Digital Piracy

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Digital Piracy

Postby EWang » Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:36 pm

Model United Nations
Topic: Digital Piracy
May 5th


Digital Piracy is the last Congress topic for the year. It's also a topic that most of us can actually relate to personally. Should and how can the United States government enforce intellectual property rights in the internet? Research and start posting stuff on the forums.

Introduction
Digital piracy, copyright infringement through the internet, is a huge problem facing the United States of America and the rest of the world. With the explosion of the internet in the 1990s, illegal downloading of music, movies, computer software, and even digital books has gradually picked up steam. Universal Music Group estimates that only one in three music CDs and one in twenty music downloads in the world are sold legitimately. In March of 2009, the highly anticipated movie, “X-Men Origin: Wolverine”, was leaked and available for download throughout the internet even before its theatrical release. According to TorrentFreak, one million people had downloaded the movie within one weak of the leak. It is estimated that in 2008, digital piracy lost software companies $53 billion in revenue and that the entertainment industries also suffered losses in the tens of billions. Ultimately, digital piracy is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed appropriately.

Laws and Court Cases
The Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 ) and laws of the United States of America protects intellectual property rights (IPRs), which digital piracy violates. With the passage of the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act in 1997 and other pieces of legislation, copyright infringement on the internet, even if it is without commercial implications, became prosecutable criminal offenses. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), representing the American music and movie industries respectively, are two of the biggest organizations focused on tackling digital piracy. The RIAA has sued thousands of people for copyright infringement throughout the years, with most people agreeing to settlements between $3,000 to $5,000. When the RIAA sued Jammie Thomas-Rasset for illegally downloading and file sharing 24 copyrighted songs in July of 2009 and Thomas-Rasset refused to settle, a federal jury in Minneapolis ruled that she had to pay $1.92 million in damages. A similar case in August ruled that Joel Tenebaum had to pay $675,000 in damages for illegally downloading and distributing 30 songs. The effects of these lawsuits are far more symbolic than financially meaningful for the RIAA and the MPAA.

Difficulties in Tackling Digital Piracy
Because of the magnitude, complexity, and internationality of digital piracy, it is difficult for the United States to enforce copyright laws on the internet. Although an exact number of how many internet users are “digital pirates” is difficult to ascertain, the fact of the matter is that there are simply too many for the authorities to hold responsible. Even if copyright laws become tightened even further, the prospect of millions of American being fined and/or arrested is very farfetched. Also, the internet is unlike the physical world and it can be complicated to trace people online. If a person walked into a music store and physically stole a CD, it would be not difficult to identify and indict this person. However, if that same person used his friend’s computer to access a proxy site that brought him to a Russian website through which he illegally downloaded an album, it is near impossible for authorities to find this person, let alone hold him or her accountable for copyright infringement. Furthermore, the Russian website aspect brings up another point, websites and hosting servers that are out of the jurisdiction of the United States. Although US piracy websites are routinely spotted and shut down by US authorities, countries with laxly enforced copyright laws may have illegal websites that the United States can do little about. China’s biggest video sharing websites, Tudou, Youku, and 56.com, contain almost every single American movie and music video, content that Youtube in the United States would never be allowed to host. And even though YouTube can not host these copyrighted materials, any American is able to access them in the Chinese video sites. Additionally, the piracy rates of countries such as China, Vietnam, and Russia are staggering. In terms of computer software, China and Vietnam have piracy rates higher than 80% and illegal downloading of music and movies are even more common occurrences. What’s troublesome for America is that a large percentage of the pirated material is American. Even if the government manages to curb digital piracy within the United States, American industries would still be losing a lot of money unless countries around the world participate in the piracy crackdown.

Conclusion
Digital piracy is as complicated a problem as it is important. There are many facets of the issue that needs to be addressed in order to moderate and eventually eliminate digital piracy. Amongst other facets, the United States government should find ways to propagate the seriousness and consequences of digital piracy, to acquire the technology and resources to track digital pirates, and to effectively convince other countries to cooperate on intellectual property rights.

Links
http://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/w ... _id_05.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/busin ... .html?_r=1
http://www.hcfa.house.gov/111/press043009c.pdf
http://www.magazine.ucla.edu/features/d ... ndex3.html
http://www.wmitchell.edu/intellectual-p ... Update.pdf

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Re: Digital Piracy

Postby BeWang » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:31 pm

An Act to Control Digital Piracy

Sponsored by Senators Bertrand Wang and Vikram Allada

Whereas digital copyright infringement deprives individuals and corporations of rightfully deserved revenue,

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled:

Section 1: Creates a subdivision within the FBI with the purpose of investigating digital copy right infractions including but not limited to:
a. Downloading in excess of 100 gigabytes of copyrighted material within a year
b. Uploading in excess of 50 gigabytes of material within a year
c. Knowing and willful hosting of copyrighted material on a server

Section 2: Requires Internet Cafes to:
a. monitor internet usage by patrons, namely download and upload history
b. report suspicious activity such as:
i. Large downloads or uploads
ii. Prolific use of sites known to host

Section 3: Internet cafes which repeatedly violate (3 or more incidences) Section 2 will have their business license revoked.

Section 4: Calls upon the State department to open negotiations with foreign nations, specifically China , Vietnam , and Russia , with the purposes of
a. Eliminating and prosecuting servers and their owners which host pirated material.
b. Bringing copyright enforcement standards to United States standards.
c. Strengthening laws within those nations

Section 5: This bill will take effect in 91 days

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Re: Digital Piracy

Postby galukal » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:28 pm

Speakers
First Pro: Vikram
First Con: Vaibhav
Second Pro: Bertrand
Second Con: Ben

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Re: Digital Piracy

Postby bromano » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:20 am

I would like to speak con for this one George.

First of all, I don't believe that this bill correctly attacks the issues at hand. Even though it does target large downloads/uploads, downloads and uploads are not the only issue. As much as programs such as Limewire do affect and cheat companies and owners out of a profit, most people that do use these programs don't use over 100 gigabytes in a year. 100 gigabytes is 102,400 megabytes. If we assume that the average person uses these programs for music download, (and I know there are special cases where people do actually pirate huge amounts of non-music items) and one song is about 5 megabytes, than this person is now downloading over 20,000 songs a year. I believe that in these cases, the average American is not the main problem to be found with Digital Piracy issues.

Instead of the average American being the issue, there are a select few who do most of the pirating in our country. It is a classic example of the 80/20 rule, or the Pareto principal. 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. Instead of targeting the 80% group that only commits 20% of piracy, we should focus on the 20% group that commits 80% of all piracy. If we attack this problem, then we can solve the problem much easier. It is estimated that almost $15 billion dollars of pirated software can be found in the United States today, but you can trace that back to a significantly smaller group of people. So, unlike the intention of this bill, we need to focus on the larger issue, and attack the pirates who use pirating as a business, rather than the average American. For example, when New York City Police Officers raided a warehouse in Manhattan, they found over $500,000 dollars worth of pirated movies. Only a few businesses take such a large role in digital piracy, and we need to target them with this bill.

We have discussed before the viability of our own national databanks. We also talked about targeting from countries in Asia, such as China. I believe that these issues are much more pertinant to this topic, and as such, we should also work on not only investigating these digital infractions, but preventing them in the first place. If instead of dedicating our time and resources to reprimanding the people who pirate a few things, we should redirect the funding and time towards communication with other nations about their supposed un-supported pirating. If we get the other nations to help us, we can support a national effort to decrease digital piracy, and from there, protect the international economy.

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Re: Digital Piracy

Postby BeWang » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:56 pm

50 gigabytes were chosen because most movies on DVD are about 4 to 5 gigabytes, thus it translates to downloading 20 movies in a year, or uploading 10. If you feel that the number should be lower, give a suggestion.
80/20 was why I'd rather push the total gigabytes up, rather than down, that way, we would attack those who pirate large amounts of material, that 20% of the people who do 80% of the piracy.

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Re: Digital Piracy

Postby bromano » Mon May 03, 2010 8:17 am

I am using the 80/20 because half of your legislation is about Internet cafes, which though they may be a part of the varying enterprises of these pirating tycoons, they will probably not be the center of the issue. I do agree with the last section though. Other countries are where many people do buy their pirated things, such as DVD's and music. However, we need to, and again I am saying this, focus on the people who do pirate large amounts. And even though you do suggest to

BeWang wrote:Section 1: Creates a subdivision within the FBI with the purpose of investigating digital copy right infractions including but not limited to:
a. Downloading in excess of 100 gigabytes of copyrighted material within a year
b. Uploading in excess of 50 gigabytes of material within a year
c. Knowing and willful hosting of copyrighted material on a server


"monitor" these uploads and downloads, I would like to ask how you propose to do that? Even with the PATRIOT Act in effect, the federal government will not have nearly enough time or resources to monitor the entire internet, of all 300 million Americans. To even monitor the large piraters, you still need to find out a way to single them out. The methods you are suggesting are just not viable for such a large population of people. We need to find a more effective way to monitor these up loads and downloads.

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Re: Digital Piracy

Postby BeWang » Mon May 03, 2010 1:54 pm

By my understanding, one can do nearly anything on the internet nowadays, including setting up autonomous monitoring programs. In this situation, those programs could be placed in certain key locations on the internet (both virtual and physical). If the volume of traffic seems unusual, an investigator can be alerted and the FBI can initiate investigations. As I said before though, one can do nearly anything, so with a little initiative, the FBI can definitely think of more innovative methods of prosecuting cybercriminals.

Anyway, I singled out Internet cafes because of the anonymity they provide. Through certain cafes, one can upload information from a terminal that isn't one's own- thus, making it harder for authorities to track the pirate. As such, incorporating internet cafes is fairly important in any cyberpiracy legislation.

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Re: Digital Piracy

Postby bromano » Mon May 03, 2010 4:52 pm

Unless the FBI has a continually self-updating program, it will still be missing huge sections. The internet is a huge revolving place. It seems like everywhere you turn, there is new information, new webpages, and new users. For the FBI to successfully monitor the ENTIRE internet, they would burn through more resources than they already have. As much as autonomus programs can help, they are not the solution. Perhaps in the future, they will help to monitor the vast storages of the internet, but at the moment, they still can not attack the large volumes of internet resources. As you previously mentioned, some of these programs that are being pirated are 4-5 gigabytes. If someone is downloading, as you suggested, 100 gigabytes of this, that alone will take an amount of time. And when you throw in the pirates that are down/up loading HUGE volumes of data, the Federal Government will have to distract even more of their databanks space.

Even though their databanks are huge also, they are also going to take large amounts of monitoring. These programs will spit out large amounts of "suspicious" data, and as such, they will need to be reviewed by a human counterpart to check and see if the lead is even worth following, especially if some of these down/up loads are merely megabytes, not even traversing into gigabytes.

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Re: Digital Piracy

Postby BeWang » Tue May 04, 2010 5:25 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_tr ... easurement
An example of the type of software that could be used to monitor web traffic.

As I've said before, the method I've mentioned was only one of many; the talented people at the FBI have the initiative to innovate and create better methods of tracking down cyber criminals.

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Re: Digital Piracy

Postby bromano » Tue May 04, 2010 8:18 am

As much as this is a viable solution, it still needs to be implemented better. At the moment, it is estimated that at least 1/4 of the worlds population uses the internet. This means that over 1.5 billion people in the world use the Internet. Not only will it be near impossible to monitor all of this, it will also be difficult to figure out which is coming from where in the world. If our monitoring programs are monitoring every part of the internet, then it is going to be nearly impossible.

http://www.wisegeek.com/how-big-is-the-internet.htm This website shows just how difficult this task will be. Even Google, whose main focus is to navigate the internet to find relevant articles, in accordance with Google's CEO, has processed not even 1 percent of the entire Internet in the over 12 years they have been in business. If the federal government works with these numbers, purely crunching data, it will take YEARS to tackle this problem. We need to request the help of other involved parties.

I would like to propose that instead of using purely our own federal power, we get the help of the many internet providers in the nation. Through these providers, we can have them implement the aforementioned programs. And then, when these companies discover an internet user who is going beyond the allowed downloads, they can then report these to the federal government. These companies will reduce the human interface in the federal government. Now, instead of the federal government handling vast quantities of information, the work load will be divided, and then the federal government will only handle the issues that arise. This will vastly decrease the work load, which will help all parties involved.


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