All posts by Ernesto

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 09/26/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

ghostbThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Ghostbusters is the most downloaded movie.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
1 (…) Ghostbusters 5.5 / trailer
2 (1) Captain America: Civil War 8.1 / trailer
3 (…) I.T. 5.4 / trailer
4 (2) X-Men: Apocalypse 6=7.8=3 / trailer
5 (…) Swiss Army Man 7.6 / trailer
6 (8) The Legend of Tarzan 6.4 / trailer
7 (4) Now You See Me 2 6.8 / trailer
8 (5) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 6.2 / trailer
9 (3) Alice Through The Looking Glass 6.4 / trailer
10 (6) The Shallows 6.6 / trailer

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Court: Uploaded Can’t Ignore ‘Spam’ Copyright Notices

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

uploadedlogoWith millions of visitors per month, Uploaded is one of the largest file-hosting services on the Internet.

Like many of its ‘cloud hosting’ competitors, the service is also used to share copyright infringing material, which is a thorn in the side of various copyright holder groups.

In Germany this has resulted in several lawsuits, where copyright holders want Uploaded to be held liable for files that are shared by its users, if they fail to respond properly to takedown notices.

In one of these cases the court has now clarified that Uploaded can even be held liable for copyright infringement if those messages are never read, due to an overactive ‘spam’ filter.

The case was started several years ago by anti-piracy company proMedia GmbH, which sent a takedown notice to Uploaded on behalf of a record label. The notice asked the site to remove a specific file, but that never happened.

Uploaded, in its defense, argued that it had never seen the takedown notice. It was flagged by its DDoS protection system and directly sent to a spam folder. As such, the notice in question was never read.

Last week the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg ruled on the case. It affirmed an earlier ruling from the Regional Court of Hamburg, concluding that Uploaded can be held liable, spam or no spam.

The court argued that because Uploaded’s anti-DDoS system willingly created a “cemetery for emails,” they can be treated as if they had knowledge of the takedown notices. This decision is now final.

Anja Heller, attorney at the German law firm Rasch which represented the plaintiff, is happy with the outcome in this case.

“File-hosters have to handle their inboxes for abuse notices very carefully. On the one hand they cannot easily claim not having received a notice. On the other hand they have to check blacklisted notices on a regular basis,” she says.

The current lawsuit dealt exclusively with the liability question, so the copyright owners have to file a separate proceeding if they want to obtain damages.

However, together with previous liability verdicts, it definitely makes it harder for file-hosters to operate without a solid anti-piracy strategy.

“The verdict once again shows the high demands German courts place on file-hosters, which are not only obliged to take down links immediately after having received a notice, but have to keep their services clean from infringing content as well,” Heller concludes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

TPBClean: A ‘Safe for Work’ Pirate Bay Without Porn

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

tpbcleanOver the years, regular Pirate Bay visitors have seen plenty of scarcely dressed girls being featured on the site.

The XXX category has traditionally been one of the largest, and TPB’s ads can show quite a bit of flesh as well. While there are many people who see this adult themed content as a feature, not everyone appreciates it.

This didn’t go unnoticed to “MrClean,” a developer with quite a bit of experience when it comes to torrent proxy sites.

He was recently confronted with the issue when several Indian programmers he tried to hire for torrent related projects refused to work on a site that listed porn and other nudity.

“Over fifty percent of those contacted refused to work on the project, not for copyright related reasons, but because they didn’t want to work on a project that had ANY links with adult content,” MrClean tells TF.

Apparently, there is a need for pornless torrent sites, so “MrClean” decided to make a sanitized torrent site for these proper folks. This is how the TPBClean proxy site was born.

“Since TPB is now the biggest torrent site again, I figured there might be people with similar feelings toward adult content that would appreciate a clean version of the bay,” MrClean explains.

TPBClean is a direct proxy of all Pirate Bay torrents, minus those in the porn categories. In addition, the site has a customized look, without any ads.

“Although many TPB users don’t mind tits in their face while searching the top 100, TPBClean users will have a more ‘Safe For Work’ experience,” MrClean notes.

People who try searching for XXX content get the following response instead. “Any Explicit/Adult Content has been Removed 🙂” We did some test searches and it appears to work quite well.

XXX filtered


The Pirate Bay team can usually appreciate inventive creative expressions, although they might find it hard to believe that anyone would be interested in a torrent site without porn.

In any case, MrClean says that he doesn’t mean to do any harm to the original Pirate Bay, which he full-heartedly supports. And thus far the public response has mainly been positive as well.

“Finally a PirateBay you can browse with your granny!” Pirate Bay proxy portal UKBay tweeted excitingly.


Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

German Library Claims Copyright on “Nazi Anthem,” Censors Documentary on YouTube

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

docudownWhen it comes to Nazi propaganda, Germany has an extensive censorship track record. After the Second World War it was policy to ban all Nazi propaganda, most famously Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Even today the issue is still a hot topic. For example, earlier this week our attention was drawn towards a rather unusual censorship effort on behalf of the German National Library.

With help from BR:Enter Music, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek sent a takedown request to YouTube, targeting the historical 2006 documentary You Don’t Know Hitler.

The film in question serves as a reminder of the horrors Hitler brought forth. It is composed of historical material and other propaganda footage, including clips from Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 film Triumph of the Will.

The content that triggered the takedown request is a version of the infamous Horst Wessel Lied, also known to a wider public as the Nazi Anthem. According to the claim, the library owns the right to the recording.

Documentarian and filmmaker James K. Lambert informs TorrentFreak that this is not the first time that his film has been targeted, but usually these claims are dropped when he protests them.

“The complete film has been posted for nearly four years and I periodically get claims against me from companies who say they own this sound recording or that image. These false claims were always dropped once I pushed back.”

Copyright claim


This time, however, that was not enough. The National German Library insists that the film infringes on their rights and as a result the filmmaker has been slapped with a copyright strike.

“According to BR Enter, DNB owns the ‘sound recording’ rights to this track, ‘Version 11’ specifically, which is allegedly the version I used in my film when I extracted it from the Nazi propaganda documentary, Triumph Of The Will.”

While it seems strange that the German state would own the rights to a 87-year-old song it didn’t produce, the issue is a bit of a minefield. Over the years, Germany has indeed obtained the copyrights to a lot of Nazi propaganda, some of which are still enforceable today.

On the other hand, there is a long history of denying Nazi copyrights or permitting its use, starting with the US Government which sanctioned it in Frank Capra’s counter propaganda series Why We Fight.

What’s clear, however, is that after all these years Nazi copyrights are still being enforced. This is something Lambert is fiercely protesting. According to the documentarian, people have the right to see history for what it was.

“Nazi propaganda is part of the criminal record of their Crimes Against Humanity; they are not marketable commodities that should exclusively belong to anyone,” Lambert tells us.

To get his documentary reinstated Lambert submitted a counter-notice which he documented in detail in a lengthy blog post. According to Lambert the song he used is in the public domain and even if it isn’t, it would fall under fair use.

TorrentFreak contacted both BR:Enter and the National German Library several days ago asking for comment on the issue. However, at the time of publication we have yet to hear back.

Lambert hopes that his counterclaim will be accepted and that the documentary will be reinstated soon. For the future, he hopes that YouTube will improve its processes so it can better deal with these fair use cases, keeping the rights of documentarians in mind.

“This matter should never have reached this absurd point. YouTube should not have given unquestioned deference to BR Enter Music’s claim against me and my documentary should not have been taken down from YouTube.

“I hope this counter-claim will finally resolve this matter and restore the video to my channel because I am completely within my rights to have made this film and to publicly show it to others,” Lambert concludes.

For those who are interested, Lambert’s documentary You Don’t Know Hitler is still available on Vimeo.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Mexican Police Target Popular KickassTorrents ‘Clone,’ Seize Domain

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

kickasstorrents_500x500Two months ago KickassTorrents (KAT) was shut down by the U.S. Government, following the arrest of the site’s alleged owner.

Soon after the official site went offline various mirrors and clones launched to take its place, to the pleasure of hundreds of thousands of users.

One of the most popular mirrors started as While this domain name was swiftly seized, and later picked up by scammers, the initial site continued to operate from and

However, this week the site got in trouble again. Without prior notice the .MX domain name was taken out of circulation by the registry, following an intervention from Mexico’s federal police.

The authorities say they were tipped off by copyright holders and wasted no time in containing the threat.

“This action took place after various distribution companies reported intellectual property infringements. In response, staff at the Center for Prevention of Electronic Crimes started a cyber intelligence operation to locate the source where this crime was committed,” the federal police reported.

“Currently the website is out of service, and our research continues to locate the administrators,” they added.

Although there is no doubt that is offline, in a rather confusing press release police keep referring to, which appears to be an unrelated website.

TorrentFreak reached out to the operator of the “clone,” which is really just a Pirate Bay mirror with a KickassTorrents skin, who was surprised by the domain seizure.

“The suspension of the MX TLD was very unexpected and came as a shock to us because we used EasyDNS to register the domain name,” the operator says.

EasyDNS has a track record of standing up against domain seizures and suspensions that are requested without a proper court order. However, in this case EasyDNS was bypassed as the police went directly to the MX domain registry.

“Their team is trying to get into touch with the Mexican registry to get the domain back though any positive development in this regard seems unlikely,” the operator adds.

For now, the KAT-themed site remains available from the domain and more backup domains are expected to follow in the near future, probably without Mexican ties.

“We already have three more TLDs and plan to set up mirror sites on them to increase resilience,” he concludes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

BMG Pressed Internet Provider to Pay Piracy Compensation

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

piratkeybFor several years, music rights group BMG has been chasing down pirating BitTorrent users. With help from Rightscorp the company regularly sends DMCA notices to ISPs.

These notices are bundled with settlement demands, intended for Internet subscribers who allegedly shared pirated content. If the accused subscribers pay $30, they avoid further trouble.

However, BMG’s enforcement efforts are not only directed at individual subscribers. Behind the scenes, the company is also putting pressure on ISPs to cooperate with their scheme, or pay up instead.

One of their targets is US-based Internet provider RCN. A relatively small player with roughly 400,000 subscribers, but allegedly good for millions of alleged copyright infringements.

According to BMG, the ISP is liable for the infringements of its users. RCN clearly disagrees with this accusation and went to court earlier this year to ask clarification in the form of a declaratory judgment.

A few days ago the ISP submitted an amended complaint (pdf), revealing a letter that shows how the music licensing group put pressure on them by demanding preventive measures as well as compensation.

In the letter, BMG’s law firm Steptoe & Johnson informed RCN’s executive vice president Jeffrey Kramp that the ISP failed to terminate repeat infringers on its network, despite receiving millions of notices.

“The evidence shows that RCN is allowing repeat infringers to use its network to continue their infringement of BMG works even after RCN has been notified of their specific instances of infringement,” the letter reads.

“Since Rightscorp began monitoring BMG’s copyrights, it has identified millions of instances of infringement involving thousands of BMG copyrighted works using the RCN network.”

BMG’s letter to RCN (full pdf)


RCN had previously noted that BMG accused the ISP of secondary copyright infringement and the letter shared by RCN late last week shows how.

“RCN’s knowledge and allowance of unchecked infringement to occur using its network makes it liable for secondary copyright infringement and actual or statutory damages as high as $150,000 per infringed work,” BMG’s lawyer writes.

With hundreds of works at stake, the potential damages run to dozens of millions. However, just like the accusations against individual subscribers, RCN can make these go away by signing a settlement agreement and paying compensation.

“We are hopeful that a resolution of this ongoing and damaging infringement can be reached. To that end, we suggest the parties meet to discuss a settlement that would include a means of preventing or limiting future infringement and appropriate compensation to BMG,” the letter suggests.

It’s clear that with this language BMG hoped to pressure the Internet provider into cooperating. This didn’t work out though, as RCN decided to lawyer-up instead and sue them instead.

In the amended complaint, the Internet provider asks for a declaratory judgment that it’s not liable for infringing any of BMG’s copyrights or any damage resulting from alleged infringements of their subscribers.

While ISPs enjoy safe harbor protections under the DMCA, this does not guarantee a positive outcome for RCN.

In a similar liability case last year, Internet provider Cox Communications was held responsible for the copyright infringements of its subscribers. In that case a Virginia federal court ordered Cox to pay BMG $25 million in damages.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

ISP Trolls Copyright Troll With A Taste of Its Own Medicine

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

bahnhofIn recent years file-sharers around the world have been ordered to pay significant settlement fees, or face legal repercussions.

These so-called “copyright trolling” efforts have been a common occurrence in several countries, with Sweden one of the latest hunting grounds.

One of the organizations leading the way is Spridningskollen (Distribution Check). Using data gathered by German anti-piracy outfit Excipio, they plan to start by targeting around 1,000 alleged pirates, offering them settlements of around $233 (2,000 kronor).

While many Internet providers don’t put up a real fight to protect their subscribers, privacy conscious Bahnhof is. Not only does Bahnhof delete all logs that could link IP-addresses to alleged infringements, the company is also pushing back in other creative ways.

Previously they accused Spridningskollen of trademark infringement and this week they followed up this threat with a more concrete warning.

Giving the “trolls” a taste of their own medicine, Bahnhof sent them an invoice for the exact amount they also ask from accused pirates, to settle the alleged trademark infringement.

“You’re infringing our trademark ‘Spridningskollen.’ Bahnhof filed for the trademark on 2016-08-31, with the launch of the website,” the settlement invoice reads.

The anti-piracy outfit uses for their website and Bahnhof urges the company to pay up and take it down, or else.


“Choose to pay 2,000 kronor and switch off your site as soon as possible, or face legal action when the trademark application has been processed,” they write.

“You can say that this letter is a settlement offer. If the infringer of the trademark does not pay the rightsholder the case can proceed to trial, which is far more costly for all involved.”

It’s unlikely that the anti-piracy coalition is going to comply voluntarily, as the trademark application can be disputed. Nevertheless, Bahnhof’s provocative approach is refreshing to say the least.

When asked, most ISPs will say that they have the best interests of their subscribers at heart, but very few companies are willing to go above and beyond and highlight possible abuse.

And adding some irony in the mix makes it all the better.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Stop Piracy? Legal Alternatives Beat Legal Threats, Research Shows

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

cassetteYesterday the RIAA announced the biggest growth in recorded music sales since the late 1990s, a healthy 8.1% increase compared to the year before.

The record numbers were achieved despite the widespread availability of pirated music. So what happened here? Did all those pirates suddenly grow a conscience?

The answer to this question is partly given by new research published in the journal Risk Analysis.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia, Lancaster University, and Newcastle University found that perceived risk has very little effect on people’s piracy habits. This means that stricter punishments or tough copyright laws are not the answer.

Instead, unauthorized file-sharing (UFS) is best predicted by the supposed benefits of piracy. As such, the researchers note that better legal alternatives are the best way to stop piracy.

The results are based on a psychological study among hundreds of music and ebook consumers. They were subjected to a set of questions regarding their file-sharing habits, perceived risk, industry trust, and online anonymity.

By analyzing the data the researchers found that the perceived benefit of piracy, such as quality, flexibility of use and cost are the real driver of piracy. An increase in legal risk was not directly associated with any statistically significant decrease in self-reported file-sharing.

“Given that we observe a much more powerful predictor of behavior in perceived benefit, changes to legal frameworks may not be the most effective route to change behaviour,” lead author Dr Steven Watson says.

“Specifically, one strategy to combat unlawful file-sharing would be to provide easy access to information about the benefits of legal purchases or services, in an environment in which the specific benefits UFS offers are met by these legal alternatives.”

Alternatively, there is a more indirect route to influence piracy, by increasing the “trust” people have in regulators. This could increase risk perception and also lower the perceived benefits of piracy. However, the researchers note that this isn’t the most efficient option.

In their paper, the researchers mention subscription services such as Spotify as the most compelling alternatives.

This brings us back to the record revenue the RIAA reported yesterday, which can be attributed to the growth of legal services. The RIAA notes that with the introduction of Tidal and Apple Music, subscription service revenues doubled compared to last year.

So it’s legal options that drive the recent revenue growth, not anti-piracy enforcement.

Of course, the idea that subscription services can compete with piracy isn’t new. When Spotify launched its first beta in the fall of 2008, we billed it as “an alternative to music piracy,” and various reports have shown that pirates gladly switch over to good legal services.

The UK researchers also conclude that legal alternatives are a viable option to decrease piracy, one that’s preferred over legal threats.

“It is perhaps no surprise that legal interventions regarding UFS have a limited and possibly short-term effect, while legal services that compete with UFS have attracted significant numbers of consumers,” says co-author Dr Piers Fleming.

Techdirt’s Mike Masnick, who published a “The carrot or the stick” report last year, notes that the findings are in line with their conclusions.

According to Masnick, there is now ample evidence showing that enforcement is not the answer to piracy, but thus far the relevant stakeholders continue to hide their heads in the sand.

“And yet, politicians, regulators and legacy industry folks still insist that ratcheting up enforcement is the way to go. What will it take for them to actually follow what the evidence says, rather than continuing with faith-based copyright policies?” Masnick writes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Most Young Millennials Love Piracy and Ad-Blockers

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

piratekayDespite the availability of many legal services, piracy remains rampant among millennials in the United States.

This is one of the main conclusions of the “Millennials at the Gate” report, released by Anatomy Media. The report is based on a comprehensive survey of 2,700 young millennials between 18 and 24, and zooms in on piracy and ad-blocking preferences in this age group.

The results show that more than two thirds, a whopping 69%, admit to using at least one form of piracy to watch video.

Online streaming is by far the most popular choice among these pirates, whether it’s on the desktop (42%) or via mobile (41%). Torrenting, on the other hand, is on the decline and is stuck at 17% in this age group.

Piracy preferences


Streaming from unofficial sources is so dominant now that Anatomy Media decided to come up with a new word for those who engage in it: striminals. Whether they seriously considered the better fitting “striminalennials” is unclear.

“These streaming millennial criminals, or what we call ‘striminals,’ watch what they want, when they want, where they want, and they don’t pay for it,” the company explains.

Interestingly, 67% of all millennials believe that streaming unauthorized content is perfectly legal. Only 18% believe that it is wrong to stream content without paying for it.

It’s worth highlighting that it’s up for debate whether the term “criminal” accurately describes people who casually stream unauthorized videos. Attempts to make streaming a felony previously failed in the United States congress.

In addition to online piracy, young millennials are quite fond of ad-blockers. The report shows that two out of three use a mobile or desktop ad-blocker, or both.

Ad-blocking preferences


Interestingly, there is a direct link between the use of ad-blockers and online piracy. Millennials who are into mobile piracy use mobile ad-blockers more often, while desktop pirates have a higher preference for desktop ad-blockers.

Anatomy Media suggest that piracy and ad-blocking might reinforce each other. Online pirates may be more likely to use ad-blockers because pirate sites are often ad-ridden, they argue. However, this causal relationship wasn’t researched.

Piracy and ad-blocking


While the above paints a grim picture for media companies, not all is lost according to Anatomy Media. The company, which conveniently specializes in “creative advertising,” says that a better viewing experience could encourage millennials to move over to the right side.

“Young millennials’ dissatisfaction with their viewer experience and their overwhelming adoption of ad blockers is a call-to-action to improve the viewer experience and review the nature of the digital ad experience,” the report concludes.

“Millennials will accept advertising as long as it is restrained, targeted and relevant,” the company self-servingly adds.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Copyright Is Not an Inevitable or Divine Right, Court Rules

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

copyright-bloodIn many countries it’s common for universities to print course packs, consisting of chapters of various educational books. This allows professors to use a tailored selection of literature they deem relevant for the course in question.

However, not all publishers like this practice. They often demand license fees if the number of copied pages exceeds a certain limit. This is also the nature of a long-running copyright case in India.

Rameshwari Photocopy Services, a small copyshop licensed by Delhi University, was sued by several large publishers including Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, because it failed to pay compensation for copied work.

The case was filed in 2012 and late last week the Delhi High Court issued its verdict, which had been highly anticipated by both academics and copyright lawyers.

The outcome, detailed in a 94-page decision (pdf), is a clear win for the copyshop. The Court held that copying parts of books is permitted, as long as it’s for educational use.

In his decision the Chief Justice recalls that during his study, copying was already very common. While suitable copying machines were not available then, students copied books manually, page for page.

The fact that the copyshop now saves students time and effort doesn’t mean that it should suddenly become an offense under Indian copyright law. Students are still copying parts of books, just not by hand.

“When the effect of the action is the same, the difference in the mode of action cannot make a difference so as to make one an offence,” the verdict reads.

In addition, the High Court clarifies that copyright is not an inevitable or divine right, which allows creators to maintain strict and total control over their works.

In the case of education, in particular, it is fair dealing when educators and students copy work to advance knowledge. Making partial copies of books that are available in the university library, certainly fits this description.

“Copyright, specially in literary works, is thus not an inevitable, divine, or natural right that confers on authors the absolute ownership of their creations,” the verdict reads.

“It is designed rather to stimulate activity and progress in the arts for the intellectual enrichment of the public. Copyright is intended to increase and not to impede the harvest of knowledge,” it adds.

The landmark ruling is being welcomed by students and academic scholars, who can now freely copy texts without having to worry about breaking the law.

“The judgment has immense consequences beyond India and is a bold articulation of the principles of equitable access to knowledge — and one that deserves to be emulated globally.” writes Lawrence Liang, law professor at Ambedkar University, currently teaching at Yale.

“Aggressively pushed by the copyright lobby, such as Hollywood, the music industry and the publishing cartels, copyright law had effectively been hijacked by narrow commercial interests,” he adds.

The publishers, however, responded with disappointment and fear that the verdict will limit the availability of educational content in India.

“It is unfortunate that the court’s decision today could undermine the availability of original content for the benefit of students and teachers,” they said.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 09/19/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

capt1This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Captain America: Civil War: Out of the Shadows is the most downloaded movie for the second week in a row.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
1 (1) Captain America: Civil War 8.1 / trailer
2 (3) X-Men: Apocalypse 6=7.8=3 / trailer
3 (…) Alice Through The Looking Glass 6.4 / trailer
4 (4) Now You See Me 2 6.8 / trailer
5 (2) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 6.2 / trailer
6 (6) The Shallows 6.6 / trailer
7 (…) Sully (HDTS) 8.0 / trailer
8 (7) Jason Bourne (HDTC/Subbed HDRip) 7.4 / trailer
9 (8) Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates 6.4 / trailer
10 (…) 31 5.8 / trailer

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Anti-Piracy Outfits Caught Fabricating Takedown Notices

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

fraudalertEvery hour of the day dozens of anti-piracy outfits scour the web to find copyright-infringing content, so they can target it with takedown notices.

Since they’re dealing with such as massive volume of often automated requests, it’s no surprise that every now and then an error is made.

In recent years we have frequently pointed out such mistakes, some more serious than others. In a few cases, however, reporting organizations appear to make very little effort to be correct.

In fact, we’ve discovered that some are deliberately and automatically fabricating links to broaden their scope.

A few weeks ago we reported that defunct torrent cache services were receiving takedown notices for files that never existed, but it appears that the problem is much broader than first thought. Various torrent proxy and clone sites, dead or alive, are also receiving similar treatment.

For example, take the website, which is a clone of the original that shut down a few weeks ago. The site links to plenty of copyrighted content, drawing the attention of rightsholders including the anti-piracy department at NBC Universal.

Below is a takedown notice sent out by NBC recently, one of many that come in the same format.

One of NBCUniversal’s takedown notices


For most outsiders this may look like a proper notice. However, upon closer inspection it’s clear that the URL structure of the links is different from the format Torrentz2 uses. The notice is question lists this URL:

On Torrentz2, however, the search “2012 dvdrip battleship mp4” generates the following URL, which is clearly different.

The link NBC Universal reports has never existed and simply returns a blank page. TorrentFreak reached out to the operator of the site who confirmed that they have never used this URL format.

This ‘mistake’ can be explained though. The URL structure NBCUniversal uses comes from the original Torrentz site, meaning that NBC simply did a search and replaced the old domain with a new one, without checking if the URLs exist.

In other words, they fabricated these links.

Further research reveals that this practice is rather common for clones and proxy sites. In the past we’ve already raised suspicions about long lists of URLs with the same structure, which appeared to be automatically generated.

Since most of these did link to actual content, it was hard to proof that they were being made up. However, when takedown notices are sent long after a site has gone offline, targeting content that didn’t exist when the site was still up, it becomes crystal clear what’s happening.

Take the domain name, for example. This was part of a ring of thousands of proxy sites that all shut down last year. However, anti-piracy groups are still targeting these URLs with new takedown requests.

In fact, there are many recent takedown requests that list content that wasn’t available at the time the site was operating. This is indisputable proof that these URLs are fabricated.

Ghost proxies


The screenshot above is just a random request that came in this week, seemingly targeting pirated copies of X-Men: Apocalypse. However, the proxy site domains in question have been offline for a long time, some close to a year.

Please note that these are not isolated or rare ‘mistakes.’ Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of fabricated links to these proxy sites have been sent out over the past several months, inflating Google’s takedown numbers.

So why are these fabricated notices being sent? One reason might be laziness. Anti-piracy outfits discover the URL structure of a site and simply keep sending notices without checking if the sites are still up.

Another motivation for anti-piracy outfits could be to boost their numbers. Many get paid based on the volume of notices they send out, so more links means extra cash.

Whatever the case is, the fabricated links above are just another example of the carelessness of some rightsholders and reporting organizations when it comes to the DMCA takedown procedure, skewing the actual numbers.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Elsevier Wants CloudFlare to Expose Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

cloudflareElsevier is one of the largest academic publishers in the world.

Through its ScienceDirect portal the company controls access to millions of scientific articles spread out over thousands of journals, most of which are behind a paywall.

Not all academics are happy with these restrictions that hamper their work. As a result, hundreds of thousands of researchers are turning to ‘pirate’ sites such as Sci-Hub, Libgen and Bookfi to access papers for free.

Elsevier views these sites as a major threat to its business model and last year it filed a complaint at a New York District Court, accusing the sites’ operators of systematic copyright infringement.

The publisher managed to obtain a preliminary injunction to seize the sites’ domain names. However, the case is still ongoing and the three sites in question continue to operate from new domains.

Over the past several months a lot of media coverage focused on Sci-Hub and its operator Alexandra Elbakyan. However, Elsevier still has no clue who’s behind the other two sites. With help from Cloudflare, it hopes to fill in the gaps.

Earlier this week Elsevier submitted a motion for leave to take discovery (pdf), so it can demand logs and other personally identifiable data about the operators of Libgen and Bookfi from Cloudflare.

Both sites previously used Cloudflare’s CDN services and the publisher is hoping that they still have crucial information on file.

Elsevier already tried to obtain the host IP addresses of the sites through the “Trusted Reporter” program, but Cloudflare replied that it could not share this info for sites that are no longer active on its network.

In addition to contacting Cloudflare, the academic publisher also requested information from Whois Privacy Corp. – the domain registration anonymization service used by both and – but the company hasn’t responded to these requests at all.

“Elsevier has used all of the tools at its disposal in its attempt to identify the operators of and,” Elsevier informs the court.

“However, as a consequence of the Defendants’ use of various service providers to anonymize their identities, as well as the nonresponsiveness of those service providers to Elsevier’s requests to date, these efforts have thus far been fruitless.”

According to Elsevier, a court-ordered discovery subpoena is the only option to move the case forward and identify the defendants behind Libgen and Bookfi.

“As a result, Elsevier has exhausted all other reasonable options and now must now seek this Court’s intervention in order to obtain identifying information concerning John Doe Defendants […] from CloudFlare: a business which has had direct dealings with both and,” Elsevier adds.

Since neither Libgen not Bookfi are currently using Cloudflare’s services, it remains to be seen whether the company still has the site’s old IP-addresses and other information on file.

On Thursday the court granted Elsevier’s leave to take discovery ordering CloudFlare to save all relevant logs until a final discovery decision is taken. Before that happens, CloudFlare will have a chance to respond to the request.

To leave room for the possible discovery process, Elsevier previously asked for the pretrial hearing to be postponed. It will now take place late October.

Meanwhile, the websites continue serving ‘pirated’ papers and books through their new domain names at, and

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Alleged KickassTorrents Owner Denied Access to U.S. Counsel

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

kickasstorrents_500x500In July, Polish law enforcement officers arrested Artem Vaulin, the alleged founder of KickassTorrents, who’s been held in a local prison since.

Polish authorities acted on a criminal complaint from the U.S. Government, which accused him of criminal copyright infringement and money laundering.

Last month the 30-year-old Ukrainian was indicted together with two co-conspirators, all with ties to Ukraine. While the fate of the other two is unknown, we’ve learned that the U.S. Government has now officially requested Vaulin’s extradition.

TorrentFreak spoke with Vaulin’s U.S. counsel Ira Rothken who informed us that the U.S. sent official notice of the extradition request to Poland this week.

The defense team is still working on getting the paperwork translated back into English so they can respond, but meanwhile they highlight another crucial issue.

Even though nearly two months have passed, the alleged KickassTorrents owner still hasn’t been allowed to meet with his U.S. defense team. A clear due process violation, according to Rothken.

“We still have not had an opportunity, nor have we been granted access, to meet with Artem Vaulin in prison in Poland. So we now believe that this has ripened into an international due process problem.

“We believe that Artem’s rights are now being impacted with his inability to communicate with U.S. counsel,” Rothken tells TF.

While Vaulin is allowed to meet with his Polish lawyer, Rothken stresses that this is not enough, since the case deals with a U.S. indictment, under U.S. law, based on evidence gathered by the United States of America.

“There’s no way that there could be a fair trial in the United States, or a fair extradition process, without Artem being able to have access to U.S. counsel, to learn his rights, to be able to galvanize the evidence, and to do so in a robust and expedient manner,” Rothken tells TF.

This issue doesn’t only apply to the U.S. case, but also affects the extradition process and proceedings, which have just begun.

In recent weeks Vaulin’s defense team have exhausted every option they have to set up a meeting with the U.S. counsel, but all requests have been rejected so far.

“We have gone through all the hurdles that we could possibly go through with the Polish authorities. Right now there’s simply no proper basis for them not to give access, other than the fact that they’re involved in procedural gamesmanship,” Rothken says.

Instead, the defense sees no other option than to raise the issue in court. They plan to do so in the near future and hope to have the case dismissed as a result of these due process problems.

“Right now we think the only remedy can be that when you go ahead and interfere with a U.S. defendant having access to his U.S. counsel, the entire case should be dismissed in the interest of justice,” Rothken concludes.

More news about the due process problems and the extradition process is expected to become available as the case evolves.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Chrome and Firefox Block Pirate Bay Over “Harmful Programs”

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

thepirateStarting a few hours ago Chrome and Firefox users are unable to access The Pirate Bay’s torrent download pages without running into a roadblock.

Instead of a page filled with the latest torrents, visitors now see an ominous red warning banner when they try to grab a torrent.

“The site ahead contains harmful programs,” Google Chrome informs its users.

“Attackers on might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience (for example, by changing your homepage or showing extra ads on sites you visit),” the warning adds.

Mozilla’s Firefox browser displays a similar message.

While Pirate Bay’s homepage and search is still freely available, torrent detail pages now show the following banner.

Chrome’s Pirate Bay block


Both Chrome and Firefox rely on Google’s Safe Browsing report which currently lists TPB as a partially dangerous site.

In addition to the two browsers, people who use Comodo’s Secure DNS also experienced problems reaching the site.

Comodo’s secure DNS has a built-in malware domain filtering feature and earlier today it flagged the Pirate Bay as a “hacking” site, as the banner below shows. Shortly before publishing this warning disappeared.

Pirate Bay hacking?


Comodo DNS still blocks access to ExtraTorrent, the second largest torrent site trailing just behind The Pirate Bay.

The secure DNS provider accuses ExtraTorrent of spreading “malicious” content. Interestingly, Google’s Safe Browsing doesn’t report any issues with ExtraTorrent’s domain name, so another source may play a role here.

This isn’t the first time that Comodo has blocked torrent sites and usually the warnings disappear again after a few hours or days. Until then, users can add the domains to a whitelist to regain access. Of course, they should do so at their own risk.

Chrome and Firefox users should be familiar with these intermittent warning notices as well, and can take steps to bypass the blocks if they are in a gutsy mood.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

TorrentHound Shuts Down, Another Big Torrent Site Bites The Dust

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

thFounded in 2007, has been around for nearly a decade.

With millions of visitors per month the site enjoyed a fairly large userbase, but it never reached the status of giants such as The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, and KAT.

That said, copyright holders had no trouble finding the site. Over the years TorrentHound became the target of various industry complaints and the site was blocked in several countries. Nevertheless, it always remained online, until today.

A few hours ago the site’s ‘founder’ sent us an email with an ultra-short message: “Finito.”

A quick look at the website shows that this isn’t a prank. TorrentHound is the latest large torrent site to keel over this year.

TorrentHound 2007 – 2016


At TorrentFreak we have been keeping a close eye on the torrent ecosystem for more than a decade, but never have we seen so many large sites going offline in such a short period.

TorrentHound follows the ‘example’ of KickassTorrents and Torrentz, which went offline in July and August respectively. This means that three sites from our top 10 most-visited torrent sites, are now gone.

Neither Torrentz nor TorrentHound have commented in detail on their surprise shutdowns. However, the fact that they followed shortly after KickassTorrents’ alleged operators were inducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, may not be a total coincidence.

It’s unlikely that TorrentHound was facing concrete legal pressure as it’s currently linking to various “not terrible” alternative torrent sites on its current homepage.

We asked our TorrentHound contact to shed some light on his decision and we will add an update if a response comes in.

TorrentHound, a few days ago


Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

EU Commission Proposes Mandatory Piracy Filters For Online Services

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

upload During his State of the Union address today, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced several plans to modernize copyright law in Europe.

The proposal (pdf) is part of the Digital Single Market reforms, which have been in the making for several years.

Despite earlier suggestions that geo-blocking would be banned for streaming portals such as Netflix, these ideas haven’t made it into the final text. Instead, it introduces a wide range of reforms that improve the position of rights holders.

One of the suggestions that has a lot of people worried is Article 13, which requires online services to police pirated content. This means that online services, which deal with large volumes of user-uploaded content, must use fingerprinting and filtering mechanisms to block copyright infringing files.

“The Commission proposal obliges such service providers to take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure the protection of user-uploaded works, for example by putting in place content recognition technologies,” the commission explains.

This could, for example, be similar to the Content-ID system YouTube has in place, which hasn’t been without controversy itself.

While the Commission stresses that small content platforms won’t be subject to the requirement, the proposal doesn’t define what “small” means. It also fails to define what “appropriate” or “effective” content recognition systems are, creating a fair bit of uncertainty.

Article 13


Commenting on the proposal, Digital rights group EDRi says that it will put many European companies at risk while endangering users’ right to free speech.

“The text that was launched today includes a proposal to potentially filter all uploads to the Internet in Europe. The draft text would destroy users’ rights and legal certainty for European hosting companies,” EDRi notes.

The Commission, however, notes that the changes are needed to reinforce the negotiating position of copyright holders, so they can sign licensing agreements with services that provide access to user uploaded content.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this language is directly aligned with recent calls from various music industry organizations.

Just a few month ago the BPI asked for new legislation to prevent platforms like YouTube abusing safe harbor protections in order to create “royalty havens”. With the current proposal, this wish has been partly granted.

TorrentFreak spoke with Pirate Party Member of Parliament Julia Reda who is fiercely against mandatory piracy filters.

“There are countless problems with this approach. First of all, Google spent upwards of $60 million on the development of ContentID. Asking every startup or community project to make the same kind of investment is ludicrous,” Reda says.

Most services that deal with user-uploaded content can’t invest millions into content recognition technologies so they would have to license it from others such as YouTube, Reda adds. This will only increase the already dominant positions of the major players.

In addition, she points out that automated systems often lead to overt mistakes and are poorly equipped to deal with the finer nuances of copyright.

“Just because part of a copyright-protected work shows up in a video, that doesn’t mean that the new work constitutes a copyright infringement,” Reda says.

“There are numerous exceptions to copyright such as parody or quotation – different in every EU country – that could justify the re-use of part of a protected work. An algorithm can’t detect that. It will take down lots of legal remixes and mashups, thus stifling freedom of expression,” she adds.

A valid comment, as we witnessed ourselves just a few days ago when one of our perfectly legal videos was inaccurately flagged as a copyright infringement.

YouTube aside, Reda stresses that there are many other platforms to which automated recognition systems are not well suited. Wikipedia, for example, which uses mostly Creative Commons licensed content, or services such as DeviantArt which hosts user-uploaded artwork, or MuseScore that hosts sheet music.

“There is no technology available that would reliably detect copyright infringements in these formats. The Commission is asking Internet companies to do the impossible, thus endangering collaborative communities on the Internet as well as European startups,” Reda tells us.

The filtering requirement is not the only plan that’s getting a lot of pushback.

Another controversial proposal is the introduction of a new related right for press publications. This allows online newspapers to negotiate licences from third party services that use their texts, such as Google showing article clippings in its news section.

Opponents, including several young members of the European Parliament, have dubbed the proposal a “link-tax” and are fiercely against it.


“This plan would break the internet as we know it. The way people share news online today – by posting a link that includes a short snippet or image from the article – would be made illegal unless a licence had been previously agreed,” MEP Marietje Schaake says.

Considering the stakes at hand, it’s expected that there will be several organized protests, similar to the “Save the Link” campaign, to stop the proposals from becoming law in their current form.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Advertiser Tells Court It’s Not Liable for Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

juictadsIncreasingly, copyright holders are urging third party services to cut their ties with pirate sites.

Hosting providers, search engines, ISPs, domain name registrars and advertisers should all do more to counter online piracy, the argument goes.

A few weeks ago adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan moved beyond the asking stage. The company filed a complaint at a California federal court, targeting CloudFlare and the advertising network JuicyAds over image copyright infringement carried out by their users.

ALS Scan had alerted both companies about the infringing activities of several customers, but neither took action in response and continued to offer their services.

“On information and belief, this is because Juicy Ads and Cloudflare make money by continuing to do commerce with sites that draw traffic through the lure of free infringing content,” ALS Scan wrote in their complaint.

JuicyAds’ parent company Tiger Media clearly disagrees and has now filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. They argue that, as an advertising service, they can’t be held liable for the allegedly copyright-infringing actions of their clients.

Among other things, Tiger points out that the infringing photos in question never appeared on their websites and that they couldn’t remove them even if they wanted to.

“ALS does not allege its photos appeared on (because they never did) or pass over Tiger’s ad network (because they don’t). Nor does ALS allege that Tiger has the ability to actually disable access to its photos (because it can’t),” Tiger writes (pdf).

“Rather, ALS alleges in a conclusory fashion that Tiger is liable because the sites where ALS’s photos appeared were JuicyAds ‘publishers,’ some of more than 92,000 businesses and individuals that participate in the JuicyAds ad network.”

The advertising network informs the court that its Terms of Service clearly states that the publishers are solely responsible for the content that appears on their sites.

“ALS has not and cannot assert any claims for contributory or vicarious liability, given that Tiger has no more control over publishers’ sites than it does over any other third-party sites.”

In addition, the company notes that the advertisements would actually lead people away from the allegedly infringing content, instead of encouraging it in any way.

Tiger therefore asks the court to dismiss all copyright infringement claims against them, with prejudice.

In addition, yesterday the company submitted its objections against the preliminary injunction requested by ALS Scan. Tiger argues that, based on the evidence provided, there is no need for the extensive piracy policing requirements ALS has proposed.

“The proposed injunction would force Tiger to implement wide-ranging content review protocols for all existing and potential publisher customers, in an ongoing effort to identify and ‘weed out’ any potential infringement of ALS’s content by third parties,” Tiger writes (pdf).

“This breathtaking request for Tiger to police the Internet is unwarranted because ALS’s motion fails every criterion relating to imposition of a preliminary injunction.”

Both the injunction and the motion to dismiss will be considered in a few weeks. Cloudflare has yet to respond to the complaint and was granted an extension of time to file its reply.

While ALS Scan and Tiger are relatively small players, a ruling in this lawsuit may set a precedent for future cases. For this reason, it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see other rightsholders and service providers join the case to have their opinions heard.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Google Highlights DMCA Abuse in New Copyright Transparency Report

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

googlecopyIn recent years copyright holders have overloaded Google with DMCA takedown notices, targeting links to pirated content.

The number of requests has increased dramatically, from only a few dozen takedown notices during the entire year in 2008, to millions per day nowadays.

To give the public insight into this process Google launched a Copyright Transparency Report for search in 2012. In addition to showing the rapid increase in volume, shown below, it has helped us to report on various types of DMCA takedown abuse over the years.

#Reported URLs


A few days ago Google released a revamped version of its Copyright Transparency Report. In addition to a new look, it also now reports additional data to better show what’s going on.

Previously we have been keeping track of the total number of submitted URLs by hand, but Google now prominently includes this number in its report. The latest data show that over 1.75 billion allegedly infringing URLs have been reported since they started counting.

What’s also new is an overview of how many URLs were not removed from the search index, and the reasons for that.

For example, over the past year over 10% of all submitted URLs were not removed from the search index. Roughly half of these, 50 million (5.5%), are duplicate links that had already been reported previously.

Takedown Stats


15 million (1.6%) were “invalid URLs,” such as typos and other non-existing content, and another 31 million were rejected for another reason.

The latter group, which is 3.4% of the total, also includes various types of abuse and other errors. The revamped transparency report lists various examples of abuse, such as an anti-piracy group’s coffee hatred that TorrentFreak first reported on.

“An anti-piracy enforcement firm representing a music label filed a copyright complaint asking us to delist dozens of homepages containing the word ‘coffee’ in the title. These URLs had nothing to do with the identified copyrighted work,” Google writes.

Another abuse case highlighted by Google shows that people sometimes impersonate anti-piracy outfits to remove links without the proper authorization.

“An individual impersonating a prominent anti-piracy enforcement firm filed a copyright complaint targeting several URLs from an adult film website. We occasionally receive requests from individuals who impersonate major anti-piracy firms.”

Google hopes that the new transparency report will help people to better understand what content is targeted and how the company responds. Going forward, the company says it will continue to add new examples and new data.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 09/12/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

capt1This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Captain America: Civil War: Out of the Shadows is the most downloaded movie.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
1 (4) Captain America: Civil War 8.1 / trailer
2 (1) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 6.2 / trailer
3 (…) X-Men: Apocalypse 6=7.8=3 / trailer
4 (2) Now You See Me 2 6.8 / trailer
5 (5) The Secret Life of Pets 6.8 / trailer
6 (…) The Shallows 6.6 / trailer
8 (3) Jason Bourne (HDTC/Subbed HDRip) 7.4 / trailer
8 (…) Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates 6.4 / trailer
9 (6) Independence Day: Resurgence (Subbed HDRip) 5.6 / trailer
10 (8) The Conjuring 2 7.8 / trailer

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.