Monthly Archives: August 2012

hyperaudio

Mark Boas on hyperaudio:

Hyperaudio is a series of technologies built upon the foundations of HTML5 audio which aim to make audio a first class citizen of the web. In particular, but not exclusively, we are concerned with the spoken word.

What Hyperaudio hopes to achieve:

  1. make audio searchable
  2. make audio linkable
  3. make audio navigable
  4. dynamically generate audio
  5. convert speech to text
  6. represent audio visually

When we represent spoken audio as text we immediately start to open up the content. People can see at a glance what that content is. Transcripts then, underpin much of the work undertaken under the Hyperaudio umbrella so far. As soon as we convert speech to text we are immediately able to scan, search and link to that content. Add timings and we can use that transcript as a form of navigation. We can call these hyperlinked transcripts hyper-transcripts.

My Music Hack Day version of hyperaudio – hypermusic – is at http://gonze.com/blog/2012/02/16/proof-of-concept-for-hyperaudio-notation/.

interview with a takedown man

ereads.com covers a guy who makes his living writing DMCA takedown requests:

Hank St. James is a piracy exterminator for hire. For a fee he monitors pirate sites and when he finds a client’s book on one he emails a takedown notice to the bad guys. “Sometimes this entails as many as nine emails to get one book taken down from one site,” he informs me. “They use some sites where they upload too and that site then re-ups to seven or eight other sites automatically.”

He claims a high success rate, about 98% getting links removed within 1-3 days. “I’ve cracked most of the larger ones,” he says.

Like anyone else in the law enforcement field, St. James’s job is fraught with danger. “I have been threatened by one clown in Holland connected with [an underground website] when we had a five day running battle to get one of my authors works removed from his site. I’ve picked up viruses from some sites which my software has caught. Fifteen of those viruses are in quarantine, however, as there apparently is no antidote for the strains that infected my computer. So, the virus software simply isolated the virus.”

Is Pirate Sinker cool and dispassionate? Hardly. “It is very frustrating, anger inducing work,” he says. “Recently, John Simpson had a new book come out and that same day it was on [another underground website] which kinda sent me into a blue rage. These shoplifting parasites have no shame.”

Observations:

His goal is not to sue, it’s to reduce infringement.

His approach isn’t automated. There’s a human actively making decisions, being persistent, putting emotion behind the work. This human-based approach can’t be cheap.

The cost to create an infringement is probably orders of magnitude less than what it costs to higher him. It’s a buck or two, or nothing, to upload the infringing content.

His job makes him about as popular as a repo man.

negative SEO

Shoemoney.com:

When news hit that Google would begin taking the number of DMCAs a website receives into its ranking algorithm, there was a definite split among SEOs about whether it was a smart move or not. On the one hand, it would negatively impact scraper sites or websites that have lifted content from one of their own sites. And on the other side, website owners who have unfairly received a DMCA could be negatively impacted.

So where does that leave SEOs? Well, with DMCAs a confirmed piece of the Goggle algo ranking puzzle, you can bet your AdSense check that one of the things some of the blacker SEOs will be doing is automatically filing multiple DMCAs against competitor sites. It won’t be very long before we see a huge uptick in the number of DMCAs filed in the industry.

SEO is so valuable that Google’s move could have a huge impact. It might actually have more teeth than the threat of a lawsuit.

Google takedown explosion

Google URL Takedown Requests Up 100% In a Month, Up 1137% On 2011

The massive wave of DMCA takedowns sent by rightsholders to Google in recent months is growing at an astonishing rate. During the past month the number of takedown requests received by the search giant doubled to almost 1.5 million URLs per week. To put that into perspective, exactly one year ago weekly URL takedowns numbered just 131,577 per week, an increase of 1,137%.

While many sites comply with DMCA-style takedown requests in order to maintain their ‘safe harbor’ status, sites such as The Pirate Bay routinely refuse to take anything down.

For a long time there was little that could be done to stop casual users from subsequently finding content on sites like TPB by using regular search engines such as Google. However, during the last couple of years a growing movement has sought to do just that, not just against sites like TPB, but against all domains, no matter what their copyright policies.

In the week starting July 23, rightsholders asked for 1,107,659 URLs to be taken down, an increase of more than 50% on the previous weekly record. But amazingly even this record was about to be smashed.

Sue American

The American DMCA defined the global rulebook for safe harbor. Europe, Canada, and Oceania have rough parity with the DMCA.

Except that in the US, you have to register an agent with the government. Outside the US a site just needs to post contact info on its web site. Inside the US a site needs to print out a form, fill it in, send it by mail with a check, and then repeat the entire procedure every time the contact info changes or the same company add a site. The check is about $100.

That’s a lot of friction! No surprise that few American sites bother to comply.

It seems like a fine point, but there is a big impact. Far fewer American sites are in safe harbor. Sites outside the US are far more likely to be within the law.

The boolean logic of safe harbor is one giant AND statement. (AIUI/IANAL). If every little detail is correct, you are in. If not, you are out. There’s no semi-in for sites that do everything right except register an agent.

So if you’re a copyright troll the lesson is clear: sue American.