Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rogers Cable likely sending "TCP resets" to govern DMCA content

Content like watching Star Trek Episodes being shared on Youtube-like video upload channels in countries not signed on to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

This is my experience.

I found a video sharing site that had Star Trek episodes on it. For about a month the content downloaded into the site's video player smoothly, and the entire episode played flawlessly. Two days ago the episode stopped loading after about a minute, and the indicator bar would then suddenly, instantly, run to the end of the loading indicator window. The numbers on the counter stayed the same (42:00) but the video just stopped, usually at around the 5 minute mark.

If I tried to move the video position marker past the point where it had stopped, the position indicator would place, but then when one clicked play the video reset and started loading from the beginning of the episode - and the same load and play experience would happen again, exactly as before.

I tried multiple different episodes - including episodes I had watched in their entirety just a few days ago; I tried clearing cookies; rebooting; reloading the same address several times; using a download app to load the entire episode outside of the player, in a folder other than the Temp Folder that these video applications store data in --- and nothing has worked.

I figure a version of what Cable Companies have been proved to have done to P2P users, sending false reset messages...

"Electronic Frontier Foundation"
October 19, 2007 "Tests agree with AP: Comcast is forging packets to interfere with user traffic"
by Seth Schoeneff now happening to people just viewing copyright content on video upload sites --- no copying, no downloading and then uploading to friends --- just watching, and then watching something else - the data sent to be written over the instant the application is closed or restarted.

In this case my service provider, Rogers Cable Inc. is upholding their responsibility under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and stopping me from watching content up-loaded by a user of a Youtube-like site in Asia - in this case, content owned by Viacom.

Wikipedia:  TCP reset attack -

TCP resets 
The stream of packets in a TCP connection each contains a TCP header. Each of these headers contains a bit known as the "reset" (RST) flag. In most packets this bit is set to 0 and has no effect, however if this bit is set to 1 it indicates to the receiving computer that the computer should immediately stop using the TCP connection - It should not send any more packets using the connections identifying numbers (called ports), and discard any further packets it receives with headers indicating they belong to that connection. A TCP reset basically kills a TCP connection instantly. 
When used as designed this can be a useful tool. One common application is the scenario where a computer (we'll call it computer A) crashes while a TCP connection is in progress. The computer on the other end (computer B) will continue to send TCP packets since it does not know computer A has crashed. When computer A reboots, it will then receive packets from the old pre-crash connection. Computer A has no context for these packets and no way of knowing what to do with them, so it might send a TCP reset to the sender of the packets - computer B. This reset lets computer B know that the connection is no longer working. The user on computer B can now try another connection or take other action.

DMCA is the oldest of the internet copyright laws, and is viewed by many as striking a balance (not me) - but the large media corporations - who have billions of dollars in potential profit in the form of content sitting in their vaults, full of 50 years and counting of production - are pushing the envelope on the interpretation and application of DMCA - and at the same time lobbying for more draconian SOPA and PIPA type laws; and at the same time building a trade pact of only the richest and most advanced economies - through ACTA - to spread this intransigence, and their own super profitability, globally.

It seems they will not have a world of 1's and 0's, a place where everything is copy-able in exact form with no fading - even though that's exactly where the world is going whether they like it or not.

A dark age approaches - and I fear - a revolution in response.


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