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First off today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that, in Norway, the local branch of the Rights Alliance has said it is now in possession of a database containing information on some 50 to 75 thousand suspected local Popcorn Time users that it has acquired by monitoring the network.
Norway is a country of about 5.1 million people and it’s estimated that some 750,000 people in the country obtain video through piracy. The laws in the country allow approved organizations, the Rights Alliance among them, to monitor and gather information about file sharing networks.
Now the Rights Alliance has the task of turning that data into user identities, which may be difficult not only because of the requirement of a court order to do so, but because of the nature of Norwegian IP addresses, which change regularly. Still, the Rights Alliance seems confident that they will be able to use the data saying that they expect the suspected pirates to receive a “surprise in the mail” this fall.
Next up today, Peter Bright at Ars Technica reports that concerns over recent terms of service changes by Microsoft are prompting at least one private BitTorrent tracker to block access to Windows 10 users out of fear that Microsoft may be spying on users’ pirate activity.
The story follows an update to Microsoft’s terms of service, which applies to all Microsoft cloud service products, that allows Microsoft to update its software to disable access to infringing software or unauthorized peripherals. However, at least one BitTorrent tracker, iTS, has decided that it means Microsoft is capable of or will begin scanning hard drives for pirated goods.
To this end, iTS points to a relationship between Microsoft and a company named MarkMonitor, which protects brands against fraud, counterfeits and other intellectual property issues. However, Microsoft’s relationship with the company has been more focused on stopping phishing and fraud using Microsoft’s name, not piracy. Still, this hasn’t stopped at least a few other BitTorrent trackers to consider taking similar steps.
Finally today, Jennifer Baker at The Register reports that the European Commissioner for Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, has launched a public consultation on the subject of geoblocking, specifically the rules that impact how satellite and cable companies license content across border in the bloc.
At issue is the 1993 Satellite and Cable Directive that sets the rules around which TV providers can broadcast signal through the European Union. Those rules generally allow for cross-border retransmission provided license fees and royalties are paid, however, major content providers often use licensing agreements that restrict such cross-border competition.
That became the subject of an anti-trust charge filed by the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, against both U.S. and UK content providers. Now the EU is seeking public opinion on this issue between now and November 16. However, there is at least some disagreement about the handling of geoblocking within the region, with some commissioners feeling that the practice should continue largely as is.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.