Last week on the Internet: Game of Thrones new piracy record, Pandora lawsuit, Washington Post & The Guardian receive Pulitzer Prize, Snowden vs. Putin

  • Copyright

An Oatmeal comic
An Oatmeal comic

 For the second week in a row, Game of Thrones sets new piracy record. This can make one wonder why is GoT the most pirated TV show ever and if HBO cares about this or not, given its lack of response to the situation. Apparently, pirating HBO shows means more “penetration, more paying subs, more health for HBO, less reliance on having to do paid advertising“, says the CEO of Time Warner, the company who owns HBO.

A media business lesson!

Google is pressured by the US Congress to take action against piracy. However, the same Congress, it seems, will not take measures to reform the copyright law any time soon. The increasingly irrelevant DRM is going to stay with us for a while longer, unfortunately! Until then, we can only imagine how a reformed copyright law will look like.

Copyright holders are pressuring Google, as well, to remove 2 million Pirate Bay URLs. On the other side, Google is calling for copyright licensing of digital content in EU to be simplified. This situation exemplifies perfectly what the fundamental problem of the copyright monopoly is: “it can’t coexist with private communications as a concept.”

After Kim DotCom, the music industry has sued the online radio service Pandora for allegedly failing to pay royalties for music recorded before 1972. Moreover, RIAA and MPAA employees have uploaded over 2,000 GB of copyrighted content on Megaupload before the organizations filed the lawsuit.

Tribeca Film Festival programmer, Cara Cusumano, has a wise message for the movie industry:

[pull_quote_center]Mainstream movie makers need to get over their fear of piracy and accept the internet as the way of the future.[/pull_quote_center]

It’s not the first time such a message is sent to MPAA, but it appears they didn’t receive/hear it, so we need to say it more often and louder! This is one reason why downloading copyright material turned into a political movement.

  • Surveillance

Edward Snowden appeared via videolink in a televised Q&A with Vladimir Putin, asking him whether Russia is also deploying mass surveillance programs. Of course, Putin denied everything.  Though not clear at first, Snowden’s reason for getting involved was that he wanted to  “spark another national debate about state surveillance, this time in the country that hosts him.

Wired has published two interesting articles (1 and 2) about the OS Snowden used to keep himself hidden from NSA’s prying eyes. In the light of the new changes in Gmail‘s Terms of Service, which clearly state that all e-mails, sent and received, are analyzed, Snowden’s OS is something we can give more attention to.

The Pulitzer Gold Medal
The Pulitzer Gold Medal

Washington Post and and The Guardian were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the work they did covering Snowden’s revelations. Receiving this prize adds to the idea that Snowden is not a traitor.

Heartbleed bug has kept the headlines this week as well: it exposes OpenVPN private keys; it can hack end users;  its revelation sent bandwidth costs skyrocketing. Fear not, the NSA advises us on how to deal with the bug. If you don’t trust the NSA, then there is a browser extension developed by the Internet service company Netcraft, which lets you know if a website is vulnerable to Heartbleed. It seems that in January this year, the US government published a report in which they stated that NSA must disclose any vulnerability they encounter so that it can be patched. At the same time, the report contains a loophole which states that the agency has to do so unless the vulnerability is of use to the agency’a activity. It’s time to encrypt the entire Internet!

Barrett Brown has released a new book, Keep Rootin’ For Putin: Establishment Pundits and the Twilight of American Competence, where he “takes down talking heads and argues for the revolutionary potential of the Internet.

Featured image: a derivative of “Game of Thrones” by Oatmeal (Matthew Inman)