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Verizon Terminating Copyright Infringers’ Internet Access

Verizon Terminating Copyright Infringers’ Internet Access

Wired
July 20, 2010

Verizon is terminating internet service to an unknown number of repeat copyright scofflaws, a year after suggesting it was not adopting a so-called graduated-response policy.

While it was not immediately clear whether other internet service providers were following suit, the move comes as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America are lobbying ISPs and Congress to support terminating internet access for repeat, online copyright offenders.

All the while, the United States has been privately lobbying the European Union to “encourage” so-called three strikes policies, according to leaked documents surrounding a proposed international intellectual property accord.

Verizon was not immediately prepared to comment in detail on the developments, first reported by CNET, or to detail how many of its more than 8 million broadband subscribers it has terminated — although CNET said the number was “small.” The RIAA declined comment.

“We reserve the right to do that,” Verizon spokeswoman Bobbi Henson said in a telephone interview regarding the terminations. The next day, it “disputed” the accuracy of CNET’s story.

The RIAA announced a year ago it was winding down its litigation campaign against individual file sharers, about 30,000 lawsuits in all. Instead, the music industry’s lobbying and litigation arm said it would rely on a series of accords it had reached with “leading” internet service providers, in which ISPs have agreed “on principle” to shut off internet access to customers the RIAA catches file sharing repeatedly.

At that time, in a Jan. 5, 2009 interview, Verizon spokeswoman Ellen Yu said that, in reference to the RIAA announcement: “We are not working with them on this.”

Cara Duckworth, an RIAA spokeswoman, said the same day that “We have an agreement on principle with several leading ISPs but not all, and the agreement on principle is confidential.”

Other than Verizon, none of the leading ISPs have acknowledged practicing what the content industry is calling “graduated response.” Under Verizon’s plan, the ISP notifies customers that unlawful file sharing allegedly is taking place on their accounts — file sharing discovered by the RIAA or other intellectual property holders who actively police networks and IP addresses. Internet service could be terminated perhaps after several warnings.

Italy to Require Anyone Who Uploads Video to the Internet to Obtain Government Authorization

Global treaty could ban file-sharers from Internet after ‘three strikes’

 



New law could mean Internet ban, fines or jail for file-sharing

New Global Internet Treaty — as bad as everyone’s been saying, and worse. Much, much worse.

BoingBoing.com
November 20, 2009

The British government has brought down its long-awaited Digital Economy Bill, and it’s perfectly useless and terrible. It consists almost entirely of penalties for people who do things that upset the entertainment industry (including the “three-strikes” rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the net if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement, without proof or evidence or trial), as well as a plan to beat the hell out of the video-game industry with a new, even dumber rating system (why is it acceptable for the government to declare that some forms of artwork have to be mandatorily labelled as to their suitability for kids? And why is it only some media? Why not paintings? Why not novels? Why not modern dance or ballet or opera?).

So it’s bad. £50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing. A duty on ISPs to spy on all their customers in case they find something that would help the record or film industry sue them (ISPs who refuse to cooperate can be fined £250,000).

But that’s just for starters. The real meat is in the story we broke yesterday: Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he’s planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of. And of course, Mandelson’s successor in the next government would also have this power.

What isn’t in there? Anything about stimulating the actual digital economy. Nothing about ensuring that broadband is cheap, fast and neutral. Nothing about getting Britain’s poorest connected to the net. Nothing about ensuring that copyright rules get out of the way of entrepreneurship and the freedom to create new things. Nothing to ensure that schoolkids get the best tools in the world to create with, and can freely use the publicly funded media — BBC, Channel 4, BFI, Arts Council grantees — to make new media and so grow up to turn Britain into a powerhouse of tech-savvy creators.

Lobby organisation The Open Rights Group is urging people to contact their MP to oppose the plans.

“This plan won’t stop copyright infringement and with a simple accusation could see you and your family disconnected from the internet – unable to engage in everyday activities like shopping and socialising,” it said.

The government will also introduce age ratings on all boxed video games aimed at children aged 12 or over.

There is, however, little detail in the bill on how the government will stimulate broadband infrastructure.

Global treaty could ban file-sharers from Internet after ‘three strikes’

 



Global treaty could ban file-sharers from Internet after ‘three strikes’

Global treaty could ban file-sharers from Internet after ‘three strikes’
File-sharers could be jailed under proposed ACTA provisions

Raw Story
November 4, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMIUwxEgVpY

Leaked details of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement being negotiated in secret by most of the world’s largest economies suggest Internet file-sharers could be blocked from accessing the Internet if they are repeatedly accused of sharing copyrighted material, say media and digital-rights watchdogs.

And the worst-case scenario could see popular Web sites like YouTube and Flickr shut down because of a provision in the treaty that would force them to monitor everything uploaded to the site for copyright violations.

Internet law professor Michael Geist published details of “leaked” portions of the discussions on ACTA on his blog Tuesday, as a new round of ACTA negotiations began in Seoul, South Korea. The US, along with all the countries of the European Union as well as Japan, Canada, Australia and a handful of other countries, are involved in the negotiations.

“The provisions would pave the way for a globalized three-strikes and you’re out system,” Geist blogged Wednesday, referring to a proposal from copyright holders to have Internet service providers cut off service to anyone accused at least three times of illegally sharing copyrighted material.

DARPA Plans for Interplanetary Internet

 



Chinese youth beaten to death at net addiction bootcamp

Chinese youth beaten to death at net addiction bootcamp

Joe Fay
The Register
August 4, 2009

China’s anti-internet addiction industry has claimed another victim, after supervisors at a rehabilitation camp allegedly beat a 16 year old inmate to death.

Deng Senshan had been sent to Guangxi Qihuang Survival Training Camp to “cure” him of his internet addiction, the AFP reports. His parents were paying $1000 for the treatment.

However, the youth ended up in solitary confinement shortly after arriving at the establishment, and was subsequently beaten to death by supervisors for “running too slowly”, according to the news agency.

Local police confirmed they were investigating the death of a high school student, allegedly at the hands of his supervisors.

China is in the grip of acute paranoia over the threat of internet addiction to its youth. Efforts to cure the young of their affliction range from the bizarre to the brutal, by way of out and out quackery.

Read Full Article Here

 



Student Must Pay $675,000 in Downloading Case

Student Must Pay $675,000 in Downloading Case

AP
July 31, 2009

A federal jury on Friday ordered a Boston University graduate student who admitted illegally downloading and sharing music online to pay $675,000 to four record labels.

Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., admitted in court that he downloaded and distributed 30 songs. The only issue for the jury to decide was how much in damages to award the record labels.

Under federal law, the recording companies were entitled to $750 to $30,000 per infringement. But the law allows as much as $150,000 per track if the jury finds the infringements were willful. The maximum jurors could have awarded in Tenenbaum’s case was $4.5 million.

Jurors ordered Tenenbaum to pay $22,500 for each incident of copyright infringement, effectively finding that his actions were willful. The attorney for the 25-year-old student had asked the jury earlier Friday to “send a message” to the music industry by awarding only minimal damages.

Tenenbaum said he was thankful that the case wasn’t in the millions and contrasted the significance of his fine with the maximum.

“That to me sends a message of ‘We considered your side with some legitimacy,'” he said. “$4.5 million would have been, ‘We don’t buy it at all.'”

He added he will file for bankruptcy if the verdict stands.

Tenenbaum’s lawyer, Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson, said the jury’s verdict was not fair. He said he plans to appeal the decision because he was not allowed to argue a case based on fair use.

The case is only the nation’s second music downloading case against an individual to go to trial.

Last month, a federal jury in Minneapolis ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset, 32, must pay $1.92 million, or $80,000 on each of 24 songs, after concluding she willfully violated the copyrights on those tunes.
The jury began deliberating the case Friday afternoon.

After Tenenbaum admitted Thursday he is liable for damages for 30 songs at issue in the case, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner ruled that the jury must consider only whether his copyright infringement was willful and how much in damages to award four recording labels that sued him over the illegal file-sharing.

In his closing statement Friday, Nesson repeatedly referred to Tenenbaum as a “kid” and asked the jury to award only a small amount to the recording companies. At one point, Nesson suggested the damages should be as little as 99 cents per song, roughly the same amount Tenenbaum would have to pay if he legally purchased the music online.

But Tim Reynolds, a lawyer for the recording labels, recounted Tenenbaum’s history of file-sharing from 1999 to 2007, describing him as “a hardcore, habitual, long-term infringer who knew what he was doing was wrong.” Tenenbaum admitted on the witness stand that he had downloaded and shared more than 800 songs.

Tenenbaum said he downloaded and shared hundreds of songs by Nirvana, Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins and other artists. The recording industry focused on only 30 songs in the case.

The music industry has typically offered to settle such cases for about $5,000, though it has said that it stopped filing such lawsuits last August and is instead working with Internet service providers to fight the worst offenders. Cases already filed, however, are proceeding to trial.

Tenenbaum testified that he had lied in pretrial depositions when he said his two sisters, friends and others may have been responsible for downloading the songs to his computer.

Under questioning from his own lawyer, Tenenbaum said he now takes responsibility for the illegal swapping.

“I used the computer. I uploaded, I downloaded music … I did it,” Tenenbaum said.

Mother Owes $1.92 Million For Downloading Songs

 



Mother Sued $80,000 For Every Illegally Downloaded Song

Single-Mother Ordered To Pay $80,000 Per Illegally Downloaded Song

A woman in Minnesota has been ordered to pay $80,000 a song to record companies for illegally downloading tracks and violating copyright laws.

A federal jury ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset willfully violated the copyrights on 24 songs, and awarded record companies $1.92 million.

The single mother of four from Minnesota was found liable for using the Kazaa peer-to-peer file-sharing network to download the songs over the internet.

Thomas-Rasset, 32, had been convicted previously, in October 2007, and ordered to pay $220,000 in damages, but the judge who presided over that trial threw out the verdict and ordered a retrial after he misdirected the jury.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and big music labels have sued thousands of people for downloading and sharing music illegally, with most agreeing to settlements of between $3,000 and $5,000.

Thomas-Rasset was the first among those being sued to refuse a settlement and instead took the case to court, turning her into the highest-profile digital pirate in America.

She sat glumly, chin in hand, as she heard the jury’s finding of wilful infringement, which increased the potential penalty. She raised her eyebrows in surprise when the jury’s penalty of $80,000 (£49,000) per song was read out.

Outside the courtroom, she called the $1.92 million figure “kind of ridiculous” but expressed resignation over the decision.

“There’s no way they’re ever going to get that,” she said. “I’m a mom, limited means, so I’m not going to worry about it now.”

Her lawyer, Kiwi Camara, said that he and his client had not decided whether to appeal or pursue the RIAA’s settlement overtures.

Cara Duckworth, for the RIAA, said that the industry remained willing to settle. She refused to name a figure, but acknowledged that Thomas-Rasset had been given the chance to settle for $3,000 to $5,000 earlier in the case. “Since day one we have been willing to settle this case and we remain willing to do so,” Ms Duckworth said.

In December, the RIAA said that it would stop suing people who download music illegally to concentrate instead on getting internet service providers to take action. The move away from litigation represented an important shift in strategy for the music industry group, which had filed lawsuits in the US against some 35,000 people for online music piracy since 2003.

The focus on ISPs penalising illegal file-sharers is one of the main proposals in the new Digital Britain report published this week.

In testimony, Thomas-Rasset denied she shared any songs. The self-described “huge music fan” raised the possibility for the first time in the long-running case that her children or ex-husband might have done it. The defence did not provide any evidence that any of them had shared the files.

The recording companies accused Thomas-Rasset of offering 1,700 songs on Kazaa as of February 2005, before the company became a legal music subscription service after a settlement with entertainment companies. The music industry tried to prove only 24 exemplary infringements.

The court heard that Thomas-Rasset made the songs available on Kazaa under the screen name “tereastarr” – the same nickname that she acknowledged having used for years for her e-mail and several other computer accounts, including her MySpace page.

MediaSentry, the copyright security company, traced the files offered by “tereastarr” on Kazaa to Thomas-Rasset’s IP address and to her modem.

The recording industry has blamed online piracy for declines in music sales claiming it has lost billions of dollars through illegal file-sharing.

 



Australia To Enforce Mandatory Internet Censorship

Australia To Enforce Mandatory Chinese-Style Internet Censorship
Government to block “controversial” websites with universal national filter

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
October 29, 2008

The Australian government is set to impose Chinese-style Internet censorship by enforcing a universal national filter that will block websites deemed “controversial,” as part of a wider agenda to regulate the Internet according to free speech advocates.

A provision whereby Internet users could opt out of the filter by contacting their ISP has been stripped from the legislation, meaning the filter will be universal and mandatory.

The System Administrators Guild of Australia and Electronic Frontiers Australia have attacked the proposal, saying it will restrict web access, raise prices and slow internet traffic speeds.

The plan was first created as a way to combat child pornography and adult content, but could be extended to include controversial websites on euthanasia or anorexia,” reports the Australian Herald Sun.

Communications minister Stephen Conroy revealed the mandatory censorship to the Senate estimates committee as the Global Network Initiative, bringing together leading companies, human rights organisations, academics and investors, committed the technology firms to “protect the freedom of expression and privacy rights of their users”. (Complete black is white, up is down, double talk).

Human Rights Watch has condemned internet censorship, and argued to the US Senate “there is a real danger of a Virtual Curtain dividing the internet, much as the Iron Curtain did during the Cold War, because some governments fear the potential of the internet, (and) want to control it.”

Speaking from personal experience, not only are “controversial” websites blocked in China, meaning any website that is critical of the state, but every website the user attempts to visit first has to pass through the “great firewall,” causing the browser to hang and delay while it is checked against a government blacklist.

This causes excruciating delays, and the user experience is akin to being on a bad dial-up connection in the mid 1990’s. Even in the center of Shanghai with a fixed ethernet connection, the user experience is barely tolerable.

Not only are websites in China blocked, but e mails too are scanned for “controversial” words and blocked from being sent if they contain phrases related to politics or obscenities.

Googling for information on certain topics is also heavily restricted. While in China I tried to google “Bush Taiwan,” which resulted in Google.com ceasing to be accessible and my Internet connection was immediately terminated thereafter.

The Australian government will no doubt insist that their filter is in our best interests and is only designed to block child pornography, snuff films and other horrors, yet the system is completely pointless because it will not affect file sharing networks, which is the medium through which the vast majority of such material is distributed.

If we allow Australia to become the first “free” nation to impose Internet censorship, the snowball effect will only accelerate – the U.S. and the UK are next.

Indeed, Prime Minister Tony Blair called for Internet censorship last year.

In April 2007, Time magazine reported that researchers funded by the federal government want to shut down the internet and start over, citing the fact that at the moment there are loopholes in the system whereby users cannot be tracked and traced all the time. The projects echo moves we have previously reported on to clamp down on internet neutrality and even to designate a new form of the internet known as Internet 2.

Moves to regulate the web have increased over the last two years.

– In a display of bi-partisanship, there have been calls for all out mandatory ISP snooping on all US citizens by both Democrats and Republicans alike.

– In December 2006, Republican Senator John McCain tabled a proposal to introduce legislation that would fine blogs up to $300,000 for offensive statements, photos and videos posted by visitors on comment boards. It is well known that McCain has a distaste for his blogosphere critics, causing a definite conflict of interest where any proposal to restrict blogs on his part is concerned.

– During an appearance with his wife Barbara on Fox News in November 2006, George Bush senior slammed Internet bloggers for creating an “adversarial and ugly climate.”

– The White House’s own de-classified strategy for “winning the war on terror” targets Internet conspiracy theories as a recruiting ground for terrorists and threatens to “diminish” their influence.

– The Pentagon has also announced its effort to infiltrate the Internet and propagandize for the war on terror.

– In an October 2006 speech, Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff identified the web as a “terror training camp,” through which “disaffected people living in the United States” are developing “radical ideologies and potentially violent skills.” His solution is “intelligence fusion centers,” staffed by Homeland Security personnel which will are already in operation.

– The U.S. Government wants to force bloggers and online grassroots activists to register and regularly report their activities to Congress. Criminal charges including a possible jail term of up to one year could be the punishment for non-compliance.

– A landmark November 2006 legal case on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America and other global trade organizations sought to criminalize all Internet file sharing of any kind as copyright infringement, effectively shutting down the world wide web – and their argument was supported by the U.S. government.

– A landmark legal ruling in Sydney goes further than ever before in setting the trap door for the destruction of the Internet as we know it and the end of alternative news websites and blogs by creating the precedent that simply linking to other websites is breach of copyright and piracy.

– The European Union, led by former Stalinist John Reid, has also vowed to shut down “terrorists” who use the Internet to spread propaganda.

– The EU data retention bill, passed after much controversy and implemented in 2007, obliges telephone operators and internet service providers to store information on who called who and who emailed who for at least six months. Under this law, investigators in any EU country, and most bizarrely even in the US, can access EU citizens’ data on phone calls, sms’, emails and instant messaging services.

– The EU also proposed legislation that would prevent users from uploading any form of video without a license.

– The US government is also funding research into social networking sites and how to gather and store personal data published on them, according to the New Scientist magazine. “At the same time, US lawmakers are attempting to force the social networking sites themselves to control the amount and kind of information that people, particularly children, can put on the sites.”

Governments are furious that their ceaseless lies are being exposed in real time on the World Wide Web and have resolved to stifle, regulate and control what truly is the last outpost of real free speech in the world. Internet censorship is perhaps the most pertinent issue that freedom advocates should rally to combat over the course of the next few years, lest we allow a cyber-gag to be placed over our mouths and say goodbye to our last medium of free and open communication.

 

DARPA building search engine for video surveillance footage

Ars Technica
October 21, 2008

The government agency that birthed the Internet is developing a sophisticated search engine for video, and when complete will allow intelligence analysts to sift through live footage from spy drones, as well as thousands of hours worth of archived recordings, in order to spot a variety of selected events or behaviors. In the past month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced nearly $20 million in total contracts for private firms to begin developing the system, which is slated to take until at least 2011 to complete.

According to a prospectus written in March but released only this month, the Video and Image Retrieval and Analysis Tool (VIRAT) will enable intel analysts to “rapidly find video content of interest from archives and provide alerts to the analyst of events of interest during live operations,” taking both conventional video and footage from infrared scanners as input. The VIRAT project is an effort to cope with a growing data glut that has taxed intelligence resources because of the need to have trained human personnel perform time- and labor-intensive review of recorded video.

The DARPA overview emphasizes that VIRAT will not be designed with “face recognition, gait recognition, human identification, or any form of biometrics” in mind. Rather, the system will search for classes of activities or events. A suggested partial list in the prospectus includes digging, loitering, exploding, shooting, smoking, following, shaking hand, exchanging objects, crawling under a car, breaking a window, and evading a checkpoint. As new sample clips are fed into the system, it will need to recognize the signature features of new classes of search terms.

Read Full Article Here

 

EU Set to Move ‘Internet of Things’ Closer to Reality

Daniel Taylor
Old-Thinker News
November 2, 2008

If the world-wide trend continues, ‘Web 3.0′ will be tightly monitored, and will become an unprecedented tool for surveillance. The “Internet of Things”, a digital representation of real world objects and people tagged with RFID chips, and increased censorship are two main themes for the future of the web.

The future of the internet, according to author and “web critic” Andrew Keen, will be monitored by “gatekeepers” to verify the accuracy of information posted on the web. The “Outlook 2009″ report from the November-December issue of The Futurist reports that,

“Internet entrepreneur Andrew Keen believes that the anonymity of today’s internet 2.0 will give way to a more open internet 3.0 in which third party gatekeepers monitor the information posted on Web sites to verify its accuracy.”

Keen stated during his early 2008 interview withThe Futurist that the internet, in its current form, has undermined mainline media and empowered untrustworthy “amateurs”, two trends that he wants reversed. “Rather than the empowerment of the amateur, Web 3.0 will show the resurgence of the professional,” states Keen.

Australia has now joined China in implementing mandatory internet censorship, furthering the trend towards a locked down and monitored web.

The Internet of Things

Now, the European Union has announced that it will pursue the main component of Web 3.0, the Internet of Things (IoT).

According to Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media for the EU, “The Internet of the future will radically change our society.” Ultimately, the EU is aiming to “lead the way” in the transformation to Web 3.0.

Reporting on the European Union’s pursuit of the IoT, iBLS reports,

“New technology applications will need ubiquitous Internet coverage. The Internet of Things means that wireless interaction between machines, vehicles, appliances, sensors and many other devices will take place using the Internet. It already makes electronic travel cards possible, and will allow mobile devices to exchange information to pay for things or get information from billboards (or streetlights).”

The Internet of Things consists of objects that are ‘tagged’ with Radio Frequency Identification Chips (RFID) that communicate their position, history, and other information to an RFID reader or wireless network. Most, if not all major computer companies and technology developers (HP, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, etc.) are putting large amounts of time and money into the Internet of Things.

Cisco and Sun Microsystems have founded an alliance to promote the Internet of Things and further its implementation.

South Korea is at the forefront in implementing ubiquitous technology and the Internet of Things. An entire city, New Songdo, is being built in South Korea that fully utilizes the technology. Ubiquitous computing proponents in the United States admit that while a large portion of the technology is being developed in the U.S., it is being tested in South Korea where there are less traditional, ethical and social blockades to prevent its acceptance and use. As the New York Times reports

“Much of this technology was developed in U.S. research labs, but there are fewer social and regulatory obstacles to implementing them in Korea,” said Mr. Townsend [a research director at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California], who consulted on Seoul’s own U-city plan, known as Digital Media City. ‘There is an historical expectation of less privacy. Korea is willing to put off the hard questions to take the early lead and set standards.’

An April 2008 report from the National Intelligence Council discussed the Internet of Things and its possible implications.

A timeline shown in the April 2008 NIC report

The report outlines uses for the technology:

“Sensor networks need not be connected to the Internet and indeed often reside in remote sites, vehicles, and buildings having no Internet connection. Smart dust is a term that some have used to express a vision of tiny, wireless-connected sensors; more recently, others use the term to describe any of several technologies that range from the size of a pack of gum to a pack of cigarettes, and that are widely available to system developers.

Ubiquitous positioning describes technologies for locating objects that may reside anywhere, including indoors and underground locations where satellite signals may be unavailable or otherwise inadequate.

Biometrics enables technology to recognize people and other living things, rather than inanimate objects. Connected everyday objects could recognize authorized users by means of fingerprint, voiceprint, iris scan, or other biometric technology.”

These trends towards internet censorship and the internet of things are undoubtedly going to continue, but restricting your free speech and violating your privacy will be harder with your outspoken resistance.

DARPA spies on analyst brains; hopes to offload image analysis to computers
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20..-image-analysis-to-computers.html

Security services want personal data from sites like Facebook

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/oct/15/terrorism-security

UK.gov says: Regulate the internet

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/20/government_internet_regulation/