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Web Copyright Crackdown On the Way

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the eighty-percent-rule dept.

The Almighty Buck 224

Hugh Pickens writes "Journalist Alan D. Mutter reports on his blog 'Reflections of a Newsosaur' that a coalition of traditional and digital publishers is launching the first-ever concerted crackdown on copyright pirates on the Web. Initially targeting violators who use large numbers of intact articles, the first offending sites to be targeted will be those using 80% or more of copyrighted stories more than 10 times per month. In the first stage of a multi-step process, online publishers identified by Silicon Valley startup Attributor will be sent a letter informing them of the violations and urging them to enter into license agreements with the publishers whose content appears on their sites. In the second stage Attributor will ask hosting services to take down pirate sites. 'We are not going after past damages' from sites running unauthorized content says Jim Pitkow, the chief executive of Attributor. The emphasis, Pitkow says is 'to engage with publishers to bring them into compliance' by getting them to agree to pay license fees to copyright holders in the future. Offshore sites will not be immune from the crackdown: almost all of them depend on banner ads served by US-based services, and the DMCA requires the ad service to act against any violator. Attributor says it can interdict the revenue lifeline at any offending site in the world." One possible weakness in Attributor's business plan, unless they intend to violate the robots.txt convention: they find violators by crawling the Web.

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Robots.txt (2, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370740)

I'm sure these guys have no compunction against ignoring robots.txt if it makes them money by doing so.

Re:Robots.txt (5, Insightful)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370790)

Seriously. Following robots.txt is not law, only convention. I'm sure it doesn't take much to convince themselves to ignore it. Money, "doing the right thing", etc. If you view the copyright infringers as pirates, then why should Attributor follow their wishes?

Re:Robots.txt (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370836)

First on the chopping block:
Slashdot for it's copy-pasted copies of linked blogs with copy-pasted copies of magazine articles copy-pasted directly from press releases.

The 80 percent mark (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371032)

Slashdot for it's copy-pasted copies

News publishers using Attributor probably won't attack Slashdot for excerpting one paragraph from a ten-paragraph story any time soon. From the summary:

the first offending sites to be targeted will be those using 80% or more of copyrighted stories

Re:The 80 percent mark (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371074)

I'm fairly sure they quote the entirety of very small articles every now and then.
more than a few times a month? absolutely!

I'm curious if they're going to start hitting forums when people do they "hey look at this guys" quote of a news article.
It could really hurt a lot of free forums.

Re:The 80 percent mark (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371128)

A lot of forums require credentials to view & have systems in place to keep automated accounts from being generated.

Re:Robots.txt (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371042)

That would be interesting. While Google has a lot more money, Geeknet would be a much softer target.

Re:Robots.txt (2, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371632)

More work for the /. editors! Horror!~

Re:Robots.txt (0, Troll)

pD-brane (302604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370874)

It might just be a convention, or netiquette, but I wish that people would adhere to these kind of conventions, instead of less important things like minor copyright infringement.

Re:Robots.txt (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371036)

I wish the standard would be opt-in and not opt-out. Sure that would mean that many sites won't be found by google and others, but if they want to be found, they could just add the robots.txt

Re:Robots.txt (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371604)

And what's the real difference in lost performance between a hit for robots.txt returning a 404 and a hit for robots.txt returning 200 and a few hundred bytes of text?
 
Either your site is public or its not. And robots.txt is such a simple standard, why is it so hard to do? You don't even have to write your own.

Re:Robots.txt (2, Insightful)

DaTroof (678806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371108)

I can see ways that their service could be effective while respecting robots.txt settings. They'd simply need to crawl the indexes of other search engines. After all, if a violator is not accessible through Google or Bing, it's probably a low priority.

Re:Robots.txt (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371534)

They'd simply need to crawl the indexes of other search engines

after purchasing a licence to use the search engine's data, naturally :)

Re:Robots.txt (2, Informative)

DaTroof (678806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371688)

after purchasing a licence to use the search engine's data, naturally :)

Depending on the search engine and its terms of service, they might not even need to purchase a license. Google, Bing, and Yahoo all provide search APIs for third-party software.

Re:Robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371628)

Google and Bing probably don't allow the use of their search by a crawler/robot, for such purposes...

That probably won't stop them, and nobody will probably find out if they're doing that, but still...

Re:Robots.txt (1)

DaTroof (678806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371752)

Attributor wouldn't even need to crawl their sites. As I noted above, both Google and Bing provide search APIs.

Re:Robots.txt (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370938)

Seriously. Following robots.txt is not law, only convention.

Unauthorised access to a computer system isn't against the law? Which country are you talking about? robots.txt is the standard method to express that certain access methods are not authorised.

Re:Robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371468)

The robots exclusion standard is not meant to be a method of access control and is not effective if used as one. Access control measures do not rely on the cooperation of the client. In this country, accessing a computer system is only illegal if it requires breaking or circumventing at least some minimally effective access control.

Re:Robots.txt (2, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371602)

Really?

Do you also believe that ToS violations constitute unauthorized access to a computer? That approach was tried recently by the U.S. prosecutors [cnet.com] . Ultimately the court didn't buy that position.

So... why would robots.txt, which advises me of your wishes but to which I never actually agree, carry any more legal authority than a ToS document to which I do supposedly agree as a condition of using your system?

Re:Robots.txt (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371294)

Crawlers which ignore robots.txt can be detected and blocked. Therefore, even though adhering to the robots exclusion standard isn't the law, it is a good idea.

On the other hand I don't see how robots.txt is even relevant here: Surely most of these sites depend on search engine traffic, so they can't hide the articles from crawlers.

Re:Robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371400)

It is also easy to generate random pages of goo, linking to other random pages of glop. Add layers of delays whist generating said lorem ipsum and you've got yourself a tar-pit, suitable for spammers and copyright vigilantes alike. Legitimate spiders wouldn't fall into the abyss because they properly obey the robots.txt, and humans wouldn't notice the hidden links in the first place.

Re:Robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371430)

It's not just convention but standard also. If robots.txt is present, and tells you how, you can crawl.

If robots.txt doesn't say you can crawl, and you do it anyways, you might be prosecutable for theft of services, unauthorized access (in excess of your permissions).

Re:Robots.txt (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371738)

robots.txt is an opt-out. If it isn’t present, you can crawl.

Furthermore, you are in no way legally obligated to even check robots.txt before crawling a site. It’s merely a standard of politeness to do so.

Re:Robots.txt (3, Interesting)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371642)

Seriously. Following robots.txt is not law, only convention. I'm sure it doesn't take much to convince themselves to ignore it. Money, "doing the right thing", etc. If you view the copyright infringers as pirates, then why should Attributor follow their wishes?

I'd go even farther to say that sites that use robot.txt to eliminate crawling are probably not major targets - if they don't show up in search engine sthen tehy probably don't generate enough traffic to be worth the effort. Sites that are high traffic are much better targets - their revenue stream form ads is prbabaly significant enough that they don't want to risk losing it. Once enough fall into line they can worry about the ones that are not indexed - in fact they may just want to kill them off to preserve traffic to licensed sites.

Re:Robots.txt (4, Insightful)

notgm (1069012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370798)

is there some written law that holds people to following robots.txt? if not, how is it even possible to call it a weakness?

Re:Robots.txt (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370864)

nah, it's just considered bad manners.

Re:Robots.txt (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371498)

I'm quite sure that people who own websites that their robots.txt is being ignored by a crawler are going to express that in quite hostile ways, in comparison.

Re:Robots.txt (1, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370882)

If they are going to extend the DMCA to other countries, then let's extend computer trespassing laws to cover robots.txt violations.

I'm being somewhat serious (but not super-serious). If courts want to hold that a website TOS is binding, then isn't the robots.txt binding as well?

Re:Robots.txt (1)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371090)

if a websites TOS is binding, why not just put what's in the robots.txt file in the TOS in legalese, or just state in the TOS that the robots.txt file must be obeyed or whatever?

Re:Robots.txt (2, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371132)

That's the point I was trying to make. I posted this somewhere else:

http://blog.internetcases.com/2010/01/05/browsewrap-website-terms-and-conditions-enforceable/ [internetcases.com]

So now you can turn around and sue them for crawling your site if you specifically disallow it in the terms and robots.txt.

The results should be interesting to watch.

Re:Robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371680)

In the US such a thing is already covered by trespass although probably not in the way you mean (see "trespass to chattels"). Actual significant damage must be done, not merely visiting a public website. Also the fact that the sites are public may be thought of as an implied license regardless of the TOS.

Re:Robots.txt (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371780)

If a robot passes the Turing test, does it have to check robots.txt before it crawls the website?
If I manually crawl through all the pages on their site and bookmark all the links, am I a robot?

Such difficult questions... how on earth would we legislate something?

Re:Robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371810)

I'm almost befuddled that it isn't actually a legally binding contract of some sort.

Of course, these days bots are becoming so good at browsing like humans, it wouldn't matter anyway, a Firefox user agent here and nobody would know the difference.
Randomness goes a long way with bots. And generating random values isn't that hard either, there are several ways, from key presses values / delays, mouse movements / delays, temperature sensors, bandwidth of internet / network / hard drive / RAM / etc, process / thread counters and CPU time, i can go on.
Worse yet, Bot Detection algorithms on some websites are becoming so obtuse that they are detecting humans as bots!

I think i have to agree with the captcha, it is indeed "Spooky".

Re:Robots.txt (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371376)

Because if they use a robot, you can just identify it and feed it shit.

It wont be long before people know the details of their crawlers and can just serve them something random.

Re:Robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371570)

I believe the term is "Honeypot."

Re:Robots.txt (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371116)

If the infringing sites have a robots.txt that tells all crawlers to skip them, they will not show up in search engines. If they single out Attributor's crawler's user agent string, they would look very suspicious.

Re:Robots.txt (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371256)

What if they only allow known crawlers from major search engines?

Re:Robots.txt (1)

DaTroof (678806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371386)

Then they can be found in the major search engines' indexes, and Attributor doesn't even need to crawl their site.

Re:Robots.txt (1)

rnturn (11092) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371508)

That's only if their web crawler even looks at robots.txt. It's not required, only a courtesy. I'm sure they'll not be so courteous and claim that they need to do this because the violators they're looking for would block them anyway.

The sure fire way to keep them out would be to find out what is IP address Attributor is using and block that at your firewall. The trouble with that is they could easily change their IP address or even employ something akin to a botnet to do their web crawling so that their probes appear to be coming from a large number of different addresses on different networks. Try keeping up with that moving target.

Re:Robots.txt (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371438)

don't worry. They're going to break a lot of laws, break a lot of legs, and basically commit suicide. At least when it's through we'll have less dinosaur industries to deal with.

They're literally planning to go to domain providers and threaten DMCA to get content taken down. Instead of, you know, DMCA'ing the website appropriately this is an end run around the legal process. Expect a quick smackdown. Why they would host such a company in California of all places to do this, where cali is the most clear about how 3rd parties are not liable.

Re:Robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371502)

You guise are making a patented flawed assumption. How do you know they actually even know what the fuck a robots.txt is? Theres nothing here indicating that this place did anything other than take one guy, pay someone to build a website for them, market, and that one guy sits aroudn on the internet looking for violators. That's certainly not a scenario in which the person in question may even know that robots.txt exists, much less the convention around it or how the search engines handle it.

By the same token, that guy could be Jaysyn (just an empirical example, bear with me :) and be telling us exactly what the plan is.

Business Plan (1)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371512)

1) Put up a file sharing site with lots of music and movie files.
2) Craft a robots.txt to keep out the RIAA and MPAA.
...
Profit!!!

Robots.txt is a convention that was never intended to restrict checking for illegal content. The idea behind robots.txt is only to keep site indexers such as Google, Yahoo, etc. out of certain directories.

Cheers,
Dave

DMCA.. (2, Interesting)

ltning (143862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370774)

What on earth is the DMCA supposed to achieve, in the context of Ad-providers?

Sounds pretty scary to me.

Re:DMCA.. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371250)

In this case they're referring to the Downloadable Media Computer Advertising.

i'm a little clueless here (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370804)

"One possible weakness in Attributor's business plan, unless they intend to violate the robots.txt convention: they find violators by crawling the Web."

what convention is Attributor the violating?

Re:i'm a little clueless here (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370920)

This one [robotstxt.org] .

On the other hand, that's an utterly asinine comment to have made (the one you quote, not yours). Of course they'll ignore it, why on Earth wouldn't they? It is in no way binding, and robots are free to ignore it, just as site owners are free to block connections from specific incoming IP addresses, the owners of those IPs are free to switch to new ones, and so on, ad infinitum.

Re:i'm a little clueless here (1, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371046)

Ok, here's an argument.

http://blog.internetcases.com/2010/01/05/browsewrap-website-terms-and-conditions-enforceable/ [internetcases.com]

So, the terms of use of a website are binding, at least according to this court. If the terms spell out mandatory following of robots.txt, is robots.txt now binding?

Re:i'm a little clueless here (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371172)

I think the key there is the visibility of the terms:

But in this case the court found the terms and conditions (including the forum selection clause) to be enforceable. In contrast to Specht, the ServiceMagic site did give immediately visible notice of the existence of the terms of the agreement.

If I write a robot to crawl a site looking for certain keywords (e.g. Metallica), I will not necessarily ever have had visibility of those terms.

Re:i'm a little clueless here (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371520)

Except that the recent RIAA case ruling that you don't need to have actually seen a copyright notice in order to be bound by it, due to the ubiquity of the notice, ToS are similarly ubiquitous, so you should be bound by that as well, seeing it or not.

Re:i'm a little clueless here (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371536)

A robot can't enter into a contract though, I would imagine.

Re:i'm a little clueless here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371774)

Stop trolling for hits to your shitty blog dude, no one cares.

Re:i'm a little clueless here (4, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371030)

The Robots exclusion standard [wikipedia.org] . Not that it will stop them; as others have pointed out, if they think they're "doing the right thing," I'm sure they will not be concerned about such a standard.

The worry here really isn't so much for the people who are hosting sites with infringing content. I'm sure a moral argument could be made that Attributor is well within the right to disregard the wishes of those who are breaking copyright law. However, I run several sites that have no infringing content whatsoever, sites with things that have content that, while not private, I don't particularly want spiders crawling. I'm not so naive to think that they don't do it anyway; I have server logs proving that they do. However, in this case, we have a company that is claiming to be legitimate completely ignoring my--someone who is not infringing--wishes and doing it.

Put another way, by convention, my neighbors don't use binoculars to peer into my house windows to see what I'm doing although there's currently not really anything stopping them from doing so. Even though I don't particularly have anything to hide, if I find that they are violating our polite social contract, then I'll put up shades just because it's none of their damn business.

I don't think that the robots.txt convention will be the thing that stops Attributor. I think that it will be that it won't take long for web site authors to figure out what user agents, IP address, etc. that Attributor is using and will block access from Attributor to their sites. Like I said, I have no infringing content on my sites, but if Attributor is going to ignore me politely asking their robots not to scan my sites, then I'm fully in the right to take further steps to forcibly prevent them from doing so.

in other words (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371202)

this is the beginning of an arms race

Re:i'm a little clueless here (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371218)

Put another way, by convention, my neighbors don't use binoculars to peer into my house windows to see what I'm doing although there's currently not really anything stopping them from doing so.

Curtains?

Re:i'm a little clueless here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371340)

Put another way, by convention, my neighbors don't use binoculars to peer into my house windows to see what I'm doing although there's currently not really anything stopping them from doing so. Even though I don't particularly have anything to hide, if I find that they are violating our polite social contract, then I'll put up shades just because it's none of their damn business.

way to continue reading the end of the paragraph

Re:i'm a little clueless here (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371232)

Since, as you say, robots.txt will likely do nothing against them, the bigger question becomes "how do they plan to do their crawling?". Crawling from a well defined IP block, using software with user agent Attributor_copy_cop, will be laughably simple to block or present false noninfringing content to.

Spoofing the UA strings and(if necessary) some of the behavior of common web browsers is a simple software problem, so I assume that they'll do that(unless they are terminally incompetent). Out of curiosity, though, does anybody know how easy and cheap it would be (using legitimate methods not botnet style stuff) for such a commercial entity to obtain a reasonably large number of, ideally "residential looking", IPs that change fairly often? Do you just call verizon and say "I want 500 residential DSL lines brought out to so-and-so location"? Would you obtain the services of one of the sleazy datacenter operators who caters to spammers and the like and knows how to switch IP blocks frequently? Do you pay to have second lines installed at your employee's houses, with company scanner boxes attached?

Binoculars (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371312)

Prosser, in both his article and in the Restatement (Second) of Torts at 652A-652I, classifies four basic kinds of privacy rights:

      1. unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another, for example, physical invasion of a person's home (e.g., unwanted entry, looking into windows with binoculars or camera, tapping telephone), searching wallet or purse, repeated and persistent telephone calls, obtaining financial data (e.g., bank balance) without person's consent, etc.

http://www.rbs2.com/privacy.htm [rbs2.com]

oh wait.. woops (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371330)

pasted too soon

"Only the second of these four rights is widely accepted in the USA. In addition to these four pure privacy torts, a victim might recover under other torts, such as intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, or trespass.

Unreasonable intrusion upon seclusion only applies to secret or surreptitious invasions of privacy. An open and notorious invasion of privacy would be public, not private, and the victim could then chose not to reveal private or confidential information. For example, recording of telephone conversations is not wrong if both participants are notified before speaking that the conversation is, or may be, recorded. There certainly are offensive events in public, but these are properly classified as assaults, not invasions of privacy."

Re:i'm a little clueless here (2, Informative)

yourlord (473099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371388)

I welcome them to crawl my sites and ignore my robots.txt files. They won't get very far though. When my server detects that behavior it passes the IP to my firewall which adds it to the "drop these packets into a black hole" list.

I have quite a large table of IP addresses of idiots that violated robots.txt.

farting (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370830)

I fart in your general direction

FAILZORS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370916)

Lessoned learned from RIAA (4, Insightful)

KnownIssues (1612961) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370934)

Sounds like they've learned their lesson from the RIAA. I'm not saying I agree with them and think they are right to do this. But, if you're going to try to enforce your interpretation of the law, this is at least a sane philosophy of doing so. Not going after damages is a smart move.

Will that ultimately include slashdot? (5, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370936)

A lot of aggregator sites like this one base a lot of their topical content on articles printed elsewhere. While most (incl. /.) don't print whole articles intact, a lot of them do quote heavily (what used to be called "fair use," back when that phrase actually meant anything). So their first step is to go after the sites that reprint the articles whole-cloth. But will they stop there?

Re:Will that ultimately include slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371160)

When that happens Slashdot plans to block them with robots.txt. Why do you think kdawson brought it up?

Re:Will that ultimately include slashdot? (1)

c-reus (852386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371206)

Initially targeting violators who use large numbers of intact articles

(emphasis mine)

No, they will not stop there.

Re:Will that ultimately include slashdot? (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371262)

And will Slashdot be targeted again and again? (you know... all the dupes)

Re:Will that ultimately include slashdot? (3, Insightful)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371392)

Unless an article is very short, quoting 80% of it is not fair use. So for now, I think they have every right to take steps against sites making money from their content without compensation.

Yes, I am cynical enough to expect the reasonable 80% limit to be lowered over time until it reaches unreasonable levels. But let's hold the flames until they have actually crossed that line.

Re:Will that ultimately include slashdot? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371734)

By the time they actually cross that last line, I suspect it will be too late.

Re:Will that ultimately include slashdot? (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371562)

Since when did Slashdot ever use 80% of an article verbatim?

Sorry, no, any website doing *that* should be shut down. I hate those assholes. They're the reason why a search for a given term in Google pops up thousands of sites with the *exact same content*, just ripped from one another.

Re:Will that ultimately include slashdot? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371854)

Yes, but 80% is where they're *starting*. I'm asking if that's where they're going to *end* it.

Re:Will that ultimately include slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371698)

Slashdot summaries do not include much of the article (uaually) and the errors and mispellings will probably throw them off.

Offshore sites WILL be immune (1, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370950)

all this harrassment is going to do will be to push the global small internet publishers to services in other countries. Datacenters, Ad services in u.s. will lose customers. There are already strong companies servicing in those areas in Eu. Eu will be happy to receive that amount of business.

the stupor of american corporatism is overwhelming. they can even go to the extent of shooting themselves in the foot.

Re: Offshore sites WILL be immune (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370982)

All we can do is sit back & watch the fireworks.

Re: Offshore sites WILL be immune (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371066)

Are you kidding? ACTA's going to harmonise everything so closely to the US that they'll be able to prosecute anyone.

Re: Offshore sites WILL be immune (2, Insightful)

cpghost (719344) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371094)

Yes, but ACTA is not the whole world.

Re: Offshore sites WILL be immune (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371558)

When did that fact ever stop the US doing whatever the hell it wants ?

Re: Offshore sites WILL be immune (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371772)

No. Just the part of the world that's intrested in doing any buissness with any other part of the world.

Yes, It may not be North Korea.

well (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371684)

i dont think that france, germany, spain, scandinavian countries and rest of the eu will just sit and accept u.s. as dominator of the world information.

Ad networks geotarget their ads (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371082)

As I understand it, advertisers targeting readers in the United States tend to choose ad networks that operate or at least have some sort of assets in the United States, not ad networks that operate in the European Union. Advertisers who target readers in the European Union probably will not want to pay to reach readers in the United States, especially for a product not available in the United States.

Re:Ad networks geotarget their ads (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371596)

So .. when the ad is placed the customer selects the target country / region. Using IP addresses takes care of the rest. Yes there will be some missdirection but on the whole it works.

Re:Ad networks geotarget their ads (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371740)

So .. when the ad is placed the customer selects the target country / region.

So I take it you're imagining an EU based ad network that deals with advertisers in foreign markets. But how would such an ad network efficiently deal with US advertisers while having zero assets in the US or in any other country with a takedown system remotely like that of the US?

mod do3n (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31370956)

purpOses *BSD is [goat.cx]

Please do so (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31370994)

And in the process take down all those inane blogs whose sole purpose is to scrape and repost articles so they get an advertising hit.

Re:Please do so (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371168)

While they're at it, can they take down forum/mailinglist mirrors too?

It is extremely annoying when searching to find that the top 30 results all contain the exact same forum or blog post.

Re:Please do so (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371568)

THIS.

Re:Please do so (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371292)

And in the process find all the commercial sites using my copyrighted Flickr photos for their own purposes without my permission or payment. I'm tired of sending invoices and dealing with companies who tell you that your photo wasn't worth the $300 you charge and instead send you $50 thinking that it will clear up the matter.

I love the hypocrisy of all of this. They are just as much at fault as any of those aggregation blogs. They just have more money to be a pain in the ass.

Re:Please do not do so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371782)

Please do not do so.

Some of those blogs are very nice to use. They provide the copied content in a nice single html page layout.

Unfortunately most of the official sites insist on using flash or javascript crap to force the content in a dozen separate pages.

Not So Good for the Economy (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371014)

"Offshore sites will not be immune from the crackdown: almost all of them depend on banner ads served by US-based services, and the DMCA requires the ad service to act against any violator. "

Not sure this is such a great idea - when you're broke you don't starve off the little income you're still getting... I'm inclined to think that in the near future, things will more likely go in the opposite direction, grey-legal stuff will be fully legalized to provide some as much extra economic stimulus as possible.

Re:Not So Good for the Economy (1)

Duane13 (1340371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371454)

"Offshore sites will not be immune from the crackdown: almost all of them depend on banner ads served by US-based services, and the DMCA requires the ad service to act against any violator. "

Not sure this is such a great idea - when you're broke you don't starve off the little income you're still getting... I'm inclined to think that in the near future, things will more likely go in the opposite direction, grey-legal stuff will be fully legalized to provide some as much extra economic stimulus as possible.

I for one hope the economy isn't based off of people scraping legitimate websites to make money for themselves. How about the people who are barely getting by because of "gray area" websites, get off their lazy butts and do their own legitimate work instead of stealing others.

Theft of another's work should not be rewarded, quite the opposite.

What Attributor are doing is not even evil, they are not looking for past damages, just protecting their future interests.

Expected revenue windfall... (-1, Troll)

grapeape (137008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371022)

If they are effective I have a feeling that the end results are not going to be what they were hoping for. The more likely result is going to be less traffic to the originators websites. Most news sites I know will cut and paste most of an article with links leading to the original source...but given the choice between linking back and paying most will just opt for ignoring it altogether. Is this going to go the other way as well? The big media companies regularly "steal" content from smaller sites, from user created video on youtube and viral videos to actual news, are those people going to get paid now? News especially more localized information regularly shows up from smaller sites before they aggrigate to the major news sources where they are reworded and not credited at all.

Sometimes I really wish we could just go back to the early 90's when big media thought the internet was a joke, we didnt need them then and frankly I usually think we would be better off without them now.

Go back to dial-up? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371112)

Sometimes I really wish we could just go back to the early 90's when big media thought the internet was a joke, we didnt need them then and frankly I usually think we would be better off without them now.

Home Internet access in the early to mid 1990s was dial-up. Do you want to go back to that?

the article, for your convenience (5, Funny)

mdemonic (988470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371088)

A coalition of traditional and digital publishers this month will launch the first-ever concerted crackdown on copyright pirates on the web, initially targeting violators who use large numbers of intact articles.

Details of the crackdown were provided by Jim Pitkow, the chief executive of Attributor, a Silicon Valley start-up that has been selected as the agent for several publishers who want to be compensated by websites that are using their content without paying licensing fees.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Pitkow declined to identify the individual publishers in his coalition, but said they include “about a dozen” organizations representing wire services, traditional print publishers and “top-tier blog networks.”

The first offending sites to be targeted will be those using 80% or more of copyrighted stories more than 10 times per month.

In the first stage of a multi-step process aimed at encouraging copyright compliance instead of punishing scofflaws, Pitkow said online publishers identified by his company will be sent a letter informing them of the violations and urging them to enter into license agreements with the publishers whose content appears on their sites.

If copyright pirates refuse to pay, Attributor will request the major search engines to remove offending pages from search results and will ask banner services to stop serving ads to pages containing unauthorized content. The search engines and ad services are required to immediately honor such requests by the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

If the above efforts fail, Attributor will ask hosting services to take down pirate sites. Because hosting services face legal liability under the DCMA if they do not comply, they will act quickly, said Pitkow.

“We are not going after past damages” from sites running unauthorized content said Pitkow. The emphasis, he said is “to engage with publishers to bring them into compliance” by getting them to agree to pay license fees to copyright holders in the future.

License fees, which are set by each of the individual organizations producing content, may range from token sums for a small publisher to several hundred dollars for yearlong rights to a piece from a major publisher, said Pitkow.

Attributor identifies copyright violators by scraping the web to find copyrighted content on unauthorized sites. A team of investigators will contact violators in an effort to bring them into compliance or, alternatively, begin taking action under DMCA.

click the link to read the last 21%

Re:the article, for your convenience (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371796)

You bring up an interesting point. According to the Slashdot TOS you own that comment. Who should attributor pursue?

so instead- google or other cache (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371110)

easy enough to search google cache and bypass the robots.txt problem....
heck.. they SHOULD proclaim the spider name-- drum up a lot of informaiton

and focus on sites that mention it in robots.txt to check from other sources

Better stop syndicating, thrn (0, Troll)

BoydWaters (257352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371204)

Seriously, many of these news sites are publishing their content via RSS (News Corp. sites in particular). I assume that they will stop foisting their content on the interwebs, before unleashing the copyright flying monkeys.

RSS (0, Troll)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371214)

Wouldn't it be funny if these guys were accusing other websites of 'stealing their news' via their own RSS feed?

Robots.txt is irrrelevant (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371282)

If a site posts articles yet has them excluded by robots.txt doesn't that defeat the purpose of posting the article where it can be indexed and found?

In other words if an article is posted, but robots.txt says to not index it, that article isn't going to show up in a search. Its a bit like rebroadcasting an NFL game in a movie theatre with no one in the theatre to watch it.

my experience with Attributor (5, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371610)

I've had an experience with Attributor myself, and it's given me a pretty low opinion of them. I'm the author of a CC-BY-SA-licensed calculus textbook, titled "Calculus." Someone posted a copy of the pdf on Scribd, as allowed by the license. So one day I got an email from one of the people who runs Scribd, saying that Attributor had sent them a takedown notice, which they were skeptical about. Attributor hadn't supplied any useful information about what they thought was a violation. I called Scribd, and they checked and said it was a mistake -- they were working for Macmillan, which publishes another book titled "Calculus." So here they were, serving a DMCA notice under penality of perjury, and they hadn't even checked whether the name of the author was the same, or whether any of the text was the same. Their bot just found that the title, "Calculus," was the same as the title of one of their client's books. Pretty scummy.

Re:my experience with Attributor (3, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371784)

Oops, important correction to the parent post: "I called Attributor, and they checked and said it was a mistake -- they were working for Macmillan..."

Oligarchies are fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371726)

...a coalition of traditional and digital publishers is launching the first-ever concerted crackdown on copyright pirates...

Another market niche, adversely affected by technology, solidifies, allows the lawyers to start picking at the dying appendages.

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