Another way content producers can fight piracy

Excerpt from Chris Tribbey for Media & Entertainment Services Alliance, link to full article.

“The law of the land is ISPs are required to have a policy in place to regulate their networks for repeat infringement, and they run the risk of losing safe harbor if they don’t do that,” he added. “We help the universities and ISPs stay compliant with the law by giving them a very easy way to check whether people are infringing.”

Rightscorp primarily focuses on up-loaders, those seeding copyrighted content to file-sharing sites. Once the company finds a violation has occurred —whether it’s at a college campus, a residence or a business — a notice demanding $20 is sent to the address associated with that ISP.

If someone gets a notice and chooses to pay the fee, “as long as they don’t infringe again, they’ll never hear from us,” Sabec said. “But if they continue to infringe, they’ll continue to get notices, one notice per infringement per day. And if they continue to seed our clients’ content, and ignore the notices, we escalate to the ISP or university, and look to have their Internet service suspended or terminated.

”Whether it’s a four-minute song or two-hour movie, Rightscorp approaches the violation the same way. The company simply looks to recover $20 per violation. And if an offender gets an infringement notice on a Monday, and is still seeding the infringing content that Tuesday, they’ll get a second notice, “and now the owe $40,” Sabec said. “And it escalates from there.” A week later, the ISP will be approached on behalf of the content owner to shut off the Internet service of the offending person.

“We can tell when these stories hold water or not,” he said. “If you call us and say your network was hacked, we’ll look at your history, and see whether you’ve been downloading the newest episode of ‘Big Bang Theory’ every week like clockwork.

“However, if we see that for the past three months there hasn’t been a single infringement, and then suddenly there’s a blast of infringements one Wednesday, and nothing since then, we’ll start looking into it.”

“It’s become par for the course that people feel like they have the right to download music for free, that somehow rights holders are bullies when they try to enforce their rights,” he said. “Our model may be a low fee, but [it’s] enough to get a recovery back, and send the message: piracy is wrong.”

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Are content owners prepared to fight on multiple fronts?

This blog entry emphasizes something we’ve been advocating for YEARS: a simultaneous, multi-pronged strategy in fighting piracy.

Just a little frustration on the consumer’s part will result in them moving on,” she said Dec. 9, speaking during a panel at the fifth annual Content Protection Summit. If the goal is to keep consumers pointed toward legitimate sites, she has a mantra for everyone in the anti-piracy business: “frustrate and redirect.”

Make it as a difficult as possible for a consumer to download or stream illegal content, redirect them to legitimate sources, and — whenever possible — take down the illegal sites via legal avenues. Just recently, ABS-CBN scored a couple of major legal settlements against those who ran piracy sites, sharing content from the distributor. Now, those Web sites point consumers to the real deal.

Content owners need education and cooperation with advertisers, credit card processors, search engines, Internet service providers and others, according to Jim Bottoms, executive director of the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance in Europe.

Read full article here

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Gale Ann Hurd pointed a finger at Google, and she was right

Google can block child porn and malware, but let’s illegal streaming sites show up all the time. And Fortune 500 companies aren’t doing their part, by continuing to allow their advertising to appear on those sites, she said.

“They have to believe it’s in their best interests [to stop], that it’s going to hurt their bottom line,” she said. “[But] right now they’re profiting off it.”

Read more of Ms. Hurd’s views on piracy here

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DISCS still winning out over streaming VOD

More people watch movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The number of consumers renting discs at kiosks and video stores is identical to the number of people watching on a subscription video-on-demand services, according to new data from The NPD Group.

It’s twice as likely a consumer will watch a TV series on a disc than it is s/he will watch the series using SVOD or ad-supported streaming.

In the past 12 months, 44% of consumers purchased a movie on DVD or Blu-ray. Another 25% rented from a kiosk; 14% from pay-per-view channel; 5% bought a digital copy of a movie, and just 4% bought a digital copy of a TV show.

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FORBES explodes the myth of digital takeover

Dade Hayes at Forbes hit the nail on the head, making the same observations we have for YEARS:

Physical goods still make up about two-thirds of major studios’ total home entertainment revenue. Perhaps it’s simple human nature — few executives, especially those in an industry built on razzle-dazzle, enjoy dwelling on decaying parts of their business. They’d rather talk about the wave of tomorrow, regardless of how big or genuine the swell.

The decline of the DVD, let’s not sugarcoat it, has been significant. According to annual figures released in January by industry trade group the Digital Entertainment Group (note the name), overall home entertainment revenue grew 0.2% in 2012, surpassing $18 billion. Physical disc sales have fallen by about 30% since their 2004 peak, to some 700 million units, but the revenue picture has remained stable (with more than a decade of consecutive annual tallies of $18 billion-plus, the DEG says). The reason is diversification. Consumers remain hungry for content, but are finding more and more avenues to it — electronic sell-through (EST), subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) or transactional VOD has all amounted to the same pie, just sliced into more pieces. But the DVD is no more dead than the single-screen movie theatre or the network sitcom or the hardcover book — other former cash cows that now play a diminished but still vital role in the ecosystem.

I am here to say it is premature to pen the obituary of the oft-maligned DVD, onetime redeemer of flops, makers of careers and buoy of Hollywood during a meteoric 1999-2004 heyday. This wafer-thin, pocket-sized, data-rich slice of entertainment defies the usual narrative of obsolescence. It does not compare with the fraying, un-uploadable VHS tape or the cartoonishly oversized laserdisc. Unhip as it may be to point out, the humble disc serves a useful — and, yes, lucrative –purpose. After checking in with a range of industry leaders (not all of whom wanted to be identified given how their bosses characterize the marketplace) and putting my own thoughts together after covering the industry since the boom began, I am prepared to now make the optimistic case for the DVD. Not a bullish case in the sense of growth, clearly, but a prediction that these little silver objects will continue to matter to media companies for many years to come.

“In any forecast, physical goods will remain the largest piece,” Bill Clark, president of Anchor Bay Entertainment, told me. “It’s a very important revenue stream. There is no indication that digital is going to surpass physical. We need to grow the entire pie.”

Here are a handful of reasons, nearly a decade after the peak of DVD sales, why the physical slice of the pie will stay substantial:

1) Kids need it — watching movie and TV content on disc will remain the best way to travel. Plus, even at home, bonus features add more value to kids titles, as does packaging. When it comes to home entertainment and long-term usage, DVD is simply a better value. Having shelled out three times for my kids to watch Parental Guidance on a tablet and home screen, I say bring on the Blu-ray (and hope it doesn’t get scratched).

2) The industry’s own marketing says so – UltraViolet, a cloud technology embraced by a broad consortium of distributors (notable holdouts include Disney), is selling the concept of multi-platform content access. That means if you buy a disc, you also get to access the digital copy, a “combo-pack” strategy that is now an industry cornerstone. The tables could soon turn, but the disc will stay in the picture.

3) Specialization favors it — Beyond the DEG data there are myriad distributors trafficking in a range of areas from sports to music to fitness to spiritualism — vast realms where the marketing opportunities and venues may be greater for physical discs than digital files. It’s easier to sell an official championship team DVD at supermarkets, gas stations and other retail outlets, for example, than an official championship download.

4) Blu-ray still the best viewing experience – For cinephiles or even anyone inclined in that direction, HD content viewed on the finest Retina tablet display or LCD flat screen can’t come close to a Blu-ray. Gaming platforms, such as the upcoming PlayStation 4 or just-released X-box, will continue to drive significant Blu-ray business. The rollout of Blu-ray has been a bit of a New Coke experience for Hollywood but after the smoke and disappointment has cleared it remains a superior format attracting all of the top content producers. “Working closely with the DEG, we’ll be launching a consumer awareness campaign about the merits of Blu-ray and UltraViolet,” says Anchor Bay’s Clark. “A lot of consumers don’t fully understand it.”

5) It’s the collector’s choice – If you were baffled by the format wars of a decade ago pitting Sony’s Blu-ray against Toshiba’s HD-DVD, the confusion around cloud storage is exponentially greater. The notion of a “digital storage locker,” as easily managed as one’s iTunes music library or Netflix account, has long been promoted by Hollywood (hence, UltraViolet). But there are an array of factors that will keep this concept from taking over and dominating. One is bandwidth — cloud DVRs are just now rolling out from MSOs like Comcast, and already there are questions about the cost and feasibility of bandwidth and storage. Old-school DVD collecting, while it involved an initial pricetag, didn’t get progressively more expensive the more you bought. Also, many players are cashing in on the demand for popular shows by creating packaging that lures hardcore fans. AMC’s blockbuster series Walking Dead sold out its run of 35,000 packages designed by McFarlane Toys. The price of this boxed set: $100. That’s a couple extra million right off the top.

6) For a lot of Americans, it ain’t broke – The media/industry narrative around the death of DVD and supremacy of digital doesn’t match the reality of most U.S. markets outside of New York, L.A., San Francisco and a small handful of other enclaves. Battered by recession and indifferent to aesthetics or the futuristic potential of cloud storage, they are happy to rent cheap discs from Redbox (whose kiosks outnumber McDonald’s and Starbucks outlets combined).

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Physical media is still king – video downloading is still a hoax

In spite of all the spin and effort trying to direct consumers towards streaming and downloading video (Hulu, Netflix, Flixster, UltraViolet), the responsible parties can’t hide the facts.

Netflix and subscription video-on-demand may dominate the headlines, but music, via subscription streaming, song-play and download stores, continues to lead the digital subscription and download media with nearly 60% penetration

compare that to video market share:

Research and Markets found that streaming and downloading of movies and television captured 38% market share

All this time has passed, with the video streaming (and downloading) prematurely having been crowned the new king, supposedly ousting physical media. But why can’t digital video displace low quality audio for market share? Because the quality is inconsistent and the infrastructure is SHIT. Forget Blu-ray quality, streaming and downloading via ultraviolet, for example, doesn’t even provide DVD quality playback!

read the article here

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Research confirms online piracy is for lowlife freeloading scumbags – Who knew?

Well, we all did. Didn’t we?

All kidding aside, it’s a sad state of affairs when researchers have to waste time proving the obvious – that online pirates steal because it is free and convenient to do so. All the blather about “trying before buying” and smokescreen “business model” hocum is once again revealed as pure BULLSHIT.

Digital distribution on iTunes leads consumers who would have otherwise pirated to purchase: Controlling for ABC, CBS, and FOX piracy, there was an 11.5% increase in NBC piracy on Mininova in the two weeks after NBC removed its content from iTunes. This increase is roughly equivalent to an increase of 52,000 episodes per day, about twice as large as NBC’s daily iTunes sales before removal.

read more here

Another shocking discovery was made:

the shutdown of Megaupload and its affiliated site Megavideo last year led to an increase in the amount of legal online movie rentals and sales seen by the studios. The researchers looked at data from 12 countries, including the U.S., provided by two studios and found that online revenue was 6% to 10% higher since the shutdown than it would have been were Megaupload still in business.

read more here

Keep in mind the increase was measured after only ONE notorious piracy facilitator was shuttered!

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Chris Tribbey summarized a report by the NRC in HOME MEDIA:

“Although copyright law and other remedies under the [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] remain an effective tool against infringing services located in the United States, most, if not all illegal services have moved off shore to territories that lack effective enforcement mechanisms making it nearly impossible to slow the proliferation of infringing download and streaming services,”

Michael O’Leary, senior EVP for global policy and external affairs for the Motion Picture Association of America, noted that recent research showed that the shutdown of overseas file-sharing platforms and ad-supported cyberlockers has had a direct, positive impact on home entertainment sales in the United States.

full article here

link to full NRC e-report here

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More proof of the HYPE surrounding digital content and downloads

Those of us on the front lines of packaged media retail have known for YEARS that digital content via streaming and downloads is A LOT of hype. While these ancillary revenue streams should not be ignored, they certainly are not the product they’ve been touted to be.

excerpt from WebWire:

Disc Makers, the nation’s leading independent CD and DVD manufacturer, has reported some interesting news in this era of digital downloads and music streaming. The company announced today that in October it broke two of its all-time disc replication records, proving that—as much as ever—physical media is a crucial part of any musician’s product offerings and the CD is not yet dead.

“The music industry has always sustained two simultaneous formats,” says Disc Makers CEO Tony van Veen. “Whether it was vinyl and cassettes, or cassettes and CDs, or now CDs and downloads/streams, these numbers show the continued demand for multiple formats simultaneously. As the primary product offering at live shows, as an additional driver of online sales, and as a requirement for any serious product release PR campaign, having CDs is a vital part of every musician’s marketing mix.”

The new record-breaking disc replication numbers not only indicate that independent artists may be feeling the positive effects of economic recovery, but also that the music industry has settled into a more comfortable balance between the demand for physical media and growing digital music technologies. “A few years ago, during the height of the economic crisis, many music business pundits were hyping digital-only releases,” says van Veen. “But now that much of the dust has settled, independent artists know they’re leaving money on the table if they don’t make their music available in both physical and digital form.”

In addition to breaking its previous CD manufacturing record, Disc Makers also set a new all-time record for DVD production at 1,113,508 units, suggesting similar trends for businesses which create video media as part of their marketing or product offerings.

full release here

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Looking forward to the 2013 rollout

As the 2013 rollout of the copyright warning system draws near, cowardly piracy supporters are beginning to howl like the cowardly jackals they are. Thievery advocates are applauding a recent delay.

excerpt from CNET writer Dara Kerr:

The “six strikes” copyright enforcement plan that aims to curb illegal downloads and peer-to-peer file-sharing has been postponed until 2013.

The executive director of the Center for Copyright Information, which is in charge of the copyright warning system, announced today that because of damage from Hurricane Sandy the organization’s alert system will not begin until next year.

CCI is a joint venture between Hollywood copyright holders and Internet Service Providers that was created in April. AT&T, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast are the participating ISP members in the venture. The goal of the organization is to educate and crack down on people downloading content protected by intellectual copyright — including videos, games, and music.

Under graduated response, or six strikes, entertainment companies will notify a participating ISP that a customer has allegedly been pirating movies or TV shows illegally. The bandwidth provider will then send a notice intended to educate the customer about the consequences of downloading unauthorized content.

The ISP is then supposed to begin gradually ratcheting up the pressure on customers who ignore the warnings. Eventually, after six warnings, ISPs can choose to suspend service. Graduated response, however, does not include the termination of service. Customers wrongly accused can appeal to their company and can take their case to the arbitration group for review.

The ISP providers were scheduled to begin sending out alerts to users by the end of the year.

full article here

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