September 20, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Leaked e-mails reveal MediaDefender's antipiracy woes

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MediaDefender's e-mails show that the company's efforts against most BitTorrent "clients," or the programs that let people download BitTorrent files, were ineffective. The one BitTorrent client that MediaDefender's defenses seemed to work on was uTorrent. In one e-mail exchange, MediaDefender executives were gleeful when they learned that Paramount Pictures was planning to test the company's effectiveness by tracking its abilities on uTorrent.

"Please add all of their titles (there are only 4 of them, I think) to interdiction," writes one MediaDefender manager. "If we perform solidly on BitTorrent, they will probably give us more business :)."

In another exchange from July, MediaDefender managers are upset that the company is asked to prove the effectiveness of its technology on a client other than uTorrent. BayTSP was the company hired by a MediaDefender client to track the company's effectiveness.

"Bay did very little testing using uTorrent," a MediaDefender executive wrote. "I thought the tester was down with uTorrent. Can you gently push him? Top priority. Thanks."

Another problem that seemed to plague the company was a lack of resources. E-mail exchanges between NBC Universal and MediaDefender from last May show that problems arose when the Hollywood studio asked the antipiracy company to protect some new content. MediaDefender executives realized their resources were maxed out and couldn't service any more content. They looked for ways to make room. One idea executives considered was to cut back on protecting content belonging to another client: Universal Music Group.

"The only UMG projects active now are the ones already on Billboard," said an e-mail from a MediaDefender employee. "We've tried to reduce it as much as possible. We'll probably have to bite the bullet on a few projects and pick a couple projects to not protect at all."

It's not clear whether MediaDefender went through with the plan. MediaDefender and Universal Music Group did not respond to interview requests. But Universal's contract with MediaDefender can be found among the e-mails pilfered from the company. It calls for the music company to pay $4,000 for one month of protection for an album and $2,000 for a month's worth of protection for a single song.

Sounds like a lot of money, but it's difficult to know whether the protection actually worked or will in the future. As file-sharing protocols continue to improve, circumstances are bound to get even more difficult for companies like MediaDefender, said Chris Castle, a longtime music industry attorney and executive.

"I think that one of the problems in general is that you can't put a $100 piece of security on something that sells for 99 cents," Castle said. "There is only so much money you're going to spend to protect a piece of content and that means there's only so much that antipiracy companies can afford to do."

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13 comments

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The Industry is to Blame
Why is piracy so big on the internet? Maybe consumers are sick to death of being ripped off. People are growing tired of $20 CDs with one or two good songs. $50 for the DVD of Psych containing only 15 episodes??? ***? Better shows like Lost and Stargate SG-1 have far more episodes and cheaper / more realistic price. HBO shows are insane, $89 for Carnivale? As much as I loved that show, I don't love it to spend almost $200 for 2 freaking seasons of a show they canceled.

Their greed and unwilling to evolve with technology and the times has put them in this place.

I love how coming into 2000, the RIAA blamed Napster for the slowing record sales... yet the fact that most of the music in the late 90's sucked ass, the fact that we were just hit by the tech bubble bursting, the recession and so on... none of that had anything to do with it, no! It was those gosh darn internet pirates.

I swear who ever runs these studios and labels are mildly retarded.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It has nothing to do with...
Intelligence. They want to keep their broken system and will do whatever to whoever to do it. If that means blaming these companies or getting our lame duck government to pass more laws that do nothing but turn off the consumers so be it.

The only thing corporate America cares about is money. It all comes down to greed. When that is the soul source of all reasoning and decisions this is what you get.

Robert
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Link Flag
Yes and No.
[i]"Why is piracy so big on the internet?"[/i]

For lots of reasons:

* it's cheaper.

* in earlier days, few in the software biz cared if their apps were copied, and many considered it a form of marketing (see also Windows 3.1).

* Greed. You were dead-on ab't this w/ regards to entertainment media.

Then again, when it comes to entertainment media, the porn industry almost doesn't seem to care about their products being p2p'd, and yet they still make money hand-over-fist.

As a not-so-lewd parallel, the anime film and show makers have their stuff p2p'd all the time, but with a twist or two: most p2p anime are "fansubs", where fans provide the translated subtitles. Also, once an anime series is available in the US, the p2p versions pretty much dry up online. The anime crowd has a code of honor - in that if you can buy it locally, they'd prefer that you do. Me, I remember discovering Cowboy Bebop that way, years and years ago... where each episode was at 320xsomething resolution and took forever to download. When I saw that it became available for purchase in the US (via the web), I happily shelled out ~$180 for the DVD set (27 episodes + soundtrack CD).

Getting back to the RI/MPAA, they're kind of screwed. Napster was a turning point, and they're beginning to realize that they simply cannot 'monetize the eschaton', for lack of a better phrase. They're either going to have to change their business model, or simply die.

As for MediaDefender? It's a mixture of wonder, admiration, and derisive laughter. I wonder at what it takes for someone to basically **** off the world. I admire their skill in BS'ing the AA's (really - you simply cannot even hope to slow the tide, let alone turn it back. You may as well start bailing out the ocean one bucket at a time for all the good it will do). I laugh derisively at their bluster, bluff, and outright amateurish reactions to all of this (a real pro would've had a hell of a lot more control and composure over the situations at hand, ne?)

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
I agree with you.
Also I am sick not being able to buy any movie I want without it NOT being in stock or "Sorry we don't carry that anymore." or the all too familiar GO buy it from the web! or:

Salesman says, "Sorry that title is not being sold in stores or online anymore. It has been discontinued."

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hollywood has killed off its entire line of 1970's sci-fi movies?
I just want to buy the movie "THE KEEP" part 1 and part 2 !!!
So what if it got lousy reviews... i'm trying to build a nice library of videos in my living room.
Posted by inachu (963 comments )
Link Flag
The Problem with Piracy
Thanks to the Internet and software the act of piracy, which was enjoyed by geeks, nerds and hackers, is now performed by pretty much anyone. What used to cost he industry a million or two a year has ballooned into a billion dollar problem.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes and No
For it to be a billion dollar problem you actually have to have lost a billion dollars. The industry hasn't lost a billion. They have not earned as much as they think they should have.

The Industry should perhaps take advantage of one thing. Pirated materials are disposable. Someone with a hard drive of songs has no vested interested in any of it. They can get it again, but with a lot of work. That's the key.

The industry has a chance to actually add some value to electronic formatted music. If they do they may do well.
Posted by Renegade Knight (13748 comments )
Link Flag
Anit Piracy Resolved
My system GURFRIP SystemZ or Global Utility Restructure for Relative Intelligent Process, based upon my GURFRIP PATENT wholly resolves the issue of electronic media piracy.

As I am the LEGITIMATE inventor of You Tube and am involved in a substancial criminal investigation of Google, I will be happy to discuss the merits of the new system with legitimate ethical potential partners.

I've learned my lesson about online piracy by corporate giant GOOGLE quite well.

I fixed it.

Sincerely,


James Reginald Harris, Jr.
Posted by gurfrip (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HAHA ! Down with Media Defender!
Too funny and I just chuckle even more when Media Defender sends out their team of "lawyers" pissing threats to the email hosting sites.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The media companies should be asking themselves...
The media companies should be asking themselves,"Why do people pirate our stuff?"

I think that pirates fall into two overlapping groups.

The collectors just want to get the biggest load of illegal stuff they can. They never watch 90% of what they download, it is all about ego. These people may **** off the RIAA/MPAA, however, they do little real damage.

The second group are the people who just don't have any money. They may be disabled and unemployed, They may be 12 years old. They may work for minimum wage and not get as many hours as they want. If they did not pirate, they would purchase very little, If you don't have money, you don't buy $500 a month in DVD's.

Both groups are breaking the law, however, the movie and music industries should ask themselves, "Is the money we spend going after this problem getting us any return, or is it only pissing off our customers?"

If you spend $100 dollars to stop someone from downloading $10 worth of stuff, causing your paying customers to not buy $500 of your product, just because you made them mad, you have something of a net loss. (Sorry for the run on sentence. I have never been good at turning math into words.)
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It is of most importance with all businesses protect the security of data, employee, customer information. This stands well to prove that any business can come under attack of a network security breach. Protection against these security infraction must always be the very first line of defence. www.centerpoint7.com/businesstechnology.htm http://www.centerpoint7.com
Posted by BKCP7 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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