All posts by Ernesto

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 01/20/20

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-movies-of-the-week-on-bittorrent-01-20-20/

This week we have four newcomers in our chart.

Terminator: Dark Fate 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 articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie RankRank last weekMovie nameIMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1(…)Terminator: Dark Fate6.4 / trailer
2(…)1917 (DVDscr)8.6 / trailer
3(1)Joker8.8 / trailer
4(…)Dark Waters (screener)8.6 / trailer
5(2)Maleficent: Mistress of Evil6.8 / trailer
6(4)Frozen 2 (DVDScr)7.2 / trailer
7(3)Countdown7.2 / trailer
8(…)Motherless Brooklyn7.0 / trailer
9(6)Ford v Ferrari (DVDScr)8.3 / trailer
10(7)Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood7.9 / trailer

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

New Pirate Sites Line Up to Fill IndoXXI’s Shoes

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/new-pirate-sites-line-u-190120/

According to a recent survey, nearly a third of all Indonesians have accessed streaming piracy websites or torrent sites.

In recent months, Indonesia’s Information and Communications Ministry has worked hard to address the country’s piracy problem. Among other things, the Government has ordered ISPs to block more than 1,000 domain names.

The main target of these efforts was streaming giant ‘IndoXXI.’ With millions of daily visitors, it was listed among the 25 most-visited sites in the country up until last month.

Initially, the notorious streaming site evaded the blocks by switching to new domains. However, after a new round of blockades just before the new year, it decided to throw in the towel.

“Happy New Year 2020. As of today our site is no longer accessible, as is the case with the IndoXXI lite application,” the operators wrote at the site.

This news was welcomed by the local movie industry as well as Hollywood, which had previously complained about IndoXXI as well. However, the site’s demise doesn’t mean that the piracy problem is over now.

According to the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), hundreds of other sites stepped up to fill the gap left by IndoXXI. Some of these mimic the look and feel of the closed site, hoping to draw in visitors.

“[S]ince this announced closure, many other piracy sites, including some obvious copycat clones of IndoXXI, have become available,” AVIA notes.

One of the many clones

In response, copyright holders have stepped up again demanding that more domain names be blocked. AVIA notes that more than 200 new sites have been reported to the government during the past week alone.

Although website blockades may have some short-term effects, the Video Coalition of Indonesia (VCI) believes that the government can do more. Ideally, the group would like the culprits behind these sites to be criminally prosecuted.

Neil Gane, General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy, believes that the people running pirate sites are often involved in other crimes as well, which may in part be financed by piracy revenue.

“Many syndicates and individuals associated with the piracy ecosystem are involved in other criminal endeavors including illicit online gambling, and there is a likelihood that part of the illegal proceeds are used to finance these other crimes,” Gane says.

The call for criminal prosecutions is supported by prominent Indonesian film director Mira Lesmana, who wants the site operators to be brought to justice.

“We need to be able to recoup our financial investments to fund new creative content. We encourage the government to track down and prosecute those Indonesian-based operators who are behind these networks of piracy sites,” Lesmana says.

The question remains whether criminal prosecutions will do much to stop the flood of pirate sites. In recent years there have been various criminal piracy cases around the world. Despite these efforts, there has been no shortage of pirate sites.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Most Canadian ISPs Are Staying Quiet on Pirate Site Blocking

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/most-canadian-isps-are-staying-quiet-on-pirate-site-blocking-200119/

Last November, Canada’s Federal Court approved the first pirate site blockade in the country.

Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV.

These types of blocking efforts are common in quite a few countries. However, in Canada they are new, which means that developments are closely watched by both supporters and opponents.

One of these newer developments is the expansion of the blocklist with new domain names. After the initial injunction was ordered GoldTV became accessible through new addresses, effectively circumventing the court’s measures. This was dealt with by blocking the new domains as well.

This extension of the court’s order was permitted under the injunction and signed off by the court. This order is also public to those who pay to access it, which allows us to report on it.

However, as more and more blocks are issued this process may become harder to follow. It would be more transparent if ISPs published a list of blocked domains and IP-addresses. This would make it possible for the public to see what’s going on and report errors. If there are any.

This transparency idea isn’t too far-fetched. Canada’s current net neutrality regulations require ISPs to disclose what traffic management practices they use. Disclosing a list of blocked domain names and IP-addresses could fall into the same category.

As we were unable to find any ISP publicly listing this information on a page that’s available outside its network, we decided to ask them whether they had any plans to provide one.

In addition, we also asked what technical means the ISPs use to block domain names. Is it a simple DNS redirect, or are there more invasive techniques in use?

After waiting for several days, we still only have a response from one Internet provider. The ten remaining companies simply stayed quiet and didn’t even acknowledge receipt of our questions.

The company that did respond is TekSavvy, which also happens to be the only ISP that appealed the blocking injunction.

TekSavvy’s vice-president of regulatory affairs, Andy Kaplan-Myrth, informs us that they already provide detailed information to blocked users. This includes links to all the blocked domains and the court order itself.

In the future, TekSavvy plans to make this available to outsiders as well. The ISP shared a copy of the info page (pdf) with us but it’s not linked from the ISP’s website yet.

The information shows that TekSavvy is using DNS blocking. It effectively changes the DNS entry so the domains point to the blocking notice instead of the regular page.

Kaplan-Myrth notes that this works but adds that the blockade can be circumvented when subscribers switch to alternative DNS providers such as Google, Cloudflare, or OpenDNS.

While we are pleased with TekSavvy’s openness, the lack of response from the other ISPs isn’t very encouraging when it comes to transparency. We contacted Bell, Rogers, SaskTel, Cogeco, Eastlink, Distribitel, Fido, Shaw, Telus, and Videotron, without hearing back.

Although more transparency is welcome, the Canadian system is quite open compared to some other countries. In the UK for example, none of the blocklist changes are publicized beyond the initial court orders. This means that it’s more or less a guess how many are blocked.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

‘Local’ Pirate Sites Are Thriving Around the World

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/local-pirate-sites-are-thriving-around-the-world-200118/

When the hugely pirate site IndoXII announced that it would shut down a few weeks ago, drama ensued in Indonesia where most of its multi-million-user audience was based.

This fuss was hardly noticeable in other countries, where even some of the most die-hard piracy ‘experts’ had never heard of it.

Apparently, piracy habits are not as global as the Internet itself. Many countries have their local favorites. Sometimes because these are in the native tongue, but different piracy habits also play a role.

Today we’re going to illustrate this phenomenon by pointing out the most popular pirate sites in a wide variety of regions. Helped by data from piracy tracking firm MUSO and public tracking websites, highlight some local favorites.

Our quest starts in Europe, Bulgaria to be precise, where torrent site Zamunda.net takes the lead. This is a typical example of a local pirate site, with most visitors coming from Bulgaria, where it’s listed among the country’s 10 most-visited websites.

If we cross the border into Romania, a different picture emerges. Local streaming site Filmeserialeonline.org comes out on top there. More than two-thirds of the site’s visitors come from Albania, making it the most popular pirate site in the country.

Staying in the region, we find that Albania favors Filma24.cc, which appears to be a linking site. More than half of the site’s visitors come from Albania.

Local favorites emerge in other European countries as well. In France, Zone-telechargement.net is very popular, Spain goes for Elitetorrent.li, and Portugal favors Mrpiracy.site. All these sites are not commonly known outside these borders.

Moving to another continent, Africa, we see a similar trend in several countries. In Nigeria, for example, 9jaflaver.com, is extremely popular. The site also offers news but is listed as a pirate site by industry experts.

In Nigeria’s neighbor Chad, sports streaming site Yalla-shoot.com comes out on top. This is also the most-visited site in Egypt. Libya, which sits between Chad and Egypt, prefers the streaming site Cimaclub.com, which is also loved in Saudi Arabia.

Over in the Middle East, we see that Iranians prefer the local site Nex1music.ir. On the other side of the border, in Iraq, Kurdcinama.com is doing very well as the country’s 33rd most visited website.

Going further east, we see more of the same. Many countries have clear local favorites, which are often in native languages. This includes torrent portal torrentwal2.com in South Korea, as well as b9good.com in Japan.

When we move over to the Americas things get less interesting. While there are local pirate sites there as well, it is mostly familiar names that come out on top.

In the US the most popular ‘pirate’ site is Kissanime.ru, for example. Mexico also favors an anime site with animeflv.net coming out on top there. In fact, if we go further south, anime sites are on top in pretty much every country, all the way to Argentina.

Haiti is one of the few exceptions, as torrent9.pl is most popular there. While it’s not a local site, Haiti is the site’s second-largest traffic source, close behind Cameroon.

The above clearly shows that even though the Pirate Bays of the world make most news headlines, smaller sites can still be massively popular locally, perhaps more than most people realize. It also reveals that preferences for different types of piracy vary from country to country.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Pirated Copy of ‘1917’ Leaks in Massive Screener Dump

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirated-copy-of-1917-leaks-in-massive-screener-dump-200117/

Earlier this week we reported that the number of leaked screeners was on the rise again after an all-time low last year.

Over the past 24-hours, this number went up significantly with six new leaks bringing the total to 16.

A pirated screener dump of this magnitude in such a short timeframe is something we haven’t seen before.

What’s also new is that the release group ‘TOPKEK’ is one of the driving forces. Although TOPKEK is not new to releasing pirated movies, they haven’t gotten involved in leaking screeners in the past.

The most prominent release is ‘1917,’ which won the Golden Globe for best film and received ten Academy Award nominations earlier this week. A screener copy of the movie was released by both TOPKEK and Hive-CM8.

It’s likely that both groups obtained their screener copy from a separate source. The file sizes of the releases vary and, according to reports from users, the quality is not the same either.

In their release notes, Hive-CM8 mentions that the movie has already generated enough revenue for it to be released in the open. “Gross is doing ok, so it’s ready to go,” the group writes.

From the leaked screener

Both TOPKEK and Hive-CM8 also released a copy of the biographical drama ‘Richard Jewell,’ another contender for the Oscars.

The other four screeners that leaked all came from TOPKEK. These include ‘A hidden Life,’ ‘Color Out of Space,’ Dark Waters,’ and ‘Queen and Slim.’ The latter comes with the unusual ‘QuerySCR’ tag which suggests that the source of the screener copy may not be known.

The Dark Waters release also stands out. It’s tagged as a 1080p release and is 33.7 gigabytes in size, considerably larger than the rest.

Seeing this many leaks in the span of a few hours is quite unique. As far as we know, it has never happened before. This certainly makes it newsworthy and may also draw the attention of Hollywood and law enforcement.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

RomUniverse’s Request to Dismiss Nintendo Piracy Lawsuit Fails

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/romuniverses-request-to-dismiss-nintendo-piracy-lawsuit-fails200116/

Last year, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against the game download portal RomUniverse.

The website, which also allows users to download movies and books, was accused of massive copyright infringement, including that relating to many Nintendo titles.

“The Website contains and offers to the public an immense library of unauthorized copies of video games, primarily Nintendo video games designed for nearly every video game system Nintendo has ever produced,” the complaint read.

The game company argued that the site’s users downloaded hundreds of thousands of copyrighted works. RomUniverse profited from these infringements by offering premium accounts that allow users to download as many games as they want, Nintendo further alleged.

Despite these harsh allegations the site’s operator, California resident Matthew Storman, wasn’t giving up. He decided to defend himself in court and responded to Nintendo’s claims last October through a detailed motion to dismiss.

Storman didn’t deny that he is involved in the operation of RomUniverse. However, he sees himself as a Service Provider, who is not part of the ‘forum’ itself. On the contrary, the admin argued that he’s protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions.

Nintendo disregarded this defense as improper, untimely, and wholly inadequate. In a detailed response, the game company requested the court to deny Storman’s motion to dismiss the case.

After considering the arguments from both sides, US District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall has sided with Nintendo. In a ruling released yesterday, she denies the various arguments presented by Storman.

RomUniverse’s operator wanted the case dismissed based on failure to state a claim, lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, insufficient service of process, and failure to join a party. None of these arguments convinced the court.

Storman, for example, argued that Nintendo is not the owner of previously purchased games because consumers have the right to sell, destroy, or give them away. The Judge didn’t address this in detail but concluded that Nintendo’s copyright registrations are sufficient at this stage.

Many of the defenses were linked to Storman’s notion that he is shielded by the DMCA’s safe harbor protections. Nintendo previously said that a motion to dismiss isn’t the proper stage to invoke this defense and the court agrees.

‘The Court cannot determine whether the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions apply to Defendant at this stage because there is no evidence before the Court regarding whether Defendant is a service provider who satisfies the statutory requirements for protection pursuant to the DMCA’s safe harbors,” Judge Marshall writes.

Even if Storman has the right to safe harbor under the DMCA, that wouldn’t make the trademark infringement and unfair competition claims go away.

“Even assuming the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions apply to Defendant, those safe harbors would not protect Defendant from liability as to Plaintiff’s trademark infringement and unfair competition claims,” Judge Marshall adds.

All in all, the court denied RomUniverse’s motion to dismiss. Judge Marshall further requests the site’s operator to file a formal response to the complaint, which is due in two weeks. Whether Storman will continue this fight on his own or will retain an attorney is unknown.

A copy of US District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall’s order is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Operator of Popcorn Time Info Site is Liable for Piracy, Supreme Court Rules

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/operator-of-popcorn-time-info-site-is-liable-for-piracy-supreme-court-rules-200115/

Five years ago, Popcorn Time was widely embraced by pirates, thanks to its ability to stream torrent files through a user-friendly interface.

This rapid rise raised concern among many movie industry companies, who worked hard to contain the threat by going after several forks and their developers.

This resulted in the shutdown of several projects including Popcorntime.dk. The site offered information on Popcorn time and its availability but didn’t host any software itself. Nevertheless, it still found itself subjected to rightsholders’ complaints.

The matter piqued the interest of Danish law enforcement which eventually resulted in a criminal investigation. In August 2015, Danish police arrested the alleged operator and Popcorntime.dk was subsequently shut down and placed under the control of the state prosecutor.

The case was highly unusual because the domain in question didn’t host the Popcorn Time software. Instead, the site offered instructions, information, news articles, as well as links to sites where the application was available.

PopcornTime.dk as it appeared in 2015

In most cases this issue would have blown over, especially since the site had a relatively small number of users. However, the Danish investigation triggered a criminal prosecution, with the operator facing a potential prison sentence.

In 2018, this resulted in a conditional 6-month prison sentence for the man behind PopcornTime.dk. The court ruled that spreading information about the controversial movie streaming service warranted liability for contributory copyright infringement.

The defendant disagreed and appealed the case at the High Court, which later handed down a similar verdict. In a final attempt to have the ruling reversed, the site operator went to the Danish Supreme Court, which announced its verdict yesterday.

The Supreme Court confirmed the decisions of the High Court and District Court, ruling that the operator of Popcorntime.dk is indeed liable for contributory infringements via Popcorn Time.

In his defense, the operator argued that the previous rulings restricted his right to freedom of expression and information, which would violate Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, the Supreme Court disagreed. Instead, it ruled that the site was specifically designed to target potential Popcorn Time users who received concrete instructions on how to use the software. This is a criminal offense, even in the absence of concrete infringements by users, the Court found.

The Court thereby assumed that “a large number of users of [the operator’s] website have downloaded and used the Popcorn Time program and that use of the software, as a general rule, involved copyright infringement.”

The Court upheld the 6-month conditional prison sentence. The site operator, who is now in his 40s, was further sentenced to 120 hours of community service and more than $67,000 in ad revenue was confiscated.

Local anti-piracy group RettighedsAlliancen (Rights Alliance) is pleased with the outcome. According to the organization, this ruling is the first of its kind when it comes to criminal contributory copyright infringements.

“The judgment is, as far as we know, the first of its kind in the EU on the legal basis of criminal contributory copyright infringements,” Rights Alliance Director Maria Fredenslund informs TorrentFreak.

“So it confirms that the marketing and recommendations on the websites are in fact contributory infringements, even though they are not related to any particular copyright infringement, but rather to the infringements related to the Popcorn Time service in general.”

The Supreme Court ruling could have far-reaching consequences for other websites that provide information about piracy services. While the nature and purpose of the site still play a role, operators can’t simply hide behind the fact that they don’t host an infringing application on their server.

A copy of the Supreme Court verdict (in Danish) is available here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Number of Pirated Screener Leaks Already Higher Than Last Year

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/number-of-pirated-screener-leaks-already-higher-than-last-year-200114/

Yesterday the contenders for the 2020 Oscars were announced.

‘Joker’ emerged as the main favorite with eleven nominations, closely followed by ‘1917’ and ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ with ten each.

While Hollywood was buzzing with excitement over the news, a screener copy of another Oscar favorite – ‘Little Women’ – began spreading across pirate sites.

Pirated screeners are nothing new. Every year copies of popular films that are solely intended for private awards screenings end up in public. These releases are typically well secured, but release groups such as EVO and Hive-CM8 find their way around the protections.

One trend that we observed over recent years, however, is that fewer screener leaks were being posted online. Back in 2007, 29 screeners of nominees (81%) had leaked when the winners were announced. In 2019, this number was down to seven (23%).

Last year was an all-time low, which appeared to be good news for Hollywood. However, the downward trend hasn’t continued. During the current season, ten screener copies have already made their way onto pirate sites, of which eight received an Oscar nomination.

With several weeks still to go until the awards ceremony, this number will likely go up. To give an indication, in both 2018 and 2019 three pirated screeners came out after mid-January.

It’s worth noting though that the number of screener leaks itself doesn’t say much about security or enforcement efforts. In fact, the changing movie industry, where online streaming platforms are gaining dominance, could be the prime reason for a decline in these leaks.

Screeners are generally only released if there is no higher quality leak out already. Since pirated WEBRips and WEB-DLs generally come out soon after a movie premieres on a streaming service, screeners are less relevant.

To give an example, ‘The Irishman’ was widely available on pirate sites just hours after it premiered on Netflix. This trend is also what we see in the data from pirate screener watcher Andy Baio.

Of all the major Oscar contenders, only four are not yet available in high-quality formats on pirate sites. These are ‘1917,’ ‘Just Mercy,’ ‘Richard Jewell,’ and ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’.

As in previous years, release group Hive-CM8 is responsible for the bulk of the leaked screeners. And if we believe their latest release notes, they are not done yet. The group is openly calling for sources who have access to more screeners, including the latest Star Wars film.

A complete list of the screeners that have leaked thus far:

– Uncut Gems (12/16/2019) by EVO
– Portrait of a Lady on Fire (12/16/2019) by EVO
– Jojo Rabbit (12/21/2019) by Hive-CM8
– A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (12/23/2019) by Hive-CM8
– Knives Out (12/25/2019) by Hive-CM8
– Ford v Ferrari (12/29/2019) by Hive-CM8
– Frozen 2 (01/02/2019) by Hive-CM8
– Harriet (01/04/2019) by Hive-CM8
– Bombshell (01/09/2019) by Hive-CM8
– Little Woman (01/13/2019) by Hive-CM8

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Game Developer Sees Boost in Sales After Releasing Official Torrent

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/game-developer-sees-boost-in-sales-after-releasing-official-torrent-200113/

Online piracy is an issue that affects many industries and indie game development is certainly no exception.

Some developers see piracy as an evil that needs to be rooted out as soon as possible. However, others are more open to some of the motivations behind it and are willing to experiment.

Game developer Shota Bobokhidze, aka ‘ShotX,’ falls in the latter category. The indie developer from Tiblisi, Georgia, runs his one-man company ShotX Studio which just released a new shooter game titled ‘Danger Gazers.’

The release is available on Steam where it currently sells at $9.99. While that’s not an extremely steep price, ShotX realizes the average game fan may not have the financial means to try out all the new titles that come out every month.

This prompted the developer to release a special edition targeting the pirate community. It’s something he already planned to do with the game Kontrakt in 2018, but that idea was canned after The Pirate Bay kept returning server errors.

This time he was more successful. Late last week the torrent made its way onto The Pirate Bay, carrying a special message from the creator.

“This is the latest DRM-free version of Danger Gazers (1.1.0), there’s no catch here, no Steam only features, just the fully functional game,” ShotX writes on The Pirate Bay.

The game can be downloaded for free, no strings attached. The developer’s only request is that people consider buying it if they like what they see, or to support the project in any other way. The same message was later repeated on Reddit where ShotX highlighted his release.

Ironically, the developer’s first post on Reddit was removed, presumably because the moderators assumed it was a pirated version. However, that’s certainly not the case.

This is not the first time that a game developer has plugged his work on a pirate site, but it remains a rarity. To find out more about ShotX’s motivations, we decided to reach out for some additional comments.

The developer informs us that he is all too familiar with piracy. He grew up in a situation where piracy was often the only option to get new software. Today he also sees the other side of the story, as he relies on sales to make a living. However, he still understands that not everyone can easily buy his work.

“The decision to release a torrent came along with the memories of my time spent with pirated software,” ShotX says.

“I remember that I didn’t feel any guilt at all as there was simply no other choice for me at that moment, moreover, had I known that there were other options I could have supported developers with, I’d have done all I could without a second thought.”

Releasing the game on The Pirate Bay allows people to try it out for free. This comes with the added advantage of free exposure, which is welcome too, as it’s becoming harder and harder for new games to get noticed.

ShotX says that this certainly wasn’t a planned PR campaign. He just wanted to get the word out and give the free torrent a chance. That said, he does believe that piracy can have a positive exposure impact, which was also the case here.

“It wouldn’t have been effective if it was a planned PR move to get people to buy the product. It was just a kind act that I was lucky enough to get noticed. I’m sure it would have been apparent if it wasn’t so,” he says.

ShotX’s approach worked well. The Reddit post promoting the official torrent reached a broad audience. This resulted in a lot of free downloads but also motivated people to buy the game and spread the word.

“The response so far was amazing,” ShotX says. While he didn’t expect anything in return, the free release actually resulted in a significant revenue boost.

“There was a noticeable boost in sales, some kind individuals even donated twice as much and most importantly all the rest supported me in their own ways by sharing my game and respecting my decision,” the developer adds.

The developer didn’t promote the torrent on his social media or on his official site, as he specifically wanted to reach out to the pirate community. Given the results, this was quite successful.

This shows that some ‘pirates’ are definitely willing to pay under the rights conditions but it doesn’t mean that this is easily repeatable. If all indie developers started releasing torrents it would no longer be something special and could become harder to get noticed once again.

In this case, however, it clearly paid off.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 01/13/20

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-movies-of-the-week-on-bittorrent-01-13-20/

This week we have two newcomers in our chart.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 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 articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie RankRank last weekMovie nameIMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1(2)Joker8.8 / trailer
2(1)Maleficent: Mistress of Evil6.8 / trailer
3(…)Countdown7.2 / trailer
4(3)Frozen 2 (DVDScr)7.2 / trailer
5(5)Black and Blue5.9 / trailer
6(10)Ford v Ferrari (DVDScr)8.3 / trailer
7(8)Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood7.9 / trailer
8(…)Bombshell6.7 / trailer
9(7)Ad Astra6.9 / trailer
10(9)The Addams Family5.8 / trailer

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Dish Network Proposes Blockchain Based Anti-Piracy System

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/dish-network-proposes-blockchain-based-anti-piracy-system-200112/

American satellite and broadcast provider Dish Network has fought several legal battles against alleged pirate streaming tools in recent years.

The company filed a lawsuit against the people behind TVAddons, for example. More recently the company went after multiple pirate streaming sites and IPTV reseller Boom Media.

In addition to using well-established legal options, the company is also thinking ahead. That became clear this week when we spotted a new patent application from Dish, which envisions a blockchain-based anti-piracy system.

According to the company, piracy has become increasingly problematic. It’s not just limited to dedicated pirate sites but also plagues legitimate platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, it notes.

“The distribution of infringed material on content sharing platforms such as Facebook and YouTube has grown rapidly,” Dish writes in its patent application.

“For example, viewers can easily find links to live sporting events, hosted on someone’s Facebook account, find the newest episodes of their favorite series on YouTube or Dailymotion or even join groups like `mobile movies` on Telegram..,” the company adds.

Dish writes that “millennials” and the “next generation” are increasingly turning their backs on the traditional bundle service system, opting for less-costly alternatives instead. These cheaper alternatives include the consumption of unlicensed content on legitimate services.

While most large companies have their own anti-piracy solutions, these often have shortcomings, such as requiring rightsholders to actively search for pirated content. While a few large outfits use hash recognition to automatically detect content, those systems are often proprietary and not freely available.

The new patent application envisions a technology that is supposed to be superior. While it can’t really be used to stop pirate sites, it proposes a blockchain-based anti-piracy system that legitimate services can use to check whether the content is published with permission, or not.

“The inventors have conceived and reduced to practice a software and/or hardware facility that can be used by content owners to assert ownership of content so that copyright friendly websites and services can take action against copyright piracy effectively, efficiently and is scalable,” Dish writes.

“The facility makes available to all content owners watermarking/fingerprinting technology so an identifier can be embedded in the content. The facility utilizes blockchain technology to add information related to each unique identifier in a database and allows an authorized user (e.g., the owner) to update the information through a blockchain transaction.”

There are several practical implementations possible, but it’s clear that Dish is in favor of a widely available system that sites and services can use to determine whether content is authorized. The watermark or fingerprint-based system should interact with a blockchain to verify ownership details.

Without a practical implementation, it’s hard to determine whether this approach will succeed or not. However, blockchain-based copyright management itself is not a new idea, as others have proposed this as well. The same is true for watermarking and fingerprinting.

It’s interesting to see that Dish is actively pursuing an alternative anti-piracy approach. Time will tell if it comes to fruition, and if so, how effective it will be. One thing’s almost guaranteed though, there will be plenty of attempts by pirates to get around it.

A copy of the patent application titled “Content anti-piracy management system and method” is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Replica Store Sells ‘Cheap’ Knock Off of €890 Pirate Bay Hoodie

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/replica-store-sells-cheap-knock-off-of-e890-pirate-bay-hoodie-200111/

During the early years, The Pirate Bay promoted an ‘official’ clothing store, which sold t-shirts and hoodies for reasonable prices.

This site has since disappeared, but it’s not hard to find Pirate Bay-themed clothing elsewhere. Dozens of vendors have copied the iconic logo to sell cheap merchandise to fans.

However, when the Switzerland-based fashion brand Vetements joined in with their own variant last year, they upped the ante.

Experts regard Vetements as one of the 10 hottest fashion brands at the moment, which means that it can only be afforded by the happy few. That’s also the case for their Pirate Bay clothing.

The company started by selling a fashionable hoodie for just under $900 and it currently has a whole range of Pirate Bay clothing, including a €550 t-shirt and €540 shorts. The top item, however, must be the comfortable hacker hoodie dress, which currently goes for €980.

“Channelling the theme of a digital dystopia, the piece has a print of ‘The Pirate Bay’ — one of the biggest services for torrenting digital content,” Vetements explains, noting that it pairs well with some sneakers.

Vetements seem to understand that their clothing is overpriced, but as long as it sells they have little to complain about. What they may not be happy with though, is that counterfeiters are using their Pirate Bay design to create cheap knock-offs.

Apparently, the Pirate Bay hoodie was hot enough to be ripped off, as people have been openly requesting cheaper replicas online. This demand was filled by several ‘unauthorized’ vendors including the well-known rep-store Reon District, which now sells a ‘pirated’ Pirate Bay hoodie for a fraction of the price.

These ‘copyright-infringing’ Pirate Bay hoodies come in different qualities and prices. The Reon one is still not cheap, selling at €130, but does it match up to the original quality? At TorrentFreak, we are in no position to review it, but luckily someone else took up the challenge.

Reddit user ‘plexor666’ posted the findings in the FashionReps subreddit, a community of hundreds of thousands of knock-off enthusiasts. The detailed side-by-side comparison shows that the copy is pretty decent, but not perfect. The wash tag, for example, has a plastic feel and the wrong font.

Whether these differences are worth €750 is up for debate. However, based on two reviews, including one from the Redditor above, it’s a pretty good copy. Only the ‘thick’ cords may need a replacement.

“Reon’s hoodie is amazing, nobody will call it out. Only thing that really bothers me are the thick cords on the hood. Looks really shitty I will look for a replacement,” plexor666 writes.

These open discussions are quite common in the subreddit, as opposed to /r/piracy which is under heavy pressure from rightsholders. Counterfeiting is not new for Vetements either. That said, they might not appreciate their Pirate Bay gear being pirated.

It’s hard to see what’s next, but at this point, it wouldn’t surprise us if Vetements sued Reon over their ‘pirated’ hoodie. Or perhaps it may be more fitting if they try to have the domain seized, or blocked by ISPs. True Pirate Bay style.

And perhaps The Pirate Bay can then take action against Vetements for copying its logo without permission?

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

‘Academic’ Torrent Client Hopes to Shake up the Entertainment Industry

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/academic-torrent-client-hopes-to-shake-up-the-entertainment-industry-200110/

The Tribler client has been around for nearly 15 years. During that time it has developed into the only truly decentralized BitTorrent client out there.

Even if all torrent sites were shut down today, Tribler users would still be able to find and add new content.

The project is managed by dozens of academic researchers, which is a guarantee for continued development. In recent years alone, the Tribler team added a built-in Tor network to the client, as well as a blockchain that can function as an internal currency.

This week Delft University of Technology announced that its research group has secured an additional €3.3 million to continue building an ‘Internet-of-Trust.’ A large part of this new cash flow will be used to improve the Tribler client.

With financial backing secured for the years to come, project leader Professor Johan Pouwelse has set some big goals. With Tribler, he hopes to lay the groundwork for a new ecosystem that can replace the powerful multi-billion dollar companies that currently dominate the entertainment industries.

Pouwelse wants to put the artists back in control. They, and only they, should be in charge of monetizing and distributing content.

This idea isn’t new. Artists increasingly want to take back their rights. Taylor Swift, for example, spoke up when she learned that her former record label wanted to prevent her from performing her own songs. Meanwhile, Imogen Heap is trying to create a fairer music ecosystem powered by a blockchain.

Professor Pouwelse has followed these developments closely and believes that artists should ultimately be in control of their own work. This means cutting out the middlemen.

“Every artist should be self-published and self-promoted. Without profiteers, more artists will earn their living from their passion. Without profiteers, fans will get more content creation from their idols,” Pouwelse says.

“The music industry is driven by intermediaries that keep the biggest slice of the pie to themselves. Pioneers such as Imogen Heap are creating new business models where artists receive fair compensation for their creativity.”

The ideal to overthrow powerful entertainment industry companies sounds very much like The Pirate Bay’s message during the mid-2000s. However, while Tribler’s torrent client does list a lot of Pirate Bay content, its goal isn’t to advocate piracy.

On the contrary, decentralization may be a step towards limiting piracy, as content can become much cheaper when artists distribute it directly. Right now labels, but also YouTube, Apple, Twitch and many other platforms, take a big cut. According to Pouwelse, that’s a waste of money.

The professor sees a future where content storage and distribution are put back into the hands of individuals. It’s a world where people set their own rules instead of being dictated to by major companies, which also includes Google and Facebook, which often restrict what people can publish.

While this all sounds very ambitious and promising, there is a major problem. In theory, it’s not hard for creators, or people in general, to store and publish everything themselves. The real problem is the exposure and adoption of decentralized alternatives.

Tribler does indeed have all the crucial elements for an artist to release an album and keep 100% of the profits. But when there are only a few thousand users on the platform, these profits are minimal. In fact, they would likely make more if they only made 5% through the regular “middlemen” channels.

This is a real dilemma. In order for decentralized alternatives to work, they need a substantial user base, one that can rival the existing options. Getting there at once will require a miracle of sorts.

Pouwelse understands the challenges but firmly believes that change is possible, especially when BitTorrent and the blockchain work in tandem.

“BitTorrent has not eliminated the golden profits that sit between the artist and your ears. BitTorrent and blockchain are perhaps the perfect mixture for change in the entertainment industry.

“Blockchain might be powerful enough to break the corporate stranglehold on the business and set artists free,” Pouwelse adds.

Whether this vision will eventually become a reality is uncertain. However, the Triber project does provide an excellent use case for what’s possible when it comes to decentralized publishing. In addition, it will also aid the development of other decentralized digital infrastructures.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Canadian Pirate Site Blockade Expands With New Domains

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/canadian-pirate-site-blockade-expands-with-new-domains-200109/

Last November Canada’s Federal Court approved the first piracy blockade in the country.

Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV.

A few days after the order was issued the first blockades were active. These prevented GoldTV customers from accessing the IPTV portal directly, as intended, but it didn’t take long before several alternative domains popped up.

These new domains are managed by GoldTV or its resellers and point to the access portal, allowing subscribers an unblocked route to access the IPTV service.

This wasn’t entirely unexpected. While IPTV blockades are relatively rare, we have seen similar ‘proxy’ workarounds in the past when traditional pirate sites were blocked in other counties. Having learned from this experience, the Canadian court order specifically allowed Bell and the other companies to expand the blocklist.

Specifically, they can amend the original blocklist with any “domain, subdomain or IP address that has as its sole or predominant purpose to enable or facilitate access to the Target Websites,” provided that the IP-address is “not associated with any other active domain.”

Such an update was requested early last month and two weeks later the Canadian Federal Court approved it. An overview of the new blocking requirements was published this week by Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s vice-president of regulatory affairs.

This shows that, after some IP-addresses and a domain name were previously removed, several new ones were added with the latest order.

The newly added addresses include gold.myiptvplanet.com, live4k.online, and several pctvhd.net and beex.me subdomains. When we checked these, all indeed redirected to the GoldTV access portal. According to reports we received, the new domains have been added to the blocklist of several Canadian ISPs, as expected.

Avvidavids reveal that the new domains were tracked down by posing as a customer or reseller of the GoldTV service.

Interestingly, the rightsholders asked to keep the names of the new domains secret until the order was granted. The Wire Report notes that they sent a letter (pdf) to the ISP asking them to “refrain from publicizing” the new domains until the Court made a decision.

Keeping possible updates out of the public eye is in the interest of the copyright holders, as it prevents GoldTV from anticipating new blocks. However, it raises concerns among some legal experts who believe that information in a public case should be out in the open. If not, that should be up to a court to decide.

That said, the Canadian procedure is much more transparent than in other countries such as the UK, where new blocklist updates aren’t published at all, making it impossible for the public to check for potential overblocking.

While the expanded blocks are certainly frustrating for GoldTV customers, there will likely be new domains to replace them, continuing the whack-a-mole. The downside for the copyright holders is that there’s a significant delay in the process.

Bell and the others first have to file for an amended order, which then has to be approved by the court. After that, it can take up to two weeks before ISPs implement the blockade. This whole process can take more than a month. In this timeframe, new domain names may have already been put into use.

While website blocks are far from perfect, the continued frustration of switching to new domains may be enough for some pirates to throw in the towel. Or they may switch to more permanent circumvention alternatives, such as VPNs.

Meanwhile, the bigger blocking battle continues as well. Internet provider TekSavvy has appealed the blocking order and hopes to have it overturned. It clearly violates network neutrality and undermines the open Internet, the ISP previously said.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Facebook Sees Copyright Abuse as One of the Platform’s Main Challenges

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/facebook-sees-copyright-abuse-as-one-of-the-platforms-main-challenges-200108/

When it comes to targeting infringement, Facebook has rolled out a few anti-piracy initiatives over recent years.

In addition to processing regular takedown requests, the company has a “Rights Manager” tool that detects infringing material automatically and allows owners to take down or monetize the content.

In a recent meeting organized by the European Commission, Facebook explained in detail how this automated system works. The meeting was organized to create a dialogue between various parties about possible solutions for the implementation of Article 17.

In Facebook’s presentation Dave Axelgard, product Manager for Rights Manager, explained how automated matching of copyrighted content takes place on the social media network. He also detailed what actions rightsholders can take in response, and how users can protest misuse and abuse of the system.

The EU meeting was attended by a wide range of parties. In addition to copyright holders, it also included various people representing digital rights organizations. Facebook made it clear that it keeps the interests of all sides in mind. It specifically highlighted, however, that abuse of Rights Manager is a serious concern.

“We spend much of our time building systems to avoid blocking legitimate content,” Axelgard mentioned during his presentation.

“The way that inappropriate blocks occur is when rightsholders gain access to Rights Manager despite our application process, who attempt to upload content to the tool that they do not own.”

Another form of overblocking that takes place is when copyright holders upload content that they don’t own. This can happen by mistake when a compilation video is added, which also includes content that’s not theirs.

Facebook works hard to catch and prevent these types of misuse and abuse, to ensure that its automated detection system doesn’t remove legitimate content. This is also something to keep in mind for the implementation of possible ‘upload filters’ with the introduction of Article 17.

“Misuse is a significant issue and after operating Rights Manager for a number of years, we can tell you it is one of the most sensitive things that need to be accounted for in a proportionate system,” Axelgard says.

Facebook tries to limit abuse through a variety of measures. The company limits access to its Rights Manager tool to a select group of verified copyright holders. In addition, it always requires playable reference files, so all claims can be properly vetted.

The social media network also limits the availability of certain automated actions, such as removal or blocking, to a subset of Rights Manager users. This is in part because some smaller rightsholders may not fully understand copyright, which can lead to errors.

Finally, Facebook points out that misuse of its Rights Manager tool constitutes a breach of its Terms of Service. This allows the company to terminate rightsholders that repeatedly make mistakes.

“If we find that Rights Manager is being misused, then under our Rights Manager terms we have the ability to terminate someone’s access to the tool. We really do want to stress how important it is that platforms have the ability to adjust access and functionality related to these powerful technologies to avoid misuse,” Axelgard notes.

The strong focus on misuse was welcomed by digital rights groups, including Communia. However, it also raised some eyebrows among rightsholders.

Mathieu Moreuil of the English Premier League, who represented the Sports Rights Owner Coalition, asked Facebook whether the abuse of Rights Manager really is the company’s main challenge.

“I think it’s definitely one of our main challenges,” Axelgard confirmed, while noting that Facebook also keeps the interests of rightsholders in mind.

Overall, Facebook carefully explained the pros and cons of its system. Whether it is an ideal tool to implement Article 17 in EU countries is another question. In its current form Rights Manager isn’t, as it doesn’t allow all copyright holders to join in.

Also, Rights Manager works with audio and video, but not with digital images, which is another major restriction.

On the other hand, there are pitfalls from a consumer perspective as well. Automated systems may be very good at detecting copyrighted content, but Facebook confirmed that they currently can’t make a determination in respect of copyright exemptions such as parody and fair use.

“Our matching system is not able to take context into account. It’s just seeking to identify whether or not two pieces of content matched to one another,” Axelgard said, responding to a question from Communia’s Paul Keller.

This shortcoming of automated filters was also confirmed by Audible Magic, the popular music matching service that’s used by dozens of large companies to detect copyright infringements.

“Copyright exceptions require a high degree of intellectual judgment and an understanding and appreciation of context. We do not represent that any technology can solve this problem in an automated fashion. Ultimately these types of determinations must be handled by human judgment,” Audible Magic CEO Vance Ikezoye said.

As noted by Communia, the most recent stakeholder meeting once again showed that automated content recognition systems are extremely powerful and very limited at the same time.

If any of these technologies become the basis of implementing Europe’s Article 17 requirements, these shortcomings should be kept in mind. Or as Facebook said, a lot of time and effort should go into preventing legitimate content being blocked.

A video of the full stakeholder meeting is available on the European Commission’s website. A copy of Facebook’s slides is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

The Pirate Bay’s Seeded ‘Archive’ Grows to 2.5 Petabytes

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/the-pirate-bays-seeded-archive-grows-to-2-5-petabytes-200107/

This year, The Pirate Bay will celebrate its 17th anniversary.

That’s quite an achievement for any website but particularly for a pirate site when considering the mounting legal pressures.

Over the years The Pirate Bay has certainly weathered a few storms. There were raids, technical problems, and hosting complications, but the site has always returned. This year it even regained its position as the most popular torrent site of all, after a year of absence from the top spot.

While the infamous torrent site often makes the news, surprisingly little is known about what happens behind the scenes. The site’s operator, who goes by the nickname “Winston,” rarely comments in public. At the start of the new year, however, he made an exception.

For the first time ever, TPB’s operator has publicly shared statistics on how much data are ‘uploaded’ through the site. These files, including movies, software, and music, don’t actually hit its servers. They can be shared through the torrent and magnet links on the site though.

TPB’s operator reveals that, in 2019, the uploaded torrents linked to a massive 776 terabytes of data. More than half of these (405 terabytes) are still actively shared or seeded, as it’s called in BitTorrent terminology.

This is a lot of data, but it’s only a subsection of everything that’s available via The Pirate Bay. In total, more than 6,720 terabytes, or 6.7 petabytes have been ‘uploaded’ to the site. Of this data, over 2.5 petabytes are still being seeded.

The chart below shows how this uploaded data evolved over time. Older content is obviously seeded by fewer people, but that’s not the only thing that stands out. Most visible is the continued increase in uploads between 2004 and 2014, and the significant drop after that.

This drop can be explained by The Pirate Bay’s prolonged downtime around the end of 2014 and the start of 2015. Following a raid by the Swedish police, the torrent site remained offline for roughly two months, which substantially hurt the upload numbers.

After the downtime, the ‘uploaded’ data was roughly cut in half. This coincided with a drop in visitor numbers. Even today the site hasn’t fully recovered to the pre-raid numbers, but volumes are increasing year by year.

An archive of more than six petabytes is certainly impressive. According to TPB’s own calculations, it would cost $168,000 to put it all on Amazon’s cheapest 14TB hard drives. It’s certainly not impossible, as the Internet Archive hosts 48 petabytes, but it’s costly.

The Pirate Bay doesn’t have to store much though. All the torrent files combined make up a few gigabytes at most, as the full files are stored and shared by users. While this is cost-effective, it does come at a price.

Since more than half of TPB’s archive is no longer seeded, more than four petabytes of data are not available for download. This may change if people seed again, but the general trend is that availability goes down as time passes.

In order to keep decentralized distribution working, people have to share. TPB’s Winston notes that the ability to share not just files but also costs and resources is BitTorrent’s main advantage.

“This is where bittorent shines, as long as we all keep seeding, especially the rarer and older stuff, one or a few don’t have to take all the cost,” Winston says.

“We all contribute a few cents or dollars per month, on internet connections we already have, and unused storage on our computers, and everyone worldwide can continue to enjoy the torrents for years and decades to come,” he adds, while wishing the site’s users a happy new year.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Movie Companies Sue YTS Users, Including One Who Hid Behind a VPN

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-companies-sue-yts-users-including-one-who-hid-behind-a-vpn-200106/

Last week we reported that the operator of YTS, one of the most visited torrent sites, resolved a piracy lawsuit that was filed against it by movie outfit Wicked Nevada.

In a consent judgment, the YTS admin agreed to pay $150,000 in damages. In addition, he promised not to share torrents of the film “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile.”

What is most unusual about the agreement is that the torrent site itself remains operational. This means that, aside from the hefty damages award, YTS can continue its business as usual. However, that doesn’t mean that its users can’t be targeted.

Soon after our coverage, we noticed that Wicked Nevada filed a new lawsuit together with several other movie companies including Dallas Buyers Club, Bodyguard Productions, and Rambo V Productions. This complaint is also related to YTS, but targets alleged users of the site over alleged copyright infringement.

The movie companies list a group of Doe defendants and a Hawaiian man named Harry Beasor. According to the complaint, all defendants registered an account with the YTS website using their email address. In addition, their IP-addresses were linked to pirating films of the movie companies that filed the suit.

While lawsuits against alleged BitTorrent pirates are not new, this complaint stands out and raises quite a few concerns.

Apparently, the movie companies know the email addresses for some registered YTS users. Not only that, but they also know which torrents were downloaded from the site using the accounts and what IP-addresses were used, as the complaint makes clear.

“Defendant Harry Beasor used the YTS website to download torrent files associated with Plaintiffs’ Works from Internet Protocol (‘IP’) address 91.207.175.82 associated with his VPN service,” it reads, specifically mentioning the movies London Has Fallen, Mechanic: Resurrection, and I Feel Pretty.

“Defendant Harry Beasor used the IP address of the VPN service because he knew that he was copying the Works without a valid license and therefore in violation of Plaintiffs’ exclusive rights,” the complaint adds.

The movie companies point out that YTS openly advertises the use of a VPN. According to the torrent site, it’s a good option for users to protect themselves from expensive lawsuits.

TorrentFreak reached out to the attorney of the filmmakers, Kerry Culpepper, to find out how this private user information was obtained from the site. He informed us that, at this moment, he cannot comment on the matter in public.

This leaves us with little more than speculation. A likely scenario is that the YTS operator gave up the user information as part of the negotiations. This would not be unprecedented, as the developer of the app CotoMovies shared similar information with the film companies in the past.

We contacted YTS for a comment on this possibility, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

What is clear is that the movie companies linked emails that were used to register with YTS to actual IP-addresses. All the Doe defendants are users of the ISP Spectrum, who the copyright holders hope to expose through a subpoena. Mr. Beasor used a VPN, which appears to have been Private Internet Access, but the rightsholders already have his name and no additional subpoena is requested.

The complaint doesn’t make it clear how the movie companies tracked down the name of Mr. Beasor. The most likely scenario is that the email address gave this away, but we were unable to confirm this independently.

While clear details are not available, the lawsuit shows that using a VPN is not very helpful if there are other leads that point to one’s identity. If someone uses an easily identifiable email which can be linked to a VPN address that was used with the same account, even the best VPN doesn’t protect one’s privacy.

That said, the movie companies’ case is certainly no shoo-in. People who register an account with YTS don’t have to confirm their email address, so anyone can sign up with a random address, including those of other people.

In addition, most VPN IP-addresses are used by dozens or hundreds of people at once, so it’s impossible to prove without a doubt that one person shared a single file at any given point in time. Especially since many VPN providers don’t keep logs that could help to identify a single user.

That said, the fact that the movie companies are going after YTS users, claiming to have access to details that are only supposed to be available in the torrent site’s user database, is quite worrying, to say the least.

A full copy of the complaint, filed by Fallen Productions, Inc., Criminal Productions, LHF Productions, Millennium Funding, Bodyguard Productions, Hunter Killer Productions, HB Productions, Rambo V Productions, TBV Productions, Colossal Movie Productions, Venice PI, Colossal Movie Productions, Headhunter, Dallas Buyers Club, Definition Delaware, and Wicked Nevada, obtained by TorrentFreak, is available here (pdf)

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Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 01/06/20

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-movies-of-the-week-on-bittorrent-01-06-20/

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 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 articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie RankRank last weekMovie nameIMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1(…)Maleficent: Mistress of Evil6.8 / trailer
2(1)Joker8.8 / trailer
3(…)Frozen 2 (DVDScr)7.2 / trailer
4(2)Zombieland Double Tap7.1 / trailer
5(…)Black and Blue5.9 / trailer
6(4)Jexi6.2 / trailer
7(3)Ad Astra6.9 / trailer
8(6)Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood7.9 / trailer
9(9)The Addams Family5.8 / trailer
10(8)Ford v Ferrari (DVDScr)8.3 / trailer

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Top 10 Most Popular Torrent Sites of 2020

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-popular-torrent-sites-of-2020-200105/

In terms of popularity, torrent sites have been surpassed by streaming sites in recent years. However, they remain very popular.

As we enter a new year we see that The Pirate Bay has taken the lead once again, moving up from the third spot last year.

After a turbulent time, the site has been relatively stable over the past twelve months, although it still doesn’t allow new users to sign up.

Looking more broadly we see that the entire list has remained relatively intact this year. A few sites have switched places but none of the major sites disappeared, which by itself is already quite an achievement.

This year’s overview includes two newcomers. The game-oriented ‘Fitgirl Repacks’ enters in ninth place and the Indian site Tamil Rockers closes the list in tenth place. These two replace TorrentDownloads and Zooqle, which both saw a significant traffic dip and dropped outside the top 10.

We traditionally limit our overview to torrent sites that are targeted primarily at an English or international audience. This means that RuTracker, TorrentWal, Rutor, Dytt8, and Etoland aren’t included even though they would qualify in terms of traffic.

Below is the full list of the ten most-visited torrent sites at the start of the new year. The list is based on various traffic reports and we display the Alexa rank for each. In addition, we include last year’s ranking.

Most Popular Torrent Sites (domains) of 2020

1. The Pirate Bay

After more than 16 years, The Pirate Bay remains afloat. After suffering substantial downtime in 2018, last year went relatively smoothly. The site closed registrations a few months ago but remains open to the public. It’s also still operating from its .org domain but it’s uncertain if that will remain the case in the future.

Alexa Rank: 169/ Last year #3

2. YTS.lt

YTS.lt is the unofficial successor of the defunct YTS or YIFY group. The site focuses on movie releases which are popular around the globe. YTS has been the target of three lawsuits in the US recently. While the operator signed a consent judgment to pay damages to one filmmaker, the site itself remains online.

Alexa Rank: 244 / Last year #1

2. 1337x

1337x keeps its spot in the top three. Unlike some other sites, it has a loyal group of uploaders that provide fresh content on a daily basis.

Alexa Rank: 307 / Last year #2

4. RARBG

RARBG has remained steady over the past year. The site operates from several popular domain names, but only the one with the most traffic is taken into account for this list. RARBG was founded in 2008 and specializes in high-quality video releases.

Alexa Rank: 428 / Last year #4

5. NYAA.si

NYAA.si is a popular resurrection of the anime torrent site NYAA. While there is fierce competition from alternative pirate streaming sites, the torrent portal continues to do well, climbing one position compared to last year.

Alexa Rank: 861 / Last year #6

6. Torrentz2

Torrentz2 launched as a replacement for the original Torrentz.eu site, which voluntarily closed its doors in 2016. The site doesn’t host any torrent files but remains a popular meta-search engine.

Alexa Rank: 1,090 / Last year #5

7. EZTV.io

The original TV-torrent distribution group EZTV shut down after a hostile takeover in 2015, with new owners claiming ownership of the brand. The group switched to a new domain last year and was inadvertently blocked in the Netherlands because it shared an IP-address with The Pirate Bay.

Alexa Rank: 1.186 / Last year #9

8. LimeTorrents

LimeTorrents has been around for more than ten years. Like many other entries in this list it is blocked by ISPs in countries around the world, which seems to hurt overall traffic somewhat.

Alexa Rank: 1,581 / Last year #7

10. Fitgirl Repacks

Fitgirl Repacks is by no means a traditional torrent site. It is the home of a popular group that releases slimmed down cracked versions of popular games, which keeps download times to a minimum. They publish torrents on other sites but also offer magnet links of their own, which is why we included the site here.

Alexa Rank: 1,883 / Last year #NA

10. Tamil Rockers

The torrent site TamilRockers is infamous in India, where it has its homebase. However, as it’s available in English, the site is used worldwide. Despite several enforcement actions and arrests of alleged admins and operators, the site is thriving.

Alexa Rank: 2,035 / Last year #NA

Disclaimer: Yes, we know that Alexa isn’t perfect, but it helps to compare sites that operate in a similar niche. We also use other traffic metrics to compile the top ten. Please keep in mind that many sites have mirrors or alternative domains, which are not taken into account here. We don’t encourage the use of any of these sites, the yearly list is published as an informational / news resource.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

NFL Targets VPN Sites that ‘Promote’ Illegal Streaming

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/nfl-targets-vpn-sites-that-promote-illegal-streaming-200104/

VPN services are the go-to tools for people who are looking for some extra privacy and security on the Internet.

However, there are other use cases for these services as well. Bypassing geographical restrictions is a widely advertised feature, with VPNs enabling people to access content that’s not available in their own country.

As a result, people using VPNs can access the American Netflix library in another country, or catch up on the BBC iPlayer while abroad. While this wasn’t much of a problem years ago, today more and more content providers are actively banning VPN users to block these ‘unauthorized’ viewers.

The American football league NFL is not a fan of this type of VPN use either, it appears. However, its enforcement strategy goes further than those displayed by other companies.

This week we stumbled upon a DMCA takedown notice that was sent to Google on behalf of the NFL. The complaint in question didn’t list any pirated copies of NFL games but instead requested the removal of several VPN-related URLs.

According to the notice, the VPN sites “promote the use of their software to illegally stream NFL games.”

Looking at the targeted URLs they do indeed mention the NFL. More specifically, most describe how people can use a VPN to access NFL content through official and authorized channels.

A VPN can provide access to a broader range of content in some cases, as it looks like the user is coming from another country. As a result, VPNs ‘bypass’ the NFL’s technical protection measures, which are used to enforce its licenses. That will likely violate its terms of service, even if people have a legitimate subscription.

The targeted URLs include VPN service ExpressVPN, as well as several dedicated VPN review sites and tech publications such as bestvpn.org, vpnspblog.com, vpnmentor.com, vpnfan.com, tomsguide.com, howtogeek.com, and technadu.com.

Whether DMCA takedown notices are the right instrument to deal with this issue is up for debate. It appears that Google is not yet convinced, as it has decided not to remove the vast majority of the links.

The only three pages that were deleted from Google’s search results are from thevpn.guru and flashrouters.com. It’s not immediately clear to us why these are different from the rest.

We were only able to spot a few VPN oriented notices from the NFL, so it could be that this is just incidental. Also, with an increasing number of imposters sending takedown requests we can never be 100% sure that the NFL is indeed behind these notices.

We reached out to the listed anti-piracy partner for more information, but at the time of writing we have yet to hear back

Looking through other NFL notices sent by the same outfit we do see more that target NFL-related sites and URLs. In addition to the VPN complaints, these also target a long list of domains that claim to offer cheap or free NFL access, including nfltvpro.com and nflgptv.com.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.