My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: UWI and Piracy - Release the Kraken

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

UWI and Piracy - Release the Kraken

When a dog bites a man that is not news;
But when a man bites a dog that is news

John B. Bogart, usually attributed to C.A. Dana

It seems that the article that I had written on my blog entitled “UWI and Piracy - The Real Pirate Bay” was a bit too premature, as the ongoing saga involving the battle between the RIAA (Recording Industry Artiste Association) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Artiste Association) is not yet over.

Not only had the Congress of the United States of America gone after Colleges and Universities by threatening to withhold Title IV Federal Aid under the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as stated in the article “Federal rules on campus file shring kick in today”, published July 1, 2010 7:14 AM PDT by Greg Sandoval, CNET News- Media Maverick.

This came into effect on Thursday July 1st 2010 AD, but a day prior, on Wednesday June 30th 2010 AD, (for it is a day that will long be remembered by College and University Students in the United States of America).

A crackdown had been initiated against file sharers as stated in the article “Feds sieze cash, Web sites of aledged film pirates”, published June 30, 2010 3:11 PM PDT by Greg Sandoval, CNET News- Media Maverick as Senator Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States of America, had been promising for a week prior to Wednesday June 30th 2010.

So far, some of the favorite hangouts of the younger generation [read College and University Students, aged 18 to 28] are now closed, which in their little universe, would be the equivalent of Al-Qaeda bombing a KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) Restaurant, as akin to a female friend of mine on FaceBook, most of them cannot live without their downloading fix.

The list of causalities reads as follows:
  8. and

John Public only uses The Pirate Bay file sharing website with associated banks and their accounts being seized and closed down and search warrants being issued as stated by the crisp tones of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, (ICE), Mrs. Virginia Kice.

The U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator, Victoria Espinel, was in step with the prior statements of Senator Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States of America when she was quoted as saying with regards to the activities of people who host copyright infringing material on their websites: “We have committed to putting you out of business” .Release the Kraken against the hapless students of the Colleges and Universities abroad, as this is related to taxes.

At this point some Jamaicans would say John Public is just “fass”, but alas, this action had been promised long before I was so “fass” and sending my emails all about the place. Plus, I am a mere mortal, not like these politicians and well-to-do noveau reich, so my influence by sending emails to the foreign media is being greatly exaggerated, being merely a poor college student with a flair for creative writing who lives close the sea on the South Coast of Clarendon.

I am skeptical that my articles are even read, possibly tossed on the scrap heap for being overtly Anglophone or long winded, as is my verbose style. After all, with the action taken by Swedish High Court against the principals of The Pirate Bay file sharing website as stated in the article “File sharers vigil for Pirate Bay”, published August 25, 2009 4:00 AM PDT by Greg Sandoval, CNET News - Digital Media in August of 2009, the actions of the United States of America should not come as a surprise.

Here in Jamaica, the Police and the CCN (Constabulary Communications Network) have also identified a link between the practice of copying and selling pirated movies, music and other Digital Content in breach of their respective International Copyright.

The threat of stringent action against people caught producing and purchasing such content as stated in the article “BE WARNED! If you buy a pirated DVD, CD you can be arrested”, published Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by Karyl Walker, Crime/Court co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer is very real.

However, unlike the Government of the United States of America, the Government of Jamaica is yet to take action against breaches of the Copyright Act as it relates to students on the Colleges and Universities who use their sometimes unfettered access to Broadband Internet to download Copyright Infringing content

This is possibly because they not only lack the access and manpower, but also downloading involves content coming from websites located on servers that are outside of Jamaica, thus falling under the Jurisdiction of the Government of the United States of America

Also most Reggae and Dancehall Artiste have not expressed any concrete “interest” vis–a-vis legal action, in having the illegal downloading of their content blocked, possibly due to their tempestuous relationship with the Government of Jamaica as it relates to many of the being involved in criminal activity.

Especially after the arrest of Mark Myrie, otherwise knows by his nom de guerre as Buju Banton, by Federal Agents on charges of dealing in and attempting to smuggle cocaine as stated in the article “Not and easy road - Buju Banton held for cocaine posession in the United States”, published Sunday, December 13, 2009, Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Non-payment of taxes and questionable sexually explicit and violent lyrics, for which many have been banned from performing abroad as stated in the article “Locked out - Jamaican acts finding it more and more difficult to get into some countries , published Sunday, December 27, 2009, Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

An eventuality, despite being told to clean up their act by several concerned media personalities as stated in the article “Clean up your act! Music personalities urge corporate Jamaica, Media to help clean up dancehall content”, published Sunday, December 27, 2009, Roxroy McLean, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner

Since 2008, the University of the West Indies has taken action to militate against this, by setting time-based computer access caps, as well as the number of logon times per day, so as to reduce the amount of traffic on the Intranet.

Blocking of downloading, video and audio streaming websites and social networking websites and instant messaging applications capable of VOIP (Voice over IP) and other high volume users of the internet by a change in the script that initiates ftp (File Transfer Protocol), the key protocol involved in streaming and downloading, is yet to be executed

However, the University of the West Indies can save itself a lot of money in terms upgrading their network to higher capacity by buying head-end access i.e. T1 by just simply reducing the traffic on the network.

As a plus,  PBX (Private Branch Exchange) calling by setting up a software switch PBX that uses VOIP similar to BNS (Bank of Nova Scotia) Avaya System, which is a VOIP PBX, can replace the older more costly LIME PBX. Downloading of content would therefore only be possible via the Network Administrator of the respective Computer Lab.

Even better, a Data Cap of 3 GB per month, similar to that imposed by Telecom Providers on their 3G networks could be imposed on students who download with restrictions being enabled in the script that controls ftp so as to merely block the downloading of files with extensions that appear to be media files (audio or video) and documents

Currently, the students are enjoying a relic of the Telecom Providers, that being the “all-you-can-eat” Data Plans, which have gone the way of the dodo on Telecom Provider AT&T’s Broadband Network since Wednesday June 2nd 2010 as stated in the article “For New AT&T users, no more "all you can eat" data”, published June 2 2010 By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer, Yahoo News.

Albeit the zeal to deal with Digital Music and Video Piracy being shown by the Government of the United States of America is commendable.

This should also be extended to Colleges and Universities outside of the United States of America by pressuring Governments such as the current Bruce Golding-led Government of Jamaica to get serious about infringements of Copyright, and not leave it to companies having to go after local companies in breach of Copyright Act

The Case with Triple Play Cable Provider FLOW and HBO comes to mind. Instead, a partnership should be forged between the Government of the United States of America, Telecom Providers Digicel, CLARO and LIME and the Government of Jamaica and it various organizations to identify the sources of downloading in Developing Countries such as Jamaica and have them blocked from local access

This would not only have a positive effect on our local music industry, but would also pave the way, along with the implementation of MNP (Mobile Number Portability) for Telecom Providers and DSO (Digital Switch Over) for the coming of eCommerce, as the primary indicator of a country with an interest in eCommerce that is business ready is one that has respect for the Intellectual Property, a point hinted at in my blog article entitled ‘Piracy Solution via MNP, DSO and Legislation”.

Antigua and Barbuda could also pursue this route of co-operation with the Government of the United States of America of between its Telecom Providers, implement MNP and DSO, if not already done, and proceed to block the downloading of Copyright Infringing Content in exchange for waivers on Internet Gambling.

The Baldwin Spencer-led Government of Antigua and Barbuda derives considerable revenue from online gaming, who are in dire need of the revenues derived from Internet Gambling, which is effectively another form of eCommerce.

Equally of interest is the taxation of such eCommerce transactions………..being of course fodder for another great article on my blog. Until then, it seems the spectacle of Men [Governments] biting the Scurvy Dogs of Piracy [websites, college students] will be ongoing and making the rounds in the news.

This as the article quoted thus far state that these actions are only just the beginning………with the recommendation that Latin America and Jamaica be included in efforts of the Government of the United States of America.

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