All posts by Ernesto

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 07/25/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

xmenapoThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

X-Men: Apocalypse, which came out as HDRip with Korean subtitles, 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 (10) X-Men: Apocalypse (Subbed HDRip) 7.7 / trailer
2 (1) Central Intelligence 6.9 / trailer
3 (…) Batman: The Killing Joke 7.3 / trailer
4 (2) Warcraft (subbed HDRip) 7.7 / trailer
5 (3) The Purge: Election Year (subbed HDRip) 6.3 / trailer
6 (…) Ghostbusters (TS) 5.3 / trailer
7 (5) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 7.0 / trailer
8 (…) The Secret Life of Pets (HDTS) 6.8 / trailer
9 (4) The Legend of Tarzan (HDTS) 6.9 / trailer
10 (9) Independence Day: Resurgence (HDTS) 5.6 / trailer

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

KAT Takedown Triggers Traffic Spike at Torrent Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

kickasstorrents_500x500With millions of unique visitors per day KickassTorrents (KAT) was the largest file-sharing site in the world.

In fact, shortly before the site went offline it was the 69th most-visited site on the entire Internet, beating Craigslist, Alibaba and the BBC.

Today, however, the site is still offline and there haven’t been any signs of an imminent comeback. This means that KAT’s millions of users have to find a new home to get their daily torrent fix.

The Pirate Bay appears to be one of the prime alternatives. The notorious torrent site has been operating steadily recently, aside from some occasional downtime, and is still seen by many as the Godfather of all torrent sites.

At the end of 2014 many Pirate Bay users moved to KAT, when the site suffered more than a month of downtime. To get the latest torrents and discuss the latest developments, among other things. Now many KAT users are likely to switch in the other direction.

TorrentFreak spoke with TPB staff member Spud17, who has seen some increase in forum traffic in recent days. She says they will welcome homeless torrenters with open arms.

“When both TPB and its forum went down, we had overwhelming support from KAT users on their forum, and our staff were able to keep the communities updated on important news and announcements thanks to the help and messages of support we received.

“Reciprocation is only right and we hope KAT staff will keep us informed of any official news/announcements so that we can help to inform,” Spud17 adds.

As for the future, the TPB staffer believes that the KAT community is strong enough to survive one way or another.

“Personally, I think KAT will be back, their community is too strong to just fizzle out, much like the TPB community seeking refuge on IRC meant it stayed together during downtime, I’m sure the KAT community will keep the faith,” Spud17 notes.

Another refuge for KAT users is ExtraTorrent, which was already the third largest torrent site before the KAT takedown. TorrentFreak spoke to an operator of the site who said that they’re seeing a significant traffic spike.

“So far we got 200% signup, and 300% traffic increase at ExtraTorrent,” ET’s SaM told us a day after KAT went down.

Similar to KAT, ExtraTorrent has an active community and forums, which makes it one of the most natural alternatives.

Despite the traffic boost, ExtraTorrent’s operator is not happy to see another site going down. However, he is not willing to throw in the towel and believes that the “torrent community” will survive this setback.

“It is sad to see an iconic site go this way, and it shows how the torrent community is targeted by all means. But, I guess torrenting will prevail and this doesn’t mean the death or end of this era,” SaM says.

Another operator of one of the top torrent sites, who spoke with us on condition of anonymity, reports a traffic increase as well, albeit a small one. The site in question targets a different audience, which may explain the limited effect.

“We’re seeing a small traffic increase, but then again we were never the KAT type of site. So KAT’s users will not move to us,” the operator says.

Despite from the traffic spikes, some torrent sites were adversely affected this week. The popular torrent caching service went offline at the same time KAT did, which is likely related.

As a result, torrents on, Monova and other sites that use the same service are not loading at the moment. Time will tell if and how these events are connected.

It is safe to say, however, that the KAT downtime has had a significant effect on the torrent community. But as history has shown time and time again, it’s doubtful that it will stop many people from sharing files in the long run.

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

isoHunt Founder Settles with Music Industry for $66 Million

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

isohunt-fredomAfter years of legal battles, isoHunt and its founder Gary Fung are free at last.

Today, Fung announced that he has settled the last remaining lawsuit with Music Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA).

“After 10 long years, I’m happy to announce the end of isoHunt’s and my lawsuits,” Fung says, noting that he now owes the Canadian music group $66 million.

The multi-million dollar agreement follows an earlier settlement with the MPAA, for $110 million, on paper. While most site owners would be devastated, Fung has long moved beyond that phase and responds rather sarcastically.

“And I want to congratulate both Hollywood and CRIA on their victories, in letting me off with fines of $110m and $66m, respectively. Thank you!” he notes, adding that he’s “free at last”.

The consent order (pdf) signed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia prohibits isoHunt’s founder from operating any file-sharing site in the future.

It further requires Fung to pay damages of $55 million and another $10 million in aggravated punitive damages. The final million dollars is issued to cover the costs of the lawsuit.

Although isoHunt shut down 2013, it took more than two years for the last case to be finalized. The dispute initially began in the last decennium, when the Canadian music industry went after several prominent torrent sites.

In May 2008, isoHunt received a Cease and Desist letter from the CRIA in which they demanded that isoHunt founder Gary Fung should take the site offline. If Fung didn’t comply, the CRIA said it would pursue legal action, and demand $20,000 for each sound recording the site has infringed.

A similar tactic worked against Demonoid, but the isoHunt founder didn’t back down so easily. Instead, he himself filed a lawsuit against the CRIA asking the court to declare the site legal.

That didn’t work out as isoHunt’s founder had planned, and several years later the tables have been turned entirely, with the defeat now becoming final.

While the outcome won’t change anything about isoHunt’s demise, Fung is proud that he was always able to shield its users from the various copyright groups attacking it. No identifiable user data was shared at any point.

Fung is also happy for the support the site’s users have given him over the years.

“I can proudly conclude that I’ve kept my word regarding users’ privacy above. To isoHunt’s avid users, it’s worth repeating since I shutdown isoHunt in 2013, that you have my sincerest thanks for your continued support,” Fung notes.

“Me and my staff could not have done it for more than 10 years without you, and that’s an eternity in internet time. It was an interesting and challenging journey for me to say the least, and the most profound business learning experience I could not expect.”

The Canadian entrepreneur can now close the isoHunt book for good and move on to new ventures. One of the projects he just announced is a mobile search tool called “App to Automate Googling” AAG for which he invites alpha testers.

The original isoHunt site now redirects to MPAA’s “legal” search engine WhereToWatch. However, the name and design lives on via the clone site, which still draws millions of visitors per month – frustrating for the MPAA and Music Canada.

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

KickassTorrents Mirrors and Imposters Spring into Action

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

With an active community and millions of regular visitors, KickassTorrents has been the most used torrent site for quite some time.

This ended abruptly earlier this week, following the arrest of its alleged founder in Poland. A criminal complaint from the U.S. Government revealed that entire operation had been compromised by the Department of Homeland Security.

Starting a few hours ago, the first Kickass domain was signed over to the U.S. authorities. Others are expected to follow during the days to come. now displays a seizure notice, which means that the associated domain registry was quick to respond to the U.S. warrant. People who visit the address today will see the following banner, specifically tailored for KAT.

KAT’s seizure banner


As expected, the U.S. authorities are not the only ones to ‘lift’ KAT’s logo, many others are doing the same, but for a different reason.

Shortly after KAT went offline dozens of people began promoting mirrors and copies of the site. Some are just trying to keep lost files accessible, but there’s also a group trying to take over the brand, similar to the efforts seen following YIFY’s demise.

For example, the operator of sent an email to several reporters promoting a new KAT address. In a follow-up, we were told that the site is an “official backup,” and that a copy of the database is in their possession.

However, the site appears to be little more than a partial copy and the person behind it later admitted that they are not related to KAT.

Only adding to the confusion are the many other copies and alternatives claiming to be the official resurrection of KAT. Some even advertise themselves as such, but most have been available for a longer time as proxy/mirror sites., for example, has been around for a long time, hosting cached pages of the original site. The latter is also true for others, such as But in any case, there is no true backup with freshly added content available.

Another mirror that has been widely discussed is

Unlike others, the people behind this site are very clear about the fact that they are not related to the original KAT team. Their copy currently lists torrent files from the past one and a half years, but like other mirrors it doesn’t have a working forum or upload functionality.

“It’s not perfect but if users need to save and archive something it’s time. We don’t know how long it can last, but at least it’s something,” the site’s operator told TorrentFreak.

The people behind the site, who describe themselves as a group of individuals who stand for freedom of the Internet, also launched a petition on calling for the release of KAT’s alleged owner Artem Vaulin.

“We are protesting against violent attack on our right to share information and arrest of founder Artem Vaulin. Our freedom to share is the human right which Artem Vaulin has been providing to millions of users from all over the world,” they say.

While a notable effort, the banner promoting the cause appears to show a photo of an entirely different Artem Vaulin. The image was removed from the petition after we pointed this out, but it’s still present in the manifesto at the time of writing and being shared in news articles and on social media.

What is clear is that former KAT users are grasping at straws to get their old community back. While mirrors and copies do look like their old home, without a working forum and new content they don’t provide much of an alternative.

For now, people are probably better off not trusting any “KAT resurrection” claims. The chance of getting your password stolen is higher than finding a site with a true backup of the user database.

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

Can KickassTorrents Make a Comeback?

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

kickasstorrents_500x500Founded in 2009, KickassTorrents (KAT) grew out to become the largest torrent site on the Internet with millions of visitors a day.

As a result, copyright holders and law enforcement have taken aim at the site in recent years. This resulted in several ISP blockades around the world, but yesterday the big hit came when the site’s alleged founder was arrested in Poland.

Soon after the news was made public KAT disappeared, leaving its users without their favorite site. The question that’s on many people’s minds right now is whether the site will make a Pirate Bay-style comeback.

While it’s impossible to answer this question with certainty, the odds can be more carefully weighed by taking a closer look at the events that led up to the bust and what may follow.

First off, KickassTorrents is now down across all the site’s official domain names. This downtime seems to be voluntary in part, as the authorities haven’t seized the servers. Also, several domains are still in the hands of the KAT-team.

That said, the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago does reveal that KAT has been heavily compromised (pdf).

According to the feds, Artem Vaulin, a 30-year-old from Ukraine, is the key player behind the site. Over the years, he obfuscated his connections to the site, but several security holes eventually revealed his identity.

With help from several companies in the United States and abroad, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan identifies the Ukrainian as the driving force behind the site.

The oldest traces to Vaulin are the WHOIS records for various domains, registered in his name early 2009.

“A review of historical Whois information for KAT….identified that it was registered on or about January 19, 2009, to Artem Vaulin with an address located in Kharkiv, Ukraine,” the affidavit reads.

This matches with records obtained from domain registrar GoDaddy, which indicate that Vaulin purchased three KAT-related domain names around the same time.

The agent further uncovered that the alleged KAT founder used an email address with the nickname “tirm.” The same name was listed as KAT’s “owner” on the site’s “People” page in the early days, but was eventually removed in 2011.

Tirm on KAT’s people page


The HSI agent also looked at several messages posted on KAT, which suggest that “tirm” was actively involved in operating the site.

“As part of this investigation, I also reviewed historical messages posted by tirm, KAT’s purported ‘Owner.’ These postings and others indicate that tirm was actively engaged in the early running of KAT in addition to being listed as an administrator and the website’s owner,” the HSI agent writes.

Assisted by Apple and Facebook the feds were then able to strengthen the link between Vaulin, tirm, and his involvement in the site.

Facebook, for example, handed over IP-address logs from the KAT fanpage. With help from Apple, the investigator was then able to cross-reference this with an IP-address Vaulin used for an iTunes transaction.

“Records provided by Apple showed that conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook Account.”

In addition, Apple appears to have handed over private email conversations which reference KAT, dating back several years. These emails also mention a “kickasstorrent payment,” which is believed to be revenue related.

“I identified a number of emails in the account relating to Vaulin’s operation of KAT. In particular, between on or about June 8, 2010, and on or about September 3, 2010,” the HSI agent writes.

More recent records show that an IP-address linked to KAT’s Facebook page was also used to access Vaulin’s Coinbase account, suggesting that the Bitcoin wallet also assisted in the investigation.

“Notably, IP address accessed the KAT Facebook Account about a dozen times in September and October 2015. This same IP Address was used to login to Vaulin’s Coinbase account 47 times between on or about January 28, 2014, through on or about November 13, 2014.”

As for the business side, the complaint mentions a variety of ad payments, suggesting that KAT made over a dozen million dollars in revenue per year.

It also identifies the company Cryptoneat as KAT’s front. The domain was registered by Vaulin and LinkedIn lists several employees of the company who were involved in the early development of the site.

“Many of the employees found on LinkedIn who present themselves as working for Cryptoneat are the same employees who received assignments from Vaulin in the KAT alert emails,” the complaint reads.

Interestingly, none of the other employees are identified or charged.

To gather further information on the money side, the feds also orchestrated an undercover operation where they posed as an advertiser. This revealed details of several bank accounts, with one receiving over $28 million in just eight months.

“Those records reflect that the Subject Account received a total of approximately €28,411,357 in deposits between on or about August 28, 2015, and on or about March 10, 2016.”

Bank account


Finally, and crucially, the investigators issued a warrant directed at the Canadian webhost of KickassTorrents. This was one of the biggest scores as it provided them with full copies of KAT’s hard drives, including the email server.

“I observed […] that they were all running the same Linux Gentoo operating system, and that they contained files with user information, SSH access logs, and other information, including a file titled ‘passwd’ located in the ‘etc’ directory,” the HSI agent writes.

“I also located numerous files associated with KAT, including directories and logs associated to their name servers, emails and other files,” he adds.

Considering all the information U.S. law enforcement has in its possession, it’s doubtful that KAT will resume its old operation anytime soon.

Technically it won’t be hard to orchestrate a Pirate Bay-style comeback, as there are probably some backups available. However, now that the site has been heavily compromised and an ongoing criminal investigation is underway, it would be a risky endeavor.

Similarly, uploaders and users may also worry about what information the authorities have in their possession. The complaint cites private messages that were sent through KAT, suggesting that the authorities have access to a significant amount of data.

While regular users are unlikely to be targeted, the information may provide useful for future investigations into large-scale uploaders. More clarity on this, the site’s future, and what it means for the torrent ecosystem, is expected to become evident when the dust settles.

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

Feds Seize KickassTorrents Domains, Arrest Owner

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

kickasstorrents_500x500With millions of unique visitors per day KickassTorrents (KAT) has become the most-used torrent site on the Internet, beating even The Pirate Bay.

Today, however, the site has run into a significant roadblock after U.S. authorities announced the arrest of the site’s alleged owner.

The 30-year-old Artem Vaulin, from Ukraine, was arrested today in Poland from where the United States has requested his extradition.

In a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the owner is charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.


The complaint further reveals that the feds posed as an advertiser, which revealed a bank account associated with the site.

It also shows that Apple handed over personal details of Vaulin after the investigator cross-referenced an IP-address used for an iTunes transaction with an IP-address that was used to login to KAT’s Facebook account.

“Records provided by Apple showed that conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook,” the complaint reads.

In addition to the arrest in Poland, the court also granted the seizure of a bank account associated with KickassTorrents, as well as several of the site’s domain names.

Commenting on the announcement, Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said that KickassTorrents helped to distribute over $1 billion in pirated files.

“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials.”

“In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits. His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”

KAT’s .com and .tv domains are expected to be seized soon by Verisign. For the main domain as well as several others, seziure warrants will be sent to the respective authorities under the MLAT treaty.

At the time of writing the main domain name has trouble loading, but various proxies still appear to work. KAT’s status page doesn’t list any issues, but we assume that this will be updated shortly.

TorrentFreak has reached out to the KAT team for a comment on the news and what it means for the site’s future, but we have yet to hear back.

Breaking story, in depth updates will follow.

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

U.S. Government Sued for Software Piracy, Maker Claims $600m

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

usnavyIn recent years the U.S. Government has taken an aggressive stance towards copyright infringement, both at home and abroad.

However, that doesn’t mean that the Government always sticks to the rules, quite the contrary. In a recent lawsuit it stands accused of willful copyright infringement on a massive scale.

The case centers around “BS Contact Geo,” a 3D virtual reality application developed by the German company Bitmanagement. The Navy was enthusiastic about the geographical modeling capabilities of the software and in 2011 and 2012 it agreed to license its use for 38 computers.

“Those individual PC-based licenses authorized the Navy to install BS Contact Geo on a total of just 38 computers for the purposes of testing, trial runs, and integration into Navy systems,” the software vendor states in the federal claims court complaint (pdf).

After testing the application for a while, both parties started negotiating the licensing of additional computers. However, before any deals were made, the software maker learned that the Navy had already installed it on over 100,000 computers.

According to emails Bitmanagement executives received in 2013, the software had been rolled onto at least 558,466 computers on the Navy’s network, without their permission.

“Even as it negotiated with Bitmanagement over the proposed large-scale licensing of its product, the Navy was simultaneously copying and installing that software, without Bitmanagement’s advance knowledge or authorization, on a massive scale,” the complaint reads.

In addition, the Navy allegedly disabled the software that is supposed to track on how many computers the software is being used. This violation of the terms of service prevents the software vendor from stopping the unauthorized copying.

“To make matters worse, starting in 2014, the ‘Flexwrap’ software intended to track the Navy’s use and duplication of BS Contact Geo on Navy computers was disabled,” the complaint explains.

This change made it impossible for Bitmanagement to know the scope of the deployment and use of BS Contact Geo on unlicensed machines or to limit that use,” the company adds.

The software vendor says that the willful copyright infringement has caused injury to its business and rights. As a result, they’re now demanding compensation for the damage that was caused, to a total of nearly $600 million.

Installing BS Contact Geo onto a single PC cost roughly $1067 at the time, so Bitmanagement claims that it is entitled to at least $596,308,103 in unpaid licensing fees.

For comparison, that is more than the damages Kim Dotcom and Megaupload have caused copyright holders, according to the United States. And that case was billed by the FBI as one of the “largest criminal copyright cases” in history.

Interestingly this is not the first time that the U.S. military has been “caught” pirating software. A few years ago it was accused of operating unlicensed logistics software, a case the Obama administration eventually settled for $50 million.

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

Court: Google and Bing Don’t Have to Censor “Torrent” Searches

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

google-bayFor years, entertainment industry groups have been demanding that search engines do something about “pirate sites” showing up in their search results.

In France, this prompted music industry group SNEP to take the matter to court. Representing three local artists, they demanded automated search engine filters from both Google and Microsoft.

Before the High Court of Paris the music group argued that, when paired with the artist names, “torrent” related searches predominantly link to pirated content.

To counter this, they demanded a filter that would block results for these searches for the keyword “torrent,” as well as websites that include the same word in their domain name.

SNEP based its request on Article L336-2 of France’s intellectual property code, which states that “all appropriate measures” are permitted to prevent copyright infringement. The same article has been used before to force Google and Bing to make various other pirate sites disappear.

However, in the present cases the High Court of Paris decided against the music industry group, Nextinpact reports.

In their defense Microsoft had warned that the broad filtering system requested by the music group would be imprecise, disproportionate and inefficient, something the court agreed with.

While French law permits far-reaching anti-piracy measures, it also states that it’s necessary to preserve the rights of individual Internet users, such as freedom of expression and communication. An overbroad filtering scheme would go against this principle.

“SNEP’s requests are general, and pertain not to a specific site but to all websites accessible through the stated methods, without consideration for identifying or even determining the site’s content, on the premise that the term ‘Torrent’ is necessarily associated with infringing content,” the Court writes in its order.

More specifically, the court notes that the word “torrent” has many legitimate uses, as does the BitTorrent protocol, which is a neutral communication technology. This means that blocking everything “torrent” related is likely to censor legal content as well.

“Yet [torrent] is primarily a common noun, with a meaning in French and in English; it also refers to a neutral communication protocol developed by the company Bittorrent that enables access to lawfully downloaded files.

“The requested measures are thus tantamount to general monitoring and may block access to lawful websites,” the High Court order adds.

Part of the Bing order


The case against Google, which was similar in nature, also ended in favor of the search engine. The High Court dismissed this case on the grounds that it would only protect the interests of three artists, Kendji Girac, Shy’m and Christophe Willem.

For Article L336-2 to be invoked, the preventive anti-piracy measures have to protect a wider range of artists and rightsholders.

This means that both “torrent” filtering requests have not been rejected. Instead, the music group has been ordered to pay Microsoft and Bing 10,000 to cover legal fees and costs.

Interestingly, French media highlights that TorrentFreak would have been automatically censored if Google and Microsoft would have lost their case. After all, our URL includes the word torrent.

This means that a mere mention of the artists’ names would have been enough to make an article disappear from the search results.

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

Accused “Pirate” Questions Dallas Buyers Club’s Copyright Claim

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

dallasMovie studio Voltage Pictures is no stranger to suing BitTorrent users.

The company has filed lawsuits against alleged pirates in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia, and is estimated to have made a lot of money doing so.

Most of these cases target downloaders of the Oscar-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club. Voltage Pictures is one of the production companies behind the film, but as is common in Hollywood, it’s not the sole rightsholder.

In fact, another company named “Dallas Buyers Club LLC” (DBC) has also filed dozens of cases against pirates. While one might think that both rightsholders are working in tandem, they are in fact fighting over the anti-piracy loot behind the scenes.

In a case DBC and Truth Entertainment filed against Voltage Pictures last year (pdf), the latter is accused of various deceptive practices, including breach of contract and fraud.

The two plaintiffs suggest that Voltage has been holding back money from foreign proceeds. They further state that the production company hasn’t been open about its practices.

Aside from claims that money has gone missing, its anti-piracy methods are also under the spotlight. According to DBC, Voltage hasn’t provided any details on enforcement actions, nor has it shared any of the proceeds from its anti-piracy efforts.

“DBC entered into an Agreement with Voltage to act as its agent to enforce Anti-piracy actions against people who have illegally downloaded or otherwise obtained the ability to watch the movie without paying for the right to watch it,” the filing reads.

“The only updates DBC receives are thorough, mostly negative, media reports about the actions of Voltage around the World. DBC has not received any funds, reports, updates or any information from Voltage on the status numerous lawsuits filed around the World in the name of DBC.”

Where’s the anti-piracy bounty?


While the paperwork doesn’t explicitly state that both parties agreed to share the anti-piracy bounty, the claims above suggest that this is the case. Most interesting, perhaps, is that it’s unclear whether all enforcement actions are ultimately driven by Voltage.

This confusing situation is casting doubt over the legitimacy of these piracy lawsuits, as FCT highlights. This prompted Nicholas Ranallo, attorney for an accused “pirate”, to ask a California federal court for an extra safeguard.

Ranallo mentions that there is doubt over who owns the movie and he cites the legal battle between Dallas Buyers Club LLC, in whose name his defendant was sued, and Voltage.

“It is unclear what rights (if any) are actually held by Voltage Pictures or the suing entities, though it is abundantly clear that Voltage Pictures controls the litigation and keeps the proceeds collected on behalf of the purported plaintiffs,” Ranallo writes.

The amended complaint against the accused pirate identifies Dallas Buyers Club LLC as the owner, but the original complaint listed Truth LLC as such. Then again, the DVD cover and other material list Voltage as the copyright holder.

“Various advertising and promotional materials cast further doubt about the claims that Dallas Buyers Club LLC owns the relevant copyright(s), and reveal a myriad of entities that have, at one time or another, claimed copyright in the film.”

As a safeguard, Ranallo asks the court to require Dallas Buyers Club to post a $50,000 bond (pdf), to secure costs and attorney fees if the suspicions do indeed hold ground.

While it’s not uncommon for several companies to have a stake in a single movie, it will be interesting to see if this case leads to more clarity over the rights they have to pursue a copyright claim in court.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 07/18/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

centintThis week we have two newcomers in our chart.

Central Intelligence 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 (8) Central Intelligence 6.9 / trailer
2 (1) Warcraft (subbed HDRip) 7.7 / trailer
3 (…) The Purge: Election Year (subbed HDRip) 6.3 / trailer
4 (5) The Legend of Tarzan (HDTS) 6.9 / trailer
5 (2) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 7.0 / trailer
6 (…) Hardcore Henry 6.9 / trailer
7 (7) Finding Dory (HDTS) 8.1 / trailer
8 (3) Me Before You (Subbed Webrip) 7.7 / trailer
9 (4) Independence Day: Resurgence (HDTS) 5.6 / trailer
10 (9) X-Men: Apocalypse (HDCam/TC) 7.7 / trailer

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

Google Wipes Record Breaking Half Billion Pirate Links in 2016

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

google-bayCopyright holders continue to overload Google with DMCA takedown requests, targeting “pirate links” in the company’s search results.

In recent years the number of notices has exploded, breaking record after record.

Data analyzed by TorrentFreak reveals that Google recently received its 500 millionth takedown request of 2016.

The counter currently displays more than 523,000,000, which is yet another record. For comparison, last year it took almost the entire year to reach the same milestone.

If the numbers continue to go up at the same rate throughout the year, Google will process a billion allegedly infringing links during the whole of 2016, a staggering number.

According to Google roughly 98% of the reported URLs are indeed removed. This means that half a billion links were stripped from search results this year alone. However, according to copyright holders, this is still not enough.


Entertainment industry groups such as the RIAA, BPI and MPAA have pointed out repeatedly that many files simply reappear under new URLs.

“It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ for takedowns,” RIAA CEO Cary Sherman said previously.

This week Google addressed the issue in its updated “How Google Fights Piracy” report. In it, the company provides an overview of all the efforts it makes to combat piracy while countering some of the entertainment industry complaints.

According to Google, the increase shows that the system is working and the company notes that it takes less than six hours to remove content.

“The growing number of notices sent to Google by an increasing volume of different copyright owners and enforcement agents demonstrates the effectiveness and success of the notice-and-take-
down system.”

“As the internet continues to grow rapidly, and as new technologies make it cheaper and faster for copyright owners and enforcement agents to detect infringements online, we can expect these numbers to continue to increase,” Google adds.

Still, rightsholders are not impressed and continue to demand a tougher stance from Google when it comes to piracy. Shortly after Google released its report this week, BPI CEO Geoff Taylor already dismissed it.

“This report looks a lot like ‘greenwash’. Although we welcome the measures Google has taken so far, it is still one of the key enablers of piracy on the planet,” Taylor said.

By now it has become clear that the entertainment industry groups and Google are not going to reach an agreement anytime soon. The issue has been going on for years now and both sides continue to make the same arguments.

Various industry are now hoping that the Government will intervene at some point. Whether that will happen has yet to be seen but in the meantime, rightsholders will continue to report millions of pirate links per day.

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

Photographers Take “Pirating” News Outlets to Court

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

photoWhen it comes to online piracy most attention usually goes out to music, TV-shows and movies. However, photos are arguably the most-infringed works online.

While most photographers spend little time battling piracy, a few are willing to take the matter to federal court.

Recently we’ve seen a trend emerge on this front. A handful of independent photographers have teamed up with attorney Richard Liebowitz in order to demand damages from a variety of publishers, mostly prominent news outlets.

One of the photographers taking a stand is Christopher Sadowski, who noticed his work being featured on and Sadowski sued Gawker media for using his photo of an UBER car in two articles. In neither case he was rewarded or recognized for his work, the complaint alleges.

“Gawker did not license the Photograph from Plaintiff for its articles, nor did Gawker have Plaintiff’s permission or consent to publish the Photograph on its Websites. Upon information and belief, Gawker removed Sadowski’s gutter credit and did not attribute the Photograph to anyone.”

It’s unclear how the photo ended up on Gawker but the complaint states that it was properly licensed to The New York Post earlier. Gawker has yet to respond to the claims and at the time of writing the photo is still online.

The allegedly infringing image on Gizmodo


Sadowski is not alone as several lawsuits have also been filed on behalf of other photographers in recent weeks. For example, photographer John Mantel sued a variety of news publishers including tech companies Verizon, AOL and Microsoft, for using his work without permission in news articles.

Similarly, Steve Sands launched lawsuits against (Ziff Davis) and, Steven Hirsch sued, Allesandro Masi took to court and Angel Chevrestt went after CBS. And that’s just a small selection of the ongoing cases.

Sands vs. Ziff Davis


In all cases, the publishers are accused of copyright infringement and the common theme is that the news outlets use photos in their articles without properly licensing them. Most of the time the photographers in question are not even credited.

None of the accused news outlets have been found liable yet, but it’s very likely that at least some of them are breaking the law. According to the defense attorney, these news outlets are clearly profiting from the work of his clients.

“Copyright infringement is an ongoing issue. Companies are using other people’s hard work and profiting off of it. It is important for photographers and the creative community to unite and stand up for their rights and protect their work,” Liebowitz tells TorrentFreak.

In the complaints the photographers all seek compensation, which could go up to $150,000 in statutory damages per work. It is expected, however, that most will be settled for a lower amount at some stage to avoid expensive litigation.

The costs involved with these cases is also one of the main reasons why photographers typically don’t file lawsuits. Starting a federal case with proper representation is quite costly, while the outcome is rather uncertain.

However, this may change soon. This week, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries introduced a new bill that will give rightsholders a cheaper option to pursue these cases.

The CASE Act, short for Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement, proposes a small claims court to resolve copyright disputes outside the federal courts. This means that legal costs will be significantly reduced.

This is not the first time that a small claims court for copyright issues has been proposed but this time the plan has significant backing from Professional Photographers of America, a trade organization with roughly 30,000 members

For now, however, Liebowitz and his client will have to take their cases to federal court. Considering the stream of new complaints being filed, this strategy may still pay off.

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

‘Tor and Bitcoin Hinder Anti-Piracy Efforts’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

euipoTo avoid enforcement efforts, pirate sites often go to extremes to hide themselves from rightsholders and authorities.

Increasingly, this also means that they use various encryption technologies to increase their resilience and anonymity.

Several of these techniques are highlighted in a new report published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The report gives a broad overview of the business models that are used to illegally exploit intellectual property. This includes websites dedicated to counterfeit goods, but also online piracy hubs such as torrent sites and file-hosting platforms.

EUIPO hopes that mapping out these business models will help to counter the ongoing threat they face.

“The study will provide enhanced understanding to policymakers, civil society and private businesses. At the same time, it will help to identify and better understand the range of responses necessary to tackle the challenge of large scale online IPR infringements,” EUIPO notes.

According to the research, several infringing business models rely on encryption-based technologies. The Tor network and Bitcoin, for example, are repeatedly mentioned as part of this “shadow landscape”.

“It more and more relies on new encrypted technologies like the TOR browser and the Bitcoin virtual currency, which are employed by infringers of IPR to generate income and hide the proceeds of crime from the authorities,” the report reads.

According to the report, Bitcoin’s threat is that the transactions can’t be easily traced to a person or company. This is problematic, since copyright enforcement efforts are often based on a follow-the-money approach.

“There are no public records connecting Bitcoin wallet IDs with personal information of individuals. Because of these Bitcoin transactions are considered semi-anonymous,” EUIPO writes.

Similarly, sites and services that operate on the darknet, such as the Tor network, are harder to take down. Their domain names can’t be seized, for example, and darknet sites are not subject to ISP blockades.

“Through the use of TOR, a user’s Internet traffic is encrypted and routed in specific ways to achieve security and anonymity,” the report notes.

While the report doesn’t list any names, it describes various popular torrent, streaming and file-hosting sites. In one specific case, it mentions an e-book portal that operates exclusively on the darknet, generating revenue from Bitcoin donations.

Most traditional pirate sites still operate on the ‘open’ Internet. However, several sites now allow users to donate Bitcoin and both The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents both have a dedicated darknet address as well.

EUIPO is clearly worried about these developments, but the group doesn’t advocate a ban of encryption-based services as they also have legitimate purposes.

However, it signals that these and other trends should be followed with interest, as they make it harder to tackle various forms of counterfeiting and piracy online.

As part of the efforts to cut back various forms of copyright infringement, EUIPO also announced a new partnership with Europol this week. The organizations launched the Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition which aims to strengthen the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

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

Steal This Show S01E13: Save P2P, Save The Internet!

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

stslogoIn this emergency episode of STEAL THIS SHOW, Thomas Lohninger of Save The Internet and Holmes Wilson of Fight For The Future explain how practices like traffic management, zero rating and specialised services threaten P2P, VPNs and, more generally, our access to a free and open internet.

Click here to have your voice heard before it’s too late!

Steal This Show aims to release bi-weekly episodes featuring insiders discussing copyright and file-sharing news. It complements our regular reporting by adding more room for opinion, commentary and analysis.

The guests for our news discussions will vary and we’ll aim to introduce voices from different backgrounds and persuasions. In addition to news, STS will also produce features interviewing some of the great innovators and minds.

Host: Jamie King

Guests: Thomas Lohninger and Holmes Wilson

Produced by Jamie King
Edited & Mixed by Riley Byrne
Original Music by David Triana
Web Production by Siraje Amarniss

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

Nintendo Cracks Down on Pokémon Go Piracy

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

pokeThe Pokémon Go game is taking the world by storm, despite the fact that it’s not yet officially released in most countries.

The game came out in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States last week, and over the past few days Germany and the UK joined in.

However, that doesn’t mean people elsewhere can’t play it yet.

As the craze spread, so did the various pirated copies, which have been downloaded millions of times already. The Internet is littered with unauthorized Pokémon Go files and guides explaining how to install the game on various platforms.

To give an indication of how massive Pokémon Go piracy is, research from Similarweb revealed that as of yesterday 6.8% of all Android devices in Canada and the Netherlands had the game installed.

In fact, it’s safe to say that unauthorized copies are more popular than the official ones, for the time being.

The APK files for Android are shared widely on torrent sites. At The Pirate Bay, for example, it’s the most shared Android game by far. Even more impressive, it also sent millions of extra daily visitors to, which hosts copies of the game as well.

Most pirated Android games


Nintendo is obviously not happy with this black market distribution. Although it doesn’t seem to hurt its stock value, the company is targeting the piracy issue behind the scenes.

TorrentFreak spotted several takedown requests on behalf of Nintendo that were sent to Google Blogspot and Google Search this week. The notices list various links to pirated copies of the game, asking Google to remove them.

One of the takedown notices


Thus far the efforts have done little to stop the distribution. The files are still widely shared on torrent sites and various direct download services. The copies on remain online as well.

In fact, it’s virtually impossible to stop a game that’s gone viral from being shared online. Even if it issues thousands of takedown requests, Nintendo won’t be able to catch ’em all.

Nintendo probably has good reasons to roll Pokémon Go out gradually, but the best anti-piracy strategy is obviously to make the game available worldwide as quickly as possible.

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

Expanding Pirate Site Blocks Spark Censorship Fears

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

blocked-censorLast year Norway joined the ranks of countries where ISPs are ordered to block access to websites on the behest of entertainment industry companies.

In a case started by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), a local court ordered Internet providers to block users’ access to several large ‘pirate’ websites to deter online copyright infringement.

As is often the case with these type of blockades, the Hollywood movie studios didn’t stop at one attempt. They recently went back to court asking for an expansion that would target eight “pirate” streaming sites.

The court granted this request, and as a result WatchSeries, Putlocker, TUBE+, CouchTuner, Watch32, SolarMovie, ProjectFreeTV and Watch Free were added to the national blocklist.

Rune Ljøstad, Partner at the MPA’s lawfirm Simonsen Vogt Wiig, is happy with the outcome which paves the way for similar blocking expansions in the future.

“Together, the decisions create a clear legal basis in Norway to block sites that make copyrighted works available to the public without permission,” Ljøstad says.

While Hollywood is understandably happy, the blocking efforts raise concerns as well. The local Pirate Party, which protested the initial blocks by launching a censorship free DNS server, fears a slippery blocking-slope that may lead to overbroad censorship.

“I’m afraid that blocking sites will have a domino effect,” says Tale Haukbjørk Østrådal, leader of the Norwegian Pirate Party.

“If we block copyright infringement now, what will be the next thing our society accepts to block? The path from blocking torrent sites to censorship is short, and I do not wish to go down that path,” she adds.

The Pirate Party sees blocking as a threat to democracy, as it’s a tool to filter and manipulate what information people can see.

“Censorship is toxic to a democracy. We need to keep the Internet free of censorship, because we need the Internet as a tool to make informed choices. A democracy is failing without informed citizens,” Østrådal notes.

There are alternatives to blocking, according to the Pirate’s leader. The entertainment industries should rethink their business models to compete with piracy, instead of trying to hide it.

“To find the best alternatives the entertainment industry must know why people are sharing, and change their business models. The question isn’t ‘How do we make people pay?’, it is ‘How do we let people pay and feel comfortable with our business model?’”

This means offering more content for a good price, without limitations or artificial boundaries. At the same time artists should use the Internet to connect with fans directly, cutting out the middle-man who profits from their work.

“Personally, I would love to tear down the whole entertainment industry and built it anew. The distributors were never the good guys. They have built an empire by making money from other people’s art,” Østrådal says.

“When we hear the word ‘artist’, we all think of a creative, poor person. It’s fucked up,” she adds.

The Pirate Party’s fears won’t stop Internet providers from complying with the most recent court order.

This means that the streaming sites in question are now a no-go zone. Whether the movie studios have concrete plans to expand the blocking efforts even further is unknown.

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

Google: Punishing Pirate Sites in Search Results Works

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

googlefightspiracyOver the past few years the entertainment industries have repeatedly asked Google to step up its game when it comes to its anti-piracy efforts.

These calls haven’t fallen on deaf ears and Google has slowly implemented various new anti-piracy measures in response.

Today, Google released an updated version of its “How Google Fights Piracy” report. The company provides an overview of all the efforts it makes to combat piracy while countering some of the entertainment industry complaints.

One of the steps Google has taken in recent years aims to downrank the most egregious “pirate” sites.

To accomplish this, Google made changes to its core algorithms which punish clear offenders. Using the number of accurate DMCA requests as an indicator, these sites are now demoted in search results for certain key phrases.

Despite continuing critique from rightsholders, Google notes that this change has been very effective.

“This process has proven extremely effective. Immediately upon launching improvements to our demotion signal in 2014, one major torrent site acknowledged traffic from search engines had dropped by 50% within the first week,” Google writes, citing one of our articles.

More recently, Google’s own findings confirmed this trend. As a result of the demotion policy, pirate sites lose the vast majority of their Google Search traffic.

“In May 2016, we found that demoted sites lost an average of 89% of their traffic from Google Search. These successes spur us to continue improving and refining the DMCA demotion signal.”

Despite this success, entertainment industry groups have recently called for a more rigorous response. Ideally, they would like Google to remove the results from pirate sites entirely, and make sure that infringing links don’t reappear under a different URL.

However, Google doesn’t want to go this far. The company warns that removing entire sites is dangerous as it may lead to censorship of content that’s perfectly legal.

“Whole-site removal is ineffective and can easily result in the censorship of lawful material,” Google writes.

“Blogging sites, for example, contain millions of pages from hundreds of thousands of users, as do social networking sites, e-commerce sites, and cloud computing services. All can inadvertently contain material that is infringing.”

Similarly, Google doesn’t believe in a “takedown and staydown” approach, where the company would proactively filter search results for pirated content. This would be unfeasible and unnecessary, the company states.

“One problem is that there is no way to know whether something identified as infringing in one place and at one time is also unlawful when it appears at a different place and at a different time,” Google notes.

Instead, the company says that copyright holders should use the existing takedown procedure, and target new sites when they appear so these can be downranked as well.

Finally, Google stresses that search is not a major driver of traffic to pirate sites to begin with. Only a small fraction of users reach these sites through search engines.

While the company is willing to help alleviate the problem, search engines are not the only way to eradicate piracy.

“Search engines do not control what content is on the Web. There are more than 60 trillion web addresses on the internet, and there will always be new sites dedicated to making copyrighted works available as long as there is money to be made doing so.”

Instead of focusing on search, copyright holders should take a “follow the money” approach and make sure that pirate sites are cut off from their revenue sources, Google argues.

In addition, they shouldn’t forget to offer consumers plenty of legal alternatives to piracy.

Convincing the entertainment industries of its good intentions is easier said than done though. “This report looks a lot like “greenwash”,” says Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of the music industry group BPI.

“Although we welcome the measures Google has taken so far, it is still one of the key enablers of piracy on the planet. Google has the resources and the tech expertise to do much more to get rid of the illegal content on its services,” he adds.

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

Sky Wins ‘Pirate’ Domain Name Dispute, Forgets to Take it Down

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

skylogoPirate sports streaming sites are a thorn in the side of Sky, the UK’s largest pay TV provider.

While it’s an impossible task to shut down these sites all at once, the company recently decided to take action against one that uses the Sky brand to advertise itself.

The site in question,, has been online for several years offering free access to various sporting channels.

Earlier this year Sky ran out of patience. The company filed a complaint against the domain name owner at the World International Property Organization (WIPO), which has an arbitration panel to resolve domain name disputes.

In the complaint, Sky argued that the domain uses their trademark without permission, that the owner had no legitimate interest in the domain, and that the domain was registered in bad faith.

After a careful review, WIPO panelist Evan Brown sided with Sky. The domain name owner, a Pakistan resident, failed to respond but according to Brown there is no indication that the site is destined for legal purposes.

“Respondent is not using and has not used, or made demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services,” the panelist writes.

Instead, it is apparent that the use of the Sky trademark is intended to confuse visitors into believing that the site is legitimate.

“In this case, it is clear that the purpose of registering the disputed domain name was primarily to rely on the value of the Mark in order to confuse Internet users,” the decision ads.

All in all a good outcome for Sky, which gained control over the domain name several weeks ago as the WHOIS entry clearly shows.

Sky now owns


However, the company appears to have missed the most crucial part of the arbitration process. That is, updating the domain’s old nameservers after it won.

This means that today, even after several weeks have passed, the now Sky-owned domain is still pointing people to pirated streams.

Those who access the domain are forwarded to, another pirate streaming site. uses pretty much the same layout as the original site and is operated by the same people.

Question is, can this sports streaming portal still be characterized as a pirate site if Sky is linking to it?

Sky’s domain, linking to


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

BTDigg Shut Down Due to Torrent Spam, For Now

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

btdigglogoFive years ago a new kind of torrent indexing site appeared online.

Where most other sites rely on user uploads or pull their torrents from other sites, BTDigg took a different approach by using DHT to find new content.

Since then the site has become a regular destination for many people. With millions of pageviews per month, BTDigg listed itself among the larger torrent sites on the web.

Despite being blocked by court order in the UK, the site hasn’t faced any significant setbacks. However, a few weeks ago this suddenly changed as the site became unreachable for unknown reasons.

With a lack of updates on social media, the prolonged downtime was a mystery. TorrentFreak contacted the site’s operators on several occasions but didn’t hear back, until a few hours ago.

In a brief statement the BTDigg team says that the site will remain shut down for the time being. However, the downtime might not last forever.

“We closed the site temporarily, but it’s not hard to return,” BTDigg’s operators informs us.

A continued flood of spam torrents is the main reason for the sudden disappearance according to the team. They hope to resolve this with an ‘artificial intelligence’ that effectively filters out the problematic content, after which they plan to return.

“The main problem is ‘spam’ torrents. When we finish creating an AI that filters spam, we’ll reopen the site,” BTDigg says.


This pending return is positive news for BTDigg users. However, with no concrete ETA for the comeback they will have to find their daily torrent fix elsewhere for the time being.

Also, while a full return is an option, there’s also a chance that the site will move on under new management.

BTDigg’s team informed TorrentFreak that they are considering selling the site’s source code and a year of support to a third party. What that means for the site’s future has yet to be seen.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 07/11/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

warcraftsThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Warcraft, which came out as a subbed HDrip this week, 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) Warcraft (subbed HDRip) 7.7 / trailer
2 (1) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 7.0 / trailer
3 (6) Me Before You (Subbed Webrip) 7.7 / trailer
4 (2) Independence Day: Resurgence (HDTS) 5.6 / trailer
5 (…) The Legend of Tarzan (HDTS) 6.9 / trailer
6 (…) The Nice Guys (Subbed HDRip) 7.8 / trailer
7 (3) Finding Dory (HDTS) 8.1 / trailer
8 (5) Central Intelligence 6.9 / trailer
9 (7) X-Men: Apocalypse (HDCam/TC) 7.7 / trailer
10 (…) Barbershop: The Next Cut 6.0 / trailer

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