You'd better think twice before you illegally download files from Japan. The Japanese government has started using the old bait-and-switch method of getting the word out about their new anti-piracy laws by planting messages in fake files. You might think you're downloading the latest episode of Ninja Warrior, but you could really be downloading a stern talking to.
Piracy. It's a crime. You'd think an anti-piracy group would know that well. Well Dutch anti-piracy group BRIEN either doesn't know or doesn't care because they pirated a song for their anti-piracy PSA. In 2006, the group asked musician Melchior Rietveldt if they could use his song in their PSA. Rietveldt agreed, but under a set of very specific conditions, namely that it only be played at a specific film festival. When BRIEN went on to recycle the PSA on tens of millions of DVDs without his permission and without compensating him for it, they were infringing on his copyright all over the place.
Piracy is bad, mmkay? No, that's not exactly what this new White House-backed anti-piracy PSA says, but it would be far more effective than its mantra of "only a few dollars," which is as irrelevant as it is nonsensical. Yes, there's a new entry in the tradition of painfully misguided anti-piracy PSAs and this one aims all its ire at strange, peripheral targets and only hits them ineffectually. Hey guys, buying counterfeit DVDs directly causes crime, and leads to drugs apparently.
New Zealand government is moving to rush through a controversial new "three strikes" anti-piracy law that will target users who share copyrighted material without permission of the rights holder, which essentially means anyone who pirates software.
The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill (which unanimously passed its first Parliament reading in April of last year), will put the aforementioned "three strikes" system into place, where Internet service providers will be required to send warning letters to pirates the first couple of times they are caught pirating, and if they're caught offending again, New Zealand's Copyright Tribunal will be given the power to rule on cases of alleged repeat offenders and fine said offenders up to $15,000.
The real kicker, though, is that if offenders continue to pirate after the warnings and fines, the Bill will allow a six month period of Internet disconnection to be applied to said offenders--boiling down to software pirates being legally forced off the Internet by the government. Remind anyone of one Zero Cool? Certain government officials are opposed to the inclusion of the mandatory disconnect and want to amend the Bill later on to remove said area, but Commerce Minister Simon Power said the request to amend the Bill to remove the mandatory disconnect would be opposed. The Bill is expected to pass sometime today, and as TorrentFreak points out, is causing protests on Twitter.
Nowadays, piracy protection usually focuses on prevention rather than punishment, but back in The Day, before technology allowed constant Internet connections and horrible, system-degrading mechanisms, developers had to get creative with piracy protection. The above video shows one instance of how EarthBound, known as Mother in Japan, got clever and sneakily evil with their protection: At the boss fight with Giygas, the game freezes and forces the player to reset, and when they return to the saves menu, they discover the game erased their save file, causing them to lose all of their progress. EarthBound games are oldies, so the piracy protection focused on checking if the game was using a cartridge copier. At least back then, one could find humor in the ways developers dealt with piracy; now it's all constant Internet connections and registry edits.