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back to article Italy has a clumsy new pirate-choker law. But can anyone do better?

New technology means anyone can now create and distribute their creative works, like photos or music, like never before – but, in turn, it also means that anyone can now rip off creators. And yesterday, a range of speakers – from Google to legal experts to enforcement teams – met at the London HQ of law firm Bristows for an …

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regarding who you're smacking.

Insure that you don't break ANY laws while you're at it.

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Anonymous Coward

It's about time

...that world governments get in touch with reality. Japan has the correct policy on piracy. Perps get a 2 year minimum prison sentence and high fine. Facilitators get 10 years minimum prison and high fines. this won't eliminate all piracy but it will certainly get some scum off the streets.

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WTF?

Re: It's about time

Calm down, AC, you sound like David Blunkett

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Re: It's about time

Ah, the Extreme Stance, conveniently posted under the Coward monniker..

Japan is in all aspects insular and draconian in their approach. It's a good example of what the MAFIAA et. al. really wants to happen, and a stark reminder for the rest of us what happens when corporate lobbying interferes with the political and judicial process too much. Mileage may vary per country, but for european levels of punishment this amounts to sentences for aggravated assault/involuntary manslaughter up to murder (for providers).. For downloading something which may or may not otherwise be "legally" available locally.

As long as multinational companies try to charge the skin off your back, and preferably each breath you take while possibly-renting their offerings under terms of agreement that can only be seen as ( and legally frequently classed as) "under duress" commitments, there will be Pirates.

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Re: It's about time

The lottery enforcement approach: Admit that millions of people routinely break the law, and it's not practical to prosecute more than a fraction of a percent of them. So, grab a handful at random and hit them with life-destroyingly-excessive sentences in the hope that these will serve as highly visible examples and scare the others off.

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Re: It's about time

> Facilitators get 10 years minimum prison and high fines.

Sounds good as long as it also applies to corporates.

A movie studio rips off a writer? All its employees and all the stars of its movies get 10years.

A new hit record is suspiciously similar to a 60s rif? Kylie et al all go to the big house.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's about time

Surely this is part of a democracy - if a significant part of the populace want to engage in a particular type of behaviour and persist in doing so even though it's illegal, then it should surely be legalised...

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Re: It's about time

>even though it's illegal, then it should surely be legalised...

Which would mean the end of speed limits and drink driving laws - on the positive side you would be allowed to hunt Jeremy Clarkson with dogs.

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Re: It's about time

>>even though it's illegal, then it should surely be legalised...

>Which would mean the end of speed limits and drink driving laws

Not quite. There's a bit of a difference between a commercial difference of opinion and engaging in life-threatening behaviour.

In the UK we have a reasonably good workaround for vehicular speed control. It is against the law but we make sure nobody looks too closely. I mean, we could just mandate that all phones carry an app which uses GPS to monitor speed and location to make offenders self-reporting.

The reason we don't do it is that there are other more important issues at stake than speeding, which isn't inherently wrong.

Likewise with copyright. If you build your business around an activity which is inherently unprofitable and "the people" are gracious enough to extend you some additional legal protection, you should be grateful for what you're given. I'm pretty sure no-one goes into performance art without realising infringement is a cost of business.

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Re: It's about time

...this won't eliminate all piracy but it will certainly get some scum off the streets....

...where 'scum' are defined as ' those people you have cleared off the streets...'...

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Re: It's about time

...on the positive side you would be allowed to hunt Jeremy Clarkson with dogs...

I quite like your idea, but possibly not for your reasons.

You see, the system would also allow Jeremy Clarkson to respond to YOU. And, seeing as how he has quite a lot of experience with big man-toys like bulldozers and tanks, and a large army of friends and well-wishers from the southern states of the USA, I wouldn't give much for your chances...

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Re: It's about time

In the UK we have a reasonably good workaround for vehicular speed control. It is against the law but we make sure nobody looks too closely

Nobody looks at all if you're a policemen...

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Alternatives

If only I could stream recent and old 1080p movies and tv shows on demand with original audio (I'm German, everything gets localized here) without having to buffer for hours. I'd be sure to drop 50-100€ per month (as long as the selection is as vast as they are on pirating platforms).

But it's not done. So I'll keep on doing what I'm doing now.

PS: even 720p would be fine as long as it's h.264 encoded with at least 5mbps and does not need Microsoft Silverlight

DRM free is the way to go (see humblebundle.com and gog.com )

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Alternatives

Yes, I live in Italy, I'm an EU migrant. Apple iStore won't deliver me DRM'd UK or US language movies here. Bit-torrent will! Where's the pan-EU, pan-lingua recent and old movies and tv shows on demand service?

HADOPI - after spending millions - only ever got one guy disconnected in France and he established that internet connectivity is a basic human right so he was soon reconnected. VPN use went up amazingly in France!

The italian Guardia di Finanza (Grey uniform & yellow flame insignia with guns) closed down 46 websites just before this law came-in, but had to re-open them. In Italy he who thinks he can stop piracy with laws is a dreamer. The money that these clowns are spending for years to pass unnecessary and unenforceable legislation would be better spent to provide a new design competitive service with piracy. Unfortunately, they who own the copyrights seem old, bloated and do not know how to change their way of thinking.

Well done, keep it up, the time will erase this trivial AGCOM effort.

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Mushroom

Re: Alternatives

" (I'm German, everything gets localized here)" -- The US and the UK tend to 'localize' content too. I remember re-watching 'The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk' on Sky (having already watched the original language version some years prior) and the translators had taken the rather unusual step of changing the entire plot-line and dialogue so that the English translation lip-synced with the actors speaking in Chinese. Mind Blown.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Alternatives

Nice attitude: "I can't get what I want even if I offer money, so I'll just take it".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Alternatives

"the translators had taken the rather unusual step of changing the entire plot-line and dialogue so that the English translation lip-synced with the actors speaking in Chinese."

Uh... wasn't that a Woody Allen flick that was done that way specifically as a satire? Not that I'd put it past them to ignore the original movie, but that's a hell of a lot more work than doing it the usual way, and I find it difficult to believe that anybody whose job it was to finance the dubbing said, "I don't care if it costs five times as much; I want the lips to match!"

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Re: Alternatives

I've encountered that before, also in an Chinese product. On the other hand, far too often I can speak at least some of a language and the subtitles bear little to no relationship with what is said. I get a lot of stares (is he bonkers kind) as it's endlessly funny.

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Re: Alternatives

> Nice attitude: "I can't get what I want even if I offer money, so I'll just take it".

You are only depriving the copyright holders from a cash-flow they DECIDED not to take.

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Linux

Re: Alternatives

"Uh... wasn't that a Woody Allen flick that was done that way specifically as a satire? Not that I'd put it past them to ignore the original movie, but that's a hell of a lot more work than doing it the usual way, and I find it difficult to believe that anybody whose job it was to finance the dubbing said, "I don't care if it costs five times as much; I want the lips to match!"" -- There may be a Woody Allen flick of that nature, but, this also happened less-satirically to Fong Sai Yuk (sometimes simply know as "The Legend" starring Jet Li)

First rule of Kung-Fu? Cheat!

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Free as in free beer is "gratis" in Italian. "Libero" means unfettered.

I guess freetards -> ritardagratis o gratisritardati. Not a term we use often.

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strong copyright is there to protect you against the Big Guy.

Ha, pull the other one. It's got bells on.

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Little is being done properly because a lot of people ARE making money from home piracy; Home users are paying for faster ISP access, newsgroup/storage server access, storage HDDs. The only people NOT making money are the rights holders. If netflix etc all got together to create a service with the content available on usenet/torrents then a lot of people would pay for it.

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The last videogame I played on my PC saw that I had Visual Studio installed, decided I must be a cracker, and refused to run. After wrestling with it for the best part of a day, I gave up and cracked it.

It's not the money. I regularly go to the cinema, despite ticket prices being, frankly, insane. The problem is accessibiliy, availability and ease of use. That's where content owners need to start competing with piracy.

At the moment, legal copies of stuff are *less* valuable than pirated copies (DRM means you're not sure it'll work on every device where you might want to see it), and a lot harder to get (good luck finding a legal copy of the latest American TV show subtitled in your language of choice). I wouldn't want them even for free.

But give me a legal way to get a standard video format download of anything I want, with subtitles in any major language, available 24 hours after the first TV or DVD release, and here, you can have my money.

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DRM

Similar to your Game problem, I have many issues with media DRM. Currently have a Subscription to Sky which gives me Sky Go tv streaming and also Amazon Prime which gives me their streaming service. I can't use either of them due to DRM and other protections.

Sky Go will not work on rooted android devices or devices that have a HDMI out port. They claim this 'protection' is necessary as right holders request it, even though they are fine for you to use the service on a Windows laptop with a HDMI port. Due to the Silverlight DRM protection you can't use their service on Linux either. Apparently there used to be an XBMC plugin which worked but they made sure that stopped working. So having a rooted android phone and being a Linux user, I can't use Sky go.

Amazon prime also uses Silverlight DRM so Linux is not supported. My Smart TV recently had it's final firmware update and Amazon prime wasn't added as an app. I did manage to get it streaming briefly on Linux using Pipelight (an emulated silverlight trick) but it was hit and miss and the quality was terrible.

So I have subscriptions to two services and can't use them. My server however can download Game Of Thrones/ripper episodes in high quality and then I can stream them to any room in the house using XBMC on some raspberry Pi's. I can also stream them to my android devices wherever I am. Am I considered a nasty pirate when I already pay for access to watch these series but none of the legal services can actually provide them to me due to limitations by the forced DRM and blocks? Remove that DRM and I can use the legal service I pay for.

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Joke

"After wrestling with it for the best part of a day, I gave up and cracked it."

Hah! So you ARE a cracker, then!

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Anonymous Coward

How easily the DMCA gets abused

In my original country it is used by a private sports tv network, affiliated with one of the soccer clubs, to routinely get pulled any videos that show referee "errors", unsanctioned aggressions, etc. Even if they are a few seconds clips, as long as it shows the associated club in a bad light, the videos get immediate complains to google/youtube, who too quickly tears them down without any qualms or way to appeal.

And you think there is a need for google to do more to "protect" IP "creators"?

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Legal vs Illegal

The legal services really should be upping their game. I pay for LoveFilm Instant (sorry, Amazon Prime Instant Video or whatever it's called today). The only TV-related devices in my house that can play it are the newish Smart TV and my Wii connected to the older dumb TV as the app isn't available for my Roku or Android phones. When playing TV shows on my 30Mbps cable connection, especially on the Wii, the playback will often pause for no discernable reason and buffer. The choice of shows is limited, with some newer stuff unavailable as it is exclusive to rival channels/services, or not yet available in my country.

Compare that to the pirate sites - my 30Mbps cable connection could (I imagine) download the average TV episode in about ten minutes. I would have a choice of all the latest and pretty much all the oldest and most obscure TV shows. Playback could take place on any DVD/Blu-Ray player, STB, phone or Android dongle that could handle AVI or H264 video streams, which is a hell of a lot of them - no special app required. Playing a locally downloaded file means no network drop-outs.

The only benefit of going legal is, well, it's legal. The legal services should be increasing their catalogues massively (yeah I know, difficult), improving their service delivery (better caching, faster servers, or even letting apps download videos rather than stream them) and making sure they can be accessed by as many devices as possible. Obviously they can't compete 100% with free but if they would just provide a decent enough service I think many many people will be encouraged to pay regardless.

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Re: Legal vs Illegal

I totally agree with you. The only problem I see with that: Legals can't really up their game: If they want to increase their selection to all-encompassing they'd basically become a monopoly. And while I wouldn't have a problem with that, people like the Office of Fair Trading or Federal Trade Commission wouldn't be too happy, slamming said monopoly in the face.

That's why we can't have nice things.

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Re: Legal vs Illegal

I see your point, but surely it would only be a monopoly if only one service had an all-encompassing selection? If they all had access to the same basic catalogue they'd have to compete on price and features rather than forcing you to use them regardless if you want to see a particular piece of content (or just pirate it, which is the bit they don't seem to understand).

Fair enough, exclusivity contracts do have their advantages for the rights holders - mainly as they can charge more for the rights - but there must be a better way of doing things than the way things are done today.

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how about some way for the illegal downloaders who say theyd pay if blah blah blah, to make voluntary donations to copyright owners?

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One thing seems certain. If you consistently say "No, grazie" to any kind of enforcement

We do this in the hope that one day someone will put forward a kind of enforcement that is proportionate, convienient for the end user, and not used as a way to restrict fair use.

Such a measure would benefit the consumer, the publisher (because the lawful product would no longer be less valuable than the unlawful copy), and the artist. (*)

Still waiting.

(*) to the extent that the publisher bothers to pay the artist

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Protect you?

Try asking a few photographers or musicians who have had popular images or (original) songs claimed by the "Big Guys". Sure, eventually (in geologic time scales) it all gets sorted, but meanwhile...

Or I suppose in your world it is just fine for someone to drive off with your car, as long as you eventually get it back. No matter that you can't get to work meanwhile, so have no income, and no need to punish them in any way, right?

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Anonymous Coward

So, this is my third attempt to post a comment about this article. The first one was, as far as I'm aware, not terribly out of line; while not complimentary, it was calm and reasoned. It was rejected, and -all- of my posts are now being sent to pre-moderation, something which the Reg FAQ describes as recourse for someone whose posts are 'persistently abusive'.

When I resubmitted my post - which the FAQ says is welcome - I removed the bits of it which I thought might have triggered the ire of the moderators. I personally don't believe they were any worse than the language in the article itself - I believe that "antagonizing" was among the harshest language I resorted to - but so be it: it's not my ball field. Fair enough.

That post was rejected too.

The odd bit is that my argument didn't even pass judgement on the position taken in the article: My point was that I felt that a less abrasive approach would be more likely to convince readers than would taking the attitude that those who disagree are worthy of contempt (Given the propensity for Reg articles on the subject to refer to anyone opposing the point in question as a 'freetard' I don't think I'm out of line there).

I recognize that the Reg explicitly says that 'attacking an author' will get your posts nuked regardless of other content. Again, fair enough; it's your forum. Reg is perfectly within its rights to toast any comments it sees fit.

But that doesn't necessarily make it a good idea to do so when its own guidelines haven't been violated. My posts can only be considered attacks if disagreement itself is considered an attack. And even if my original post was beyond the pale, I find it hard to justify categorizing a single, curse-free, insult-free post as 'persistent abuse'. And since my second try eliminated even those hints of displeasure, I am left to conclude that it was rejected not because of the original content, but because it discussed having already been rejected.

And that suggests that whoever moderated it wanted not just to avoid criticism of the article, but to avoid its becoming known that they wanted to avoid such criticism.

That's perfectly within El Reg's rights, too, of course. But I would be extremely disappointed if my suspicions turned out to be correct. I wouldn't keep reading the site and racking up comments if I didn't broadly respect Reg's journalism and attitudes. But if the response to reasoned criticism is to crack down on the poster in a manner far exceeding the stated rules, followed by suppression of discussion of the event itself, I'm not sure I'll want to be part of the community anymore.

So here's the question - will this comment be rejected just because it calmly discusses the issue, or will it be accepted, proving my fears unfounded? Hopefully it will be the latter.

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@David W.

I just can't put my finger on whether you are pro or anti-copyright from that post. Similar to copyright lawyer waffle, lots of words but not really saying anything.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @David W.

Well, aside from the fact that it's not an issue of 'pro/anti copyright', the reason you can't put your finger on it is that I was specifically avoiding taking a position on it in order to make it clear that my problem was with the manner in which the article's author was stating his position. It doesn't matter whether you want 'information to be free' or to 'keep scum off the streets'; dismissing anyone who disagrees with you as a clueless idiot is a lousy way to make your point.

Unfortunately, the Reg mods felt that my original, much-shorter version of that post was unacceptable, and the only way I could find to stay within the hazy border of acceptability was to be circumspect, which for rather obvious reasons took the shine off my rhetoric.

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intellect vs contract

People have intellectual property.

Corporations have contractual property.

Corporations have no intellect.

I am happy to give credit when it is for the creator.

The most useless people on the globe are the lawyers who work for corporations

and suck the life blood out of people.

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Facepalm

I'll just leave this here...

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

(it's the Oatmeal - it might be considered NSFW?)

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Re: I'll just leave this here...

> http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

Ha! A true classic. Although it somewhat misses the point. Shakespear's plays had some inherent meaning and point - you go to see a play for the play's content. The theatre understands this an allows a one-off purchase.

GoT is a advertising for HBO's cable. The whole point is to drive you to a cable subscription which you would not otherwise have. HBO knows you don't want a cable subscription so it tries to find something you do want and then makes you buy lots of extra stuff to get it.

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This article has a balanced, IMHO, business oriented view on piracy:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/02/03/you-will-never-kill-piracy-and-piracy-will-never-kill-you/

it ends with:

"I believe in paying money for products that earn it. I do not believe in a pricing and distribution model that still thinks it’s 1998. And I really don’t believe in censoring the internet so that studio and label executives can add a few more millions onto their already enormous money pile.

Treat your customers with respect , and they’ll do the same to you. And that is how you fight piracy."

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