Author: Elissa "Eli" Buenrostro

Film, music industries detail global threats

When a recent presidential aspirant jested about his grasp of international affairs and whether he knew, gotcha, the name of the leader of Uz-Beki-Beki-Stan-Stan, music and entertainment industry officials had to flinch more than just a little: They know all too well that distant parties play a big role in what they see as outright piracy of their tunes, shows and other intellectual properties. And, in an annual ritual, Washington has asked and the industries have responded to a request from the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) by sending out  updated lists from the movie and recording industry of what they term “notorious markets.” This pirate list, one of many written in recent years, includes online and physical markets and covers an array of websites and companies that, for example, the Motion Picture Association of America asserts threaten the lucrative U.S. film and broadcast industry. The identified malefactors were found across the globe in places like Australia, Argentina , Ukraine, China, Ireland, and Mexico –  just to name a few. Listed internet pirates – ranging from streaming movie portals and peer-to-peer networks and everything in between – each are profiled by the MPAA in its letter, with their online popularity rankings and how many visitors they have has racked up. More than a dozen sites were named but the MPAA doesn’t stop there: It also details several physical...

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In NY, comic fans’ curses for social media stunt

There’s no doubt that events like Comic Con and Comikaze build fans’ frenzy for superheroes, the supernatural and all manner of matters fantasy. These conventions, for Hollywood, also have proven fantastic venues to hype  and promote big-money producing comic-themed movies and TV shows, providing Tinseltown marketers and producers a choice opportunity to connect with die-hard comic fans and other influential consumers. Which is why some alarms must have sounded here on the West Coast  over the possibility that overzealous East Coast event sponsors might spook this special and specialized audience of convention-goers, as occurred at New York Comic Con...

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Comcast pulling plug on copyright offenders

The crackdown on intellectual property pirates continues: Comcast, one of the United States’ largest Internet providers, recently has acted in the ongoing battle against those who repeatedly infringe on others’ copyrights, with TorrentFreak,  according to a tip it has received, reporting that the giant service provider is terminating accounts, and, in some instances, without a court order. Comcast confirmed to the online tech site that it will terminate users’ accounts after “repeated and egregious copyright infringement.” Comcast further asserts that, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a court order is not required to terminate accounts of those who repeatedly infringe others’ copyrights — for example by up- and down-loading music, videos and other pirated versions of films, podcasts, recordings and similar protected materials. There is some dispute as to whether Comcast can circumvent due process by terminating accounts without a court order. ISPs like Verizon and other service providers like YouTube have adopted policies similar to Comcast’s. AT&T, on the other hand, declared that it would never do such a thing without first acquiring a court order. The DMCA,  legislation that covers copyright protection, demands that ISPs “adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers.” ISPs receiving DMCA notices are required to give them to the customer/copyright...

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Down for count, a new round for ‘Raging’ case

If a boxer fails to answer the bell and to come out slugging, the results are obvious: Bout’s over, no discussion. That’s the fight game. But the U.S. Supreme Court has put new legs under a long-running, legal slug fest, agreeing to hear an appeal regarding the Academy-Award winning movie “Raging Bull.” Plaintiff Paula Petrella claims Frank Petrella — her late father, a screenwriter a biographer of middleweight champion Jake LaMotta — penned a 1963 script on which the critically acclaimed 1980 movie was based. She sued MGM Holdings Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment in 2009 for copyright infringement, saying she had renewed protections on her father’s screenplay in 1991, after the work’s 28-year term had expired. But the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of MGM, holding that Petrella had waited too long to sue. While the issue the Supreme Court will review revolves around timeliness and copyright litigation, especially distinctive deadlines in the West’s appellate court, this case has acquired a drama worthy of Robert DeNiro with assertions of bias in the Ninth. Stephanos Bibas, Petrella’s counsel, noted that this appellate court has a reputation for hostility to copyright owners and favoring Hollywood and the studios, with the circuit’s chief, Alex Kozinski once dubbing it “the court of appeals for the Hollywood circuit;” Bibas asserts the court has adopted...

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New heat for Google over movie, music piracy

Have Hollywood and the music moguls gone too far in asking search engines like Google to crack down on pirated content? To address the issue of online piracy of movies and television shows, officials of the mighty Motion Picture Association of America Inc. (MPAA)  recently presented results of a new study concluding that search engines play an important role in introducing Internet-surfers to pirated content. MPAA used its study to argue that search engines should share in the communal responsibility of preventing the online theft of movies and films. MPAA found that “74 percent of consumers surveyed cited using a search engine as a navigational tool the first time they arrived at a site with infringing content.” The study noted that the 58 percent of the searches that led to pirated content contained general key terms, like titles of TV shows and films. The industry group also found that 82 percent of searches that led to pirated content came from Google and suggests that the tech giant indirectly enables piracy. While Google has declined to comment, the movie moguls aren’t the only ones seeing search engines in the blame game about pirated content an how and how it should be dealt with. Officials of the powerful Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) also recently pointed fingers at net search engines, with Cary Sherman, RIAA chair and CEO, asserting that...

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