Blocking Offshore Pirate Websites: It can be Both Effective and Manageable

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A recently released study by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) examines the effectiveness of internet site blocking to control copyright piracy in the UK, and comes to some interesting conclusions. The authors (Brett Danaher, Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang from CMU’s School of Public Policy and Management) compared their latest work to earlier research they had done where Pirate Bay—but only Pirate Bay—had been blocked in the UK (in 2012). The earlier action led to little change in total piracy and no change in paid legal streaming, suggesting that the blocking of a single site, when many alternatives remain available, is ineffective. This time, they examined the consumer response when 53 piracy websites were blocked in the UK in November 2014. To quote from their abstract,

“We found that these blocks caused a 90% drop in visits to the blocked sites while causing no increase in usage of unblocked sites. This led to a 22% decrease in total piracy for all users affected by the blocks (or a 16% decrease across all users overall). We also found that these blocks caused a 6% increase in visits to paid legal streaming sites like Netflix and a 10% increase in videos viewed on legal ad-supported streaming sites like BBC and Channel 5.” Continue reading “Blocking Offshore Pirate Websites: It can be Both Effective and Manageable”

Goodbye Gary Fung and Isohunt

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The news a couple of weeks ago that Gary Fung, former CEO of BitTorrent site Isohunt had settled a lawsuit brought against him by the Canadian music industry (now known as Music Canada, formerly the Canadian Recording Industry Association-CRIA), for $66 million (CAD) brought back memories of Isohunt’s prominence in past years as one of the leading international websites promoting copyright piracy. It was a dubious distinction for a Canadian website to be up there among the Pirate Bays of this world, those kings of piracy whose principals are usually based in Eastern Europe and whose domain addresses represent parts of the world so obscure that even a geographer would have difficulty finding them on a map. (Yes, there is a domain registry for South Georgia “.gs”, a remote island in the South Atlantic populated full time only by penguins). Continue reading “Goodbye Gary Fung and Isohunt”

The Asian Dilemma: Leaps in Technology bring new forms of Piracy

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We have all seen the famous photo of the Buddhist monk, clad in his saffron robes and riding his motorcycle, with his cell phone clamped to his ear. Who is he calling? The abbot? A fast food restaurant down the road? We don’t know but we do know that Asia has leapfrogged over more established wired markets in the use, in particular, of mobile technology, but also other technologies. Most of Asia skipped the land-line phase for telephony, and is now forging new paths in content delivery…and content theft, enabled by rapidly evolving technology. Continue reading “The Asian Dilemma: Leaps in Technology bring new forms of Piracy”

“Free” TV or “Free Riding”?

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Source: cbc.ca

“Watch TV for Free” screamed the online ad. What? No more cable bills? Never again pay for content? How is this possible? Well my friend, just buy this “fully loaded” streaming TV box and let the era of free entertainment begin! Continue reading ““Free” TV or “Free Riding”?”

Copyright in Taiwan: the China Factor

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In my last blog, I talked about Taiwan’s history of weak intellectual property protection going back to the days of the “ingenious rascals”, the industrial-scale book pirates of Chungking Street in the 1950s and 1960s, but also about the remarkable change that has taken place in recent years as it has climbed the ladder of creativity and innovation. At the same time, I noted concerns expressed by the US copyright industries over a “stalling” of Taiwan’s progress in terms of protecting IP, particularly copyright. How serious is this stalling, and what factors are at play? Nothing happens in isolation. The intellectual property situation in Taiwan is affected by broader political developments internally—and has to be viewed in the context of its challenging relations with China. Continue reading “Copyright in Taiwan: the China Factor”

From the Pirate Booksellers of Chungking Street to Taiwan Today (Taiwan Blog #1)

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Taiwan, 23 million people, lives in the shadow of its huge cousin on the mainland, China (the Peoples’ Republic), population 1.3 billion…more or less. In many ways Taiwan years ago was a microcosm of what China is today, and is today what China may one day become. There are many elements to the complicated and complex Taiwan-China relationship, and copyright is just a tiny slice of that relationship. But it is illustrative. Continue reading “From the Pirate Booksellers of Chungking Street to Taiwan Today (Taiwan Blog #1)”

China and the Content Industry: Friend or Foe? (Part Two)

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Source: ibtimes.com

In my blog last week, I talked about the growing role of China as an essential revenue generator for foreign content producers. The most recent projections indicate that China will become the world’s largest film market by revenue as early as next year. This offers great opportunity for foreign content producers, notably the Hollywood studios, but throws into relief the range of market access restrictions imposed by China, despite its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Foreign content producers, particularly in the area of films, would dearly love to remove or at least whittle away at these barriers. There will be an opportunity to do so in 2017 when a US-China agreement on films comes up for renewal. Continue reading “China and the Content Industry: Friend or Foe? (Part Two)”