Displaying items by tag: Piracy

censorship-InternetLately there has been a large focus on the Internet and that it is becoming less of the open communications community that people believe that it should be. We have watched as laws like SOPA, PIPA, Open, ACTA and others have been proposed on the basis of protecting Intellectual Property. Because of the push to protect corporate interests it is often felt that the big entertainment companies are behind these laws. If the truth be told many of them are behind these laws, however we cannot remove responsibility from the government in these cases.

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Jollyroger-1Unless you have been under a rock for the past few months you know that the big media companies have been pushing the copyright laws quite heavily. A pair of very dangerous laws call the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) were just dropped (for now) on after a very large Internet protest that ended up with many major sites blacking out for the day. We were also involved in that protest as the vague wording of the law was terrifying to say the least.

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90There is an old saying that nothing is coincidental. When something happens at that can affect another outcome it has happened for a reason. A good case in point is the recent “take down” of the site MegaUploads. This site has been accused of copyright infringement (criminal copyright infringement no less) and a few other very serious crimes.  The story has been all over the internet and many are standing up and saying that this one issue is proof that SOPA is not needed and that the current laws are good enough… um are we so sure that this is what this little event truly shows, or is meant to show?

Published in Editorials
Friday, 23 December 2011 22:44

The Anti-SOPA movement just keeps on growing

un-censorship-InternetDespite being delayed until sometime next year the vote on SOPA is still fresh in many people’s minds. Just recently GoDaddy came under fire for their support of the bill. One of their primary accounts (Cheezburger, the group behind I Can Haz Cheezburger) has threatened to pull its 1000+ domains if GoDaddy does not stop its support of the SOPA Bill.GoDaddy has now officially pulled their support (go figure) for SOPA.

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broken-lockThere is an old saying that says “what man can lock, man can also unlock” this is probably one of the most true statements ever made and covers more than just physical locking. Despite hundreds of thousands of hours spent coming up with new and more complicated encryption schemes they inevitably fall to some enterprising “hacker”.

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broken-lockRecent events in Washington have caused quite a stir on the internet as a very oppressive bill is working its way through the legislative branch of the US government. We have talked about this bill and its dangerous consequences more than once but with the release of some new information and after a few questions that we were recently asked we are going to approach it again. First let’s give you a little background as we show you how the US will be if the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is passed.

Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 20:31

American Censorship Day is Tomorrow

censorship-InternetTomorrow is the American Censorship Day. This is a time when many websites (DecryptedTech included) will replace their front pages with a simulated takedown notice. However, the code will also allow you to send an email to your representatives in congress as well as find more information on SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and just how dangerous it really is. We have already told you how serious this act can potentially be and now it seems that the many web businesses are waking up to the potential of this act.

Published in News
Friday, 11 November 2011 19:46

New SOPA act could by-pass Net Neutrality Laws

73There are times when I read about something on the Internet and I have to stop and wonder if the site reporting on the item has gotten something wrong. As an example I recently read about a new act called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). According to the article on TorrentFreak.com this new act will allow corporations the ability to shut down websites by submitting a complaint to the sites host. Now I thought that this sounded unlikely so I looked into the act and found out that it is even more disturbing that what TorrentFreak posted.

It turns out that the bill is a revision of one what was first presented in the Senate call the “Protect IP Act”. This revision was supposed to correct issues with that first bill and instead has only succeeded in extending them and making them more vague. For example in the bill it uses the verbiage that includes any site or “portion of” a site that is "dedicated to theft of U.S. property," this is a very broad category that has no clear definition. For example if someone posts a YouTube video with copyrighted music in the background, is that theft? What about a cover of a song where the music and lyrics were legally purchased?  These two “violations” could get the offending website cut off from payment provides (PayPal), advertisers (advertisers Google Adsense etc.), and get the site completely shut down.

To make matters worse the shutdown order would not go to the site owner, but directly to the Payment providers, advertisers, and ISPs for the host of the site (or if the owners host it themselves their ISP). The The ISPs, advertisers and payment providers must comply to the complaint or they face fines. The site owner does not get notification from the complaint, they just get shut down. To add insult to injury the site owner has limited rights to appeal the complaint before or after they have the rug pulled out from under them.  

This new legislation is an abomination and nothing more than an attempt to grant corporations (not just the media) license to shut down any site that offends them. To give you an example of what can happen if this bill is allowed to go through, let’s say that a site writes up an article criticizing a company for a product and uses images of the packaging or quotes from their website in the review. Under this new act that company who holds copyright over the logo’s and the wording on the website could send a complaint to the site’s host, advertisers and payment providers and get them locked out.  This type of heavy handed control over the internet is simply terrifying.

To combat this most of the consumer advocacy groups have challenged the bill and congress men and women from both sides of the fence have spoken out about this. There is also an American Censorship Day planned. The Fight For the Future Organization is asking web sites to post a snipet of code to their websites on November 16th the code will pop-up with a fake seizure notice that will explain the new bill and how each user can act to contact their congress person to try and get this bill stopped now.

We will be participating in this and urge all of you to help out with this as this act is about more than copyrighted content. It is about control of the content on the internet.

Source TorrentFreak

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animal_farm-pigsThere is only one constant in the universe and that is change. Although things may seem static and unmoving they are not. This chaotic nature extends from the largest black hole to the tiniest particle. Everything is in constant motion and everything is working against everything else. Even our societies exhibit this behavior; as one event happens the people in it change to adapt to it. Just look at the Internet. This giant amorphous mass (represented by a cloud) has more cultures and sub-cultures than you can find on a map of the world.

Unfortunately just like the many cultures that exist in the physical world, the online cultures are very misunderstood. Too many corporations and groups seek to control it or nail it down. Thankfully, and also unfortunately doing this is about as easy as holding water in your hand (or attempting to heard cats).

The most obvious example of this is online file sharing. Here we have watched as countless laws, rules and restrictions have been put in place. Companies have published the numbers or alleged losses to file sharing (while posting record quarters) and yet it does not seem to stop. Even the crazy (and borderline unethical) lawsuits that are files in the US court system has not been a deterrent. All that has happened is this culture has adapted and changed their tactics and method. Where before communications between groups were open now many use encrypted VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections. Sites that catalog the available shares are using SSL certificates (often self-signed to avoid being tracked back) to keep the unwanted out. Memberships are becoming invitation only to keep the eyes of the MPAA and RIAA out.

This is not to say that the stragglers won’t still get caught. There will always be the little fish that mess up and end up on the kitchen table, but the people that develop the content are extremely sophisticated and are becoming more and more difficult to find. The guys over at TorrentFreak liken this to viruses Vs. medication. Personally I like to think of this more in line with Prohibition and the costly (and widely ineffective) war on drugs in the US.  During prohibition the US spent millions of dollars fighting a losing battle. No matter what they did they could not keep liquor out of the US. The more they tried the more sophisticated the people importing the liquor became. It only stopped when they re-legalized alcohol and taxed it.

There is a growing movement to do the same thing with some of the drugs that are being brought into the US (although there are still some that really need to be controlled).  They say that History can be a great teacher for those that are willing to read it, but for some reason I think that too many people want to ignore the lessons available there. The media and software companies really need to take a look at the mobile market to see what can be done. Although there is still piracy at this level it is much less rampant. People are willing to pay the money to get the apps they want. The reason is that these apps are (for the most part) reasonably prices; unlike the hugely disproportionate prices seen in the PC, Console, and DVD/BRD world.  If these companies could finally work out a fair pricing structure (meaning the CEOs and other execs would need to get paid a little less) and a good method for content delivery then you would finally see piracy decline. It will never go away as that is part of the Internet Culture, but the number of people taking that risk would drop off as it would not be seen as “worth it”.

It really is sad that the greed of a few people (this included the actors getting pair tens of millions for a single movie) is what fuels much of the file sharing and piracy out today. Maybe one day we will see a change here, but I have a feeling that the culture that runs the show will never allow that.

Source TorrentFreak

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Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 22:27

Steam; "Piracy is not an issue"

news_steam-logoWe have heard many comments about Steam, Vale’s distribution service these range from very bad to it is the greatest thing since the invention of the internet. Our personal feelings fall in the middle. It is a great service and has some very competitive pricing, but we would like to be able to turn a few things off from the social side and as a parent I would like to be able to monitor it a little better.

Still no matter what you think about Steam one thing cannot be denied. Steam has found a way to make money even in Russia, where the majority of games and software are pirated. How have they done this? Well they have decided not to try and stop piracy (which is impossible) but to compete head to head with it.  To quote Gabe Newell "The best way to fight piracy is to create a service that people need," We would add at least a service that people want. Gabe recently spoke to Kotaku about this subject and their concerns over companies Like EA and Sony developing their own Steam-Like services.  Gabe said he is not concerned about either.

The problem as Gabe sees it is that companies like EA (who has their own problems with their recent EULA mistake), Sony, and others are making their games “Worth Less” (not to be confused with worthless) by adding in more DRM restrictions to protect and monetize their games. This is often presented as a way to thwart piracy (which is, of course, impossible) but is more and more commonly meant to nickel and dime the consumer and try to make more money per game title. Instead of worrying about this type of approach Gabe thinks that companies need to provide a service to the consumers, this way they will feel the value of the game and the service behind it; "Customers want to know everything is going to be there for them no matter what: Their saved games and configurations will be there. They don't want any uncertainty." Which is what you get when you get many of today’s games uncertainty , you never know if you are going to get what you pay for or if the game will run due to restrictive DRM that is forced on you to try and “prevent piracy” (which is impossible).

Gabe also mentioned that Steam will not be standing still, as the market moves from the PC to the Console to the Integrated TV, Steam will have to evolve. To put is in his own words “"Where we are today is trivial to where we will be down the line. We need to be focusing on where we are headed."
He also goes on to say that he knows that if they make a big enough mistake Steam can fail and become nothing more than the “answer to a trivia question."

Source Kotaku

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