Wednesday 25 July 2012

Leaked Report Reveals Music Industry's Anti-Piracy Strategy

A confidential internal report of the music industry outfit IFPI has been inadvertently made available online by the group itself. Penned by their Head of Internet Anti-piracy Operations, the report details the global strategy for the major recording labels of IFPI. Issues covered include everything from torrent sites to cyberlockers, what behavior IFPI expects of Internet service providers, the effectiveness of site blocking, and how pirates are accessing unreleased music from industry sources.

The IFPI report says it has 5 possible reactions to a threat:

  1. Take down
  2. Disruption
  3. Investigation
  4. Lobbying
  5. Litigation

IFPI splits illicit content availability into two sections:

  1. "content held on users' computers" and distributed via P2P networks such as BitTorrent, Gnutella, DirectConnect, eDonkey and Ares.
  2. "content held on central servers", including file-hosts and cyberlockers.

IFPI is also keeping a close eye on the downloading and sharing of content across mobile data and other wireless networks. IFPI worries that these networks are providing here-and-now streaming of content via all-you-can-eat plans. Making matters worse is that IFPI reports challenges when it comes to matching an IP address to a subscriber.

The recording group also reports that Apple and Android architectures are encouraging the creation of 3rd party music apps. IFPI say they are crawling both the App Store and Google Marketplace and are focusing on "quick take down agreements" with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Palm to remove apps they don't like. They are also mulling an expansion of their "payment provider program" to target "rogue" Android app developers.

Unauthorized music sites

IFPI say they have identified in excess of 50 Russian and Ukrainian pay MP3 download sites. The group reports that law enforcement authorities have "secured evidence that the illegal sites are annually stealing hundreds of millions of dollars" which is creating opportunities for money laundering and tax evasion investigations. IFPI say their next steps will include strangling the sites' finances with the help of payment processors, recovering proceeds of crime, and developing asset confiscation.

Disruption of revenue streams

IFPI's advertiser strategy is based around the "disruption of revenue streams" to unauthorized sites by several methods. In the report they speak of a "structured notice and take down program targeting Google's AdSense and DoubleClick advertising networks," plus "out reach" to IASH and IAB to implement "comprehensive infringing block lists." IFPI says it also initiates direct contact with advertisers to flag when their ads appear on infringing sites. Agreements are said to be in place with VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, CTIA, Monitise, PaySafeCard and PhonePayPlus to strangle finances to unauthorized sites.