ArtsWatch: Cloud Piracy

The Pirate Bay transforms its hosting support to "a higher form of being"
October 22, 2012 -- 7:06 am PDT
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

The Pirate Bay Sails Into The "Cloud"
On Oct. 16 notorious infringing site the Pirate Bay changed the nature of its physical existence to better avoid law enforcement authorities. In addition to running as a virtual site with cloud hosting, the Pirate Bay claims to be using thousands of deeply encrypted versions of their data that function together as a system and lock if unused for eight hours. "All attempts to attack the Pirate Bay from now on [are] an attack on everything and nothing," the Pirate Bay wrote via a blog post. "The site ... will still be here, for as long as we want it to [be]. Only in a higher form of being. A reality to us. A ghost to those who wish to harm us." The file-sharing destination has consistently evaded international legal efforts to shut it down. This latest move shows the Pirate Bay is determined to adapt and survive.

Internet Freedom Activists Warn Of Canadian Zombie ACTA
Negotiators in Brussels currently at work on the EU-Canada Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement face a rising clamor of accusations that they are trying to bring language from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement "back from the dead." Trade agreements are customarily negotiated in secrecy, but leaks of ACTA's criminal copyright provisions caused past activist outcry that pressured European Parliament to vote against the international agreement in July. Although the European Commission has proclaimed that "CETA is not ACTA," CETA negotiations are leaking as well, leading French consumer activists La Quadrature du Net to raise an alarm on Oct. 10. American activists Electronic Frontier Foundation avoided dramatic imagery by describing the agreement as ACTA in disguise. On Oct. 17 Canadian attorney Michael Geist compiled a roundup of the anti-CETA backlash via a blog post, writing, "The Dutch government has said it will not sign CETA if it includes ACTA provisions."

Copyright Alert System with No Strikeouts?
On Oct. 18 the Center for Copyright Information announced that Internet service providers participating in the Copyright Alert System will begin reaching out in the next two months to infringers to teach them the "rules of the road." Contrary to various media reports, CCI claims this is not a six-strikes program because no participating ISPs plan to terminate service — i.e., customers cannot strike out. Whether through education or mitigation, the plan seems to start friendly and build to an inconvenient hassle while remaining fair and customer-oriented. The center said, "CCI has engaged in a long but necessary process to get the CAS right. ... We've been working hard behind the scenes to make sure that the system is thorough and consumer-friendly. We think we've achieved that goal, and we're ready to begin this next phase."

Publishers Awarded $6.6 Million
Final damages were awarded on Oct. 9 against lyric website LiveUniverse and its former owner, Brad Greenspan, by a California U.S. District Court. Ownership of the infringing lyric site had already been transferred to the publisher plaintiffs when Greenspan stopped appearing in court. Damages were calculated at $12,500 per song for 528 songs, totaling $6.6 million. National Music Publishers' Association President and CEO David Israelite said, "Although the music industry continues to feel the impact of their work being illegally provided online, this victory and legal precedent will serve to aid songwriters and music publishers as they continue the fight to protect their creative rights in the digital world." As for the disappearing Greenspan, maybe he went on to "a higher form of being."

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ GRAMMY.com and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

Click on the "ArtsWatch" tag for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.

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