File-sharing has dropped, researcher says
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Movie and music industry representatives are probably right to claim internet piracy has fallen since the "Skynet" copyright law came into effect in September, according to Waikato University.
There is evidence some computer users have simply changed the way they pirate movies and music, for example by using "virtual private networks" and tunnelling technologies to make their activities harder to detect, says Waikato University Researcher Shane Alcock.
But he said that all such tactics only appeared to compensate for 12 per cent of the big drop in file-sharing over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as BitTorrent that the university had observed.
The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (Rianz) said in a submission to the Economic Development Ministry that the overall use of P2P services had fallen 18 per cent since the Copyright Act was amended last year to let rights holders demand internet providers send out "infringement notices" to suspected pirates.
The New Zealand branch of the Motion Picture Association of America, NZfact, said the number of illegal viewings of top-200 movies over P2P services by New Zealanders appeared to have fallen from 110,000 in August to less than 60,000 in March.
NZfact's figures were supplied by United States firm Peer Media Technologies, which monitors major P2P services, the names of files being shared, and the country of origin of users' internet protocol addresses.
Alcock said Waikato University had broken down all internet traffic handled by one major internet provider before and after the Skynet law took affect into different traffic types.
"Traffic types that can be associated with file-sharing activities, especially P2P, have fallen significantly compared with measurements taken prior to the Skynet law coming into effect, whereas applications that can be used to mask piracy have grown.
"Overall, it appears that piracy has fallen, but there are obvious signs that some people are using alternative approaches to avoid being caught by rights holders."
Rianz and NZfact said piracy appeared to have "plateaued" at the new lower level and Rianz said the $25 fee it had to pay internet providers to send infringement notices to alleged pirates needed to be slashed before the public cottoned-on to the regime's impotence.
Rianz said it would increase the number of notice it sent from a couple of hundred to 5000 a month if the fee was cut to $2 or less.
WHAT SHOULD THE FEE FOR SENDING INFRINGEMENT NOTICES BE?
Telecom: Called for the fee to be raised to $104
Copyright Licensing Ltd (represents authors): Fees should be "zero, or less than $2"
Publishers' Association: "Zero or less than $2"
New Zealand Open Source Society: $25 or more
Institute of Information Technology Professionals: Keep at $25
Vodafone: $25 - too soon to move from "status quo"
Australian Performing Right Association: "There should be no fee"
Creative Freedom: Suggests raising fee to $30
Tuanz: No change 范to $25 fee
New Zealand Telecommunications Forum: Would prefer fee raised to $40
TelstraClear: $32.64 plus fixed costs of compliance
Copyright Council of New Zealand: "Zero, or less than $2"
New Zealand Society of Authors: $2
NZfact: "Just pennies"
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