The Days of LimeWire are Long Gone

Thanks to a crushing blow in the Federal court system recently, LimeWire will be shutting down their software – effective nearly immediately. The company says it will comply with a court injunction to turn off “the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality, and/or all functionality” of its software. The company will not only stop offering their current type of software for download… they will also disable copies already installed on consumers’ machines.

As of the time of this blog post, the company had already taken down the relay servers on the Gnutella network. This is what the LimeWire client uses to figure out which other P2P clients have which information. Once that had been done, software already downloaded would be rendered useless in a matter of hours… other than as a media player.

This is a huge step in the right direction as far as big media companies are concerned. What are YOUR thoughts?

Don’t forget to stop by our software center to see what’s new today.

How Far is Too Far in the Fight Against Piracy?

Piracy is rampant, whether you like it or not. People are stealing that which does not belong to them every second of every day. Torrenting sites are making a killing by providing a means to an end. Companies are tearing their hair out trying to figure out how to stop the criminals. Some companies, however, are taking things a little too far. SuddenLink gives their customers three strikes or warnings, and then cuts off their Internet for six months without a refund of any type. More than that… they do so without solid evidence or any charges being brought by proper authorities.

SuddenLink Communications has dubbed themselves judge, jury and executioner with their new policy. According to a company representative, they are required by DMCA law to take such an aggressive stance – an absolutely false claim. There is nothing in the Terms of Service about the three-strike rule. The closest thing is a small statement:

“If you continue to transfer Copyrighted Material illegally, you are violating Suddenlink’s policies and Suddenlink may take further action, including limiting your Internet download capacity, suspending or terminating your account, or a range of other measures.”

Suddenlink has gone on record to say that they are within their rights, much as Comcast did a few years back when they began blocking BitTorrent traffic.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel this is a little too extreme, or is the company hitting the nail on the proverbial head? Following is a copy of the chat transcript between a customer who lost their service for six months and a representative of SuddenLink. Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Customer: I want to reconnect my internet service. They said I got 3 DMCA letters and they said that by law I had to be disconnected. Is that true?

Suddenlink rep: Yes, your internet was disconnected due to DMCA. When the internet is disconnected due to DMCA, it can not be reconnected for a minimum of 6 months.

Customer: The DMCA makes that requirement?

Suddenlink rep: Yes.

Customer: So you’re stating, for the record, that by law, the DMCA law, that you have to disconnect users for receiving 3 DMCA letters?

Suddenlink rep: You have no choice in the matter.

Suddenlink rep: It is the DMCA policy that it can not be reconnected for 6 months.

Suddenlink rep: It may be the DMCA policy or it may be the way we go about following the DMCA guidelines.

Customer: The law states that?

Suddenlink rep: Once the 3rd offense occurs, it can not be reconnected for 6 months.

Suddenlink Rep: The information I have on the DMCA states: This law was enacted in 1998 to protect against illegal downloading of copyrighted material like movies, music, etc. As an Internet Service Provider (ISP), Suddenlink , and other ISPs, must implement a policy of terminating internet service of customers who repeatedly share copyrighted files.

What Would You Do With a Million Dollars?

Over on Geeks today, people have been talking about what they’d do if they suddenly won a million dollars. It’s funny to read the answers, and touching as well. Many people would donate to charities, which I would do more of myself if I won that kind of money. I’d also invest plenty of it, in order to retire at an early age!

But we all know me, and we all know that I would be going on a massive Geeky shopping spree! There’s so many gadgets and USB gizmos out there that I don’t have yet!! Don’t lie – you know you’d be buying some, as well. So come on… tell us… what would you do if you had a cool million in your bank account?

I had a look through what’s new at our downloads site today. Holy cow there are some excellent pieces of software. Did you realize you can find everything from games to productivity software… for your Windows machine, your Mac AND your phone?

[awsbullet:windows 7 upgrade]

MPAA 13, Piracy 0: Three More Allegedly Illicit Sites Sued

The Motion Picture Association of America has been working hard since 2007 to bring movie piracy to a halt. Wednesday, the MPAA filed suits against three more allegedly illicit movie web sites. This brings their total number of lawsuits to 13; though somewhat of a piecemeal approach, they have been successful in combating underground trade and winning by settlement or default judgment. Even though they have been successful, illegal downloading is even more prevalent than before.

There are other ways of getting a movie, people. Here’s a few:

  • Hulu.com – One of the best services to watch movies and television right on your computer. It’s legal, and it’s free. You can subscribe to shows and get email alerts when a new episode is posted.
  • Fancast.com – Their byline – “Watch full TV shows and Movies FREE online!” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
  • Joost.com – Wow, another FREE AND LEGAL place to watch movies and TV shows. This has a social feel to it, where you can get recommendations from others on what to watch.
  • Major TV Network sitesNBC, ABC, CBS, USA, FOX… you get the idea. They have their exclusive shows you can watch right online just like the other websites.

Let me make one thing very clear – movie piracy is a CRIME, and it is punishable by law.

On Monday, President Bush signed legislation creating a new cabinet position, the Copyright Czar. This office will be charged to create, implement and enforce plans to combat piracy and reports directly to the president. In addition, the MPAA is already lobbying President-Elect Obama to embrace Internet filtering that will automatically detect and remove copyright infringing content. Internet filtering is being embraced worldwide and it will not be long before these filters are in place throughout the Internet. What does this mean? A much higher chance of getting caught red-handed. Not fair, you say? A copyright infringement lawsuit is no walk in the park – more like your worst nightmare. Because of current US laws protecting copyright owners, you could face incarceration and hefty fines if found guilty.

What about fair use? Well, this is the criteria for “fair use” – you determine how you are using the works of others:

  • Is the new use of a commercial nature?
  • Did the new work harm the market of the original work?
  • Is the new work a parody?
  • How much content of the original was used?

Basically, if you are uploading a copy of a movie or other copyrighted work to the Internet as a torrent or onto a P2P or file-sharing network, you are infringing on copyrighted content. Piracy is a big reason that legitimate consumers pay higher prices for the same product. Do you still think that is fair?

What are your thoughts about fair use of copyrighted content? If you are copying movies, why?

How Can We Wipe out Piracy?

Piracy is becoming more and more of a problem in today’s society at an alarming rate. Some people simply don’t feel the need to pay for what they want to watch or listen to, while others feel they should be allowed to download copies of media they’ve already purchased. Either way, it’s illegal folks… and it’s yourself that you’re hurting. As piracy grows, so does the cost of the media to the public. You may argue that it’s the artists and/or music/movie companies who you’re “sticking it” to. But in reality, it’s the consumers… just like yourself. I asked some of my friends what we can do to wipe out piracy once and for all.

Increase the number of ninjas? – Mattb4rd

No one can – Outsanity

Easy. Tell the big media corps to stop ripping people off and offer the media in formats and at prices people actually are willing to pay for. Problem solved. – Stephen Cropp via twhirl

I think thieves will always be around. I think the important thing is to be respectful of people who support what you are doing and are willing to, within reason, fund it. I’d buy two or three records a month at five dollars a piece. There is no reason for a DVD/BLU Ray/Download to ever be more than the price of a movie ticket. No piece of software should ever really cost more than 200 dollars, especially if your upgrades are paid. Make it easier to buy it than steal it. – Brian Norwood

Let’s work on double-posting first. – Josh Haley

I agree with Stephen. The reason people pirate is because something cost too much. – Outsanity

You’ll be hard-pressed to "wipe out" anything these days. – Josh Bancroft

quot;No piece of software should ever really cost more than 200 dollars" – why? There is software that will increase the bottom line of a corporation by millions of dollars… why only charge 200 for it? You are always balancing price, sales volume and piracy issues… a fixed ceiling isn’t going to change that. – Soulhuntre

Whatever they say on Slashdot most pirates are just plain thieves. They aren’t making a point, they aren’t hero’s of the revolution, they are not digital samurai. They are thieves. As such, nothing will ever wipe out piracy. These same people will go to enormous convolutions to try and explain why stealing a movie isn’t like stealing any other property – but it is. – Soulhuntre

People forget that piracy is no different than you buying the program and you lend me the CD and serial to put on my PC or lending me a DVD or album. So that means the government need to crack down on borrowing. – Outsanity

I think music on Amazon costs about what it should. They give me .mp3s for 8.99 to 9.99. That’s very reasonable. Anyone stealing music when they can get it that cheap is not going to buy music no matter what happens. – Andrew Burd

You simply can’t until services match the convenience of the current systems. And convenience means distributed in nature – not having to fire up iTunes. Amazon’s the closest – they just need an API so developers can build their own music stores on the web. You’ll get dedicated people who become digital DJs – finding all the good stuff. And in return for using Amazon’s platform instead of just linking an MP3, the DJs get referral credits (or cash incentives) from Amazon. – trextor

Indie musician should give away their tracks at lower quality (128kbs) for free on their personal site to build a fan base and charge for high quality (320kbs) tracks for the DJs to use. Then make money off of licensing royalties for commercial use. This strategy stops working once an artist would regularly sell more than about 50K copies of a track / album. – Erica Toelle

And obviously you should be allowed to stream the entire song before you buy, like on Last.fm. Such a platform would effectively kill radio and disrupt the profits they rake in from online streaming – which the music industry won’t be too happy with. Till this is a reality, people will just keep downloading and purchasing casually. – trextor

There will always be cheaters and thieves. Always. The point is to make it easy and convenient for the people who aren’t pirating. That’s how you combat piracy … by treating your true consumers right and not focusing on the few who are trying to ruin it for everybody. – tj hanton

We could make everything free. But it would probably me easier to just remove the damn DRM. Without DRM, more people would make legal purchases. – Bob Blunk

TJ is mostly correct. However, Piracy will cause a much larger shift in Software and Music copyright than simply changing how companies treat consumers. Music piracy is very clearly justifiable since most of the artists make little off CD sales and the majority of profit goes to Record Labels who are becoming outdated anyway. Theoretically an honest pirate community would allow software sharing and use it to check absurd pricing which happens quite often in the software industry. – Brandon Titus

Bob Blunk – there is no real data to support that proposition that I have seen and much practical information that contradicts it. – Soulhuntre

Outsanity – of course it’s different. When one person distributes an album to thousands of people via the internet (the pirate bay, vor example) it is radically different than you lending your friend an album. – Soulhuntre

Wasn’t the US founded on piracy though – wasn’t copyright on foreign works specifically excluded at one time? The other thing to do it stop corporations extending copyright forever, Disney makes a mint off The Brothers’ Grimm but campaigns for changes in the law to prevent it’s works going out of copyright. – Andy Davies

I think @Brian Norwood makes a good point: make buying it easier than pirating it. Or at least try. An example: a company shuts off their DRM servers and *poof* there goes all the music you purchased; the message that sends is "people who buy music are stupid". In this scenario, it is more viable to pirate than purchase. Purchasing music needs to be consumer friendly, not prohibitive. There will always be piracy, but at least make it viable for people who actually want to buy music to do so. – David Adam

Except of course the most recent message is that your purchases are safe. Yahoo is making good on their purchases last I hear with MP3 versions, credits at other stores or refunds – Soulhuntre

I think iTunes is the wrong system. Purchasing DRM music is not something I’ll do. However the ZunePass concept I love.. A small fee and I can get all the music I want and I feel like it’s a media subscription like Fios or Netflix. There is no implication of permanence. In exchange for this I can try out new bands and music at no risk and no incremental cost. If I want to "own" it I can buy MP3 versions. Best of both worlds. – Soulhuntre

When it comes to music, I really think anybody who resorts to piracy is a cheapskate. You can get Amazon mp3s with no DRM for a very reasonable price. It’s easy to do so. I think in terms of music, people need to take a step back and think: you’ll pay 3 dollars for a cup of coffee *every day* or go see a movie for $10, but an digital download of an album is too expensive? Sad, really. – Jason Kaneshiro

What do you think it will take to wipe out piracy? Is it even within the realm of possibility, or are we fighting a losing battle?