Australian ‘Three Strikes’ moves closer

May 2015

Internet, recorded music


Australia’s telecoms sector has submitted the final draft of its plans for a three-strikes system to combat online piracy in the country. The draft was submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, after input from over 370 interesting parties and the planned moves will see ISPs sending warning letters to suspected file-sharers. Australian ISPs have resisted the move, but the country’s government forced action late last year. As with other three-strikes programmes, a series of letters will be sent to web-users who rights owners suspect of accessing unlicensed content, the first being educational, but with subsequent correspondence ‘graduating’ to more severe. However the third strike will mean that the personal details (of those who ignore letters) being handed over to the rights owners, who will then be able to take legal action for copyright infringement. Web-users who get to stage three will have the right to appeal, The current set up also puts a cap on the total number of warning letters that can be sent each year, with 200,000 the current limit. Though that’s really a financial arrangement, and rights owners could push for more letters to be sent if they can agree financial terms with the ISPs. The ACMA will now consider the draft proposals which need Federal government approval.


All three major record companies are taking action against Swedish man for allegedly hacking the email accounts of music industry executives to access unreleased recordings including those from Nicki Minaj and Mary J Blige, which he then allegedly sold to DJs and websites who leaked them ahead of official releases.  According to Torrentfreak, the man is being prosecuted after an FBI investigation and prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad explained: “In the United States an investigation was launched into the stolen songs. The tracks led to Sweden through bank accounts and IP addresses. Therefore, we were contacted”. The accused, who denies the charges against him, could face fines and up to two years in prison if found guilty of the hacking and leaking allegations. He also faces civil litigation from Sony, Universal and Warner, who will likely claim that the leaks cost them much more than the $12,000 the accused is thought to have made from selling the unreleased tracks.


Swedish prosecutors are preparing to argue their case in court as to why The Pirate Bay’s flagship .se domains should be deactivated or put under government control, as copyright enforcers continue to try and make it harder for piracy platforms to operate.
And a fascinating post on the New Yorker looking at Bennie Lydell ‘Dell’ Glover, a one time temporary employee at the PolyGram compact-disk manufacturing plant in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, who used his access to unreleased tracks to devastating effect. Glover initially just sold a few mix tapes using music he already owned, but he brought a CD burner and his first forays into proper piracy began. As the internet developed, Glover and a co-worker Tony Dockery soon realised the potential of bulletin boards, then chat rooms and he was soon a leading file swapper – and his ability to regularly source pre-release leaks earned him ultimate accolade in digital piracy: to be among the “elite.” And then came MP3 files …. and then came Napster ……. Glover leaked Lil Wayne’s “500 Degreez” and Jay Z’s “The Blueprint.” He leaked Queens of the Stone Age’s “Rated R” and 3 Doors Down’s “Away from the Sun.” He leaked Björk. He leaked Ashanti. He leaked Ja Rule. He leaked Nelly. He leaked Blink-182’s “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket”.  In 2003 he leaked 50 Cent’s official début, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” – It became the bestselling U.S. album of the year. He followed that up with albums from Jay Z, G Unit, Mary J. Blige, Big Tymers, and Ludacris, and then began the following year with Kanye West’s début, “The College Dropout.”  The article is called ‘The Man who Broke The Music Business’ and its well worth a read:
In the end, the authorities caught up with Glover (and Dockery). In October 2009 he pleaded guilty to one count of felony conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. Both Glover and Dockery served three months in prison.
The New Yorker piece is written by Stephen Witt, and it’s based on his astonishing forthcoming book How Music Got Free. The book tells the story of three people: Glover, Karlheinz Brandenburg, the German academic who was the key figure in the invention of the MP3, and Doug Morris, the music industry executive who made Universal the most powerful record label in the world.

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