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Tag: Copyright Infringement

Are We All Thieves?

Posted by tomwiles at 5:06 PM on July 17, 2011

The history of advancing technology is long littered with accusations of copyright infringement along with charges of outright thievery.

The problem seems to stem from ever-changing definitions of what comprises a song, a performance, or a book. Back in the days when the player piano was invented, musicians themselves seemed to define a song as a live performance. Hence, the spreading invention of mechanical player pianos and reproduced sheet music would somehow destroy music itself.

Of course, what actually happened was that rather than being destroyed, music was promoted and ultimately became more popular.

Music is not the piano rolls, nor is it vinyl records, audiocassettes, or CD’s. These are simply physical transmission mediums. It could also be equally argued that MP3 or other digital file formats are not the actual music either, though they are heavily intertwined.

Can’t we as consumers be honest? How is it that so many of us can think nothing of illegally downloading media, yet wouldn’t think of stealing a physical object without paying for it?

Those who continue to rationalize that it’s “okay” to illegally download copyrighted music, movies and other copyrighted materials are thieves. Would you enjoy having your stuff stolen? Are excuses popping up in your mind why wrong is right and right is wrong? If so, you failed the test. If you have to make an excuse to yourself or anyone else to justify your behavior, you are wrong. If you find yourself the victim of a thief, how can you then turn around and complain? Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

The solution to the problem is easy. Get what you want by legitimately paying for it. If you don’t want to pay for it, don’t be a thief by stealing it.

On the other hand, if you don’t like the less-than-stellar behavior of certain media-production organizations, the solution is equally easy. Don’t consume their products. Turn them off. Pull the plug. The world won’t come to an end. You will survive. The age we live in is filled to the brim with alternative entertainment and information sources that make it possible to reduce or completely eliminate the need to consume copyrighted material, if that is your wish.

ACS Law Boss Fined By ICO

Posted by Andrew at 11:16 AM on May 10, 2011

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office today announced that it was fining Andrew Crossley of the now defunct ACS Law £1,000 for failing to keep secure sensitive personal information about 6,000 people.

The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, was particularly critical saying, “The security measures ACS Law had in place were barely fit for purpose in a person’s home environment, let alone a business handling such sensitive details.”

If ACS Law had still been trading, the fine could have been as high as £200,000. As Andrew Crossley was trading as a sole trader under the name ACS Law, it falls on him to pay as an individual.

Previously, ACS Law had been pursuing alleged copyright infringers on behalf copyright holders, including some from the adult entertainment industry. Its main tactic had been to send out letters to the alleged infringers, “encouraging” them to settle outside of court. Apparently over £1 million was raised through this tactic with 65% of the money going to ACS Law and only 35% going to the copyright holders (as reported by the BBC.)

Last year ACS Law’s IT systems were attacked by a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) which brought down their website. When the site was restored, for a short time a backup file was easily available for download by anyone. This file contained Excel spreadsheets with information on around 13,000 alleged file sharers, including those accused of downloading pornography.

More from the press release…The ICO’s investigation found serious flaws in ACS Law’s IT security system. Mr Crossley did not seek professional advice when setting up and developing the IT system which did not include basic elements such as a firewall and access control. In addition ACS Law’s web-hosting package was only intended for domestic use. Mr Crossley had received no assurances from the web-host that information would be kept secure. While the firm should have been aware of their obligations under the Data Protection Act, they continued to act negligently and failed to ensure that appropriate technical and organisational measures were in place to keep personal information secure.

Overall, a pretty damning report. However, even if ACS Law is no longer trading, one can’t help feel that Andrew Crossley’s £1,000 fine is too small given that around £650,000 was raised by ACS Law by threatening alleged copyright infringers with legal action. I wonder what the average cost to settle was in comparison?

The Pot Calls The Kettle Black: Turning the Tables on Online Music Swapping

Posted by geeknews at 1:34 AM on September 25, 2003

Sharman Networks, Ltd., owners of the KaZaA peer-to-peer file-sharing network, have sued entertainment companies for copyright infringement. Yep, that’s right, the company that makes it possible to swap bootleg digital music is suing the music companies.

The crux of Sharman’s argument is that the entertainment companies used unauthorized versions of the KaZaA software, called Kazaa Lite to find the users who were illegally swapping tunes. Kazaa Lite doesn’t include the advertisements that help pay for the authorized version of the product. Lawyers for Sharman also say that the music industries efforts to stamp out music piracy violates the terms of usage for the KaZaA network.

Dave’s Opinion
Some people get what they deserve while others make noise just to hide the truth. The recording entertainment industry says swappers violate copyright law, the file swapping network says the recording industry violates copyright law. What a cat fight!

We should all give up our next concert tickets in favor of a seat in this court room … I think this will be a better show.

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments below.

References
Sharman Networks
Kazaa Lite