During the COVID-19 pandemic, streaming and download website traffic has increased dramatically. According to London-based piracy analysts Muso, who analyzed the last 7 days in March 2020 compared to the last 7 days in February, visits to streaming and download piracy websites in the US increased by 41.4%, in the UK by 42.5%, 66% in Italy, 50.4% in Spain and 35.5% in Germany.
Viewers stuck at home may feel like they are winning or that they are just sticking to the American company by stealing content, but small and independent developers who rely on video-on-demand (VOD) sales to do lowering production costs are the biggest losers. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a way to fight online piracy, but the law is toothless for anyone without a copyright department – which includes every single independent producer.
CopyrightSlap.com was developed by an independent filmmaker as the copyright department for all small production houses, including one-person ones. This resource is designed to be affordable and manageable for the smallest content creators, not just the big ones with millions of dollars in support.
What is copyright infringement?
A injury is when a copyrighted work is published, published, or used outside of those authorized by the copyright holder or by defined means Fair use. Examples of violations include: illegal movie streaming sites that post ripped movies online, a brand that uses a photographer's photo in an advertising campaign without the photographer's permission and without paying the photographer, and posts a PDF of a book on a website without permission the editor or author and a person who publishes and gives away a copyrighted song on their website for free.
Who Does Online Piracy Affect?
Anyone involved in content creation is affected by piracy. – The editor or producer who publishes the content had to pay to create this work, while selling the content helps repay the production costs. Hopefully creates income to make another piece of content worth creating.
In the independent film world, producers of VOD (video on demand) and non-theatrical releases want to get the cost of their film back. When their film is pirated the chance that they will lose money or make future projects is severely hampered. Even something as simple as free Amazon Prime videos will make the producer make fractions of a penny for every minute their movie is viewed, but that can add up to paying back the cost.
In the television and film industry, directors, actors, and many members of a project make their living from residuals owed to them from revenue from the sale of a movie – but with piracy, any member who is due residual loses that revenue. The same goes for musicians and producers who create songs and albums. Just because something is digital doesn't mean the Creator didn't spend much on it – the camera, lenses, lights, computers, software, and other expenses the photographers make add up and they make up for those costs and make a living selling it or licensing their images for advertising or general sale. If their works are taken without permission or payment, their livelihoods are taken away. Nobody thinks it's right to go into a physical store and take a Blu-ray, book, or photo off a shelf or wall and go out without paying. Digitally there is a strange double perspective in which it is not seen immediately if it is exactly the same.
Piracy damages the big budget world, but more directly it completely destroys the independent film, literary, music and creative worlds. You may think that your only act of viewing or downloading won't hurt, but anyone else who thinks the same thing will result in a lot of destruction.
How do you counteract online piracy and what is the DMCA?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a US law passed in 1998 to combat piracy while protecting freedom of expression. The danger of the DMCA is that, in order to protect freedom of expression, it is established that content posted online does not constitute a copyright infringement unless The copyright owner, or a representative thereof, will directly inform the website or the person who posted the content that the content is indeed copyrighted.
Once notified, the site has "a reasonable period" (48-72 hours, de facto enforced by the courts) to remove the content before it is deemed an illegal act. This means that a content creator needs to find everyone Occurring violations on the internet and finding the website contact information or the web host / ISP contact information and sending a very specially formatted letter (as defined by the DMCA) to that contact before it is ever deemed necessary Down. Received once if the content is Not removed, the creator of the content can use the sent notification of infringement and a screenshot of the piracy as a basis for legal action.
The problem is that lawyers cost money and there are an endless number of websites that pirate content. So it would be a sisyphical act for the standard copyright owner to take legal action that costs endless time and money only to come across pirates hiding behind counterfeit email addresses and fake contact information. Much has changed in the computer and internet world in the last 20 years since the DMCA came into effect.
What makes CopyrightSlap.com different?
One thing that sets CopyrightSlap.com apart from other companies is that one of its founders is an independent film producer. The company was founded with the unique goal of making it easier for low-budget productions to protect their works online. CopyrightSlap.com offers unlimited Send DMCA infringement notices and make sending as easy as copying and pasting a URL. Additionally, CopyrightSlap.com provides a daily list of potential violations that our system detects for active projects.
How does CopyrightSlap.com do it? Through a cohesive series of automations that work hand in hand with proprietary AI learning. Most companies that assist content creators submitting DMCA violations charge $ 200 per URL. In addition, the content creator charges 10 times more for every takedown they want to send. CopyrightSlap.com charges $ 20 for 30 days of unlimited takedowns. Because CopyrightSlap.com is more about stopping online piracy than preventing content creation, CopyrightSlap.com has established a relationship with the National Intellectual Property Coordinating Center of Homeland Security Investigations. CopyrightSlap.com's AI identifies websites that are used solely for online piracy based on anonymous user-generated responses within the system and then sends them blacklisted Websites to the NIPRCC so that they can search not just a single URL but an entire domain.
If piracy sites can be completely removed, the fight against online piracy can have repercussions.
About Evan Bass Zeisel
Columbia University graduate Evan Bass Zeisel is a filmmaker, writer, entrepreneur, and CEO of Copyright Slap LLC. Evan has produced numerous independent films over the past decade, from the multi-award-winning short How You Are to Me to the feature film The Eve. He has also produced many original web series, including Buddy CoPs, The SIT Network, and Zombie Survival Training with William Stradler.
By releasing his first feature on Video-On-Demand (VOD), Evan became aware of how harmful and costly illegal streaming and online piracy are to independent filmmakers. After hours of manually reporting DMCA violations, he reached out to a college friend, Lee Kowitz (CTO of Copyright Slap LLC), about the idea of a company that would help independent content creators fight online piracy, without breaking the bank. Together they envisioned a digital army combining AI learning with individual attention and CopyrightSlap.com was born.