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Six-Strikes and You’re Out: the MPAA, RIAA & the Center for Copyright Information

It was over a year ago that the MPAA and the RIAA announced they would be introducing a groundbreaking anti-piracy plan in conjunction with US ISPs. The scheduled start was set for July 2012, the parties involved state that they are not yet ready to implement the graduated warning program.

MPAA

In a previous post I reported that once implemented, the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) will begin to take proactive measures to track down online deemed to be pirating media. Copyright infringement violators will be progressively warned about their actions, escalating over 5-6 notifications until the ISP will drastically cap the user’s bandwidth or even revoke access.

"With regards to timing, CCI is rigorously working towards implementing the Copyright Alert System in a way that is consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and with the needs of subscribers," a spokesperson stated.

The CCI is now hoping that ISPs will begin sending out graduated warnings later this year, but have not commented as to a reason for the delays. Such large delays it the plans implementation suggests that there have been logistical issues in the plan’s implementation.

"At this time, CCI is not ready to announce the experts we will use to evaluate the methodologies used by the content owners and ISPs to identify alleged piracy and deliver notices to the right consumers," said a CCI spokesperson.

Other Concerns

  • It has been suggested that the company hired to conduct tracking may not be made public to curb protests.
  • There are increasing amounts of new subscribers to VPN Internet providers in the US, presumably in anticipation of the schemes implementation.
  • There are increasing fears that backdoors will be used in the deal which may allow the MPAA and RIAA to request personal details of repeats infringers for legal action.
  • There has been no clear definition of what will happen to third party providers (free wi-fi providers) in this graduated six-strikes theme.
  • In a controlled state, who polices the police?

Certainly the issues of copyright protection and privacy have a long way to develop before a mutually beneficial method is established that protects everyone involved and allows the end user sufficient freedom.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:59 am on July 16, 2012


 

Microsoft sues Google: Rankings on Google are too crucial!

Microsoft knows the pains of anti-trust lawsuits, million dollar fines, and the expensive nature of dividing up a business so it doesn’t look like a monopoly.
Breaking up the monopoly
So it’s no shock that one of the biggest weapons in Microsoft’s war chest is a handful of small companies that can claim Google services have stymied their opportunities to succeed.

According to this “Google treads carefully in European antitrust case” (Link removed – no longer available) article posted yesterday in Canada.com, companies with direct links to Microsoft are suing because they cannot compete in EU markets without ranking well on Google:

Google’s competition includes Microsoft but is mostly small, specialist Internet services which argue the Silicon Valley giant is ensuring their names come low or don’t even figure in searches. In Europe, 80 per cent of Web searches are run on Google, according to the most recent figures by comScore, compared with 67 per cent in the United States. Its opponents say that means Google, which makes its money by advertising sales, can make or break a business by its ranking.

… followed by:

Moreover, Google says the small companies claiming to be its victims are linked to Microsoft. The third original complainant, Ciao.de, is a German travel search site owned by Microsoft. Several are also members of I-comp, whose most prominent member is Microsoft, and which produces position papers on subjects such as web market concentration. I-comp lawyer Wood acknowledges the organization is not independent, but says “our palette is much broader than Microsoft’s.”
 
The scary truth is that if actions like this are successful we would have to reorganize or dismantle all companies like Google that offer free services which prevent smaller companies from selling the same services.

Typically such a thing would never happen here in North America, since due diligence requires proof of consumer harm, not just harm to the competition.

No matter how you look at it, Google is the opposite of consumer harm, but in the EU courts this may not matter.

Once Google loses in EU courts it will be ‘game-on’ for all other countries to dog-pile on the remains of Google, allowing greed to kill off one of the best things that’s ever happened to us.

Looking at history of humanity and greed vs. virtue, we should have seen this coming?

In my opinion it is as if Microsoft woke up one morning, looked into their magical mirror to reflect on how beautiful they are, and came to realize that some poison apples need to be handed out post-haste.

Speaking of humanity vs. greed, I MUST comment on this whole FunnyJunk vs. Oatmeal ‘fiasco’.

Either this is some brilliant promotional scheme or the owners of FunnyJunk painted a bullseye on their own foot. I am really not sure which one, but man is it sad.

Give it a read if you really want to be shocked at how low a business can stoop to make a profit from artists and the community.

It’s also refreshing to see the Oatmeal prove they could shut down TFJ, but instead they used the $20,000 they raised in 64 minutes to fund cancer research and support the World Wildlife Federation.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:08 am on June 12, 2012


 

FB stock drops as SpaceX soars to success!

There were so many interesting technology/internet developments between Friday and now today that I can’t really pick which one to focus on?

Sliding FB stock prices, Google finally taking over what was the mobility division of Motorola, SpaceX reaching the ISS, Wiki-leaks’ social media platform, and the Google Knowledge Graph.. and more!

If we looked at them from an SEO standpoint I would still have to struggle a bit to pick the most interesting/focused story, but it’s a great way to dive in so lets take a look at the weekends headlines from an SEO aspect.

Facepalm – FB IPO = Uh Oh

 
Dave’s nailed this one really well on Friday in this post:
Facebook IPO vs Ford (real world) Valuation Comparison

The image of money flushing down the toilet was very ‘apt’ since that’s exactly where I see the stock price going:
https://www.google.ca/finance?q=NASDAQ%3AFB

The current ‘low’ appears to be $31/share at the moment, with the price currently dancing around $32.50/share as I write this.

Google Mobility

Google already makes some cool hardware for their servers and other projects, but most people I know wouldn’t think of them as a manufacturer.

And yet here we are today, watching history unfold, as the mobile division of one of the worlds best handset manufacturers changes hands with a company that is at the head of the Android software alliance.

Google does a lot of things for free, even at a loss, because they see value in things that others would squander and ignore. Now that they have a hardware division to support this bad habit things are going to get very interesting.

We already know from looking through project glass’s details that Google will be needing a very skilled manufacturer with assets in micro mobility and wireless. HTC has always been very willing to participate with Google’s projects, but they are a vastly successful hardware manufacturer with no visible brand loyalty.

I personally had Android running on a HTC Windows Mobile so why can’t I run Windows Mobile on a Google subsidized Android HTC phone? I probably could, which is why it’d be very silly for Google to subsidize HTC hardware.

If Google can produce the hardware and find ways to keep 90%+ of the owners using Google services, it’s a much safer bet, and it appears to be exactly what they are doing. Heck if they make the hardware they might not even care what OS you use if they are allowed to sniff the data and still learn about users from the data they are using.

The only part of the puzzle that’s missing is deployment of Google owned, Motorola equipped, cell-towers so that Google can offer hardware, software, and services on their terms, in a model that makes sense to them, which would likely mean no caps on network use for Google products?

Yeah I could be dreaming but if I was a competitive cellular provider I’d be strongly considering opening my arms to Google before it’s an arms race against Google. ;)

Google Knowledge Graph

While the bearing on SEO for this news item is rather debatable and curious. The feature itself is incredibly handy and something Google has the unique opportunity to provide.

By taking key points of knowledge and building some hard links to relate that knowledge to other data points Google has developed a Wikipedia of it’s own design.

Knowing the struggles that Wikipedia has faced in terms of moderation and updating content, it will be anyone’s guess how Google is going to maintain it’s knowledge graph without someone manipulating the results, but kudos to Google for trying?

Right now the coverage on this is going to be all the same because the content in Google KG is still being built up, but you can expect further discussion as the service grows.

FoWL – Wiki-Leaks’ Social Media Service

Since this service claims to be private and encrypted, it would be very foul of me to really spend much of your time discussing it.

As it can’t be officially crawled by Google it’s probably going to have a very low effect on SEO and rankings in general. The only real bearing I could see it having is using it as a traffic tool for sites that are in-line with the Wiki-leaks mantra of public information. So if you can pretend that your services are so good the FBI doesn’t want you talking about them..??

SpaceX reaches ISS

This isn’t search engine related at all. I suppose you could point to the success of Google vs. government run indexes, and then point to the success of SpaceX vs. NASA with a bunch of startling similarities, but that’s some serious reaching.

At the same time, posting this on the same day the first private effort has docked with the International Space Station? I am obligated as a nerd to at least tuck this into the tail of the post. It’s pretty cool!

9 Days Left!

 
9 DAYS LEFT!

 

We still have 9 days left in our Beanstalk Minecraft Map Competition! Check it out and even if you’re not entering, please let others know it’s coming to a close and we need all submissions by the 31st!

Good Luck! :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:01 pm on May 22, 2012


 

Finnish them! (Google Glasses and WiFi Liabillity)

WiFi Pirate Party

In a piracy case that’s been sitting around since 2010, a Finnish Court(*Ylivieskan käräjäoikeus) has officially sided with the defendant, stating that she is not liable for her open WiFi connection.

The details of this particular case were very unique in that the timing of the infringement, a 12-minute period of piracy, occurred shortly after the woman in question hosted a public play with an audience of over 100 people in her home, which used to be a school until she purchased it.

Since there’s clearly no way to prove the home owner committed the act of piracy the court moved on to deliberate if the woman could be liable for ‘copyright infringement’ simply for not applying password protection to her WiFi connection.

After some deliberation the court concluded that an owner of open WiFi cannot be held responsible for the acts of third parties. Had this not been the final decision the legal status of all other open WiFi units, and wireless devices in general would have suddenly become questionable.

Personally, when I consider the frightening implications of assigning blame to someone who is partially a victim in a crime is horrible.

Lets put this in another context:

How would you feel if someone used a sophisticated cordless phone to attach themselves to your mom’s old cordless base station, ran some credit card fraud with her phone line, and she went to jail/was fined because she didn’t have enough security on her cordless phone?

It’d be like charging someone with a robbery because the suspects eluded the police by driving through someone’s property. You can’t say someone’s guilty of a crime because they didn’t lock their driveway gate.

While these examples aren’t exactly the same thing, this case opens the door to all sorts of concerns where we can’t hold people accountable for unwittingly providing an avenue for crime.

Google Glass Design is Patented

Not only does this show some further commitment to ‘finishing’ the Google Glass project, it also gives us a ‘sneak peak’ at a bit more of the design of the hardware.

Google Glass - Patent Schematic

Patent Links:USPTO #1, USPTO #2, USPTO #3

 
In particular I found the ‘behind the ear’ data module really interesting and it answers a few questions I had about how expensive it would be to get the needed circuitry down to a compact enough scale to fit into this product design.

I’m guessing that the top area near the ‘eyebrow’ with the ‘hashing’ marks is touch sensitive, allowing you to trigger things like photo capture or toggle an option that you need to be triggered explicitly.

I don’t need to tell readers that I’m personally excited about wearing my cell phone ‘inside’ the glasses I already wear every day. People who worry about the weight clearly don’t know much about eye-wear and balance.

The only thing I can see in this design that worries me is that it might have a tendency to be ‘right side heavy’ and I’m sure they could resolve that by moving something like the battery over to the other side and wire it via the frame.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:09 pm on May 15, 2012


 

Internet Censorship, Privacy and Net Neutrality Updates

It seems like Internet censorship, privacy and net neutrality are continually in the news these days and today is no different…

Britain to Block Porn Sites

The Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron is reported to be announcing "network-filtering plan" that would target pornographic websites.

family photo

Initially the campaign received little support from the Prime Minister and was met with criticism from digital right groups and a variety of industry bodies, the movment is being spearheaded by The Daily Mail and MP Claire Perry

MP Claire Perry states that this is not censorship. Plans are to have ISP users being forced to opt-in in order to receive anything rated as adult content. “There is a ‘hands off our internet’ movement that sees any change in how access is delivered as censorship,” she said. “We are not being prudish, but we just think the current method of blocking that material is broken."

Feds Return Seized Music Site

feds

Feds seized a popular Hip-Hop music site on assertions from the Recording Industry Association of America of copyright infringements and that the site was linking to four pre-release music tracks.

Control was relinquished to the owners of Dajaz1.com after 13 months with Feds unable to produce sufficient evidence to warrant any civil or criminal charges.

Feds state that the inability to obtain evidence was largely due in part to apparent recording industry delays in confirming infringements according to the court records. The site was returned without explanation or apology.

Although the Internet has been available en masses for over 20 years, we are still far from reaching any kind of consensus over these issues. Certainly conflicts will continue to arise over copyright infringement, censorship, privacy and net neutrally.

The conversations that arise from these ongoing debates are necessary to shape the future of the Internet and many more discussions are required before we can reach an acceptable balance of protection for the industry and the artists it represents and the freedom and exchange of uncensored information.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:56 pm on May 7, 2012


 

CBC’s Free Music Gets Cold Shoulder

cbc radio logo

The online music debate is heating up north of the American border. Several companies have formed a coalition in an effort to shut down a free music website recently launched by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) stating that their actions threaten to ruin the music business for the rest of the industry.

The coalition is comprised of Quebecor Inc., Stingray Digital, Cogeco Cable Inc., the Jim Patterson Group and Golden West Radio is convinced that the new free music service offered from CBCmusic.ca will have a catastrophic impact on private radio stations, streaming music websites and of course themselves. The coalition hopes to include Rogers Communication Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc. which are two of the largest owners of radio stations in Canada.

The Coalition intends to file a formal complaint with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) stating that the broadcaster has no legal right under its current mandate to compete with private broadcasters in the online music arena.

“The only music that you can hear for free is when the birds sing,” said Stingray CEO Eric Boyko, whose company runs the Galaxie music app that charges users $4.99 a month for unlimited listening. “There is a cost to everything, yet CBC does not seem to think that is true.”

The main source of contention is the fact that the CBC avoids paying royalty fees because they are considered a not-for-profit corporation. The coalition contends that the CBC must charge subscribers of for their streaming service.

In a letter, the coalition demands that Ottawa’s Federal Heritage Minister James Moore to either shut the site down, force it to play only Canadian music, or charge for access like private companies do. There has been no follow up statement from Mr. Moore.

Where Canada is. gif

“The CBC is using the preferential royalty rates it receives from the various collective societies because of its status as a non-profit public broadcaster to make the service viable in the long term,” the group wrote in a letter to be delivered to the minister today.

“We asked that the CBC be compelled to justify its actions and explain how the launch of the CBC Music service is not competitive with existing services offered by private broadcasters and how it is not damaging to the industry.”

The CBC’s actions are part of a larger dispute regarding the role of the CBC, whose federal funding was slashed in Jim Flaherty’s most recent budget and about how online music services should compensate rights holders for music played online.

Broadcasters feel that because of the recent budget cuts, the CBC will record fewer live music broadcasts and will need to introduce advertising on its Radio 2 network. There are growing concerns that the musicrtc, cbc, c service is a foreshadowing of the CBC’s larger ambitions to cut into their profits.

“These actions further distances the corporation from its mandate, while placing it directly on a collision course with private broadcasters who can only rely on advertising and subscription revenues to sustain their services,” the broadcasters warned.

After the service was launched by the CBC in February, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers stated that when it set flat fees for the more than 100,000 music publishers it represents, it never envisioned a constant stream of music flooding the Internet.

The society plans to review the royalty policies in the wake of the new CBC service which is becoming exceedingly popular with over 4.2 million hours of music streamed from listeners to date.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:28 am on April 18, 2012

Categories:Net Neutrality

 

Netflix has not yet formed a Pro-SOPA SuperPAC

While Netflix has an increasing budget for lobbying ( $20,000 in 2009, $130,000 in 2010 and $500,000 in 2011 ), and they have formed a PAC called the FLIXPAC, the company has not gone on record as opposing or supporting SOPA in particular…

… YET. :)

Some writers even tried to point out that rampant piracy is good for Netflix as they offer a business model to provide easier-than-pirating access to video content. The logic is that the studios might see Netflix as ‘better than nothing’ as long as piracy is big revenue factor.
Not until you see the whites of their eyes!
I personally just see history repeating itself and expect that Netflix will be converting subscription profits into anti-piracy efforts the instant they see the whites of our eyes.

Last Week for Beanstalk Minecraft Map Contest

This is the final week for getting submissions into us for judging your Beanstalk themed Minecraft maps for our Beanstalk Minecraft Map Contest. If you are busy putting on the final touches, and want to wait till the last second, we understand but cannot make promises about late entries so try to make sure you don’t miss out!

The lightning video posted last week was disappointing on a lot of levels, not only because it was too dark to see the Beanstalk, but also because it was private and/or required a Vimeo login. We fixed it ASAP but that doesn’t do anything for the syndicated version.

So here’s a jwplayer based re-make with a creeper tossed in for fun:
[jwplayer config="550x437 Classic" mediaid="3769"]
(Oh man this is my Monday, what’s with the cursor in the video and that aspect ratio?!.. At least I can edit the video because we are hosting it. :) )

TL;DR: Submit your maps. If you haven’t made one yet, get on it. If you don’t have time, tell your Minecraft friends, because this is the last week and we are giving away such a sweet prize! :)

SEO news blog post by @ 11:53 am on April 10, 2012


 

Freedom and Loathing in Lost Facebook Accounts

Freedom Online?

Not if the free-loaders have any say about it, and brother, they will not shut up. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “when you cut the head off the serpent two more shall replace it“.

SOPA Hydra

True to form, each head we lop off seems to simply provoke the beast further.

In this case the latest bill the spring forth from the carnage as a likely candidate for passing (with over 100 co-sponsors) is called the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill, also known as CISPA or HR 3523.

The HR 3523 bill is so bad that it’s made the ACLU’s comparison chart of ‘Information Legislation’ bills. This PDF is an excellent way to see how each bill will effect information flow and the freedom of on-line communications.

Yes this is another ‘we must act now’ moments.. If you are growing tired of them then the only recourse is to go for the heart of the beast until it stops sticking it’s heads where they don’t belong.

Facebook Access for Employers

Did this actually happen? Has the world really gone nuts?

According to articles on-line that have been popping up all morning, Kimberly Hester, a teaching aid, has been ‘fired’ for refusing to grant access to a private photo inside her Facebook account.
Kimberly Hester
Kimberly Hester (pictured above) was called into the superintendents office to investigate claims that one of her private Facebook photos was inappropriate.

After three requests for access to her Facebook account that she refused to comply with, the decision was made to ‘presume guilt’ lacking further information, and to her employment was terminated.

The picture has made it’s way on-line and it’s just a blurry image of a co-workers pants, around her ankles. For all we know the co-worker was wearing a skirt, shorts, etc., and there’s nothing at all ‘wrong’ with the photo in terms of ‘appropriate content’.

Clearly what we have here is a school superintendent that likes to pay legal fees for trampling the rights of it’s workers?

Anyone who has read Facebook’s Terms of Service/End User Agreement knows that it’s a CLEAR violation of their policies to allow someone else to knowingly access your account. By asking Kimberly for access, the superintendent is actually risking the loss of Kimberly’s private Facebook account based on the allegation that anyone who has access might see something inappropriate.

That’s like saying that I had a friend over who saw a private picture on my mantle of what looked like a pair of naked legs in some pants, so they told my boss, and now my boss needs to fire me because I refuse to give him a key to my house so he can come over and look at things?

And finally, what is going on with the mother that had earned a ‘friendship’ status with Kimberly on Facebook? At what point do you go after someone’s job vs. speaking to them about something like a decent human being?

Bat Country
We clearly can’t stop here.. :(

SEO news blog post by @ 12:58 pm on April 3, 2012


 

USA Dot COM

How do you feel about the US ‘owning’ .COM (and .cc, .net, .name, .org, and .tv) regardless of the international needs of the internet?
USA dot COM
Well the U.S. government feels pretty good about it and is exercising a controversial level of control over these TLDs by squeezing the US based VeriSign.

The logic is: if the businesses that control the domains are operating on US soil then it’s American controlled.

There has always been a desire to de-Americanize the internet by restructuring core components outside of US controlled entities but the cost and fears of this sort of uber-nationalist attitude have been ever-present roadblocks. It is sadly ironic then that the US itself isn’t safe from the whims of the local government.

Why so much attention when this has happened hundreds of times previously?

BoDog Poop'd On

Last week a Canadian registered .com (BoDog.com) was taken offline by federal US authorities because the site was making it possible for American citizens to gamble on-line with payouts.

BoDog.com’s business practices are not illegal globally however and having the site shut down by US authorities has a lot of people, myself included, complaining that this is going way too far.

The reason BoDog.com went down under US pressure is because it was registered with DomainClip in Canada which is merely a VeriSign subcontractor. Even then, you have an international business shuttered by the whims of one country’s governmental policies.

VeriSign is throwing it’s hands up in the air proclaiming innocence and pointing out that they are just abiding by court orders that the US based company is lawfully obligated to follow.

So does this mean that you should toss your SEO campaign aside and find a way to register the site outside of VeriSign’s control? Not necessarily.

Unless you are running a site that isn’t US based at all, or likely to come under fire from the US Government, there isn’t much to fear from this situation, at present. If you run an international gambling site and you made the mistake of registering it with a VeriSign affiliate, then you might want to go change it, quickly.

Personally, if this sort of activity continues unfettered, I expect to see a strong push for the ITU to take over some or all of ICANN’s roles. The internet isn’t just an American thing, it can’t be, and the international community won’t tolerate meddling much longer before some sort of action is taken.

And finally, on a different topic, yet similar struggle for control, I have to give Bing a mention for this amazingly bad anti-Google ‘Googlighting’ video:

Yep. Bing used YouTube to burn Google.

For anyone too young to remember 80s television, this was a parody of Moonlighting (TV series) and boy did they do a bad job of Bruce, not that their version of Cybil was much better.. ;)

Most companies can survive simply by putting their best foot forward. Bing seems to think this isn’t enough and that we need to be informed of how dumb we are buying using Google’s framework of tools.

Google was so moved by this advert that Mark Striebeck, the manager of GMail, wore a similar tie at a recent Google technology demonstration to show some good sportsmanship.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:17 am on March 6, 2012


 

Rick Mercer on Toews – Nailed it!

A brand new, previously undocumented, ranking signal that affects both Google and Bing would be a huge topic change for this blog. Sadly the search engine optimization world hasn’t been that exciting lately.

Heck, tech-news has pretty much been landing on two key-words, ‘censorship’ and ‘patents’, with folks amusing themselves over the similarities between Yoko Ono ruining the Beatles just like China is ruining Apple.

Lets face it, if you can’t ship your iPads over a trademark dispute in the country they are made, and you are getting international criticism over your decision to leverage cheap labour to make the rest of your wares, you are in big trouble no matter what business we’re talking about.

Speaking of nailing things, Rick Mercer just released a video sharing his take on the Vic Toews debate:


Beauty job eh?

The main goal of this post was to make sure I shared the video that should have been included with yesterday’s Vic Toews blog post.

On top of not catching the video as it came out, I didn’t post a Week 4 macro image to guess at. (Yeah, I know right?)

So here’s the final February macro image for guessers who want to hedge their chances at getting picked:

February Macro number 4Big Hint: This is relevant to the Vic Toews discussion.
If you think you know what this is, or where this is, send us your best guess via Twitter or G+

SEO news blog post by @ 11:46 am on February 22, 2012


 

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