Tuesday News: New AT&T breach, Conan Doyle Estate pays up (again), Facebook now owns WhatsApp, and interesting analysis of piracy
AT&T Suffers Another Massive Data Breach due to a Inside Job – Another day, another security breach at AT&T. And another inside job, which somehow seems like a double violation. This breach, which apparently occurred in August (as opposed to the June breach) has affected an undisclosed number of accounts, and appears to be both deep and expansive. On the bright side (/eye roll), AT&T is offering a year’s worth of credit monitoring.
As per the notification, the employee accessed a master customer data base file called Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) without proper authorization. This CPNI happens to be the master data card of a customer on AT&T network and contains all valid and valuable information about the customer. It is generated by AT&T once you buy any type of service from AT&T and the insider who carried out the breach apparently knew this. –Tech Worm
Judge Posner Orders Sherlock Holmes Estate to Pay Attorneys’ Fees for “Form of Extortion”, Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. – Don’t you love it when justice prevails? I’ll bet Leslie Klinger is feeling pretty vindicated right now, having prevailed against the Conan Doyle Estate, which had been charging licensing fees for stories that were rightfully within the public domain, and recovered attorney’s fees under 17 U.S.C. § 505 of the Copyright Act. Plus, Judge Posner publicly excoriated the Estate for its “extortion.” According to Posner, the Estate would charge fees for the use of public domain material, hoping the authors would pay them rather than legally challenging the Estate’s claim of copyright protection.
“[T]he estate was playing with fire in asking Amazon and other booksellers to cooperate with it in enforcing its nonexistent copyright claims against Klinger. For it was enlisting those sellers in a boycott of a competitor of the estate, and boycotts of competitors violate the antitrust laws.”
The circuit court applauded Klinger for acting, in effect, as “a private attorney general, combating a disreputable business practice—a form of extortion.” Judge Posner admonished the Doyle estate: “It’s time the estate, in its own self-interest, changed its business model.” –National Law Review
Facebook’s WhatsApp acquisition now costs nearly $22 billion – So the deal between Facebook and WhatsApp finally closed, once again expanding Facebook’s control of the social media marketplace (ugh) and simultaneously increasing its stock value. What was initially estimated to be a $19B deal ended up as a $22B deal, in large part because of the rising value of Facebook stock. Now let’s hope they don’t try for Snapchat.
WhatsApp, which has more than 600 million monthly users, is among a new crop of mobile messaging and social media apps that have become increasingly popular among younger users. Snapchat, a privately owned mobile app that allows users to swap photos that can disappear after a few seconds, is raising money at a $10 billion valuation, according to media reports. –CNBC
The Unrepentant Bootlegger – A very interesting profile of Hana Beshara, whose illegal streaming business, NinjaVideo, had more than 60,000 registered users and 2.6M daily visitors — before, that is, the US Department of Homeland Security shut it down and prosecuted her for conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement. Beshara did 16 months of prison time, and she is still not convinced she was in the wrong. One of the biggest problems, the article points out, is that the way people consume media is NOT the way it’s delivered, not only in terms of where content is available, but also how it is delivered. And that lack of access, more than anything else, seems to be driving piracy.
I definitely think there’s a lesson here for books, especially when it comes to geo-restrictions that limit the international availability of books that are freely purchasable elsewhere. That people are paying in droves for legal content, it seems reasonable to think that providers should focus on ways to encourage people to pay for content, perhaps by making it more ubiquitously and readily available in legal distribution channels.
People watch more paid, legal content than ever, but they also continue to download huge amounts of illegal content. “Piracy is putting pressure on antiquated business models, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” said Brett Danaher, an economics professor at Wellesley College who studies Internet piracy. “But the prevalence of piracy shows that people are growing up in a culture of free, and that is not good for the future of entertainment, either.” . . .
Content providers, Mr. Swanston [CEO of Tru Optik] says, will eventually have to consider new delivery models that are more closely aligned with how people behave. He imagines collaborations with streaming services to release content or simultaneously scheduling theater and digital streaming releases — ideas he hopes his company can help bring about. Some companies, like BitTorrent, which makes file-sharing technology, are already experimenting in this arena. –The New York Times
I do not live in the US and i really hate geo-restriction for books (and everything else). I recalled a few year ago i want to read “The Darkest Day” by Britt Bury based on the review but cannot purchase it (until now I still can’t). Eventually I fake the account in ARE and purchase it. I make recommendation to friends since I love the book. They cannot buy it, too. For most people it is easier to download I do not live in the US and i really hate geo-restriction for books (and everything else). I recalled a few year ago i want to read “The Darkest Day” by piracy copy than faking an account in online store.
In this case I cannot blame them for doing. They have money and willing to buy legally but no choice.
The sad thing is people who do not live in the US need the contents to be available online more than people who can access to other media ( i.g. printed book or DVD)
Love the Sherlock Holmes news. Just warms my heart when justice prevails like that.
I hate geo-restriction. I get it with physical goods: shipping, customs, delivery systems change from country to country, so I completely understand that companies choose to say “Not worth it.”.
I can also understand it for state-sponsored online content having geo-restrictions. After all, the free online content is free because of taxes, so whoever’s paying those taxes gets access.
But e-books? Or deals on those e-books? I thought the point of selling was to sell?
I live in Russia, known as a home for piracy, and I watch what happens. A new device iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, etc. is launched. The purveyors work at length with content providers in the US and W. Europe to get lots of content. The content providers want to avoid piracy, the easy way is to not sell content in markets known for piracy.
Of course, they still sell the device. The iPhone was 3 months old when any phone kiosk on the streets of Moscow knew how to jailbreak it.
Then, with a gazillion devices that play MP3s (or the Apple version) in Russian hands, there’s a market for the music. But official sites have to deal with the worries of the content-owners, so pirate sites spring up. The more piracy, the more reluctant legal owners are to license their content.
Now, everyone has an MP3 player. You see the Central Asian illegal immigrant, grossly underpaid laborers on the Metro with earphones. Where do they get their music? There’s next to know legal market. I looked for one. I asked my Russian friends. They tell me sites, none are paying. They tell me music is free.
They told me the advantage of the Kindle is that the books are free. It’s the same thing. The Kindle came out in the US and Russians got them. There were no books, so people scanned books, bootlegged books. There’s a substantial library of Russian Kindle-formatted books out there.
Every now and then, some Western publisher or rights holder gets furious about rampant piracy. Because the Russians were supposed to sit quietly, while technology moved on, waiting for their turn. I’m sure the same is true with less developed countries. Some less developed countries I’ve been in barely had bookstores outside of the capital.
Now, a great technology comes along, allowing the educated to read books without a library or bookstore. What are they going to do? Sit in ignorance and wait until someone decides Haiti or Botswana is a market worth pursuing?
Sorry about the rant, this stuff just really annoys me.
As an Australian geo-restriction makes me see red. It’s a known fact that Australia has the most illegally downloaded copies of Game of Thrones than anywhere else in the world. Being on the opposite side of the world shouldn’t mean we miss out. With books we often get the UK editions so when the book is available in the UK it doesn’t seem fair that we don’t get it even as an ebook.
Now I’ll have bitch about Harlequin. I had an eharlequin account, I liked the Nocturne and Luna series, I can’t buy these books any more due to geo-restriction I have to buy from the local Mills and Boon site. They don’t sell Luna or Nocturne which is why I was buying them from the US store in the first place, and because of geo-restriction I have trouble finding them on online stores.
Rant over, I have found a lot of good indie writer by being mad at the big publishers and looking elsewhere.