Cloud Keynote: Sony Exec Recommends Learning from Piracy

Sony DADC NMS (New Media Services) CTO and head of strategy Andy Shenkler keynoted ETC’s Cloud Innovation Conference at NAB 2016 in Las Vegas. Rather than talk pure technology about the cloud, Shenkler preferred a more unique angle: piracy. “The place I want to start is around competition in the OTT space specifically,” he said. “When we talk about OTT, the usual suspects are Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, HBO GO, and so on. But we’re not really looking at the biggest competitor out there: piracy.” Continue reading Cloud Keynote: Sony Exec Recommends Learning from Piracy

Many Exhibitors and Studios Remain Wary of Screening Room

The first quarter of 2016 has brought some upbeat news to the movie industry, including the hits “Deadpool” and “Zootopia” which created a 12 percent uptick in box office compared to the same quarter last year. More long-term problems — stagnant attendance and the lure of Internet content — still threaten the bottom line. But what many exhibitors are really worried about is Screening Room, the brainchild of Napster co-founder Sean Parker, which offers first-run movies at home, at the same time they debut in theaters. Continue reading Many Exhibitors and Studios Remain Wary of Screening Room

Facebook Rolls Out Rights Manager to Curb Video Freebooting

Video creators have been complaining for months that their content is being stolen and re-uploaded elsewhere on Facebook, a practice called freebooting. Now Facebook has released Rights Manager, a tool that video producers and companies can use to keep track of their content and prevent it from being re-uploaded without permission. The tool lets them create a reference library of their video content and a dashboard to keep track of the matches, which they can either permit or report based on criteria they set. Continue reading Facebook Rolls Out Rights Manager to Curb Video Freebooting

Music Labels Cry Foul at YouTube and DMCA’s ‘Safe Harbor’

An International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) report points out that 20 million Americans, and 20 percent of the world’s population, still pirate music. Now, the IFPI will soon join the record labels’ trade group the RIAA in complaining that YouTube doesn’t pay a fair price for the music it gives away for free. At the same time, Universal Music Group, Sony and Warner Music Group are about to renegotiate their contracts with YouTube, and they say the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hurts their bargaining power. Continue reading Music Labels Cry Foul at YouTube and DMCA’s ‘Safe Harbor’

Pre-Release Piracy Grows Across Facebook and Publications

Movie studios that use Facebook to promote upcoming films — such as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which has 4.4 million likes on its Facebook movie page — have discovered a potent downside to the extra publicity. Pirates post links to copyright-infringing streams; spam includes chain letters, pornography, phishing, malware and hate speech. Illegal sites are harvesting personal data and running money scams and now targeting publications with embedded Facebook comments, including BuzzFeed, ESPN and Huffington Post. Continue reading Pre-Release Piracy Grows Across Facebook and Publications

Video Creators Complain of ‘Freebooting’ Trend on Facebook

Video has skyrocketed on Facebook to 8 billion views a day, and now the social media giant is also bombarded with takedown requests from video content creators. They’re complaining about “freebooting,” which is when clips are taken from YouTube, where creators make money from advertising, and re-loaded without permission on Facebook, where they’re not making a dime. Although Facebook is working on new rights-management software, creators say the current copyright infringement is negatively impacting their income. Continue reading Video Creators Complain of ‘Freebooting’ Trend on Facebook

Spike in Takedown Requests Questions Effectiveness of DMCA

In the first 12 weeks this year, Google received takedown requests for 213 million links, representing a 125 percent increase over the same period in 2015, to remove copyright infringing sites, as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The spike does not represent a dramatic increase in piracy but, rather, new automated tools for finding copyright violators as well as more copyright holders actively looking for infringers. The MPAA and Recording Industry Association of America say it’s proof that the DMCA isn’t working. Continue reading Spike in Takedown Requests Questions Effectiveness of DMCA

Screening Room Proposes Bold Day-and-Date Release Model

Last year, the motion picture box office surpassed $11 billion for the first time in history. But that hasn’t kept distributors and exhibitors from guarding the traditional 90-day window between theatrical release and home entertainment. When major studios attempted to shrink that window five years ago, theater owners fought back. Now, Screening Room, a startup backed by entrepreneur and former Facebook/Napster executive Sean Parker, as well as some Hollywood heavyweights, is trying again — and may succeed by offering anti-piracy tech and revenue sharing. Continue reading Screening Room Proposes Bold Day-and-Date Release Model

MovieSwap, VidAngel Claim DVD Streaming Services Are Legal

French startup MovieSwap has a new way for users who own DVDs to stream and swap them online. The company, which has a 200,000+ library of DVDs, says subscribers who own DVDs can send in their physical DVD collection and then stream them online, “swap” movies with other users, or pay to receive DVDs that they add to their digital collections. MovieSwap is not alone in creating models that skirt Hollywood studios’ copyright infringement laws, but so far the trade group that represents Hollywood studios, MPAA, has no comment. Continue reading MovieSwap, VidAngel Claim DVD Streaming Services Are Legal

Netflix Ban on VPNs Impacts Growth Abroad, May Spur Piracy

For many years, Netflix subscribers living outside the U.S. have accessed content not available in their regions via a VPN (virtual private network) that hid their location. In January, Netflix began blocking VPNs, in part to mollify Hollywood studios by showing it respects regional licensing agreements. But Netflix subscribers aren’t happy about the new state of affairs and have even started a petition — with 36,000 signatures and counting — to overturn the ban. One study shows piracy as a consequence of the new policy. Continue reading Netflix Ban on VPNs Impacts Growth Abroad, May Spur Piracy

BitTorrent Program Popcorn Time Returns After 2015 Shutdown

Popcorn Time is back. The fork most closely associated with the version shut down by the MPAA last year is now promising “resilience-driven development” based on the development of the relatively new and legal Project Butter. In October 2015, the most popular Popcorn Time fork shuttered its website after the MPAA filed a lawsuit against developers in Canada. While the MPAA’s threats created a domino effect that stopped several contributors from working on the platform, outdated versions of PopcornTime.io software began receiving updates this month. Continue reading BitTorrent Program Popcorn Time Returns After 2015 Shutdown

AMC Employs Digital Watermarking to Pinpoint and Halt Piracy

AMC Networks is the latest Hollywood company to adopt digital watermarking to protect its shows — chief among them “The Walking Dead” — from digital piracy, especially before the episodes air on TV. AMC has said it plans to use Civolution’s NexGuard to embed watermarks on a list of its original shows, also including “Better Call Saul” and “Humans.” The watermarking would take place at its New York production/distribution facilities, where the technology will be implemented as software plug-ins for its transcoders. Continue reading AMC Employs Digital Watermarking to Pinpoint and Halt Piracy

MPAA and Donuts Ink Pact to Thwart Large-Scale Movie Piracy

The Motion Picture Association of America just signed a pact with Donuts, the largest operator of new domain-name extensions, to cooperate against large-scale piracy. Under the terms of the agreement, the MPAA will first attempt to contact the third-party registrar/hosting provider for resolution. If that fails, and Donuts has “clear evidence of pervasive copyright infringement,” the company will put the domain on hold or suspend it. Among Donuts’ domain-name extensions are .movie and .theater. Continue reading MPAA and Donuts Ink Pact to Thwart Large-Scale Movie Piracy

Netflix Cracking Down on VPNs, in a Push for Global Rights

Netflix recently announced it would begin to block VPNs (virtual private networks), which consumers use to get around geographic-based content licensing restrictions. The company has turned a blind eye to VPN usage, but that was before it distributed its content globally, now live in 190 countries. Netflix has a reason to protect its content (especially its originals) and infrastructure investments, and it can’t offer all content to every country. But there’s another, just as potent reason for the move. Continue reading Netflix Cracking Down on VPNs, in a Push for Global Rights

Netflix’s Unlikely Path to Global Media Success, Minus China

Netflix and Amazon are currently small players in the content business compared to Disney, Comcast and Time Warner. And although there are plenty of reasons why these media behemoths need not be too concerned about Netflix and Amazon, these two streaming services do continue to grow and succeed. Most recently, Netflix’s stock rose 140 percent, making it the best performing of Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, and the company announced at CES that it will make its content available worldwide (except for China). Continue reading Netflix’s Unlikely Path to Global Media Success, Minus China

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