MPAA's Feeling Towards Intellectual Property Apparently Not Extended To Blog Software

from the why-that?--that-we-can-rip-off... dept

Over the weekend, a bunch of people stopped by to point us to the blog post from the maker of some blogging software who was surprised to note that the MPAA had started a blog using his software, but had stripped out all of the backlinks to the developers site — despite it being pretty clear in the license that you could not do that. The story got picked up on a bunch of popular tech sites, leading the MPAA to take down the blog and proffer a weak defense that the blog (while on an unprotected site) was just for testing, had never been made public and was just a proof of concept. Someone from the MPAA insisted that the organization would have paid for a license to the software had the MPAA moved forward with the project. However, as the developer notes, if he used similar excuses to explain previewing a movie he downloaded, somehow he doubts the MPAA would find that acceptable. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the MPAA have a bit of a double standard when it comes to how it can ignore the intellectual property rules it claims to support so strongly. A year ago, remember, the MPAA was accused of making unauthorized copies of a movie criticizing the MPAA, This Film Is Not Yet Rated. That time MPAA officials claimed it was okay to make those unauthorized copies because it had “implications” for MPAA employees. Funny how the MPAA comes up with all sorts of exceptions for its own activities that aren’t found anywhere in copyright law — and yet it doesn’t want to give anyone else the benefit of the doubt.

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Comments on “MPAA's Feeling Towards Intellectual Property Apparently Not Extended To Blog Software”

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Anonymous Coward says:

personally I’d have kept quiet if I found something of mine being used by the **AA type people.. at least until it went mainstream and can’t be passed off as a ‘test’ of some sort, no matter what the license stated about such things.

make it obvious, *then* hit them.. after all each potential page view is a lost sale.. it all adds up, dare say some leagl type would have that one on a percentage if the chance of nailing them is good enough.

gather the evidence and hit the buggers where it hurts. the publicity machine

Neal says:

I have often wondered why we don’t make it a point to catch the MPAA/RIAA/etc in acts such as these and hold them accountable.

How hard would it be to write and distribute a piece of software that the *IAA goons would just love to use against people but not dare want to pay for and register (to activate of course)? Or maybe a piece of software that contained, in its license agreement, restrictions on use that would prohibit any use that they’d have for it but not ones that their targets would? Or a piece that was licensed for individual, non-commercial, personal use for a minimal fee but for any non-personal use it cost a VERY sizable fee.

As soon as they snapped up a copy and violated the agreements, BAM, you hit them with a copyright suit or come after them for that large fee…

Or you write that ideal (for them) search tool to ferret out distributers of copyrighted material but buried deep in the legalese for use is an iron clad clause that forces them to choose between not suing the distributor or turning ALL proceeds from the suit over to you. Sit back, wait, and after your product and its results have been used as evidence in enough suits you present your bill and go after them.

New software business model, stick it to the *IAA

JS Beckerist (profile) says:

Re: Neal

You and I are on a very similar page as I’ve been thinking about this for a while now…Why don’t we go on the OFFENSIVE towards these (almost militant) groups? **AA SEEMS scary enough, but really it’s just about the money. I mean, why else would anyone side with this organization? Another thing too, why is it when we think RIAA or MPAA it’s merely about the organization. Why not do something about the people RUNNING the organization? They are human too, and I’m sure they can be caught doing the same things the rest of us humans are, we just need to start looking in the right places. Hell, if anyone is interested in writing a Bittorrent or Gnutella client (or just about any other software that utilizes a P2P infrastructure), please drop me a line. beckerist|at|gmail|dot|com. I would be more than happy to whip something up (it would take me a week at most) if anyone really wanted to use it for something like this…

Anonymous Coward says:

I used to work with the lead singer of a current band who is moderately successful. He was a software developer before hitting it in the music world. One of the things commonly mentioned about this band is that they recorded their first album in a home studio and the original recordings were used for their first commercial release. This guy used bootleg recording, editing and mixing software to record this audio and some video. He had several CDs full of bootleg software at his desk. He is the person to introduce me to Kazaa.

Shortly after ‘making it’ there was a message posted on their site talking about the fight against provacy and how it hurt the artists. Needless to say I thought this was very interesting.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Neal says:

one wonders

I don’t know about this guy’s forum software but some others do allow you to remove such links – if you’ve bought and paid for the appropriate license.

That wouldn’t explain why they removed the links prior to paying for it though and your question is a valid one.

I think the guy needs to bill the MPAA for the software. They used it internally to set it up so they should pay for it.

I also think that the MPAA should already have a check in the mail to him along with an apology.

Lastly, I think the BSA needs to audit the MPAA. They’ll most likely get paid off bigtime.

rstr5105 says:

re: JS Beckerist

If you do write that piece of software it should include a function to scan all known torrent anounce sites, listing off every match for the torrent which is being downloaded.

License it as free for personal non commercial use.

Also limit it to one copy on an entire LAN/WAN and have it scan the network for a specific packet that is set to broadcast.

Then, if said packet is broadcast it should (If legal) connect to a remote server which logs who the program is licensed to, and then remotely locks out just that program from running on their network.

Not sure how much of that follows the spirit/letter of the law, but, it’s an idea

Josh Bernoff (user link) says:

MPAA situational ethics

A few years ago I authored a Forrester report on piracy and interviewed the MPAA for it.

When I contact them to see if they wanted a copy, they said “no thanks, already go one.” One of the movie studios I’d interviewed had forwarded it to them.

This report was for client only and non-clients had to pay $895 to get a copy. But since it was “only” text they felt justified in mailing it around. This was covered in the New York Times — see this URL

This goes to my basic piracy principle (based on observing people in practice):

FAIR USE is when I use your content
PIRACY is when you use my content.

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

too true

FAIR USE is when I use your content
PIRACY is when you use my content

that does seem to be the MAFIAA logic

i’d just be curious to see an audit of their offices and see how much unlicensed software they have running on various office computers. wouldn’t it be hilarious to find them running a ton of pirated software, which i have no doubts they probably have within their organization. maybe do sweeps of their own computer systems for pirated music, movies and tv shows. heck, if they want to see what we download, maybe it’s about time all their download info is made public. somehow, i doubt they want us spying on them and showing all their wrongs to the world.

wasn’t there a proverb about he who screams foul the loudest is the worst offender? point the finger every where else so it is least likely to be pointed at you?

Tom says:

Royal Rumble: BSA vs *IAA

Well maybe since the BSA is so hated for their audits, and they have such a bad reputation on the Internet, someone could convince them to audit and fine the MPAA on the basis of this revelation. Not only would the BSA line their pockets they’d gain a little positive publicity for once by going after an even more hated organization. Then they could turn to the RIAA and its agents. Milk the milkers…

Scott (user link) says:

Silly silly MPAA

I don’t even find it funny that the MPAA tested a platform out without paying for it first.

This is exactly what they hunt people down for.

A bit of leniency at their end to individual claims would at least make them human. But using their apparent power to come down hard on folk makes them a target for ridicule when it comes to their won practise.

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