By Eriq Gardner
There's been a lot of heated debate lately about copyright laws and Hollywood's reaction to file-sharing on digital networks.
Industry veterans are accustomed to sticking up for the rights of content owners and usually take heated rhetoric with grace. But not every day do they see a story so incendiary it questions their patriotism.
According to a report, US soldiers stationed oversees can't get online movies and music from legitimate services because of IP address blocks intended to control the way that foreigners access US media. As a result, many uniformed military members have supposedly pleaded with the RIAA and MPAA to get involved and help them out. Allegedly, these pleas have been ignored, and military members are coordinating a "campaign" to download as much music and movies as possible from BitTorrent and other P2P software clients.
If true, this would be an incredible story
. RIAA spokesperson Cara Duckworth could hardly believe her ears about the report from what she calls "notoriously anti-content providers" who "write this crap so that folks will believe it." Needless to say, Duckworth says the report is untrue.
"We've never heard of this," she says. "Regardless, it is the service operators and not the content providers who are responsible for any location restrictions required by their licenses. In fact, enabling fans' access to legitimate music sites in a quick and convenient manner is in the best interest of the U.S. music labels that we represent."
If service operators like the ones mentioned in the report — Netflix, Amazon and others — are the ones controlling IP blocks, and are doing so without any contractual obligation, the industry associations deserve a pass. We'll continue to look into this situation and update if necessary.