirated media and software allows composers and media consumers with limited resources to access a viable platform for their work and the music, TV shows, and movies they like to view. On the other hand, piracy deprives software developers and artists of the opportunity to profit from their work, and may discourage future advancements and creative contributions.

Many pirates justify stealing software and media online and sharing it freely by offering the argument that the record companies, studios, and creators of respective software are getting fat off the profit. In some cases, this is true. Musicians only see a fraction of the profit from retail album sales, accruing most of their income from live performances and merchandise they sell personally. Major software companies like Adobe, Microsoft, and Oracle make insane amounts of profit, and to them, pirated software is little more than a drop out of the bucket. But most software companies are small, indepently owned businesses, and rely on software sales to stay afloat. Software often comes with an off-putting price tag, but this often has a lot to do with having to account for piracy in pricing the product.

Pirates also make the claim that media is overpriced, but often overlook the cost of producing the media. The bill associated with studio time for tracking, mixing, and mastering music adds up quickly, and pressing music to a physical medium racks up a hefty bill as well. It should be common knowledge that after paying cast, crew, production studios, composers, directors, etc., movies and television shows often dish out copious amounts of cash in creating film based media. While piracy poses a major threat to lesser known film studios and artists, on the other hand, major studios make millions of dollars from ticket sales at the box office, contracts with Netflix, Redbox, and Hulu, and DVD and Bluray sales.

Controversial by nature, piracy does hinder many artists and software producers from earning due profit from their work. My word of advice to pirates is to consider the producers of the software and media you enjoy, and encourage them to continue creating good products.

 

Google is Linking its Users to Illegal Pirating Websites

Christopher Sabec Google Online PiratingIn a recent study done by MusicTechPolicy there seems to be some interesting connections between Google and online pirating websites. It seems that Google is helping these pirating sites by driving traffic towards the sites via Google alerts. Google alerts are emails that Google can send its users through data analytics. Users can set their Google alerts for whatever they desire, and when the alert appears, the option to share it to social media is readily available. In some cases, Google even send a link that might be relevant to the requested alert. In some cases, the link might even be to an illegal downloading site.

This could be coincidence because Google might not have the capabilities to know that the site it is endorsing is an online pirating site. There is more data to suggest otherwise. By looking at Google’s “Transparency Report,” one can see that in the last 30 days, Google has received more than 31 million Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices to disable certain links. One can even go more in-depth to see how many times Google has received a notice for the particular illegal website that they are sending to its users. Google has received and acknowledges 1,161,250 DMCA notices that the site that they are sending to its users violates copyright law.

Twitter and Facebook are also promoting these illegal downloading websites because they link to Google alerts. It is a tough battle for copyright lawyers out there as even the biggest search engine that seems to have a monopoly on online searches is promoting these illegal pirating websites.

These days, it is very difficult for artists to make any money online because of these pirating sites. The fact that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are promoting these sites only makes it more difficult for artists. Digital sales revenue is dropping in the music industry. Physical music product sales (like CDs and vinyl’s) are developing greater revenue.

Mark Weatherly on Cutting Off Add Revenue to Illegal Downloading Sites

Christopher Sabec on Online PiracyIn a recent article by Music Week, The Prime Minister’s IP Advisor Mark Weatherly believes that ‘cutting off ad revenue to illegal sites is key to the recent piracy battle.’ In a new recent report, Weatherly suggests a number of actions that need to take place by government rights holders, ISP’s and search companies. Some of his recommendations include: increasing funding for the police intellectual property crime unit (PIPCU), exploring the advertising monitor software to ensure compliance of advertising codes, and lastly, requesting the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) look into what additional legislation is necessary to require pre-emptive action by advertisers and payment providers. According to Weatherly: “Following the money is the key to shutting down the vast majority of websites that host illegal material.” The recent report highlights a number of issues surrounding the piracy debate and Weatherley hopes it will spark discussion in the UK and other parts of the world.

Weatherly goes on to comment that since he is the Intellectual Property Advisor to the Prime Minister, he feels like it is his role to shed light to this issue and how damaging it can be, to even the UK economy. Online piracy is a form of stealing not only from the music makers, but also the country that they owe taxes to.  Steve Head, the head of economic crime at City of London Police states that he welcomes the points noted in Weatherley’s report and agrees with him in many ways. He goes on to say, “It is my firm belief that we will only make truly significant inroads into reducing this type of criminality by having a credible and effective police deterrent.” Time will tell if the UK and other countries put an end to online piracy.

This blog post is based off of this music week article posted by the Trichordist blog.
 

 

A Fight Against The Pirate Bay and Illegal Downloading

Christopher Sabec The Pirate BayIn a recent article posted by The Trichordist a website whose mission statement is “artists for an ethical and sustainable internet,” music pirating and how it affects artists is discussed. Lindy Morrison recently received the Ted Albert award at the APRA Music Awards in Brisbane for her contribution to the music industry. She was deeply honored that her work had been recognized, including her work as an advocate musicians’ rights. Morrison has worked for many years to ensure that music creators’ rights have been safeguarded and that they receive compensation when their work is used by others. She states that people want to know all the time “what it takes” to work in the industry. She replies by discussing the length of time is takes to build the skills it takes to create and record songs, the discipline in takes in rehearsals and lastly the management skills in order to keep bands on the road and the constant support and tenacity the bandmates will need throughout the years to keep making music.

In addition to discussion all of these skills, she also asks them to think about copyright laws and how they could affect musicians in protecting their music. She urges her proteges to make sure they are paid, know what their rights are, knowing how their payments are collected and passed  back to them and lastly how to know when their work has been taken without their permission. However, it is difficult, especially for artists in Australia to know/find out when their work has been taken away from them without their permission. It is difficult because it is constantly being done on the internet everyday. Morrison explains that she does not hate the internet, in fact she loves it when people discover her band, the Go-Betweens on the net but that instead of illegally downloading artists music, discovering their music through licensed websites that give back to the artists. In Australia, there is very little a musician can do in order to stop someone from illegally downloading their music. The scamming websites make a lot of money through advertising and don’t give any of it back to the artists.Morrison feels upset when she says her friends and fellow musicians being scammed by these kinds of pirating websites. It is time that people start drawing their focus on how copyright laws can improve and help artists in the future. Morrison believes that more people should support musician’s rights because she wants to see people’s rights being protected in “practical and meaningful ways.” Moving forward, time will tell if this will actually happen.

This blog post is based off of this article.