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Posts Tagged ‘DMCA’

Talk Like A Pirate Day marred by DDoS Attacks

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on September 20, 2010

Boy in pirate gear looks through a spyglass

Avast mateys! Sunday September 19th was Talk Like A Pirate Day.  It’s always the 19th of September.

Kids (of all ages) around the world revel in a whole day in which they can “Talk Like A Pirate”.    Arrr.   Be a pirate.   Sing and play pirate songs like the Arrogant Worms classic pirate tune Last Saskatchewan Pirate.  Dress up in pirate gear.  There is even an online Pirate Translator for assistance with pirate talking.  It is nothing to do with politics, or copyright. The point of “Talk Like A Pirate Day” is fun. Yo ho ho.

This year, not so much.

The MPAA has been unsuccessfully trying to convince people that sharing is a bad thing by spending vast sums of money on ‘anti-piracy’ advertising. Of course it doesn’t help that they what they call piracy is not just commercial bootlegging, but includes personal use sharing and any number of things that users feel justified in doing. (Some copyright “reformers” say that we need to purchase copies of the same book for every member of the family.) Or format shifting. (Some copyright “reformers” say we should purchase copies of the same song for every device we would play it on.)

Although this campaign to make people think that piracy is terrible has been largely unsuccessful with citizen consumers, in combination with massive lobbying efforts it seems to have worked with governments. The USA passed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), the UK passed the Digital Economy Act (DEAct), and the Canadian government continues to push ahead in the face of almost universal opposition to it’s Canadian DMCA Bill C-32. The MPAA /RIAA has also been pushing the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in an attempt to make an end run around WIPO, previously the way to achieve international copyright treaties. Although not perfect, at least the WIPO process was transparent. Even so, none of these laws are easy to uphold in the face of such widespread citizen dissatisfaction. The DMCA has been repeatedly amended in response to court challenges to various anti-democratic aspects over the 12+ years of its operation.

So the MPAA hired Aiplex Software to go beyond the law, and use what is called a “Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack” to take down websites they allege infringe copyright. I believe this is done by overwhelming the site with traffic. I think that’s a bad thing. And apparently I’m not alone.

“Girish Kumar, managing director of Aiplex Software, a firm in India, told this website that his company, which works for the film industry, was being hired – effectively as hitmen – to launch cyber attacks on sites hosting pirated movies that don’t respond to copyright infringement notices sent to them by the film industry.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Film industry hires cyber hitmen to take down internet pirates

White Pirate Ship silhouette on one and A casette tape making the skull above crossbones for the other
Word went out that Aiplex used this tactic to take down the Pirate Bay website, which led to retaliation by the anonymous membership of the 4chan Message Boards. According to Torrent Freak,

“Following a call to arms yesterday, the masses inhabiting the anonymous 4chan boards have carried out a huge assault on a pair of anti-piracy enemies. The website of Aiplex Software, the anti-piracy outfit which has been DDoSing torrent sites recently, is currently down having been DDoS’d. They are joined in the Internet wasteland by the MPAA’s website, also currently under huge and sustained attack.”

TorrentFreak: 4chan DDoS Takes Down MPAA and Anti-Piracy Websites

I don’t know about the MPAA but I did see that the Aiplex site was indeed down yesterday. Today both are back up, as is the Pirate Bay site.

When the MPAA employs Aiplex to attack other sites, it makes the MPAA look very bad.

And the urge to retaliate is a natural human instinct. But striking back at your attacker isn’t always the best course of action. In this case, it doesn’t really help. In fact, replying in kind makes ‘pirates’ look bad.

Logo made of a purple letter P formed by a pirate sail enclosed in a circle surrounded by gold laurel leaves

Instead of talking about the great Software Freedom Day we had yesterday, people online were talking about DDoS attacks.

And suddenly it wasn’t any fun to talk like a pirate.

That’s too bad. Because raising awareness among those who might fall prey to misleading ‘piracy’ propaganda is important.

One constructive way to fight against bad law is to get involved politically. The European Union currently has two elected Pirate Party members. At this point pretty nearly every country in the world has a Pirate Party at some stage of development. (The United States has two. Coincidence? I think not.)

I believe that The Pirate Party of Canada is gearing up to register candidate(s) for the impending Federal Election, which is the last step in achieving ‘official party status’. Just the name “Pirate Party” draws attention to the issue. The point is not to engender lawlessness, but rather to fight for sane copyright reform.

Woman in Orange smoking text encircling her reads A TPB WORLD PREMIERE Die Beauty

When I went to check if Pirate Bay was down yesterday, I got a glimpse of one of the best ways to fight against the negative propaganda being peddled by the MPAA.

A new movie Die Beauty is being released on The Pirate Bay. You can check out the Die Beauty movie trailer on FaceBook (you don’t even have to log in to see this) and it looks quite interesting.

This is of course is the real reason the MPAA is so eager to shut down p2p sites like The Pirate Bay. The MPAA needs to kill or control this new distribution medium because it means that film makers don’t need a Hollywood monopoly to distribute their movies. Making effective use of this distribution channel to legally distribute movies is a far more effective way of fighting the MPAA.



[If you're aware of any movies, videos, music, books and art that make use of or plan to use Internet p2p distribution and/or creative commons licensing please let me know so I can add them to the list I'm compiling of of the new media. Thanks! ---laurel]

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

2010 is the new 1984

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on May 27, 2010

No Usage Based Billing2010 is the year the UK passed the Digital Economy Act. (formerly #DEBill now #deACT on Twitter) It’s also the year that Canada may get a Canadian DMCA and I suspect it is also supposed to be the year that the fast tracked A.C.T.A. is supposed to be put in place.

I know I should be talking about Usage Based Billing right now, since its been approved and all, but there is just so much happening all at once. I am working up several (long) articles right now. My novel is all but ignored. But I felt I had to respond to another comment on Cory Doctorow’s boingboing article today Canada’s sellout Heritage Minister ready to hand copyright to Hollywood to explain why it is so important to fight against all of this now. It seemed like a good idea to expand that a bit and post it here too.

Canadian DMCA graphic by laurelrusswurm

Standing back and letting those powerful corporations dictate what Canadian law should be isn’t just about our sovereignty, and it isn’t just about turning our young into criminals. It’s about freedom. Not as in beer, but as in liberty.

We may be living in a world where corporations have more of a say in our supposed democracies than citizens have. But that isn’t good enough.

And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight a Canadian DMCA or A.C.T.A.

We can’t afford not to fight them. Not just because its wrong, but because it won’t stop there.

Scale of justice gold by Erasoft 24, a public domain image from Wikipedia

Just because the DMCA it isn’t prosecuted all the time doesn’t mean it can’t be. Once a law is on the books, the authorities can use it all the time.

Or some of the time. Or none.

They might only haul it out when they need it to silence dissidents.

Even if they don’t bother to make use of a law, once it’s made, it has full force whenever they want or need it. Once enacted it can always be used.

No Smoking Sign

If you have a restaurant smoking ban in a city, it doesn’t work well, because smokers (and their friends and families) will just go to restaurants outside city limits. It can be economically damaging for the city restaurants. Smokers lighting up in city restaurants won’t get stopped by management because management can’t afford to lose more business. So it’s usually only when a bylaw officer is at the next table that it gets rigorously enforced.

On the other hand, if you put the ban on the whole province, it will work much better. Smokers won’t have a choice, and restaurants aren’t going to have to worry about losing business. and for the most part, you’ll find smokers standing outside smoking even during blizzards. Because unless you live on a border, there won’t be a feasible alternative. Because unless you live on a border, there won’t be a feasible alternative.

In much the same way, if you pass the DMCA, it won’t work well because of all those other jurisdictions that don’t have laws like it.

So you lobby other governments to get them to do what you’ve done. You begin negotiations for a secret treaty called A.C.T.A., where you try and convince friendly governments that they should do what you want.

And in the meantime, you convince the UK to pass a Digital Economy Bill, and Canada to draft a Canadian DMCA.

The world wearing mickey mouse ears

Because the more countries who already have passed laws that pave the way for A.C.T.A., the more chance there is that A.C.T.A. passes. I mean, what’s the big deal? A.C.T.A. is only a few countries. Look at India… they just passed some great laws.

But the point is that if A.C.T.A. passes, the solidarity of the A.C.T.A. signatories can be used to intimidate the non-A.C.T.A. signatories to do what you want too. A.C.T.A. is doing it this way on purpose. It will be much easier to get their friends to sign on than try and get the whole world to agree.

Once the whole world has DMCA laws, there will be no safety for people who are doing what my generation was allowed to do legally. Funny, isn’t it, that cassette recorders and later video cassette recorders were made by companies like Sony… a corporation that wants to stop us and especially our children from making recordings today.

boombox graphic by Linda Kim, Public Domain clip art

Why on earth would anyone have purchased cassette recorders if it wasn’t to copy our favorite songs from records to make dance tapes for parties?

Because most people are law abiding, they will follow the new laws, even if they don’t agree with them.

Eventually the new laws will be accepted. Even though countries like India may have passed the non-DMCA copyright law any sovereign nation should be able to make, which conforms to the WIPO treaties India has signed India was placed on the USTR watch list, as was Canada. This is another way the United states seeks to bully sovereign nations into bending to their will. If Canada makes a DMCA copyright law and signs A.C.T.A. we will be able to help our American cousins bully India into following A.C.T.A. although clearly India has not chosen to. But surely India can be economically coerced into changing their laws to match ACTA. After all, how many call centers (like Bell Canada’s, for instance) are located in India? People have to eat.

Once the new DMCA/A.C.T.A, laws are everywhere it will be much more difficult to undo them.

Worse, the corporations behind them will be even more powerful.

If they haven’t already snuck in laws in allowing government spyware– not just on the Internet but on our computers too– as was attempted in Canada last year, it will be much easier now. Now that the law is universal, it is a vindication of the idea that piracy–even personal use piracy– is bad. And once piracy is no longer legally defensible anywhere in the world, law enforcement will need teeth to do the job of wiping out the insidious crime of piracy.

A nice little law outlawing private encryption would really be handy.

Original art from the public domain Oscar Wilde's “The Nightingale and the Rose” digitized by Project Gutenberg

Certainly large corporate entities with important sensitive data will still require encryption. They could be allowed to proceed with government oversight, perhaps licensing. The bank would have to allow government inspections of the data they encrypt, just to make sure that there is no piracy being hidden behind the encryption. There would need to be a whole new arm of law enforcement to manage it. And think of the income the government could generate by licensing encryption.

This is all to wipe out piracy, right? To get that underway, we’ll have to make some examples. Going after commercial pirates isn’t enough. It’s those bloody kids pirating movies in their parents basements that are the problem. Some of them are copying movies from DVDs they’ve purchased and upload them to p2p networks so other kids can watch them for free. What a dastardly crime. A few of those badly behaved kids need to be arrested to make the point. Put a good scare in them. Make an example of them. Throw some really big show trials and put a few of these depraved pirate children in jail. That’ll teach ‘em not to share!

But of course even jailing non-commercial pirates won’t actually do the trick. In fact, it will probably encourage an entire pirate underground.

The next step in the war to wipe out those pesky pirates would be making p2p networks illegal. A final solution to digital piracy. After all, if there was no p2p there would be no piracy, right? So now, finally, p2p would become illegal. No loss, eh?

Project Gutenberg: Gone.
Maybe they could start selling those public domain ebooks, since distribution will be a problem without p2p.
But hey, if they go under that’s OK, people can still buy ebooks from Google and Amazon.
Loss to literature and literacy: immense

Free-Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS): Gone
Without p2p distros, many FLOSS apps will of necessity become LOSS since “free as in beer” may no longer be affordable.
But that’s OK. The real pros like Microsoft and Apple are the ones that should be making software.
Loss to technology: astounding

Independent Music Recordings: Gone.
With the loss of nearly free digital distribution, musicians will have to give up their dreams if they aren’t one of the few acts signed by CRIA members. As it was in the days before the Internet, it will again be far too expensive for Independents to release their own music.
That’s OK. RIAA/CRIA are the experts after all. Why shouldn’t they have total control of the music we listen to.
Loss to culture: incalculable

Because you see, when enough countries have DMCAs and Digital Economy Bills, they will start clamping down.

Because they can.

Canadians don’t want a Canadian DMCA. Tell the Minister of Heritage James Moore on Twitter, although writing paper letters to all the politicians would a good thing too.

Just say:

No Canadian DMCA



If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 10808 signatures.

If you have already signed, who else should you be asking to sign?

That’s easy: anyone who uses the Internet.

Because Usage Based Billing will harm both Canadians and our Economy.

http://dissolvethecrtc.ca/

STOP Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing



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Parody: Downfall

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on April 23, 2010

Canadian Copyright

Johnny Wayne holds a brush under his nose to compliment his Hitler Hairdo as Frank Shuster reads from the script at a CBC microphone

the past

Growing up in Canada, had I thought about it at all, it would never have occurred to me that parody was not protected under Canadian copyright law. After all, parody has long been a major staple of Canadian comedy. Who could forget the classic CBC comedy specials featuring the famed Canadian comic duo Wayne and Shuster?

Wayne and Shuster were parody. Generations of Canadians grew up laughing at their comedy.

Who could possibly forget Johnny Wayne in Spock ears…?

Or a a bald Frank Shuster captaining the Love Boat…?

Wayne and Schuster satirized, lampooned and parodied anything and everything over the course of their career which spanned decades. In those days, producers of the American television programs that Wayne and Shuster parodied probably had no idea that Canadian copyright law was any different than American copyright law which does allow parody. It would never have occurred to any of them that they could have sued the CBC on the basis of Wayne and Shuster content. In those days the big media companies were just happy Wayne and Shuster gave them such great free publicity.

It is absurd that parody is NOT protected under Canadian copyright law

Canadians have contributed a vast amount to the world of humour over the years. The fact that parody is not protected in Canada is probably one reason why so many Canadians in the funny business have emigrated south. Yet Canadians are always willing to laugh at ourselves and our foibles through parody. Parody helps us let off steam so we don’t take to the streets and storm the Bastille.

Yet in today’s world Canadians reckless enough to who commit parody in Canada expose themselves to legal penalties for copyright infringement.

“the” parody meme

There is a powerful scene in a 2004 German movie called Der Untergang in the original German, more familiarly known to English speakers the world over under the name Downfall. This one scene from this film is quite probably the single most re-mixed bit of video in the history of the world.

The first time I saw a Downfall parody re:mix it was lampooning ill advised Canadian government activities.   But that was not the last time I saw a Downfall (Der Untergang) parody. There have been many many more.

I had never even heard of Constantin Film or Downfall (Der Untergang) before the subtitled parodies of began surfacing on YouTube a couple of years ago. I think that’s probably true for most of the world’s population outside of Germany.

But over the last couple of years this one Downfall scene has been subtitled, and subtitled, and subtitled again, and uploaded to YouTube, to illustrate a wide variety of issues and causes. Some are political minefields, while others are purely frivolous, like this anti Comic MS font Downfall parody.

But even though parody has been protected under American law for many years, the American DMCA allows take down notices on the basis of mere allegations. Contrary to the body of law that came before, this reversal puts the onus of defense on the accused, and allegations of infringement are treated as proof, and it YouTube seems to pull videos at any rights holder request, whether under DMCA or not.

This puts the accused in the dubious position of guilty until proven innocent. This also means the rights holders can censor parody by saying it copyright infringement.

MIT Free Culture has created an internet research project called YouTomb, to track videos taken down from YouTube for alleged copyright violation. You can see their Constantin Film Produktion GmbH results here.

A few days back UK blogger Glyn Moody passed along an online article warning of that Constantin Film the company that made Downfall decided to take action against these parodies.

“Also, someone really needs to make a video about Hitler being upset that Constantin Film is DCMAing Hitler parodies.”

MG Siegler, Techcrunch: Hitler Is Very Upset That Constantin Film Is Taking Down Hitler Parodies

Of course, in true internet fashion, the reaction to this is, naturally enough, a parody. I learned about this new parody clip, easily the funniest parody version I’ve yet seen, from a Malaysian friend who was heard about it from a New Zealand friend who was ReTweeting the Electronic Freedom Foundation. I hope it stays on YouTube as long as possible. Because not only is it funny, it makes some excellent points about copyright. In the interim, by linking to it here I may help a few more folks see it: The Downfall Parody in response to the Downfall Parody take-down notices

I can certainly understand that the film makers who crafted this ultra serious historical film Der Untergang might have a hard time accepting the fact that what is probably one of the most powerful scenes in the film has been transformed into a re:mix parody meme. At the same time, this has enormously raised the visibility of both the film and the film company on an international level. I know at least one person who intends to purchase a copy of Downfall (Der Untergang) specifically because the scene that has been parodied so many times is clearly so well done.

Another other notable copyright reform parody was created by E.F.F. director Brad Templeton, whose parody Hitler, as “Downfall” producer, orders a DMCA takedown promoting parody and the Electronic Freedom Foundation was actually taken down, but is now back online. You can read all about it in his blog Brad Ideas. At the end of Brad’s film he gives a link to the E.F.F. Fair Use page

I hope that Constantin Film decides to change their position on this issue. Clearly, they have a name that is now known around the world because of this much parodied film clip. And although some factions of the American Government are pushing for A.C.T.A., United States copyright law does clearly protect parody. Should this go to court, not only will Constantin Films have alienated a vast potential audience, but they are likely to spend a fair bit of money prosecuting an un-winnable court case.

what could Constantin Film do?

special features text graphic

The best idea I’ve heard for a  Constantin Film solution was Canadian Bob Jonkman‘s suggestion to release a Downfall YouTube Special Edition. Naturally this DVD set would contain the original film in German, with subtitles in all appropriate languages. The special features would include all the YouTube parodies.

Perhaps Constantin Film could even put together a special interactive “make your own captions” feature that would allow you to caption your own and upload it to YouTube. I’m not sure if that would be technically feasible, but if it was I’d guess it would be a huge moneymaker.

The beauty of a strategy like this is that it would not alienate a potential global audience, but would instead sell them a lot of DVDs.   Once people have bought the DVD, they are rather likely to watch the actual film.

Win-Win, don’t you think?

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Ubuntu Release Party Day

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on October 29, 2009

No Usage Based Billing!

No Usage Based Billing

NEWS FLASH!

Ubuntu, one of the most popular desktop versions of GNU Linux the free operating software, is issuing the new release today.

Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #114 announced that the new version of Ubuntu will be released on October 29th, 2009.

TPB

Looks like these guys are the modern day equivalent of Blank Reg

My Google Search brought me some Pirate Bay results, and being curious I checked it out an learned a little about download mirrors I was going to write about. Unfortunately, I closed the tab and couldn’t get it back again thanks to the DMCA TakeDown notice which compelled Google to remove Pirate Bay from its search pages.

I guess even Google isn’t big enough to fight this bad law. At the time of this writing, Microsofts’s Bing search engine was still allowing Pirate Bay searches. It will be interesting to see if they get a DMCA TakeDown as well.

Guess it pays to have more than one search engine online, what? It is sad to see the absence of due process affecting the civil rights of our formerly free (as in speech) American cousins.

To download Ubuntu, you can go to Ubuntu Complete Download Options page, which will direct you.

Canadian users are directed to the University of Waterloo site, the Canada iweb Technologies site and the Canada Portafixe site.

For those of us who are very new to all this Torrent Freak: Use BitTorrent to Upgrade to Ubuntu ‘Intrepid Ibex’ explains how to do this in human language.

For the best support of all, try to find a local Linux/Ubuntu/Fedora/KDE/etc. users group because they are probably hosting a (free as in beer as well as free as in speech) release party. If you have a laptop bring it along and the folks at the party will most likely help you install it on your computer. If you don’t, by attending the party you can learn how its done, and maybe even come away from the party with a burned CD or DVD.

Here are the Confirmed Canadian Karmic Koala release parties scheduled at the time of writing. To find more or parties in other parts of the world check the main ubuntu wiki party page.

I’m really new to this, but since it seems that almost all the people promoting GNU Linux applications like Ubuntu are private individuals who are not making any money off of this stuff, they do it because they love it and believe in it. (Think about it… getting the world out from under Windows domination? How worthy can you get?)

Part of the whole GNU Linux deal is the community. Everyone helps everyone for the public good. When someone at one of these meetings gives you a burned CD it is unlikely they will charge you for it, but 99 times out of a hundred they have paid for the CDs they give away out of their own pocket.

Although I may get some flack for saying this it seems to me that since economic times are still tough if you can afford it, it would be great if you brought a handful of blank writable CDs along to the party for sharing. Its great that the technical folks are willing to share their expertise, but they shouldn’t have to bankrupt themselves to do it. In a community everybody does what they can. I figure its along the lines of bringing a bottle of wine or a tray of devilled eggs when someone invites you to dinner. It’s sharing, which is very cool.

If you’re not sure about switching to a GNU Linux operating system, its possible to get a bootable live CD so that you can try it out without switching.

I’m horrendously busy as I’m trying to get a few crucial jobs finished up so I can participate in NaNoWriMo, but I’ve only been to one release party which was disrupted by a transit strike, so I might toddle along to the Kwartzlab party tonight.

By the way, this is “breaking news” not the fourth part of the alphabet series.

Linux distributions make extensive LEGAL use of bitTorrent transfers. Of course the downside is that in Canada the CRTC has given Bell Canada blanket approval to “throttle” all dsl Internet BitTorrent traffic under the erroneous assumption that all BitTorrent Internet traffic involves copyright infringement.



Fortunately we don’t have draconian DMCA laws in Canada (yet) or some of our favorite websites could be so easily shut down by unmerited malicious complaints. Sites like this one:
http://dissolvethecrtc.ca/
9149 signatures

Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing

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