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Have you ever wondered why the copyright industry's figures on piracy never really outline on how they were compiled? That's because they're taking out of thin air of course. The latest study by UK's Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy tries to correct that, but unfortunately for the industry, honesty just means it's a lot easier to discard the figures. So, what did they do: without even telling which networks they're looking at or how they arrived at the number of users, they start with a number of 1.3 million active users sharing content on any given weekday at noon. Then they assume that each of those users downloads downloads 5 content items per day and assign the value of £5 per content item to get to a loss figure of £12 billion (almost $20 billion US). So, how do they know everybody downloads 5 items a day (and they assume one item can be as much as an entire TV series or one band's life work), how can they be sure the content is worth £5 per item (okay, an entire TV season is worth a bit more), just which P2P network was it and how did they arrive at the number of users? And, where's the correction factor to account for the fact that far from everybody to download a piece of music or a movie / TV series would be paying if it weren't available for free, and where do they take into account that those that would've paid invest the money in other venues so other industries benefit?

How dare they: the latest file sharer to be dragged to the court in Spain has been vindicated even though there was no contest he downloaded over 3000 movies. But since it takes commercial intent to be a crime, the industry has once again lost. Viva España :)


Get ready to replace your HDMI cables: HDMI 1.4 brings a 100mbit/s Ethernet channel, an audio return channel, supports 3D formats, 2K and 4K resolutions as well as more color spaces, there's a new mini connector and an automotive connection system. And here's where it gets tricky: besides the standard cables there are now high speed cables which support the whole range of new features, standard cables with just Ethernet, high speed cables with just Ethernet and automotive cables. Now you're probably wondering why there's a highspeed + Ethernet and a high speed + Ethernet + everything else cable as I am. And, all the new features are optional.

DGMPGDecNV 1.0.3 beta 1 supports multiple input files.

ProgDVB 6.06.4 supports drag & drop, has a context menu and some new options in the channel lists.

AVCHD has reached version 3 which contains many improvements, bug fixes and stability improvements.

XviD 1.2.2 contains some important security related fixes.


ShaPlay 0.5a has a separate settings window, supports ReClock, ISO images and gapless playback, there's a new disc information window, the volume control is now linear and there's a bunch of bugfixes as well.

It would be funny if nobody would believe them - but unfortunately the statistics and reports put forth by the copyright industry is the gospel of many politician eager to please. So, Canada is a pirate heaven according to the Business Software Alliance, and that's based on what numbers exactly? Turns out the numbers are really just made out of thin air (now, don't act so surprised ;)

Two days ago I spoke about geographical restrictions for content - Techdirt has been asking the same question for music distribution and has some links to articles showing the culprits why our supposedly common EU market is fractured to bits with no end in sight. And there's also an older article that looks at yet another example of where the established industry, instead of getting ahead of a trend rather tries to sabotage it.


It seems efforts by Swedish ISPs to be more customer friendly by deleting logs will be short lived: Unlike many other instances where infractions are tolerated, the European Commission is going after Sweden for not yet having implemented the EU snooping initiative (officially known as data retention initiative).

And as a follow-up to yesterday's news: according to a study conducted by a Cambridge law professor, DRM only encourages people to pirate.


BD Rebuilder 0.21.01 can take advantage of sub resizing in TsMuxer for 720p output, comes with the latest x264 build, and fixes a few bugs.

And then there's word from our favorite studio head - the guy who thinks the Internet is plain evil. Now suddenly it's "The Internet is all good, but.." and obviously the but means even more copyright laws. There are a few obvious flaws in his arguments (in anything coming from the copyright industry for that matter). For starters, the government didn't build the Internet, so that analogy is seriously flawed. Just because the protocols used come from DARPA doesn't mean the government built the Internet - protocols are more akin to defining how different vehicles on the road interact (drive on the right side of the road, use your blinker to signal you're changing lanes, a standard size of the nozzle at your gas station, etc.) - but the roads themselves , or the interconnects between different networks were, for the largest part, built by private enterprises. And it's not like the Internet is a lawless room - far from it. For starters, traditional law still very much applies (e.g. copyright law) and there's a whole slew of laws aimed just at the Internet (e.g. the industry favorite DMCA). And, if you think about it, it's actually a lot easier for studios to catch offenders in the digital world. While physically trading stuff may be slow, unless you have feet on the ground there's no way you even know somebody is doing something illegitimate. On the Internet, many companies are scouring newsgroups, websites and P2P networks for copyrighted material and the copyright industry has launched a whole campaign based on such evidence gathering.

And quite frankly, it's completely disingenuous to claim "Internet users have become used to getting things when they want it and how they want it, and those of us in the entertainment business want to meet that kind of demand as efficiently and effectively as possible" coming from a major exponent of an industry that started out as pirates themselves and has since moved on to oppose any new technological development that came along. We've had about a decade worth of broadband Internet in many industrialized nations - and yet, where are the offers that make sense? Even the music industry has only made a few timid steps in the right direction: while pretty much anybody can order music or movies from Amazon, their music service is limited to a few select countries and their online video offerings are non existent outside the US. In recent years, major American TV networks started streaming content online, but once again, content is restricted to the US. That's one major problem right there: it's a global market, so act like it. Territorial restrictions are a thing from the analog past. Customers have long since moved on in the physical world by ordering online, and in the digital world as well (by just downloading stuff that the networks / studios do not offer). Say you've recently upgraded your home theater setup and would like to watch Star Wars or Lord of the Rings in HD. But, you cannot get them on Blu-ray - but there's your friendly P2P tool that offers HDTV rips. So.. it may be legally wrong to go for the free solution, but morally, it's a whole different story - after all you were perfectly willing to part with your hard earned dollar to buy the content - the only requirement was that it were available in HD quality.

And then we have "How many people will be as motivated to write a book or a song, or make a movie if they know it is going to be immediately stolen from them and offered to the world with no compensation whatsoever?". In contrast to what you and your colleagues from other studios and other parts of the copyright industry are claiming, the Internet has sparked, not dimmed creativity. What I'm doing here, since 2000 and always for free is creating new content. There's a large selection of high quality software available for download on this very site created for free, and the Internet certainly helped the open source movement. Without being able to communicate seamlessly and instantaneously with other members of the project team, many projects would certainly not have been to progress so far so fast as they have. And there's a thriving industry around the distribution and support of open source software. And, speaking of sparking creativity, what's up with movie studios shutting down fan created content? It's free PR for crying out loud - people invest time and money to help sell you more content.

If copyright wasn't a monopoly business, music and movie industry would've long gone out of business (Hollywood wouldn't have even started if some of the laws on the book then would've been rigorously enforced when parts of the industry resettled from the east cost). In any competitive market, displaying the sheer ignorance and contempt for new technology would most certainly mean your downfall. So, really it's time to get off the high horse and clean up your own house before you start pointing fingers. Distribution limited to geographical areas needs to go, content needs to be available immediately and everywhere (I understand dubbing takes time but you can deliver original content to every country on day one, and subtitled on day 2 or 3 (there's plenty of people around to subtitle your content for free.. but that's another group of people you rather sue than appreciate) - take Fox's Blu-ray release of the latest incarnation of 24 as an example (but it still fails to deliver on the limited distribution angle), stop treating your customers like criminals (that starts with more and more invasive DRM and ends with pushing for blanket surveillance (data retention) that treats anybody as a potential criminal), and finally, it's time to let go of the belief that every item downloaded is a sale lost: some people will never buy your content no matter what. Just because they can still get it doesn't mean you lost out on anything so stop whining about it.

And the paragraph above is another example on how the Internet helps even the copyright industry: your consumers give you free of charge what other industries have to pay for dearly by hiring market research companies.

By the way, even the industry friendly Wall Street Journal thinks the movie industry is lagging behind technology and desperately needs to catch up.

Then there's some news from Sweden - then music industry has been stopped in their tracks to extract more money from The Pirate Bay - they wanted to be paid for every day the site remains in operation. But since the ruling didn't ask for the site to be shut down - only another industry friendly judge would've agreed to that and judges finally undergo some serious scrutiny for bias these days - at least in Sweden.

5/26 BDSup2Sub 3.8.2 patches the alpha (channel?) of completely invisible subtitles and fixes two bugs.

ProgDVB 6.06.3 improves IPTV support and synchronization and contains some small interface changes.

DGMPGDecNV 1.02 supports program streams (limited to MPA and AC3 audio for now) and there are some other minor adjustments and fixes.

And a little update on the RIAA lawsuits: not only is the defense going down the P2P is Fair Use road and asking that statutory damages match actual damages, they also say that the RIAA's legal campaign with the settlement offers is unconstitutional and they need to pay back all the money collected so far.


BDSup2Sub 3.8.1 now treats transparent colors as black to avoid scaling effects, has a commandline parameter to set alpha value for cropping and patching colors to black, the preview window shows less scaling artifacts and the selection window has been improved.

In the Real vs. MPAA trial, the positions are obvious - the MPAA reiterates their stance that there's no Fair Use exemption to circumvention (which is plain wrong.. the DMCA specifically mentions Fair Use). While Real is the good guy here, so to speak, they haven't always been on the same side of the argument though - almost a decade ago they found themselves in the MPAA's position when trying to shut down Streambox VCR - a software that allowed recording of music and video streams that only RealPlayer could play. Final arguments have been presented in the case and we're now awaiting the outcome.


BDSup2Sub 3.8.0 contains a bunch of improvements in dealing with VobSub subtitles.

It's not only the defendants that are unhappy with the verdict of the Pirate Bay trial - big content has filed their own appeal: they want the original charges reinstated and ask for more money. Meanwhile, the allegation of bias of the trial judge is being looked into - and the first result of that inquiry is that the judge in charge of looking into it has also been removed for pro industry bias.

5/20 BDSup2Sub 3.7.1 fixes a palette conversion fix introduced in the previous version.

BDSup2Sub 3.7.0 allows free scaling factors for subtitle resizing, has all text fields react to input to give status updates, and there's a fix converting HD DVD subtitles to Blu-ray subtitles.

SupRip 1.15 fixes a bug where the last subtitle would end at 0:00.

AC3Filter 1.60 is also available in a 64bit version and a lite version, has a multichannel equalizer that allows you to set the frequency response of the equalizer, synchronizes the spectrum with audio playback and there are some fixes as well.

HC 0.24 beta has a new INTRAVLC command, supports 4:2:2 input and output and fixes some issues when using AVCSource input.

And I almost missed that one: VLC 1.0 has reached release candidate status.

We know big content loves to disconnect people from the Internet without due process. However, it's always surprising to see that opposition not only comes from the usual suspects - Britain's Featured Artists Coalition - comprised of just those people that the labels claim they represent, ask if the label's attempts really make sense. Of course, when the guy on the other side of the table thinks the Internet is an invention from hell and should be banned, rather than realizing it is a business opportunity and you need to adapt your business model to take full advantage of it, it's rather futile to hope anything is going to change.

Meanwhile, the Hardware Law professor who took up the defense of alleged file sharer Joel Tenenbaum is making some pretty bold assertions: P2P filesharing is fair use and that statutory damages (those $150'000 damages per act of infringement the law allows) should match up with actual damages (so the industry would have to prove the amount of money they lose if somebody offers a song via P2P). Expect the industry to pull out all the stops, and sending out hit squads to threaten politicians and judges if such interpretation of the law ever takes hold.

5/18 In light of the recent release of the BSA's global piracy study, Michael Geist points out that the BSA's own numbers in favor of the WIPO treaty (which is responsible for DMCA style legislation all over the world) actually show that implementation of such laws does very little to curb piracy, and that the industry's bad boy posterchild Canada does pretty well even though it has no DMCA.

BDSup2Sub 3.6.0 can edit forced flags, exclude single captions from export, erase rectangular options and crops VobSub bitmaps automatically on import.


ProgDVB 6.06.2 contains optimizations and fixes in the interface.

BDSup2Sub 3.5.6 contains some changes in the VobSub parsing code.

We didn't really need any confirmation that they don't get it, but the head of Sony Pictures went ahead and confirmed it anyway: big content would rather kill the Internet than finding new business models to make use of it.

On the other side of the spectrum, here's the print medium which itself has a lot of trouble with the Internet and yet they go ahead and write outrageous articles on how the Internet saved the Star Trek franchise. I wonder what the head of Paramount has to say on that subject..

5/15 BD Rebuilder 0.20.09 fixes a few bugs.
5/14 CBS goes 1080p on the web. Of course, as usual they haven't fully grasped the potential of the Internet yet and lock out all viewers that don't live in the US.

BDSup2Sub 3.5.5 adds padding packets to the exported stream if the source is VobSub and no longer aborts when certain invalid VobSub streams are detected. There are also two bugfixes dealing with VobSub subtitles.

Unimpressed by the impressive vote in the EU parliament against three strikes legislation, France's parliament is firmly in the pocket of big content and yesterday passed three strikes legislation that circumvents due process. And of course they'll do anything and everything in their power to subvert the EU's council of ministers (yeah, the guys who don't have to be elected and have proven their utter contempt for the people of their respective member states time and again) and to sabotage the EU parliament's clear stance on the issue, so as to not have the law struck down by an EU court.

Motivated by the victory of their brethren in France, UK's own pro copyright group have launched their latest initiative to get similar legislation adopted.


tsMuxer 1.10.6 fixes a bug with color subtitles.

Also, apparently DVDFab can now also handle all the latest Blu-ray discs (except for BD+ of course). Now there's just the question whether we'll see DVDFab HD Decrypter Version 6.

And in France, people are gearing up for a last ditch attempt to stop three strikes legislation. After suffering a surprise defeat last month, the government has brought the same packet up again (and if it doesn't pass will keep on trying).


BDSup2Sub 3.5.4 increases compatibility with SubtitleCreator when dealing with VobSub subtitles, writes more log messages and fixes BDN XML import.

tsMuxer 1.10.5 uses information from the alpha channel from PGS streams, and the bottom-offset option is now considered to be the vertical offset from the original subtitle option. The new version also includes the following features introduced in the 1.10.3 release: MOV/MP4 container support, PGS subtitle scaling, MPL file support and some bugfixes.

Last but not least, I've been asked by a bunch of visitors why the news appears to only show up every couple of days - turns out that is squarely my fault. Generating news is a multi step process and if I leave out any one of the last two steps, the news will not be visible. I'll try to be more vigilant in the future so this won't happen any more.


MKVtoolnix 2.8.0 support AC3 audio in MP4 files, makes the FPS input field available for all video tracks, has 60000/1001 as a predefined FPS option, has an option to clear any input fields after muxing and there are various bugfixes.

5/9 By now you've probably heard about Microsoft's upcoming successor to the not so popular Windows Vista - Windows 7 promises to be a much more polished, leaner and faster version of Vista. Amongst the changes, it also includes a lot of video filters to deal with more content so that ffdshow may not always be necessary anymore. However, they went a step further and basically blocked any third party from overriding their filters - so you either have to use a player where that override doesn't work (MPC is the only DirectShow based player... and then there's SMPlayer (mplayer) and VLC which are self contained and don't need DirectShow filters), or you look at this tool to override Microsoft's override.

BDSup2Sub 3.5.3 no longer aborts processing of multiple files when an error is encountered during processing of a file and it uses interlaced instead of progressive mode for PAL/NTSC DVD resolutions.

VirtualDub 1.9.2 allows you to configure keyboard shortcuts in edit mode, has an always on top option in the window menu, contains various improvements in the filter department as well as the usual bugfixes.

So the MPAA is now teaching us how to make a Telesync - their response to people asking for a DMCA exemption to make use of the fair use exemption dealing with copy protected movies (meaning everything released today and released since the advent of the analog Macrovision system) is just that - set up a camera in front of a TV and film the content (which technically may be a bit different from making a Telesync, but the principle is the same.. use a camera to record a movie).


BDSup2Sub 3.5.2 improves VobSub import and improves luminance threshold detection when importing VobSub files.

ProgDVB 6.06.1 has a high definition OSD mode and skin and it supports multiple displays (concurrently I presume).

Good news came from Brussels yesterday: Instead of passing the compromise that toned down the requirement of a court of law before disconnecting anybody accused of infringing copyrights from the Internet, a large majority of the elected members (the EU has commissions run by ministers by different countries.. and those usually take a more industry friendly line and try to engage in all kinds of maneuvers to bypass the elected bodies) voted to restore the original clause which would make France's three strike legislation impossible. So now, the ministers will once again try to circumvent public opinion and elected officials - so we need to continue being vigilant. Also, while the vote may be good news, it's only partially true - during the first round of voting, Parliament adopted a net neutrality friendly approach which has been watered down by the European Council and was approved by the parliament in this round - now instead of forcing ISPs to treat traffic the same, they just need to inform their customers what kind of measures they take to manage their net. I wonder how long until contracts include the clause that they'll block your VoIP traffic (because it cuts into their profits from fixed lines or their own VoIP offering - of course they'd never tell you that but it's exactly why this kind of behavior is already seen on mobile data networks).

By the way, the MEPs paid by the copyright industry call the efforts to retain the consumer friendly line (let's recall that 88% of the elected members voted for that approach and that non elected ministers tried to water it down) dishonest maneuvering and even brought terrorism into it (after seeing that crying terrorism or child porn gets people to agree to give up their rights faster than you can say but it's not entirely unreasonable that they try, but it just underscores that we need to be ever vigilant). Of course, if you're not for the content industry, you must be a terrorist, right?

Besides not really understand how they make money, the music industry is also pretty good at spreading false numbers and outright lying to the public - and so, their lawsuits against filesharers go on.


multiAVCHD build 563 allows forcing a framerate for Panasonic SDHC output - and the author reminded me that much has changed since I initially announced the software month ago.

BD Rebuilder 0.20.08 uses the latest tsMuxer, uses the AVCHD flag in tsMuxer when "Stricter AVCHD compliance" is checked and there are some fixes as well.

April 1st not only brought us DRM free iTunes (well, mostly.. and only for the audio department) but also variable pricing. As usual, the music industry showed us that they don't understand their own business and greedily raised prices on top sellers - and now the results are in and they show (not really surprising to me - I have long considered 50 cents to be the maximum price you should pay for a sub CD quality download) labels actually making less money because they sell less at the higher price. I guess the labels figured they have a monopoly so customers have to pay whatever price labels demand, but there are different online stores nowadays (how they manage to have a different pricing structure is anybody's guess though.. ) and if you jack up prices too much, there's always the copyright infringement route.

What's next after MPEG-4 AVC? The MPEG group has started looking beyond AVC and at resolutions beyond HDTV.

Last but not least, ars has been looking at ISP revenue to debunk their arguments in favor of data caps. And the NY Times has also taken another look which comes pretty much to the same conclusions. They also looked outside the US to Japan - where bandwidth is available aplenty and for cost that makes your eyes water.

5/5 BDSup2Sub 3.5.1 fixes reading of delay from VobSub files.

BDSup2Sub 3.5.0 can import VobSub subtitles, preserves forced flags when exporting to VobSub, adds/changes comments in IDX files to work around a bug in VobSuMuxer, has a new commandline switch to setting a maximum time for merging BD-SUP subtitles, allows the end time of one frame to coincide with the start of the next and there are two fixes as well.

Eac3to 3.16 has a new switch to turn off 2nd pass processing and fixes a bunch of errors.

5/3 Encouraged by the first instance win against The Pirate Bay in Sweden, Italy wants to hold its own trial.
5/2 I think it's a matter of time until we see legislative efforts to cut people off the net in every country - in Spain, the government asked content holders and ISP to work out a "solution" for filesharing - and given that copyright holders wanted both financial compensation and still cut people off, ISPs weren't biting.

BD Rebuilder 0.20.07 fixes an error that would lead to being unable to process a disk in movie only mode and contains other minor correction and cosmetic fixes.

Even though it's against human nature, some time it's better to be wrong - I would've given BD+ a longer shelf life until it was cracked but it happened eventually. Although, open source efforts to handle BD+ have stalled, SlySoft has to keep adapting their AnyDVD HD to handle the latest title and now we'll get even more BD+ titles as Paramount has just signed up for BD+.

Every 3 years, the US copyright office is supposed to review the DMCA and it may grant exemptions. I think it's in pretty much everybody's interest to not apply the DMCA for fair use, and so that's one of the issue that's on the table. Needless the say, the industry will be there in full force fighting against anything they perceive as rights for paying consumers. The hearings start today and will continue until the end of next week.


Older news can be found here.

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