It’s no secret that copyright holders are trying to take down as much pirated content as they can, but targeting open source software is not something we see every day. Paramount Pictures recently sent a DMCA takedown to Google, listing a copy of the popular operating system Ubuntu. An honest mistake, perhaps, but a worrying one.
The best way for Hollywood to defeat piracy is by making content available, legally. To further this effort dozens of video on demand services have been launched throughout the world. However, not all of these services are happy with how the major studios treat them, and today we hear why.
The account below comes from an employee of a mid-sized video on demand (VOD) service in Europe.
To avoid repercussions from the major studios the author prefers to remain anonymous
While in previous years people were simply grateful to have somewhere to host their own vides, these days a growing number of YouTube users rely on the site to generate extra cash.
Earning money with YouTube is now easier than ever, with some ‘YouTubers’ even making enough to invest in a mansion.
For others, however, the environment created by the Google-owned video platform is far from perfect, with complaints over the company’s Content ID anti-piracy system regularly making the news. Now YouTuber Benjamin Ligeri is adding his name to the disgruntled list.
In a lawsuit filed at the US District Court for the District of Rhode Island which lists Google, Viacom, Lionsgate and another YouTuber as defendants, Ligeri bemoans a restrictive YouTube user contract and a system that unfairly handles copyright complaints.
Ligeri says that he has uploaded content to YouTube under the name BetterStream for purposes including “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and/or research,” but never in breach of copyright. Nevertheless, he claims to have fallen foul of YouTube’s automated anti-piracy systems.
One complaint details a video uploaded by Ligeri which he says was a parody of the film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It was present on YouTube for a year before a complaint was filed against it by a YouTube user called Egeda Pirateria.
“Defendant Pirateria is not the rightful owner of the rights to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, nor did the Plaintiff’s critique of it amount to copying or distribution of the movie,” Ligeri writes.
However, much to his disappointment, YouTube issued a copyright “strike” against Ligeri’s account and refused to remove the warning, even on appeal.
After a Spanish court ordered local ISPs to implement a nationwide ban against The Pirate Bay last Friday, several local media outlets published articles listing alternatives to the infamous site. As a result they’re now under fire from entertainment industry companies including Paramount Pictures, with some even suggesting an advertising boycott.
After being blocked by ISPs in more than a dozen European territories, The Pirate Bay has now been rendered inaccessible in Spain following orders from a local court.
On Friday, Madrid’s Central Administrative Litigation Court No. 5 gave local service providers just 72 hours to stop providing access to the infamous site, with several responding much more quickly.
It soon became evident that the ‘ban’ was easily circumvented by Internet users savvy enough to change their DNS settings, but access to ‘pirate’ content isn’t only available through The Pirate Bay.
As a result ‘Pirate Bay Alternatives’ articles began appearing in local media, much as they have done in other countries subjected to ISP blocks. But while these popular lists are usually met with industry silence, in Spain they appear to have touched a nerve.
Founded in 1903, daily newspaper ABC published an online article titled “Other Options After Closing The Pirate Bay”. It drew an immediate response from Jaume Ripoll Vaquer, co-founder of legal video streaming site Filmin.com
“I see @ abc_es also continues the fashion of publicizing [sites that send traffic] to unauthorized content. Congratulations guys,” he wrote on Twitter.
While that criticism seems to have done the trick (ABC withdrew the article, Google cache here), others weren’t so easily deterred.
Published by El Confidencial, “Alternatives to The Pirate Bay: Where You Can Download Torrents in Spanish” provoked direct criticism from Paramount Pictures.
In comments to ElDiario, Paramount Pictures’ promotions manager Laura Ruiz Andrino said that financially supporting publications that direct their readers to places where illegal content can be obtained is not something that should be entertained.
And in a message to media managers at Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures, Andrino suggested that if sites like El Confidencial and ABC choose to support “illegal downloading”, perhaps companies opposed to that stance should consider an advertising boycott. Another Filmin co-founder agreed.
“When buying advertising one should also look at ethics, not only the audience,” he wrote.
Fighting back, Alfredo Pascual, chief editor of the technology section of El Confidencial told HojaDeRouter that the withdrawal of advertising could be viewed as an attack on the media’s right to inform.
“They end up attacking freedom of expression,” Pascual said. “My intention with this article is simply to show that the closure of sites is not a way to solve the problem. For every website that is closed there will be other ten, and this will be the never ending story until there is [a legal] offer that can meet the demand.”
Noting that threats had been made to withdraw press passes from his publication’s culture section, Pascual remains defiant.
“With each closing [of a website] I intend to publish another list [of alternative sites],” the editor concludes.