Seguros Universales, one of the largest insurance companies in Guatemala has sued Microsoft over what is being called an unwarranted and extortion-like anti-piracy raid. With the help of local law enforcement Microsoft demanded an on the spot payment of $70,000 from the company for the use of pirated software or they said would have all of a company’s computers confiscated.
Google and Russia's biggest search engine Yandex are voicing their opposition to a new bill that would block sites accused of hosting (in some way) copyrighted material. The new bill, which has already passed Russia's State Duma, is being called Russia's version of the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill gives intellectual property holders the ability to sue a web site that they claim is hosting copyrighted materials. The accused site then has 72 hours to remove the offending material (without the option of reviewing the claim).
After three years in place and "millions" of threatening letters being sent to alleged illegal file sharers in France, the French three-strikes anti-piracy law Hadopi has finally led to the disconnection of one person from the Internet. The individual, who was not named, faces two weeks without access to certain internet functions like web access and access to P2P software and a 600 euro fine.
The individual was caught sharing a few files online and never responded to earlier warnings.
Legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto says that used games are less of a concern than the elephant that has always been in the room: piracy. Speaking to CVG Nintendo's most prominent and prolific game creators said that piracy is a bigger threat to his company's business than the used games market.
A Russian coder and hacker known only as "Barabus" has ported Ska Studios popular "M" rated XBLA action game The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile to the PC. But before you celebrate, this PC version of the game is not an official port and doesn't exactly have the blessing of Ska Studios founder James Silva. It is basically pirated version of the game.
Barabus defends his action by arguing that the developer of the game should have made a PC port himself and that by not doing so is "not very nice."
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) released its 2012 Annual Report (PDF) today, revealing that it sent a total of 3.4 million takedown notices for copyright infringement and helped remove more than 99,500 Google links containing infringed game files during 2012. The trade group that represents the video game industry (and operates the ESRB and the E3 trade show) also said that it helped to create a 10 percent decrease from 2011 in the speed of removing infringing files.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released its 2013 Special 301 Report, detailing regions outside of the United States that are havens for piracy and do not enforce US copyrights. At the top of that list (which mentions 40 different countries) is Russia. Russia is named in the Priority Watch List, along with Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Venezuela, and Pakistan. China gets a lot of attention in this particular report, as does Russia.
Developer Greenheart Games has released a "cracked version" of its $8 PC and Mac title Game Dev Tycoon on torrents that's specifically for pirates. The cracked version of the game causes game development studios in the sim go bankrupt due to rampant in-game piracy. Greenheart claims that the pirated version of the game made up 93 percent of its player base at launch, and caused an outburst from pirates complaining about their in-game titles failing through (ironically) piracy.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) announced yesterday plans to conduct a serious of hearings aimed at identifying problems with U.S. copyright laws and updating them for the modern digital age. Goodlatte was a key sponsor of the failed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last year alongside the bill's author, former chairman of the Judiciary Committee Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
While Cox Communications may have declined the offer to join the "six-strikes" copyright enforcement and educational program (the Copyright Alert System) that a lot of other service providers have in the United States, that doesn't mean it isn't enforcing its own rules. Cox apparently has a 10+ Strikes program to deal with those who download and share copyrighted material illegally. Cox has an estimated 3.5 million subscribers here in the U.S.
Today the Spanish Government released details on amendments to its copyright law (so-called Sinde Law, which was instituted in 2012) that will provide more protections to rights holders and offer stricter rules against infringers. At a press conference this week, Spain's Culture Minister José Ignacio Wert said that the new reforms have three objectives.
George R.R. Martin, prolific fantasy author and the creator of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series on which HBO's hit TV series is based, took questions before yesterday's Game of Thrones screening for the new season set to air later this month.
Martin had some pretty interesting things to say about two subjects that get talked about here on GamePolitics: video games and piracy. First, when asked about video games Martin said that he loves them, though his obsessive play sessions tended to get in the way of his work so he has avoided them for quite a long time:
In a recent blog post Super Meat Boy developer Tommy Refenes argues that using DRM to keep games from being pirated and general apathy ultimately hurts developers. He also notes that applying loss prevention techniques to digital products doesn't work in the space.
On this week's show, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight are joined by James Fudge to discuss the new Six Strikes anti-piracy scheme, Time Warner Cable's insistence that customers don't want faster broadband and the latest poll on the PS4's lack of backwards compatibility. Download it now: SuperPAC Episode 43 (1 hour, 14 minutes) 67.8 MB. You can also check out the show on YouTube if you prefer an unedited and more visual experience.
While the "six strikes" anti-piracy program agreed upon by Internet service providers and intellectually property owners went into effect this week, service providers and the entertainment industry have not been so keen on sharing what the ramifications are if users are accused of engaging in copyright infringement online. Most ISPs have claimed that six strikes is simply a program to educate consumers on the evils of illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted materials and that it has very little to do with punishing individuals.
Every year rights holders get to offer their input in the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 report, identifying piracy sites and offering recommendations on how best to combat piracy both online and offline. In a special letter, Wii, Wii U and 3DS maker Nintendo offers its two cents on the issue. First, Nintendo points out that it is suffering major losses at the hands of online piracy:
According to DSL Reports, the "six strikes" copyright enforcement scheme agreed upon by rights holders in the music and movie industry and various internet service providers will go into effect today. The anti-piracy enforcement efforts facilitated by the Center for Copyright Information and ISP's will warn internet users when they are accused of infringement with notices and redirection to educational materials on copyright infringement laws.
A patent filed for in 2011 by Sony Computer Entertainment America (and unearthed last week by web site Dark Zero) uses load times to determine if software being loaded into a system is legitimate or pirated.
The patent, "BENCHMARK MEASUREMENT FOR LEGITIMATE DUPLICATION VALIDATION," is described as follows in the patent application:
Microsoft promises "vigorous action" against those individuals who downloaded a pirated version of Gears of War: Judgment. The complete copy of Gears of War: Judgment appeared on internet torrent sites overnight and some decided to download it and play it (some played it online as well), much to the dismay of Microsoft.
The creators of the Zelda-ish 8-bit adventure game Anodyne say that spending just a few dollars to have their game featured on the front page of The Pirate Bay drove more sales than videos or reviews ever could. In a post mortem on the experiment over on the developers' blog, they revealed that they only paid $7 to have their game highlighted on the front page.
"First, it cost $7 to do the promo, all $7 of which were for paying our hosting provider for bandwidth, Nearlyfreespeech.net. There were no other costs."
Happy President's Day! You know, the made-up holiday where we honor two presidents with one half-assed holiday. Don't President Lincoln and President George Washington deserve separate days to be honored properly? Apparently not. Anyway.. on this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the file-sharing case headed to the Supreme Court, the President's executive order on cybersecurity, the latest poll results, and more. Let freedom ring.
The United States government has weighed in on the Jammie Thomas-Rasset v. Capitol Records file-sharing case, siding with the RIAA and the recording industry and asking the U.S. Supreme Court to deny Thomas-Rasset the Writ of Certiorari she seeks. The case is the longest running file-sharing case to date, and the first to be heard by the Supreme Court (previously the Court refused to hear two cases related to file-sharing damages).
Two U.S. lawmakers have asked federal prosecutors at the Department of Justice to answer a series of questions about the prosecution of Reddit co-founder and internet activist Aaron Swartz. In a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) want to DOJ to explain why federal prosecutors sought up to 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines for Swartz, who committed suicide prior to his trial. Swartz was arrested in 2011 for downloading 4.8 million documents from the academic archive JSTOR.
Well it is official - the country of Antigua is one step closer to launching a legal piracy portal - according to TorrentFreak. At a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland today the World Trade Organization (WTO) officially granted Antigua’s request to suspend U.S. copyrights - confirming a 2007 preliminary authorization given by the WTO to the Caribbean island.
Hacktivist group Anonymous continues its assault on various U.S. government websites in retaliation for the prosecution of Reddit co-founder and internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide earlier this month. Naked Security reports that Anonymous targeted the website of the US Sentencing Commission with a "Konami Code" that activates an Asteroids-like game and a message:
"PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW! End Prosecutorial Overreach!"
The Government of Antigua has plans to launch a website that can legally sell movies, music, and software without paying U.S. copyright holders, according to TorrentFreak. How can the small island country in the Caribbean get away with this? Well it all goes back to the United States issuing a trade blockade preventing the country from offering Internet gambling services to citizens in the United States.
TorrentFreak (based on a Numerama report) is reporting that France's anti-piracy agency Hadopi expects to send out more than 1.1 million strike warnings this year - up dramatically from 668,000 in 2012 - and the agency is increasing its activities even after it saw a 25 percent cut in its 2013 budget.
Will the new Six Strikes scheme to fight online piracy and illegal file-sharing be the death of free Wi-Fi in America provided by small businesses? It sounds like it. According to a TorrentFreak report, citing a leaked document from Verizon's plans to implement the new system, business accounts will also be subject to the copyright alert system. What this means is that business customers who offer free Wi-Fi will be subject to the same alert system.