Archive for the ‘Piracy’ Category

Discussing copyright, copyleft and all the things in between.

Quotes on piracy

February 14th, 2009 by Timo Vuorensola


Photo by Joriel Jimenez.

Almost every day we can read or hear some of the old-guard media assholes slowly turning their heads and understanding that piracy in it’s current, most common form – the digital download – is not a crime. But there’s still a long road to travel. Luckily, there are people in the influential positions not scared shitless to say how they really think things are.

Just few weeks ago Jason Holtman from Valve, one of the biggest game production companies in the world, was talking at Game Business Law Summit, explaining the ways to really solve one of the huge reasons why people do digital downloads instead of paying for the stuff. Now this is games, but the same thing goes with film.

“We take all of our games day-and-date to Russia,” Holtman says of Valve. “The reason people pirated things in Russia,” he explains, “is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television — they say ‘Man, I want to play that game so bad,’ but the publishers respond ‘you can play that game in six months…maybe.’ ”

“We found that our piracy rates dropped off significantly,” Holtman says, explaining that Valve makes sure their games are on the shelves in Moscow and St. Petersberg, in Russian, when they release it to North America and Western Europe.

The final sacred cow that Holtman took a stab at was the issue of piracy. “There’s a big business feeling that there’s piracy,” he says. But the truth is: “Pirates are underserved customers.”

I think the last line is really one of the best ways to put the problem, and the companies – in game, film and music – who understand this will evolve their products and distribution to meet the needs of the people out there and will survive the next 5-10 years.

A British distribution company Revolver tried this also few months ago, and released their horror film Mum & Dad simultaneously in cinemas, on DVD, as a download, and as VOD. One would think that since this has never been done before that the industry would be following with a great interest on how the new radical approach – which really tries to deliver a film day-and-date to all media distribution platforms – would work. But instead, the cinema association wrote an open letter and asked the cinemas across UK to boycott the film, since it’s taking them out of business.

So yes, there’s still a long road ahead, a lot of concrete-headed wankers scared as hell and ready to put their full arsenal and throw it against the new technology.

But the ex-boss of EMI Norway, Per Eirik Johansen, puts it very clearly:

“No one has ever won a battle when fighting against new technology,”

Mr. Johansen used to be a valiant fighter against pirates while still working on EMI, but now that he’s working on his own label, he has come out of the closet and is talking his mind freely.

He now believes the music industry’s fight against piracy has been useless and says he disagrees with the assertion that illicit file-sharing is the same as theft. Referring to an earlier EMI anti-piracy initiative, Johansen noted, “The message of that campaign is that there is a reason why we have copyright, and I agree.”

“But the main thing is that a whole generation already violates copyright, and the only thing we can do now is find better solutions,” he says pragmatically.

Quotes from GameDaily’s article and TorrentFreak’s article.

Epic fail: Gears of War publisher violates customers with a steamroller.

January 30th, 2009 by Jarmo Puskala

Gears of War designer CliffyB demonstrates Epic customer service.

Gears of War designer CliffyB demonstrates Epic customer service.

You might have already heard the news about the pc version of Gears of War. However stupidity of this magnitude deserves every bit of bad publicity it can get.

All legally bought copies of PC’s Gears of War stopped working today. This is because a certificate that the copy protection system uses expired. Now those who have bought the game are unable to play it until the publisher releases a patch – however everyone who has illegally downloaded the game can still play, because the DRM system is cracked in the pirated version.

This is just completely unacceptable. People who support DRM want digital products to have the kind of security physical products have, but they obiously aren’t bothered to carry the same responsibilities that sellers of physical goods have.

Imagine you buy a new coffeemaker – for couple of months you happily make your morning coffees and one morning it just refuses to turn on. You take it back to the shop and want a working one. “Well, sorry”, the clerk says “the anti-theft mechanism was accidentlly triggered in all the coffee makers. We can’t replace it, but just take it home and somebody will come and fix it sometime”. Now that wouldn’t happen would it? When you buy something you expect that the seller doesn’t turn it off in a couple of months because it might have been stolen. You would take it back and if all the other coffee makers were broken as well they’d have no option to give you your money back. And I would bet you’d never buy that brand of coffee maker again.

So in pretty much any other field of commerce a seller that screws it’s customers over this bad would suffer huge losses and go out of business. However you can do this with computer software and just expect the people to take it and buy the sequel too.

And some people want DRM to be applied for movies as well. Soon you might be in the situation that if you want to pay for a movie you can’t expect to actually watch it. You get the license to watch it if the DRM system works, if the publisher doesn’t go out of business and if they don’t think there were more than two people in the living room watching it.

The bottom line:This is just is stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, oh it hurts, stupid, stupid, please make the stupid stop, stupid, stupid, stupid. And did I mention this is stupid?

What happened to Spinefarm’s YouTube channel?

January 17th, 2009 by Jarmo Puskala

Account has been suspended

Just heard from a friend of a friend that their band’s music videos have been removed from YouTube. And behold, if you go to the bands official website and click on any of the videos it tells you that “the video has been removed due to terms of use violation”.

Now what makes this interesting is that those videos were uploaded by their record company Spinefarm Records. Scroll down on their site and they proudly link to the company’s YouTube account. Click on the link and (as of 17th of January 01.00) you get this:

This account is suspended.

Spinefarm is fully owned by Universal Music Group and is one of the biggest Finnish labels. They are home to bands like Children of Bodom, DragonForce, Nightwish and Machinae Supremacy. And it seems the official videos from all of those bands have been nuked as well. For example clicking on The Islander from Nightwish gives you:

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by WMG.

That would put blame on Warner Music Group, a competitor of Universal. Though somehow it seems unlikely that the four largest record companies in the world would be intentionally doing something so petty as to having eachothers YouTube accounts deleted.

WHat’s clear is that there has been a major SNAFU somewhere, but where? In theory being Finnish Spinefarm would not have the right to put their artist’s songs on YouTube without permission from Teosto – the finnish royalties collection agency. But somehow I don’t think they are to blame. And even though the Nightwish videos finger WMG I’d still rather blame incompetence than malice. So has Universal Music ordered the takedown of their entire catalog and their own marketing has been caught in that? Or does this have something to do with the new copyright detection they seem to be testing?

If you have any insight please drop us a comment. I’d very much like to know what has happened here.

Morning Update:
It seems that some bands that have a deal with Spinefarm in Finland/Europe are under different companies elsewhere in the world. Both Nightwish and DragonForce are signed to Roadrunner Records in some parts of the world and Roadrunner is owned by Warner Music Group.

So it seems likely that complaints from WMG might have something to do with this. While many Spinefarm’s bands are not distributed by Warner anywhere in the world it could be that the complainst from the ones that are have beene nough for YouTube to remove the whole account.

Terratorial deals are so much fun in the age of the internet….

Update 2:
As falconer pointed out from the comments all Roadrunner’s official videos have been removed as well. What I forgot was that Warner is, um, in negotioations with YouTube on royalties and has remanded that YouTube removes all videos from their artists.

And I imagined record companies had gotten enough of shooting their own foot with embracing non-DRM downloads and whatnot and not (yet) killing the awesomeness that is Spotify. But apparently there’s still a place for high paid lawyers to find new ways to make life difficult for everyone.

What happened to Spinefarm’s YouTube channel?

January 17th, 2009 by Jarmo Puskala

Account has been suspended

Just heard from a friend of a friend that their band’s music videos have been removed from YouTube. And behold, if you go to the bands official website and click on any of the videos it tells you that “the video has been removed due to terms of use violation”.

Now what makes this interesting is that those videos were uploaded by their record company Spinefarm Records. Scroll down on their site and they proudly link to the company’s YouTube account. Click on the link and (as of 17th of January 01.00) you get this:

This account is suspended.

Spinefarm is fully owned by Universal Music Group and is one of the biggest Finnish labels. They are home to bands like Children of Bodom, DragonForce, Nightwish and Machinae Supremacy. And it seems the official videos from all of those bands have been nuked as well. For example clicking on The Islander from Nightwish gives you:

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by WMG.

That would put blame on Warner Music Group, a competitor of Universal. Though somehow it seems unlikely that the four largest record companies in the world would be intentionally doing something so petty as to having eachothers YouTube accounts deleted.

WHat’s clear is that there has been a major SNAFU somewhere, but where? In theory being Finnish Spinefarm would not have the right to put their artist’s songs on YouTube without permission from Teosto – the finnish royalties collection agency. But somehow I don’t think they are to blame. And even though the Nightwish videos finger WMG I’d still rather blame incompetence than malice. So has Universal Music ordered the takedown of their entire catalog and their own marketing has been caught in that? Or does this have something to do with the new copyright detection they seem to be testing?

If you have any insight please drop us a comment. I’d very much like to know what has happened here.

Morning Update:
It seems that some bands that have a deal with Spinefarm in Finland/Europe are under different companies elsewhere in the world. Both Nightwish and DragonForce are signed to Roadrunner Records in some parts of the world and Roadrunner is owned by Warner Music Group.

So it seems likely that complaints from WMG might have something to do with this. While many Spinefarm’s bands are not distributed by Warner anywhere in the world it could be that the complainst from the ones that are have beene nough for YouTube to remove the whole account.

Terratorial deals are so much fun in the age of the internet….

Update 2:
As falconer pointed out from the comments all Roadrunner’s official videos have been removed as well. What I forgot was that Warner is, um, in negotioations with YouTube on royalties and has remanded that YouTube removes all videos from their artists.

And I imagined record companies had gotten enough of shooting their own foot with embracing non-DRM downloads and whatnot and not (yet) killing the awesomeness that is Spotify. But apparently there’s still a place for high paid lawyers to find new ways to make life difficult for everyone.