Piracy’s Potpourri of Profit and Prevarication

Kim Dotcom has jumped the shark, Napster is long dead and Pirate Bay moves its domain nearly every other day, yet some things never seem to change when it comes to the world  of online piracy— the dysfunctional and thorny thicket that is the DMCA and the enduring role of big brand’s in ad-sponsored piracy for profit. Everyone who knows anything about online piracy understands that the DMCA  takedown process and “safe harbor” provisions that shield pirate entrepreneurs from liability should have been tossed in the trash long ago.  Signed into law in 1996, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act created a legal...

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Google gets called out (again) for its laissez faire attitude on piracy

It’s a tired old tale, but one that bears repeating over and over again.  Google’s search engine is the go-to resource for those seeking pirated content online.  There’s a long line of Google critics, myself included, who decry the search giant’s defiant and arrogant attitude in response to requests that it modify its search engine to mitigate damage done to content creators by online pirates. James Murdoch, co-COO of 21st Century Fox has added his voice to calls for change, speaking out at a TV conference in Cannes.  According to a report in The Guardian, Murdoch took issue with Google’s response to News Corp CEO Robert Thomson’s recent characterization...

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Australia sees the light, OK’s blocking pirate sites

Blocking pirate sites is not censorship–it’s common sense

In a move being celebrated by creators worldwide, the Australian parliament has approved the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015.  The legislation will allow rights holders go to court to request that pirate websites be blocked in Australia. The explanatory memorandum, notes that the purpose of the bill is to “reduce online infringement.”  

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More proof that online piracy is profitable (for pirates)

Today the Digital Citizen’s Alliance* released a report “Good Money Gone Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business,” which how quantifies how online piracy is fueled by ad-supported content theft.  Highlights of the report’s findings include: 1. The websites researched make a projected $227 million in annual ad revenue. The 30 largest sites that profit exclusively from advertising averaged $4.4 million annually, with the most heavily trafficked BitTorrent and P2P portal sites topped $6 million annually. 2. Even small sites studied could make more than $100,000 a year in advertising revenue. 3.  Because they rely entirely on...

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Should we trust Google’s piracy report? Probably not….

Google releases another self-serving piracy report On Friday Google announced an update to last year’s “How Google Fights Piracy” that included this claim: In October 2014, we have improved and refined the DMCA demotion signal in search results, increasing the effectiveness of just one tool rightsholders have at their disposal. Given that last year’s report was little more than a puff-piece designed to deflect growing criticism that Google is, in fact, a major enabler of online piracy--and profits from it in various ways–this new report seems to be more Silicon Valley search giant spin. Google’s piracy report begins by crowing...

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