All posts by Ernesto

Pirate Bay Prosecution In Trouble, Time Runs Out For Investigators

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-prosecution-trouble-time-runs-investigators-170227/

pirate bayDecember 2014, The Pirate Bay went dark after police raided the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof datacenter built into a mountain complex near Stockholm.

The hosting facility reportedly offered services to The Pirate Bay, EZTV and several other torrent related sites, which were pulled offline as a result.

The authorities later announced that 50 servers were seized during the raid. And not without success, it seemed. The raid resulted in the longest ever period of downtime for The Pirate Bay, nearly two months, and led to chaos and a revolt among the site’s staffers.

However, despite a new criminal investigation into The Pirate Bay, the site has been operating as usual for a while now. As it now transpires, the raid may not result in any future prosecutions.

According to prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson, who took over the case from Fredrik Ingblad last year, time is running out. Some of the alleged crimes date back more than five years, which is outside the statute of limitations.

“Some of the suspected crimes are from 2011, although the seizures are from 2014. And the statute of limitations on them are five years,” prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson told IDG.

While several years have passed, there’s not much progress to report. The police provided the prosecutor with some updates along the way, but it’s not clear when the investigation will be completed.

“I have over time received new information from the police, but I have not received any clear indication of when the investigation will be completed,” the prosecutor said.

Even if the investigation is finalized, there are still a lot of steps to take before any indictments are ready. Meanwhile, the quality of the evidence isn’t getting any better. Based on his comments, the prosecutor isn’t very optimistic in this regard.

“The oral evidence could get worse because people forget. There may be difficulties with other monitoring data that may have changed or disappeared, such as registers and data restorations,” he said.

This isn’t the first setback for the authorities. Previously, they had to drop one of the main suspects from the case as they lacked sufficient resources to analyze the data that were seized during the raid.

On top of that, people from the Pirate Bay team itself said that if they were indeed the target, the police didn’t have much on them.

According to the TPB team, only one of their servers was confiscated in 2014, and this one was hosted at a different location. The server in question was operated by the moderators and used as a communication channel for TPB matters.

The team said that it chose to pull their actual site offline as a precaution but that relocating to a new home proved to be harder than expected, hence the prolonged downtime.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 02/27/17

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-pirated-movies-week-bittorrent-022717/

This week we have two newcomers in our chart.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 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.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (…) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 7.6 / trailer
2 (6) Passengers 7.1 / trailer
3 (1) Doctor Strange 8.0 / trailer
4 (5) Assassin’s Creed (Subbed HDRip) 6.3 / trailer
5 (3) Arrival 8.3 / trailer
6 (2) Moana 7.8 / trailer
7 (…) Collateral Beauty 6.6 / trailer
8 (4) Hacksaw Ridge 8.5 / trailer
9 (10) Jack Reacher: Never Go Back 6.3 / trailer
10 (8) La La Land (DVDscr) 8.8 / trailer

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

Torrent Legend Mininova Will Shut Down For Good

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/torrent-legend-mininova-will-shut-down-for-good-170226/

In December 2004, the demise of the mighty Suprnova left a meteor crater in the fledgling BitTorrent landscape.

This gaping hole was soon filled by the dozens of new sites that emerged to fulfill the public’s increasing demands for torrents. Mininova soon became the most successful of them all.

Mininova was founded by five Dutch students just a month after Suprnova closed its doors. The site initially began as a hobby project, but in the years that followed the site’s founders managed to turn it into a successful business that generated millions of dollars in revenue.

With this success also came legal pressure. Even though the site complied with takedown requests, copyright holders were not amused. In 2009 this eventually resulted in a lawsuit filed by local anti-piracy outfit BREIN, which Mininova lost.

As a result, the site had to remove all infringing torrents, a move which ended its reign. The site remained online but instead of allowing everyone to upload content, Mininova permitted only pre-approved publishers to submit files.

Now, more than seven years after “going legal” the site will shut down for good. A notice published on the website urges uploaders to back up their files before April 4th, when the plug will be pulled.

Mininova’s shutting down

The decision doesn’t mean that the legal contribution platform was a total failure. In fact, over 950 million ‘legal’ torrents were downloaded from Mininova in recent years. However, the site’s income couldn’t make up for the costs.

“All goods things come to an end, and after more than 12 years we think it’s a good time to shut down the site which has been running at a loss for some years,” Mininova co-founder Niek tells TorrentFreak.

Looking back, Mininova has many great memories. The site’s users have always been very grateful, for example, and there were also several artists who thanked the site’s operators for offering them a great promotional tool.

“The support from our users was especially amazing to experience, millions of people used the site on a daily basis and we got many emails each day – ranging from a simple ‘thank you’ to some extensive story how a specific upload made their day,” Niek says.

“The feedback from artists was great to see as well, many thanked us for promoting their content, as some of them broke through and signed with labels as a result,” he adds.

The file-sharing and piracy ecosystem has changed quite a bit since Mininova’s dominance. File-hosting services became more popular first, and nowadays streaming sites and tools with slick user interfaces are the new standard.

Torrent sites, on the other hand, show little progress according to Mininova’s founder, who believes that the growth of legal services could make them less relevant in the future.

“We haven’t seen many changes in the last decade – the current torrent sites look very similar to what Mininova did twelve years ago,” Niek says.

“With content-specific distribution platforms such as Spotify and Netflix becoming more and more widespread and bandwidth becoming cheaper, there might be less of a need for torrent sites in the future.”

The original founders of Mininova have moved on as well. They’re no longer students and have parted ways, moving on to different projects and ventures. Now and then, however, they look back at how their lives looked ten years ago, with a smile.

“Overall we’re happy that we have been a part of the history of the Internet,” Niek concludes.

“We want to thank everybody who has been around and supported us through the times! Without our users, there would have been no Mininova. So THANK YOU!”

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

All Oscar Nominees Are Available on Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/all-oscar-nominees-are-available-on-pirate-sites-170225/

The Oscars is the most watched awards show of the year, closely followed by hundreds of millions of movie fans around the world.

This week Hollywood’s finest are gathering at the red carpet once again. While they associate the celebration with eternal fame and recognition, for online pirates it’s a highly anticipated event as well.

Traditionally, Oscar winners tend to do very well in pirate circles, so we decided to take a look at the availability of this year’s contenders through unauthorized channels.

Relying on data from Oscar piracy watcher Andy Baio, we see that all nominated* films are now available on pirate sites, most in decent quality too. There’s only one film that hasn’t been released as a screener, Blu-Ray or other high-quality rip, and that’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Ironically, the Star Wars movie was one of the most anticipated releases during the screener season and despite various teases and rumored leaks, it hasn’t come out yet. Instead, Star Wars pirates have had to settle for a HDTS copy.

Another issue that deserves a closer look is the availability of leaked screener copies.

For well over a decade, pirated screeners of the latest movies have started to leak online around December. Ironically, many of these titles leaked from DVD screener copies which were sent out to reviewers, including Academy members who vote for the Oscars.

This year, however, “screener season” started out a bit different than before. Previously, the first leaked screeners always came out before December 16th but this time it remained quiet.

When Christmas came there were still no leaked screeners, and it took until early January before the ball started rolling.

The silence was broken with a release of the Denzel Washington movie Fences and soon after more and more screeners appeared online. While some feared that screener season would never be the same again, at the end of the road it turned out to be a relatively regular year.

With just a few hours to go before the awards ceremony, a total of 14 screeners of nominated films have leaked online, which is comparable to previous years.

Screener leaks of Oscar nominees

The chart above shows an overview of the screener leaks per year. These are only for movies that eventually received an Academy Awards nomination*, so the total number will be even higher.

Finally, it’s worth noting that despite the widespread availability of pirate copies, screener leaks appear to be under a bit of pressure. Like previous years, most of the leaked screeners have been released by Hive-CM8.

This means that one group has to carry a pretty heavy burden. If they stop doing what they do, the screener supply could be severely limited.

That said, the focus on screeners might be a bit overstated. Except for a few prominent leaks, the interest in screener copies is not significantly higher than the average HDrip or Blu-Ray release, which are still widely available.

Foreign film and documentary categories are not included

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

HBO Goes After ‘Online’ Pirates in the Caribbean

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hbo-goes-after-online-pirates-in-the-caribbean-170225/

HBO’s daughter company in Latin America, HBO LA, is not happy with the rampant piracy that’s taking place in the Caribbean.

Earlier this month the company submitted its latest 301 ‘watch list’ submission to the U.S. Government, urging the authorities to take appropriate action.

HBO is steadily expanding its services to the Caribbean and Central American regions. However, their efforts to roll out legitimate services are frustrated by local pirates. These aren’t just individual pirates, large cable operators are in on it too.

“…a lack of enforcement by Caribbean and Central American governments is allowing local cable operators to build substantial enterprise value by increasing their subscriber base through offering pirated content,” HBO LA writes (pdf).

The same goes for hotels, which treat their visitors to prime HBO programming without paying a proper license.

“In addition to piracy by large cable providers, non-U.S. owned hotel chains on a variety of islands are known to pirate content exclusively licensed to HBO LA by using their own onsite facilities or obtaining service from cable operators who pirate,” HBO LA informs the government.

Piracy by cable operators and hotels is not new. HBO has reported these issues to the authorities before, but thus far little has changed. In the meantime, however, the company has started to notice another worrying trend.

Online piracy has started to become more prevalent, with many stores now selling IPTV boxes and other devices that allow users to access HBO content without permission.

“In the past year, HBO LA continued to see a significant increase in the problem of online piracy of its service throughout all of HBO LA’s territory,” HBO LA writes.

“In the Caribbean, several brick-and-mortar stores customarily sell Roku or generic Android set-top devices (like the Mag250, Avov, and the MXIII) preinstalled with an unlicensed streaming service and offering a few hundred channels of content, including content for which HBO LA holds exclusive license in the territory.”

A Facebook ad highlighted by HBO LA

The company lists various examples of stores that offer these kinds of products including the Gizmos and Gadgets Electronics store in Guyana. This store sells Roku devices with an unlicensed streaming service called “ROKU TV” pre-installed.

By selling “pirate” subscriptions to thousands of customers the company is making over a million dollars per year, HBO estimates. And more recently the same store started to sell a subscription-less service as well.

“Additionally, Gizmos and Gadgets Electronics has recently started offering a second integrated hardware and service device known as the Gizmo TV BOX, which offers over 200 channels with no monthly fee,” HBO LA writes.

This is just one example of the many that are listed by the Latin American daughter of HBO.

The cable provider says it’s already taken various steps to stop the different types of infringements but hopes that U.S. authorities will help out where local governments fail. Towards the end of their submission, HBO LA encourages the United States Trade Representative to apply appropriate pressure and threats, to turn the tide.

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

Anti-Piracy Measures Shouldn’t Stifle Free Speech, EFF Says

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-measures-shouldnt-stifle-free-speech-eff-says-170224/

Still undecided about the future of the DMCA law, the U.S. Government’s Copyright Office extended its public consultation to evaluate the effectiveness of the Safe Harbor provisions.

The study aims to signal problems with the current takedown procedures and addresses ISPs’ repeat infringer policies, copyright takedown abuses, and the ever-increasing volume of DMCA notices.

Together with various rightsholders and Internet services, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) also submitted its recommendations this week. The digital rights group believes that the current law works as it should, and warns against a copyright enforcement expansion.

The Internet provides a crucial role in facilitating freedom of expression, something that shouldn’t be limited by far-reaching anti-piracy measures, the organization argues.

“Internet intermediaries provide the backbone for Internet users’ expression and are key to the public’s ability to exercise these rights,” EFF writes in its submission.

“Accordingly, the public has a strong interest in ensuring that the Internet remains a viable and accessible platform for free expression and innovation, and in ensuring that online platforms don’t unduly remove, filter, or block speech from the Internet.”

One of the areas of interest for the Copyright Office is how to deal with repeat infringers. The DMCA law requires Internet providers to have a repeat infringer policy in place, but stakeholders have different views on what these should look like.

According to the EFF, however, terminating people’s Internet access is much more than a slap on the wrist, as it can severely impede people’s ability to function in today’s society.

“Conduit ISPs serve as the bridge between their subscribers and the entire Internet. Terminating a subscriber’s Internet access account imposes a far more significant penalty that merely cutting off access to a single Internet service.”

Nowadays, terminating an Internet account often means that the entire household will be affected. The EFF warns that as a result, many people will lose access to important information and tools, which are needed for school, jobs, and even government services.

“Indeed, as former President Obama stated, Internet access today is ‘not a luxury, it’s a necessity’,” the EFF adds.

Another question posted by the Copyright Office deals with the necessity for anti-piracy filters. Yesterday, the RIAA and other music groups spoke out in favor of automated filters but the EFF fiercely opposes the idea.

One of the problems the group signals is that filtering will require Internet services to monitor their users’ activity, causing privacy concerns. In addition these filters will also be imprecise, targeting content that’s considered fair use, for example.

Finally, automated filters will require Internet services to police the Internet, which can be quite costly and stifle free speech at the same time.

“…by shifting the burden and cost of enforcement away from copyright holders and onto service providers, these proposals would stifle competition for Internet services, exacerbate current problems with the notice and takedown system, and increase the risk that valuable, lawful speech will be silenced,” the EFF writes.

The same free speech argument also applies to site-blocking initiatives. According to the EFF, such blocking efforts also restrict access to legitimate material. At the same time, the measures are far from effective.

“Site-blocking often has broader impacts on lawful online speech than intended. When entire domains are blocked, every other page hosted by those domains are subject to the block, regardless of whether they contain infringing content.

“Site-blocking is also largely ineffective at stemming online copyright infringement. Many sites are able to relaunch at new URLs, and users are often able to circumvent blocks using VPNs and the Tor browser,” the group adds.

In summary, the EFF concludes that overall the current law works pretty well and the group warns the Copyright Office not to give in to the broad “filter-everything” push from major copyright industry groups.

The EFF’s full submission to the U.S. Copyright office is available here (pdf).

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

Movie Company Issues Warning Over Fake “Piracy” Fines

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-company-issues-warning-over-fake-piracy-fines-170224/

For more than a decade copyright holders have been monitoring unauthorized downloads.

Traditionally this have resulted in harmless takedown notices but increasingly, these warnings are being turned into settlement demands or automated fines.

Rightsholders in the Netherlands are planning similar action, and this week it appeared that the first mass-campaign had gone live. Yesterday, several people received a letter in the mail which accused them of illegal downloading.

The letters in question were sent in the name of local distributer Dutch Filmworks and each quotes a standard fine of 150 euros per download. Adding in a classic conversion trick, those who pay within eights days only have to cough up €52.74.

The letters look pretty legitimate, especially to people who are unfamiliar with these type of demands. However, the fact that several crucial details are missing, including an IP-address and the name of the pirated movie, should set off alarm bells.

And indeed, after several people reported the apparent scam, Dutch Filmworks confirmed that they have nothing to do with these fines. To avoid any confusion, the movie distributer quickly placed a prominent warning on its website, advising recipients to trash the letters.

“There is a fake letter in circulation. This letter is NOT sent by Dutch Filmworks. Do not pay and throw the letter away,” the movie distributer warns.

While the letters look real enough to fool some people, the first mass warnings (with or without fines) have yet to be sent in the Netherlands.

When the process happens for real, things might not go as smoothly as copyright holders would like as several Internet providers are refusing to cooperate. Last month, leading Dutch Internet provider Ziggo said it had refused to voluntarily participate in the plan of local anti-piracy group BREIN, who want to send out mass warnings to pirates.

“As an ISP we are a neutral access provider. This does not include the role of active enforcement of rights or interests of third parties, including BREIN,” a company spokesperson said.

Also, if rightsholders want to obtain the personal details of alleged downloaders they will have to go to court first, which hasn’t happened thus far. Until then, it is safe to throw all unsubstantiated piracy letters in the trash.

Fake piracy fines are by no means a new phenomenon. Last year many U.S. Internet subscribers were targeted in a similar scam. In this case, the scammers used the name of a known piracy tracking outfit and rightsholders such as Lionsgate, to send fake DMCA notices and settlement demands to ISPs.

—-

A copy of the fake letter, pictured below, was posted by Tweakers.

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

Music Industry Wants Piracy Filters, No Takedown Whack-a-Mole

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/music-industry-wants-piracy-filters-no-takedown-whack-a-mole-170222/

Signed into law nearly twenty years ago, the DMCA is one of the best known pieces of Internet related legislation.

The law provides a safe harbor for Internet services, shielding them from copyright infringement liability as long as they process takedown notices and deal with repeat infringers.

In recent years, however, various parties have complained about shortcomings and abuse of the system. On the one hand, rightsholders believe that the law doesn’t do enough to protect creators, while the opposing side warns of increased censorship and abuse.

To address these concerns, the U.S. Copyright Office is currently running an extended public consultation.

This week a new round of comments was submitted, including a detailed response from a coalition of music industry groups such as the RIAA, National Music Publishers’ Association, and SoundExchange. When it comes to their views of the DMCA the music groups are very clear: It’s failing.

The music groups note that they are currently required to police the entire Internet in search of infringing links and files, which they then have to take down one at a time. This doesn’t work, they argue.

They say that the present situation forces rightsholders to participate in a never-ending whack-a-mole game which doesn’t fix the underlying problem. Instead, it results in a “frustrating, burdensome and ultimately ineffective takedown process.”

“…as numerous copyright owners point out in their comments, the notice and takedown system as currently configured results in an endless game of whack-a-mole, with infringing content that is removed from a site one moment reposted to the same site and other sites moments later, to be repeated ad infinitem.”

Instead of leaving all the work up to copyright holders, the music groups want Internet services to filter out and block infringing content proactively. With the use of automated hash filtering tools, for example.

“One possible solution to this problem would be to require that, once a service provider receives a takedown notice with respect to a given work, the service provider use automated content identification technology to prevent the same work from being uploaded in the future,” the groups write.

“Automated content identification technologies are one important type of standard technical measure that should be adopted across the industry, and at a minimum by service providers who give the public access to large amounts of works uploaded by users.”

These anti-piracy filters are already in use by some companies and are relatively cheap to implement, even for relatively smaller services, the music groups note.

The whack-a-mole problem doesn’t only apply to hosting providers but also to search engines, the music groups complain.

While companies such as Google remove links to infringing material upon request, these links often reappear under a different URL. At the same time, pirate sites often appear before legitimate services in search results. A fix for this problem would be to stop indexing known pirate sites completely.

“One possible solution would be to require search engines to de-index structurally infringing sites that are the subject of a large number of takedown notices,” the groups recommend.

Ideally, they want copyright holders and Internet services to reach a voluntary agreement on how to filter pirated content. This could be similar to YouTube’s Content-ID system, or the hash filtering mechanisms Dropbox and Google Drive employ, for example.

If service providers are not interested in helping out, however, the music industry says new legislation might be needed to give them a push.

“The Music Community stands ready to work with service providers and other copyright owners on the development and implementation of standard technical measures and voluntary measures. However, to the extent such measures are not forthcoming, legislative solutions will be necessary to restore the balance Congress intended,” the recommendation reads.

Interestingly, this collaborative stance doesn’t appear to apply to all parties. File-hosting service 4Shared previously informed TorrentFreak that several prominent music groups have shown little interest in their voluntary piracy fingerprint tool.

The notion of piracy filters isn’t new. A few months ago the European Commission released its proposal to modernize the EU’s copyright law, under which online services will also be required to install mandatory piracy filters.

Whether the U.S. Government will follow suit has yet to be seen. In any case, rightsholders are likely to keep lobbying for change until they see significant improvements.

The full submission of the music groups is available here (pdf).

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

Court: Hosting A Pirate Site Doesn’t Equal Copyright Infringement

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/court-hosting-a-pirate-site-doesnt-equal-copyright-infringement-170221/

Last year, adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan took things up a notch by dragging several third-party intermediaries to court.

The company targeted CDN provider CloudFlare, advertising network JuicyAds, and several hosting providers, including Chicago-based Steadfast.

Steadfast was not happy with the allegations and has recently asked the court to dismiss the case. Among other things, the company argued that it’s protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions.

“Steadfast does not operate or manage the Imagebam website. Steadfast does not in any way communicate with or interact with Imagebam’s individual users. Steadfast only provides computer storage,” the company wrote in its motion to dismiss.

In a tentative ruling issued this week, the California District Court agrees that the allegations in the second amended complaint (SAC) are not sufficient to hold the hosting company liable.

Merely hosting a pirate website is not enough to argue that the host contributes to the alleged copyright infringement on the image sharing site, Judge George Wu argues (pdf).

“In short, the Court is unaware of any authority holding that merely alleging that a defendant provides some form of ‘hosting’ service to an infringing website is sufficient to establish contributory copyright infringement.

“The Court would therefore find that the SAC fails to allege facts establishing that Steadfast materially contributed to the infringement,” Wu adds.

Among other things, the Court notes that ALS Scan fails to allege that Steadfast provides its hosting services with the goal to promote copyright infringement, or that it directly encouraged Imagebam to show pirated content on its website.

In addition, the vicarious liability allegation is insufficient too. This requires the copyright holder to show that the host has control over the infringing actions and that it financially benefits from them, which is not the case here.

“Here, the SAC contains no allegations that Steadfast has a direct financial interest in the infringing activity or has the right and ability to stop the infringing conduct,” Judge Wu writes.

As a result of the lacking evidence and allegations to support a secondary liability claim, the Court tentatively granted Steadfast’s motion to dismiss.

The ruling does keep the door open for ALS Scan to file an improved complaint, but for now, the victory goes to the hosting provider.

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

Online Piracy Can Boost Comic Book Sales, Research Finds

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/online-piracy-can-boost-comic-book-sales-research-finds/

yenResearch into online piracy comes in all shapes and sizes, with equally mixed results. Often the main question is whether piracy hurts legitimate revenue streams.

In recent years we have seen a plethora of studies and most are focused on the effects on movies, TV-shows and music revenues. But what about comic books?

Manga in particular has traditionally been very popular on file-sharing networks and sites. These are dozens of large sites dedicated to the comics, which are downloaded in their millions.

According to the anti-piracy group CODA, which represents Japanese comic publishers, piracy losses overseas are estimated to be double the size of overseas legal revenue.

With this in mind, Professor Tatsuo Tanaka of the Faculty of Economics at Keio University decided to look more closely at how piracy interacts with legal sales. In a natural experiment, he examined how the availability of pirated comic books affected revenue.

The research uses a massive takedown campaign conducted by CODA in 2015, which directly impacted the availability of many pirated comics on various download sites, to see how this affected sales of 3,360 comic book volumes.

Interestingly, the results show that decreased availability of pirated comics doesn’t always help sales. In fact, for comics that no longer release new volumes, the effect is reversed.

“Piracy decreases sales of ongoing comics, but it increases sales of completed comics,” Professor Tanaka writes.

“To put this another way, displacement effect is dominant for ongoing comics, and advertisement effect is dominant for completed comics,” he adds.

For these finished comic seasons, the promotional element weighs heavier. According to the Professor, this suggests that piracy can effectively be seen as a form of advertising.

“Since completed comics series have already ended, and publishers no longer do any promotion for them, consumers almost forget completed comics. We can interpret that piracy reminds consumers of past comics and stimulates sales.”

The question that remains is whether the overall effect on the industry is positive or negative. The current study provided no answer to this effect, as it’s unknown how big the sales share is for ongoing versus completed comics, but future research could look into this.

Professor Tanaka stresses that there is an important policy implication of his findings. Since piracy doesn’t affect all sales the same (it’s heterogeneous), anti-piracy strategies may have to be adapted.

“If the effect of piracy is heterogeneous, it is not the best solution to shut down the piracy sites but to delete harmful piracy files selectively if possible,” Professor Tanaka adds

“In this case, deleting piracy files of ongoing comics only is the first best strategy for publishers regardless of whether the total effect is positive or negative, because the availability of piracy files of completed comics is beneficial to both publishers and consumers,” he adds.

The research shows once again that piracy is a complex phenomenon that can have a positive or negative impact depending on the context. This isn’t limited to comics of course, as previous studies have shown similar effects in the movie and music industries.

The full paper titled The Effects of Internet Book Piracy: The Case of Japanese Comics is available here (pdf).

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

Search Engines and Rightsholders Sign Landmark Anti-Piracy Deal

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/search-engines-and-rightsholders-sign-landmark-anti-piracy-deal-170220/

Following a Digital Economy Bill committee two weeks ago, we first learned that copyright holders and search engines were close to finalizing a voluntary anti-piracy code.

Following roundtable discussions chaired by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, the parties worked hard to reach a deal that everyone could live with.

These kinds of discussions are not new. Similar talks have been ongoing for more than half a decade, but without success. However, this time the Government turned up the pressure to the maximum, threatening to force search engines into cooperation by law if consensus could not be reached.

This approach appears to have reached its goals, with the world’s first anti-piracy agreement between search engines and rightsholders being officially announced today. The deal is a partnership between Google, Microsoft’s Bing, and several organizations in the creative industry.

Under this new anti-piracy code, search engines will further optimize their algorithms and processes to demote pirated content in their search results. The aim is to make infringing content less visible and at a faster rate. At the same time, legal alternatives should be easier to find.

“This should start to trigger faster and more effective demotion – and delisting. That should also mean that legal content sources are better promoted and artists and creators better rewarded,” Eddy Leviten, Director General of the Alliance for Intellectual Property informs TorrentFreak.

The changes should take effect by June 1st and are targeted at the UK public. This means that search results may not be impacted to the same degree elsewhere.

The parties have also agreed to cooperate more closely and share data to optimize future anti-piracy strategies. This includes efforts to make sure that pirate search terms do not show up in autocomplete suggestions.

“Autocomplete is an area where it has been agreed we need to work – and it will need cooperation to look at what terms are delivering consumers to pirate content,” Leviten clarifies.

The news was made public by several creative industry players, but it’s expected the UK Government, which played an important role in facilitating the talks, will follow with an announcement later today.

The rightsholder groups are happy that an agreement was finally reached and hope that it will help to steer search engine users toward legal alternatives.

“Pirate websites are currently much too easy to find via search, so we appreciate the parties’ willingness to try to improve that situation,” says Stan McCoy, President & Managing Director of the Motion Picture Association EMEA.

While the agreement is a milestone, it’s also clearly a compromise. The measures announced today are not substantially new.

Google, for one, has been demoting pirate sites in search results for several years already and it previously banned various pirate terms from autocomplete. Under the anti-piracy code, these measures will be intensified.

More far-reaching demands from rightsholders, such as removing pirate sites from search results entirely or a takedown-staydown policy, are not part of the deal.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of UK music group BPI, recognizes that the new partnership isn’t going to stop piracy entirely but hopes that it will help to improve the current situation.

“There is much work still to do to achieve this. The Code will not be a silver bullet fix, but it will mean that illegal sites are demoted more quickly from search results and that fans searching for music are more likely to find a fair site.

“We look forward to working with Google, Microsoft and our partners across the creative industries to build a safer, better online environment for creators and fans.”

TorrentFreak also reached out to Google to hear their vision on the landmark agreement, but at the time of publication, the company hadn’t replied.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 02/20/17

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-pirated-movies-week-022017/

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Doctor Strange, which was released as Blu-Ray rip a few days ago, 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.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (3) Doctor Strange 8.0 / trailer
2 (…) Moana 8.0 / trailer
3 (1) Arrival 8.3 / trailer
4 (2) Hacksaw Ridge 8.5 / trailer
5 (…) Assassin’s Creed (Subbed HDRip) 6.3 / trailer
6 (4) Passengers (Subbed HDrip) 7.1 / trailer
7 (…) Allied 7.1 / trailer
8 (6) La La Land (DVDscr) 8.8 / trailer
9 (10) Lion (DVDscr) 8.0 / trailer
10 (5) Jack Reacher: Never Go Back 6.3 / trailer

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

Brave: A Privacy Focused Browser With Built-in Torrent Streaming

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/brave-a-privacy-focused-browser-with-built-in-torrent-streaming-170219/

After a reign of roughly a decade, basic old-fashioned BitTorrent clients have lost most of their appeal today.

While they’re still one of the quickest tools to transfer data over the Internet, the software became somewhat outdated with the rise of video streaming sites and services.

But what if you can have the best of both worlds without having to install any separate applications?

This is where the Brave web browser comes in. First launched two months ago, the new browser is designed for privacy conscious people who want to browse the web securely without any unnecessary clutter.

On top of that, it also supports torrent downloads out of the box, and even instant torrent streaming. To find out more, we reached out to lead developer Brian Bondy, who co-founded the project with his colleague Brendan Eich.

“Brave is a new, open source browser designed for both speed and security. It has a built-in adblocker that’s on by default to provide an ad-free and seamless browsing experience,” Bondy tells us.

Bondy says that Brave significantly improves browsing speeds while shielding users again malicious ads. It also offers a wide range of privacy and security features such as HTTPS Everywhere, script blocking, and third-party cookie blocking.

What caught our eye, however, was the built-in support for BitTorrent transfers that came out a short while ago. Powered by the novel WebTorrent technology, Brave can download torrents, through magnet links, directly from the browser.

While torrent downloading in a browser isn’t completely new (Opera has a similar feature, for example) Brave also supports torrent streaming. This means that users can view videos instantly as they would do on a streaming site.

“WebTorrent support lets Brave users stream torrents from their favorite sites right from the browser. There’s no need to use a separate program. This makes using torrents a breeze for beginners, a group that has sometimes found the technology a challenge to work with,” Bondy says.

Brave downloading

The image above shows the basic download page where users can also click on any video file to start streaming instantly. We tested the feature on a variety of magnet links, and it works very well.

On the implementation side, Brave received support from WebTorrent founder Feross Aboukhadijeh, who continues to lend a hand. Right now it is compatible with all traditional torrent clients and support for web peers will be added later.

“WebTorrent in Brave is compatible with all torrent apps. It uses TCP connections, the oldest and most widely supported way for BitTorrent clients to connect. We’re working on adding WebRTC support so that Brave users can connect to ‘web peers’,” Bondy says.

While the downloading and streaming process works well, there is also room for improvement. The user interface is fairly limited, for example, and basic features such as canceling or pausing a torrent are not available yet.

“Currently, we treat magnet links just like any other piece of web content, like a PDF file. To cancel a download, just close the tab,” Bondy notes.

What people should keep in mind though, considering Brave’s focus on privacy, is that torrent transfers are far from anonymous. Without a VPN or other anonymizer, third party tracking outfits are bound to track the downloads or streams.

In addition to torrent streaming, the browser also comes with a Bitcoin-based micropayments system called Brave Payments. This enables users to automatically and privately pay their favorite websites, without being tracked.

Those who are interested in giving the browser a spin can head over to the official website. Brave is currently available a variety of platforms including Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, and iOS.

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

Is Megaupload’s ‘Crime’ a Common Cloud Hosting Practice?

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/is-megauploads-crime-a-common-cloud-hosting-practice-170218/

Last week we reported that Google Drive uses hash filtering to prevent users from sharing alleged copyright infringing content, while leaving the actual files on its servers.

This practice is similar to what its competitor Dropbox does, and probably many other cloud hosting providers as well.

However, it also reminded us of a more controversial hosting service, Megaupload. When the US Department of Justice announced its allegations against the company five years ago, a similar issue was at the center.

One of the main arguments in the indictment is that Megaupload would only disable a URL when it received a takedown notice, not the underlying file. As a result of the deduplication technology it employed, this meant that the file could still be accessed under different URLs.

“…the Conspiracy has, at best, only deleted the particular URL of which the copyright holder complained, and purposefully left the actual infringing copy of the copyrighted work on the Mega Conspiracy-controlled server and any other access links completely intact,” the indictment reads.

The RIAA and MPAA later highlighted the similar takedown related issues in their civil complaints, with the latter stating:

“And although Megaupload had implemented a technology called ‘MDS hash’ filtering to identify and block uploads of various types of illicit content, Megaupload chose not to deploy that technology to identify and block infringing uploads of copyrighted works that had already been subject to takedown notices by plaintiffs and other copyright holders.”

Admittingly, the Megaupload cases are much broader than this single issue, but it does raise questions.

The apparent ‘failure’ to block infringing content from being uploaded by other users isn’t illegal by definition. In fact, neither Google Drive nor Dropbox does this today. So how is the Megaupload situation different?

The main difference appears to be that Megaupload only removed the links that were reported as infringing, while Dropbox and Drive also prevent others from publicly sharing links to the same file. All three services keep or kept the original files on their servers though.

There are good arguments for keeping the files, as others may have the legal right to store them. If someone downloads an MP3, he or she can’t share it in public without permission. However, making a private backup on Dropbox would be acceptable in many countries.

Since Dropbox and Drive don’t face criminal indictments, the question should therefore be whether Megaupload was legally required to delete all public links to the underlying file, even those that were not directly reported.

This is something legal experts have their doubts over, including Professor Lawrence Lessig.

“It is possible for one uploader to have a right to fair use of a copy of a file, e.g., a purchaser uploading a backup or an educational organization offering critical commentary, while other uploaders might have no such fair use right,” he explained earlier in an expert report.

In other words, while one person might not have the legal right to store a file, another person might. The same argument also applies to publishing such links. This is something we also see on YouTube, where rightsholders pull down videos which they themselves have openly published on the same site.

This week, Megaupload counsel Ira Rothken clarified that the service tried to strike a balance between the rights of copyright holders and its users. If one link is infringing, that doesn’t mean that all of the others on the service are as well.

“While Megaupload made efforts to curb abuse of its service, it recognized a competing obligation to its users who legitimately use[d] the service to store their own copies of copyrighted material,” Rothken tells TorrentFreak.

“For example, a music file that was purchased or covered by fair use and uploaded by a user for the purpose of ‘space shifting’ would look the same to Megaupload’s automated processes as a music file to which the user had no legal right.”

This was also brought up in the Dancing Baby” case recently, where it was held that copyright holders should consider fair use before requesting a takedown. This means that removing an underlying file may be too broad, as fair use isn’t considered for all URLs.

Megaupload saw it as an obligation to its users, who had a legal right to the files, to ensure that there’s a proper and legitimate basis to disable links or remove files.

“As a result, where a user was subject to a proper and specific take down notice for their unique link or URL, that user’s link to the file in question was taken down or broken.”

In sum, we can say that Megaupload operated slightly differently from Dropbox and Google Drive today. However, the difference is subtle. Not taking down the actual copyright infringing file from the servers is still common practice, for example.

When it comes to proactively preventing public sharing of links that are not reported yet, the service operated differently. Here Megaupload put the interests of its users first. Of course, the Megaupload case is much broader, but the above should illustrate that when it comes alleged hash filtering and file removal ‘crimes’, there is still an open debate.

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

Judge Splits $750 Piracy Penalty Between BitTorrent Peers

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/judge-splits-750-piracy-penalty-between-bittorrent-peers-170217/

Many Hollywood insiders see online piracy as a major threat, but only very few are willing to target alleged file-sharers with lawsuits.

LHF Productions, one of the companies behind the blockbuster “London Has Fallen,” has no problem crossing this line. Since the first pirated copies of the film appeared online last year, the company has been suing alleged downloaders in multiple courts.

As is usual in these cases, defendants get the option to sign a quick settlement to resolve the matter or defend their case in court. Those who ignore the lawsuits completely face a default judgment, which can turn out to be quite expensive depending on the Judge.

This week, Judge Ricardo Martinez ruled over a series of LHF cases at the Seattle District Court. The movie company requested default judgments against 28 defendants in five cases, demanding $2,500 from each defendant.

When the accused downloaders don’t defend themselves, judges nearly always rule in the plaintiff’s favor, which is also true for these cases. However, Judge Martinez decided not to award the requested penalties in full.

The filmmaker had argued that $2,500, and even more in attorney’s fees and costs, is a rather modest request. However, in his order this week the Judge sees things differently.

“The Court also acknowledges that the amount at stake is not, as LHF contends, modest – LHF seeks enhanced statutory damages in the amount of $2,500 along with $2,605.50 in attorneys’ fees, and amounts ranging between $90 and $150 in costs, for each named Defendant in this matter,” he writes (pdf).

Instead, the Judge places the damages amount at the statutory minimum, which is $750.

Even more interesting, and the first time we’ve seen this happening, is that the penalty will be split among the swarm members in each case. The filmmakers alleged that the defendants were part of the same swarm, so they are all liable for the same infringement, Judge Martinez argues.

“Because the named Defendants in this action were alleged to have conspired with one another to infringe the same digital copy of LHF’s motion picture, the Court will award the sum of $750 for Defendants’ infringement of the same digital copy of London Has Fallen.”

“Each of the Defendants is jointly and severally liable for this amount,” Judge Martinez adds in his order.

This means that in one of the cases, where there are eight defaulted defendants, each has to pay just over $93 in damages.

As for the lowered damages amount itself, the Judge clarifies that these type of cases are not intended to result in large profits. Especially not, when the rightsholders have made little effort to prove actual damage or to track down the original sharer.

“The Court is not persuaded. Statutory damages are not intended to serve as a windfall to plaintiffs, and enhanced statutory damages are not warranted where plaintiffs do not even try to demonstrate actual damages.”

In addition to limiting the penalty, the Judge also reduced the requested attorney’s fees. Since the case was mostly based on identical complaints and motions, the court had trouble believing that the law firm spent hundreds of hours in preparation.

Instead, the court granted only $550 in attorney’s fees per defendant. This means that the default defendants will have to pay a few hundred dollars each, instead of the $5,000 plus the filmmakers wanted.

According to the Fight Copyright Trolls blog, which first published details of the unusual order, splitting the awards between the defendants in the same swarm could turn out to be a “fatal blow” to these type of lawsuits.

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

Cogent’s Broad Pirate Site Block Was ‘Collateral Damage’ of a Court Order

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cogents-broad-pirate-site-block-was-collateral-damage-of-a-court-order-170217/

It is safe to say that The Pirate Bay is one of the most blocked websites on the Internet.

When Internet backbone provider Cogent blackholed the site two weeks ago many people, therefore, assumed that it had something to do with the notorious torrent site.

Ironically, however, it turns out that The Pirate Bay and dozens of other “pirate” sites linked to the same IP-addresses, were actually collateral damage following a separate action.

Cogent’s actions were a direct response to a court order which required the company to block access to one or more websites, which remain unknown. The real target was accessible through the IP-addresses 104.31.18.30 and 104.31.19.30.

These addresses belong to CDN provider Cloudflare and are also used by many other sites including The Pirate Bay. So, when Cogent complied with the court order and blackholed the IP-addresses, dozens of other sites became inaccessible as well.

Yesterday we reported that Cloudflare moved most of the affected sites a new location, so they are now available again. The real target probably remains on the original IP-addresses, to comply with the court order.

Cloudflare’s General Counsel Doug Kramer informed us that they worked together with Cogent to resolve the issue and to limit the impact on other sites.

“We have taken technical steps on our end to permit Cogent to comply with a court order issued to them without additional impacts,” Kramer informed TorrentFreak.

The whole blocking episode reveals the danger of broad blocking orders that are issued by judges who don’t fully understand the effects. The threat of over-blocking is real, and when it involves smaller sites it will be much harder to notice.

“It’s important for courts to understand how Internet systems work so they can write orders that don’t end up having unintended consequences,” Kramer stresses.

In the future, the two companies will now be able to deal with similar issues more efficiently. In any case, Cloudflare says that it remains dedicated to preserving open access to the Internet, within the legal boundaries.

“As a company, Cloudflare believes strongly in an open, free, and secure Internet. And it is also our policy to fully comply with legitimate court process,” Cloudflare’s General Counsel says.

“This can be challenging at times, especially when courts target backbone providers and don’t understand fully how they work. Cloudflare takes steps to make sure those court orders don’t lead to unintended impacts.”

Cogent hasn’t released any further details on the target of the block, but Ars Technica reports that it was issued in Spain.

It’s not the first time that innocent Cloudflare customers have been affected by a court order. Previously, UK ISPs blocked several websites because they were sharing an IP-address with The Pirate Bay. This would also explain why the CDN provider now groups known blocked sites on the same addresses.

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

CloudFlare Puts Pirate Sites on New IP Addresses, Avoids Cogent Blockade

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-puts-pirate-sites-on-new-ip-addresses-avoids-cogent-blockade-170215/

Last week the news broke that Cogent, which operates one of the largest Internet backbone networks, blackholed IP-addresses that were linked to several notorious sites including The Pirate Bay.

As a result of this action, people from all over the world were unable to get to their favorite download or streaming portals.

The blocking intervention is quite controversial, not least because the IP-addresses in question don’t belong to the sites themselves, but to the popular CDN provider CloudFlare.

While CloudFlare hasn’t publicly commented on the issue yet, it now appears to have taken countermeasures. A little while ago the company moved The Pirate Bay and many other sites such as Primewire, Popcorn-Time.se, and Torrentz.cd to a new set of IP-addresses.

As of yesterday, the sites in question have been assigned the IP-addresses 104.31.16.3 and 104.31.17.3, still grouped together. Most, if not all of the sites, are blocked by court order in the UK so this is presumably done to prevent ISP overblocking of ‘regular’ CloudFlare subscribers.

TPB accessible on the new CloudFlare IP-address

Since Cogent hasn’t blackholed the new addresses, yet, the sites are freely accessible on their network once again. At the same time, the old CloudFlare IP-addresses remain blocked.

Old CloudFlare IP-addresses remains blocked

TorrentFreak spoke to the operator of one of the sites involved who said that he made no changes on his end. CloudFlare didn’t alert the site owner about the issue either.

We contacted CloudFlare yesterday asking for a comment of the situation, but a company could not give an official response at the time.

It seems likely that the change of IP-addresses is an intentional response from CloudFlare to bypass the blocking. The company has a reputation of fighting overreach and keeping its subscribers online so that it would be fitting.

The next question that comes to mind is will Cogent respond, and if so, how? Or has the underlying issue perhaps been resolved in another way?

If their original blockade was meant to block one or more of the sites involved, will they then also block the new IP-addresses? Only time will tell.

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

Cox Must Pay $8 Million to Cover BMG’s Legal Fees in Piracy Case

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cox-must-pay-8-million-to-cover-bmgs-legal-fees-in-piracy-case-170215/

December 2015 a Virginia federal jury ruled that Internet provider Cox Communications was responsible for the copyright infringements of its subscribers.

The ISP was found guilty of willful contributory copyright infringement and ordered to pay music publisher BMG Rights Management $25 million in damages.

This week Cox received more bad news. While the case is currently under appeal, the District Court ordered the ISP to compensate the music group for the attorney’s fees and costs they incurred during the first round.

In its motion, BMG asked for more than $10 million in compensation and after applying a discount, Judge Liam O’Grady decided to award a total of $8,383,468 in fees and an additional $146,790 to cover the bill of costs.

In a detailed memorandum, Judge O’Grady notes that the objective reasonableness of a party’s position is a major factor in determining the fees question. In the current case, the Internet provider clearly crossed a line.

Among other things, evidence revealed that Cox appeared to be complying with the DMCA in public, while privately disparaging and intentionally circumventing the law’s requirements.

“In a hard-fought litigation battle such as this one, discovery disputes and fierce briefing are to be expected, and they should not be held too harshly against either party,” the Judge writes.

“Nonetheless, there are a few instances in which Cox’s advocacy crossed the line of objective reasonableness. In particular, both Cox’s attempts to obscure its practice of reinstating infringing customers, and its subsequent assertions of a deeply flawed DMCA defense evince a meritless litigation position that Cox vigorously defended.”

In addition, the court also awards the legal fees as a deterrent. The high legal costs should motivate the Internet provider to change its policies and appropriately respond to reported copyright infringements.

In practical terms, this could include a new and improved DMCA program as well as a more responsive approach to infringement notices from companies like Rightscorp, which were previously ignored.

“However Cox decides to address its users’ repeat infringement, it is clear that the company should be given a proper financial incentive to change its policies and procedures,” Judge O’Grady notes.

Another factor that weighs heavy in the decision to award legal fees, is the assuring message it sends to other copyright holders. Picking a legal battle against a company with billions in revenue is quite a risk when attorney’s fees are not compensated.

“In order to continue to promote the vindication of individuals’ copyrights, therefore, BMG (and others like it) should be rewarded for facing up against willful infringers with deep pockets,” the Judge writes.

Combining these and several other relevant factors, Judge O’Grady concludes that the $8.3 million in attorney’s fees is appropriate in this case. This brings Cox’s total costs to well over $33 million.

Adding insult to injury, the Judge also denied Cox’s request for legal fees against Round Hill Music, arguing that there can only be one prevailing party in a lawsuit. The full memorandum is available here (pdf).

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

Canada Remains a “Safe Haven” for Online Piracy, Rightsholders Claim

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/canada-remains-a-safe-haven-for-online-piracy-rightsholders-claim-170214/

canada-pirateThe International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has released its latest 301 ‘watch list’ submission to the U.S. Government.

The IIPA, which includes a wide range of copyright groups including the MPAA, RIAA, and ESA, has listed its complaints against a whole host of countries. As in previous years, Canada is discussed in detail with the recommendation to put it on the 2017 Special 301 ‘watch list.’

One of the main criticisms is that, despite having been called out repeatedly in the past, the country still offers a home to many pirate sites.

“For a number of years, extending well into the current decade, Canada had a well-deserved reputation as a safe haven for some of the most massive and flagrant Internet sites dedicated to the online theft of copyright material,” IIPA writes.

The group notes that some progress has been made. For example, last year the Canadian authorities actively helped to shut down the popular torrent site KickassTorrents, which was partly hosted there. However, the rightsholders say that there’s more work to be done.

“Nonetheless, major online piracy operations still find a home in Canada. These include leading BitTorrent sites such as Sumotorrent.sx and Seedpeer.eu, and hybrid cloud storage services utilizing BitTorrents, such as cloudload.com.”

Another disturbing development, according to IIPA, is the emergence of stand-alone BitTorrent applications that allow users to stream content directly through an attractive and user-friendly interface, hinting at Popcorn Time.

In addition to the traditional pirate sites that remain in Canada, IIPA reports that several websites offering modified game console gear have also moved there in an attempt to escape liability under U.S. law.

“In a growing and problematic trend, sites selling circumvention devices that have been subject to DMCA takedown notices from right holders in the U.S. are moving to Canadian ISPs for hosting, to evade enforcement action under U.S. law. Canadian hosting services such as Hawk Host and Crocweb are particularly popular with such sites.”

The group specifically highlights R4cardmontreal.com, gamersection.ca and r4dscanada.com among the offenders, and notes that “This trend breathes new life into Canada’s problematic ‘safe haven’ reputation.”

The recommendation continues by stressing that Canada’s legal regime fails to deal with online piracy in a proper manner. This is also true for the “notice and notice” legislation that was adopted two years ago, which requires ISPs to forward copyright infringement notices to pirating subscribers.

IIPA notes that there is no evidence that this initiative has resulted in a significant change in consumer behavior, in part because there are no punishments involved for frequent offenders.

“…simply notifying ISP subscribers that their infringing activity has been detected is ineffective in deterring illegal activity, because receiving the notices lacks any meaningful consequences under the Canadian system,” IIPA writes.

This is even worse for hosting providers and other Internet services, who currently have no legal incentive to take infringing material down, IIPA argues.

“The ‘notice-and-takedown’ remedy that most other modern copyright laws provide is far from a panacea for online piracy, but it does, at a minimum, provide some incentives for cooperation, incentives that Canada’s laws simply lack.”

In addition, IIPA notes that a broad range of third-party services such as advertisers, payment processors, and domain name registrars are all too often abused to facilitate piracy. They believe that this is in part because Canadian law doesn’t offer enough “motivation” for these companies to cooperate.

The rightsholders hope that the U.S. Government can help to steer Canada in another direction and encourage more and better anti-piracy regulation. If not, they fear that Canada will remain a safe haven for pirates during the years to come.

IIPA’s full submission, which highlights a variety of countries which deserve a spot on the 301 Watch Lists per IIPA’s standards, is available here (pdf).

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

Facebook and Foxtel Team Up to Crack Down on Live Streaming Piracy

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/facebook-and-foxtel-team-up-to-crack-down-on-live-streaming-piracy-170213/

A week ago hundreds of thousands of people watched unauthorized Facebook live streams of a highly anticipated rematch between two Aussie boxers.

Pay TV channel Foxtel, which secured the broadcasting rights for the event, was outraged by the blatant display of piracy and vowed to take the main offenders to court.

This weekend, however, things had calmed down a bit. Foxtel did indeed reach out to the culprits, some of whom had more than 100,000 people watching their unauthorized Facebook streams. The company decided to let them off the hook if they published a formal apology.

Soon after, the two major streaming pirates in this case both admitted their wrongdoing in similarly worded messages.

“Last Friday I streamed Foxtel’s broadcast of the Mundine v Green 2 fight via my Facebook page to thousands of people. I know that this was illegal and the wrong thing to do,” streamer Brett Hevers wrote.

“I unreservedly apologize to Anthony Mundine and Danny Green, to the boxing community, to Foxtel, to the event promoters and to everyone out there who did the right thing and paid to view the fight. It was piracy, and I’m sorry.”

But that doesn’t mean that the streaming piracy problem is no longer an issue. Quite the contrary. Instead of investing time and money in legal cases, Foxtel is putting its efforts in stopping future infringements.

In an op-ed for the Herald Sun, Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh likens piracy to stealing, a problem that’s particularly common Down Under.

“It is no less of a crime than stealing a loaf of bread from a supermarket or sneaking into a movie theater or a concert without paying. Yet, as a nation, Australians are among the worst offenders in the world,” Tonagh writes.

Foxtel’s CEO sees illegal live streaming as the third wave of piracy, following earlier trends of smart card cracking and file-sharing. The Facebook piracy fest acted as a wake-up call and Tonagh says the company will do everything it can to stop it from becoming as common as the other two.

“Rest assured we will work even harder to address this piracy before it gets out of control. The illegal streaming of the Mundine v Green fight nine days ago was a wake-up call. It was the first time that Foxtel had experienced piracy of a live event on a mass scale,” he notes.

Over the past several days, Foxtel and Facebook have been working on a new technology which should be able to recognize pirated streams automatically and pull them offline soon after they are started. This sounds a lot like YouTube’s Content-ID system, but for live broadcasts.

“We are working on a new tool with Facebook that will allow us to upload a large stream of our events to Facebook headquarters where it can be tracked,” Tonagh tells The Australian behind a paywall.

“If that content is matched on users’ accounts where it’s being streamed without our authorisation then Facebook will alert us and pull it down,” he adds.

The initiative will be welcomed by other rightsholders, who face the same problem. Having an option to have Facebook recognize infringing content on the fly, is likely to make it much easier to stop these streams from becoming viral.

That said, live streaming piracy itself is much broader and not particularly new. There are dozens of niche pirate site that have been offering unauthorized streams for many years already, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

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