3 Count: Private Channels

Private channels, public problems...

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1: Roku Cracks Down on Private Channels

First off today, Sarah Perez at TechCrunch reports that Roku has begun taking steps against private channels but are stopping short of removing/disabling them at this time.

Roku is a media streaming device that has a feature known as private channels that lets users install custom services on their device. Intended to let developers work on their own channels before submitting them to the Roku store, this became a popular way to install channels that access pirated media.

Now Roku has begun adding warnings to “non-certified” channels that indicate Roku may remove the channel without prior notice. Roku has long been aware of the issue of piracy via private channels, the ecosystem has grown to over 1,000 such channels, but it may be attempting to address the issue ahead of a rumored initial public offering. Roku also said that it has a policy of terminating infringing channels but declined to say how many it has removed to date.

2: Spinrilla Refuses to Share Its Source Code With the RIAA

Next up today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that the discovery in the Spinrilla case is ongoing and, though the hip-hop mixtape site has cooperated with most of the record label’s requests, it’s refusing to hand over the source code for its site.

Spinrilla is a site that lets users upload songs and mix tapes for others to stream. Though the site has made use of filtering software, the major record labels all claim that it has become a haven for piracy, including the 210 songs the lawsuit is over, and that the site has not taken adequate steps to ensure it’s protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The case has moved into the discovery phase with the labels making some hefty demands of Spinrilla and Spinrill has already turned over thousands of pages of documents. However, the site has refused the record labels’ request to turn over the site’s source code, calling it their “crown jewel” and saying that it is irrelevant to the case.

3: Another ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode Hits Piracy Sites Before Premiere

Finally today, Todd Spangler at Variety reports that episode six of the latest Game of Thrones season has found its way online days before its scheduled premiere. However, this time it can’t blame a malicious leak as the episode was reportedly published on accident by a third-party vendor in some of its territories.

The news comes just one day after news that four men in India were arrested for leaking the previous episode online. That news itself follows a massive hack of HBO’s systems that took place in July that saw the pay TV company being extorted for millions of dollars and having other episodes leaked online.

In 2015 a similar problem took place with the previous season of the show when four episodes were leaked before the season began. In that case the problem was connected with review screeners on DVD. This prompted HBO to stop the practice of sending out such screeners and, while that seems to have improved the situation, it’s only delayed, not stopped, the leaks.

Suggestions

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.

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