Category: Tech

Copyright Au Courant – Piracy, Popcorn Time and Privacy

Lots of news in the copyright, piracy and privacy world of late.  Here’s some worth a look:

First up, this thoughtful piece by Nelson Granados on Forbes.com “How Piracy Is Still Hurting The Filmmakers And Artists You Admire.”  Granados takes direct aim at the fallacy that piracy doesn’t cause damage to Hollywood studios.

“Many think naively that studios cannot be hurt too much, because after all, you hear mostly about the movies that make hundreds of millions of dollars. But the reality for many filmmakers is that they often live on the edge, seeking financing to produce quality content, and enduring high uncertainty about whether they will be able to pay off debt and have any profit left. Given the high fixed cost of producing a quality movie, losses from piracy can be the difference between making a profit or not.”

He notes that a number of “peer-reviewed” studies quantify this damage.  Bottom line, like any industry, Hollywood depends on making a return on its investment in order to stay alive.  No matter what piracy apologists allege, that’s a basic economic fact.  Granados also touches on the particular vulnerability faced by independent filmmakers.

Most artists struggle to make ends meet as they pursue their creative work with passion and dedication. Piracy may be tipping the next Quentin Tarantino over the financial edge into bankruptcy, and we will all lose.

As I’ve often said, we (consumers) won’t be aware of what we are missing if it isn’t made.  Piracy’s damage can be insidious and, to the public, somewhat invisible, but ultimately it diminishes the quantity (and quality) of film offerings we have to choose from.

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Google hopes to see more Green with new YouTube Red

YouTube Red’s new subscription streaming service offers consumers (and pirates) ad free content to watch (and steal).

YouTube has decided to enter the subscription streaming fray with the announcement yesterday of its new (ad-free) premium channel, YouTube Red.  Despite the unfortunate choice of a name —similar to a rather notorious porn site that has both the word “red” and “tube” in its title– YouTube is hoping its new endeavor will catch some of the ad-free streaming mojo enjoyed by the popular subscription based offerings of Netflix, HULU, and Amazon Prime.  And, like the others, YouTube will develop its own slate of “YouTube Originals.”

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In supporting Aurous, EFF dismisses musicians’ right to earn a living

EFF comes to new music piracy app’s defense

By now many have heard the news that a much-anticipated “Popcorn Time” for music launched this week.  Dubbed “Aurous,” the new app goads users into downloading the app with the catchline,  Enjoy music how you want to for free.”  Unfortunately, as we all know, music is not free to create, nor should it be free to consume.

Andrew Sampson, developer of Aurous, claims his app is legal and compares its functionality to that of Google’s search engine.  Of course we all know what Google’s record has been when it comes to linking to pirated content.  Sampson told Billboard:

We’re pulling content from sources that are licensed. From a legal standpoint, what we’re doing is okay. All files are streamed from legitimate sources — we don’t host anything. We only share cached results over peer-to-peer…

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Copyright au courant for Friday, October 2nd.

Copyright Alliance’s new CEO takes over October, 1st.

First up in important copyright news, the Copyright Alliance’s new CEO Keith Kupferschmid takes the helm. Mr. Kupferschmid takes the reins from Sandra Aistars who has moved on to a new leadership role at George Mason University School of Law as both a professor and director of the  law school’s Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Program.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Sandra for all her hard work on behalf on indie artists, filmmakers, musicians and more.  Without her unwavering guidance these past few years, there’s no doubt in my mind that our rights as creators would have been further undermined.  Working in the trenches in Washington, and being the target of anti-copyright activists online, is not an easy job, but it’s one which Sandra handed with professionalism and grace.  I’m excited to see what she has planned for her new venture with George Mason University of Law and wish her all the best.

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With advertising on WDBJ-TV murder clips, YouTube sinks to new low

When it comes to making money, management at YouTube apparently has no shame

It’s no secret that YouTube slaps advertising on pretty much anything without regard for subject matter or ownership, but making money off of last week’s on-air murder of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward is a new low.  A source tipped me off to the fact that a number of opportunistic (and shameless) YouTube “partners” have uploaded and monetized clips of both the station’s live broadcast and the video taken, (and uploaded to Twitter) by the deranged murderer as he executed the two journalists during a televised live-shot for the morning news.

While there has been an ongoing debate among news organizations about how to handle the disturbing footage, there should be no debate as to whether this footage is monetization worthy.  Earlier this year YouTube (and advertisers) were embarrassed by reports of advertisements appearing on terrorist recruiting videos.  Now this.

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