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Intellectual Property Theft in the spotlight
Thursday 25 October 2007 16:17:50 by Andrew Ferguson

Sharing copyrighted material is nothing new--How many people in the days when a cassette recorder was 'high tech' could be found trying to record the top 40 show as it was broadcast over the radio and then listen to it with their friends? Since the invention of digital media and broadband however, it has become possible for users to share digitally perfect copies of music, video and software packages at very low cost using the Internet.

BBC News Online is reporting that the UK government is considering a crack-down on illegal file sharing. It should be noted that the keyword here is 'illegal' the companies and those using it to distribute game patches and up and coming musicians releasing material to try and build a following will not be legislated against. Even the BBC is in on the file sharing game, as iPlayer uses peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing to distribute material.

The law as it stands seems capable of finding and taking action against those breaking the rules. A Teeside man has been bailed after arrest on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and infringement of copyright recently. The arrest comes after two years of investigation and reportedly computer equipment was seized from the company where the man worked. Another case a few days earlier involved the arrest of a man in Cheltenham for facilitating copyright infringement. In this case the website TV-Links appears to have acted as an aggregation site for links to content hosted elsewhere that was often in breach of copyright.

The government is calling on service providers to take a more active role in policing illegal file-sharing across their networks. The big problem is identifying what is illegal and what is not. Service providers can generally identify the types of traffic transiting through their network but are normally unable to tell whether it is a Simpsons carton or a homemade movie being shared. Add to this the fact that p2p applications have started to employ encryption and other techniques to get around traffic management systems and the scale of the problem becomes more obvious.

Even if technically providers could identify copyrighted material flowing over their network there is a big question of the cost of hardware required to filter it and the human intervention required to pass information onto law enforcement. Are the large copyright holders in the form of the music and film industry going to finance the cost of tracking their copyrighted material?

Perhaps part of the problem is that the music and film industries are going through the same sort of angst that hit the newspaper industry some years ago when it had to come to terms with this new upstart that is the Internet. When you consider that it is possible to buy the physical album for perhaps a pound or two more than downloading it legally one can hardly wonder why some people look for 'free' material online. The recent cases suggest that there are ways of pursuing those who seek to profit from illegal file sharing. Music and film companies are known for watching p2p networks and sending providers letters to pursue individuals they find sharing material illegally.

At the end of the day p2p networks are themselves not illegal and any legislation would need to be careful to not restrict legitimate uses of these tools, or make the costs of allowing this traffic through a providers network so high they will take the cheap route of blocking it. How much content on these networks is illegally shared is hard to know, but the term 'p2p' is almost synonymous with distribution of copyrighted material in many people's minds. If this was not the case, millions of people are addicted to having the latest and greatest version of Linux.

Comments

Posted by Rroff over 9 years ago
It would just turn into an endless and costly game of catch up... look at DRM and other copy protection schemes - even the best are usually cracked inside 4 days... as soon as one method of detecting what people are downloading is implemented people will find a way around it.

Typical knee jerk reactions from people who have little to no idea what they are talking about.

Personally I feel that until there are reasonable legal alternatives they should only be permitted to go after those illegally making money from the distribution of copyright material.
Posted by KarlAustin over 9 years ago
Because it'd be pointless and costly, means that it'll probably be persued and at the same time make legitimate use illegal as well.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
This all boils down to one thing... Money, greedy exec's want to fill there pockets more and more. Its nothing really to do with illegal material as such, if it were why can i download as an example Eastenders from Iplayer but if i do it via other P2P sources like bit-torrent i face possible prosecution, surely it shouldnt matter, the material in question would be the same?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Same goes for music if i listen to the top 40 in perfect digital quality on the radio 1 website and even download it later using the listen to previous show feature thats fine but if i download from the likes of oink (thats the site that got raided btw) that suddenly is wrong... That makes no sense.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Im also sick of so called legal authoritys babbling and peddling nothing but lies about file sharing. If you take the oink thing thats just happened as an example the clueless police officer the BBC interviewed claimed "people paid SUBSCRIPTION fees to that site" what tripe. Im not in favour of anything illegal, but if they legal beings are going to arrest someone running a bit torrent site they should also be prosecuted for libel and/or slander when they spread lies using the media.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Im sorry but i have no pity at all for any music, film or media industry or exec, they say one minute we should download certain material via P2P and the next minute they offer it free via there own services, could it be because a nice loop of money making occurs as they riddle material with DRM bloat? Why can i watch a movie live on the ITV website but not download the same film huh?? The law as it stands needs to wake up its so contradictory they dont understand the technology, how it works and in some cases even if the law has been broken... truely pathetic.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Just listen to this rubbish and what Det inspector colin Green has to say... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuwwMZKYxag
one wonders if his so called inspection skills need updating cos his statement sure as hell wasnt accurate.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
oooo im soooo mad about this, and sorry to babble on but also what about films and music that are withdrawn from circulation... Ive been trying for years to get a cheesy sci-fi film called runaway on dvd, but will they release it to region 2 for us brits... hell no and the three regions it was released in they have now taken it out of production, i could get that illegally via bit-torrent (which obviously i wouldnt and would be stupid to) and maybe get prosecuted for it. So heres a thought, maybe id buy the damn material if the damn film industry released it on dvd here grrrrrrrrr
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"if it were why can i download as an example Eastenders from Iplayer but if i do it via other P2P sources like bit-torrent i face possible prosecution" - the answer to that is that the copyright holders, the BBC, make it available to some users with constraints on how long they can keep it via the iPlayer. With bit-torrent such controls on who and for how long don't exist and the body with the rights hasn't authorised it. That is the difference, if you're interested.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Yes I am aware of the technicalities herdwick however with regards to copyright law something is either copyright protected or it isn’t, how do they know people wouldn’t download it from bit-torrent watch it and then delete it?? They don’t!! Also you cant pick and choose who has rights and who doesn’t, and if you can then why are they not arresting people who record the same episode of Eastenders on their Video recorder??? All this Nazi like P2P is bad propaganda from media and other authority is ridiculous, the laws are seriously out of date to deal with such issues also.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
Copyright protected means that the copyright holder controls what rights they give to others to use it, for example licensing a song to use on one film soundtrack or advert but not another. So contrary to your opinion they can do exactly what they please as it is in their right.

Of course if you don't believe in intellectual property rights at all then you're never going to see any sense in any of this.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"BBC, make it available to some users with constraints on how long they can keep it via the iPlayer."
Thats technically untrue also, as you can download the material, watch it and when the license expires in 3 days or whatever it is you can still go and download it again, especially in the case of my example with eastenders because a re-run of that is screened each Sunday.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Does that mean if i download it on a Tuesday from iplayer wait 3 days and the license expires and then i download it again on sunday i am breaking the law? Technically you would be as you have broke the terms and conditions of iplayer watching that media again which you grabbed on tuesday. Like i said the law with regards to stuff like this is basically a jackass.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Also unless its changed (i cant be bothered to go read) they dont mention material is DRM protected, so they thereself are breaking the law by not pointing out material is protected and they force you to install software which "MONITORS" that activity (sorry i forget the actual name of the law but it was brought in about a year or so ago and basically says if a company is going to monitor you or your computer use they have to make that clear). The kontiki software they use constantly sends info back and forth to the beeb. install a packet monitor if you dont believe me.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
if you download it twice within the constraints of the iPlayer you are complying with the licence and using the rights granted to you so no issues arise and the owner retains control.

You can download it within 7 days of transmission and keep it for 30 days before viewing then you have 5 days to watch it again (from memory).

Kontiki is itself P2P so there's bound to be traffic.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
http://www.cla.co.uk/copyright_information_aboutcopyright.php sets out the owners rights. But if you don't believe in intellectual property you won't care either way.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"In order to meet the BBC's obligations to rights holders, the BBC will embed downloadable BBC with digital rights management security. The expiry date for the BBC Content that you download will vary according to the agreements BBC has with rights holders of that content. BBC Content will be automatically deleted from your computer once its expiry date has been reached.
If you delete or lose BBC Content that you have downloaded you may not be able to download that content again."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/help/legal/iplayerterms.shtml
Posted by Rroff over 9 years ago
This is the thing... DRM is for the most part unweidly - if you want to sell a product you need to make it attractive to the consumer - tie it up with unnecessary complications then don't be suprised when people pirate the product.

DRM is outdated and no longer even prevents casual copyright "theft" as an example I was talking at work to an "every day joe" who has no specialist knowledge of computers about a tune I had downloaded through iTunes - and his response was why didn't you just download it through limewire...
Posted by jrawle over 9 years ago
Technically, you are breaking copyright laws if you record a programme from the TV. There is no "fair use" law in the UK as there is in the US. With digital TV, this can be a "digitally perfect" copy too (the point here is not iPlayer but Freeview with a PVR - no DRM). It's just that the copyright holders choose not to go after people videoing programmes.
Posted by jrawle over 9 years ago
If you lend a DVD (whether recorded from TV or bought) to a friend, that's just as wrong in the eyes of the law as peer to peer sharing the movie (ever read the notice at the start?) Neither is a criminal offence, however, unless done on a commercial scale (as in this recent case). The movie industry can sue you, but you can't be arrested. And "theft" has a precise legal definition. Calling these offences theft is government spin and BBC bias. Targeting p2p just shows the old media running scared of new technology.
Posted by jerrymartin over 9 years ago
I totally agree with jrawle.
Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
'"theft" has a precise legal definition. Calling these offences theft is government spin and BBC bias. '

Very true. So what's that say about the so-called Federation Against Copyright Theft?

I'm not in favour of depriving legitimate owners of their rights, but industry facts may surprise some people: "iTunes downloads cost 79p per track. Writer/publisher get 6p, Performer 6-8p, Visa/Mastercard 7p, Apple 12p, and Record Company almost 50p. Sod that. Help yourself to my songs & share them with your friends" www.tomrobinson.com/downloads - Rock on Tommy!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Quote" It's just that the copyright holders choose not to go after people videoing programmes."
Quote" Targeting p2p just shows the old media running scared of new technology"
All very well said, the media and law when it comes to things like this are hypocrites, maybe inspector plod on the BBC that spouted slanderous/libel/lies (whatever is the right term)about this owners website and how he charged "suscription" fees should get his own legal facts and exagerated opinions in order before he goes mouthing off...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Its sickening people like that exist in our police force and legal society that have no idea about technology. The law basically just dont give a damn as long as they chalk up another arrest and make the goverment figures on crime look good. For god sake they were investigating this torrent site for 2 years, they know it was NOT "subscription" based, yet the old bill on this occasion seem to think its perfectly fine to Defame this persons character even more with lies on national TV... WTF??? Law and Order, what Law and Order i ask?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Also why dont they go after people taping programmes from the TV?? I remember reading not long ago about a file sharer being fined £100,000 just for sharing music on some P2P app WTF is the world coming to, to analogize... before we know it they will only be going after Bank robbers that use a gun (p2p app) and just ignore those that use knifes (home vcr). Its insanity and out of date lack of understanding of technology on every level. Christ i dont even know why im so annoyed i dont even really ever use P2P but god do i hate hypocrites.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
The worse thing is that guy will either be fined heavily or imprisoned, which while we can all say good he broke the law, it isnt right because he wont have a fair trial, because its clear just from the youtube clip the police and legal people know they can babble any old rubbish to the public and most ill-informed will believe them. Disgusting!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Andrew,

There are no good ways to tell if a file is illegal or not. You can filter for a set of hashes, yes, but this is trivially easy to defeat. The only way to stop infringment is to block P2P, and that's precisely what they mean.

And yes, the TV-Links case.. are you SURE every website you link to dosn't have a link to illegal content anywhere? Really REALLY SURE?

If ISP's become narcs, you can bet I'll encrypt everything. I get ~3.4kb/S while using an encrypted connection, so I'll only be able to use email and limited web surfing, but SO BE IT.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
The UK music and video cartels WILL try and make P2P illegal. They WILL try and make ISP's pay for enforcing this. They WILL ask for free reign to snoop on everything which passes through the ISP's networks.

There's a reason I stopped getting new music entirely over four years ago, and films over three. I can do without their crap, because there's just too much of a risk having it near my PC, at all.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"The UK music and video cartels WILL try and make P2P illegal."
Too right, as my first post said this story is nothing to do with truth, justice or even the law, its all about greedy fat oinks (no pun intended ;) ) in suits that want complete and utter media control of us and our money. Im still in total shock at the lies that BBC story and that high ranking officer in the interview blurted... Disgusting.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Hang the offender for his crimes, fair enough. Dont hang him based on lies dishonesty and manipulation of the facts though. Theft is theft, but dont try to hype it up see the public think a 2 year investigation to shut a website is worth the taxes we pay.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Um Carpet? The website/linking lawsuit has the otential to make you liable if any site you link to has any links to questionable material.

At this point we need a law making linking legal, because otherwise there's no way in heck I can risk linking to other websites either. What fun!
Posted by evilbond over 9 years ago
Hmm as BBC is mentioned.. tv license is daylight robbery! Why don't the government do something about that aswell?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Um Carpet? The website/linking lawsuit has the otential to make you liable if any site you link to has any links to questionable material."
Im sorry but i dont have time for the idiots, if they have issues with me or anyone linking to say youtube then they can ask youtube to remove the material. Personally i think they are just fools with too much time and money on there hands Oh and to the staff, if the youtube link i posted is unacceptable feel free to remove that, i wouldnt want the site in trouble because of me (i assume its the youtube link you are talking about dawn?)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Hmm as BBC is mentioned.. tv license is daylight robbery! Why don't the government do something about that aswell?"
Maybe its because they are all lapping up the profits from shares for glorified repeats as well as mind rotting dross?
Oh and it now appears (obviously not confirmed) a child of one of the people involved in the oink investigation accessed that site and downloaded material... Will they prosecute the officer/copyright investigator or whoever it is that allowed that to happen?? I doubt it. It gets more ridiculous by the minute.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
No Carpet, any link. Ever. Fortunately you can post comments on sites with links as long as you don't make them yourself. Currently, at least.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
It really is stupid isn’t it? All the manipulation to copyright law that gets applied is only serving to confuse people... I imagine technically they would/could argue I made that Youtube link because I had to copy and paste it for it to appear here. I use to respect the law of this land tremendously, but from this case and other things in the news lately im slowly beginning to think its full of clueless hypocrites.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Oh and from reading up it appears no one in the UK has ever been convicted of copyright infringement for running a torrent site like this guy did, that means the implications if he is convicted could be huge… Technically Youtube, google video and images and such like could end up banned here in the UK.
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