UK ISPs Agree to Antipiracy Deal
Today in international tech news: UK ISPs will start sending softly worded letters to illegal downloaders. Also: Awash in red ink, Nintendo plans to release a gaming system targeted at emerging markets; the porn industry implores people to pay for, not pirate, their adult entertainment; and social media users in China take exception to the fact that so much of Alibaba is owned by American and Japanese companies.
As part of a deal with entertainment industry bodies, large UK Internet service providers will send letters to customers suspected of partaking in illegal downloads.
The deal was hashed out by the BPI, the body representing the British music industry, and the Motion Picture Association, the body representing film.
The final deal is lacking some key provisions for which the BPI and MPA previously had lobbied. For example, the groups had sought access to a database of illegal downloaders, and they wanted the letters from the ISPs to warn repeat offenders about punitive measures. Alas, neither of those nuggets is incorporated.
Oh, and the letters -- which are "educational" in tone and aim at "promoting an increase in awareness" -- aren't expected to hit mailboxes before 2015.
Still, the rights holders see this as a step in the right direction. To that end, they have agreed to pay more than US$1.25 million to each ISP to set up this notification system, or 75 percent of the total cost (whichever sum is smaller). Also, more than $100,000 will be paid each year to the ISPs to cover admin costs.
A handful of ISPs will be taking part, with more expecting to join down the road.
Nintendo to Launch Gaming System for Emerging Markets
Making like a smartphone manufacturer, Nintendo announced plans to introduce a new gaming system targeted at emerging markets, perhaps as soon as 2015.
Nintendo is looking to buoy sales as its flagship console, the Wii U, continues to disappoint. Indeed, Nintendo has booked a loss for three straight years as Sony and Microsoft -- makers of the PlayStation and Xbox, respectively -- continue to gobble up market share.
Nintendo believes it would be difficult to enter emerging markets without creating an entirely new system.
"You need to provide something that most of the middle class can afford," said Chief Executive Satoru Iwata.
Nintendo is mum about the specs of its new device, as well as the nations in which it plans to launch it -- save China, which already has been pegged as a target market.
Indeed, China could be a boon to all gaming companies now that the country has lifted its 14-year ban on foreign manufacturers' videogame consoles, allowing their sale in the Shanghai free trade zone.
Nintendo reported a $452 million loss for the year ended March.
Adult Film Performers: 'Pay for Your Porn'
Performers in the adult film industry have launched a campaign designed to coax lovers of their artistic work to pay for pornography rather than indulge in pirated content.
The "Pay for Your Porn" campaign stresses that piracy is hurting the industry. Purchasing content, the campaign claims, ensures better quality and "fosters the creation of new adult content." Pirated porn, on the other hand, "hurts everyone."
Piracy is "a violation of personal consent and ethics," said adult film performer Jessica Drake.
[Source: The Guardian]
Some Chinese Miffed About Foreign Ownership of Alibaba
Users of Chinese microblogs have taken issue with the fact that Japanese and American companies own more than half of Alibaba, the Middle Kingdom's preeminent e-commerce site, which recently filed for an initial public offering in the U.S.
Japanese telecom SoftBank holds a 34.4 percent stake in Alibaba, while Yahoo has a 22.6 percent stake.
This is nothing new -- SoftBank and Yahoo bought in years ago -- but now that the company is increasingly in the spotlight, more questions and criticism are being lofted at Alibaba and its lead founder, Jack Ma.