Mastermind of file sharing (and illicit activities) Kim Dotcom, has landed himself in hot water, yet again.
The creator behind one of the world’s largest file sharing websites, MegaUpload, will now have to deal with yet another lawsuit claiming that Dotcom, in conjunction with his website, profited from massive copyright infringement of countless movies and television shows.
And it’s not just small-fry plaintiffs, either; six of Holywoods biggest film and television studios are filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against MegaUpload and Kim Dotcom.
These studios include 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Universal, Columbia, Warner Brothers and Disney. (more…)
This weekend, the phenomenon ‘Breaking Bad’ made its final appearance on American television as well as Netflix in the US and Europe. According to network AMC, 10.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the end of Walter White’s story, a record high for the program, and an increase of more than 300 percent over the season finale last year.
The cultural conversation was in full swing on Twitter as well. According to AMC, 1.24 million tweets from over 601,000 different users referenced the show while the finale was broadcast on the east and west coasts of the US. The activity hit a peak of 22,373 tweets per minute just as the first showing began, with series star Bryan Cranston’s thank you to fans retweeted over 52,000 times. (more…)
If you have ever wondered what South Africans like to pirate from the internet, or what you are missing out on (which you shouldn’t be doing!) here is some interesting info.
TorrentFreak, a blog which is dedicated to reporting the latest news and trends from the BitTorrent and file sharing world, has compiled a list of ‘The Top 10 Most Downloaded Movies’.
The list, which is made up of a vast scope of different films, gives insight into the most pirated movies – and whether they are the commercial box office hits or more alternative films. (more…)
A rogue computer reseller who sold pirated software to unwitting consumers in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay compensation to his victims.
Computer shop manager Vikesh Singh, who traded as PE Technologies in Port Elizabeth and later as Vision Technologies in Johannesburg, was found guilty in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Port Elizabeth on June 15 of fraud and multiple contraventions of the Counterfeit Goods and Copyright Acts for selling counterfeit and unlicensed copies of Microsoft software.
Singh also pleaded guilty for contravening the Companies and the Close Corporations Acts by acting as a manager while disqualified, as he had previously been convicted of theft.
He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, suspended for five years, provided he doesn’t contravene the Counterfeit Goods Act or the Copyright Act. He was also sentenced to a fine of R80 000, or four years’ imprisonment conditionally suspended for five years, for contravening the Companies Act and the Close Corporations Act. Singh was also ordered to compensate four customers, who had been sold counterfeit Microsoft software and acted as witnesses in the criminal case, three times the value of their purchases, and ordered by the court to pay compensation to Microsoft of R150 000. (more…)
Microsoft has again joined forces with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to highlight the benefits of using genuine software and stronger protection on IP innovation. Their most recent event, held on 26 April, spoke out about the importance of IP rights.
Strong IP protections are central to instilling a culture of innovation, which can spur economic growth, create jobs and increase revenue for the broader industry and government organisations. Microsoft believes that the global arena needs stronger IP protections in place to safeguard the industry’s ability to innovate, level the playing field for small businesses, and help local governments generate tax revenue through the legitimate sale and trade of genuine software.
“In addition to strengthening the economy, sound IP policies can help reduce software piracy and counterfeiting, which we know sap government resources, threaten legitimate businesses and expose consumers to the risks that come from using non-genuine software,” said Charl Everton, anti-piracy lead, Microsoft South Africa. “Software piracy and counterfeiting tend to thrive in places with weak IP protection, and this has an enormous and negative impact on the global economy.”
At the recent Convention on Reducing Software Piracy organised by the Free Market Foundation (FMF) and the Information Technology Association (ITA), and hosted by Microsoft South Africa, Everton revealed her “5 step roadmap to reducing software piracy” and placed collaboration at the heart of what is needed to decrease piracy locally. (more…)
Pirated computer software is currently costing legal resellers and the local computer industry millions of rands a month through lost revenues – and leaving thousands of unsuspecting computer owners up the creek without support.
Microsoft South Africa’s Charl Everton says her company alone is currently busy investigating more than 60 computer dealers suspected of selling fake or illegally licensed software – and that’s “just the tip of the iceberg,” she says.
Overall, the trade in counterfeit goods is costing South Africa millions of rands annually in lost revenues, says Mandla Mnyatheli, chief director of company and IP enforcement with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“The exact impact of counterfeiting is hard to quantify, but there’s no doubt this trend has been increasing. We have an urgent challenge in South Africa to stem this tide,” said Mnyatheli.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Tobias-Pokolo, is spearheading a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the scourges of piracy and counterfeiting, says Mnyatheli. All relevant enforcement agencies and government departments in the security cluster will be part of this campaign.
The biggest problem with piracy, though, says Ms Everton, is that there is growing evidence that many local criminal organisations are now involved in counterfeiting to some degree – which effectively means that people who buy pirated goods are funding organised crime.
“All indications are that local criminal syndicates are following the global trend of branching out into counterfeit software as a low-risk, high-profit sideline to other activities like hijacking and drug trafficking,” she said.
Ms Everton was speaking as part of Microsoft’s worldwide ‘Consumer Action Day’ – a drive across 70 countries to protect consumers and increase awareness of the risks of counterfeit software.
She says that every year, thousands of consumers and businesses buy counterfeit products that either don’t work or actually harm the users by opening the door to online spam, virus and fraud networks. Microsoft’s tests of software on some popular sites have shown that up to 35 percent of counterfeit software contains harmful code.
Globally, Microsoft has had more than 300 000 voluntary reports in the past two years from people who unknowingly purchased counterfeit software that was often riddled with viruses or malware. Victims risk losing personal information, having their identities stolen, and wasting valuable time and money.
“Consumers everywhere are coming to us with complaints about counterfeit software,” said Dale Waterman, Microsoft’s Corporate Attorney for Anti-Piracy for the Middle East and Africa region. “They’re asking what they can do to protect themselves. They want facts. And they want industry and government to stand up and take action. Our commitment is to do everything we can to help them.”
According to data released by Microsoft this week, based on the results of a broad consumer survey which asked more than 38,000 men and women in 20 countries around the world about their perceptions of counterfeit software, 80 percent of consumers polled worldwide have a range of concerns about the risks of using counterfeit software, and 70 percent said they believe genuine software is more secure, more stable and is easier to keep up-to-date.
But the presence of high-quality fakes in the market today makes distinguishing counterfeit from genuine a continuing challenge for consumers. The majority of those polled — 73 percent — say they would choose genuine software given the choice, and more than two-thirds believe that consumers in general have to be on the lookout or they could mistakenly buy counterfeit software.
As part of its awareness activities, Microsoft this month launched its “Don’t Fake It” campaign, which drives people to the www.dontfakeit.co.za website. There, they get to be part of a music video with popular local band Prime Circle.
There has been no shortage of anti-piracy action by authorities this year. In the past month alone, there have been more than 20 enforcement actions involving the SA Police Services, the DTi or Microsoft’s attorneys against resellers offering pirated software in Bloemfontein and Gauteng. Numerous hard drives used to make counterfeit copies of popular software suites were seized in the raids.
Several of the dealers have been served with ‘cease and desist’ letters by Microsoft’s attorney’s around the sale of counterfeit software and PCs loaded with illegal software.
One of the men netted in the swoop, a prominent Bloemfontein IT consultant, has been charged with offences under the Copyright Goods Act after being caught selling high-quality counterfeit software and product keys on a popular online site.