Weekly News Roundup (April 2, 2017)
So April Fools went by and I didn’t take part at all. Partly because what with the war on fake news at the moment, it just didn’t seem very tasteful. But mostly it was because I forgot until it was too late (damn you time zones)!
So rest assured all news stories covered in this issue of the WNR are real ones. Or at least I think they are, it’s so hard to tell these days.
Okay, this one does sound like an April Fools joke, but it was posted days before, so it should be safe. Apparently, pirates are turning to porn sites to share popular mainstream movies, like ‘Rogue One’. With the usual streaming sites, like YouTube, under constant surveillance for pirated content, pirates have resorted to using tricks like changing the audio pitch, or creative cropping and mirroring, to escape the ever more vigilant anti-piracy scanners. And even if they achieve this, once the upload becomes popular, it will usually become noticed by the powers that be and get taken down faster than you can say “oh that’s a good quality upload”.
But by turning to porn video sites like PornHub, where automated anti-piracy filters don’t exists and the watchful eyes of rights-holders and their agents are not focused on finding pirated content (that’s not to say they don’t visit these kind of websites, hint hint), uploads stay uploaded for longer if not indefinitely.
But of course, since this story went public, sites like PornHub have gone on a cleaning spree and most of the mainstream pirated content has been removed. Even after extensive searching on the site by your truly, um definitely for research purposes only of course, I could not find any mainstream pirated content on PornHub even after hours of extensive searching. Did I mention it was for research purposes only?
After clearing my browsing history, I went to a few other video sharing sites (non adult ones), and also noted that other less popular video sharing sites like Dailymotion also seem to escape relative scrutiny.
The conclusion? There are plenty of options for people who want to watch pirated content. Some of which you may have to put up with some rather distracting ads and the occasional moaning sound, while you may only have to worry about buffering issues and the lack of a really usable mobile app with some of the other more sensible choices.
Which is why introducing a law that forces the use of piracy filters for Internet sites and services simply won’t work, because it’s easy for sites to escape the attention of rights-holders, especially if they happen to be in jurisdictions that don’t have to abide by the new law. The lobby group for Internet startups, Engine, are basically saying the same thing, and have commissioned a report that says filter schemes will place an unfair burden on startups, as the cost of implementing a filter can be tens of thousands of dollars just for licensing costs.
Engine are also concerned about the false positive rate of such a filter system. While the false positive rate is only 1 to 2 percent, this adds up to be quite a large number when potentially dealing with millions of files that wouldn’t be out of place for a file or video hosting site. It could literally means tens of thousands of legitimate files being blocked or removed for no good reason at all.
So an expensive, innovation crushing system that won’t work and may block thousands of legitimate files, is the one system that rights-holders are now pushing for all Internet sites in the U.S. to adopt. Yep, sounds about right.
It also sounds like the end of another WNR. I know, another short one. There will be more next week, hopefully.