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Found 10 results

  1. Should you keep your last name after getting married or change it? The question is more complicated than you think especially when considering all the possibilities keeping your maiden name, taking your spouse's last name, using your maiden name as a middle name, taking two last names, hyphenating the two names to create a joint surname and others. Please Share your thoughts
  2. Every day thousand of Internet subscribers receive a piracy warning from their Internet provider. Increasingly, these notifications also include a settlement request ranging from $20 to hundreds of dollars. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ISPs should protect their customers from these invasive tactics. There are many ways copyright holders approach today’s “online piracy problem.†Some prefer to do it through innovation, while others prefer educational messages, warnings or even lawsuits. Another group is aiming to generate revenue by obtaining lots of small cash settlements. Rightscorp and CEG TEK have chosen the latter model. Their emails are sent as regular DMCA notices which many ISPs then forward to their customers, often with a settlement demand included. Both companies send millions of warnings to U.S. Internet providers every year, but how these are handled varies per ISP. Some, including Charter, forward the entire notice, while others such as Comcast strip out the settlement details. To find out more about the legality of these notices, and the options Internet providers and subscribers have, TorrentFreak sat down with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) staff attorney Mitch Stoltz. According to Stoltz, Internet providers should carefully review what they’re forwarding to their users. Under U.S. law they are not required to forward DMCA notices and stripping out settlement demands is in the best interest of the consumer. “In the U.S., ISPs don’t have any legal obligation to forward infringement notices in their entirety. An ISP that cares about protecting its customers from abuse should strip out demands for money before forwarding infringement notices. Many do this,†he says. “An ISP can also choose not to forward notices at all if they are deficient, misleading, or inaccurate,†Stoltz adds. Misleading notices The notices these companies send are designed to threaten and pressure the recipient, who is often not the person who downloaded the allegedly infringing material. “The problem with notices demanding money from ISP subscribers is that they’re often misleading,†Stoltz notes. “They often give the impression that the person whose name is on the ISP bill is legally responsible for all infringement that might happen on the Internet connection, which is simply not true.†Some of the notices mention disastrous consequences, such as excessively large jury verdicts against file sharers who previously had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. However, they forget to mention that these type of piracy cases almost never go to court. Similarly, ISPs rarely disconnect casual copyright infringers. “Rightscorp, for one, has never sued an accused file sharer. Having an ISP forward a demand for money also makes it seem like the ISP will cut off the subscriber if they don’t pay, which is also not true– most ISPs don’t ban customers just because a penny-stock outfit in Santa Monica asks them to,†Stoltz says. Legal repercussions? As a result of the threatening language many subscribers fear that they might be made bankrupt. The reality, however, is that nothing usually happens if they opt to ignore the threats. Stoltz advises people who receive a notice not to reach out to the sender. Instead, they should carefully consider their options and consult a lawyer if needed. “Circumstances vary, and it’s always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. Be cautious about communicating with any company or lawyer that accuses you of copyright infringement – they will use anything you say against you. Stop, think, and read carefully before you decide to send money or information.†In theory ISPs do have the right to disconnect an account after a subscriber receives multiple notices, but this is relatively rare. The same is true for lawsuits. As far as we know neither Rightscorp nor CEG TEK have taken a file-sharer to court. “They would rather scare a hundred people into paying $20 than spend thousands on a lawsuit against one person,†Stoltz says. The problem remains that even a minuscule chance of getting in trouble is enough for some to pay up. Some people just want the whole thing to go away, that’s what the settlement model is based on. The only way to make this threat disappear is for Internet providers to either strip the settlement demands, or simply toss all notices in the trash. https://torrentfreak.com/why-isps-should-stop-forwarding-piracy-settlement-demands-150502/
  3. Phil Spencer says improving install times is high on his personal priority list. Improving Xbox One install times ranks highly on Xbox boss Phil Spencer's platform priority list, though it remains to be seen when gamers might start to see zippier install periods. "It's high on my priority list," Spencer told IGN. Part of the reason that Xbox One install times are slower than PlayStation 4 times in some cases, Spencer said, is a result of Microsoft dropping the always-online requirement for Xbox One. He said Xbox One launch titles like Forza Motorsport 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome were developed with the assumption that all Xbox Ones would always be connected to the Internet, but this changed. "The change to having to deal with an offline-only state meant that all the install code-flows weren't as perfect as they could be," Spencer admitted. "It's really our developer pipeline and our ingestion system where we have to do the most work" -- Spencer said about improving Xbox One install times In response to this, Spencer asked him team to install third-party games on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to measure the differences in install times. He said in some cases, Xbox One install times are in fact faster, but in others, Microsoft's console does "significantly worse." "Are there systemtic reasons for that? Our drive's obviously the same speed, moving stuff into memory takes the same amount of time; hard drive speed's basically the same, so what's going on?" he said. "I'm capturing the data. I want to be state-of-the-art in install times so people can start playing games as soon as possible. It's high on my priority list." So what, then, is the issue? Spencer wouldn't say outright, acknowledging only that, "There isn't one thing to say why are we two seconds slower on this game or frankly why are we two seconds faster on a different game. The issues are a little bit in the weeds. It's really our developer pipeline and our ingestion system where we have to do the most work." "I'm not defending it at all, because I do think install times should be faster," he added. Asked to specify where on the roadmap improving Xbox One install times is, Spencer reiterated that it's high on his priority list, though he didn't have a specific timeline to share. "It's kind of a constant," he said. "It's one of the things that's on top of my list in terms of the parity experience between us and Sony, and making sure that the install times aren't deficient on Xbox in any way." In January, Spencer first admitted that Xbox One install times need to improve. What are your thoughts on Xbox One install times? Let us know in the comments below. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  4. The U.S. Government is trying to get their hands on the assets of Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants through a civil lawsuit, claiming that they are the proceeds of crime. Megaupload's legal team is striking back against these allegations and informs the court that the Government's case is built on nonexistent crimes. Acting on a lead from the entertainment industry, the U.S. Government shut down Megaupload early 2012. Since then the case hasn’t progressed much. Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has been delayed until 2015 and most of the recent court proceedings dealt with how the seized assets should be handled. Two months ago the Department of Justice launched a separate civil action in which it asked the court for a forfeiture of the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants, claiming they were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes. Megaupload has now responded to these allegations at the federal court in Virginia, with a motion to dismiss (pdf) the complaint. According to Megaupload’s lawyers the Department of Justice is making up crimes that don’t exist. One of the main arguments is that the Government accuses the Megaupload defendants of secondary criminal copyright infringement, a crime that doesn’t exist under common law. “The crimes for which the Government seeks to punish the Megaupload defendants do not exist. Although there is no such crime as secondary criminal copyright infringement, that is the crime on which the Government’s Superseding Indictment and instant Complaint are predicated,†Megaupload’s lawyers write. “That is the nonexistent crime for which Megaupload was destroyed and all of its innocent users were denied their rightful property. And that is the nonexistent crime for which the Government would now strip the criminal defendants, and their families, of all their assets,†they add. In addition, Megaupload mentions another argument why the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the case. It’s a requirement that the infringements took place in the United States, but the DOJ’s compliant fails to back that up. “Tellingly, the Complaint and the Superseding Indictment together fail to identify a single instance in which an act of infringement — particularly an unauthorized upload or download — occurred entirely within the United States,†the motion reads. This is true for the alleged infringements committed by Megaupload users and also for the 50 Cent track Kim Dotcom allegedly distributed himself. There is no mention or proof that this infringement took place in the United States. “Although the Complaint alleges that Kim Dotcom personally distributed a link to a copy of a copyrighted work on, and has received at least one infringing copy of a copyrighted work from, the Mega Sites, the Complaint never alleges where that occurred,†the lawyers argue. Based on these and several other arguments Megaupload’s legal team has asked the Court to dismiss the DOJ’s complaint. At the very least, they want the case to be put on hold until the criminal case is completed. TorrentFreak spoke with Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken who explains that this is the first time that the Government has been called out for prosecuting “nonexistent†crimes. “For the first time in the case, with this motion to dismiss, we are attacking the merits of the DOJ’s core copyright claims. We are optimistic that the Court will find that there is no such thing as criminal secondary copyright infringement,†Rothken tells TorrentFreak. The Government’s efforts are no surprise to Megaupload’s legal team. The civil attempt to obtain possession of the assets fits a pattern of meritless claims according to Rothken. “The DOJ is trying to win the Megaupload case on procedure rather than the merits,†Rothken told us. “We are hopeful the US Court will finally decide the threshold copyright issues in Kim Dotcom’s and Megaupload’s favor and bring this global legal matter to a rapid end.†Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  5. The U.S. Government is trying to get their hands on the assets of Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants through a civil lawsuit, claiming that they are the proceeds of crime. Megaupload's legal team is striking back against these allegations and informs the court that the Government's case is built on nonexistent crimes. Acting on a lead from the entertainment industry, the U.S. Government shut down Megaupload early 2012. Since then the case hasn’t progressed much. Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has been delayed until 2015 and most of the recent court proceedings dealt with how the seized assets should be handled. Two months ago the Department of Justice launched a separate civil action in which it asked the court for a forfeiture of the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants, claiming they were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes. Megaupload has now responded to these allegations at the federal court in Virginia, with a motion to dismiss (pdf) the complaint. According to Megaupload’s lawyers the Department of Justice is making up crimes that don’t exist. One of the main arguments is that the Government accuses the Megaupload defendants of secondary criminal copyright infringement, a crime that doesn’t exist under common law. “The crimes for which the Government seeks to punish the Megaupload defendants do not exist. Although there is no such crime as secondary criminal copyright infringement, that is the crime on which the Government’s Superseding Indictment and instant Complaint are predicated,†Megaupload’s lawyers write. “That is the nonexistent crime for which Megaupload was destroyed and all of its innocent users were denied their rightful property. And that is the nonexistent crime for which the Government would now strip the criminal defendants, and their families, of all their assets,†they add. In addition, Megaupload mentions another argument why the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the case. It’s a requirement that the infringements took place in the United States, but the DOJ’s compliant fails to back that up. “Tellingly, the Complaint and the Superseding Indictment together fail to identify a single instance in which an act of infringement — particularly an unauthorized upload or download — occurred entirely within the United States,†the motion reads. This is true for the alleged infringements committed by Megaupload users and also for the 50 Cent track Kim Dotcom allegedly distributed himself. There is no mention or proof that this infringement took place in the United States. “Although the Complaint alleges that Kim Dotcom personally distributed a link to a copy of a copyrighted work on, and has received at least one infringing copy of a copyrighted work from, the Mega Sites, the Complaint never alleges where that occurred,†the lawyers argue. Based on these and several other arguments Megaupload’s legal team has asked the Court to dismiss the DOJ’s complaint. At the very least, they want the case to be put on hold until the criminal case is completed. TorrentFreak spoke with Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken who explains that this is the first time that the Government has been called out for prosecuting “nonexistent†crimes. “For the first time in the case, with this motion to dismiss, we are attacking the merits of the DOJ’s core copyright claims. We are optimistic that the Court will find that there is no such thing as criminal secondary copyright infringement,†Rothken tells TorrentFreak. The Government’s efforts are no surprise to Megaupload’s legal team. The civil attempt to obtain possession of the assets fits a pattern of meritless claims according to Rothken. “The DOJ is trying to win the Megaupload case on procedure rather than the merits,†Rothken told us. “We are hopeful the US Court will finally decide the threshold copyright issues in Kim Dotcom’s and Megaupload’s favor and bring this global legal matter to a rapid end.†Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  6. In a submission to the Australian Government on the issue of online piracy, the BBC indicates that ISPs should be obliged to monitor their customers' activities. Service providers should become suspicious that customers could be pirating if they use VPN-style services and consume a lot of bandwidth, the BBC says. After cutting its teeth as a domestic broadcaster, the BBC is spreading its products all around the globe. Shows like Top Gear have done extremely well overseas and the trend of exploiting other shows in multiple territories is set to continue. As a result the BBC is now getting involved in the copyright debates of other countries, notably Australia, where it operates four subscription channels. Following submissions from Hollywood interests and local ISPs, BBC Worldwide has now presented its own to the Federal Government. Its text shows that the corporation wants new anti-piracy measures to go further than ever before. The BBC begins by indicating a preference for a co-operative scheme, one in which content owners and ISPs share responsibility to “reduce and eliminate†online copyright infringement. Educating consumers on both the impact of piracy and where content can be obtained legally online would be supported by improved availability of official offerings. After providing general piracy statistics, the BBC turn to the recent leaking of the new series of Doctor Who to file-sharing networks which acted “as a spoiler†to the official global TV premiere. “Despite the BBC dedicating considerable resources to taking down and blocking access to these Doctor Who materials, there were almost 13,000 download attempts of these materials from Australian IP addresses in the period between their unauthorized access and the expiration of the usual catch-up windows,†the BBC write. So what can be done? In common with all rightsholder submissions so far, the BBC wants to put pressure on ISPs to deal with their errant subscribers via a graduated response scheme of educational messages backed up by punitive measures for the most persistent of infringers. “ISPs should warn any alleged copyright infringers through a graduated notification system that what they are doing is illegal and, at the same time, educate them about the law, the importance of copyright to funding content and services they enjoy and where they can access the material they want legally. However. if the consumers do not abide by the notifications then more serious action may need to be taken,†the BBC note. Those sanctions could lead to a throttling of a users’ Internet connection but should not normally lead to a complete disconnection. However, the BBC doesn’t rule that out, adding that such measures could be employed “in the most serious and egregious circumstances, as is the case in the United States.†While little in the foregoing presents much of a surprise, the BBC goes further than any other rightsholder submission thus far in suggesting that ISPs should not only forward notices, but also spy on their customers’ Internet usage habits. VPNs are pirate tools “Since the evolution of peer-to-peer software protocols to incorporate decentralized architectures, which has allowed users to download content from numerous host computers, the detection and prosecution of copyright violations has become a complex task. This situation is further amplified by the adoption of virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers by some users, allowing them to circumvent geo-blocking technologies and further evade detection,†the BBC explain. “It is reasonable for ISPs to be placed under an obligation to identify user behavior that is ‘suspicious’ and indicative of a user engaging in conduct that infringes copyright. Such behavior may include the illegitimate use by Internet users of IP obfuscation tools in combination with high download volumes.†While the BBC goes on to state that “false positives†would need to be avoided in order to “safeguard the fundamental rights of consumersâ€, none of this will sit well with Internet service providers or the public. Throwing around accusations of illegal activity based on the existence of an encrypted tunnel and high bandwidth consumption is several steps beyond anything suggested before. Site blocking The BBC says it supports the blocking of overseas infringing sites at the ISP level after obtaining a court injunction. Of interest is a proposal to use a system which allows for injunctions to be modified after being issued in order to deal with sites finding ways to circumvent bans. “It is important to have the ability to get existing injunctions varied by the court when defendants reappear in different guises, a useful tool in the United Kingdom,†the BBC writes. Who foots the bill? Who pays for all of the above has been the major sticking point in all Australian negotiations thus far. The ISPs largely believe they shouldn’t have to pay for anything, but most rightsholders – the BBC included – think that the costs need to be shared. “In light of the fact that a large inducement for internet users to become customers of ISPs is to gain access to content (whether legally or illegally), it is paramount that ISPs are required to take an active role in preventing and fighting online copyright infringement by establishing and contributing meaningfully to the cost of administering some form of graduated response scheme,†the BBC concludes.
  7. People sometimes ask how the artists will get paid if - no, when - the copyright monopoly is abolished. This question is not based on facts. Every time somebody questions the copyright monopoly, and in particular, whether it’s reasonable to dismantle freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of information, and the privacy of correspondence just to maintain a distribution monopoly for an entertainment industry, the same question pops up out of nowhere: “How will the artists get paid?â€. The copyright industry has been absolutely phenomenal in misleading the public in this very simple matter, suggesting that artists’ income somehow depend on a distribution monopoly of publishers. If the facts were out, this debate would have been over 20 years ago and the distribution monopoly already abolished quite unceremoniously. There are three facts that need to be established and hammered in whenever somebody asks this question. First: Less than one percent of artists’ income comes from the copyright monopoly. Read that sentence again. The overwhelming majority of artists get their income today from student loans, day jobs, unemployment benefits, and so on and so forth. One of the most recent studies (“Copyright as Incentiveâ€, in Swedish as “Upphovsrätten som incitamentâ€, 2006) quotes a number of 0.9 per cent as the average income share of artists that can be directly attributed to the existence of the copyright monopoly. The report calls the direct share of artists’ income “negligibleâ€, “insignificantâ€. However, close to one hundred per cent of publishers’ income – the income of unnecessary, parasitic middlemen – is directly attributable to the copyright monopoly today. Guess who’s adamant about defending it? Hint: not artists. Second: 99.99% of artists never see a cent in copyright monopoly royalties.Apart from the copyright industry’s creative accounting and bookkeeping – arguably the only reason they ever had to call themselves the “creative industry†– which usually robs artists blind, only one in ten thousand artists ever see a cent in copyright-monopoly-related royalties. Yes, this is a real number: 99% of artists are never signed with a label, and of those who are, 99% of those never see royalties. It comes across as patently absurd to defend a monopolistic, parasitic system where only one in ten thousand artists make any money with the argument “how will the artists make money any other way?â€. Third: Artists’ income has more than doubled because of culture-sharing. Since the advent of hobby-scale unlicensed manufacturing – which is what culture-sharing is legally, since it breaks a manufacturing monopoly on copies – the average income for musicians has risen 114%, according to a Norwegian study. Numbers from Sweden and the UK show the same thing. This shift in income has a direct correlation to hobby-based unlicensed manufacturing, as the sales of copies is down the drain – which is the best news imaginable for artists, since households are spending as much money on culture before (or more, according to some studies), but are buying in sales channels where artists get a much larger piece of the pie. Hobby-based unlicensed manufacturing has meant the greatest wealth transfer from parasitic middlemen to artists in the history of recorded music. As a final note, it should be told that even if artists went bankrupt because of sustained civil liberties, that would still be the way to go. Any artist that goes from plinking their guitar in the kitchen to wanting to sell an offering is no longer an artist, but an entrepreneur; the same rules apply to them as to every other entrepreneur on the planet. Specifically, they do not get to dismantle civil liberties because such liberties are bad for business. But as we see, we don’t even need to take that into consideration, for the entire initial premise is false. Kill copyright, already. Get rid of it. It hurts innovation, creativity, our next-generation industries, and our hard-won civil liberties. It’s not even economically defensible. http://torrentfreak.com/copyright-monopoly-dead-buried-already-140803/
  8. Yesterday, Sylvester Stallone finally made good on his threat to release anExpendables movie with a PG-13 rating. Fans threw their hands up in protest, but too late is too late: you're just going to have to wait for an "unrated" DVD to rip you off later in the search for more headshots and curses. Of course, the fact that there was waffling regarding the rating calls attention to one of the industry's biggest issues: PG-13 is corrupt, pointless and should be abolished. The PG-13 rating originally was created as a response to the growing indecencies crawling into mainstream blockbusters that could be seen by kids. Previously, the delineation allowed for G films to be suitable for children, PG for older kids and adults, and R for movies with adult ideas and themes. PG-13 was essentially a more commercial designation that flattered the audience instead. Now adults could feel comfortable seeing fare meant for children, and kids could see something that was decidedly more "adult" in nature. What PG-13 did was actually bring the discussion of ratings to the forefront. Before PG-13's existence, PG films (previously GP) were common, meant to designate something more appropriate to a wider range of audiences. But there were still a large amount of adult-appropriate films carrying the R, just as there were many studios making R-rated films. Movies accommodated flights of fancy, but mostly they were being made for adults who didn't glance at the rating. But with the arrival of PG-13 (attached to Red Dawn and The Flamingo Kid) came the proliferation of the modern blockbuster, aimed at both the smallest in the audience as well as the biggest, creating watered-down product that has the same appeal to everyone. Now, studios use PG-13 as a creative tool, not a restriction. Films are designed to specifically be PG-13, based on what is rumored to be the MPAA's approach towards the ratings. Without the PG-13 rating, context was everything: the bare breasts in the PG-rated Airplane! were obviously a joke, not meant to be arousing, while Barbarella's embrace of sex and violence were obviously ludicrous fantasy elements. Now, the rules are as they have been for the last 30 years, even though the ratings were constantly revised in years prior: you get one bit of nudity (definitely not a sex organ), you get a finite amount of blood and gore, you get one "fuck" (maybe two if you're Entrapment!) and you get all the violence in the world, despite pretend-violence probably being the most influential and potentially damaging thing to see for an impressionable mind. The rumors were that the first two Expendables films were shot with a PG-13 rating in mind. The second film seems pretty graphic, so that may be unlikely, unless they planned on editing the blood and the few curse words out. But the first film is unquestionably meant to be a PG-13 rated film, given it's limited foul language and laughably fake last-minute blood squirts. But what do a PG-13 Expendables and an R-rated Expendables have in common? Big stars, sure. Neat stunts, maybe. Endless guns, gun fetishization and the deaths of dozens, maybe hundreds of extras. If you ask most people, they'd be in favor of getting rid of the ratings system altogether. But if you want to be a cultural watchdog, as the MPAA pretends to be, then wouldn't that be more concerning to you? Particularly after a rash of gun-related tragedies gaining mass media coverage, isn't it odd that a high schooler could buy a ticket to see The Expendables 3, but he/she couldn't see The Kings Of Summer? That film, released last year, is ABOUT young teenagers growing up, moving out of their houses to build their own home away from home in the forest. It earned an R-rating because these kids have occasionally, but not gratuitously, dirty mouths. Does this make any sense? Is this a great use of PG-13 and R-ratings? Does it have anything to do with The Expendables 3 earning a blockbuster release from a major studio, andThe Kings Of Summer being a small independent film quietly platforming through smaller venues? And we're not even going to talk about the double standards regarding sex. Yikes. The point being, we've been down this road already. Kirby Dick's This Film Is Not Yet Rated made this observation for us: that documentary depicted the shady MPAA as a draconian organization that needn't make explanations for their decisions, who request arbitrary cuts to films, and abide by what seems to be the prior restrictions involving limiting nudity, foul language and blood. But we're not going to get rid of them, mostly because they seem like an untouchable Illuminati of the movie industry. Even Dick had to hire a private investigator find out the actual identities of the people on the MPAA board. So here's what we do. We lobby to eliminate PG-13. What this does is force the MPAA to look at content differently. That means, no more arbitrary rulings or beliefs about one breast versus two, one headshot versus five. Whatever they think is a movie for "adults" will earn an R-rating. This means that anyone making a movie with a decent amount of violence and sex is going to get an R. Rather them limiting their audience (which is b.s. because tons of theaters don't enforce the ratings, and many teens or kids will still see an R-rated film with older people), the studios will see this opportunity to actually engage with adult ideas and concepts. A superhero film can actually still be thrilling and feature politics and romance. A comedy can be as naughty as it wants to be. And The Expendables 3 can be filled with exploding heads everywhere. Instead of shaming adults into seeing a PG-rated film, embolden them to see an R-rated movie, knowing there's more adult content available for them. And parents won't have to worry about taking their child to a PG-13 movie and having to have a talk with them about content, or try to tamp down their hyperactivity after seeing a particularly violent film. The flipside could be true, of course. Maybe the PG-13 material just softens further and moves down to PG-level, saving G for strictly kids fare. That would be an unfortunate change, and you'd hope studios would seize the opportunity to make movies for older teens and adults (and the kids who rent them, stream them, or download them with zero adult supervision). As of now, not only is PG-13 specifically financially driven, dedicated to protecting no one from anything, but it's outdated. It's a decision created to make money, to water down films so that The Expendables 3 could be the same movie for a kid that it is for an adult. And it's not, and these decisions split the difference in a way that, right now, pleases nobody.
  9. A new survey of young children and adults has found consensus on what should be charged for content online. In both groups, 49% said that people should be able to download content they want for free, with a quarter of 16-24 year olds stating that file-sharing was the only way they could afford to obtain it. The results of a new survey commissioned by YouGov SixthSense on the file-sharing and content consumption habits of citizens in the UK have just been published. Among broader issues, the study, which draws on a sample of 1,907 adults over 16 years old and 614 children aged between 8 and 15, looked at reasons why people use file-sharing sites, plus attitudes towards piracy and paying for content. Online content should be free The headline finding presented YouGov suggests that half of the up-and-coming generation believes that the Internet should be a content free-for-all. A total of 49% of the 8 to 15-year-olds questioned said that they believe that people should be able to download the content they want from the Internet for nothing. Drilling down specifically into attitudes towards file-sharing sites, 6% of children said that using them is easy, with 7% agreeing that it had become the normal thing to do. Interestingly, YouGov found that when questioning the 16-year-old and above group, the attitudes towards free content were the same, with an identical 49% stating that online content should be free to download. Motivations to share files The survey found that the major driver for use of file-sharing sites is cost. While adults tend to have the most disposable income, 51% said that they use file-sharing sites to save money. Among the children, whose resources are often more limited, 44% said their motivation was financial, with a quarter of 16-24 year olds reporting that file-sharing is the only way they can afford to access content online. Unsurprisingly, the issue of accessibility came in at a close second place for both groups. The speed and convenience of file-sharing was cited as a key motivator for use by 41% of adults and 38% of the children. Attitudes towards piracy and sanctions The mainstream entertainment companies invariably insist that downloading movies and music without permission is tantamount to stealing. However, when it comes to the UK’s children the survey suggests that Big Entertainment has a mountain to climb to have that notion widely adopted. While 16% of children accept that it’s wrong to obtain content for free without the creator’s permission, just 7% believe that file-sharing is a form of stealing. When it comes to punishing someone, somewhere, for the piracy problem, it comes as little surprise that most of the adults feel that the blame should be placed elsewhere. Rather than being punished for illegal downloading themselves, 60% of the 16-24 year-olds said that the companies and websites providing the content should be punished instead. The future Despite the favorable cost and convenience of using unauthorized sources, YouGov notes that opportunities exist for content providers to address those issues. Legal alternatives, such as the free ad-supported model offered by Spotify, are being utilized more, and there are signs that people are happy to pay for exclusive content. Among the children, for example, 13% said they would spend their money if that meant supporting an up-and-coming artist. “Children in this generation have grown up with digital material and are used to having access to what they want, when they want it and for some of the time not paying for it,†says YouGov Research Director James McCoy. “Whilst they appreciate the issues surrounding piracy and illegal downloads, if they can get away with it, then they will. Why change the habit of a lifetime?†McCoy says that the challenge for industry moving forward is to find ways to engage and educate this group “in a relevant and non-condescending way.†That can probably be done, it just might take a little while yet. The Future of Digital Consumption 2014 can be purchased from YouGov.
  10. The UK's top IP advisor has published recommendations on how search engines should deal with online piracy. The document envisions demoting sites based on numbers of copyright notices received, removal of others entirely after acknowledging ISP blocking orders, and warning consumers away from sites without industry certification. Mike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, has become increasingly involved in the online piracy debate in recent months. Weatherley’s current focus is on the role search engines can play in reducing infringement. In contrast to the approach taken by the entertainment industries, the MP has taken a much more positive stance when speaking of Google’s efforts thus far. In a new report, however, Weatherley lays out often far-reaching recommendations that puts him almost completely in sync with industry demands. The report, which Weatherley says is intended to stimulate debate, begins with praise for Google for “engaging positively†during its creation. Its recommendations are directed at all search engines, but as the market leader Google is called on to show leadership. Where Google goes, others will follow, Weatherley believes. Search results – demoting illegal sites The music and movie industries have long complained that illegal content is too easy to find and for a long time they’ve been putting Google under pressure to do something about that. Weatherley believes that by working with two existing sources of information – Google’s Transparency Report and the recently formed Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit’s infringing site “blacklist†– Google has a ready formula at hand. The BPI’s input suggests that when a search engine has received 10,000 infringement notices for a site, that site should no longer appear on the first page of search results. Any that receive 100,000 notices should no longer appear in the first 10 pages. However, it’s envisioned that “certificates†could be handed out to some sites to help them avoid being relegated – more on that later. Voluntarily complying with site-blocking court orders In the UK around 30 ‘pirate’ sites are now blocked via the UK’s major ISPs after both the BPI and MPA went to court to obtain injunctions. While these injunctions only legally apply to their formal targets (the ISPs), in future Weatherley would like Google to acknowledge the existence of injunctions by immediately removing the affected sites from all search results. The MP acknowledges that this may require a change in the law. Accepting takedown notices for AutoComplete terms For some time Google has been accepting applications from rightsholders to remove “infringing†terms from its AutoComplete service. Weatherley now wants to see this process formalized. “Given that Google has accepted that Autocomplete for pirate sites should not occur, it seems uncontroversial to recommend that steps are taken to continue to ensure this does not happen,†he writes. AutoComplete takedown notices should be included in Google’s Transparency Report, the MP says. Incorporating “Trust Marks†and “Warnings†to inform consumers The idea here is that somehow Google will consider the reputation of a site when formulating its algorithms and when it presents its search results. “Trust Marks†would be used to denote a legal and licensed resource while “Warnings†would be used to highlight an illegal site. The exact process through which a site could become trusted is unclear, but suggestions from the BPI indicate that a “certificate†could be obtained from its own Music Matters project to indicate that a resource is “cleanâ€. Similar certificates could be obtained by sites that receive a lot of takedown notices but operate legally (YouTube for example) so that they are whitelisted by Google and not downgraded in search results. In terms of warning against unlicensed sites, rightsholders suggest that Google takes note of PIPCU’s “pirate†site blacklist by either negatively marking affected sites in search results or removing them completely. Referencing a TorrentFreak article published last month reporting how Google had signaled that Demonoid was a potentially dangerous site, Weatherley said Google can do more to protect consumers. “Google has not only proven in relation to malware on certain torrent sites that it has the technical capability within its systems to deliver consumer messaging in search listings, but that such messages can be an effective deterrent to consumers,†the MP explains. Licensed services should do more to help themselves in search results While the music and movie industries complain endlessly about “pirate†results appearing above their own licensed content, not much time is given to explaining why that’s the case. Weatherley reveals that Google has made a request for movie and music streaming services behind a paywall to allow Google to crawl their sites in order for consumers to be able to see them in results. For some services, apparently that’s nThe UK's top IP advisor has published recommendations on how search engines should deal with online piracy. The document envisions demoting sites based on numbers of copyright notices received, removal of others entirely after acknowledging ISP blocking orders, and warning consumers away from sites without industry certification. Mike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, has become increasingly involved in the online piracy debate in recent months. Weatherley’s current focus is on the role search engines can play in reducing infringement. In contrast to the approach taken by the entertainment industries, the MP has taken a much more positive stance when speaking of Google’s efforts thus far. In a new report, however, Weatherley lays out often far-reaching recommendations that puts him almost completely in sync with industry demands. The report, which Weatherley says is intended to stimulate debate, begins with praise for Google for “engaging positively†during its creation. Its recommendations are directed at all search engines, but as the market leader Google is called on to show leadership. Where Google goes, others will follow, Weatherley believes. Search results – demoting illegal sites The music and movie industries have long complained that illegal content is too easy to find and for a long time they’ve been putting Google under pressure to do something about that. Weatherley believes that by working with two existing sources of information – Google’s Transparency Report and the recently formed Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit’s infringing site “blacklist†– Google has a ready formula at hand. The BPI’s input suggests that when a search engine has received 10,000 infringement notices for a site, that site should no longer appear on the first page of search results. Any that receive 100,000 notices should no longer appear in the first 10 pages. However, it’s envisioned that “certificates†could be handed out to some sites to help them avoid being relegated – more on that later. Voluntarily complying with site-blocking court orders In the UK around 30 ‘pirate’ sites are now blocked via the UK’s major ISPs after both the BPI and MPA went to court to obtain injunctions. While these injunctions only legally apply to their formal targets (the ISPs), in future Weatherley would like Google to acknowledge the existence of injunctions by immediately removing the affected sites from all search results. The MP acknowledges that this may require a change in the law. Accepting takedown notices for AutoComplete terms For some time Google has been accepting applications from rightsholders to remove “infringing†terms from its AutoComplete service. Weatherley now wants to see this process formalized. “Given that Google has accepted that Autocomplete for pirate sites should not occur, it seems uncontroversial to recommend that steps are taken to continue to ensure this does not happen,†he writes. AutoComplete takedown notices should be included in Google’s Transparency Report, the MP says. Incorporating “Trust Marks†and “Warnings†to inform consumers The idea here is that somehow Google will consider the reputation of a site when formulating its algorithms and when it presents its search results. “Trust Marks†would be used to denote a legal and licensed resource while “Warnings†would be used to highlight an illegal site. The exact process through which a site could become trusted is unclear, but suggestions from the BPI indicate that a “certificate†could be obtained from its own Music Matters project to indicate that a resource is “cleanâ€. Similar certificates could be obtained by sites that receive a lot of takedown notices but operate legally (YouTube for example) so that they are whitelisted by Google and not downgraded in search results. In terms of warning against unlicensed sites, rightsholders suggest that Google takes note of PIPCU’s “pirate†site blacklist by either negatively marking affected sites in search results or removing them completely. Referencing a TorrentFreak article published last month reporting how Google had signaled that Demonoid was a potentially dangerous site, Weatherley said Google can do more to protect consumers. “Google has not only proven in relation to malware on certain torrent sites that it has the technical capability within its systems to deliver consumer messaging in search listings, but that such messages can be an effective deterrent to consumers,†the MP explains. Licensed services should do more to help themselves in search results While the music and movie industries complain endlessly about “pirate†results appearing above their own licensed content, not much time is given to explaining why that’s the case. Weatherley reveals that Google has made a request for movie and music streaming services behind a paywall to allow Google to crawl their sites in order for consumers to be able to see them in results. For some services, apparently that’s not currently allowed. “Google maintains that it is perfectly possible to create crawlable pages for each movie or album title in a security-friendly way. I am told by rights holders that there are potential security issues around making licensed services crawlable and they have concerns with this proposal,†Weatherley notes. Conclusion While Weatherley is currently praising Google in order to keep the tone positive and the discussion flowing, the IP advisor clearly believes that the search engine is capable of assisting rightsholders much more but is failing to do so. The MP’s report has no official standing in respect of government policy but it addresses most if not all of the movie and music industries’ main problems with Google. Expect this document to become a point of reference in the months to come.ot currently allowed. “Google maintains that it is perfectly possible to create crawlable pages for each movie or album title in a security-friendly way. I am told by rights holders that there are potential security issues around making licensed services crawlable and they have concerns with this proposal,†Weatherley notes. Conclusion While Weatherley is currently praising Google in order to keep the tone positive and the discussion flowing, the IP advisor clearly believes that the search engine is capable of assisting rightsholders much more but is failing to do so. The MP’s report has no official standing in respect of government policy but it addresses most if not all of the movie and music industries’ main problems with Google. Expect this document to become a point of reference in the months to come.