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MPAA Finally Victorious Against Isohunt
On Oct. 17 the MPAA announced a litigation settlement with the notorious pirate website Isohunt, which mandates that the site shut down by Oct. 23 and pay $110 million in damages. MPAA Chairman/CEO Chris Dodd said, "Consumers today have more options than ever before to legally access movies and TV shows on the Internet. ... Clearing the field of illegal services like Isohunt will help ensure that these legitimate services can grow and thrive." The site has long been prominent on lists of worst offenders such as the U.S. Trade Representative's Review Of Notorious Markets. The studios' legal efforts to shut down Isohunt started in 2006.
Another Week, Another Piracy Study
Researchers at George Mason University launched a website on Oct. 15 tracking whether the most pirated movies were available through legal channels. Based on their data, the team concluded top pirated titles were not legally available and blamed this as well as the studios for these titles falling victim to mass infringement. A Washington Post blog was sympathetic but later issued a correction regarding the data's factual accuracy. The MPAA quickly responded arguing that "The Walking Dead" season premiere was pirated 500,000 times, in the first 16 hours after broadcast, despite being legally available for free streaming. The Columbia Journalism Review and the blog Plagiarism Today poked further holes in the researchers' blame-the-victim approach.
Will Rhapsody And Telefónica Partnership Awaken Napster?
On Oct. 16 online music service Rhapsody and international mobile operator Telefónica announced a global partnership that will breathe new life into the international Napster brand and include an equity stake for the phone company. The first step began in Brazil, where Rhapsody has established a new office and customers of Telefónica's Terra subsidiary will begin migrating from the region's Sonera music service to Napster on Nov. 1. This is likely to immediately add more than 100,000 new subscribers to Napster, and will be followed by expansion into Sonera's other territories — Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Telefónica is one of the top handful of global operators with hundreds of millions of subscribers under leading regional brands such as Movistar and O2. There have been several other big deals between Internet music services and mobile operators, but as Billboard.biz noted, "partnerships are relatively few, and no other partnership between music service and mobile conglomerate covers as much ground as the Rhapsody-Telefónica deal."
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