There is a story running around the internet that says Google is now processing one million piracy take down requests in a single day. Now there are two different spins to this story (and we will cover both) out there. One of them is being pushed by the copyright lobby groups, while the other is popping up through sites like Google and various net neutrality groups.
For years we have heard about the high cost of internet piracy, but other than some seriously twisted math we have never actually seen where this “cost” was coming from. At least not until very recently. No we are not talking about any real financial impact on the copyright holders. While it is true that there is a small impact to them in terms of box office revenue the overall percentage is around 1-3%. Where things really get expensive for them is in maintaining the massive anti-piracy campaign.
Times they are a changing... There once was a time when the FCC working to make sure that the cable companies were not trying to take advantage of consumers. We saw them push a series of regulations that prohibited the cable companies that were also ISPs from throttling bandwidth. These were followed by more regulations that prevented the same companied from favoring their own services when it came to traffic caps. It really looked like the consumer had a friend in the FCC. Unfortunately all of that changed in the last few months. We have seen them reverse some of the same decisions that they made only a year ago. Now they have done it again and are allowing cable companies to force you to pay rent on the set-top boxes that are required to view premium channels.
Last week a flurry of articles popped up showing that Microsoft had sent improper DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take down notices claiming infringing material on sites that criticized their new Metro (or not Metro) UI. The move appeared to be done in order to directly harm these sites search rating. Some of the sites affected were Betanews.com, ngohq.com, gHacks.com, Hardware Canuck.com Technize.com and more. It was a very unusual move, but one that we predicted after Google changed their search algorithm to reduce site’s search rankings after “valid” DMCA takedown notices were received.
Joel Tenenbaum, the guys who was hit with a $675,000 bill for sharing 30 songs though the Kazaa network has had a major setback (again). After being found guilty of infringement back in 2009 the courts ruled that he owed the RIAA (Recording Industry Artists of America) cartel $22,500 per track which amounted to 675,000 in damages. We have talked about the interesting math that the MPAA and RIAA use (which is starting to trickle over into other areas), but still could not find out how they arrived at this figure for their original request for “statutory damages”.
With the introduction of the Internet as a consumer product the world was changed forever. I am not just talking about new levels of communication and new revenue streams for companies that burst onto the scene, but the way that files were moved back and forth between systems. Although the sharing of applications, music and files was happening long before the internet existed this new medium made things easier to pass these files between users. The first of the sharing sites started to show up and the rest was history.
We have all heard about Google’s new algorithm for demoting sites with too many takedown notices and complaints. This new method is supposed to help reduce copyright infringement by making the search for infringing material harder. When the announcement first hit we were more than a little surprised that Google had taken this step. Prior to this they had refused multiple requests from the MPAA, RIAA and other copyright holder to alter their search feature to suit their demands. Now things may have changed for the advertising/search giant.