Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘media’

ISPs could face piracy sanctions

Andy Burnham

The proposals are part of a strategy on the creative industries

Internet service providers must take concrete steps to curb illegal downloads or face legal sanctions, the government has said. The proposal is aimed at tackling the estimated 6m UK broadband users who download files illegally every year.

The culture secretary said consultation would begin in spring and legislation could be implemented “by April 2009”.

Representatives of the recording industry, who blame piracy for a slump in sales, welcomed the proposals.

“ISPs are in a unique position to make a difference and in doing so to reverse a culture of creation-without-reward that has proved so damaging to the whole music community over the last few years,” said John Kennedy, head of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

A spokesperson for the Internet Service Provider’s Association (ISPA) said that creating appropriate legislation would be very difficult.

“Any scheme has got to be legal, workable and economically sustainable,” the spokesperson told BBC News.

He also said that ISPs were already pursuing self-regulation, which was the government’s preferred route.

Privacy issue

“The government has no burning desire to legislate,” Andy Burnham, culture secretary, told the Financial Times.

However, he said that the proposals signalled “a change of tone from the government”.

Its intentions are outlined in a creative industries strategy paper called Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy.

The document is a broad ranging paper that sets out government support for the creative industries.

The document commits the government to consulting on anti-piracy legislation this spring “with a view to implementing it by April 2009”, according to the FT.

“We’re saying we’ll consult on legislation, recognising there are practical questions and legitimate issues,” Mr Burnham told the paper.

In particular, any legislation would have to take account of the 2002 E-Commerce Regulations that define net firms as “conduits” which are not responsible for the contents of the traffic flowing across their networks.

European laws on online privacy could also create problems for any new legislation.

Earlier this year it was reported that the government was considering a “three strikes” approach to tackling persistent offenders in the report.

But Mr Burnham denied this was the case and told the FT that the strategy had “never been in the paper”.

If the government goes ahead, the UK would be one of the first countries to impose sanctions.

“This is a sea-change in attitude and I believe it is now up to governments elsewhere in Europe and further afield to follow their example,” said Mr Kennedy.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

San Francisco – A consumer advocacy group is blasting RealNetworks for installing adware and other software without properly notifying its users.

In a report published Thursday, StopBadware.org faults the latest version of RealPlayer for secretly installing its Rhapsody Player Engine during the RealPlayer installation.

“RealPlayer 11 does not disclose that it installs Rhapsody Player Engine, and does not remove the software when RealPlayer is uninstalled,” StopBadware says in the report.

Rhapsody Player Engine is required to access RealNetwork’s online music service. But because users are not told that they have installed the product, it could become a liability, using up the computer’s hard-drive space or processing power, or even creating a security risk for consumers if bugs are discovered in Rhapsody, said Maxim Weinstein, StopBadware’s manager.

Both RealPlayer 11 and the older RealPlayer 10.5 software are considered “badware,” the report states.

Real Player 10.5 suffers from a different issue, however. Users who download the software without filling out the RealNetworks product registration page end up with a piece of software called Message Center, which then proceeds to deliver ads to the user’s computer. “It’s installing, essentially, a piece of adware without giving users information about that up front,” Weinstein said.

RealNetworks spokesman Ryan Luckin said a check box on the registration page is used to notify users that Message Center would be installed. Users who clicked through the registration page without filling out any information would have the software installed.

Although the issue was fixed in version 11 of the player, RealPlayer 10.5 is automatically downloaded via the Firefox browser’s “Missing Plug-in” feature and is still widely used, Weinstein said.

Until RealNetworks is up-front with users about what software they’re actually downloading, StopBadware recommends that consumers avoid its media player.

Luckin called the Rhapsody issue an oversight. “The fact that when you uninstall RealPlayer we don’t go back and uninstall Rhapsody is an oversight and is something we should address in the future,” he said.

A widely used alternative to Apple‘s QuickTime and Microsoft‘s Windows Media Player, RealPlayer has a history of making invasive changes to users’ computers. The Message Center software has come under fire in the past, and in 1999 computer security consultant Richard Smith discovered that the software was quietly sending information to RealNetworks servers.

StopBadware’s findings apply only to the Windows versions of RealPlayer’s software, Weinstein said. RealPlayer also runs on other operating systems, including Mac OS X and Linux.

Supported with funding from Google, Lenovo, and Sun Microsystems, StopBadware evaluates software and warns consumers of products that engage in deceptive behavior, such as tracking user behavior or installing programs without telling consumers.

Although RealPlayer 10.5’s Message Center feature may be more noticeable and annoying, Weinstein said Real Networks should fix both problems as soon as possible. “It’s hard to say that one is worse,” he said. “They’re really two sides of the same concept of just not telling users what’s going on.”

Read Full Post »