Government Cloud Authors: Scott Allen, David Paquette, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: API Journal, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing

API Journal: Blog Feed Post

Piracy in Developing Countries

“The elephant in the room” they thought was piracy

Joe Karaganis, of the Social Science Research Council, is giving a talk at the Berkman Center on a six-country study on media (music, film and software) piracy. The study began in 2004 and should be available in March.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.“The elephant in the room” they thought was piracy. Previous studies on access to media tended to avoid the issue of piracy. “The media ecology is still an ecology of piracy.” “We saw a role for a broader social-scientific approach to these issues.” The point of diminishing returns had passed for increasing the strength of IP laws, he says, so countries have been focusing on enforcement. “We began to frame a project that would ask a different set of questions.” It wanted to look not only the costs of piracy, but also at the benefits especially in developing countries. At first, they were more interested in skeptically examining industry reports, but many others started doing this, so it became less of a focus. They’ve tried to separate piracy and counterfeiting, which are usually considered together, because “they have less and less to do with each other in actual practice.”

Three areas of research:

Pricing: The persistence of high and relatively uniform media prices in the developing world; the industry wants to protect the value of their goods in Western markets rather than worrying about making it available in the developing world. Uniform and high prices plus poverty is pretty much the recipe for piracy.

The structure of policymaking: The primary role of the RIAA is to filter info about piracy into the US Trade Representatives and other policy-making organizations, through the IIPA. The IIPA has stimulated many studies on piracy globally and ahs set the terms of the debate.

The organization of enforcement.

Joe shows a table of prices of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida in six countries. The legal price ranges from $8.50 in India to $20.50 in S. Africa (US dollars), but compared to the local incomes, the price is $760 in India and a “mere” $75 in Mexico. But the pirate price in India is $0.40-$1.2, with a corresponding drop in the price compared to local income. The prices are much lower for legal copies of domestically-produced CDs. Same is true for movie DVDs. Where a local company owns its distribution, the prices tend to compete with pirates. Joe says that over the past 10 years, the price of pirated copies has dropped to very close to marginal prices. We’re at a transitional moment, he says, to purely digital media.

He shows a chart of the structure of policy-making organizations, with industry associations feeding into the IIPA, which hands them off to the USTR, which then passes them through 85% of the time. Joe says the study has spent a lot of time unpacking the IIPA’s annual table of losses due to piracy in multiple countries; the data is opaque, although it’s becoming less so. (The IIPA does not compile info about the US.) The table shows “levels,” i.e., what percentage of media in a country are pirated. In Argentina, it’s 75% of business sw. In Brunei, it’s 100% of music.

A questioner points out that not every pirated work would have been purchased if it could not be pirated. Joe says the report goes into the methodological terrain pretty deeply. But, he says, “the default is secrecy” in these reports. “All of this is a black box, and very deliberately so.” He says that their credibility has so eroded that they’d do better to become more transparent.

The USTR can put you on a watch list, priority watch list, and a priority foreign country list “which is a fast track to sanctions.” The acceptance of the WTO, however, meant that sanctions could not be applied to WTO members (because it requires multilateral processes), so the sanctioned countries graph flatlined. The number of warnings, however, went up.

There are few prosecutions in most countries, but lots of raids to confiscate goods. The raids become the punishment. “The industry groups have successfully enlisted the police” but have run into obstacles on the judicial end. In the few cases that can be prosecuted, there are “spectacular punishments.” There has been competition for enforcement resources among companies that have access to them. The industry is so woven into the enforcement process, they can direct and even fund the raids. “There’s just no boundary between public and private power.” Film companies are the best at deploying state resources. The demand for enforcement gives rise to business models, starting with bribing the police, to blackmailing people who have been detected with infringing materials.

Q: Is it understood by the populace that they’re doing something illegal?
A: Yes, but it’s an everyday activity.
Q: Are people worried about being caught?
A: Other countries than the US don’t focus on consumer-level enforcement.
Q: In my country people don’t know it’s illegal.
A: In our research, there’s usually no ambiguity. The lower price is the figure.

Q: Correlations?
A: There are loose correlations between GDP and piracy, but they vary according to media type. The content business model is to keep prices high and just wait it out for incomes to go up. Of course, the price of tech is dropping faster than income is growing.

Piracy is de-formalizing, he says. It’s no longer the small storefront. It’s the street vendor and others less vulnerable to raids. Enforcement against retail optical disk sales has worked. But that just pushed it out into the street.

Q: Do the charts include works that are distributed as unlicensed as intended?
A: It’s a black box.

Q: Do people have a reason to buy legal works for anything except fear of enforcement?
A: There’s no fear of enforcement. People buy legal works only for other reasons. In several of the countries, there are home-grown enforcement campaigns that come from domestic artists.

Q: What will be the take-away of the report?
A: It won’t be liked by industry lobbyists because it departs from the theft narrative that has defined the debate. It’s written from the perspective of the developing economies, where the reasons and conditions for piracy are just not part of the piracy of debate. You never hear about problems of pricing, for example. Our goal is to encourage developing cvountries to ssert more control over their IP policies and enforcement in order to enrich their own culture.
Q: Is there anything a developing country can do about pricing?
A: Depends on the sector. E.g., the biz sw strategy is to allow rampant priacy to ensure universal adoption, and then they begin to enforce against the most vulnerable institutions: municipal gov’ts, etc. What’s the source of open source platforms here? Most govts have no demonstrated any consistent open source adoption strategy. A lot of half-baked strategies, but few fully implemented ones. But that seems to be an adequate outcome. They want a ubiquitous platform of supported sw, which they get with pirated copies of Windows and MS Office. The OS advocates are often being gamed by MSFT’s high-level strategy. “This is an optimal strategy for the software companies. Microsoft wouldn’t have it any other way.” The enforcement rhetoric doesn’t match the sw companies’ strategies. MSFT could enforce Windows 7 piracy in China, but if they did, Linux would be the standard overnight. They’re still growing 30%. If you’re an open sw advocate, piracy is a real problem [because it lets countries use Microsoft for free]. The President of Romania in 2007 at a press conf with Bill Gates in 2007 said that piracy is part of their relationship with MSFT. [It's a national freemimum policy - dw]

By the way, Joe says, they’ve found no connections between piracy and drug trafficking, prostitution, organized crime, or terrorism. There are little overlaps but nothing systematic. This is despite industry claims that piracy funds organized crime and terrorism.

Joe points to the famous Jack Valenti quote that the VCR is to the US film industry what the Boston strangler is to a woman at home alone. [God bless Valenti! We miss you, Jack! - dw] On the other hand, Robert Bauer of the MPA has said (Joe says) that we should treat piracy as a signal of unmet demand and that the task is then to “find a way to meet that demand.”

Q: To what are things like Blu Ray an attempt to stay a step ahead of pirates?
A: It recreates scare production, and thus the conditions for smuggling-based pirate economies. There are always opportunities for that to re-emerge. Blu Ray at the moment has no impact on the markets we looked at.

More Stories By David Weinberger

David is the author of JOHO the blog (www.hyperorg.com/blogger). He is an independent marketing consultant and a frequent speaker at various conferences. "All I can promise is that I will be honest with you and never write something I don't believe in because someone is paying me as part of a relationship you don't know about. Put differently: All I'll hide are the irrelevancies."

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...