by Lyndsey Schaefer
Two security experts from Microsoft and The Walt Disney Studios shared their perspectives on content protection during a CDSA-produced panel at Tuesday‚Äôs LA Games Conference. Aaron Kornblum, senior director of security policy, Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft, and Ben Stanbury, manager of information safeguarding for The Walt Disney Studios, talked piracy in the games business with moderator Guy Finley, executive director of MESA and director of anti-piracy affairs for CDSA.
Acknowledging the constantly morphing worlds of content production and delivery, Kornblum and Stanbury said that although their companies have had processes in place for protecting physical content, there is a need to revamp the assessment processes for protecting digital content.
‚ÄúThe piracy threat is evolving. Pirates are going to follow the money, and digital piracy is thriving,‚ÄĚ Kornblum said.
Microsoft has taken proactive steps to protect its hardware and software. By utilizing its Xbox Live service as a tool to connect device and content, the company is able to identify if a console has been altered to play pirated content. According to Kornblum, if such a console is detected, it is then restricted from utilizing Xbox Live services.
Stanbury also commented that in an effort to further dissuade physical piracy, game publishers are increasingly using online connectivity to activate content features within a title (i.e., not placing the content on the disc itself).
There have been situations, Kornblum admitted, where a creative approach to a solve a particular business unit‚Äôs immediate need has resulted in increased exposure to piracy or theft.
Stanbury added, ‚ÄúTransformation of internal process has traditionally been based on need or for increased efficiencies; however, now there needs to be a more comprehensive, company-wide approach to risk management.‚ÄĚ
Both executives spoke to the importance of having trusted vendors as an integral part of the security process. They suggested keeping security in mind in the business development process, and having a flexible approach to digital content protection to achieve maximum results. They also said that having partners like the MPAA and CDSA helps support their piracy programs.
California Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday signed into law a new set of anti-piracy measures for the state‚Äôs optical disc manufacturing business, strengthening existing laws that require CD, DVD, and Blu-ray replicators to include source identification information on every disc they manufacture.
The new law enables enforcement officers to conduct inspections of replication facilities without a warrant, and to seize noncompliant discs or production parts. Replicators in the state also face stiffer criminal penalties for noncompliance than under the previous laws.
Full text of the new measures is available here. The legislation was introduced earlier this year by California State Senator Alex Padilla with support from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Update: The new law takes effect January 1, 2012. ‚ÄúThis new law is about protecting California jobs,‚ÄĚ Sen. Padilla commented in a press release. ‚ÄúThose who illegally replicate CDs and DVDs undermine our economy and California‚Äôs role as a global leader in music and film.¬†¬†Illegal replication of CDs and DVDs steals revenue from everyone in the entertainment industry, from blue collar workers to those who walk the red carpet.‚ÄĚ
A bill that requires California‚Äôs optical disc manufacturers to comply with stricter anti-piracy measures has passed in both houses of the state‚Äôs legislature.
Following the California Assembly‚Äôs passage of the SB 550 bill on Wednesday (via California Newswire), the State Senate agreed to the Assembly‚Äôs amendments (PDF of the latest version of the bill here). The legislation, introduced earlier this year by California State Senator¬†Alex Padilla, aims to strengthen an existing law that requires the state’s CD, DVD, and Blu-ray replicators to include source identification information on every disc they manufacture.
A spokesman for State Sen. Padilla told M&E Daily that the anti-piracy bill was now “on its way” to the desk of California Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. The Governor has not commented on the pending legislation.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been vocal in its support for the bill, which also subjects California replication facilities to warrantless inspections and increases fines against companies that fail to comply with the measures.
Hollywood hopes to establish a new legal precedent in its global crusade against online infringement, with studios asking England‚Äôs High Court to order BT, the country‚Äôs largest broadband Internet service provider, to block customers from accessing the Newzbin website (via The Telegraph).
The High Court had previously found the members-only Newzbin site, which allegedly offers links to pirated material, to have infringed copyrights. But following the court ruling, Newzbin relocated its operations overseas, outside the jurisdiction of British law.
A spokesman for the Motion Picture Association tells The Telegraph that the film industry chose BT for the test case because of the ISP‚Äôs reach of 5.6 million customers ‚ÄĒ along with the fact that the company has website-blocking technology already in place.
A legislative proposal in the U.S. Senate, the PROTECT-IP Act, would give studios a similar right of action as they are claiming in the London court. The Motion Picture Association of America is among the lobbying groups urging the Senate to move forward with the anti-infringement bill.
More on studios‚Äô various anti-piracy initiatives at The Hollywood Reporter.
In a new outreach campaign, the Motion Picture Association of America is reminding higher education institutions of their obligations to prevent file-sharing over campus networks.
Colleges and universities must develop and implement a written plan to combat piracy in order to receive federal student aid dollars, as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA, enacted in July). While the law does not specify a particular framework for institutions to adopt, MPAA is offering guidance on effective anti-piracy policies. Example measures range from ‚Äúeducational seminars for notice recipients‚ÄĚ to ‚Äúblocking access when users attempt to visit rogue websites‚ÄĚ in a letter the trade group sent to school presidents last week (via TorrentFreak).
More on the issue and the HEOA at GigaOm.
Certain DVD users may now legally circumvent a disc‚Äôs CSS encryption scheme to incorporate short portions of video into new works of criticism or comment.
That‚Äôs one of six new exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act declared yesterday by the Librarian of Congress.¬†The country’s copyright law requires the office to consider exemptions every three years.
The DVD exemptions are limited to educational uses by college and university professors, and university film and media studies students; documentary filmmaking; and noncommercial videos. But the last category includes the posting of amateur video remixes to YouTube, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which lobbied for the exemption.
Other exemptions provide for cellphone users to ‚Äújailbreak‚ÄĚ their handsets in order to make them compatible with other carriers or to install apps not provided by the device manufacturer. On this point, Apple issued a statement reminding its customers that jailbreaking an iPhone is not so much an issue of legality as one of voiding the product‚Äôs warranty (via PC Magazine).
Federal officials seized the domain names of nine movie-sharing websites today, as the first action under a new anti-piracy initiative called ‚ÄúOperation In Our Sites.‚ÄĚ A joint effort between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), the initiative comes on the heels of a White House push for stronger enforcement of American intellectual property rights.
There remains no single, universal solution to the global problem of digital IP enforcement, according to a new report from the Content Delivery & Storage Association and Futuresource Consulting.
The trade group and research firm profile digital content protection legislation and enforcement initiatives in six global territories, in attempts to provide content owners and other stakeholders with a snapshot of both successes and setbacks.
For example, in Sweden ‚ÄĒ a territory which may well be called ‚Äúthe global digital guinea pig‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ content owners saw digital revenues surge after the country‚Äôs legislature was first in the EU to ratify an Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive in April 2009. But the effects of the legislation may already have worn off: file sharing has risen to even higher levels than before the law, and markets are once again ‚Äúsuffering.‚ÄĚ
Other profiled territories include the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, and China.
The report is available to participants in CDSA‚Äôs Worldwide Anti-Piracy Program and CDSA member companies.¬† For additional information on how to receive a copy, please contact Margaret Sekelsky via e-mail: margaret@MESAlliance.org.
Hollywood and Bollywood linked arms March 18 to fight piracy, with the announcement of a coalition among the Motion Picture Association of America and seven Indian companies to tackle counterfeiting in one of the world‚Äôs largest film markets. The alliance comes as Hollywood tries to tap global markets more aggressively and as Indian movie studios grow in size and stature — narrowing the gap between Indian and U.S. filmmakers, who have not always seen eye-to-eye on intellectual property issues. By AP
The European Commission has pledged to make sure a global treaty known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement will not force countries to disconnect people for unlawfully downloading copyrighted music, movies, and other material. The statement from the office of trade commissioner Karel de Gucht is the strongest comment on the treaty since the reorganized European Commission emerged in February. By CNET
Vice President Joe Biden, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III are among the top government officials meeting with entertainment industry leaders this afternoon at the White House to discuss how best to fight piracy of intellectual property, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Biden, who as a Senator co-chaired the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, is seen to be on the side of the entertainment industry when it comes to copyright issues.
Washington is devoting an increasing amount of attention to copyright and IP enforcement. Earlier this month the Senate confirmed Victoria Espinel as the nation‚Äôs first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, a White House position. Espinel previously served as assistant U.S. trade representative for intellectual property and innovation.
In other anti-piracy news, a holiday-season crackdown on counterfeit vendors in several major U.S. cities led to the seizure of nearly 160,000 discs. The Motion Picture Association has the details of its joint operation with the RIAA, part of a larger program overseen by the IP task force of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The Motion Picture Association of America is teaming up with Los Angeles‚Äô Fashion District Business Improvement District to offer cash rewards up to $1,000 for information leading to the closure of locations in the Fashion District engaged in the illegal production of DVDs. Via NBC News Los Angeles
The IFPI‚Äôs branch in Sweden reports that music sales in the country rose 18% in the first nine months of the year, after seven years of consecutive decline, following the introduction an anti-piracy law. By paidContent
Microsoft has banned thousands of gamers from its Xbox Live network after determining that their consoles had been modified to play pirated content. The bans are “permanent,” Microsoft tells the BBC, and render the consoles functional only for offline play. By BBC News
In the first half of 2009, the Business Software Alliance issued more than 2.4 million ISP takedown notices related to file-sharing, while requesting the removal of 103,000 BitTorrent files. In addition, the the trade group succeeded in efforts to remove 19,000 online software auctions it deemed ‚Äúsuspicious,‚ÄĚ a 4% gain from 2008. By the Business Software Alliance
The content management company, whose anti-piracy applications are used by disc replicators, secures several U.S. patents for its audio and video content identification technology. via Audible Magic