Comcast NBC Universal Already Moving Past Six Strikes; Trying New Malware Popups Urging Downloaders To Buy

from the that-seems-like-a-bad-idea dept

The “six strikes” Copyright Alert System (CAS) is barely under way and already Comcast/NBC Universal are looking to go beyond it with malware-like popups that show up as you download a piece of content, pushing you to buy it (well, “license” it) via an authorized source. Variety has the details at the link above, though late in the article it seems to suggest that this is all really coming from the NBC Universal side, not the Comcast side, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise:


While Comcast knows the solution is feasible, the company’s engineers haven’t formally begun work on it. The project is being worked on in tandem with engineers at NBC Universal, the content side of the conglomerate.

That certainly sounds like something cooked up on the NBC Universal side of things. The offering here sounds ridiculous and intrusive:


As sources described the new system, a consumer illegally downloading a film or movie from a peer-to-peer system like Bittorrent would be quickly pushed a pop-up message with links to purchase or rent the same content, whether the title in question exists on the VOD library of a participating distributor’s own broadband network or on a third-party seller like Amazon.

This highlights a few key points:

  • For all the fuss about the six strikes system and how important it was, it sure sounds like yet another expensive disaster in a long line of expensive disasters by the legacy entertainment industry in its quixotic quest to stamp out infringement. They still don’t get that this isn’t an education problem, nor is it an enforcement problem. It’s a service problem. And being creepy and spying on what people are surfing on isn’t going to make people feel particularly warm and fuzzy about moving on to buy something.
  • Popups are a bad idea. As in really, really bad. First off, it just pisses people off to get any sort of popup. Second, the only way to do this is by effectively spying on all trafffic — i.e., some sort of deep packet inspection/malware-like setup monitoring everything you do. Anyone who doesn’t think that doesn’t open up opportunities for abuse and security vulnerabilities hasn’t been paying much attention.
  • As many people warned, you knew that the legacy entertainment industry would never believe that the six strikes program was “enough.” They have huge staffs of “anti-piracy” people who need to stay employed, so you had to know they were cooking up more. But, no matter what plan is agreed to, there’s always going to be mission creep as they try to get more and more and more.
  • Any system that involves spying on the activities of users is going to be a non-starter. Creeping the hell out of people isn’t a way of encouraging them to buy. It’s a way of encouraging them to want nothing to do with you.
  • My favorite part: the system would include affiliate links within the alerts in an attempt to drive extra revenue and to encourage other ISPs and sites to participate. I guess it’s better than pressuring companies with a stick, but the affiliate link carrot just feels sleazy.

In the end, as we’ve been saying all along, the way to deal with infringement is by offering users a good reason to buy. That means providing them with more value — whether it’s direct value from purchasing authorized versions or something like a connection (e.g., so that people want to support the content creator directly). Anything that involves trying to pressure people just turns people off. It’s the difference between setting up a store so that it’s friendly and inviting, and filling a store with pushy salespeople who keep scolding you. One system attracts customers, the other attracts disdain. Why the legacy guys always go with the “disdain” path is beyond me.

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Companies: comcast, nbc universal

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Comments on “Comcast NBC Universal Already Moving Past Six Strikes; Trying New Malware Popups Urging Downloaders To Buy”

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134 Comments
Akari Mizunashisays:

Thanks to deregulation, it seems people who are on Comcast (and certainly not by choice) will wake up one day to realize “netflix.com” is infringing and the popup will say “You should be watching this on Hulu.com”.

For those unaware, Hulu is partly owned by NBC Universal.

I’m going to take a moment to borrow a skit from an old NBC program called “The Tonight Show”.

*holds envelope to forward.

“Millions.”

*tears open envelope.

“What Comcast/NBC Universal will pay out in the resulting class action lawsuit.”

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

“Deregulation”? Are you serious?

Last time I checked the FCC was still around….and that’s just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to the cacophony of governmental regulatory agencies that use State force/aggression/violence (or threat thereof) as their means to an end. “Regulation” is used by legacy players to keep out competition, leading to the oligopolic structure of cable companies we have today.

I prefer consensual relationships and voluntary exchange.

Josh in CharlotteNCsays:

Tech details

That piece has no technical details of how this would work in reality. It sounds more like a wishlist from some clueless exec in make-believe land.

Sure, Comcast could see someone downloading something via a torrent with DPI gear. But there’s no way to “push” a popup to someone’s system. There needs to be some software on the system going and looking for it. I suppose Comcast could open a hole on the cable modem/routers they control, but that still leaves OS firewalls to breach.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Tech details

At a guess, they’re withholding information because either people with technical know-how will be able to advise people on how easy it is to bypass, or spread facts about how insecure they’ve just made their customers’ computers (think Sony rootkit). I’d also like to know how it detects “illegal” downloads (I expect a lot of false positives) and how they handle content that’s being downloaded because there is no legal option.

If they go ahead with this, I’ll expect details to be picked apart in the near future, along with a lot of wailing trolls.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Tech details

Quite so. It appears that they’re making the same mistake that so very many newbies do: they’re confusing “Internet” with “the web”, not realizing that the latter is largely unimportant and transient. They’re presuming that everyone uses a web browser — more than that, a GUI-based web browser — to do everything. (Why do I say that? Because otherwise “pop-ups” has no meaning.)

There are many other ways to use the Internet, some of which offer efficiency, privacy, security, and performance tradeoffs that are superior to those achieved with a GUI-based web browser. Not all that many of us use them — today. But if Comcast proceeds with attempting to hijack network connections in order to attack its own users with malware, more will learn.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Tech details

Also, they will have to find ways around several “issues” like No scripting, pop-up blockers, ad-blockers and several other types of extentions people use to avoid that crap. Sure, at an ISP-level they have more control, but they need something far better than what they use in China to even get a semi-working such system.

Except for teaching people how to work around their system, I do not think anything good can come out of this for Universal…

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Tech details

But there’s no way to “push” a popup to someone’s system.

This isn’t incredibly hard, actually. I’ve done similar things in the past (for non-nefarious reasons). All you need to do is a little bit of HTTP redirection and javascript injection. Of course, popup blockers and things like NoScript would prevent the popup from appearing, just like any other.

R.H.says:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Tech details

Once, back when I was a Charter customer, my bank screwed up my automatic Charter payment. I found this out after I had an HTTP request redirect to a Charter website informing me that my bill had not been paid. Even with a text based browser, I still would have been redirected. All they have to do is redirect the next HTTP request after the Bittorrent transmission is detected to whatever page they wish. When you’re supposed to be the man-in-the-middle, a man-in-the-middle attack is very easy.

DannyBsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Tech details

Only if you use HTTP requests instead of HTTPS requests.

I have experienced that. It shows up as my HTTPS requests not working. My apps that use other protocols (Gmail and others) fail to connect, even though I have strong WiFi signal.

Then I realize there is one of these stupid captive portal thingies. So I do some random HTTP request to get this nonsense over with. Maybe that could be automated.

out_of_the_bluesays:

Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

First, why don’t you hail it instead of living in the past?

‘the legacy guys always go with the “disdain” path’ because they can, Mike; there’s plenty of DEMAND for their products, so all that remains is to get money from each and every consumer. Methods are evolving. Quit living in the past and objecting to disruptive tech.

You have in the past said that piracy would reduce if consumers were made aware of legal options (besides have cheered various other monetizing), but here you seem to say that plans to do exactly that is wrong-headed in and of itself. You are consistent only in PRO-piracy.


Where Elite Pirate Mike uses the cachet of an Ivy League economics degree to make facile excuses for common theft.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Bullshit, us pirates know every single legal alternative, but the thing is we don’t give a fuck.

I refuse to buy content that funds the elite. They turned me into a pirate with their SOPA bullshit. After that things changed and I will not support them.

Wallysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

“I refuse to buy content that funds the elite. They turned me into a pirate with their SOPA bullshit. After that things changed and I will not support them.”

Rather rash don’t you think? I mean if you love the content so much why defund the people who made the film happen. If the MPAA and RIAA get most of the cut….how much by comparison does that leave the artists who worked very hard to make it (save Lars Ulrich…he engineered is “remastered” Black Album to make MP3 rips sound muddy)? Where does that leave the independent artists who produce their own music?

Did you know that the RIAA pays artists per head count and not per money made on tickets? Did you know that for most concerts, artists don’t see a dime of the ticket sales and have to make a profit off of the tour CD and t-shirts?

No…torrent use isn’t a bad thing, but with your attitude on “funding elitists”, you’re perpetuating the problem of piracy in its worst form.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

“why defund the people who made the film “

Have to stop you right there buddy.

There’s other ways to support the people who made the film, and far more direct ways, through other means. If there isn’t another way then… why the hell don’t they want my money?

For example: I want to support Joss Whedon, not Fox, when I watch Firefly.

Chronno S. Triggersays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

If the only way to support those who we like is to also support those who brought us SOPA and the like, I’ll continue not supporting ether.

Before you get the wrong idea, not supporting them doesn’t mean I’m pirating their work. I’ve been more into independent creators. Mostly game creators actually, I don’t watch many new movies or shows.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Rather rash? He’s lying. The pirates here at techdirt, including king pirate himself, Mike Masnick (who has stolen many, many gigs of content) just use these laughably transparent lies to try and cover for their thievery and content addiction.

It’s all a joke and everybody knows it.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

I used to think that, I used to think “But what about the people making the content!?”

The truth is, what minimal table scraps actually go to the people who put their creativity, intelligence, and willpower to work and make a truly good works of art is typically so minimal that it barely warrants mention or consideration when something is deemed a financial success or failure. Everything else is shoveled into the maw of bureaucratic nightmares who spend most of it lobbying for political power and for enslaving other content creators.

Everyone except the truly lucky are mostly screwed out of the fruits of their labor, instead subsisting on the skin peels and crumbs that happen to fall out of the mouth of the behemoths who devour the vast majority of profit and recognition. All the while the behemoth complains that people aren’t taking it seriously and that it feels that it is being robbed and cheated. Yet somehow people on the internet still feel sorry for this disgusting blob that is telling them how to live their lives.

My solution isn’t piracy though, my solution is just not partaking in it. I don’t miss it, and it doesn’t miss me.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Also, let’s count how long it takes until some brainless hick calls me a “Communist” or a “Socialist” like most ignorant shills on this site resort to when they realize someone refuses to worship their Hollywood-approved golden calves.

Chris Rhodessays:

Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

And here we see that out_of_the_blue thinks piracy warnings and annoying popups are a new and disruptive technology. Why does that not surprise me?

On another note:

They at least deserve some credit for realizing that simply kicking people off the internet will not help them line their pockets any faster. Even if this plan is idiotic, maybe this is the start of them getting a clue?

out_of_the_bluesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Did somone mention Google? If you were aware of big picture context, what Mike wrote should JUMP out and SMACK you:


Where Mike sez: Any system that involves spying on the activities of users is going to be a non-starter. Creeping the hell out of people isn’t a way of encouraging them to buy. It’s a way of encouraging them to want nothing to do with you.”

Gwizsays:

Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Quit living in the past and objecting to disruptive tech.

Double standard much Blue?

If Google spys on and tracks your online activities, it’s the worst thing ever, right? But if NBC Universal/Comcast does it, it’s okay-dokie in your book.

You must cause a lot of havoc with other drivers on the road with your delusional one-way streets.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

@ “GWiz”: My “Quit living in the past and objecting to disruptive tech.” is subtle sarcasm aimed exactly at Mike’s double standard.

You mention Google, and I just made a new tagline which uses the SAME sarcasm at Mike’s double standard:


Where Mike sez: Any system that involves spying on the activities of users is going to be a non-starter. Creeping the hell out of people isn’t a way of encouraging them to buy. It’s a way of encouraging them to want nothing to do with you.” — Oh, but doesn’t apply to The Google!

Gwizsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

My “Quit living in the past and objecting to disruptive tech.” is subtle sarcasm aimed exactly at Mike’s double standard.

Sarcasm fail.

Where Mike sez: Any system that involves spying on the activities of users is going to be a non-starter. Creeping the hell out of people isn’t a way of encouraging them to buy. It’s a way of encouraging them to want nothing to do with you.” — Oh, but doesn’t apply to The Google!

Um, where has Mike said it doesn’t apply to Google? Oh that’s right, he hasn’t and you are making shit up again Blue.

Mike has talked about the uncanny valley before and I would guess that if Google tried something similar people would be just as creeped out and Mike would STILL say it’s not a really good idea.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

You have in the past said that piracy would reduce if consumers were made aware of legal options

Actually, what has been said is that piracy would be reduced if there were legal options that were at least as good as piracy.

That there are not is the main failing of the legacy content companies.

out_of_the_bluesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

@ “Actually, what has been said is that piracy would be reduced if there were legal options that were at least as good as piracy.

That there are not is the main failing of the legacy content companies.”


And I already covered in my post WHY the creators don’t care: STRONG DEMAND for their products! Entertainment industries aren’t trying to get people to favor one brand of soap over another.

SO, IF one is going to get THE SPECIFIC PRODUCT for which there is NO substitute, then NO PAYING OPTION CAN EVER BE AS GOOD AS PIRACY! You can’t compete with FREE when it’s your own product!

New tagline:


Where Mike sez: Any system that involves spying on the activities of users is going to be a non-starter. Creeping the hell out of people isn’t a way of encouraging them to buy. It’s a way of encouraging them to want nothing to do with you.” — Oh, but doesn’t apply to The Google!

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

SO, IF one is going to get THE SPECIFIC PRODUCT for which there is NO substitute, then NO PAYING OPTION CAN EVER BE AS GOOD AS PIRACY!

Nonsense. The main problem with legitimate offerings isn’t that they have a price tag. It’s that the product they’re selling is itself inferior.

Most people who pirate will happily pay a reasonable amount for content if they can get it legitimately and conveniently. The ones who won’t will pirate no matter what anyone does, so spending any time or energy on them is pointlessly wasting time and energy.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

You can’t compete with FREE

Tell that to Aquafina, Deer Park, Dasani, Culligan, Evian, Fiji, Nestl?, Poland Spring, and every other bottled water company that exists.

Of course one could argue that bottled water price is reasonable, and that the quality is superior.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Of course one could argue that bottled water price is reasonable, and that the quality is superior.

One could, but then one would be demonstrably incorrect on both counts. Bottled water is insanely expensive and of lower quality (in terms of safety and purity) than almost all tap water in the US.

But that supports the argument even more: it’s not just possible to compete with free, it’s possible to compete with free when you have an inferior product as long as you’re meeting other needs better.

Witness Netflix.

Rikuosays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

“SO, IF one is going to get THE SPECIFIC PRODUCT for which there is NO substitute, then NO PAYING OPTION CAN EVER BE AS GOOD AS PIRACY! You can’t compete with FREE when it’s your own product!”

False. The shows I watch are done by Youtubers, and thus, are available for free. Think ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com and others. They produce their shows, they have high production quality, roll them out on a regular schedule and I can view them for free on their website.
Now, of course, I could simply download all their shows and watch off of my hard drive, or watch them on other websites or on other YB channels, but no, I choose to disable Adblocker for them and watch through their website. Whenever one of these stars comes to Ireland, I make sure to go to whatever convention they’re at, and buy whatever merchandise they’re selling, and attend their panels.

So…tell me again how their free shows are ruining them?

S. T. Stonesays:

Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

First, why don’t you hail it instead of living in the past?

It might have something to do with Comcast/NBC Universal planning to spy on its userbase on a far deeper (and far more intrusive) level than you’ve accused Google of doing in the past.

At the technically-feasible worst, Google spies on your emails, blogs, and such. It doesn’t spy on your actual Internet traffic, and Comcast seems to want to do exactly that.

there’s plenty of DEMAND for their products, so all that remains is to get money from each and every consumer

This plan won’t get that money from every consumer. This plan will likely stop the most determined pirates for about five minutes; you forget that innovation begets innovation, and should Comcast actually go through with this plan, you can bet that people who don’t want Comcast spying on their web traffic (pirates or not) will work to find a way to stop or route around that spyware.

And even if it did manage to turn a few pirates into consumers, do you think the potential revenue would outweigh the final cost of a plan to spy on every customer’s Internet traffic?

Quit living in the past and objecting to disruptive tech.

I don’t see how this plan qualifies as ?disruptive tech?, considering it won?t change much of anything, will end up routed around or stopped before any actual disruption takes place, and will do nothing to alter the landscape of content creation, distribution, and monetization.

You use that phrase ?disruptive tech?, but I do not think it means what you think it means.

You have in the past said that piracy would reduce if consumers were made aware of legal options

On my birthday, Techdirt posted an article that laid out the best way to reduce piracy: offering good legal alternatives.

Hulu?well, while I consider it a fine service, it doesn’t really offer the same convenience that piracy does. (You still have to view ads even when you pay for Hulu Plus, after all.) Neither does Ultraviolet or any of the other cloud-based, DRM-laden services that movie companies offer.

And since this article discusses NBC Universal, its plan would most certainly link to Hulu at times, which means NBC Universal would offer up a more expensive, less convenient ?alternative? to piracy that won?t actually convert people away from the free, convenient, and (most importantly) ad-free world of piracy.

Netflix would be the closest thing to a competent piracy alternative, and even that gets hampered by the whole ?we have to take movies off the service every few months? bit.

You seem to think that all legal alternatives beat piracy, but they don?t?at least, not in the areas where it counts. And if you can?t beat piracy in affordability, you can at least fight it on the levels of convenience and ease of use. Make the legal option as attractive as piracy and priced close to what the market will believeably pay for digital content, and you have a far better solution than ?spy on Internet users, force them to visit our legal alternative to The Pirate Bay, and pray they decide to buy?.

you seem to say that plans to do exactly that is wrong-headed in and of itself

Luring people to legal alternatives doesn?t generally come down on the side of ?wrong?.

Spying on Internet users’ traffic to do it?yeah, that comes off as ?wrong?, especially when the system could end up abused (e.g. the ?please buy from us? pop-up shows up when someone goes to The Pirate Bay for legal, possibly even public domain content) all for the sake of raking in a handful of extra dollars per month.

You are consistent only in PRO-piracy.

You have consistently attacked Mr. Masnick for pro-piracy views. Outside of your interpretations of what you read here on Techdirt, what proof do you have via direct quotes (and I mean direct quotes, not your interpretation of said quotes) that anyone on Techdirt openly, 100% encourages and advocates for piracy over supporting artists?

Where Elite Pirate Mike uses the cachet of an Ivy League economics degree to make facile excuses for common theft.

1.) ?Elite?? Huh. You really have the whole class warfare, anti-intelligence language down to a tee.

2.) Piracy does not, has not, and will never equal theft until piracy (copyright infringement) leaves nothing behind when people make copies. When the original content creator actually has their work stolen from their possession via copyright infringement, you can make the comparison.

out_of_the_bluesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

@ “S. T. Stone”: My “Quit living in the past and objecting to disruptive tech.” is subtle sarcasm, aimed at Mike’s notion that disruption is always good. I’ll stick to blunt in future, as at least two of you missed it.

@ “Spying on Internet users’ traffic to do it?” is EXACTLY what Google does to make money! — OH, different then, eh?
— And you may have noticed I’m against ALL spying so I’m completely consistent: you and Mike are not.

DannyBsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Google is not spying on me. I give them my information in exchange for value I receive — including targeted ads. Ads that I don’t mind. Ads that sometimes I even find immediately useful.

The NSA is spying on me. I did not agree to give them any information for some value received.

Ditto with Hollywood.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Google is indeed spying on you. They’re just doing it with your permission.

That permission is the difference between Google and governmental action, though. Google’s spying is optional and not secret, and therefore is not ethically problematic.

DannyBsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Maybe we have different definitions of spying.

I think spying is something done without your permission or knowledge.

If done with your permission and knowledge, then it should be called something else. Otherwise, the definition of spying loses its traditional meaning and impact.

S. T. Stonesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

My “Quit living in the past and objecting to disruptive tech.” is subtle sarcasm

You lack subtlety. Work on that. (Also, work on not using ad hominems.)

is EXACTLY what Google does to make money

Google makes money by using the information users give them to create targeted ads. (Also by offering pay-for services to corporations and small businesses.) Google doesn?t deep-packet inspect the web traffic of the millions of people who use its services. (I feel confident that someone would have noticed that by now.)

I’m against ALL spying so I’m completely consistent

So?you don?t

S. T. Stonesays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

(Augh. Stupid comment eating. Last bit should read:)

So?you don?t approve of Comcast/NBC Universal’s plan to spy on its userbase via deep-packet inspection and install malware that creates highly intrusive pop-ups if said userbase visits websites deemed ?wrong? by Comcast (even if a user goes to said websites to obtain legal content)?

Why didn?t you just say so?

Wallysays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

“Google makes money by using the information users give them to create targeted ads. (Also by offering pay-for services to corporations and small businesses.) Google doesn?t deep-packet inspect the web traffic of the millions of people who use its services. (I feel confident that someone would have noticed that by now.)”

How are targeted ads not tracking? Especially on a mobile device…? That tracking requires packet sniffing…ergo…Google makes money through advertising that is targeted to you. Every link you click on in a google search adds to the profile.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

Google’s tracking is not accomplished through packet sniffing. They couldn’t effectively do that even if they wanted to — they’d have to have control of the backbone, which they don’t (the major telecoms do).

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not yet implemented, only forward-looking innovation!

I wouldn’t shy away from Google in particular over this, as it’s done by all backbone providers. That means that all traffic that goes through the backbone, regardless of your ISP, is inspected.

Your only option if you want to avoid all this is encryption.

Wallysays:

In the words of Dr. Ian Malcum...,

Boy I hate being right all the time!

I predicted this idea might come through when we were all discussing how 6 strikes might work.

I was told I was a bit nuts for the methods…well here’s the proof that a man in the middle concept will work….and firmware designed for injection of arbitrary code as well. It’s sad and unfortunate to see this happening.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: In the words of Dr. Ian Malcum...,

But it won’t. All it will do is create a innovation in circumventing it and securing traffic such that they don’t have anyway of knowing what is being transferred. If they were smart, they would simply collect the data that they currently can glean from analysis of the traffic quietly and then monitize that data to “make up for” their phantom “losses” due to piracy. But they really aren’t that smart as history has shown repeatedly. Instead, by trying to kill piracy through invasive techniques they actually drive innovation that will serve to make that possibility go away as well.

Wallysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: In the words of Dr. Ian Malcum...,

The scheme involves putting a pop-up on your screen with direct links to “legitimate sources” the very moment your web browser displays a page of a torrent site. Man in the middle and code injection are the only two methods that can allow the scheme to be useful. It detects if you clicked on a link to a torrent site.

Anonymoussays:

Perhaps there is an alternative solution...

The tech industry needs to simply invent a new series of “moles to whack” and convince the content industry that they are an even bigger threat than the phantom one that is piracy and get them it down that rabbit hole instead of pursuing their current efforts. Now THAT would be innovation.

Anonymoussays:

Not only is this a bad idea because of malware and spying, but it will have unintended consequences for their legitimate business. In order to avoid contracting this malware, I will no longer be visiting NBC Universal legitimate content sites which will no doubt be hosting it.

And before cries of pirates echo throughout the halls, I always seek legal streaming rental options first. Except now I won’t because I don’t want my computer infected.

Chalk one more up to the value of piracy. Less risk of malware.

Anonymoussays:

Number 1 issue.

ASSUMING it goes EXACTLY to plan and they get these popups coming up for people violating copyright…

What user will think this is a totally legit popup vs an internet scam? Any savy pirate knows not to click on ANYTHING that looks off in the LEAST. Popups are never good news, no one, but no one, does legitimate business through popups. At best they are harmless ads. At worst? Well there goes your evening with cleaning up your system and hoping it didn’t make off with any important info.

Anonymoussays:

They still don’t get that this isn’t an education problem, nor is it an enforcement problem. It’s a service problem.

For all of the excuse making that much of the problem of piracy was attributable to unavailability of the content- one would think that this would be appreciated by those poor souls who only pirate because they can’t find a legitimate source.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Yup. Except of course, that it’s a lie.

I think this meme is on its last legs. Pirates know they can’t say this bullshit without people just rolling their eyes and snickering at their disingenuous douchebaggery, so I fully expect the new excuse to be something along the lines of “I refuse to give money to the man”.

Chronno S. Triggersays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

First: Piracy is not theft.

Second: I don’t watch Game of Thrones, I quite despise the show. It’s just a damn good example of why your friend here is wrong

Third: They’re still not getting money. If they only offer one legitimate source, then they can’t bitch when they don’t get money from people who don’t want to pay for cable.

Forth: Cable is not a legitimate source for this show ether. Paying (not joking) $150 a month for one show would be idiotic at best.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Cable is not a legitimate source for this show ether. Paying (not joking) $150 a month for one show would be idiotic at best.

To be honest, that isn’t even remotely true. At $150 you get waaaay more than “one show.” You get 24 hours of programming on, what, around 150 channels? You’re getting more programming than you could possibly watch in the month.

YOU might perceive it as paying that much for one show, but it seems a little purposefully disingenuous when you use the standard and legal practice of bundled pricing as some sort of justification for piracy.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“To be honest, that isn’t even remotely true. At $150 you get waaaay more than “one show.” You get 24 hours of programming on, what, around 150 channels? You’re getting more programming than you could possibly watch in the month.”

Say I don’t watch TV, don’t have cable, I only have internet.

Suddenly my friend comes up and says there is a really awesome TV show I have to see. It’s something you couldn’t possibly pass up. So I go over to his house and watch an episode, like it and decide I’d like to watch the rest of the shows.

My options:
1) be the rude friend who shows up every week at a scheduled time to watch a TV show when half the time my friend DVRs it to watch when it’s convient for him

2) Pay $150/month for cable TV to watch just that 1 show (remember I don’t want to watch anything else!)

3) Pirate it.

4) I don’t get to watch it.

3 of the 4 options listed above involve me seeing it. 3 of the 4 options listed above don’t bring any money to the show!

If I’m a producer of the show, I’m looking at that going who the hell is dumb enough to make this the only options. Everyone is going to be pirating or watching at their friend’s house and we’re not going to make a dime… I’d fire everyone in the room one by one until someone thought up an affordable way for people to the popular show which would bring in money.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

To be honest, that isn’t even remotely true. At $150 you get waaaay more than “one show.” You get 24 hours of programming on, what, around 150 channels? You’re getting more programming than you could possibly watch in the month.

More like only one or two programs in all that content is worth watching, and other show that would appeal to the same taste are in a different package, requiring yet more outlay.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

To be honest, that isn’t even remotely true. At $150 you get waaaay more than “one show.”

But if all you want is the one show, the existence of the rest of the stuff isn’t relevant to you at all. So you’re paying $150 for one show.

when you use the standard and legal practice of bundled pricing as some sort of justification for piracy

Quick clue: explaining what motivates people to engage in a behavior is not the same as justifying that behavior.

In this case, the commenter was explaining that there is no reasonable and legitimate way of watching the show if all you want to do is watch that show. He wasn’t justifying anything.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“t $150 you get waaaay more than “one show.” You get 24 hours of programming on, what, around 150 channels?”

Channels that you don’t necessarily want. That you won’t use. Hence the complaint. Would you pay $150 a month for some toll roads you won’t necessarily use in your state, just so you can use the one that’s most convenient for your work? If not, hopefully you’ll the the problem – especially since the TV program is probably less important than your commute.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Also…

Third: They’re still not getting money. If they only offer one legitimate source, then they can’t bitch when they don’t get money from people who don’t want to pay for cable.

That’s not true either. I’m quite sure that Game of Thrones is available on DVD. Sure, you might have to wait until after those who have paid a premium to be first connectors have seen the show, but them’s the breaks. You don’t have the money to be first in line, then you won’t be first in line. This is how the world works. I’d like to play high stakes on the stock market, but I ain’t got the money, so I don’t get in. Boo hoo.

Rikuosays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

And that sort of thinking implies that someone’s desire to see Game of Thrones will be just as strong while it’s airing on cable as on the day it’s released on DVD. Are you wiling to gamble with that in today’s market, with thousands of different entertainment sources vying for attention? What if the guy who listed the four possibilities up above did initially want to watch Game of Thrones but never got around to it because the only option was cable – and then, by the time your ilk released it on DVD, he was watching a show by another studio?
Do you not realise what you’ve just done? You’ve handed a potentially valuable customer to your competitor. If I were the boss at the studio and you were the guy who pushed for cable only, I’d fire you on the spot – with a double barrelled shotgun, for being that stupid.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s certainly where I am. I’m curious about GoT but I’ve never seen a single episode. I’m sure as hell not blind buying a full price box set of a show I’ve never seen an episode of, but all the options to watch it are blocked or horrendously delayed.

Never mind, I will just keep myself amused with all their competitors’ products that are available at a reasonable price. Netflix alone has several big shows I haven’t got round to watching yet, so I’ll be happy with those. Your loss, HBO. A shame, since a way to legally watch the movie at a reasonable price could get me watching the show, buying the books, etc. if I were to like it. But I’m not buying a pricey full box set just to find out.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t want to pay $40 to watch a show I’ve never seen and don’t know if I like either. I would, however, be willing to subscribe to HBO Go in order to watch that and their other shows, if removed from the cable requirement.

Lying about the motives and demands of potentially paying customers won’t get them on to your side. Did you ever try listening to what people are actually saying?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

Cable is outdated technology. They need to move their services into the 21st century and quit clinging onto 80s business models. I pay comcast for net. I don’t want cable. I can find everything I want to watch on the net. I’ll pay for it if it’s on itunes, otherwise I’ll stream it from somewhere else.

S. T. Stonesays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

If HBO created, say, an HBO Go app that allowed people to subscribe to that app without having to purchase an HBO subscription via a cable or satellite provider, I guarantee that a fair number of people would cancel their HBO subscriptions (and possibly even their entire cable subscriptions) to subscribe to the HBO Go app. That would piss cable providers off because of the profits they share from the sale of HBO subscriptions.

On the other hand, HBO would probably lose a fair amount of money by having those subscriptions to the cable channel it provides cancelled in favor of the standalone app. Losing money means Game of Thrones has less of a budget to work with in the future, which could mean a downgrade in the show?s quality, which could create a fanbase pissed off enough to unsubscribe from HBO altogether (and make the problem even worse).

It’s a damned-if-HBO-does, damned-if-HBO-doesn?t situation.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Perhaps. But on the flip side of that coin, HBO would gain a lot of subscribers that are completely out of reach to them right now. There’s no way in hell I’m going to pay the going rates for cable. It’s a complete waste of money.

however, there are shows HBO has that I would watch if it were possible without getting reamed in the process. I might very well subscribe to something like HBO Go (unless it was dramatically overpriced, which it probably would be).

So, at least with me, it would be a customer gained that is absolutely unreachable to them right now.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re:

You’re missing the important point. It’s not just about finding a legitimate source. It’s about finding a legitimate source for a product that is equally good. Most legitimate sources for movies, particularly, sell an inferior product containing some form of DRM.

This is why there are so many people who legitimately “own” a movie but end up pirating it anyway. The legitimate copy is substandard.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I have a 1st gen Apple TV. I bought alot of these movies before the DRM was added. Then when I went to re-download them after a hard drive failure, I was told to upgrade Windows before it would allow me to download my HD content or given the option to repurchase the same movies in SD format. Re-downloading previously purchased content is an option unless the DRM doesn’t like your operating system.

Wallysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just like me and my personal policies on emulation…oh sure own the cartridge….but on modern LCD TV sets the old 8Bit and 16bit console games we know and love look like shite because the were designed for taking advantage of CRT’s. I’ve even gone as far as using SuperFamicom port to USB adapters with my Desktop set up on the TV.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I remember seeing a device that will intentionally degrade the video signal so your modern TV will look more like an old-timey CRT, specifically for people who enjoy playing the old console games.

But, really, I’d suggest using an emulator instead. The emulators I use include a setting to to fuzz the video in software. No need for a hardware doohickey.

Alanasays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I live in New Zealand.

No Hulu, No Netflix, no iTunes TV stuff.

I buy what DVD’s I can and usually rip it to my hard drive.

There’s also content that isn’t available to us, period.

People who say “Legal alternatives exist and these people are spouting bullshit lol” are the same kind of people who think that United States is the centre of the world.

beechsays:

Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 6th, 2013 @ 8:54am

If they’re sending you a link to a downloadable, DRM free copy of what you’re already looking for that isn’t region locked, and you can come back for another copy if something happens to ghe first, at the right price maybe it could work. But if they keep up with their distribution model as usual I doubt it will do a thing

Anonymoussays:

the malware that wants to ‘pop up’ is at the headquarters of the entertainment industries, telling them to stop being arse holes and provide their content, provided they want customers to have it, of course, in the manner that the customers keep asking them for, at good speeds, various formats, drm free, and release it everywhere at the same time at a sensible price, one they know that customers will pay! keep the price high and dont compete and failure is imminent!!

Anonymoussays:

Clueless Comcast Executive 1: “When we detect an illegal download on the web, we’re going to hijack your web browser and tell you to start acting legal, and doing legal stuff!”

Tech-Savvy Person: “That idea doesn’t work. Bittorrent is not a web browser. There is no web page to hijack.”

Clueless Comcast Executive 2: “What is he talking about? I thought Bittorrent was a web site.”

Clueless Comcast Executive 3: “No, no, it’s an actual guy named Bit Torrent. He’s doing illegal stuff. We’re gonna hijack his web browser.”

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re:

I think it’s a matter of price point. I have no problem with Netflix, even though it’s locked down as tight as can be, because the price point is very low. I don’t expect much for that kind of money, and my expectations are exceeded by Netflix.

If, however, the price point was much higher than it is, it enters into ripoff territory and I would be irked by it.

Technical Irony

The Recording Industry* exists because of technology.

Ignoring copyright and ethical arguments, technology has now rendered the Recording Industry largely irrelevant.

It exists almost entirely on inertia, a huge Rube Goldberg machine of flailing desperation – buying laws, screeching propaganda, corrupting industries.

It’s like some hideous parasite alternately sucking and battling its newly awakened host.

*Mostly music and movies

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