Tag Archives: IIPA

U.S. Copyright Groups Want South Africa to Ensure that 5G Doesn’t Boost Piracy

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/u-s-copyright-groups-want-south-africa-to-ensure-that-5g-doesnt-boost-piracy-200217/

South Africa has found itself in the crosshairs of major US copyright groups, which are not happy with the country’s stance towards critical copyright issues.

South Africa is already subject to a U.S. Government review to see if trade sanctions should be applied.

The review was launched following a referral from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). This coalition of prominent rightsholder groups, which includes the MPA and RIAA, informed the USTR that South Africa’s current policies and actions are below international standards.

Among other things, the group is worried that the country’s newly proposed copyright law is far too flexible when it comes to fair use. This stance is echoed by other rightsholders but also heavily criticized by public interest groups and legal experts.

A few days ago the IIPA reiterated its critique in a new submission to the US Trade Representative (USTR). The USTR uses these submissions and other public comments to create its Special 301 Report, an annual list of countries that deserve extra attention due to various shortcomings that may hurt U.S. businesses.

The IIPA is one of the most loyal submitters, sharing its concerns for more than 20 consecutive years. Over these two decades, it has recommended that over 75 countries should be placed on the U.S. “Watch List”.

Until this year, South Africa was never mentioned, but that has clearly changed. In its 2020 recommendation, the IIPA classifies the country among the worst offenders, asking the USTR to put it on the Priority Watch List.

According to the IIPA, South Africa’s newly proposed Copyright Amendment Bill is fatally flawed. This includes the previously mentioned fair use issues as well as a wide range of other shortcomings which were detailed in several pages, too expansive to summarize.

In addition, the country’s response to the threat of online piracy is also said to be lacking. While more legal options have become available, many South Africans turn to piracy, the group notes.

According to the IIPA, increased Internet connection speeds are contributing to a piracy boom. This is in part facilitated by corporate and university networks.

“[O]nline piracy continues to grow in South Africa. Growth in bandwidth speeds, coupled with lax controls over corporate and university bandwidth abuse, drive this piracy,” the IIPA writes.

Throttling the bandwidth of an entire country isn’t a very popular solution. However, according to the IIPA, there are other options available. They include blocking and shutting down websites, which may require legislation to be updated.

Among the list of “priority actions” for the country is also a bandwidth-related suggestion. The rightsholders urge South Africa to ensure that the implementation of 4G and 5G networks doesn’t increase piracy.

“Monitor implementation of 4G and 5G networks to ensure it does not lead to a higher level of piracy, and improve education and increase enforcement commensurate to the increased threat,” the IIPA writes.

This is a rather unique suggestion. The IIPA’s full report lists over a dozen countries and spans 220 pages, but 4G and 5G are only mentioned in relation to South Africa.

The mention is linked to the recent decision of South Africa’s government to open the spectrum. This paves the way for the rollout of 4G and 5G networks, which can boost both legal and illegal consumption.

If piracy indeed gets a boost, the IIPA would like the government to step in to correct this through trade sanctions or other means.

All in all, the IIPA’s overview sums up a long list of shortcomings that it hopes the country will address. Needless to say, this sits in stark contrast to previous years, when they were never even mentioned.

The rightsholder groups hope that the USTR will agree with its concerns and place the country on its Priority Watch List, which is due to be released in the months to come.

The IIPA’s full recommendations for the USTR’s 2020 Special 301 Review are available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

South Africa Faces US Trade Sanctions over Online Piracy

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/south-africa-faces-us-trade-sanctions-over-online-piracy-191201/

The entertainment industry is a major driver of the US economy, good for millions of jobs and billions in revenue.

To protect this industry the US Government is keeping a close eye on copyright policies around the world.

This often happens following referrals from industry groups. For example, earlier this year the US Trade Representative (USTR) was asked to take a close look at South Africa’s copyright track record.

This request came from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). This coalition of prominent rightsholder groups, including the MPA and RIAA, informed the USTR that it’s not happy with how South Africa addresses copyright issues.

In its submission the IIPA called for trade sanctions, recommending that the U.S. Government should suspend South Africa’s GSP trade benefits. According to the group, the country doesn’t do enough to protect the interests of copyright holders.

“South Africa does not meet the GSP eligibility criteria primarily due to its weak copyright law and enforcement regime,” the IIPA noted.

The USTR took the matter seriously and recently launched an official review of South Africa’s intellectual property rights protections, asking the public for input. If these protections are not deemed to be “adequate and effective” the country faces trade sanctions.

“USTR has accepted a petition filed by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). The petition alleges that the Government of South Africa does not provide adequate and effective copyright protection for U.S. copyrighted works,” the USTR announced.

In recent years, copyright issues have already been on the political agenda in South Africa. Lawmakers have been working on a new copyright bill, which is close to being signed into law. However, according to the IIPA, this hasn’t delivered any progress. On the contrary.

“This legislation will move South Africa further away from international norms by failing to establish a clear legal framework to provide adequate and effective protection of copyrighted material, especially in the digital environment,” the IIPA noted.

The group strives for modern copyright laws and enforcement regimes around the world and notes that the African country falls short. Among other things, the IIPA would like South Africa to appoint special cybercrime inspectors and develop a cybercrime security hub, recognizing copyright as a top priority.

While the US Government can’t write South Africa’s laws directly, trade sanctions might just help motivate the local Government to take action in the interest of US companies. That would certainly not be the first time.

In 2017 the US Government sanctioned Ukraine following a similar referral from the IIPA. This triggered a wave of copyright-related actions in the country, after which President Trump decided to lift the sanctions last month.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Despite US Criticism, Ukraine Cybercrime Chief Receives Few Piracy Complaints

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/despite-us-criticism-ukraine-cybercrime-chief-receives-few-piracy-complaints-180522/

On a large number of occasions over the past decade, Ukraine has played host to some of the world’s largest pirate sites.

At various points over the years, The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent, Demonoid and raft of streaming portals could be found housed in the country’s data centers, reportedly taking advantage of laws more favorable than those in the US and EU.

As a result, Ukraine has been regularly criticized for not doing enough to combat piracy but when placed under pressure, it does take action. In 2010, for example, the local government expressed concerns about the hosting of KickassTorrents in the country and in August the same year, the site was kicked out by its host.

“Kickasstorrents.com main web server was shut down by the hosting provider after it was contacted by local authorities. One way or another I’m afraid we must say goodbye to Ukraine and move the servers to other countries,” the site’s founder told TF at the time.

In the years since, Ukraine has launched sporadic action against pirate sites and has taken steps to tighten up copyright law. The Law on State Support of Cinematography came into force during April 2017 and gave copyright owners new tools to combat infringement by forcing (in theory, at least) site operators and web hosts to respond to takedown requests.

But according to the United States and Europe, not enough is being done. After the EU Commission warned that Ukraine risked damaging relations with the EU, last September US companies followed up with another scathing attack.

In a recommendation to the U.S. Government, the IIPA, which counts the MPAA, RIAA, and ESA among its members, asked U.S. authorities to suspend or withdraw Ukraine’s trade benefits until the online piracy situation improves.

“Legislation is needed to institute proper notice and takedown provisions, including a requirement that service providers terminate access to individuals (or entities) that have repeatedly engaged in infringement, and the retention of information for law enforcement, as well as to provide clear third party liability regarding ISPs,” the IIPA wrote.

But amid all the criticism, Ukraine cyber police chief Sergey Demedyuk says that while his department is committed to tackling piracy, it can only do so when complaints are filed with him.

“Yes, we are engaged in piracy very closely. The problem is that piracy is a crime of private accusation. So here we deal with them only in cases where we are contacted,” Demedyuk said in an Interfax interview published yesterday.

Surprisingly, given the number of dissenting voices, it appears that complaints about these matters aren’t exactly prevalent. So are there many at all?

“Unfortunately, no. In the media, many companies claim that their rights are being violated by pirates. But if you count the applications that come to us, they are one,” Demedyuk reveals.

“In general, we are handling Ukrainian media companies, who produce their own product and are worried about its fate. Also on foreign films, the ‘Anti-Piracy Agency’ refers to us, but not as intensively as before.”

Why complaints are going down, Demedyuk does not know, but when his unit is asked to take action it does so, he claims. Indeed, Demedyuk cites two particularly significant historical operations against a pair of large ‘pirate’ sites.

In 2012, Ukraine shut down EX.ua, a massive cyberlocker site following a six-month investigation initiated by international tech companies including Microsoft, Graphisoft and Adobe. Around 200 servers were seized, together hosting around 6,000 terabytes of data.

Then in November 2016, following a complaint from the MPAA, police raided FS.to, one of Ukraine’s most popular pirate sites. Initial reports indicated that 60 servers were seized and 19 people were arrested.

“To see the effect of combating piracy, this should not be done at the level of cyberpolicy, but at the state level,” Demedyuk advises.

“This requires constant close interaction between law enforcement agencies and rights holders. Only by using all these tools will we be able to effectively counteract copyright infringements.”

Meanwhile, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has maintained Ukraine’s position on the Priority Watchlist of its latest Special 301 Report and there a no signs it will be leaving anytime soon.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.