May 19, 2020

Why the FBI, MPAA & RIAA are Fighting a Losing Battle

netflix
FBI
Legislation
RIAA
Bizclik Editor
3 min
Why the FBI, MPAA & RIAA are Fighting a Losing Battle

Written by Chris Ward

For the past week the news has been awash with the story of Megaupload, its owner Kim DotCom and its ‘racketeering and money laundering’ directors. The exemplification of the cyberocker website seems to have had its desired effect, at least in the short term, as similar websites have tightened their policies in reaction. Certain sites, such as Filesonic and Fileserve, have even prevented users from downloading files uploaded by others.
 
Why Megaupload was targeted where other websites were not will remain the knowledge of the FBI for the time being. Inevitably there will be a long ensuing court case, and it will be some time before the outcome has been decided. The Megaupload operation was of course heavily backed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). No doubt they will view this as a major coup over the world of piracy, but in the long term it will have arguably little effect.
 
The fact that companies such as Megaupload make a profit from illegal filesharing is a subject of much contention. However, if there was a better developed infrastructure that offered an equally convenient, legitimate alternative, there would not be such opportunity for illegal services to operate. The money that is spent trying to eradicate services such as Megaupload could be better invested in subsidizing such an infrastructure, as well as supporting content creators that are hit worst by piracy.
 
According to a recent report published in New Media Age (NMA), consumers are becoming increasingly willing to pay for online movie and TV content. This is partly thanks to streaming services such as Netflix and LOVEFiLM, which are starting to offer a larger catalog of content at a reasonable price. The recent integration of these services with Xbox and PS3 will only facilitate further the conversion of users from illegal to legitimate services, but a complete solution is still a long way off and such services need a large uptake and support in order to succeed. As NMA editor Justin Pearse points out:
 
Make it easy and people will pay, make it useful and they’ll keep paying. The refusal of people to pay for anything in digital is a bit of a self- defeating truism. Most people, most of the time, are happy to pay for anything.
 
This considered, perhaps it would be more worthwhile for the likes of the US (and other) Governments, the MPAA and the RIAA to focus on supporting legitimate services, rather than trying to wipe out the illegal ones. Removing sites such as Megaupload will not stop online pirates, it will function only to push them deeper into anonymous ‘darknets,’ such as the Tor Project. Once people are part of an anonymous service that cannot be tracked, it may be harder to convert them to users of legitimate services. The recent opposition to the SOPA and PIPA bills should act as a warning of the consequences that punitive filesharing legislation could have, such as the increased use of darknets.
 
Ultimately, it is legitimate streaming services that will reduce online piracy. For the time being, organizations such as the MPAA and RIAA are spending money fighting a losing battle; money that could be better invested in lawful services that would help to bring in more revenue for content creators. Piracy cannot be ignored, but an equally convenient, legal alternative for online video needs to be in place before it is targeted with laws and court cases.
 
Follow Chris on Twitter: @_chrisw

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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