It is no secret that Hollywood is trying to take down as many pirated movies as they can, but their targeting of a Creative Commons Pirate Bay documentary is something new. Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate have all asked Google to take down links pointing to the Pirate Bay documentary TPB-AFK. But is it a secret plot to silence the voices of the Pirate Bay’s founders, or just another screw up of automated DMCA takedowns?
Via Torrent Freak
After years of anticipation, The Pirate Bay documentary TPB-AFK was finally released to the public in February.
The film, created by Simon Klose, is available for no cost and has already been watched by millions of people. The public response to this free release model has been overwhelmingly positive, but it’s now meeting resistance from Hollywood, TPB’s arch rival.
Over the past weeks several movie studios have been trying to suppress the availability of TPB-AFK by asking Google to remove links to the documentary from its search engine. The links are carefully hidden in standard DMCA takedown notices for popular movies and TV-shows.
The silent attacks come from multiple Hollywood sources including Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate and are being sent out by multiple anti-piracy outfits.
Fox, with help from six-strikes monitoring company Dtecnet, asked Google to remove a link to TPB-AFK on Mechodownload. Paramount did the same with a link on the Warez.ag forums.
Viacom sent at least two takedown requests targeting links to the Pirate Bay documentary on Mrworldpremiere and Rapidmoviez. Finally, Lionsgate jumped in by asking Google to remove a copy of TPB-AFK from a popular Pirate Bay proxy.
While it’s entertaining to think that these takedowns are truly targeted at TBP-AFK, the more likely explanation is that they are collateral damage. Most DMCA takedown processes are fully automated and somehow the TPB-AFK links were (mistakenly) associated with infringing titles.
However, that doesn’t make it less of a problem.
The whole episode shows once again that something is seriously wrong with the current implementation of the DMCA takedown system. At the moment rightsholders get to take down whatever they want, with almost no oversight and no incentive to improve the accuracy of their systems.
Perhaps a six-strikes plan or some other form of “education” is in order for copyright holders who fail to learn from their mistakes?
Throughout the entire process of using Bitcoins, this was the only part that was the slightest bit difficult. After searching around I decided to use a mobile wallet for some small test transactions. I settled on Coinbase‘s Android app which can be found easily in the Google Play store. The difficulty, small as it was came in the verification process and delivery of purchased Bitcoins. In order to verify your account you have to let Coinbase link their account to your bank account. This requires you to either give your online bank account credentials, which I was not comfortable doing, or to let Coinbase make two small deposits to your account and then require you to verify the amount. I chose the latter and the process took 2 days, after purchasing $20 US in Bitcoin it took 3 days to transfer to my mobile wallet.
This initial time needed for setup with Coinbase was really the only thing I have to complain about my experience. You should also note that different markets have different processes to purchase Bitcoins so my experience is admittedly myopic.
Making Purchases With Bitcoins
As soon as I received my first 0.2 Bitcoins I had quite a bit of options online to spend them but I wanted to use them for something a bit more everyday. Two days passed before I decided that dinner was going to be on Bitcoin tonight. Checked my wallet and was pleasantly surprised that my 0.2 Bitcoins were worth almost 25% more than when I last checked; started with $20, and was now worth $24.50. I’d heard talk recently of a service called Gyft that allows you to buy gift cards from a large assortment of stores, restaurants, online companies, and more. Their website makes it really easy to buy new gift cards with preset $5 incremented amounts for any of these companies and actually uses Bitcoin by default. All you have to do is select an amount and scan the QR code Gyft gives you with your Coinbase wallet and you have a giftcard number and pin number within a minute. From loading a Gyft card to eating my pizza from Papa John’s it only took 45 minutes, most of it delivery time. I really hope we start seeing more widespread support for this technology, I’m looking at you PayPal.
Will his latest moves mark the beginning of the end of Facebook?
When Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter for The Social Network (a movie based on Mark Zuckerberg and the founding years of Facebook), won for Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes, he stated:
“I wanted to say to Mark Zuckerberg tonight, if you’re watching, Rooney Mara’s character makes a prediction at the beginning of the movie. She was wrong. You turned out to be a great entrepreneur, a visionary, and an incredible altruist.”
Unfortunately, visionary and altruist no longer ring true, as Zuckerberg, who turns 29 today, is using his Facebook fortune to create and promote advertisements for fracking companies, the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline, and for oil companies that want to drill in such delicate places as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge! And of course, his success as an entrepreneur has always been contentious, since we know that he’s stepped over a lot of people, including his friends, stealing ideas and playing hardball, to get where he is today – one of the world’s youngest billionaires.
While Zuck has been pissing people off for a long time – with his relentless efforts to monetize, commercialize, and corporatize Facebook, and social media at large – he’s somehow gotten away with it all. A few years ago the Facebook suicide phenomena percolated and fizzled out. Hackers and internet enthusiasts pushed back against his moves to sell our personal information to advertisers – but Facebook just kept gaining users and money in the bank despite all his sneaky moves & the blowback he received form clicktivists, who probably just moved on to the next day’s cause, in tune with the news cycle.
But now, Zuckerberg is moving boldly into the political arena. The new lobbying group that he co-founded with other technology executives in the Silicon Valley is called FWD.US. “Their first moves,” writes Steven Rosenfeld for AlterNet, mark a resurrection of “old-school libertarian values: lifting immigration quotas for workers who could fill high-skill positions in technology manufacturing and information services, trashing health care reform and backing the Keystone XL pipeline.”
This new political group (FWD US), funded by Zuckerberg’s billions, is spending loads of money on anti-environmental advertisements – those that support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), fracking, mining, and pipelines. They’re also promoting “enhanced” border security. The group’s forceful advocacy for expanded drilling and pipeline construction is surprising given Zuckerberg’s previous statements about clean renewable energy and its importance … but now he’s sliding dangerously far to the political right and using anything in his fiscal power to defend this perspective – bigotry backed by billions.
As Rosenfeld writes: “Previous reports have speculated Zuckerberg is a secret Republican, and Fwd.us – whose founding was announced with an oped-ed by Zuckerberg in The Washington Post – is not behaving like the warm and fuzzy bipartisan entity that it website proclaims.”
Things are already looking fishy. CredoAction, a group based in San Francisco, tried to buy Facebook ad space to criticize FWD.US’ politics – but they were denied. Meanwhile, the group has been unapologetic, even as other technology executives have pointed out that the group’s operations are far too secretive to their liking – such as backing GOP groups whose agendas have nothing to do with FWD.us’ official stated aims.
Looking at his track-record, we can’t expect that Zuckerberg’s most recent moves will undo him or his monopoly on social media. This may not be his coup de grâce, but steadily more and more of us are realizing that he’s not a guy to be trusted – especially with all the personal, political, private information he’s got us all to voluntarily share through his platform. We all complain about Facebook constantly … now let’s act on it. Here’s a chance to divest, get off Facebook, and give the bastard a nice birthday wake up call.
Intellectual property law is supposed to spur experimentation, PM contributor and Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds writes, not deter it. But the patent and copyright laws of yesteryear are ill-equipped for the world of 2013.
“Too much of a good thing,” Mae West supposedly said, “can be wonderful.” Is that true? Maybe in some cases, but probably not where patents and copyrights are concerned.
Just look at the controversy over a recent ruling that made unlocking your cellphone a felony punishable by five years in prison and $500,000 in fines. This twist on 1998′s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has encouraged people to rethink what, exactly, intellectual property laws should protect, and to wonder if they’ve gone too far. I think the answer is yes, and that a look back at the constitutional roots of our patent and copyright system can offer some useful guidelines.
Software is becoming the most valuable part of many physical goods. For a Blu-ray disc, that’s obvious: The intellectual property—the movie—matters more than the physical medium. But these days, even cars and airplanes depend as much on their software as on their steel. With that in mind, companies have pushed for ever-greater protections. Because the DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent software encryption, some DIY car repairs could potentially be judged illegal—the software may be encrypted!
Intellectual property law is supposed to promote experimentation, not hold it back. A similar problem in 17th-century England led to the precursor of our own system of patents and copyrights. In those days British monarchs often granted monopolies to courtiers in exchange for money or political support. The holder had the exclusive right to sell a product, anything from playing cards to French perfume. These unpopular arrangements were political payoffs, not rewards for introducing new products. And the abuses got so bad that in 1624 Parliament passed a law banning monopolies except as a reward for inventors.
Fast-forward to the drafting of the United States Constitution and you find similar thinking. Thomas Jefferson opposed all government-granted monopolies, but James Madison argued that while monopolies generally are bad, there is a place for patents and copyrights. In the end, the Patent and Copyright Clause (Article I, Section 8) empowered Congress “[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
The idea was that innovators would be rewarded with a short-term monopoly on their work. Afterward it would enter the public domain, hopefully sparking further creations or discoveries. In the early days the Constitution’s “limited times” were quite limited: 14 years for patents; 14 years, plus a potential 14-year renewal term, for copyrights. And patents were strictly scrutinized to ensure that they represented real inventions. (Jefferson himself, when he was secretary of state, served as a patent examiner, so important did he consider this task.)
Nowadays the limited times aren’t so limited. Copyright has been extended to the life of the author plus 70 years; corporate works (with no living person as “author”) get a 120-year term. Patents are good for just 20 years, but there’s far less scrutiny to ensure that they represent something truly new—a lot of “nuisance patents” are filed to provide bargaining chips rather than to protect actual creativity. Also, influential companies often get Congress to extend their own patent rights through special legislation. Does a century-plus exclusive right encourage invention more than a 28-year exclusive right? It’s doubtful.
The DMCA’s rules make things worse by interfering with the repair or repurposing of electronic goods after they have been sold. Some companies are even trying to apply that kind of thinking to nondigital products. The Supreme Court just took a small, positive step in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley, where it protected the right to resell books bought overseas. The publisher had argued, essentially, that you might own a book you bought, but the company retained the right to sell it.
Ownership ought to mean something. When you buy a smartphone or an automobile, it should be yours, and companies shouldn’t be able to leverage their intellectual property rights in software to keep you from unlocking, repairing, modifying, or reselling it as you see fit. Intellectual property is a good thing, all right. But it turns out that too much of it isn’t wonderful at all.
Buy the album at Beatport
Mystification – Feel The Core
Mystification – Evidence
Mystification – Save Us
Mystification – Vanity
Mystification – Tangle Of Life
Mystification – Tell Me
Mystification – Fantasy (ft Replicator)
Mystification – Unexplainable Feelings