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Six Strikes
July 7, 2011 10:46 AM   Subscribe

Major US Internet providers—including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable—have just signed on to a voluntary agreement with the movie and music businesses to crack down on online copyright infringers. The policy features a graduated series of responses to infringing activity, ranging from "educational" warnings to throttling of connection speeds.
posted by Horace Rumpole (96 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder how much trust the copyright holders have in the major telecom's ability to not make this enforcement scheme into a money maker.

Want to ignore this copyright warning message? $5.

Want to un-throttle your download speeds? $15

Want to erase your record of content theft? $50
posted by Slackermagee at 10:52 AM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Fully expect this to be abused to no end by these guys. Sending lots of data around (ie: working from home a lot?) - must be infringing! Pay up!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:53 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Y'know it's funny the cat looks a lot bigger than the bag at this point.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:54 AM on July 7, 2011 [18 favorites]


phewwww thank goodness charter is not in on this!!!
posted by robbyrobs at 10:55 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering how they're going to send notices. Raise your hand if you 1) actually use an email address provided by your ISP* or 2) have given an address you actually check semi-regularly to your ISP.

I'm guessing that number is pretty low, particularly amongst the demographic that's most likely to participate in such activities.

So, what then, snail mail? A phone call? Because that's about the only way my ISP can get in touch with me at this point.

*You with the AOL email? That's right, I'm talking to you. You can just hang your head in shame.
posted by valkyryn at 10:56 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Slackermagee: "Want to ignore this copyright warning message? $5.

Want to un-throttle your download speeds? $15

Want to erase your record of content theft? $50
"

Want to subscribe to iPredator? $17 for three months.
posted by mullingitover at 10:56 AM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, I'm with AT&T. Any good ISPs in Chicago I can switch too?
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:58 AM on July 7, 2011


Want to subscribe to iPredator? $17 for three months.

Or Tor for $0.
posted by DU at 11:00 AM on July 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


2) have given an address you actually check semi-regularly to your ISP.

Wait, what? I mean I don't know how much property you own, but they certainly send enough identity-theft-compatible spam to me that I'd rather know where the stuff is going.
posted by griphus at 11:02 AM on July 7, 2011


This seems reasonable. It allows for appeal (although, as the author said, it does remain to be seen how this process will work), and the "mitigations" aren't unduly cruel. Maybe it will help move copyright infringement away from the courts.

Or just drive everyone to Usenet
posted by kethonna at 11:02 AM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


spam junk mail
posted by griphus at 11:03 AM on July 7, 2011


It's hard to torrent over Tor. On top of that, I seem to remember some reports of data over Tor being traceable, although right now I can't seem to find a link.
posted by dave78981 at 11:03 AM on July 7, 2011


It's not just hard to torrent over a tor, it's also a way to be a big asshole.
posted by azarbayejani at 11:03 AM on July 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yes, that too.
posted by dave78981 at 11:04 AM on July 7, 2011


I'm not sure whether I am doing something wrong, or perhaps it is where I live or maybe my ISP, but unless I plan to switch to Lynx as my main browser, Tor is pretty useless.
posted by griphus at 11:05 AM on July 7, 2011


Tor is not fabulous for torrenting. iPredator and competing services exist because of that.

The killer infringement app would be decentralized, lacking even a centralized location for searching (but still include a trust metric), with encrypted traffic and some IP redirection for, if not anonymity, at least plausible deniability. I'm not sure if such a thing is possible from a computer science standpoint (Freenet has better anonymity but is easily noised-up), but should it ever come to pass, policing copyright becomes a dead issue.
posted by adipocere at 11:05 AM on July 7, 2011


Large companies are too powerful FULL STOP

Individuals are powerless FULL STOP

FULL STOP
posted by humboldt32 at 11:09 AM on July 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


valkyryn: "I'm wondering how they're going to send notices. Raise your hand if you 1) actually use an email address provided by your ISP* or 2) have given an address you actually check semi-regularly to your ISP.

I'm guessing that number is pretty low, particularly amongst the demographic that's most likely to participate in such activities.

So, what then, snail mail? A phone call? Because that's about the only way my ISP can get in touch with me at this point.

*You with the AOL email? That's right, I'm talking to you. You can just hang your head in shame.
"

What happens, I just happen to know, is that they cut off your Internet. Just like that. Then, naturally, you call to ask if there's an outage or whatever, and they inform you your Internet was cut because of blah. Then they give you a scary lecture. You act cowed, and they turn the Internet back on.

That's what happens the first time, anyway. I suppose it gets worse after that.
posted by gilrain at 11:10 AM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm wondering how they're going to send notices. Raise your hand if you 1) actually use an email address provided by your ISP* or 2) have given an address you actually check semi-regularly to your ISP.

It's worst than you think. I was helping an elderly neighbor get back into his Comcast account (I had mentioned that cable service came with free email). When we finally got back in to the email, there were several notices from Comcast about his account downloading some HBO tv shows. Specifically, the email said something like "A copyright holder has contacted us about your download of "(Specific show and episode title here)". Please remember that Comcast services are not be used for illegal activities and if this continues, punitive actions may occur". Turns out his daughter and her kids had been visiting, and the kids had been using the computer at times.

That was certainly eye opening. It doesn't matter if you use your ISP provided email, they can still send notices to it, which probably coves them legally and leaves you very uncovered.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on July 7, 2011


I had the impression they do this already. I run a torrent (of ANYTHING, it can be a linux distro) for a while and then things drop off drastically.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:11 AM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Reading up on Tor, I see that it really isn't good in any sense to torrent via it.

iPredator looks like it might be kind of a hassle (VPN) but if the have easy client software (for Linux) I'll have to check it out.
posted by DU at 11:16 AM on July 7, 2011


I like this focus on "education". Surely repeated instances will lead to "re-education". Maybe there should be some sort of camp.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:19 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


If they service your area, I highly recommend sonic.net as you new, un-evil-overlord isp.
posted by Phredward at 11:21 AM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


They don't even need an email for you to get one of the notices from your ISP, having just gotten one of these from Time Warner. Turn on your computer or other internet device and go online. Literally blanketing your browser (even on your smartphone) is a notice saying they have detected copyrighted material being downloaded illegally on one of the computers in your home. The notice mentions the escalating penalties that will occur to you if you don't address the issue.

So, um, how did Game of Thrones turn out after episode three, anyway?
posted by KingEdRa at 11:22 AM on July 7, 2011


ISPs didn't give a shit about copyright infringement until they discovered they could be selling you that stuff instead.

Seriously, is there any way that we're not fucked?
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:22 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


mullingitover: “Want to subscribe to iPredator? $17 for three months.”

Er, no. That is not what that link says. It says €17, or $23, for three months.
posted by koeselitz at 11:22 AM on July 7, 2011


Comcast doesn't do a particularly good job of policing it now. They will harass you if you use unencrypted torrents as a friend found out. Once he picked a torrent client that uses a mere 64-bit encryption he never heard from them again.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:23 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It doesn't matter if you use your ISP provided email, they can still send notices to it, which probably coves them legally and leaves you very uncovered.

I wonder about that. Email is not a valid means for service of process without the consent of the one being served. There's a reason certified mail still exists.

Still, I suppose an ISP could include acceptance of service via email as a part of the Terms of Service, but that's starting to reach a fundamental due process right that courts have rightly displayed some nervousness about changing. Lack of actual notice is still a viable defense in civil procedure. This is why financial institutions generally require an unambiguous selection before they'll stop sending you hard copy statements.
posted by valkyryn at 11:24 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Turn on your computer or other internet device and go online. Literally blanketing your browser (even on your smartphone) is a notice saying they have detected copyrighted material being downloaded illegally on one of the computers in your home.

This is why you never let the customer service monkey install anything on your computer when you sign up for service.
posted by valkyryn at 11:24 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did anyone actually bother to read the article before quickly digging in to whatever your previously-held position was?
"Much of the scheme mirrors what ISPs do now. Copyright holders will scan the 'Net for infringement, grabbing suspect IP addresses from peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. If they see your IP address participating in a swarm for, say, Transformers, they will look up that IP address to see which ISP controls it, then fire off a message.

ISPs have committed to forward such notices to subscribers—though, crucially, they won't turn over actual subscriber names or addresses without a court order. This is a one-way notification process."
Aside from the problem of verifying IP's, there's nothing terrible going on here. What's notable is that the copyright holders no longer seem to be heading directly toward lawsuits.
posted by mkultra at 11:26 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, I'm with AT&T. Any good ISPs in Chicago I can switch too?

Other than a major phone or cable company? I'd doubt it.

If they service your area, I highly recommend sonic.net as you new, un-evil-overlord isp.

I have used and liked Sonic.net for a long time, but isn't it only available in Northern California?

Also, if you ever have hardware/networking issues, they have no technicians and you'll have to pay AT&T a bunch of cash to fix your wires ... or get AT&T service, have them do it for free, and then cancel as soon as you can ... that would be my plan.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:27 AM on July 7, 2011


Aside from the problem of verifying IP's, there's nothing terrible going on here. What's notable is that the copyright holders no longer seem to be heading directly toward lawsuits.

...

This seems reasonable.

Yeah, that would be my takeaway here as well. They already do this, now at least they are adding at least a little transparency to their policies.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:28 AM on July 7, 2011


When in California, I prefer InNOut.net. I like my bandwidth animal style.
posted by griphus at 11:28 AM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


valkyryn: "Turn on your computer or other internet device and go online. Literally blanketing your browser (even on your smartphone) is a notice saying they have detected copyrighted material being downloaded illegally on one of the computers in your home.

This is why you never let the customer service monkey install anything on your computer when you sign up for service."

That kind of thing is easily achieved server-side, no crapware necessary. Think about how all those pay-for-wireless services in hotels intercept your web request and return a signup page.
posted by mkultra at 11:28 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why you never let the customer service monkey install anything on your computer when you sign up for service.

Also why you shouldn't use ISP DNS servers.
posted by odinsdream at 11:31 AM on July 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


So, here's a question. IPv6 is supposed to make implementation if IPSEC somewhat simpler. I'm a bit suspicious about the lack of IPv6 penetration in light of this fact. If the rollout automatically gets you end-to-end encryption by default then it kinda mucks with all of these kinds of monitoring systems.
posted by odinsdream at 11:32 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also why you shouldn't use ISP DNS servers.

Your ISP is free to hijack any of your non-SSL web requests and return whatever they want, no matter what DNS server you use.
posted by zsazsa at 11:34 AM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have used and liked Sonic.net for a long time, but isn't it only available in Northern California?

It looks like most of California at this point, but yeah. Sorry rest of the country!
posted by grapesaresour at 11:37 AM on July 7, 2011


Sonic seems very cheap... until that first twelve months wears off and it gets stupid expensive.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 11:43 AM on July 7, 2011


Your ISP is free to hijack any of your non-SSL web requests and return whatever they want, no matter what DNS server you use.

That's entirely true. More the reason for IPSEC adoption.
posted by odinsdream at 11:49 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sonic seems very cheap... until that first twelve months wears off and it gets stupid expensive.

That’s because you’re supposed to get their new Fusion service, which is provided entirely by their own equipment (over AT&T’s lines) and costs $40/month for 20 Mbps plus a phone line, and has no contract or intro-pricing.
posted by spitefulcrow at 12:04 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


robbyrobs: phewwww thank goodness charter is not in on this!!!

valkyryn: I'm wondering how they're going to send notices.

I can speak to both of these comments, as a recipient of notices from Charter. They contact you via a postcard with vague language (contact the "internet security division" to find out how to protect yourself, or something like that - it mentioned nothing about possible copyright infringement). You call, and a rep tells you either a vague "you've been caught downloading illegal material," or they could actually tell you what it was and which day you downloaded it (I asked what I was the claims were, and one rep was nice enough to list some details from their records of my account). I think one rep told me that after a few strikes on your record, they limited you in some way for a few months. (My wireless router was open to the public for a while, and I told them as much, which seemed good enough for the rep.)

Anyway, no ISP would offer you the chance to expunge your records, they'd offer "second chance" fees, with the promise that you'd change your ways. That way, they're penalizing you, not giving you an out (OK, it's the same thing, but it's all a stupid game of words and money).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:06 PM on July 7, 2011


See, this is why SSl encrypted usenet connections exist
posted by tonyx3 at 12:26 PM on July 7, 2011


I like this focus on "education". Surely repeated instances will lead to "re-education". Maybe there should be some sort of camp.

Yeah, that's when it moves, without warning I would imagine, to "containucation".
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:34 PM on July 7, 2011


I like this focus on "education". Surely repeated instances will lead to "re-education". Maybe there should be some sort of camp.

It looks like the author of this article has already been re-educated. He seems to think that copyright infringement is the same thing as theft. There is apparently an easy-to-use means of actually stealing content from studios over the Internet, and we're all missing out on tons of great content that was stolen before release.
posted by howlingmonkey at 12:42 PM on July 7, 2011


Really, you want to start that fight here too?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:46 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Time for an offshore seedbox.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:47 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


May I suggest that anyone concerned with this buys a VPN connection with a trusted source (I personally use Giganews, because of their USENET service, and that it's in their direct interest to protect their customers privacy) and then just use that full time.

All your data will be encrypted and all your ISP would see is the amount, not the content, of what you're streaming.
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:54 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


howlingmonkey: the article only uses the term "content theft" when quoting directly from the agreement. Otherwise it refers to "copyright infringement."
posted by russilwvong at 12:55 PM on July 7, 2011


I can't speak to any other ISPs but I've been using Ace Innovative (formerly AceDSL) for years. I've got a static unfiltered IP address and they've never given me any grief over hosting any kind of services, nor have they ever contacted me about the...uh...backup copies of DVDs (that I own of course) that I've downloaded. I can only hope that they remain as uninterested in what I'm doing as they are now.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:01 PM on July 7, 2011


The killer infringement app would be decentralized, lacking even a centralized location for searching (but still include a trust metric), with encrypted traffic and some IP redirection for, if not anonymity, at least plausible deniability. I'm not sure if such a thing is possible from a computer science standpoint (Freenet has better anonymity but is easily noised-up), but should it ever come to pass, policing copyright becomes a dead issue.

There are readily available technological solutions for most of those problems. Lots of work on decentralized search and storage was published in the halcyon days of P2P. IP redirection is problematic because it carries a high overhead and can still be seen through with statistical attacks, but as with Static Vagabond's VPN suggestion, it's only really necessary to encrypt and redirect the last mile link that goes through your ISP... which will result in the VPN providers becoming 2nd-tier ISPs themselves, but whose business is built on customer privacy, so they are unlikely to cave in to the MPAA/RIAA.

But the best solution lies in economics: customers need to to punish ISPs that invade their privacy.

It will be interesting to see if there is also a first amendment challenge here: ISPs typically run on a government-granted monopoly, so maybe they shouldn't be in the business of filtering content.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:04 PM on July 7, 2011


the article only uses the term "content theft" when quoting directly from the agreement. Otherwise it refers to "copyright infringement."

Good point. I didn't notice that on the first read. It's unfortunate that studios are still insisting on that terminology though, and that it has infected major ISPs.
posted by howlingmonkey at 1:07 PM on July 7, 2011


I like this focus on "education". Surely repeated instances will lead to "re-education". Maybe there should be some sort of camp.

I like this quote from the article: It would be much easier to see "education" focus as a principled stand by content owners if they hadn't spent years suing such end users, securing absurd multi-million dollar judgments in cases that they are still pursuing in court. As it is, the shift looks more like a pragmatic attempt to solve a real problem through less aggressive measures after the failure of scorched earth tactics.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:10 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the best solution lies in economics: customers need to to punish ISPs that invade their privacy.

Of course, you need to live in a place that offers more than one ISP for this to be at all effective.
posted by odinsdream at 1:13 PM on July 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


This seems mostly OK, though my sense is that it'll be more a vague dodge for ISPs to throttle users than any coherent copyright-enforcement scheme.
posted by klangklangston at 1:21 PM on July 7, 2011


I've been with TimeWarner's Roadrunner for years. I've been very happy with it. I hate to have to move on.
posted by zzazazz at 1:22 PM on July 7, 2011


This is why you never let the customer service monkey install anything on your computer when you sign up for service.

While this is excellent advice, they don't have to install anything. They're between you and the internet. They can intercept and rewrite your http traffic.
posted by weston at 1:25 PM on July 7, 2011


Here is the website of the new initiative. Re: content theft, this kind of language is all over the site: see the FAQ.
posted by KatlaDragon at 1:30 PM on July 7, 2011


IP blocker?
posted by New England Cultist at 1:31 PM on July 7, 2011


qxntpqbbbqxl: "But the best solution lies in economics: customers need to to punish ISPs that invade their privacy."

What privacy of yours is being invaded here by the ISP, exactly?

howlingmonkey: "It looks like the author of this article has already been re-educated. He seems to think that copyright infringement is the same thing as theft."

NOBODY HERE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THIS ARGUMENT EXCEPT MAYBE YOU.
posted by mkultra at 1:40 PM on July 7, 2011


I'm afraid, adipocere, that all the major encryption & plausible deniability tools like Freenet and Tor are designed from the perspective of a political dissident trying to hide their activities from the secret police, meaning they're usually suboptimal for simple piracy.

I foresee everyone placing their whole media collection in the cloud, thus making it safe from hardware failure and giving their friends access, but also giving the MafiAA access, either for lawsuit evidence or simply deleting it. We must switch to better encrypted cloud services to avert that disaster.

You should all ditch dropbox immediately. Wuala offers actual encryption unlike dropbox, but their deduplication strategy keeps media users vulnerable to the MafiAA.

Your best & cheapest cloud storage solution is simply using Amazon S3 directly through duplicity, git-annex, etc., but those tweaked for sharing your collection with your friends.

posted by jeffburdges at 1:44 PM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


From the "Facts" section:

"Websites such as “The Pirate Bay” are making millions of dollars stealing and then offering movies, TV shows, and music for their own gain."

lolkthxbye.
posted by dave78981 at 1:46 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


That’s because you’re supposed to get their new Fusion service, which is provided entirely by their own equipment (over AT&T’s lines) and costs $40/month for 20 Mbps plus a phone line, and has no contract or intro-pricing.

Fusion's availability is much smaller than their DSL offering. I'd get it tomorrow if it were available down here.
posted by birdherder at 2:02 PM on July 7, 2011


"Websites such as “The Pirate Bay” are making millions of dollars stealing and then offering movies, TV shows, and music for their own gain."

Wow, that Facts section is distressingly devoid of any, you know, facts.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:02 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Websites such as “The Pirate Bay” are making millions of dollars stealing and then offering movies, TV shows, and music for their own gain."

Well, iPredator is run by the same people who run PB, and I'd imagine iP is making a mint at $100/year. If they had 100,000 customers (probably a small number given the base of people who pirate) that would be $10 million dollars a year with very little overhead other than bandwidth.
posted by stbalbach at 2:17 PM on July 7, 2011


The American Association for Independent Music is in favor of this big time. This is an active advocate group for independent labels and musicians.

A2IM Applauds Copyright Alert Program


I really don't understand why so many people lose their ability to think rationally about this. I know all the arguments people use to justify copyright infringement, and I agree that the concept of copyright needs to be reworked in light of technological advances, but the fact remains that creating a product (music) is expensive and difficult, and the people who do it should get paid for it, and the people who use it should do the paying.
posted by nosila at 2:20 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, I'm with AT&T. Any good ISPs in Chicago I can switch too?

Look at Speakeasy.
posted by thirteen at 2:24 PM on July 7, 2011


Also why you shouldn't use ISP DNS servers.

When my big ISP's DNS goes down, it's awesome to be using OpenDNS and have the big pipe almost all to yourself, because you're the only one in town who can resolve addresses and actually go anywhere.

It's.....Comcastic!
posted by gimonca at 2:30 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, iPredator is run by the same people who run PB, and I'd imagine iP is making a mint at $100/year.

That might be true, though it's disingenuous to say they're making millions a year off downloads. What did they make off torrents before there was iPredator? Also, I think there are legit uses for iPredator, beyond torrenting, no?

Seems to me TPB guys are true believer types and are not in it to make a buck. If they were, there are considerably less dangerous and more lucrative ways to leverage their obvious talents.
posted by dave78981 at 2:57 PM on July 7, 2011


Bah, of course this occurs just before my pending move from sonic.net's (excellent, BTW) Fusion service into the loving arms of Time Warner cable. I once got an infringement notice from sonic, and their rep fell all over himself to assure me that although they'd received a notice about my IP address, they would not be sending out my contact information to whatever company complained about it without a subpoena.

PS: shh! The rumors are false, usenet does not exist!
posted by whir at 3:12 PM on July 7, 2011


So is this going to be a problem for those who use private bit torrent trackers? My friend has never run into any problems so far.

not that I know anything about that...
posted by King Bee at 3:14 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway, no ISP would offer you the chance to expunge your records

My ISP did, with the additional warning that if I didn't remove the content in question, they'd remove it for me. Thing was, I had already deleted it (it happened over a weekend and the warning was sent on Monday during business hours) so I was able to say that I did not have the content. But I'm still creeped out by the Big Brother-ish tone.

For the record, I had torrented a recent episode of the Sopranos which I had missed. I knew it was copyrighted material but I had, a sense, already paid for access to it through my satellite service. Plus I later bought the DVDs. Sheesh, climb off, HBO.
posted by fuse theorem at 3:26 PM on July 7, 2011


So is this going to be a problem for those who use private bit torrent trackers?

A few years back, hackers leaked a bunch of emails from MediaDefender, a company hired by entertainment companies to harvest the IP addresses of pirates (among other, less-savory things). Some of the emails revealed that MediaDefender had an account on OiNK, a well-known but invite-only music tracker.
posted by skymt at 3:37 PM on July 7, 2011


"Content Protection Goes Grassroots"

Creative America
posted by mrgrimm at 3:46 PM on July 7, 2011


mkultra: eponysterical
posted by azarbayejani at 4:05 PM on July 7, 2011


Arrh! A foretaste of ye postapocalyptic returrn of the sneakernet! /puts on sneakers, grabs trusty firewire cable
posted by yoHighness at 4:10 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also why you shouldn't use ISP DNS servers.

Your ISP is free to hijack any of your non-SSL web requests and return whatever they want, no matter what DNS server you use.


There are plenty of cheap and secure VPN services to fix that problem too.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:13 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, does Giganews provide a UK IP? 'Cause that'd be worth it right there.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:40 PM on July 7, 2011


I know all the arguments people use to justify copyright infringement, and I agree that the concept of copyright needs to be reworked in light of technological advances, but the fact remains that creating a product (music) is expensive and difficult, and the people who do it should get paid for it, and the people who use it should do the paying.

But in practice, the "people who do it" aren't getting paid. The movie and music business isn't run by the material producers of the content--it's run by the legal owners. "Pay the artist" is rhetoric, nothing more.

What is really being enshrined is the pre-digital world, the scarcity of goods. One copy, one person, one dollar--even if a thousand, or a million copies is a single click away. The million do not possess the "right" to enjoy that culture. The right, of course, is bestowed not by the creator but the owner. The creator may very well be dead, but surely the rights of the legal owner of the property must triumph over the rest of mankind for so long as the legal owner may argue. And surely it is the responsibility of the provider of services to enforce the rights of the legal owner!

There is no danger that art will not continue to be made. The danger that the holdings of copyright owners may be transmuted from a limited financial benefit to an unlimited cultural benefit, however, is very real.
posted by Phyltre at 4:59 PM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


dave78981: "Also, I think there are legit uses for iPredator, beyond torrenting, no?"

Oh, sure. I hear it's a great tool for ordering tobacco for your bong.
posted by mkultra at 5:00 PM on July 7, 2011


If you use the iPredator VPN you get a Swedish IP. It is well known that Swedish IPs smell better, last longer, and make you more attractive to others.
posted by subbes at 5:55 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


No matter what these guys do, they will not stop file sharing. This is yet another attempt to carry water with a net. I suppose the folks at MPAA and RIAA and so on, need to justify their paychecks somehow, so they need to be seen as Doing! Something!. It's nothing more than the standard "walking around with a clipboard, looking busy". It takes them months or years to come up with some strategy, and then it takes a couple of weeks for the masses to develop easy as pie countermeasures. It's hopeless. I don't actually think that they themselves believe for a second that they're making any kind of dent in file sharing. Seems to me completely cynical window-dressing.

I'm still waiting, impatiently, for a grand debate to start about the whole IP paradigm, and for all sides to come to some kind of agreement. Consensus is the way. Because if the majority of the population is not onboard, then this is just whistling in the wind.
posted by VikingSword at 6:20 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


mkultra wrote: Aside from the problem of verifying IP's, there's nothing terrible going on here.

Other than that a tracker advertising my IP address is no evidence whatsoever that I actually am sharing a particular file.
posted by wierdo at 6:33 PM on July 7, 2011


skymt writes "A few years back, hackers leaked a bunch of emails from MediaDefender, a company hired by entertainment companies to harvest the IP addresses of pirates (among other, less-savory things). Some of the emails revealed that MediaDefender had an account on OiNK, a well-known but invite-only music tracker."

I'm pretty sure that $1000 would procure an account to any "invite only" tracker worth messing with. IE: as soon as the tracker's owners don't personally know everyone with an account (and maybe even before then) accounts will be for sale.

blue_beetle writes "There are plenty of cheap and secure VPN services to fix that problem too."

This doesn't stop your ISP either. Because they own the upstream of your connection they can inject or supersede anything in the downstream. Sure they can't listen in on your VPN connection but they sure can stop you from connecting and they can replace all unecrypted traffic with whatever they choose. Both will get you to call tech support either because every web page you bring up tells you to or because your connection isn't working.
posted by Mitheral at 7:35 PM on July 7, 2011


Oh, sure. I hear it's a great tool for ordering tobacco for your bong.

You're thinking of Tor.

Also, apparently Tor was developed by the Navy and NSA. Huh.
posted by dave78981 at 8:45 PM on July 7, 2011


Here's how this is going to go down:

Everybody who knows anything about this issue is going to start (or continue) using IPBlock or one of the other PeerGuardian-like programs out there. Now-blind ISPs are going to start (or ramp up) using deep packet inspection to figure out what's going through their lines. Some clever soul will respond by incorporating end-to-end encryption and compression in BitTorrent. The ISPs will just start harassing everybody doing anything with port 51413. People will start randomizing ports in earnest. ISPs will respond by denying service to everybody who uses their connection heavily, even though they're paying for it.

Think about it- it's like a school meal plan, where the loss the school takes on the football players gets counterbalanced by everybody else. I'll wager the ISPs have been itching for years for an excuse to get rid of the people who actually use their connections at capacity for extended periods, because that sort of traffic makes plain that their networks can't actually operate at their nominal volumes. Get rid of those guys and they can advertise and charge for far faster connections while continuing to put off upgrading this country's (woefully antiquated) network infrastructure.
posted by fifthrider at 8:55 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


a graduated series of responses to infringing activity, ranging from "educational" warnings to throttling

Fixed that for 'em.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:29 AM on July 8, 2011


Yeeah, I'll buy hundreds of box-set DVDs at $100 per show and hundreds of new CDs (because the used ones are just as legal but totally dash to pieces the argument that legally buying music supports the artist) at $25 a pop when I'm super fucking mega-rich, but for now...does anyone know any independent ISPs in NYC?
posted by Mooseli at 6:44 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Phyltre, VikingSword: I'm not convinced that the existence of broadband networks means that the pay-per-copy model for digital content is doomed. See Steam (video games), or the App Store (iPhone apps), or iTunes (now the largest music retailer in the world), or Amazon's Kindle editions (books).

The key is that all of these services are extremely easy to use.

They're also inexpensive: a typical price is $1-2 for iPhone apps, $1 for music tracks, $10-$20 for books.

(For movies, the pay-per-copy model does look like it's in trouble. It'll be hard for anyone to compete with Netflix's $8/month subscription.)

Remember the story about the two guys being chased by a bear, and the one guy stops to put on running shoes, saying that he doesn't have to run faster than the bear--he just has to run faster than the other guy? Content owners don't have to kill file-sharing entirely. They just have to provide a legal alternative that's less of a hassle. Sure, there's technical ways to evade this agreement, and expert users may take advantage of them--but if unsophisticated users (i.e. nearly all of them) stick with the legal services, because it's less of a hassle, that's good enough.
posted by russilwvong at 8:41 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


VilkingSword: I don't actually think that they themselves believe for a second that they're making any kind of dent in file sharing.

I honestly have a hard time believing they're either intelligent or well-informed enough to believe otherwise. This is like security theatre, only it's run by rent-seeking corporate whores. Oh wait, it IS security theatre.

Plus what russilwvong said.
posted by sneebler at 2:34 PM on July 10, 2011


russilwvong: "Phyltre, VikingSword: I'm not convinced that the existence of broadband networks means that the pay-per-copy model for digital content is doomed. See Steam (video games), or the App Store (iPhone apps), or iTunes (now the largest music retailer in the world), or Amazon's Kindle editions (books)."

There's a major distinction between the media you mention and movies- movies (and tv) are, by and large, considered "disposable" in that you typically only watch them once. It's why the movie rental market has worked so well for so long. Games, apps, and music all have high reuse, and lend themselves more naturally to our traditional ideas of "ownership". Books somewhat straddle the line, but are more like music in that people tend to hold onto them.
posted by mkultra at 10:58 AM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good point, mkultra. I think there's a big difference between TV and movies vs. games and software. A lot of people (like me) watch 99% of the movies and TV shows they see exactly once, whereas some games are endlessly replayable, and some software is used every single day. I download movies and TV shows, but not games or software.

Books do straddle the line which is why (like music) if I want to keep the book, I buy it. If I want to read it once and throw it away, I download it (just like borrowing it from the library) and dispose of it when I'm done.

I could possibly see video rentals online working out, but can you imagine people who grew up with libraries paying to rent books? I can't.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:57 PM on July 11, 2011


Interestingly, I find I treat physical books and electronic books differently. I only buy a copy of a physical book if I've already borrowed it from the local public library, read it, and liked it a lot.

But now that I've got the Amazon Kindle app on my iPod Touch, I find that I've been buying electronic books before I read them, because of the sheer convenience. In the last couple months I've bought the Hunger Games trilogy, Fixing the Game, and now A Dance with Dragons. Amazon recently reported that Kindle editions were now outselling their physical books; I'm not that surprised. Instant gratification is a powerful factor.

I treat DVDs the same way as physical books: if I rent a movie and I like it a lot, I'll buy the DVD. (I think a fair number of people do collect DVDs--this is the DVD sell-through market, currently about $8 billion annually.)
posted by russilwvong at 3:19 PM on July 11, 2011


ISP flip-flops: why do they now support "six strikes" plan?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:39 AM on July 12, 2011


So is this going to be a problem for those who use private bit torrent trackers? My friend has never run into any problems so far.

Small private trackers are certainly more "safe" than a huge public tracker, but they are by no means a perfect way to hide from these sorts of policies. If your friend asks around in the forums of these private communities they are a part of they will probably find plenty of people who have gotten ISP notices for content they have seeded on various private trackers. All of this is a major reason why dedicated seedboxes in filesharing-friendly countries are becoming more and more popular.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:10 AM on July 12, 2011


Mooseli, see my reply above. Ace Innovative is local to NYC and has remained silent about my online shenanigans for years now.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:13 AM on July 15, 2011


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