Melon Farmers Original Version

Control Freaks


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16th December   

Toyota, Greek God of Litigation...

Toyota harangue porn star named Lexus
Link Here

Toyota's US attorney has sent a cease-and-desist letter to EBoys Studio, based in Switzerland, telling the company to "immediately and permanently cease all use of the name Lexus" in its gay-themed adult films, including DVDs, and the Web site, or face legal action.

EBoys president Daniel Grangier, quoted by the GayWired news service, says the performer chose to be called "Lexus" because it is "the name of a Greek god," not because of the cars. Grangier said his company's own attorney is "now in negotiation with Toyota's legal team" and will resist demands for a worldwide recall of two films starring the controversially named actor.

Comment: Porsche Lynn

16th December 2007

Thanks to Alan

Fascinating! I wonder whether they've also considered clapping a writ on the American film star called Lexus Locklear. What about Porsche Lynn?

Moving away from silly stage names, m'learned friends ought to be able to sue a few vintage erotica sites over images of Alana Ford. I'm sure that Spanish and Latin American pornographers must engage the servces of ladies called Mercedes. And no doubt some "AV idols" serving as bukkake targets are surnamed Honda or Suzuki.....


15th December   

Western Digital Bollox...

Network disk drive won't allow remote access to mp3 and video
Link Here

The Western Digital's 1TB My Book World Edition external hard drive has been crippled by DRM.

The remote-access HDD won't share media files over network connections. [only applies to different login IDs,  single user is unrestricted]

From the Western Digital site: Due to unverifiable media license authentication, the most common audio and video file types cannot be shared with different users using WD Anywhere Access.

Western Digital's list of banned file types encompasses over 35 extensions. This includes AAC, MP3, AVI, DivX, WMV, and QuickTime files. And - why not? — Windows TMP files too.

In fact, the hard drives aren't really crippled at all: if you're a Samba user it's just another bog-standard piece of Network Attached Storage, an Ethernet drive like any other.

What's "crippled" is Western Digital's optional extra, a virtual file system for Windows users called Mionet. But then it always has been. MioNet is marketed as a virtual filesystem, and permits you to access your home Windows PC across the internet. It actually does quite a bit more: a shared workspace, and remote device access, for example viewing your webcam remotely.

Maybe those in the know can bypass the bollox Western Digital software, but out of principle, surely a company to avoid.


12th December   

Sharing Filters...

ISP will implement file sharing filters
Link Here

AT&T is the first ISP to announce voluntarily plans to put mechanisms in place that will filter pirated material from the company's network.

The MPAA's Dan Glickman yesterday insisted that all ISPs will soon be following AT&T's lead, and that it's in their best interest to do so, particularly as they begin getting into the content game. said: Investors and execs won't like the added costs, customers won't like the restrictions on their p2p use, and it's likely that much of the technology won't work anyway.

NBC has said they'd love to see filters not only employed at the ISP level, but also put into home networking gear.


9th December   

Kill Switch Killed...

Much despised Microsoft Vista feature to be removed
Link Here

When Microsoft Vista Service Pack 1 ships sometime in early 2008, it will strip away one of Vista's most annoying features and remove one of the most persistent objections to Vista's adoption. Microsoft plans to remove the infamous “kill switch” from Windows Vista when SP1 is installed, restoring the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program to its original role as a series of persistent but nonlethal notifications.

Senior product manager Alex Kochis laid out the changes for a handful of reporters and analysts: Based on customer feedback, we will not reduce user functionality on systems determined to be non-genuine

This suggets that the WGA team has finally realized that they need to react forcefully to a year of embarrassing WGA glitches, server outages, and nonstop customer complaints.

In the current retail copies of Vista, there are dire consequences for failing to activate a retail copy of Windows Vista after 30 days or ignoring the three-day “grace period” when a system falls out of tolerance after too many hardware changes. When the timer runs out, the desktop turns black and its icons disappear and the Start menu vanishes. You can copy your personal data files, but you can't open them, and you're granted the right to use Internet Explorer for one hour before being forcibly logged off.

In its post-SP1 incarnation, the penalty for ignoring these activation notices is … more activation notices. The most annoying change is an Activate Now dialog box that forces you to wait 15 seconds before the matching Activate Later option is available to be clicked.


8th December   

A Beacon to Stupidity...

Facebook allow a (partial) opt out to Beacon ads
Link Here

Facebook's CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg has profusely apologized for missteps in the design and deployment of the Beacon ad system, but he remains unrepentant about what privacy advocates consider a particularly egregious feature.

While Wednesday's decision to allow Facebook members to completely decline participation in Beacon has been generally welcomed, privacy advocates will likely keep Facebook in their crosshairs until the system's user tracking mechanism is scaled back.

Announced a month ago as part of what Facebook calls Social Ads, Beacon tracks certain actions of Facebook users on some external sites, like Blockbuster and Fandango, in order to report those actions back to users' Facebook friends network.

[So that they can inform somebody that because their friend has just purchased a particular film and they might like to do so too. But do you really want your friends to know that you have purchased Sex on Animal Farm? Or more innocently do you want friends to get told what you have just purchased as surprise Christmas presents].

Even critics of Beacon had generally assumed that the ad system limited its non-Facebook tracking and data reporting to Facebook members who were logged on to the site.

However, in the past week, CA security researcher Stefan Berteau stunned many when he reported that Beacon tracks all users in these external sites, including logged-off and former Facebook members and even non-Facebook members, and sends data back to Facebook. He also found that logged-in Facebook users who declined having their actions broadcast to their friends still had their data sent to Facebook.

Facebook confirmed that this broad user tracking function remains untouched in Beacon, despite the changes announced Wednesday, a spokesperson said in an e-mail.

In his latest note regarding Beacon, published Thursday afternoon, Berteau, who is senior research engineer at CA's Threat Research Group, commends Facebook for the most recent changes, but reminds the company that it needs to go further.

As long as Beacon silently tracks logged-off, former and non-members, people who use Facebook and the sites affiliated with Beacon face a privacy threat, Berteau wrote.


25th October    Score a Hit ...
Internet sheet music library taken down
loimslp.jpgThe International Music Score Library Project that has provided access to copies of many musical scores that are in the public domain has been shut down due to a cease-and-desist letter sent to the site operator by a European Union music publisher (Universal Edition).

A majority of the scores recently available at IMSLP were in the public domain worldwide. Other scores were not in the public domain in the United States or the EU (where copyright extends for 70 years after the composer's death), but were legal in Canada (where the site is hosted) and many other countries. The site's maintainers clearly labeled the copyright status of such scores and warned users to follow their respective country's copyright law. Apparently this wasn't enough for Universal Edition, who found it necessary to protect the interests of their (long-dead) composers and shut down a site that has proved useful to many students, professors, and other musicians worldwide. Project Gutenberg has now volunteered to host all it legally can of the IMSLP's catalog.

Project Gutenberg's founder Michael Hart wrote: Project Gutenberg has volunteered to keep as much of the IMSL Project online as is legally possible, including a few of the items that were demanded to be withdrawn, as well as, when legal, to provide a backup of the entire site, for when the legalities have finally been worked out.


21st October    TV-Links FUCT ...
Police, FACT and Trading SubStandards raid links site
FACT Raided, Owner Arrested

TV-Links (now dead) is a site which links to sites like Google Video and YouTube, which host clips of TV shows. Today, the Gloucestershire County Council, in association with FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft funded by the media industry), raided the site’s servers and arrested the man from Cheltenham who ran the site.

A man is now in prison because he runs a site where other people can link to low-resolution tv shows, hosted by Google. FACT did not raid Google, they raided a site which merely links to TV shows.

This is what is known as Deep Linking. There have been a few legal cases about this already in different parts of the world. The most memorable of these was a case in Texas less than a year ago which involved linking to motocross videos. Unfortunately, the court ruled against a website which linked to a larger company’s videos.

This effectively makes the entire internet illegal.

I don’t know enough about copyright law in England, but clearly the justice system is broken. Google, which is actually hosting the copyrighted content, is untouchable.

Linking is Not A Crime!
Free The 26 Year Old Man From Cheltenham!

From the Guardian see full article One of the world's most-used 'pirate' film websites has been closed after providing links to illegal versions of major Hollywood hits and TV shows. The first closure of a major UK-based pirate site was also accompanied by raids and an arrest.

The arrest and the closure of the site - - came during an operation by officers from Gloucestershire County Council trading standards in conjunction with investigators from Fact and Gloucestershire Police.

Fact claims that was providing links to illegal film content that had been camcorder recorded from cinemas and then uploaded to the internet. The site also provided links to TV shows that were being illegally distributed.

Visitors to the site could get access to major feature films, sometimes within days of their initial cinema release. Recent links took users to illegal versions of the Disney/Pixar animation sensation Ratatouille as well as to most of this summer's blockbusters.

Sites such as TV Links contribute to and profit from copyright infringement by identifying, posting, organising, and indexing links to infringing content found on the internet that users can then view on demand by visiting these illegal sites, said a spokesman for Fact.

Roger Marles, from Trading Standards said sites such as TV Links allowed people to break UK copyright law: The 'users' are potentially evading licence fees, subscription fees to digital services or the cost of purchase or admittance to cinemas to view the films .


29th October  Update:  TV-Links Legality ...
FUCT if they know what to charge him with
FACT logoGloucestershire police have confirmed that the Cheltenham man at the centre of an investigation into the website TV-Links was arrested under section 92 of the Trade Mark Act, on suspicion of supplying property with a registered trademark, without permission.

The man has not been charged with any offence, and has been released pending further investigation.

According to legal experts, the revelation that the 26 year-old was arrested under trademark law adds further uncertainty to an already cutting edge legal situation.

I've never heard of using trademarks law for anything like this, said Struan Robertson, legal eagle at Pinsent Masons, and editor of There are criminal provisions in the Trade Marks Act, but they are intended to catch the sale of counterfeit goods, not the supply of a service. I'd be surprised if the provision of links was found to be a criminal offence under the Trade Marks Act.

Indeed, section 92 is very clear that: A person does not commit an offence under this section unless- (a) the goods are goods in respect of which the trade mark is registered, or (b) the trade mark has a reputation in the United Kingdom and the use of the sign takes or would take unfair advantage of, or is or would be detrimental to, the distinctive character or the repute of the trade mark.

It sounds like they are trying to crow-bar activity that looks wrong into laws that aren't really designed to deal with it, Robertson said


21st October    Alt.lawsuits.usenet ...
RIAA file against for shared MP3s
RIAA: Screwing artists and cosnumers since 1952The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has found a new target for a copyright lawsuit: Usenet.

In a lawsuit filed against on October 12, the RIAA says that Usenet newsgroups contain millions of copyrighted sound recordings in violation of federal law.

Usenet was a wildly popular way to distribute conversations and binary files long before the Web or peer-to-peer networks existed. It's divided up into tens of thousands of "newsgroups"--discussion areas arranged hierarchically and sporting names like,, and comp.os.linux.admin. A handful are moderated; most are not.

Some newsgroups, like, are devoted to the distribution of binary files. Of particular relevance to the RIAA lawsuit is that there are around 652 newsgroups with the phrase "MP3" in their names.

The RIAA lawsuit claims encourages its customers to pay up to $19 a month by enticing them with copyrighted music, and asks for a permanent injunction barring the company from aiding, encouraging, enabling, inducing, causing, materially contributing to, or otherwise facilitating copyright infringement.

There are some differences between and some of the other newsgroup providers that will help the RIAA. boasts that signing up for an account gives you access to millions of MP3 files and also enables you to post your own files the same way and share them with the whole world. Clearly they didn't run that language by their lawyers first.

So will the RIAA win? Thanks to improvident boasts like that, they stand a good chance.

What the RIAA's doing here is a classic litigation strategy: sue someone who a judge is likely to say is a clear offender, and then invoke that decision when targeting someone who's a more marginal case. may be first but newsgroup providers like AT&T, Verizon, and Stanford may well be next.


25th September

   No Fair Use in Germany ...


Nasty law passes criminalising all copying of films and music, even personal use

From Variety

Germany's upper house of parliament have approved a controversial copyright law, which makes it all but illegal for individuals to make copies of films and music, even for their own use.

The Bundesrat pushed aside criticism from consumer protection groups and passed the law, which makes it illegal for anyone to store DVDs and CDs without permission. The law also covers digital copies from IPTV and TV broadcasts.

Consumer groups and the Green Party had campaigned in vain to include a "bagatelle exemption," so that the measure would not "criminalize" youths and other private users. The law is set to take effect in 2008.

The law goes beyond previous legislation brought in by the German government to help the entertainment industry. Germany's federal justice minister Brigitte Zypris claimed that the legislative reform brought German law into line with European Union codes.


29th August

   Shocking Sony ...


Sony's BioShock is infested with rootkit DRM

From Slashdot see full article

Sony (the owner of SecureROM copy protection) is still up to its old tricks. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after the music CD DRM fiasco, which cost them millions.

However, they have now started infesting PC gaming with their invasive DRM. Facts have surfaced that show that the recently released PC game BioShock installs a rootkit, which embeds itself into Explorer, as part of its SecureROM copy-protection scheme.

Not only that, but just installing the demo infects your system with the rootkit. This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"


16th August

    Update: Universal Hobbling ...


Universal to experiment with DRM free music downloads

From The Times

Universal, the world's largest record label, has said that it will still start offering music for download without copy protection in an attempt to increase digital sales.

The company said that in the next few months it will start to make tracks available without the software, known as digital rights management (DRM), which prevents owners copying songs.

The hope is that more customers will buy digital music if they have more control over songs once they are downloaded — such as the ability to transfer them to different media players, an option ruled out if a song file is protected by DRM.

Universal said that it would offer the DRM-free tracks through a range of online music retailers, including RealNetworks, Wal-Mart and Amazon, until January, at which point it would assess the impact the move had on consumer demand, as well as piracy.

Under the new arrangements, first revealed in The Times in June, Universal will sell as least some tracks in unprotected form for 99 cents.


4th August

   Bluer Blu-ray ...


Sony gives Japanese porn a hand

From The Times

Sony is not only allowing pornography on Blu-ray, but they have begun offering resources and technical support to Japan's adult film industry.

The pornography industry in Japan is complicated, including restrictions on manufacturing pornographic discs that are outside of Sony's control. To get around this, Sony has sold a Taiwanese company the necessary equipment to copy thousands of DVDs at once in collaboration with Japanese studios.

Plus, during Japan's recent Adult Treasure Expo 2007, adult filmmakers said Sony had begun offering technical support—which was later confirmed by Sony PR, which stated that Sony would offer support to any filmmaker working on the format, no matter the industry they were part of.

Pornography on Blu-ray in the US has proved difficult as replicators do not want to jeopardise Disney contracts by also working with porn companies.


6th July

   Sparked Back to Life ...


AllOfMp3 shut by Russia

From The Times

The music download website whose activities threatened to scupper Russia's entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been shut down.

The site,, was quietly closed as the Kremlin sought to end criticism from the United States that Russia was failing to clamp down on music and video piracy.

However, an alternative site run by the same Moscow company has already emerged. MediaServices says that is legal under Russian law, using many of the same arguments advanced in support of

Customers found last week that would not load on their computers, while others who went through its Russian web address were greeted by a message saying that it was closed "for maintenance". A former employee confirmed to The Times today that it had been shut down under pressure from the Russian authorities.

Susan Schwab, the US Trade Representative, singled out during talks last year on Russian membership of the WTO and said that closure was a non-negotiable condition of entry.

Russia also promised to target other Russian sites that distributed copyright material illegally. insisted that it was a legitimate business because it paid royalties to a Russian organisation that collected fees for distribution to copyright holders.

It argued that it was helping to prevent piracy by offering an alternative to free file-sharing sites. Western music companies refused to accept the fee, arguing that the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society had no right to represent their interests.

The site looks virtually identical and claims to offer thousands of albums by popular artists for around 15 US cents per song.


8th June

   Toyota Tits ...


Contending that a pornstar named Lexus degrades their car

From freep
see also

Toyota is worried that a pornography web site run by two Detroiters is damaging the reputation of one of its luxury cars.

The Japanese automaker filed a federal lawsuit, alleging Mario Mendoza and Katie Lynn Krzywdzinski broke trademark laws by using “Lexus” as the moniker of its porn star and the name of its web site.

The suit alleges the site uses the mark ‘Lexus’ in an unwholesome and unsavory context and is likely to tarnish and blur the distinctive qualities of the car model.

The site’s star, Lexus Cash, claims to be an amateur who started making home videos of my girlfriends fooling around.


20th May

   Bullies in Silhouette ...


Apple take on Ann Summers over advert

The bullies from Apple previously got worked up by another similar iPod add-on called iBuzz

From News of the World

Apple Computers are really worked up over an Ann Summers sex toy that hooks up to your iPod.

Women all over Britain are saying yes, yes, yes to the £30 iGasm that plugs into a music player and delivers good vibrations that pulse to the beat.

But iPod bosses are irate demanding stores take down all posters for the gadget or risk a fight in the court.

Apple lawyers claim the poster is a blatant rip-off of their own famous silhouette images used to flog iPods.

Their haughty legal letter to the shop chain adds: We hope this request to remove it immediately will prevent us having to consider further action.


15th May

   First Blue for Blu-Ray ...


Blu-ray struggles to find adult content

From X Biz see full article
LFP Video Group has announced that it has assumed distribution of’s Jenna Haze Oil Orgy , the first adult title released for the Blu-ray format. is replicating the title in-house with the DRM copyright protection stripped from the disc.

Replication of adult movies for Blu-Ray has proved very difficult as most of those that can do the job are tied to Sony or Disney and are therefore restricted from working with adult films.


3rd May

   Digging into Control Freaks ...


People power beats control freakery

From The Times
See also Every single story on the front page is the key

One of the world’s most popular news websites was forced to pull the plug yesterday after a massive revolt from its readers over the censorship of a story about hacking into high-definition DVDs., which accounts for 1 per cent of all internet traffic in America, built its success on allowing its own users – primarily technology enthusiasts – to post their own stories and rank them according to a voting system.

That same “news democracy” brought the website to its knees when users began resubmitting the censored story by the thousands, along with the computer code necessary to hack into the discs.

Before the website collapsed, the third-most-popular story on’s home page was headlined “Every single story on the front page is the key”, which was a reference to the censored HD-DVD code being inserted into every story. Another story on the front page had the headline: “HD-DVD key fiasco is an example of 21st Century digital revolt”.

More than 6,000 users had voted on each item to ensure that the rigged stories remained at the top of the news agenda. Under normal circumstances, stories rarely get more than a few hundred votes, or “diggs”.’s chief executive, Jay Adelson, responded to the rebellion by saying that the website would comply with requests from an unnamed HD-DVD manufacturer to remove the hacking stories.

We’ve been notified by the owners of this intellectual property that they believe the posting of the encryption key infringes their intellectual property rights, he wrote.

Eight hours later, the website had a change of heart.

Kevin Rose, the 30-year-old Californian founder of Digg. com wrote to users saying that he had been wrong to censor the story.

After seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear, he wrote in his blog. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you and, effective immediately, we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code [to hack into the HD-DVDs] and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.


4th April

   Ending Hobbling ...


EMI offer DRM free music at a premium

From the BBC see full article

Music giant EMI is taking software locks off its digital music sold via download sites such as iTunes.

The "premium" versions of EMI tracks be of higher quality and will lack the digital locks common to songs available via many online sites.

The move is significant because most download sites currently try to limit piracy by restricting what people can do with music they buy.

Apple's iTunes store will start selling the EMI tracks in the "premium" format in May, with other services to follow.

EMI, the world's third-biggest record label, said every song in its online catalogue will be available in the "premium" format. It said the tracks without locks will cost more and be of higher quality than those it offers now. eg on iTunes:

  • 79p single - with digital locks and at 128kbps quality
  • 99p single - no digital locks and 256kbps quality
  • Album prices unchanged with no locks and all at 256kbps

From The Times

Apple faces a fine of more than £300 million after the European Commission issued a formal objection to the higher prices it charges to download music from iTunes in Britain compared with the Continent.

Apple, the dominant digital music retailer and the maker of the iPod, charges 79p in Britain for a song and 99 euro cents in Europe. On current exchange rates the equivalent of the European price would be 67p. The 99p premium version of the same songs will be available in Europe for €1.29, equivalent to 87p.

The commission said that it objected to Apple’s practice of making consumers buy songs from the iTunes shop in their home country. As a result, it said: Consumers are restricted in their choice of where to buy music, and consequently what music is available and at what price.

Companies found in breach of competition law face a fine of up to 10% of annual turnover, which would be about £323 million.

EMI said last night that it did not believe it had breached European competition law, and would be making its case strongly to the commission.


19th March

   Offside ...


Digi-Alb viewing card sales harangued by the FA Premier League

One surely has to doubt that selling foreign cards is illegal. It is possible that the traders may be breaking agreements with the channels and may be risking their own supply but this hardly makes it illegal.

Digi-Alb is noted for showing some decent hardcore.

Thanks to Nick

The bully boys from the FA Premier League have instructed a company called NetResult to harangue satellite traders.

In particular they are targeting the sales of viewing cards for middle Eastern/North African broadcasters, ART/MBC and also Digital-Alb the Albanian broadcasters.

NetResult contend that it is illegal for these channels to broadcast the football outside of their territory and that selling cards enables the viewing of FA Premier League broadcasts 'illegally'

NetResult have sent emails asking traders to cease all such infringements


13th March

   Dreams Come True ...


In a legal battle with Disney

From ShortNews

Disney, a company notorious for its litigious behavior in copyright disputes, has lost a legal battle against a British pornography producer over the use of the slogan "A place where dreams come true."

Newcastle businessman Michael Wightman, who uses the slogan for his mobile phone pornography company, won the ruling. He said, "It's a David v Goliath victory." Disney currently uses the contended slogan in the U.S. and Europe.

Disney has decided to instead use "The place where dreams come true."


22nd February

   Fair Linking ...


Extension of robots.txt will allow websites to opt for listing in Google News

From The Times

Google has been told that its news service, Google News, which assimilates articles from various news sites, breaches Belgain copyright law.

A Brussels court ruled in favour of a group of Belgian newspapers which argued that the site, which lists links to news stories from around the world, used material without their consent, and ordered that the articles be taken down.

Google, which says that it has removed the offending content, claimed that its service was “entirely legal” and has said that it will appeal against the decision.

There was “no exception” for Google in copyright law, the Brussels Court of First Instance said, ruling that the company must pay a retroactive fine of €25,000 for each day the content remained on the site.

The case, which was brought by Copiepresse, a group representing 17 French and German language newspapers, including La Libre Belgique and Le Soir, may set a precedent for other newspapers in Europe, lawyers said.

The group had complained that Google’s ‘cached’ links, which refer users to older articles, offered access to content that would usually be paid for on a subscription basis.

We confirm that that the activities of Google News, the reproduction of headlines as well as short extracts, and the use of Google’s cache, the publicly available data storage of articles and documents, violate the law on authors’ rights, the ruling said.

Google, which said its lawyers were still examining the judgment, said that it was “disappointed” with the decision and would appeal.

We only ever show the headlines and a few snippets of text and small thumbnail images. If people want to read the entire story they have to click through to the newspaper’s website, the company said in a statement.

Analysts said they could not understand why the group, which has filed a similar action against Yahoo!, was pursuing the case, and that newspapers benefited from having stories indexed on Google News, which made their sites more prominent and boosted traffic.

From The Telegraph

Since the Belgian judgement, European publishers have offered an olive branch to Google in a bid to end copycat copyright challenges to the internet search engine's news service.

Europe's press associations have come forward with a new project to put an end to future legal conflict between search engines and publishers and open up content to everyone.

A technical fix to copyright issues has been developed by World Association of Newspapers (WAN), the European Publishers Council, and the International Publishers Association, and participants include AFP, the French Google litigant.

WAN Chairman Gavin O'Reilly said: "We really want to avoid the kind of litigation brought by Copiepresse in the future.

A new system dubbed the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP), will allow internet publishers a means to provide permission or restriction relating to access and use of their content.

The protocol aims to develop a "language" that search engine robot "spiders", automatically trawling the world-wide-web looking for content to build Google News or other services, will use. It will build on robots.txt, the nearly universally accepted internet standard which already enables publishers automatically to prevent the indexation of their content which is honoured by all reputable search engines.


17th February

   A Donation to Hollywood ...


Extended powers for Trading Standards to police copyright

Surely the UK taxpayer is truely generous. They donate £5m to Hollywood to support marketing and hype of a film at a time when it is simply not available to the majority for home viewing.

From The Register

The Government will fund 4,500 new copyright police to conduct raids from April. The move comes as the Department of Trade and Industry passes responsibility for copyright enforcement to Trading Standards Officers.

As recommended by December's Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, the DTI has granted Trading Standards Officers new powers under Section 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. It will also give £5m to law enforcement agencies to tackle copyright infringement.

From 6 April, there'll be an additional 4,500 pairs of Trading Standards eyes watching counterfeiters and pirates, said Malcolm Wicks, Trade and Industry Minister. This will mean more surprise raids at markets and boot sales, more intelligence, more prosecutions, and more criminals locked up.


11th February

   An End to Hobbling ...


Steve Jobs Calls for an end to DRM

From the BBC

Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple, has urged the world's largest record companies to begin selling songs online without security software.

He said the abolition of copy protection software known as digital rights management (DRM) would be good for consumers and music suppliers. Copyright protection had failed to tackle piracy, he argued.

The firm behind the iPod has been under pressure to make its iTunes music store compatible with other music players.

The abolition of DRM would enable all MP3 users to access music from any online music store, including iTunes. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat, he said

Analysts said such a move would benefit Apple as the market leader in the digital music marketplace.


14th February

    Update: EMI Think MP3 ...


Plans to release music as unprotected mp3s

Could be good for the record companies too. Surely being able to permanently own music means that it is worth more and hence prices can rise accordingly.

From Silicon

Music label EMI Group is in talks to release a large portion of its music catalogue for web sales without digital rights management protection, according to sources.

One source familiar with the matter said EMI is in talks to release a large amount of its music in an unprotected MP3 format to various online retailers. Another industry source said EMI is seeking large advance payments from retailers in return for the right to sell its music in this format.

The second industry source also said EMI is in talks with Snocap, a company founded by Napster creator Shawn Fanning, to release music in MP3 format on social-networking site.

An EMI spokeswoman said the company does not comment on speculation. The spokeswoman for EMI did note, however, that EMI has already been experimenting with MP3 formats and has released singles from popular stars such as Lily Allen and Norah Jones in that format.

The EMI spokeswoman said: The results have been positive… Lack of operability between a proliferating range of devices and hardware and the digital platforms for delivering music is more and more becoming an issue for music consumers and EMI has been engaging with our various partners to find a solution.

Jobs said there appeared to be no benefit for the record companies in continuing to sell more than 90 per cent of their music without DRM on CDs, while selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a digital rights management system.


19th February

    Update: If Music Were the Food of Love ...


It would surely be rationed

From the BBC

Almost two-thirds of music industry executives think removing digital locks from downloadable music would make more people buy the tracks, finds a survey.

The Jupiter Research study looked at attitudes to Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems in Europe music firms.

Many of those responding said current DRM systems were "not fit for purpose" and got in the way of what consumers wanted to do. Despite this few respondents said DRM would disappear in the near future.

Analyst Mark Mulligan said he was "surprised" at the strength of the responses which came from large and small record labels, rights bodies, digital stores and technology providers.

The study revealed that about 54% of those executives questioned thought that current DRM systems were too restrictive. Also, 62% believed that dropping DRM and releasing music files that can be enjoyed on any MP3 player would boost the take-up of digital music generally. However, Mr Mulligan pointed out that this percentage changed depending on which sector of the industry was answering.

Among all those questioned, 70% believed that the future of downloadable music lay in making tracks play on as many different players as possible. But 40% believed it would take concerted government or consumer action to bring this about.

Despite everything that has been happening the record labels are not about to drop DRM, said Mulligan. Even though all they are doing is making themselves look even less compelling by using it.

He said the record industry realised that it had to do more to win over some sections of the music buying public - in particular the huge group of people aged 15-24 who prefer to download music for free from file-sharing sites.


2nd February

   Fair Use ...


Excess HD DVD control freakery leads to frustration and hacking

From the BBC

The encryption on high-definition DVDs has been bypassed, the consortium backing the copy protection system on discs has confirmed.

At the end of last year a hacker claimed he had defeated the protection on a number of HD-DVD titles, leading to fears the entire system was broken.

But the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) Licensing Authority has said the breach is limited.

The AACS group has admitted that a hacker had managed to decrypt some discs and other people were now able to make copies of certain titles.

The hacker, known as muslix64, has been able to access the encryption keys which pass between certain discs and the player. Once those keys have been obtained the disc can be stripped of its encryption enabling the digital content to be played on any machine.

A spokesman for the AACS group said the large size of the files and the high cost of writable hi-def discs made widespread copying of the movies impractical.

AACS copy protection is used on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray titles, giving rise to concern from the entire movie industry about the security of its content. A large-scale breach of AACS could be a threat to the $24bn DVD industry and dent hopes that high-definition discs would invigorate the market.

In a recent interview with digital media website Slyck, hacker muslix64, said his motivation for defeating the protection system was frustration.

I'm just an upset customer. My efforts can be called 'fair use enforcement', he said. He had grown angry when a HD-DVD movie he had bought would not play on his monitor because it did not have the compliant connector demanded by the movie industry.

As part of the copy protection system on high-definition DVD, content providers can insist that movies will only play correctly if there are HDMI - or in some specific cases, compliant DVI - ports on the player and screen as these two connectors can handle the HDCP copy protection system.

Not being able to play a movie that I have paid for, because some executive in Hollywood decided I cannot, made me mad, said the hacker.


30th January

   Norwegian Blue ...


Apple's DRM ruled illegal in Norway

From The Register see full article

Apple's digital rights management lock on its iPod device and iTunes software is illegal, the Consumer Ombudsman in Norway has ruled. This follows the news that Germany and France are joining Norway's action against Apple.

The Norwegian Consumer Council, Forbrukerradet, lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman on behalf of Norwegian consumers claiming that the Fairplay DRM system acted against the interests of consumers. It said the fact the technology stopped songs bought from iTunes being played on any player other than an iPod broke the law in Norway.

The Ombudsman has now agreed, according to Torgeir Waterhouse, senior advisor at the Consumer Council: It doesn't get any clearer than this. Fairplay is an illegal lock-in technology whose main purpose is to lock the consumers to the total package provided by Apple by blocking interoperability.

Waterhouse said the Ombudsman has written to Apple to say it believes that Apple's Fairplay system is illegal: iTunes Music Store must remove its illegal lock-in technology or appear in court. As of right now we're heading for a big breakthrough that will hopefully pave the way for consumers everywhere to regain control of music they legally purchase.

The Consumer Council believes Apple has only three options: it can license Fairplay to any manufacturer that wants iTunes songs to play on its machines; it can co-develop an open standard with other companies; or it can abandon DRM altogether.


21st January

   isoHunt Offshore ...


Bit Torrent site ejected by US ISP

From ars technica

According to a statement posted on the site, isoHunt's US ISP took the site offline without warning. The site has since moved to a Canadian ISP and the front end is temporarily occupied by status messages posted by the site's administrators. These also suggest that isoHunt will be back online soon.

isoHunt was targeted by the Motion Picture Association of America last year with a lawsuit alleging massive copyright infringement. Along with isoHunt, the MPAA also went after Torrentspy and a handful of USENET content aggregators. The temporary shutdown may very well be the result of the MPAA's legal action, although the movie industry group has yet to make a statement as is customary after big legal wins.

Although the content creation industry has scored a some significant victories in its fight against peer-to-peer sites, some of their legal actions only serve to raise their target's profile. Such was the case with The Pirate Bay, which was knocked offline late last May. The Swedish BitTorrent site's trackers were unavailable for a few days afterwards, but it soon returned and by its own accounts, traffic is better than ever.


15th January

   Sony Shite ...


Don't buy Sony's Blu-Ray Bollox

From Heise

There Joone, founder of the company Digital Playground and director of extremely popular HD porn movies, declared that his company would from next week on be publishing movies on HD DVD on a regular basis.

This is a U-turn for Joone, who at last year had declared his support for the Blu-ray Disc format. Asked about his change of attitude the director responded that he had in fact wanted to publish his movies on Blu-ray Disc, but that all Blu-ray Disc copying facilities in the United States had refused to cooperate. The companies had unanimously declared that Sony had threatened to withdraw their Blu-ray licenses should they stoop to making HD copies of pornographic films.

As a consequence Digital Playground now intends to release HD DVD products at a rapid rate: Thus between now and the first week of February the company, with Island Fever 3 , Pirates , Teen America and Island Fever 4. Thereafter up to the end of the year the company will aim to release four HD-DVD titles a month.Each disc will probably cost 5 US dollars more than its DVD counterpart.

Update : A Sony prohibition rather than a Blu-Ray prohibition

The Blu Ray Disc Association say that the wider body do not have a problem with porn on Blu-Ray and that the prohibition is down to replicator companies influenced by Sony. Eventually more companies will come on line that are more independent of Sony's wishes.


7th February

   More on Sony Shite ...


Don't buy Sony's Blu-Ray Bollox

From Digit

Vivid Entertainment Group will become the first adult-film maker to put out a movie in Blu-ray Disc when it releases Debbie Does Dallas...Again in late March, but it's not saying who is helping it make copies of the discs.

Most porn industry film makers have not been able to find replicators to make Blu-ray Disc copies for them, and have instead turned to rival format HD DVD. The two formats are vying to replace DVDs as the high definition format of choice.

In fact, Vivid is the only company in the adult film industry using Blu-ray Disc right now. Other companies say they were rebuffed by Sony and other companies that replicate Blu-ray Discs.

Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment, said it wasn't easy finding a replicating partner, but Vivid did. There are eight companies worldwide able to replicate Blu-ray Discs, said Hirsch. Two of those companies are controlled by Sony, which won't allow them to handle pornography. Five other companies have contracts to replicate discs for the Walt Disney, which stipulate that they cannot handle adult films if they want to work with Disney.

That leaves one possible replicator for the adult industry, and Hirsch is keeping its name a closely guarded secret. He doesn't want to give rivals easy access to a company it was hard for him to find.

Sony has already said it won't handle adult film titles. In markets where Sony operates around the world it won't duplicate any movies above a certain rating or that have not been certified by a local motion picture association.

Hirsch believes Vivid succeeded with Blu-ray Disc where others failed because it is one of the top names in adult-films. But Blu-ray Disc may have a short life in the adult film industry unless Vivid succeeds with strong sales of its title.

Blu-ray is extremely expensive to work with, said Hirsch. Authoring in Blu-ray Disc is about four times more expensive than HD DVD, he said, while replicating is three times as expensive. Authoring is the process of combining video and audio into a format that a disc player can read.

The authoring process is far different than DVD because Blu-ray Disc is a completely new technology, while HD DVD is an extension of DVD technology, so it's not as complicated, Hirsch said.

The company has plans to release four more adult-films on Blu-ray Disc this year, but it won't if Blu-ray doesn't fare well in the market.


2 8th December

   Supercross Super Cross ...


More deep links declared illegal

From X Biz

The U.S. District Court Judge Sam Lindsay granted a preliminary injunction against a man who operated, saying that links between that site and live webcasts of motorcycle racing events made without the copyright holders permission were unlawful.

Robert Davis, who represented himself, failed to convince Lindsay that his racing site was not operating in violation of intellectual property laws by linking to webcasts copyrighted by the plaintiff, SFX Motor Sports.

SFX sued Davis in February, arguing that fans who go to its website see names and logos of sponsors, but users who access content via Davis’ link cannot see the logos of the companies that paid to advertise.

The link Davis provides on his website is not a ‘fair use’ of copyright material, Lindsay said. SFX will likely suffer immediate and irreparable harm when the new racing season begins in mid-December 2006 if Davis is not enjoined from posting links to the live racing webcasts. The court agrees that if Davis is not enjoined from providing unauthorized webcast links on his website, SFX will lose its ability to sell sponsorships or advertisement on the basis that it is the exclusive source of the webcasts, and such loss will cause irreparable harm.


2 8th January

   Super Cross ...


Deep links confirmed illegal

From The Register see full article

A court in Dallas, Texas has found a website operator liable for copyright infringement because his site linked to an 'audio webcast' without permission.

Robert Davis runs and put direct links on his site to audio streams of motorcycle racing. Those streams were created, owned and hosted by SFX Motor Sports.

A preliminary injunction was granted on 12th December by Judge Sam Lindsay in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Judge Lindsay followed that ruling with a summary judgment for SFX on 9th January, leaving only damages to be determined at trial, on the same day that Davis filed an appeal against the December ruling.

Judge Lindsay ruled that Davis's activity infringed copyright and curtailed the ability of SFX to sell advertising and sponsorship on its site. That advertising is displayed when the audio streams are listened to from the SFX site but not when they are linked to from Davis's.

Davis argued that he did not actually copy any material, he only provided a link to it which opened the material in a user's media player, but the court ruled that that link broke the law.

The court finds that the unauthorized 'link' to the live webcasts that Davis provides on his website would likely qualify as a copied display or performance of SFX’s copyrightable material, said Lindsay. The court also finds that the link Davis provides on his website is not a 'fair use' of copyright material as Davis asserts through his Answer.


13 th January

   Fair Play ...


Advocating fair use at the Consumer Electronics Show

From ars technica

Gary Shapiro is the president of the Consumer Electronics Association and also a strong advocate of fair use. In his 2007 CES keynote address yesterday, Shapiro talked about the "New Convergence," and the promises and pitfalls facing the industry.

Shapiro said that the "biggest area of contention" in consumer technology is intellectual property. Shapiro argued that it is not piracy that is the problem, but reactions to piracy. For more than two decades, I have led a team of great industry advocates fighting proposals that would restrict, tax, ban or hobble our technology, Shapiro said. We have not been entirely successful. Small and large companies now face debilitating lawsuits. Consumers are frustrated. Venture capitalists say it is too risky to fund companies that shift content in time, place or location.

We agree that content creators must be compensated. We understand and share the aversion to those that steal content without authorization and resell it. Commercial piracy is wrong. But we draw a different line on what is acceptable in the home.

We believe consumers should not be in legal jeopardy if they do something with lawfully acquired content and keep it in their home. We believe that consumers have rights and that the copyright laws need to be changed to reduce potential damages for companies launching new products where the copyright law is unclear or where the inventor does not intentionally or directly infringe copyrights.

Piracy is wrong. But ordinary consumers are not pirates, and private conduct may be unauthorized but that does not mean it is piracy. Consumers have the right to use technology, to benefit from innovation and to access entertainment while making sure that artists are properly compensated.


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