Tag Archives: filesharing

Curtis Agency, E-Reads Deploy Program to Neutralize Pirates

Photo: Wikipedia

Adopting advanced technology, Curtis Agency and E-Reads have teamed up to locate and take down pirated files of their authors’ books.

The system, developed by Muso TNT, protects against files uploaded by pirates to filesharing sites like rapidshare and megaupload. Files on these websites show up on Google search results and are therefore accessible to users who might otherwise purchase the files through legitimate channels.

The Size of the Problem

Though we have often contended that piracy is the number one threat to the e-book industry (see A Bootleg E-Book Bazaar Operates in Plain Sight), skeptics may not be aware of the extent of the problem. One company, torrentfreak, boasted that “The Internet is the largest copying machine ever invented,” and in 2011 ranked fiesharing sites according to traffic in the month of July 2011. The first figure represents unique monthly visitors, the second monthly page views:

1 4shared Cyberlocker 55,000,000/ 2,500,000,000
2 Megaupload Cyberlocker 37,000,000/ 400,000,000
3 Mediafire Cyberlocker 34,000,000 /330,000,000
4 Filestube Meta-search 34,000,000/ 280,000,000
5 Rapidshare Cyberlocker 23,000,000/ 280,000,000
6 The Pirate Bay Torrent index 23,000,000 /650,000,000
7 Fileserve Cyberlocker 19,000,000 /190,000,000
8 Hotfile Cyberlocker 16,000,000 /110,000,000
9 Torrentz.eu Meta-search 15,000,000/ 340,000,000
10 Depositfiles Cyberlocker 14,000,000/ 110,000,000

How Muso TNT Works.

Using the Muso technology, legitimate content providers authorize the antipiracy service to launch search engine “spiders” to crawl over the Internet and detect unauthorized files. A significant feature is that the search criterion is by author, not by title. As the spiders locate pirated files, they store the results on a password-protected login page for review.


Google to Tilt Algorithms Against Pirates

Last spring Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt dealt authors and publishers a staggering blow by declaring his absolute opposition to any effort to curtail Google’s right to link to piracy websites like Pirate Bay. He said it in such unequivocal terms that we concluded it was time for legitimate copyright owners to throw in their cards. “Any author cherishing a shred of hope for the protection of his or her rights is spitting in the wind,” we lamented. (See Game Over: Google Insists on Linking to Pirate Sites)

But Amy Chozick of the New York Times says the wind at Google has shifted. Yielding to pressure from motion picture, recording and other media interest groups who are being robbed blind by pirates, Google softened its opposition to altering the algorithms that point indiscriminately to illegal file-sharing websites. “Google said that beginning next week its algorithms would take into account the number of valid copyright removal notices Web sites have received,” reports Chozick. “Web sites with multiple, valid complaints about copyright infringement may appear lower in Google search results.”

To give you a sense of “multiple, valid complaints”, Chozick writes that Google “received copyright removal requests for over 4.3 million Web addresses in the last 30 days, according to the company’s transparency report. That is more than it received in all of 2009.”

Google’s reversal stands in vivid contrast to the populist uprising that culminated in a Wikipedia blackout last January when media giants lobbied Congress to pass an antipiracy bill. Google and Facebook led the charge, congress chickened out, and the proposed legislation collapsed. (See Don’t Worry, Pirates, Google Has Your Back)

“Google has signaled a new willingness to value the rights of creators,” said a recording industry executive.

Details in Under Copyright Pressure, Google to Alter Search Results

Richard Curtis
This blog post was originally published by Digital Book World as Google Decides Legit Copyright Owners May Have a Point


It Can’t Happen Here, But It Can Happen There: Brits Get Tough on Filesharers

The Brits don’t even play baseball but they know more about three strikes than we Yanks do. In fact, in the international pastime of Whac-a-Filesharer their style of hardball makes Americans look like minor league wiffle ballers.

Over the last few years we’ve commented on the moral outrage expressed by our English cousins over illegal filesharing and their willingness to take legislative action to stop it (See Britannia Rules – and a Pirate is Blocaded).

Their latest proactive measure, reported on Gigaom.com, is a proposed Three Strikes law that goes like this: “Anyone receiving three letters in a 12-month period would then have their personal data, downloading and filesharing history handed over to the copyright owners to help them prepare a legal case.” it is expected to be acted into law to commence in March 2014.

Predictably, Internet heavies protested, but a court ruling cleared the way for the legislation to go ahead.

Could that happen in the United States?  Sure –  as easily as Microsoft can teleport its headquarters to Proxima Centauri.

Details in UK says three strikes is coming, but not until 2014 by Bobbie Johnson.

Richard Curtis

This blog post was originally published in Digital Books World as Brits Know More about Three Stikes Than We Do.


Got $150G? You’d Better, If You Fileshare Dummies

In April 2010 we asked Can You Be Sued For Illegally Downloading a Book? The answer was yes – if publishers are willing to incur a lot of public relations heat for going after the likes of teenagers or old people. It would take an intolerable provocation or the loss of a lot of money to piracy – or both – for a publisher to seek damages in court from those whose crime was nothing more flagrant than sharing a file.

We cited the case of a music downloader sued by the recording industry who passed up the chance to settle for $4,000. When his case was finally adjudicated he was required to pay $675,000 to a plaintiff maddened like a stuck boar by the theft of its property. Though the Recording Industry Association of America incurred withering PR wrath, it sent a signal to all would-be music filesharers, however innocent or ignorant, to think twice before capturing that tune. (See He Should Have Paid the Two Dollars)

But surely that couldn’t happen in book publishing, that refined industry once known as The Gentleman’s Profession. Or could it?

John Wiley & Sons, one of the oldest and most distinguished publishers in America, finds itself in the role of that maddened boar. How deep is Wiley’s wound? Freeloaders are feasting on the publishers Dummies series. For instance, says Wiley, they purloined over 74,000 e-copies of its Photoshop CS5 All-in-one for Dummies.

According to BBC.co.uk, “Papers filed in New York and revealed by the Torrent Freak news site said four defendants were involved. The firm’s lawyer said that he believed this would be the first trial of its kind based on the use of Bittorrent. The peer-to-peer communications protocol allows users to upload and download files to each others’ computers. Wiley had previously filed 15 lawsuits to obtain the identities of about 200 people believed to have infringed the copyright of its titles. It said in papers filed last October that users had ‘engaged in the illegal copying and distribution of Wiley’s ‘For Dummies’ books through the peer-to-peer file sharing software known as Bittorrent’.”

Though Wiley seeks only the minimum statutory damages of $750, the Copyright Law allows as much as $150,000 if the accused fights the case and loses.

Details in ‘For Dummies’ guide publisher, Wiley, seeks piracy trial

Richard Curtis

This blog post was originally published in Digital Book World as Bad PR Be Damned, Besieged Dummies Publisher Sues Filesharers


Tormented by Pirates, Wiley Goes After the Little Fish

Of the many ways for publishers to combat copyright infringement, the one they have been loath to employ is  to sue the end user.  Because some downloaders may be ignorant kids or confused old people, going after them can be a public relations disaster, making the righteous plaintiffs look like corporate bullies and turning the defendants into  folk heroes. But there’s a limit to restraint, and after Bit Torrent users on the demonid.me website illegally downloaded a Dummies book almost 75,000 times, the publisher of the series reached it.

“John Wiley & Sons ,” reports Publishers Weekly, “filed a copyright infringement suit last week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York involving 27 ‘John Does’ the publisher claims are illegally copying and distributing its For Dummies books through the use of Bit Torrent file sharing software. At present, Wiley only knows the IP addresses and names of the information services providers of the John Does, but a company spokesperson said the intent of the lawsuit is to learn the names of the infringers so the company can contact them to work out a settlement.”

Though Wiley hasn’t actually sued anyone yet, that is clearly an option if one of the John Does becomes a John Screw You.  Lawsuits against end users have been brought by music and movie companies after they exhausted more moderate measures. (See Fileshare This) And though those actions have provoked great outrage by the victims and their libertarian defenders, some pirates have been put out of business and many end users have thought twice before clicking on Download.  But Wiley seems to be a rare instance of such an action in the book industry. For details read Wiley Goes After Bit Torrent Pirates.

For the full archive of E-Reads piracy postings, visit Pirate Central, especially Curtis Agency, E-Reads Launch Program to Neutralize Pirates

Richard Curtis