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Jason Pascal and Josh Builder Tackle Copyright and Cloud Technology This Month

March 14, 2012 Orchard News No Comments

If you weren’t able to make it down to SXSW this week for the four panels we’re participating in, here are two you can catch nearby at the end of the month:

Right here in New York, Jason Pascal – VP, Licensing & Associate General of The Orchard – will be at the Institute for Information Law & Policy to talk about international approaches to copyright reform. The date is March 27; RSVP to this address by 3/20.

If copyright isn’t your thing, head down South (though not as far as Austin!) to Philadelphia for March 28, when The Orchard’s CTO Josh Builder will be attending Phorum, a technology conference for business and IT professionals. There, he will participate in a panel entitled “Views from the Enterprise,” where he and other industry experts will discuss the impact of cloud technology on their business and how it could help benefit them in the future.

Here’s all the information you need to catch Jason and Josh this month:

Panel Discussion: International Perspectives on Copyright Reform
with Jason Pascal
6:00pm – 8:00 pm
Faculty Commons, W201 (185 W. Broadway – New York, NY)

Is current U.S. copyright law effectively dealing with online piracy? What laws have countries such as France, United Kingdom, and Spain implemented to address the piracy issue? Has anyone found the solution? Our program will address various international approaches to copyright law regulation as a means to combat piracy. Our discussion will focus on recent legislation such as HADOPI (three strikes) in France, the now-abandoned PIPA/SOPA in the United States, Sinde Law in Spain, and international treaties such as ACTAe. Panelists will compare the effectiveness of these approaches and the impact that it has on curbing online piracy.

Panel Discussion: Views from the Enterprise (Track 2)
with Josh Builder
2:45pm – 3:30pm
World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street – Philadelphia, PA)

A panel of enterprise users discuss how cloud technology is impacting their business models and enabling them to disrupt competition, create new economic models and gain market share. Panelists include Josh Builder of The Orchard, Robert Butler of the Hay Group, Simon Moss of Pneuron Corporation and a representative from JPMorgan Chase. Moderated by Rob Kelley.

Pirates! The Feds! Hackers!! SOPA, PIPA, Mega-Upload & Anonymous

January 20, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

anonymous maskChoppy waters this week. On Wednesday, the web went largely black, as prominent sites and the denizens of the web at large protested Capitol Hill’s consideration of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its sister Protect IP Act (PIPA).

A mere 48 hours later, the world has shifted. Again. And the waves are rocking the boats of pirates, pirate hunters, privacy advocates, IP owners, government agencies and a secretive collective of hackers. Yes, this sounds like a comic book (V for Vendetta, specifically) but it is actually today’s tech news cycle.

For those keeping score at home, here’s where we stand:

  • The House and Senate have shelved SOPA and PIPA amidst the outpouring of opposition, including the White House, the founders of the web and its most prominent sites, among them Wikipedia, Craiglist, Google and (late to the party) Facebook
  • The Justice Department has shut-down, the type of site each bill had intended on targeting. 4 employees, including its CEO Kim Dotcom (aka Kim Tim Jim Vestor, aka Kim Schmitz) have been indicted and arrested in New Zealand, owing to the fact that some of its file sharing apparatus was hosted on servers in Virginia
  • In apparent retaliation for the take-down of Mega-Upload, the Hacker collective known as Anonymous temporarily brought down the site of the Department of Justice as well as several prominent “big media” sites
  • In the inevitable “whack-a-mole” moment, has come back online with their “DMCA compliant” claims process, then gone back offline again

What’s so interesting here is to look at the events of this week in the context of one another. SOPA and PIPA moved so slowly by modern standards. It took the legitimate tech community quite some time to gear up their protest, black out their pages and Twitter pics, and in an eventual impressive display of strength get the even slower moving US Government to change their ways. Everyone was still patting their own back when the hacker group Anonymous in mere seconds brought down the Justice Department’s site in retaliation for what went down with Mainstream Tech lobby no longer looks so impressive.

What we’e seeing is that the law of the web might be light years more complicated than what is normally viewed as complicated by a US legislator.

Just for a second, imagine the above was played out not on the web, but in your town, borough, city etc…. You would be shocked as every notion of law and process got challenged… Now, imagine the governing law of that town is a 16 year-old piece of legislation called the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

The Orchard’s Viewpoint on SOPA and PIPA

January 18, 2012 Industry Trends 2 Comments

Google Search Box, January 18, 2012

There are likely more black pages, icons and avatars appearing on the web today than at any time in its history. Why? Two pieces of legislation being considered on Capitol Hill: The Stop Online Piracy Act (a House bill commonly called SOPA) and the Protect IP Act in the Senate (called PIPA).

From today’s Google doodle’s censorship iconography to Boing-Boing, Craigslist and countless other sites going dark while Twitter is immersed in “#stopsopa” and “#stoppipa” verbiage and imagery, the opposition to this legislation is obvious and growing rapidly. Several weeks back, a consortium of the “founders” of the web (not you, Al Gore) asked congress to (re)consider their actions and possibly listen to someone who knew something about the matter. Web giants such as Yahoo!, eBay, and Facebook, which apparently many people use, have also come out against the legislation. Today, Wikipedia powerfully darkened their U.S. home page and included the Orwellian statement “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge.” Um, no thank you.

The ins and outs of how we got here are maze-like and not worth rehashing. Wikipedia offers a wonderful (community-edited, of course) overview. In essence, there are bad actors on the web; sites which knowingly and willfully house copyrighted material with the full intent to disseminate that content to end users without compensating the intellectual property owners. This is true. And has been for a long while. No one debates the fact. Now, exactly what to do about it… that’s another issue. Very quickly, you’re in first amendment waters. Deep waters, indeed.

The Orchard has decided to let its feelings on PIPA and SOPA be known today. We feel that as providers of a technology platform and business engineered to facilitate the broad distribution, discovery and legal consumption of online content, we are uniquely positioned to do so.

Herewith a summary of our thinking:

  1. The Orchard is certainly concerned with piracy and is not opposed to measures which attempt to address it, be they business solutions or legislation. SOPA and PIPA are simply not the right ones as they are constructed in ways which may prove harmful to our business partners and, potentially ourselves, having the exact inverse effect legislators are seeking.
  2. It is far too early in the stages of innovation around digital content online to enact sweeping legislation which is at once broad in who may be targeted for infringing and on what grounds, while being very specific about the penalties involved. As has been pointed out, this puts at risk any site which may contain even one piece of “infringing content.” In other words, just about any site on the web.
  3. The Orchard is in the business of providing maximum reach for IP owners and, as such, can’t endorse policies that would stifle potential business innovations that allow for this to be done in a legal, consumer-friendly manner.
  4. We have watched legislative action often pale in comparison to business innovation in stemming piracy as business solutions tend to provide a “viable alternative” to piracy as opposed to merely whacking each mole that arises.
  5. We believe that the DMCA and its Safe harbor clause could be refined and iterated on to potentially provide some legislative support to business innovation.

It would appear that we are in good company as the Obama White House has come out against SOPA, indicating that it would only consider legislation “narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, [that] cover[s] activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and [that is] effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity.” The statement went on to say that they would seek legislation “that provides new tools needed in the global fight against piracy and counterfeiting, while vigorously defending an open Internet based on the values of free expression, privacy, security and innovation.”

Clearly, this is not over. We will be actively watching and participating in the dialogue. We hope you will be, too.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

December 20, 2011 Industry Trends No Comments

Sony, Universal, Fox, RIAA, MPAA, and the Department of Homeland Security, we’re looking at you.

Armed with Russian-based tool YouHaveDownloaded, TorrentFreak tracked down the IP blocks of these groups and discovered they were all guilty of pirating software, music, and video content. Not too surprising, considering the size of these lobbying behemoths, however, it does put a flaming pile of irony atop the online piracy war.

Will these organizations investigate and prosecute their employees? Probably not, but with Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) still in limbo, this fine piece of investigative journalism could help sway our decision makers responsible for the fate of the internet.

YouHaveDownloaded, released just last week, aims to invigorate the general public into covering their online footsteps. Tracking more than 55 million users and 2 million files of publicly accessible BitTorrent information, their mission is emphasized by the site’s privacy policy:

“Baby, this is the Internet. There is no such thing as privacy around here. You are sitting in the privacy of your own house, clicking links, reading stuff, watching movies. It may seem like you are pretty much alone, but smart nerds are watching you. They watch your every move. You are not human to them. You are a target — a consumer.”

So, do they have anything on you?

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