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      Music Industry Threatens ‘Deepfake AI Music’ Service With Legal Action

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 20 March - 16:10 · 3 minutes

    jammable Over the past year, new artificial intelligence tools and services have been surfacing everywhere.

    The same can be said for AI-related lawsuits and complaints, which have been piling up by the dozen.

    In the UK, music industry group BPI has enetered the mix, targeting AI-generated voice models and cover tracks. This technology, which partly relies on copyrighted recordings, has been controversial for a while.

    Voicify Faces Legal Pressure

    AI vocal-cloning service Voicify was previously called out by the RIAA. In a recommendation to the U.S. Trade Representative, the recording label group asked the USTR to put the site on its list of notorious piracy sites . The USTR did not include the site in its report, however, and Voicify continued its operations as usual.

    After the RIAA put a spotlight on Voicify, the BPI maintained the pressure in a letter to the site’s operators, urging them to stop all copyright-infringing activity. If not, the BPI would consider follow-up steps, implying a full-blown lawsuit.

    The letter was sent privately on February 26th but aside from the legal threat, its contents remain unknown. While Voicify failed to respond appropriately according to the BPI, the service did announce a major change soon after by rebranding its website to “ Jammable “.


    Rebrand Can’t Escape Lawsuit Threat

    According to the website, the brand change was motivated by the service’s move away from just being an ‘AI Voice Platform’. However, a source familiar with the situation informs TorrentFreak that a ‘legal matter’ played a yet role in the decision. That could very well be related to BPI’s letter.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, the news about BPI’s legal threat against Voicify/Jammable broke in The Times , just days after the rebrand. As ‘a matter of policy’, BPI can’t say whether it reached out to The Times first, or vice versa, but the added pressure helps its case.

    An accompanying message released by BPI’s General Counsel Kiaron Whitehead is also crystal clear.

    “The music industry has long embraced new technology to innovate and grow, but Voicify (now known as Jammable), and a growing number of others like them, are misusing AI technology by taking other people’s creativity without permission and making fake content. In so doing, they are endangering the future success of British musicians and their music.”

    Massive music ‘Deepfake’ Service

    With a library featuring thousands of voice models, the BPI considers Jammable one of the world’s largest and most egregious deepfake AI music sites. In its letter the BPI gave the voice cloning site the option to respond and avoid legal action but thus far the BPI remains dissatisfied.

    While AI-related copyright issues are still rather novel and mostly unexplored from a legal perspective, the music group is convinced it has the law on its side. The BPI’s complaint centers around Jammable’s purported use of copyrighted music recordings to create voice models and AI covers.

    In theory, these types of services could enable people to create a cover of a Frank Sinatra song using the voice of Homer Simpson, if they’d like to hear that.

    This use of copyrighted music, combined with the commercial nature of Jammable, is not allowed according to BPI.

    Thus far, music-related AI lawsuits haven’t appeared in UK courts so if the BPI decides to follow up on its threat, this would be the first. For now, however, there is no sign of legal action.

    Several other music industry entities including the Musicians’ Union and UK MUSIC support the efforts to protect rightsholders against AI troubles.

    “Jammable is just one worrying example of AI developers encroaching on the personal rights of music creators for their own financial gain,” Musicians’ Union General Secretary Naomi Pohl says.

    “It can’t be right that a commercial enterprise can just steal someone’s voice in order to generate unlimited soundalike tracks with no labelling to clarify to the public the output tracks are not genuine recordings by the original artist, no permission from the original artist and no share of the money paid to them either.”

    Speaking with TorrentFreak, a BPI spokesperson says that it has only sent a letter to Voicify/Jammable, not to any similar services. We also asked Jammable for a comment on the legal threat but, at the time of publication, we have yet to hear back.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      Canada Proposes New Regime to Block and Deindex Pirate Sites

      Ernesto Van der Sar · news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 15 April, 2021 - 09:41 · 3 minutes

    canada flag The Canadian Government is exploring if and how current copyright law should be amended to better fit the present landscape.

    To this end, Canada’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development department launched a consultation asking for feedback on a wide range of proposals.

    The ultimate goal is to deter piracy by helping copyright holders better protect their content. At the same time, the Government wants to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individual citizens.

    This isn’t a new topic in Canada where there have been similar consultations in the past. Just two years ago, this resulted in a thorough review of the Copyright Act , which advised against implementing a broad site-blocking scheme.

    Today, however, the site-blocking proposal is again being considered, albeit in a different form.

    New Plan to Block and Deindex Pirate Sites

    The proposal notes that any new blocking legislation would be primarily focused on commercial-scale infringement. It shouldn’t target individuals directly, although they ultimately are the ones whose access is blocked.

    The general idea would be to change the law to ‘expressly’ allow courts to require ISPs to block sites and services. Similarly, courts should also be able to order search engines such as Google to remove these pirate sources from search results.

    These orders can be issued without assuming any liability on the part of Internet providers or search engines, who can keep their roles as neutral service providers.

    “The Act could be amended to provide expressly for injunctions against intermediaries to prevent or stop online copyright infringement facilitated by their services even where they are not themselves liable for it, such as where they may be protected by the safe harbors,” the proposal reads.

    The Government adds that these injunctions should be issued by courts that are expected to guarantee the highest standards of procedural fairness.

    Staydown and Termination Injunctions

    In addition to site-blocking and search engine de-indexing, courts should also be able to order online service providers to prevent infringing content from being re-uploaded, or to suspend or terminate access to infringing customers.

    Cementing these options into law is warranted, according to the Government, as courts have already issued site blocking and de-indexing injunctions in the past. This includes the GoldTV case, which is currently being appealed by Internet provider TekSavvy .

    This begs the question; if these injunctions are already an option under current law, why would anything need to change?

    Fewer Court Cases?

    According to the proposal, clearer legal guidelines could help to bring copyright holders and intermediaries together, which may ultimately lead to fewer court cases.

    “This legislative scheme could moreover deter litigation by encouraging intermediaries, rights holders and others to work together to establish a suitable framework for dealing with alleged infringements facilitated by the intermediaries’ services,” the proposal reads.

    This indirectly suggests that the Government hopes that the end result will be more voluntary agreements. While some ISPs may be open to the idea of blocking pirate sites without a court order, we doubt that all are.

    What About the Copyright Act Review?

    To some people, it may come as a surprise that the Government is proposing a site-blocking scheme now as an earlier review of the Copyright Act dismissed this idea . However, the wording of the proposal appears to be carefully crafted to fit the outcome of the earlier review.

    For example, the review dismissed the idea of a “non-judicial” site-blocking scheme or “narrowing the safe harbor” of online service providers. Instead, it argued that new legislation should be focused on “commercial-scale infringers.”

    The new proposal suggests a “judicial” site-blocking scheme that keeps safe harbors intact and is primarily aimed at commercial-scale infringers. This ticks all the right boxes, although that will undoubtedly be contested.

    A full overview of all the proposals, which also includes new measures against repeat infringers and plans for compulsory licensing agreements, is available on the public consultation page published by the Innovation, Science and Economic Development department.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      EU Parliament Wants Pirated Sports Streams Taken Down Within 30 Minutes

      Ernesto Van der Sar · news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Friday, 9 April, 2021 - 15:02 · 2 minutes

    ball old In recent years the European Commission has proposed and adopted various legislative changes to help combat online piracy.

    This includes the Copyright Directive which passed last year as well as the Digital Services Act , which was officially unveiled last December.

    These laws will have a significant effect on how online services respond to copyright infringement complaints. However, according to some, upload filters and other broad enforcement tools don’t go nearly far enough.

    Next week, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will vote on a draft resolution that goes a step further. The proposal in question is superficially tailored to deal with pirated live sports streaming, which is a thorn in the side of major sports leagues.

    30-Minute takedown Window

    According to the draft, prepared by rapporteur Angel Dzhambazki, sports event organizers face significant challenges in the digital environment due to piracy. To help combat this problem, online services should remove infringing content as soon as possible, within minutes of an event beginning.

    Specifically, this means that current legislation should be updated to “specify that the removal of the illegal content should take place immediately after reception of the notice and no later than 30 minutes after the event started.”

    According to some EU lawmakers, this proposal doesn’t go far enough and several compromise amendments have been negotiated to make the language even stronger. This includes the use of “trusted flaggers,” who may act on behalf of copyright holders.

    These takedowns could be sent to streaming services such as YouTube, but they may also be targeted at hosting providers. A similar system is already in play in the UK, where sports streams can be taken down in real-time, with proper court approval.

    No Court Order Needed

    The EU proposal doesn’t necessarily require judicial oversight and will involve more parties. This is something sports organizers will welcome, but it opens the door to overblocking as well, which occasionally happens in the UK too.

    The proposed resolution is not welcomed by all Members of Parliament. Patrick Breyer , MEP for the Pirate Party, says that he and his fellow members of the Greens/EFA Group will vote against it.

    “This text reads as if it had been dictated by lobbyists in the rights holders industry, it threatens fundamental digital rights,” Breyer says.

    Shorter Takedown Window Than Terrorist Content

    According to Breyer, the Digital Services Act should be sufficient to deal with online copyright infringement issues. The new proposal is overbroad and excessively burdensome to online services, he adds.

    “A 30-minute deletion requirement would be shorter than is foreseen for terrorist content, and outside of business hours it would be much too short, especially for small and non-commercial providers.

    “Allowing private interest groups with self-interest to have content removed without review by a court would foreseeably lead to an excessive blocking of legal content as well,” Breyer adds.

    Breyer informs TorrentFreak that he had submitted an amendment that called for the deletion of the new legislation. That would be the best solution in his view.

    “There is no need for the specific legislation on sports streams the resolution calls for. The existing means and instruments are more than sufficient,” Breyer says.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      France’s New Strategy For Tackling Online Piracy Presented in New Bill

      Andy Maxwell · news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Friday, 9 April, 2021 - 07:09 · 2 minutes

    Pirate Key For more than a decade, French anti-piracy agency Hadopi had made headlines in its quest to reduce illicit sharing on peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent.

    France became a pioneer of the so-called “graduated response” system back in 2010, with Hadopi chasing down persistent copyright infringers with threats to disconnect them from the Internet. Since then, however, many aspects of the piracy scene have changed and France believes that change is needed to better tackle today’s threats.

    Bill Presented to Council of Ministers

    This week, France’s Council of Ministers was presented with a new bill that aims to more tightly regulate and protect access to cultural works in the digital age.

    “Much awaited by cultural and audiovisual professionals, this text provides concrete answers to three major challenges in the field of audiovisual communication in the digital age: the protection of rights, the organization of our regulation, and the defense of public access to French cinematographic and audiovisual works which constitute our heritage,” a statement from the Ministry of Culture reads.

    The bill’s aims are split into three broad sections, two of which deal with piracy matters – the protection of creators’ rights and the modernization of regulation.

    Protection of Creators’ Rights

    A key aim of the bill is to make it much harder for sites that profit commercially from the distribution of infringing content to operate freely. Under the current system, much focus had been placed on French Internet users using P2P networks to share content but with a shift towards other technologies, France sees a need to upgrade its toolbox.

    “This bill thus strengthens the means of combating counterfeiting on the internet against streaming, direct download or indexing/linking websites, which profit from the posting of works in violation of the rights of creators,” the Ministry says.

    In particular, the bill will see the creation of a centralized “ blacklisting ” system for blocking pirate sites, restricting their appearances in search engines, and preventing them from generating revenue from advertising, for example.

    The bill also aims to establish a system to combat “mirrors”, sites that help to facilitate access to platforms blocked as part of earlier enforcement actions. In addition, France wants to create a new mechanism to deal with piracy of live sporting events, one that is able to cope with the urgency associated with preventing access in real-time.

    Modernization of Regulation

    In 2019, France’s Ministry of Culture revealed early plans to create a powerful authority capable of regulating both audiovisual and digital communications by merging Hadopi with the country’s electronic media regulator. Those plans are moving ahead.

    “To implement these new innovative and ambitious anti-piracy tools, the bill creates a new regulator, marking both the desire to move up a gear in the fight against pirate sites and to include this action in a broader policy of regulation of online content,” the Ministry notes.

    The plan is to merge Hadopi with the Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA) to create the Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority (ARCOM), an agency with greater powers and jurisdiction over the entire field of audiovisual content, “whether that is to fight piracy, protect minors or defend the public against online disinformation and hatred.”

    The bill will now be discussed by the French Parliament.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      ICANN Refuses to Accredit Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde Due to His ‘Background’

      Ernesto Van der Sar · news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 3 March, 2021 - 20:53 · 4 minutes

    ICANNt Peter Sunde was one of the key people behind The Pirate Bay in the early years, a role for which he was eventually convicted in Sweden .

    While Sunde cut his ties with the notorious torrent site many years ago, he remains an active and vocal personality on the Internet.

    In recent years Sunde has focused on several other projects. His links to the domain registration service Njalla and the Ipredator VPN are well known, and he also hosted the documentary series “ Activisten ” on Finnish television.

    Sunde’s Domain Name Business

    Sunde is also involved with the domain registrar Sarek , which caters to technology enthusiasts and people who are interested in a fair and balanced Internet, promising low prices for domain registrations

    As a business, everything was going well for Sarek. The company made several deals with domain registries to offer cheap domains but there is one element that’s missing. To resell the most popular domains, including .com and .org, it has to be accredited by ICANN .

    ICANN is the main oversight body for the Internet’s global domain name system. Among other things, it develops policies for accredited registrars to prevent abuse and illegal use of domain names. Without this accreditation, reselling several popular domains simply isn’t an option.

    ICANN Denies Accreditation

    Sunde and the Sarek team hoped to overcome this hurdle and started the ICANN accreditation process in 2019. After a long period of waiting, the organization recently informed Sunde that his application was denied.

    Needless to say, Sunde was disappointed with the decision and he took his frustration to Twitter a few days ago . Initially, he assumed that the application was denied because ICANN concluded that he ‘lied’ about his background.

    The accreditation form requires applicants to tick a box if they have been convicted for fraud or something similar. Sunde didn’t tick this box, as he was convicted for criminal copyright infringement. This ‘error’ was swiftly noticed by ICANN, which is also uneasy with other parts of the Pirate Bay founder’s history.

    Ticking Boxes

    “After the background check I get a reply that I’ve checked the wrong boxes,” Sunde wrote. “Not only that, but they’re also upset I was wanted by Interpol.”

    The Twitter thread didn’t go unnoticed by ICANN who contacted Sunde over the phone to offer clarification. As it turns out, the ‘wrong box’ issue isn’t the main problem, as he explains in a follow-up Twitter thread.

    “I got some sort of semi-excuse regarding their claim that I lied on my application. They also said that they agreed it wasn’t fraud or similar really. So both of the points they made regarding the denial were not really the reason,” Sunde clarifies.

    ICANN is Not Comfortable With Sunde

    Over the phone, ICANN explained that the matter was discussed internally. This unnamed group of people concluded that the organization is ‘not comfortable’ doing business with him.

    “They basically admitted that they don’t like me. They’ve banned me for nothing else than my political views. This is typical discrimination. Considering I have no one to appeal to except them, it’s concerning, since they control the actual fucking center of the internet.”

    ICANN hasn’t commented publicly on the matter and the organization didn’t immediately respond to our request for further information. However, Sunde tells us that his ‘background’ is obviously the reason for the denial. And copyright plays a role in this as well.

    “They said it outright in the phone call, it’s me they don’t feel comfortable with. They said they take Intellectual Property rights so seriously that I can’t join,” Sunde tells us.

    Making matters worse, ICANN will also keep the registration fee, so this whole ordeal is costing money as well.

    What’s the Real Issue?

    While Sunde understands that there are people who don’t agree with his views on certain things, that shouldn’t be a problem here. After all, ICANN is heavily regulated and it could easily revoke accreditation should its policies be violated.

    Without an on-the-record statement from ICANN, we can only speculate on what ‘background issues’ the organization is concerned with. There are a few to choose from.

    Needless to say, The Pirate Bay has caused ICANN quite a few headaches. Over the years copyright industry groups such as the MPA and RIAA have repeatedly asked ICANN to step in and ban these domains.

    Thus far, ICANN has always said that it doesn’t want to ‘police the Internet’ and that courts can deal with this issue. However, the pressure from rightsholders may indirectly play a role here.

    Sunde may have upset ICANN in other ways as well. Roughly a decade ago, he promoted a P2P-based DNS system to compete with ICANN’s root-server and bypass its control over the Internet.

    Notorious Market?

    And then there’s the privacy-oriented domain registration service Njalla, where Sunde is involved as well. Njalla is a legitimate company that helps people maintain their privacy, but copyright holders don’t like it, as it frustrates their enforcement efforts.

    Just a few months ago, several rightsholder groups nominated Njalla for the US Trade Representative annual overview of “ notorious markets ,” which may have factored into ICANN’s decision as well.

    Whatever the reason, Sunde is clearly disappointed and he has already filed a complaint at ICANN. In addition, he reached out to digital and human rights groups to see if there are more options to appeal.

    “I’m talking with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ARTICLE 19 right now,” Sunde tells us. “And I’ve left a complaint with the ICANN complaints team, but that will likely lead to nothing.”

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      ‘US Government Should Protect the Public from Copyright Extremes’

      Ernesto Van der Sar · news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Monday, 1 March, 2021 - 10:39 · 3 minutes

    re:create logo Changes in power often present opportunities, including in the US where a new President and Congress were recently sworn in.

    Last week, we reported how a pro-copyright coalition took this opportunity to ask President Biden for help in their battle against online piracy .

    The copyright holders were particularly critical of big tech companies such as Google and Facebook, accusing them of hiding behind the DMCA’s safe harbor. That should stop, they argued, calling for stricter copyright policies.

    Re:Create Wants a Balanced Copyright Law

    Not everyone agrees with this stance. In fact, the Re:Create Coalition , which includes members such as the Consumer Technology Association, the American Library Association, the CCIA, and EFF, is in favor of more ‘balanced’ copyright policies.

    The coalition sent a letter to the 117th Congress last week, warning that copyright laws and regulations have a downside too. When they go too far, it can harm creativity and stifle free speech.

    “Attempts to increase the protections provided by U.S. copyright law may serve an important purpose, but in doing so we must remain mindful that a heavy-handed approach will only stifle free speech, creativity and the economy writ large,” Re:Create writes.

    “The U.S. government should seek the appropriate balance in copyright law to unlock the full potential of all people’s innovative and creative spirit,” the group adds.

    Unlike many copyright industry groups, Re:Create believes that the DMCA is already balanced and working properly. The notice-and-takedown system is seen as an international standard that protects online services while allowing copyright holders to protect their content.

    Protecting the Public by Punishing Abuse

    However, the coalition sees some developments of concern. For example, companies such as YouTube allow rightsholders to de-monetize or block content that could be fair use. This stifles free speech.

    To prevent these types of ‘abuse’ it should be easier to contest these takedown requests. In addition, there should be penalties for people and companies that abuse the takedown process.

    “We recommend that the DMCA’s notice and takedown regime largely be left alone, although there is a need to strengthen the penalties for abusive and fraudulent notices, and to make it easier to file counter-notices on non-infringing content,” Re:Create writes.

    The letter also highlights another DMCA-related concern. In recent years several Internet providers have been sued because they failed to terminate “repeat infringers.” As a result, ISPs have implemented stricter termination policies.

    Disconnecting Internet Users Isn’t Right

    This is a problem, Re:Create warns, as Internet access is a fundamental part of people’s lives. Cutting Internet access to entire households simply based on copyright infringement accusations goes too far.

    “Internet access is a necessity in today’s society – being cut off from the internet could mean losing a job or not being able to participate in school fully,” Re:Create writes.

    “Just because one household member has had multiple allegations of copyright infringement against them, the whole household should not lose internet access. Copyright law should be amended to ensure that no one loses access to the internet based on allegations of copyright infringement.”

    The letter highlights several other issues that Congress may want to reconsider as well. These include broadening DMCA exceptions that allow people to break DRM. In addition, Re:Create warns that the newly adopted Small Claims Act should become ‘opt-in’, instead of ‘opt-out’.

    Progress Without Restrictions

    All in all, the letter reminds Congress that copyright law isn’t about restrictions. It was originally implemented to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.” This means that fewer restrictions can actually prove beneficial.

    “Copyright law, by its very nature, needs to focus on how to best allow this progress to occur. Restrictive rules that strengthen gatekeepers to the creative world and prevent new and different types of creativity go against this Constitutional purpose,” the coalition writes.

    A copy of the letter Re:Create sent to the 117th US Congress is available here (pdf)

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      IOC is Extremely Concerned About the Impact of Piracy on the Olympics

      Ernesto Van der Sar · news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 3 February, 2021 - 21:21 · 3 minutes

    olympic rings The International Olympic Committee ( IOC ) is known to maintain a tight grip on its intellectual property rights.

    Using an image of the Olympic rings or even just the word ‘Olympic’ can already result in legal trouble, especially when it’s used in a commercial context.

    Most valuable, however, are the broadcasting rights. With literally billions of dollars at stake, the IOC and its licensing partners are doing everything in their power to prevent people from streaming their events without permission.

    Olympic Piracy Woes

    This stance was made clear once again in a recent submission to the US Trade Representative (USTR). While it’s still uncertain whether the delayed Tokyo summer Olympics will actually take place, the IOC has other worries as well. The organization fears that piracy could spoil the “magic” of the world’s largest sports event.

    “We are extremely concerned of the impact that online piracy could create during the next 12 months, which will include extensive broadcast coverage of not only the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, but also the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing,” IOC writes.

    While piracy is a global phenomenon, the organization appears to be most worried about Saudi Arabia, where beIN Media Group acquired the broadcast rights. Saudi Arabia’s piracy challenges are well-known and even prominent Saudis have been accused of promoting illicit streaming services in the past.

    Lacking Enforcement in Saudi Arabia

    The most egregious offender was the streaming service beoutQ, which disappeared in 2019. By then, however, many Saudis had become used to cheap streaming options and many unlicensed services remain available today. This is a problem and the IOC calls for stronger enforcement in the region.

    “Robust enforcement efforts by Saudi Arabia against piracy are therefore essential to protect the exclusive rights of beIN in the region, support athletes and safeguard the goals of the Olympic movement,” IOC writes.

    The Olympic Committee is worried that if piracy remains rampant the value of their broadcasting rights will decrease. It notes that this threatens the long-term funding of the Olympic movement, part of which indirectly flows back to the sporters.

    From Torrents to Streaming

    This isn’t the first time the IOC has voiced its concerns over piracy. Our first reports date back more than a decade ago, when the Committee targeted The Pirate Bay . Over the years, the stakes clearly changed as there are now hundreds if not thousands of high-quality pirate streaming services online.

    IOC hopes that the US Trade Representative can help to address this problem. It requests Priority Watch List status for Saudi Arabia in the upcoming Special 301 Report and urges the US to ensure that the Middle Eastern country takes the problem seriously.

    “The IOC respectfully requests that the USTR maintains Saudi Arabia’s position on the Priority Watch List, engages with the Kingdom to protect and enforce the intellectual property rights of rightsholders and considers taking further appropriate steps in order to address the ongoing harm caused to rightsholders and broadcasters from copyright infringements and piracy activities,” it writes.

    Olympic Committee is Not Alone

    The IOC is not the only rightsholder to identify Saudi Arabia as a problem area. The country’s piracy issues are also brought up by several other industry groups, sports leagues, and other companies. That includes beIN, which owns the local sports broadcasting rights.

    BeIN notes that beoutQ has indeed shut down, but not with help from the Saudi Government, which failed to go after the operators. Also, following beoutQ’s demise, many other pirate services have stepped up to fill the gap.

    “The effects of the beoutQ piracy remain as IPTV applications downloaded onto beoutQ boxes continue to offer thousands of pirated movies, TV shows, and TV channels from the United States, Europe, and across the globe.

    “Despite repeated complaints by beIN and other rights holders, Saudi Arabia has never taken criminal or other action against beoutQ, or its Saudi facilitators and supporters,” beIN adds in its letter to the USTR.

    These and other submissions will be used as input for the forthcoming Special 301 Report, which is used by the U.S. as a diplomatic tool to encourage other countries to improve copyright enforcement and legislation.

    A copy of IOC’s letter to the US Trade Representative is available here (pdf)

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      EU Study Proposes New ‘Anti-Piracy Act’ to Effectively Tackle Online Piracy

      Ernesto Van der Sar · news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Sunday, 27 December, 2020 - 11:44 · 4 minutes

    EU Copyright In recent years the European Commission has proposed and adopted various legislative changes to help combat online piracy.

    This includes the Copyright Directive which passed last year as well as the Digital Services Act , which was officially unveiled last week.

    New EU Study Piracy of Sports Events

    These laws aim to help copyright holders enforce their rights. However, according to a new report from the European Parliamentary Research Service, more changes are needed. Especially to protect the rights of sports event organizers.

    The new study, released by the research service’s European Added Value Unit, suggests implementing new policies, including an “EU Anti-Piracy Act”. This is needed to deal with the increasing losses to copyright holders and the tax coffers of EU countries.

    Relying on earlier research, the study estimates that there were 7.6 million subscriptions to illegal IPTV services in 2019. This generated €522 million in revenues and resulted in €113.5 million in missed annual VAT payments.

    “If the same number of subscriptions were made legally, legal broadcasters’ revenues could increase by €3.4 billion each year,” the study estimates

    “In addition to these revenue losses, legal broadcasters also suffer impacts on employment due to online piracy. The most cautious estimate suggests that each year up to 16,000 potential new jobs are lost as a result of online piracy of broadcasts of sports events.”

    Policy Changes are Required

    The EU study proposes several changes that could help to better tackle the streaming piracy problem. This is needed, it argues, because current enforcement tools are inefficient and differ from country to country.

    One policy option could be to provide a new neighboring right over sports events. An even better option, according to the study, would be to grant a right of communication to the public to the producers of audiovisual works, including sports events.

    The ‘communication to the public right,’ paired with the right of sports organizers to sue ‘infringers’ without the involvement of licensees, would be most effective.

    EU-wide Blocking Injunctions

    On top of this proposal, the study also suggests making dynamic blocking injunctions available in all EU countries and to allow rightsholders to instantly disrupt piracy when needed.

    “A possible solution would be to implement a system of fast, dynamic and live blocking orders, harmonized at EU level through the use of ‘dynamic blocking orders’ and ‘live injunctions’.

    “Along with the latter, it is necessary to adopt a legal provision granting sports events organizers (and any other producers of ‘premium’ content) the right to remove illicit content directly – through technological means – from any streaming server used by pirates.”

    From Voluntary Agreements to a New Anti-Piracy Act

    While there is no shortage of enforcement options and proposals, implementing these can be a challenge. The researchers have thought about this as well and give four future scenarios.

    One could be to do nothing and rely on existing legal tools. However, the study concludes that this isn’t really an option, as piracy will remain a massive problem.

    The first real option, according to the report, is to tackle the problems with voluntary agreements and private partnerships. For example, hosting providers could agree to shut down pirated content when asked, and ISPs could help to block sites and services.

    “This solution, indeed, would have a high impact on the system, allowing a coordinated real-time take-down of pirated content, without causing further burden to courts and administrative authorities and alleviating costs and timing of public enforcement.

    “The chances, however, to develop a network of code of conducts harmonized and available throughout the entire EU territory does not seem to be significant.”

    anti-piracy options

    The second option would be to update current laws, such as the E-Commerce Directive and the InfoSoc Directive, to ensure that the much-needed extra enforcement options can be implemented.

    These changes are possible, the study notes, but the implementation into local laws may result in fragmentation and differences between EU Member States, something the researchers want to rule out.

    New Anti-Piracy Act Most Efficient

    The preferred option, therefore, is to adopt a new EU Anti-Piracy Act that includes all proposed changes.

    “The most impacting proposition – Option 3 – would consist in the adoption of an ‘EU Antipiracy Act’, in the form of a newly adopted EU Regulation, providing for all those legal tools necessary to deploy an efficient digital enforcement against piracy,” the study concludes.

    This new law wouldn’t change existing legislation but would be tailored specifically to piracy of sports events and other premium copyrighted content. That also includes music, films, and games.

    The proposals are far-reaching and will be welcomed by copyright holders. However, the study also stresses that the feasibility is low, as implementing new EU legislation isn’t straightforward.

    For now, this means that the EU Anti-Piracy Act is just another idea.

    A copy of the European Parliamentary Research Service study titled “Challenges facing sports event organisers in the digital environment” is available here (pdf)

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. We have some good VPN deals here for the holidays.

    • chevron_right

      ‘DMCA 2.0’ Draft Hints at Filters With Notice-and-Staydown Scheme

      Ernesto Van der Sar · news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Tuesday, 22 December, 2020 - 23:05 · 4 minutes

    copyright glass looking It is a busy week for copyright proposals in the United States, one that will resound far into the year ahead.

    A few hours after the ‘CASE Act’ and the ‘Protecting Lawful Streaming Act’ were approved as part of the spending bill , a discussion draft for a new and improved version of the DMCA was revealed.

    The draft (pdf) was published by Senator Thom Tillis, who started a thorough review of the copyright law last year. After hearing dozens of experts and stakeholders, the Senator released what he considers to be a more modern version of the 20-year old DMCA.

    “The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed in 1998, and while it was revolutionary at the time, the law simply hasn’t kept pace with changes in technology. The DMCA is now antiquated and is past-due for modernization,” Senator Tillis said.

    “This discussion draft is the result of a year-long series of hearings and months of feedback from creators, user groups, and technology companies.”

    Titled the “Digital Copyright Act of 2021,” the proposal suggests various updates and changes that have ignited instant opposition from digital rights groups. We will provide a summary of some key proposals but there will be more to unpack in the future.

    Notice and Staydown

    The current DMCA requires online services to remove copyright-infringing links or files when they are alerted by copyright holders. This won’t change in the new proposal but simply taking down content is no longer sufficient.

    When copyright holders inform services that ‘complete or near complete’ copies of their works are being shared online without permission, these platforms have to ensure that this content stays offline.


    While the draft doesn’t mention filters specifically, the ‘staydown’ language indirectly requires online sites and services to monitor and filter uploaded content. This would be similar to Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive.

    Copyright holders have argued in favor of a staydown requirement for years. They argue that this is essential to end the piracy ‘whack-a-mole’ where they have to send hundreds of takedown requests for the same content.

    Disconnecting Repeat Infringers?

    The existing DMCA already requires ISPs to disconnect repeat infringers, but it’s not clear when this should happen, and if notifications from rightsholders are sufficient as evidence.

    This ambiguity has led to a series of lawsuits where ISPs are accused of failing to adhere to the DMCA. The new Digital Copyright Act should bring an end to this uncertainty.

    The discussion draft proposes to get rid of the “repeat infringer” and replace it with “persons that, on multiple occasions, were the subject of notifications (…) that were not successfully challenged.”

    More importantly, it requires the Copyright Office, together with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, to develop a policy model that specifies what a frequent offender is and how these persons should be handled.

    This suggestion is in line with the Copyright Office’s own assessment from earlier this year, which called on Congress to clarify when a user’s account should be terminated .

    Small Claims, Copyright Abuse, and More

    The discussion draft also proposes using a small claims tribunal for smaller copyright offenses. This pretty much means incorporating the CASE Act in the new law but that seems unnecessary now that the proposal has already been passed.

    A more novel suggestion in the ‘DMCA 2.0’ is to keep a list of companies and copyright holders that repeatedly send false takedown notices. These ‘flagged’ abusers are placed on a list maintained by the Copyright Office.


    When online services receive takedown notices from blacklisted senders they are not required to act. In other words, they can ignore these takedowns without losing their safe harbor.

    Praise and Outrage

    As mentioned earlier, the above is just an initial rundown of the proposal, which by itself is merely a discussion draft. And based on the early responses, there is plenty to discuss, or not.

    “There’s nothing to discuss,” The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes in an early response adding that “the bill, if passed, would absolutely devastate the Internet.”

    Re:Create is equally offended by the draft stating that the proposed Digital Copyright Act “would fundamentally end online creativity as we know it.”

    Public Knowledge, meanwhile , notes that the draft text “would significantly curtail online speech, subjecting every upload to mandatory content filtering while effectively eliminating fair use on the internet.”

    As is often the case with copyright law proposals, the responses are mixed. Rightsholders are pleased with most of the suggestions, which is reflected in an early response from 22 music groups .

    “Through a thoughtful, deliberative process, Senator Tillis has developed an important proposal. By digging deep into the substance, engaging a broad universe of stakeholders and experts, and confronting the issues, Senator Tillis and his team have started an important discussion about how best to provide incentives for success,” they say.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. We have some good VPN deals here for the holidays.