Posts tagged "Motion Picture Association of America"

Are Hollywood’s Artificial Release Delays Driving Piracy?

Is Hollywood partly to blame for the high piracy rates of some movies? A newly launched website suggests that this may be the case, as it shows that the most pirated movies are not available to stream, buy or rent legally. While the movie industry has built its business on release delays, people’s viewing demands are changing rapidly up to the point where and Hollywood may want to reconsider its model.

hollywood-piratesEvery day millions of people download the latest Hollywood blockbusters though unauthorized sources.

The movie industry is not happy with the ever-increasing piracy rates and has called out Google and other stakeholders to “do more” to help. At the same time, Hollywood keeps emphasizing the many legal options that are available to the public.

A few months ago the MPAA launched the website WhereToWatch.org which provides an overview of dozens of legal video outlets that are available in the United States.

“Audiences want seamless access to film and TV shows. Our industry has listened, and we are now delivering more choices than ever before,” MPAA boss Senator Dodd said at the time.

“There have never been more ways to access movies and television legitimately online, and those platforms continue to grow and develop thanks in large part to a copyright system that encourages innovation, risk and growth,” Dodd added.

While this sounds great, the WhereToWatch site doesn’t change the fact that many of the newer releases are simply not available online due to artificial release lags. After a movie’s box office premiere it usually takes months before people can access it online.

This mismatch prompted public policy researchers at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center to take a close look at the online availability of some of the most pirated movies. On the newly launched Piracydata.org the researchers use TorrentFreak’s weekly lists of most pirated movies combined with information from CanIStreamIt to come up with an overview of the availability of these titles.

The results from this week are listed below, and it’s clear that half of the movie titles don’t have any legal options at all, while none are available for streaming.

avail
 

TorrentFreak talked to Jerry Brito, director of Mercatus Center’s Technology Policy Program and one of the people behind the PiracyData website. Brito tells us that the MPAA and RIAA complaints that Google is placing pirate search results above legal alternatives was one of the motivations to look into the legal availability.

“We are compiling a dataset to help answer the question: Are the most-pirated movies available legally online? With only three weeks of data, the answer seems to be that very few are available legally. We’ll get a clearer picture in the months ahead as the dataset grows,” Brito says.

The lack of legal alternatives they have found so far means that Google sometimes has no other choice than to place pirate sites high in the search results, as there simply are no authorized options available.

“One implication may be that when movies are unavailable, illegal sources are the most relevant search results, so search engines like Google are just telling it like it is. That is their job, after all,” Brito says.

While the current dataset is limited to three weeks, it’s quite telling that of all movies listed none was available for streaming, while only 20% could be rented.

piracystats
 

Brito notes that the data doesn’t prove a causal effect between availability and piracy, but that it’s clear that Hollywood can “do more” to increase access to popular movies themselves.

“While there is no way to draw causality between the fact that these movies are not available legally and that they are the most pirated, it does highlight that while the MPAA is asking Google to take voluntary action to change search results, it may well be within the movie studio’s power to change those results by taking voluntary action themselves.”

“They could make more movies available online and sooner, perhaps by collapsing the theatrical release window. Now, their business model is their prerogative, and it’s none of my business to tell them how to operate, but by the same token I don’t see how they can expect search engines and Congress to bend over backwards to protect the business model they choose,” Brito adds.

Whether Hollywood will take up this suggestion has yet to be seen. Some movie studios have experimented a bit with shorter release delays, but unlike the TV and music industry it is still the core of its business model.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Viewed 32588 times by 6806 viewers

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by plates55 - October 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Categories: Piracy   Tags: , , , , , , ,

“Six Strikes”Copyright Alert System Costs Millions

New tax records reveal that the Center for Copyright Information, the outfit overseeing the “six strikes” copyright alert system in the U.S., costs $2 million a year to run. This previously undisclosed  sum is shared between the RIAA, MPAA and the five participating Internet providers. The true cost of the copyright alert system is expected to be millions more, as the copyright holders and ISPs pay separately for tracking the alleged pirates and processing the warnings.

copyright alertTwo years ago the MPAA and RIAA teamed up with five major Internet providers to announce their “six strikes” anti-piracy plan.

The parties founded the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) which is incorporated as a non-profit company of the same name in Delaware.

While the CCI has been very clear about its goals, information on its finances has been scarce. In the memorandum of understanding the copyright holders and ISPs agreed to split the costs of the company 50/50, but the exact figures remained unknown.

When we previously asked about total operating costs CCI declined to answer. Luckily the IRS was more helpful, so after two years we can now finally lift the financial veil.

TorrentFreak obtained the most recent tax filing of the six-strikes outfit which covered the first eight months of the company’s operations to June 30, 2012.

During this time the ISPs and copyright holders paid a total of $1,377,633 in membership dues, which means that it costs around $2 million per year to keep the company afloat.

The $2 million figure makes sense since the RIAA previously mentioned in its tax filing that it spent $250,000 in CCI membership dues up until March 2012. This would cover half of the $500,000 it would owe per year.

The CCI tax filing further shows that Executive Director Jill Lesser is the only key employee, and that she earned a very modest $43,750 during the first eight months. Looking more closely, we see that Lesser indirectly earns a bit more as $193,750 was paid to her consulting firm JAL Consulting.

The filing further shows that the six-strikes outfit paid $144,093 to their PR firm Glover Park Group, $125,691 for Resource Global’s consulting services, as well as $102,928 in legal fees.

All in all there aren’t too many surprises in the tax filing, although it’s worth knowing how much the six-strikes copyright alert system costs.

It’s not known whether the $2 million in membership dues for the first year is a fixed amount, so it may fluctuate from year to year. Also, it’s worth noting that the costs above only apply to the CCI organization. The copyright holders and ISPs incur extra costs when they track down infringers and process the notices.

In other words, copyright holders and ISPs are likely to spend double or triple the previously mentioned $2 million on the entire six-strikes system.

Now that the first accounts are in we encourage the CCI to also share some data on how many people have received a copyright alert to date. But whatever that number is, for now the copyright alerts have failed to make a dent in traffic to file-sharing sites.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Viewed 20148 times by 3999 viewers

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by plates55 - October 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Categories: Piracy   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Piracy Isn’t Killing The Entertainment Industry, Scholars Show

The London School of Economics and Political Science has released a new policy brief urging the UK Government to look beyond the lobbying efforts of the entertainment industry when it comes to future copyright policy. According to the report there is ample evidence that file-sharing is helping, rather than hurting the creative industries. The scholars call on the Government to look at more objective data when deciding on future copyright enforcement policies.

lbeOver the past years there have been ample research reports showing that file-sharing can have positive effects on the entertainment industries.

Industry lobbyists are often quick to dismiss these findings as incidents or weak research, and counter them with expensive studies they have commissioned themselves.

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) jumps into the discussion this week with a media policy brief urging the UK Government to look beyond the reports lobbyists hand to them. Their report concludes that the entertainment industry isn’t devastated by piracy, and that sharing of culture has several benefits.

“Contrary to the industry claims, the music industry is not in terminal decline, but still holding ground and showing healthy profits. Revenues from digital sales, subscription services, streaming and live performances compensate for the decline in revenues from the sale of CDs or records,” says Bart Cammaerts, LSE Senior Lecturer and one of the report’s authors.

The report shows that the entertainment industries are actually doing quite well. The digital gaming industry is thriving, the publishing sector is stable, and the U.S. film industry is breaking record after record.

“Despite the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) claim that online piracy is devastating the movie industry, Hollywood achieved record-breaking global box office revenues of $35 billion in 2012, a 6% increase over 2011,” the report reads.

Even the music industry is doing relatively well. Revenue from concerts, publishing and digital sales has increased significantly since the early 2000s and while recorded music revenues show a decline, there is little evidence that piracy is the lead cause.

“The music industry may be stagnating, but the drastic decline in revenues warned of by the lobby associations of record labels is not in evidence,” the report concludes.

Music industry revenue

musicgraph

 

The authors further argue that file-sharing can actually benefit the creative industries in various ways.

The report mentions the success of the SoundCloud service where artists can share their work for free through Creative Commons licenses, the promotional effect of YouTube where copyrighted songs are shared to promote sales, and the fact that research shows that file-sharers actually spend more money on entertainment than those who don’t share.

“Within the creative industries there is a variety of views on the best way to benefit from online sharing practices, and how to innovate to generate revenue streams in ways that do not fit within the existing copyright enforcement regime,” the authors write.

Finally, the report shows that punitive enforcement strategies such as the three strikes law in France are not as effective as the entertainment industries claim.

The researchers hope that the U.K. Government will review the Digital Economy Act in this light, and make sure that it will take into account the interests of both the public and copyright holders.

This means expanding fair use and private copying exceptions for citizens, while targeting enforcement on businesses rather than individuals.

“We recommend a review of the DEA and related legislation that strikes a healthy balance among the interests of a range of stakeholders including those in the creative industries, Internet Service Providers and internet users.”

“When both [the creative industries and citizens] can exploit the full potential of the internet, this will maximize innovative content creation for the benefit of all stakeholders,” the authors write.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Viewed 27727 times by 6653 viewers

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by plates55 - October 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Categories: Piracy   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Google rejects music industry request to remove Pirate Bay homepage

google-pirate-bay-removal_si

 

The Pirate Bay has long been a thorn in the side of copyright holders, but when Britain’s record industry trade association asked Google to remove the notorious file-sharing site from its homepage, the search engine refused to comply.

The British Recorded Music Industry (BPI) has helped spearhead  efforts to reduce the visibility of piracy, having sent Google  more than 30 million requests to remove copyright offenders over  the past year, Torrent Freak reports.

The BPI, which comprises the big three record companies (Warner  Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Universal Music  Group), hundreds of independents representing thousands of labels  as well as associated manufactures and distributors, is every bit  the stake holder in the anti-piracy crusade as the Recording  Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the US, albeit less  well-known stateside.

Last week, the BPI sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)  notice containing over 2,000 URLs which allegedly infringe the US  law criminalizing production and dissemination of technology,  devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control  access to copyrighted works.

The most prominent site mentioned in the request was the prolific  peer-to-peer file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, which has long  been in the crosshairs of copyright holders.

 

Google, however, refused to comply with the BPI’s request, making  The Pirate Bay homepage the only URL in the entire notice where  no proscriptive action was taken.

The catch is that while search results on The Pirate Bay provides  links to hundreds of thousands of infringing titles, its own  homepage in fact provides no links to pirated content.

This means that while The Pirate Bay’s search results pages may  not show up in the Google index, the site’s homepage meets these  standards, and should not be excluded.

Google responded to the BPI request to take down thepiratebay.sx  with a resounding “No Action Taken.”

Google offered the following response

 

Number of URLs specified in this copyright removal request  that we did not remove because we did not find the specified  copyright infringement; we already reviewed the URLs in a  previous request; or the URLs were malformed or otherwise led to  an error.”

While Google might be accused of being soft on piracy, they did  in fact take down the other 29 unique domains on the BPI request,  which spans 2,055 URLS.

 

However, the RIAA had previously been unimpressed by the search  giant’s efforts, giving it a less than stellar assessment in a  February 2013 ‘Report Card on Google’s demotion of Pirate Sites.’

“On August 10, 2012, Google announced that it would take into  account in its search result rankings the number of valid  copyright removal notices it has received for a given site. Per  its announcement, “sites with high numbers of removal notices may  appear lower” in its search results. The result of the change  should be to “help users find legitimate, quality sources of  content more easily.” Six months later, we have found no evidence  that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting  sites with large amounts of piracy. These sites consistently  appear at the top of Google’s search results for popular songs or  artists.”

Torrent Freak notes that this is not the first time The Pirate  Bay has been targeted with a takedown request. Four years ago the  popular P2P site was taken down briefly after Google received a  DMCA complaint, although it was quickly reinstated.

The popular blog further noted the overall number of DMCA  requests has been on the rise over the last several months, with  the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) taking aim at  streaming portals with this method.
Google has thus far been unwilling to comply with many such  requests.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Viewed 31589 times by 7906 viewers

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by plates55 - September 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Categories: Google   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers