Tag Archives: Memorandum

Anti-Piracy Chief: Pirated Content is Now Harder to Find in Search Engines

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-chief-pirated-content-is-now-harder-to-find-in-search-engines-200326/

In 2018, leading content companies and distributors plus Yandex, Rambler Group, Mail.Ru Group, vKontakte, and RuTube signed up to a landmark anti-piracy memorandum in Russia.

The aim of the voluntary agreement was to make pirated content harder to find in search engines. This, the organizers said, would be achieved by the creation of a centralized database of allegedly-infringing content to be regularly queried by Internet platforms so that delistings could take place.

The ultimate aim is to have the memorandum written into law but in the meantime, it’s being claimed that the system is already having the desired effect.

Formed in 2013 to protect the interests of several licensed online distribution platforms, the Internet Video Association has grown to become one of the most vocal anti-piracy groups in Russia. Its members support the memorandum and according to director general Alexei Byrdin, it is now considered to be achieving its aims.

Byrdin says a certain level of piracy comes hand-in-hand with any legal content business and achieving a complete victory over piracy can’t be achieved in Russia or anywhere else in the world. However, by removing infringing content from search engines, easy access to unlicensed content is being reduced.

“The correct measurement of the effect of the fight against piracy is a decrease or increase in the availability of pirated content. It is this indicator and approach that I consider the most correct,” Byrdin told Regnum.

“Pirated products in the Russian Federation have become less accessible. And by accessible, we mean the easy discovery of pirated content through search services. It was at this point that our anti-piracy memorandum struck home. Last year there were several high-profile premieres that managed to be practically shielded from the effects of pirate consumption, thanks to the memorandum.”

While the memorandum is indeed powerful (search engines have agreed to remove pirated content within six hours of it being reported in the centralized database), other factors have also played a part in reducing pirate consumption. Reducing piracy rates is of limited use if potential consumers have few viable options to buy licensed products but according to Byrdin, local consumers now see official platforms as an attractive proposition.

“There is a certain cumulative effect. For a very long time services have explained that they really have everything conveniently, inexpensively, with a large assortment, and users are finally believing this,” the anti-piracy chief explained.

“This is also due to the fact that in Russia the audience of smart TV users is growing year-on-year, and these consumers appreciate the convenience of such services. This really is simple and affordable home entertainment. Not much can be compared in terms of user experience.”

Like many countries around the world trying to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic, Russia is also shutting down its entertainment venues, including cinemas. Byrdin will be hoping that consumers frustrated by the lack of options in search results will flock to licensed platforms for their entertainment fix. Whether this transpires will remain to be seen.

Nevertheless, those involved in the licensed distribution of entertainment content clearly see the memorandum as a great tool to achieve their aims. Writing it into law hasn’t been easy and delays caused it to time out in October 2019.

After a short extension, the signatories agreed to keep the system running until the end of January 2021, by which time it’s hoped that agreement will be reached on some of the more contentious points, including the permanent delisting of entire sites considered to be repeat offenders.

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

Russia Anti-Piracy Agreement Expires, Now Relies on Goodwill of Search Engines

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/russia-anti-piracy-agreement-expires-now-relies-on-goodwill-of-search-engines-191002/

Following intense pressure on local Internet companies, particularly search giant Yandex, last year an important meeting took place at the headquarters of Russian telecom watchdog Roscomnadzor.

Held between search engines and major copyright holders, the aim was to find a solution to the online proliferation of copyrighted content. By early November consensus had been reached, with Channel One, the National Media Group, Gazprom-Media, the Internet Video Association, the Association of Film and Television Producers, Yandex, Rambler Group, Mail.Ru Group, vKontakte, and RuTube signing up to a memorandum.

The voluntary agreement, which was timetabled to run until September 30, 2019, saw the creation of a centralized database of infringing content, maintained by rightsholders. Search companies agreed to query this database every few minutes in order to obtain the URLs of ‘pirate’ material so that they could be removed from search results.

Since the agreement was voluntary and time-limited, it was envisioned that the terms would be written into law, before the memorandum ran out. However, there have been a few points of contention, including a requirement from rightsholders that some continuously-infringing sites should be completely delisted from results, without a court process.

These things naturally take time to work out but in this case, too much time. On Monday, as per the original timetable, the memorandum expired. According to local news outlet RBC, the necessary amendments to copyright law were not submitted to the State Duma before that day, meaning that none of the signatories are bound by the agreement.

Sources at the companies involved told the publication that the memorandum has indeed timed-out but added that an informal agreement has now been reached by the parties to continue compliance for another two weeks. An extension of the agreement until December 31, 2019 had previously been agreed but its terms were not met by September 30.

According to Leonid Levin of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, the bill to write the terms of the memorandum into law was submitted to the State Duma in a non-finished form. There will reportedly be another meeting between the parties this week.

“As soon as we finalize the document, it will be submitted to the State Duma,” Levin said. “Until then, we hope that all interested parties will continue to adhere to those provisions that were enshrined in the so-called anti-piracy memorandum, which meets all the interests of the industry.”

Roscomnadzor declined to comment on the delay but the Internet Video Association said that it would be “very disappointed” if Internet companies stopped removing links to pirated content due to the memorandum expiring.

At the moment, it appears that the memorandum is surviving on goodwill but according to reports the issue is in the balance. The so-called ‘repeat infringer’ clause, which would see sites permanently removed from search results, is still a point of contention moving into this week’s planned meeting.

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Rightsholders Want to Completely Delist ‘Pirate’ Domains From Search Results

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/rightsholders-want-to-completely-delist-pirate-domains-from-search-results-190621/

The anti-piracy wars are fought on many fronts, from plugging leaks to issuing millions of takedown notices to both sites and search engines.

Despite no deliberate role in piracy, the latter are often described as facilitators of piracy who could do more, by making pirate sites less visible in search results, for example.

While companies like Google have taken such steps both voluntarily (UK) and in response to legal requirements (Australia 1,2), rightsholders would like more. In Russia, where new anti-piracy legislation is currently being debated, there’s an opportunity to set the standard.

Last year, several rightsholders and Internet platforms signed a memorandum of understanding which set out a basic framework for cooperation moving forward. The terms of that agreement are now the subject of negotiations before being turned into law sometime in the next few months.

During a closed-door meeting this week, held at telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor and reported by a Kommersant source, rightsholders set out new tough demands. In order to limit traffic being sent to pirate sites by search engines, they want companies like Yandex (and ultimately Google) to completely delist ‘pirate’ domains from search results.

Under the current terms of the memorandum, signatory companies delist search results (typically URLs) when they appear in a centralized database populated with links provided by content companies and their anti-piracy partners. The new proposals demand that sites considered as repeat infringers should disappear altogether.

Alexei Byrdin, General Director of the Internet Video Association, said that his group had identified a number of measures taken by pirate sites to limit the effectiveness of current measures. This means a more aggressive approach is needed.

“Our response is a draft rule on the removal of the entire domain of a site that systematically violates copyrights [from search results],” he told Kommersant.

While not all sites that receive multiple complaints will be affected (social networks and video hosting platforms would be excluded, for example), Internet companies are said to be opposed to the proposals. Among them Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine.

“It is necessary that any measures that entail inaccessibility to users of entire sites are based on a court decision. We are sure that such a solution will be found,” the company’s press office commented.

Channel One, the National Media Group, Gazprom-Media, the Internet Video Association, the Association of Film and Television Producers, Yandex, Rambler Group, Mail.Ru Group, vKontakte, and RuTube, are all signatories of the current memorandum.

The framework is set to expire on September 1, 2019, but could be extended if consensus isn’t reached by that date. However, aside from the deletion of entire domains from search results, it’s reported that the parties are largely in agreement, meaning that Russia is on course to expand its anti-piracy laws significantly, once again.

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

Media & Telecoms Companies Reveal “Self-Learning” Anti-Piracy System

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/media-telecoms-companies-reveal-self-learning-anti-piracy-system-190529/

Last November, major media and tech companies in Russia signed a landmark memorandum in order to tackle the rise of pirated content on the Internet.

Central to the agreement was the creation of a database populated with links to material deemed copyright-infringing by entertainment industry groups

Operators of search platforms agreed to query the database every five minutes and then, within six hours, remove links to the content from their search results. The same applies to sites that actually host content, such as Yandex.video and RuTube, for example.

Population of the database got quickly underway and according to the Media Communication Union (MKC), which represents the interests of major media and telecoms companies, now contains around 300,000 links. However, the companies involved feel that the system can be much improved with the addition of custom software.

To that end, this week the MKC revealed that it has begun testing a new anti-piracy system that will allow content to be added to the database more quickly and efficiently. The tool not only allows URLs to be entered manually but also accepts input from “specialized search systems” that are able to identify illegal content.

“An automated solution based on specially trained neural networks is used to analyze the content of sites specified in the rights holders’ reports,” MKC announced.

MKC says that manual testing is also used in a number of cases, with the results being sent to the neural network for “additional training.” As the project develops, the aim is to require the intervention of human operators on much fewer occasions.

“A modern software solution based on self-learning systems will significantly increase the effectiveness of the fight against Internet piracy and will further increase the consumption of legal video services,” said MKS President Mikhail Demin.

An almost fully-automated anti-piracy seems like a big ask, particularly when machines are often blamed for erroneous takedowns. However, for the head of Russian telecoms watchdog Roskomndazor, removing humans from the equation where possible will make the system more effective.

“This is a significant event for both sides of the Memorandum,” Alexander Zharov says.

“An automated solution for interaction within the framework of the Memorandum will help to increase the reaction times and reduce the risks associated with the ‘human factor’.”

It is not yet clear whether the system under development represents anything drastically new in the anti-piracy space, or whether the “self-learning” component will amount to anything more than scraping allegedly-infringing URLs and then sending these to the registry.

Nevetherless, beta tests are already underway and it’s expected that the finished product will be with rightsholders before the end of July.

The memorandum and supporting technical efforts are currently in operation voluntarily until the terms of the agreement run out November 1, 2019. However, given the level of commitment being shown by the parties involved, it’s expected to continue until the terms of the memorandum can be written into local law.

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