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Have you ever wondered why the copyright industry's figures on
piracy never really outline on how they were compiled? That's because
they're taking out of thin air of course. The latest
study by UK's Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property
Policy tries to correct that, but unfortunately for the industry,
honesty just means it's a lot easier to discard the figures. So,
what did they do: without even telling which networks they're looking
at or how they arrived at the number of users, they start with a
number of 1.3 million active users sharing content on any given
weekday at noon. Then they assume that each of those users downloads
downloads 5 content items per day and assign the value of £5
per content item to get to a loss figure of £12 billion (almost
$20 billion US). So, how do they know everybody downloads 5 items
a day (and they assume one item can be as much as an entire TV series
or one band's life work), how can they be sure the content is worth
£5 per item (okay, an entire TV season is worth a bit more),
just which P2P network was it and how did they arrive at the number
of users? And, where's the correction factor to account for the
fact that far from everybody to download a piece of music or a movie
/ TV series would be paying if it weren't available for free, and
where do they take into account that those that would've paid invest
the money in other venues so other industries benefit?
How dare they: the
latest file sharer to be dragged to the court in Spain has been
vindicated even though there was no contest he downloaded over 3000
movies. But since it takes commercial intent to be a crime,
the industry has once again lost. Viva España :)
Get ready to replace your HDMI cables: HDMI
1.4 brings a 100mbit/s Ethernet channel, an audio return channel,
supports 3D formats, 2K and 4K resolutions as well as more color
spaces, there's a new mini connector and an automotive connection
system. And here's where it gets tricky: besides the standard cables
there are now high speed cables which support the whole range of
new features, standard cables with just Ethernet, high speed cables
with just Ethernet and automotive cables. Now you're probably wondering
why there's a highspeed + Ethernet and a high speed + Ethernet +
everything else cable as I am. And, all the new features are optional.
1.0.3 beta 1 supports multiple input files.
supports drag & drop, has a context menu and some new options
in the channel lists.
AVCHD has reached version
3 which contains many improvements, bug fixes and stability
XviD 1.2.2 contains
some important security related fixes.
0.5a has a separate settings window, supports ReClock, ISO images
and gapless playback, there's a new disc information window, the
volume control is now linear and there's a bunch of bugfixes as
It would be funny if nobody would believe them - but unfortunately
the statistics and reports put forth by the copyright industry is
the gospel of many politician eager to please. So, Canada is a pirate
heaven according to the Business Software Alliance, and that's based
on what numbers exactly? Turns out the
numbers are really just made out of thin air (now, don't act
so surprised ;)
Two days ago I spoke about geographical restrictions for content
- Techdirt has been
asking the same question for music distribution and has some
links to articles showing the culprits why our supposedly common
EU market is fractured to bits with no end in sight. And there's
also an older article that looks at yet another example of where
the established industry, instead
of getting ahead of a trend rather tries to sabotage it.
It seems efforts by Swedish ISPs to be more customer friendly by
deleting logs will be short lived: Unlike many other instances where
infractions are tolerated, the European Commission is going
after Sweden for not yet having implemented the EU snooping initiative
(officially known as data retention initiative).
And as a follow-up to yesterday's news: according to a study conducted
by a Cambridge law professor, DRM
only encourages people to pirate.
Rebuilder 0.21.01 can take advantage of sub resizing in TsMuxer
for 720p output, comes with the latest x264 build, and fixes a few
And then there's word
from our favorite studio head - the guy who thinks the Internet
is plain evil. Now suddenly it's "The Internet is all good,
but.." and obviously the but means even more copyright laws.
There are a few obvious flaws in his arguments (in anything coming
from the copyright industry for that matter). For starters, the
government didn't build the Internet, so that analogy is seriously
flawed. Just because the protocols used come from DARPA doesn't
mean the government built the Internet - protocols are more akin
to defining how different vehicles on the road interact (drive on
the right side of the road, use your blinker to signal you're changing
lanes, a standard size of the nozzle at your gas station, etc.)
- but the roads themselves , or the interconnects between different
networks were, for the largest part, built by private enterprises.
And it's not like the Internet is a lawless room - far from it.
For starters, traditional law still very much applies (e.g. copyright
law) and there's a whole slew of laws aimed just at the Internet
(e.g. the industry favorite DMCA). And, if you think about it, it's
actually a lot easier for studios to catch offenders in the digital
world. While physically trading stuff may be slow, unless you have
feet on the ground there's no way you even know somebody is doing
something illegitimate. On the Internet, many companies are scouring
newsgroups, websites and P2P networks for copyrighted material and
the copyright industry has launched a whole campaign based on such
And quite frankly, it's completely disingenuous to claim "Internet
users have become used to getting things when they want it and how
they want it, and those of us in the entertainment business want
to meet that kind of demand as efficiently and effectively as possible"
coming from a major exponent of an industry that started out as
pirates themselves and has since moved on to oppose any new technological
development that came along. We've had about a decade worth of broadband
Internet in many industrialized nations - and yet, where are the
offers that make sense? Even the music industry has only made a
few timid steps in the right direction: while pretty much anybody
can order music or movies from Amazon, their music service is limited
to a few select countries and their online video offerings are non
existent outside the US. In recent years, major American TV networks
started streaming content online, but once again, content is restricted
to the US. That's one major problem right there: it's a global market,
so act like it. Territorial restrictions are a thing from the analog
past. Customers have long since moved on in the physical world by
ordering online, and in the digital world as well (by just downloading
stuff that the networks / studios do not offer). Say you've recently
upgraded your home theater setup and would like to watch Star Wars
or Lord of the Rings in HD. But, you cannot get them on Blu-ray
- but there's your friendly P2P tool that offers HDTV rips. So..
it may be legally wrong to go for the free solution, but morally,
it's a whole different story - after all you were perfectly willing
to part with your hard earned dollar to buy the content - the only
requirement was that it were available in HD quality.
And then we have "How many people will be as motivated to
write a book or a song, or make a movie if they know it is going
to be immediately stolen from them and offered to the world with
no compensation whatsoever?". In contrast to what you and your
colleagues from other studios and other parts of the copyright industry
are claiming, the Internet has sparked, not dimmed creativity. What
I'm doing here, since 2000 and always for free is creating new content.
There's a large selection of high quality software available for
download on this very site created for free, and the Internet certainly
helped the open source movement. Without being able to communicate
seamlessly and instantaneously with other members of the project
team, many projects would certainly not have been to progress so
far so fast as they have. And there's a thriving industry around
the distribution and support of open source software. And, speaking
of sparking creativity, what's up with movie studios shutting down
fan created content? It's free PR for crying out loud - people invest
time and money to help sell you more content.
If copyright wasn't a monopoly business, music and movie industry
would've long gone out of business (Hollywood wouldn't have even
started if some of the laws on the book then would've been rigorously
enforced when parts of the industry resettled from the east cost).
In any competitive market, displaying the sheer ignorance and contempt
for new technology would most certainly mean your downfall. So,
really it's time to get off the high horse and clean up your own
house before you start pointing fingers. Distribution limited to
geographical areas needs to go, content needs to be available immediately
and everywhere (I understand dubbing takes time but you can deliver
original content to every country on day one, and subtitled on day
2 or 3 (there's plenty of people around to subtitle your content
for free.. but that's another group of people you rather sue than
appreciate) - take Fox's Blu-ray release of the latest incarnation
of 24 as an example (but it still fails to deliver on the limited
distribution angle), stop treating your customers like criminals
(that starts with more and more invasive DRM and ends with pushing
for blanket surveillance (data retention) that treats anybody as
a potential criminal), and finally, it's time to let go of the belief
that every item downloaded is a sale lost: some people will never
buy your content no matter what. Just because they can still get
it doesn't mean you lost out on anything so stop whining about it.
And the paragraph above is another example on how the Internet
helps even the copyright industry: your consumers give you free
of charge what other industries have to pay for dearly by hiring
market research companies.
By the way, even the industry friendly Wall Street Journal thinks
movie industry is lagging behind technology and desperately needs
to catch up.
Then there's some news from Sweden - then
music industry has been stopped in their tracks to extract more
money from The Pirate Bay - they wanted to be paid for every
day the site remains in operation. But since the ruling didn't ask
for the site to be shut down - only another industry friendly judge
would've agreed to that and judges finally undergo some serious
scrutiny for bias these days - at least in Sweden.
3.8.2 patches the alpha (channel?) of completely invisible subtitles
and fixes two bugs.
improves IPTV support and synchronization and contains some small
1.02 supports program streams (limited to MPA and AC3 audio
for now) and there are some other minor adjustments and fixes.
And a little update on the RIAA lawsuits: not only is the defense
going down the P2P is Fair Use road and asking that statutory damages
match actual damages, they also say that the RIAA's
legal campaign with the settlement offers is unconstitutional and
they need to pay back all the money collected so far.
3.8.1 now treats transparent colors as black to avoid scaling
effects, has a commandline parameter to set alpha value for cropping
and patching colors to black, the preview window shows less scaling
artifacts and the selection window has been improved.
In the Real vs. MPAA trial, the positions are obvious - the MPAA
reiterates their stance that there's
no Fair Use exemption to circumvention (which is plain wrong..
the DMCA specifically mentions Fair Use). While Real is the good
guy here, so to speak, they haven't always been on the same side
of the argument though - almost a decade ago they
found themselves in the MPAA's position when trying to shut down
Streambox VCR - a software that allowed recording of music and
video streams that only RealPlayer could play. Final arguments have
been presented in the case and we're now awaiting the outcome.
3.8.0 contains a bunch of improvements in dealing with VobSub
It's not only the defendants that are unhappy with the verdict
of the Pirate Bay trial - big content has filed their own appeal:
want the original charges reinstated and ask for more money.
Meanwhile, the allegation of bias of the trial judge is being looked
into - and the first result of that inquiry is that the
judge in charge of looking into it has also been removed for pro
3.7.1 fixes a palette conversion fix introduced in the previous
3.7.0 allows free scaling factors for subtitle resizing, has
all text fields react to input to give status updates, and there's
a fix converting HD DVD subtitles to Blu-ray subtitles.
fixes a bug where the last subtitle would end at 0:00.
1.60 is also available in a 64bit version and a lite version,
has a multichannel equalizer that allows you to set the frequency
response of the equalizer, synchronizes the spectrum with audio
playback and there are some fixes as well.
0.24 beta has a new INTRAVLC command, supports 4:2:2 input and
output and fixes some issues when using AVCSource input.
And I almost missed that one: VLC
1.0 has reached release candidate status.
We know big content loves to disconnect people from the Internet
without due process. However, it's always surprising to see that
opposition not only comes from the usual suspects - Britain's Featured
Artists Coalition - comprised of just those people that the labels
claim they represent, ask
if the label's attempts really make sense. Of course, when the
guy on the other side of the table thinks the Internet is an invention
from hell and should be banned, rather than realizing it is a business
opportunity and you need to adapt your business model to take full
advantage of it, it's rather futile to hope anything is going to
Meanwhile, the Hardware Law professor who took up the defense of
alleged file sharer Joel Tenenbaum is making
some pretty bold assertions: P2P filesharing is fair use and
that statutory damages (those $150'000 damages per act of infringement
the law allows) should match up with actual damages (so the industry
would have to prove the amount of money they lose if somebody offers
a song via P2P). Expect the industry to pull out all the stops,
and sending out hit squads to threaten politicians and judges if
such interpretation of the law ever takes hold.
||In light of the recent release of the BSA's global piracy
study, Michael Geist points out that the BSA's own numbers in favor
of the WIPO treaty (which is responsible for DMCA style legislation
all over the world) actually show that implementation
of such laws does very little to curb piracy, and that the industry's
bad boy posterchild Canada does pretty well even though it has no
3.6.0 can edit forced flags, exclude single captions from export,
erase rectangular options and crops VobSub bitmaps automatically
contains optimizations and fixes in the interface.
3.5.6 contains some changes in the VobSub parsing code.
We didn't really need any confirmation that they don't get it,
but the head of Sony Pictures went ahead and confirmed it anyway:
content would rather kill the Internet than finding new business
models to make use of it.
On the other side of the spectrum, here's the print medium which
itself has a lot of trouble with the Internet and yet they go ahead
and write outrageous articles on how
the Internet saved the Star Trek franchise. I wonder what the
head of Paramount has to say on that subject..
Rebuilder 0.20.09 fixes a few bugs.
1080p on the web. Of course, as usual they haven't fully grasped
the potential of the Internet yet and lock out all viewers that don't
live in the US.
3.5.5 adds padding packets to the exported stream if the source
is VobSub and no longer aborts when certain invalid VobSub streams
are detected. There are also two bugfixes dealing with VobSub subtitles.
Unimpressed by the impressive vote in the EU parliament against
three strikes legislation, France's parliament is firmly in the
pocket of big content and yesterday passed three
strikes legislation that circumvents due process. And of course
they'll do anything and everything in their power to subvert the
EU's council of ministers (yeah, the guys who don't have to be elected
and have proven their utter contempt for the people of their respective
member states time and again) and to sabotage the EU parliament's
clear stance on the issue, so as to not have the law struck down
by an EU court.
Motivated by the victory of their brethren in France, UK's own
pro copyright group have launched
their latest initiative to get similar legislation adopted.
1.10.6 fixes a bug with color subtitles.
Also, apparently DVDFab
can now also handle all the latest Blu-ray discs (except for
BD+ of course). Now there's just the question whether we'll see
DVDFab HD Decrypter Version 6.
And in France, people are gearing
up for a last ditch attempt to stop three strikes legislation.
After suffering a surprise defeat last month, the government has
brought the same packet up again (and if it doesn't pass will keep
3.5.4 increases compatibility with SubtitleCreator when dealing
with VobSub subtitles, writes more log messages and fixes BDN XML
1.10.5 uses information from the alpha channel from PGS streams,
and the bottom-offset option is now considered to be the vertical
offset from the original subtitle option. The new version also includes
the following features introduced in the 1.10.3 release: MOV/MP4
container support, PGS subtitle scaling, MPL file support and some
Last but not least, I've been asked by a bunch of visitors why
the news appears to only show up every couple of days - turns out
that is squarely my fault. Generating news is a multi step process
and if I leave out any one of the last two steps, the news will
not be visible. I'll try to be more vigilant in the future so this
won't happen any more.
2.8.0 support AC3 audio in MP4 files, makes the FPS input field
available for all video tracks, has 60000/1001 as a predefined FPS
option, has an option to clear any input fields after muxing and
there are various bugfixes.
||By now you've probably heard about Microsoft's upcoming
successor to the not so popular Windows Vista - Windows 7 promises
to be a much more polished, leaner and faster version of Vista. Amongst
the changes, it also includes a lot of video filters to deal with
more content so that ffdshow may not always be necessary anymore.
However, they went a step further and basically blocked any third
party from overriding their filters - so you either have to use a
player where that override doesn't work (MPC is the only DirectShow
based player... and then there's SMPlayer (mplayer) and VLC which
are self contained and don't need DirectShow filters), or you look
at this tool
to override Microsoft's override.
3.5.3 no longer aborts processing of multiple files when an
error is encountered during processing of a file and it uses interlaced
instead of progressive mode for PAL/NTSC DVD resolutions.
1.9.2 allows you to configure keyboard shortcuts in edit mode,
has an always on top option in the window menu, contains various
improvements in the filter department as well as the usual bugfixes.
So the MPAA is now teaching us how to make a Telesync
- their response to people asking for a DMCA exemption to make use
of the fair use exemption dealing with copy protected movies (meaning
everything released today and released since the advent of the analog
Macrovision system) is just that - set
up a camera in front of a TV and film the content (which technically
may be a bit different from making a Telesync, but the principle
is the same.. use a camera to record a movie).
3.5.2 improves VobSub import and improves luminance threshold
detection when importing VobSub files.
has a high definition OSD mode and skin and it supports multiple
displays (concurrently I presume).
Good news came from Brussels yesterday: Instead of passing the
compromise that toned down the requirement of a court of law before
disconnecting anybody accused of infringing copyrights from the
Internet, a large majority of the elected members (the EU has commissions
run by ministers by different countries.. and those usually take
a more industry friendly line and try to engage in all kinds of
maneuvers to bypass the elected bodies) voted
to restore the original clause which would make France's three
strike legislation impossible. So now, the ministers will once again
try to circumvent public opinion and elected officials - so we need
to continue being vigilant. Also, while the vote may be good news,
it's only partially true - during the first round of voting, Parliament
adopted a net neutrality friendly approach which has been watered
down by the European Council and was approved by the parliament
in this round - now instead of forcing ISPs to treat traffic the
same, they just need to inform their customers what kind of measures
they take to manage their net. I wonder how long until contracts
include the clause that they'll block your VoIP traffic (because
it cuts into their profits from fixed lines or their own VoIP offering
- of course they'd never tell you that but it's exactly why this
kind of behavior is already seen on mobile data networks).
By the way, the MEPs paid by the copyright industry call the efforts
to retain the consumer friendly line (let's recall that 88% of the
elected members voted for that approach and that non elected ministers
tried to water it down) dishonest
maneuvering and even brought terrorism into it (after seeing
that crying terrorism or child porn gets people to agree to give
up their rights faster than you can say but it's not entirely unreasonable
that they try, but it just underscores that we need to be ever vigilant).
Of course, if you're not for the content industry, you must be a
Besides not really understand how they make money, the music industry
is also pretty good at spreading false numbers and outright lying
to the public - and so, their
lawsuits against filesharers go on.
build 563 allows forcing a framerate for Panasonic SDHC output
- and the author reminded me that much has changed since I initially
announced the software month ago.
Rebuilder 0.20.08 uses the latest tsMuxer, uses the AVCHD flag
in tsMuxer when "Stricter AVCHD compliance" is checked
and there are some fixes as well.
April 1st not only brought us DRM free iTunes (well, mostly.. and
only for the audio department) but also variable pricing. As usual,
the music industry showed us that they don't understand their own
business and greedily raised prices on top sellers - and now the
results are in and they show (not really surprising to me - I have
long considered 50 cents to be the maximum price you should pay
for a sub CD quality download) labels
actually making less money because they sell less at the higher
price. I guess the labels figured they have a monopoly so customers
have to pay whatever price labels demand, but there are different
online stores nowadays (how they manage to have a different pricing
structure is anybody's guess though.. ) and if you jack up prices
too much, there's always the copyright infringement route.
What's next after MPEG-4 AVC? The MPEG group has started
looking beyond AVC and at resolutions beyond HDTV.
Last but not least, ars has been looking at ISP revenue to debunk
their arguments in favor of data caps. And the NY Times has
another look which comes pretty much to the same conclusions.
They also looked
outside the US to Japan - where bandwidth is available aplenty
and for cost that makes your eyes water.
3.5.1 fixes reading of delay from VobSub files.
3.5.0 can import VobSub subtitles, preserves forced flags when
exporting to VobSub, adds/changes comments in IDX files to work
around a bug in VobSuMuxer, has a new commandline switch to setting
a maximum time for merging BD-SUP subtitles, allows the end time
of one frame to coincide with the start of the next and there are
two fixes as well.
3.16 has a new switch to turn off 2nd pass processing and fixes
a bunch of errors.
||Encouraged by the first instance win against The Pirate
Bay in Sweden, Italy
wants to hold its own trial.
||I think it's a matter of time until we see legislative
efforts to cut people off the net in every country - in Spain, the
government asked content holders and ISP to work out a "solution"
for filesharing - and given that copyright holders wanted both financial
compensation and still cut people off, ISPs
BD Rebuilder 0.20.07
fixes an error that would lead to being unable to process a disk
in movie only mode and contains other minor correction and cosmetic
Even though it's against human nature, some time it's better to
be wrong - I would've given BD+ a longer shelf life until it was
cracked but it happened eventually. Although, open source efforts
to handle BD+ have stalled, SlySoft has to keep adapting their AnyDVD
HD to handle the latest title and now we'll get even more BD+ titles
has just signed up for BD+.
Every 3 years, the US copyright office is supposed to review
the DMCA and it may grant exemptions. I think it's in pretty
much everybody's interest to not apply the DMCA for fair use, and
so that's one of the issue that's on the table. Needless the say,
the industry will be there in full force fighting against anything
they perceive as rights for paying consumers. The hearings start
today and will continue until the end of next week.
Older news can be found here.