All posts by Ernesto

Namecheap ‘Suspends’ Domain of File-hosting Service Nofile.io

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/namecheap-suspends-domain-of-file-hosting-service-nofile-io-190616/

Nofile.io is a popular no-nonsense file-hosting service that’s been around for roughly two years.

Similar to other hosting services, people can use it to upload and share files. However, this week the site has been unreachable. 

Upon closer inspection, we found out that the downtime is the result of a domain name issue. It appears that the site’s registrar, Namecheap, has put the Nofile.io domain on “serverHold.”

According to ICANN, the serverHold domain status is uncommon and “usually enacted during legal disputes, non-payment, or when your domain is subject to deletion.”

This status is set by the domain registrar, Namecheap in this case, and informs the registry not to activate the DNS. As a result, the website in question will become inaccessible.

It’s unclear why Namecheap took this action. We reached out to the company earlier this week, but haven’t heard back.

serverHold

The suspension may be related to an earlier issue. As reported last month, the RIAA obtained a DMCA subpoena ordering Namecheap to hand over the personal details of the owner of the domain name.

“The website associated with this domain name offers files containing sound recordings which are owned by one or more of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use, ” RIAA wrote at the time.

RIAA highlighted that a leaked track by rapper ‘Tyler, the Creator,’ titled ‘Earfquake,’ was shared on the site and requested the personal details of the domain owner from Namecheap.

While the registrar is not known to suspend domains based on these type of allegations, it could be that this inquiry that raised some red flags. For example, it may have revealed that the WHOIS information was false. That can be reason for a suspension.

Last week we reported on a similar issue, where a torrent site lost its domain name due to inaccurate WHOIS data.

Whether something similar happened here remains unconfirmed. However, unless the operator of Nofile.io resolves the matter with Namecheap, the site’s domain name will remain suspended.

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

‘Pirating’ Cox Business Subscriber Can Remain Anonymous, Court Rules

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirating-cox-business-subscriber-can-remain-anonymous-court-rules-190615/

Copyright holders are increasingly taking Internet providers to court, accusing the companies of failing to terminate repeat copyright infringers. 

Up until recently, the alleged pirating subscribers have remained anonymous. However, in the case between several music labels and Cox Communications, this position changed. 

Without direction from the court, the ISP agreed to reveal the identities of thousands of business subscribers whose connections were repeatedly used to share infringing material. These personal details are not being made public, but names, addresses, and other info will be handed over to the labels. 

It’s not clear what the rightsholders intend to do with this information but it’s unlikely to be in the interests of the accused subscribers. This didn’t sit well with one business subscriber, which protested the stipulated order in court. 

The “John Doe” company, an unnamed non-profit that provides hospital and medical care facilities, is one of the 2,793 affected business subscribers. The organization didn’t deny the piracy allegations but told the court that the infringements were made over its unsecured network, which is accessible to visitors.

Before accessing this network all visitors had to agree to the terms of service, which specifically prohibited illegal downloading. Apparently, this wasn’t enough.

The company states that revealing its identity to the record labels isn’t going to change anything. There is no record of who accessed the network at the time of the infringements, so tracking down the culprits is impossible.

“Thus, disclosure of John Doe’s subscriber information will not lead to the discovery of the individual(s) who are alleged by Plaintiffs to have engaged in copyright infringement through the misuse of John Doe’s network in violation of the access agreement,” the company informed the court.

Instead, the company argued that disclosure will breach its privacy rights under the Cable Communications Privacy Act. It therefore filed a request to prevent its personal info from being handed over. 

The music labels and Cox didn’t respond to this objection and after a thorough review of the arguments, US Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson decided to grant the objection. This means that the company’s information can’t be shared with the labels.

“No response has been filed to this motion and the fourteen-day period for doing so has expired. Having reviewed the motion and supporting declaration, and there being no opposition, it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is granted, and defendant shall not be required to disclose John Doe’s subscriber information to the plaintiffs,” Judge Anderson writes.

It’s unclear why there was no response to the objection, but it’s possible that the music labels and Cox preferred not to draw any more attention to the matter. Sacrificing the details of one subscriber likely outweighs having an extensive review.

After all, there are still 2,792 business subscribers who didn’t object.

Without any further pleadings, it remains unclear what the music companies plan to do with the subscriber information. Perhaps more will become clear once the case progresses.

The order

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

‘Copyright Troll’ Lawyer Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/copyright-troll-lawyer-sentenced-to-14-years-in-prison-190614/

In an effort to turn piracy into profit, copyright holders have chased alleged BitTorrent pirates through courts all over the world.

This so-called ‘copyright troll’ model was also adopted by the firm Prenda Law. However, the lawyers involved began to break the law themselves.

The firm was accused of all sorts of wrongdoing including identity theft, misrepresentation, and even deception. Most controversial was the shocking revelation that Prenda uploaded their own torrents to The Pirate Bay, creating a honeypot for the people they later sued over pirated downloads.

This eventually caught the attention of the US Justice Department. In 2015 we first reported that two Pirate Bay co-founders had been questioned by Swedish police, acting on behalf of the FBI. The feds were interested in the honeypot evidence, to build a case against Prenda.

A year later the investigation was finished, resulting in a criminal indictment against Prenda attorneys Paul Hansmeier and John Steele. The US Government accused the pair of various crimes, including money laundering, perjury, mail and wire fraud.

Since then both defendants have signed plea agreements, admitting their guilt in the fraudulent scheme.

Today the first of the two was sentenced. Paul Hansmeier appeared before a federal court in the District of Minnesota, where U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen sentenced the Prenda attorney to 14 years in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release.

The Judge departed upward from the 12.5-year prison sentence the U.S. prosecutor recommended. In addition to the prison sentence, Hansmeier must pay his victims a total of $1.5 million in restitution.

Among other things, Hansmeier instructed his brother to upload torrents of videos he produced himself. In doing so he misled the court, as he made it appear as if the videos were from a third-party company.

Whether the people that were sued were indeed guilty wasn’t much of an issue. This means that many innocent people were likely targeted as well.

“Hansmeier was generally content to take this step without investigating whether the subscriber was, in fact, the infringer. Hansmeier thus inflicted plenty of pain on persons who did not, in fact, download his pornographic bait,” the Government previously wrote.

All victims of the Prenda scheme are all eligible for restitution. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Minnesota previously invited those who were affected by the fraudulent anti-piracy lawyers to come forward.

John Steele, the second defendant in the Prenda case, is scheduled to be sentenced next month. The U.S. prosecutor previously stated that Steele has been very cooperative following his arrest so has recommended an 8-10 year sentence, as FCT notes.

Breaking story, further clarifications and updates will follow if needed.

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

Sky Streaming Service Uses ‘Pirate’ Subtitles on Chernobyl Episode

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/sky-streaming-service-uses-pirate-subtitles-on-chernobyl-episode-190614/

Every day, millions of people enjoy fan-made subtitles.

These files help foreigners to better understand English entertainment and provide the hearing impaired with a way to comprehend audio.

The subtitles are often used in combination with pirated files. While helpful to many, they are a thorn in the side for major copyright holders, who see them as yet another threat to their business.

As a result, fansub communities are increasingly portrayed as illegal operations. Several sites are now blocked by ISPs and site operators have been taken to court following copyright infringement allegations. 

Given this backdrop, it’s quite unusual to see one of the largest entertainment industry brands using these ‘pirate’ subtitles on its official streaming service. This is exactly what Comcast-owned Sky Switzerland is doing at the moment. 

Subscribers of the local Sky platform who watch the last episode of the hit series Chernobyl, with English subtitles enabled, see the following message appearing around the five-minute mark.

“- Synced and corrected by VitoSilans – www.Addic7ed.com.”

The message (screenshot by TF)

The message is part of the credits that are typically added to fan-made subtitles. In this case, it clearly indicates that they were sourced from Addic7ed.com, a well-known resource for these type of subtitles and one that is blocked by ISPs in Australia. 

Looking more closely at the official video and the Addic7ed subtitles, we see that the timing doesn’t match. This suggests that the subtitle has been synced separately to fit the Sky video. However, the opening ‘credits’ were not removed. 

Also, these subs generally have a closing credit too. These are not visible during the episode on Sky.ch.  

The Addic7ed team tells us that it doesn’t mind seeing their subs being used by major entertainment conglomerates. It has happened before and as long as it helps people to enjoy a movie or TV-show, everybody benefits.

“When we started the project we wished that content would be available to a larger audience by breaking the language barrier or providing English subtitles for hearing impaired people, which would otherwise not enjoy videos as much. If this means that others take our work, so be it,” Addic7ed informs TF.

“Professionals or not, our main objective was reached: more people enjoyed the show. Kudos to Sky for keeping the credits.”

Sky Switzerland hasn’t responded to our request for comment at the time of publication. Whether the Addic7ed credit was left in intentionally is highly doubtful though. It seems more likely that someone forgot to remove it.

In any case, the mention hasn’t gone unnoticed either. At least one person has alerted Sky via Twitter, but the company didn’t respond there either. 

Interestingly, this is not the first time ‘pirate’ subtitles have been used on a streaming service. In the past, Netflix was caught using “unauthorized” fansubs as well. In addition, American anime distributor Funimation previously used ‘pirate’ subs in their dubbing room.

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

Fragmented Streaming Landscape Keeps Piracy Relevant, Research Suggests

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/fragmented-streaming-landscape-keeps-piracy-relevant-research-suggests-190613/

There is little doubt that, for many people, streaming services have become the standard for watching movies and TV-shows.

This is no surprise, since subscription-based streaming services are among the best and most convenient alternatives to piracy at this point.

There is a problem though. The whole appeal of the streaming model becomes diluted when there are too many ‘Netflixes.’

More choice wouldn’t be a bad thing if all these services offered a broad library of content. The problem, however, is that all have different ‘libraries’ and exclusive productions are becoming more and more common.

Since most households have a limited budget for online entertainment, consumers have to choose which services they want. This is a problem that keeps getting worse, especially now that Apple and Disney are planning to release their own streaming platforms soon.

The irony of this situation is that the platforms, which are supposed to make piracy obsolete, are in fact keeping it relevant. This has been argued anecdotally in the past, but research by piracy research firm MUSO among 1,000 UK adults, shows that this is indeed happening.

The vast majority of all surveyed consumers, 80.4%,  feel that they’re already paying too much for content streaming. At the same time, 64.2% of the people who took part in the survey are not willing to pay for any more streaming services this year.

Even more worrying is that more than half of all respondents, 50.8%, said they were likely or very likely to use unlicensed platforms to search for content that’s not available to them. In other words, they are considering to pirate video in order to get what they want.

“This research shows that people will inevitably seek it elsewhere via unlicensed platforms, but this does, however, create further opportunities for content owners to understand this audience with meaningful and valuable insights,” MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley notes.

“With most people only subscribing to only a couple of services, it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens with the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+. Will consumers ditch an existing service for one of the new ones? Or will Apple struggle to crack the TV market again?”

While it’s easy to blame rightsholders and streaming platforms, this puzzle isn’t easy to solve.

Ideally, there would be a single platform where people can access everything they want, similar to pirate sites and services. The problem is, however, that this won’t bring in enough revenue, at least not at the subscription rates we have now.

That said, there has to be a better option than to keep adding more and more services and fragmenting the steaming landscape?

In any case, the flawed argument that people have no ‘excuse’ to pirate because there are plenty of legal alternatives is weakening every year. Yes, pretty much everything can be accessed legally, but people need deep pockets to do so.

It appears that the people who benefit the most from increased fragmentation are the operators of pirate sites and services. That’s probably not what Hollywood intended.

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

DISH and Bell IPTV ‘Pirates’ Pressed to Settle Or Face Legal Action

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/dish-and-bell-iptv-pirates-are-pressed-to-settle-or-face-legal-action-190612/

Traditional file-sharing pirates are no stranger to settlement demands from copyright holders.  For over a decade, companies have been monitoring BitTorrent swarms in an effort to extract cash from alleged infringers. 

These efforts have now carried over to IPTV streaming pirates. Generally speaking, it’s impossible for rightsholders to see who’s using pirate IPTV services unless the provider is willing to hand over customer details. This is exactly what’s happening. 

The IPTV settlement campaign is run by NagraStar, which is a joint venture between DISH Network and Kudelski Group. While some rightsholders try to keep these efforts out of the public eye, NagraStar has a public website explaining in detail what they do. 

The company is already known for demanding settlements from and filing lawsuits against people who decrypt satellite signals including IKS (Intenet Key Sharing) pirates. As Cord Cutters News spotted, this has now carried over to pirate IPTV subscribers. 

NagraStar’s efforts focus on people who obtain programming from DISH Network and Bell TV, without permission. These generally are subscribers of unlicensed IPTV services. These subscriber records are not public, but some vendors hand them over when they are caught. 

“When NagraStar settles with pirates who operate online services that sell illegal content, we commonly receive transaction evidence of all the sales made to end users and secondary resellers. NagraStar uses this information to send letters and emails proposing a settlement amount to avoid litigation,” NagraStar explains.

The company says that these settlements are needed to recoup the losses it suffers from these pirate IPTV services. The demands aren’t cheap either. Pirate subscribers typically get a settlement offer of $3,500 while resellers of unauthorized IPTV subscriptions have to cough up $7,500.

NagraStar knows that many of the targeted subscribers may not realize that they are doing something wrong. However, on paper there appears to be little clemency, aside from the offer to pay the settlement in monthly installments for those who can’t afford to pay at once.

In addition, people who are willing to hand over illicit streaming devices or pirate set-top boxes can get a discount. The same is true for those who are willing to give up their credentials to piracy forums, which NagraStar will likely use to gather further intel.

The company stresses that its letters are not a scam. Ignoring a settlement demand isn’t wise either, it states, noting that the case will then be escalated to its legal team.

“Choosing to ignore this letter will result in your referral to our legal team. This usually leads to a lawsuit, which results in a judgment that is public record,” NagraStar writes.

“In court, every illegal purchase made can carry a hefty fine of up to $10,000. It is in your best interest, as well as NagraStar’s, to settle this matter outside of court with a pre-suit settlement offer to avoid heavy fines and to keep this matter confidential.”

This threatening language is self-serving, of course, and aimed at motivating people to pay up. That said, the risk of a lawsuit is indeed legitimate. NagraStar has previously filed several lawsuits against vendors and individual pirates.

NagraStar’s website also features several testimonies from pirates, or statements of compliance, as they are called. This includes a “Rocket IPTV” pirate, and a former subscriber of an unnamed pirate IPTV service.

While its unlikely that NagraStar will pursue legal action against all who ignore the letters, disregarding the settlement demands is not without risk.

Chicago law firm ‘The Russell Firm‘, which has experience with defending people accused of piracy, including in this matter, urges recipients to take the letters seriously. 

“Whatever you do, do not ignore the letter. Legal matters don’t get cheaper with time. They get more complicated and more expensive,” the law firm advises, noting that they offer a free consultation.

NagraStar, for its part, points out that a lawyer is not required to settle a claim. The company stresses that its associates will do their best to negotiate a reasonable settlement offer, whatever that may be. 

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

Pirate Site Blocking Efforts Expand to Ecuador

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-site-blocking-efforts-expand-to-ecuador-190611/

Well over a decade ago copyright holders first went to court to block a pirate site. The target in this initial case, which took place in Denmark, was the Russian MP3 ‘store’ AllofMP3. 

The court eventually ordered local ISPs to block the site and soon after similar requests were made in countries all around the world.

Earlier this year, the Motion Picture Association reported that 4,000 websites have been blocked in 31 countries over the past several years. As rightsholders see blocking as an effective means to hinder pirates the list continues to expand, with the South American country Ecuador as the latest addition.

Late last week Ecuador’s National Intellectual Property Service (SENADI) issued an administrative order requiring Internet providers to block subscribers from accessing several Rojadirecta websites. 

As one of the oldest and most prominent live streaming sites, Rojadirecta is a thorn in the side of many international sports organizations. In this case, the blocking order was requested by Fox Latin America and Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional.

The blocking order requires local Internet providers to block a total of five domain names; Rojadiretahd.online, Rojadirectatv.football, Rojadirectatv.tv, Rojadirecta.online and Rojadirecta-tv.me.

The blocking order

This is the first blocking order of this kind in Ecuador that we’re aware of. According to reports, some ISPs are using DNS blockades, which are relatively easy to circumvent, but more evasive techniques are being utilized as well. 

Opponents of the blocking measures complain that they violate freedom of expression. They fear that more blocking efforts will follow, without proper judicial oversight. 

That said, SENADI’s order has a clear legal basis. The measure is permitted under the Organic Code on the Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation. In this case, ISPs were required to take action before June 6th, or face criminal liabilities.

Interestingly, the list of targeted “Rojadirecta” domains doesn’t include the official website, which operates from Rojadirecta.me. Instead, it appears to be targeted at third-party sites that use the same name.

At the time of writing Rojadirectatv.football is redirecting to Rojadirectaonline.biz, possibly in an attempt to circumvent the blocking efforts. Rojadiretahd.online and Rojadirecta.online have stopped working entirely, as these domains were suspended by the domain name registrar.

A copy of SENADI’s blocking 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.

SET TV Loses Lawyer and Goes Dark in Piracy Case

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/set-tv-loses-lawyer-and-goes-dark-in-piracy-case-190610/

Last year the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, the global anti-piracy alliance featuring several Hollywood studios, Amazon, Netflix, and other entertainment companies, sued Florida-based SET Broadcast, LLC.

The company offered a popular software-based IPTV service and also sold pre-loaded set-top boxes.

While it was marketed as a legal service, according to the ACE members, Set TV’s software was little more than a pirate tool, allowing buyers to stream copyright-infringing content.

“Defendants market and sell subscriptions to ‘Setvnow,’ a software application that Defendants urge their customers to use as a tool for the mass infringement of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted motion pictures and television shows,” the complaint read.

The ACE members were not the only rightsholders that complained. June last year Dish Network tagged on with another copyright infringement lawsuit against the company, and soon after, the IPTV service went offline.

This was a blow to SET TV’s more than 180,000 subscribers and the company itself was hit hard as well. Last November it reached a settlement with Dish, agreeing to pay more than $90 million in damages and sign over its domain name.

The case against ACE is not over yet though. Over the past months, it moved into the discovery phase and the copyright holders requested to depose owner SET TV owner Jason Labossiere and its employee Nelson Johnson, who are both listed as defendants.

However, both parties failed to respond, as did SET TV as a company. Meanwhile, the relationship with their attorney Joseph Shapiro also went south. Outstanding invoices were left unpaid which prompted Shapiro to withdraw from the case.

“Defendants have not paid invoices for attorney fees for more than five months and are unwilling to make any payment at this time or to commit to any payment plan,” the court was informed.

“Additionally, relations between Defendants and Mr. Shapiro have degraded such that it is no longer feasible for Mr. Shapiro to represent Defendants in this case.”

In April the court agreed to remove the attorney from the case, instructing SET TV to find new counsel. Despite this clear instruction from the court, none of the defendants responded.

This left the ACE members with few other options than to request an entry of default against Set Broadcast. This was entered by a court clerk a few days ago, and if the company remains dark, it will likely lose the case.

Now that the company is in default the copyright holders will likely submit a motion for a default judgment, proposing what they believe is an appropriate damages amount. This will likely amount to millions of dollars.

Considering the earlier $90 million settlement with Dish, it’s doubtful that there is any money left to take.

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 – 06/10/19

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-movies-of-the-week-on-bittorrent-06-10-19/

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Captain Marvel 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(1)Captain Marvel7.1 / trailer
2(…)Pokémon Detective Pikachu6.9 / trailer
3(2)Us (Subbed HDRip)7.2 / trailer
4(3)Avengers: Endgame (HDCam)9.1 / trailer
5(…)Hotel Mumbai7.8 / trailer
6(4)Shazam! (Subbed HDRip)7.5 / trailer
7(6)Captive State7.0 / trailer
8(…)Wonder Park5.7 / trailer
9(8)Glass6.9 / trailer
10(5)Deadwood8.4 / trailer

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

Zippyshare’s “Forbidden” Message Spreads to Spain

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/zippyshares-forbidden-message-spreads-to-spain/

Founded in 2006, file-hosting service Zippyshare has been around for well over a decade. 

The sharing hub, with an estimated 100 million users, is listed among the 500 most-visited sites on the Internet. 

However, in recent months Zippyshare began selectively closing its doors in several regions. In March we reported that UK visitors had been blocked, and a few weeks later German visitors got the same treatment. 

Instead of being welcomed by the regular homepage, they see a “forbidden” error in their browser, suggesting that the operators have specifically banned these regions. 

Forbidden!

This month Zippyshare’s mysterious blocking efforts expanded to Spain. Visitors from Southern European countries, or anyone who accesses the site from a Spanish IP-address, can no longer access the site.

The error message doesn’t explain what’s going on which has resulted in some simply presuming that the site has shut down, voluntarily or not. That’s certainly not the case though.

Others believe Zippyshare is blocked or banned in Spain, noting that it can still be accessed through a French VPN server. 

While that’s closer to the truth, the site isn’t being blocked by ISPs. On the contrary, it appears that Zippyshare is responsible for the blocking here. For some reason, people from the UK, Germany, and Spain are no longer welcome. 

We tried to get a comment from the site’s operators this week but have yet to receive a response. Our previous inquiries also remained unanswered.

One likely explanation is that Zippyshare took this step after some kind of legal pressure. It wouldn’t be the first time that a website has done this. Previously, several stream-rippers also blocked UK traffic, presumably over similar concerns.

While we’re not aware of any concrete legal issues,  the RIAA did report Zippyshare as a ‘notorious’ pirate site to the US Trade Representative late last year. That said, the site remains freely available in the US.

Whatever the reason for or source of the localized blockade is, people can always find a workaround. The site can still be accessed through a VPN, as long as it’s not from a server in one of the blocked countries.

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

TVAddons Boast Over 14 Million Active Users Per Month

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/tvaddons-boast-over-14-million-active-users-per-month-190608/

Dedicated streaming set-top boxes, many of which are running on Kodi, have become increasingly popular over the past several years.

The Kodi software itself is perfectly legal, but many third-party add-ons complement it to offer access to pirated movies, TV-shows, and live-streaming.

These ‘pirate’ add-ons can be found on a variety of sites and resources. Some are blatantly offering infringing content, but it’s not always clear what’s permitted and what’s not.

TVAddons, a popular repository of third-party Kodi add-ons, learned this the hard way. Previously the site used to offer many problematic add-ons. This lead to lawsuits in both the US and Canada, after which the company cleaned up its site and tightened its policies.

When the site returned, during the summer of 2017, it had to start from scratch. Since some of the most popular add-ons were removed, many people thought, or even hoped, that the comeback would be destined to fail.

However, this is not the case. New statistics released by TVAddons show that its repository is still widely used.

“There are many groups that wish to see TV ADDONS die. They include Hollywood, copyright bullies, preloaded box sellers, paid IPTV sellers, Kodi ‘blogs,’ and probably cyber-lockers too. They’d be free to continue their profit-seeking, without us getting in the way,” TVAddons says.

“Unfortunately for the haters, we aren’t going anywhere. We continue to grow, maintaining a healthy number of daily active users.”

The site revealed its most recent ‘visitor’ statistics for May. These are not site visits, but the number of connections that ping TVAddons servers by using its add-ons.

Last month, TVAddons received up to 1.76 million unique calls to its update server per day, and over 14 million for the entire month. This means that every 24 hours, roughly one-and-a-half million ‘Kodi boxes’ with their add-ons are online, checking for updates.

TVAddons repo stats for May 2019

These numbers are indeed quite significant. However, what TVAddons doesn’t mention is that they are down quite a bit compared to a few years ago, before the legal trouble started. 

During September 2016, TVAddons had roughly 24.7 million users a month and a rough average of 5.6 million per day. This shows that daily usage has dropped significantly.

The number of website visits also shows a downward trend, although that’s never been very high. According to the TVAddons team, this is in part due to the removal of the old add-on library.

“We lost website ranking when we upgraded our site, because our old add-on library is down which had over 800 pages in it. We have the new and hugely upgraded version almost ready to go public,” TVAddons informs TorrentFreak.

It is clear, however, that TVAddons isn’t done yet. Since the legal trouble started it has settled its U.S. lawsuit with Dish. However, the Canadian lawsuit through which the repository lost its old domain, remains ongoing.

That lawsuit is not a threat to the current site, according to TVAddons. The suit in question targets TVAddons’ founder Adam Lackman who has since distanced himself from the Kodi-addon repository.

“There’s no update on the Canadian lawsuit yet, but it’s really Adam Lackman’s personal problem at this point. We continue to support him as much as we possibly can, but his lawsuit has no bearing on our community,” TVAddons says.

While there are no official figures available, the interest in Kodi, in general, appears to be waning. Traffic to the official Kodi site is dropping and the number of Kodi searches on Google is on a downward spiral too. 

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

Piracy is Ethically Acceptable For Many Harvard Lawyers, Research Finds

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/piracy-is-ethically-acceptable-for-many-harvard-lawyers-research-finds-190607/

Most people know all too well that it’s against the law to share a pirated copy of a movie or TV-show.

However, law and ethics are not always in sync. Not even among those who are schooled as lawyers.

This is the conclusion of an intriguing new study conducted among Harvard lawyers by Prof. Dariusz Jemielniak and Dr. Jérôme Hergueux. The research, published in The Information Society journal, found that many lawyers believe that casual piracy is ethically acceptable.

The researchers polled the perceptions of more than 100 international Masters of Law (LL.M.) students at Harvard, who all have a law degree. They were asked to evaluate how acceptable various piracy scenarios are, on a five-point scale going from very unacceptable to very acceptable. 

The piracy scenarios ranged from downloading a TV-show or movie which isn’t legally available, through pirating music to simply save money, to downloading content for educational or even commercial purposes. In total, 19 different alternatives were presented.

While the researchers expected that lawyers would have conservative ethical positions when it comes to piracy, the opposite was true. The average of all answers was 3.23, which means that it leans toward the “acceptable” point of the scale.

“We find that digital file sharing ranks relatively high in terms of ethical acceptability among our population of lawyers—with the only notable exception being infringing copyright with a commercial purpose,” the researchers conclude.

Not all forms of piracy were considered equally ethical. Pirating content because there’s no legal way to access it is seen as most acceptable (3.36 out of 5). This is followed by pirating due to a lack of financial resources (3.32) and pirating for educational purposes (3.28).

Downloading copyrighted material for commercial purposes is seen as the least ethical, with an average rating of 1.76. Pirating to avoid payment is also at the unacceptable end of the scale, with an average of 2.73.

These reported results clearly show that some forms of piracy are ok, according to these lawyers. However, the reported results are all averages and there obviously is no scenario that’s seen as acceptable by all lawyers.

To give an illustration, when the respondents were asked to evaluate the example where someone streamed a TV-show because it’s not legally available, 58% believed it to be (very) acceptable, 21% viewed it as neither acceptable nor unacceptable, while the remaining 21% saw it as (very) unacceptable.

On the other hand, when presented with a scenario where someone downloads cracked software for commercial purposes, only 7% saw it as (very) acceptable, 71% viewed it as (very) unacceptable, with the remaining 22% ending up in the middle.

While not reported in the paper, it’s worth noting that nearly all of the lawyers have friends who download TV-shows from the Internet. When asked about it, roughly 95% answered positively, with one lawyer noting that “all students do it for personal use.”

The paper further shows that there are differences between lawyers as well. Those who work in the public sector, or plan to work there, are even more tolerant of online copyright infringement than those in the private sector. That makes sense, as the former have a duty to acknowledge the public interest.

The lawyers who participated in the survey are not all experts in copyright law. Still, the findings confirm that there’s a clear mismatch between the law and what is seen as ethically acceptable, even among legal scholars.

This matches the conclusion drawn by the researchers.

“[T]he fact that even the international elite lawyers perceive digital file sharing as generally acceptable signals that policies are increasingly misaligned with social practices,” the researchers write.

The line is clearly drawn at “commercial” copyright infringement. This is also a criterion that was put forward by some scholars, activists, and politicians, including those of the Pirate Party. In fact, many self-proclaimed pirates are against commercial copyright infringement.

The fact that this is not reflected in law may be due to the finding that ‘private sector’ lawyers are more conservative. They are the ones who work on behalf of rightsholders.

According to the researchers, it might be good to reconsider whether that’s a good idea. They suggest that, as it is now, copyright is mostly used to advanced informational capitalism, while ignoring the ethical reality.

“When lawyers and pirates concur in terms of their ethical assessment of file sharing practices, the legal status quo appears to be more of a tool for advancing informational capitalism than reflecting everyday practices of common sense and fairness perception.

“These findings support the calls for further de-criminalization of copyright legislation,” the researchers conclude.

A copy of the full paper titled “Should digital files be considered a commons? Copyright infringement in the eyes of lawyers” is available here, for free. 

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’12 Million Watched a Pirate Stream of Joshua vs. Ruiz on YouTube’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/12-million-watched-a-pirate-stream-of-joshua-vs-ruiz-on-youtube-190606/

The fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr last weekend was highly anticipated by boxing fans.

Events like this draw an audience of millions. Unfortunately for the rightsholders, not all fans go through legal channels.

Before the fight, Kieron Sharp of anti-piracy group FACT issued a public announcement, urging the public to do the right thing. “More and more people are becoming aware that piracy is illegal – don’t find yourself in the criminals’ corner this weekend,” he said.

Whether these words had any impact is hard to measure, but new statistics released by piracy monitoring firm MUSO reveal that millions of people watched the fight through unlicensed channels.

MUSO estimates that 13 million people turned to unauthorized sources. The vast majority of these, 93% or over 12 million views, are traced back to YouTube. These numbers surpass those for the Fury vs Wilder fight last year, which came in at nearly 10 million views.

YouTube usually responds rapidly when any infringing content is spotted, but with live events like this, many takedown notices come too late it appears.

The geographical location data for the unauthorized viewers show that most came from Nigeria, 2,351,496 to be precise. This may in part be due to the Nigerian background of the British boxer Anthony Joshua, who lost the fight in the seventh round.

Kenya follows at a respectable distance with 998,027 viewers, followed by the United Kingdom with 921,994, the United States with 600,501, and Mexico with 587,028 viewers.

Commenting on the findings Andy Chatterley, CEO at MUSO, says that this is the largest unauthorized streaming audience his company has ever tracked.

“The Joshua vs. Ruiz fight has been the largest unauthorized audience that we’ve ever tracked across boxing and it’s staggering to see that 93% of the audience watched via YouTube,” Chatterley says.

The numbers are definitely impressive, which may be in part driven by the high cost of the pay-per-view broadcasts.

As for the fight, the latest reports note that Joshua is looking for a rematch against Ruiz. If it gets that far, it will be interesting to compare the unauthorized streaming numbers, although it may be hard to beat the 13 million.

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

Pirate Bay Registrations are Closed Due to Spam Flood

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-closes-registrations-due-to-spam-flood-190606/

It’s been relatively smooth sailing for The Pirate Bay in recent months. 

After a tough 2018 with several days of downtime, the popular torrent site hasn’t had any major outages in a while. 

However, for prospective users who want to upload new torrents, all is not well. For more than two weeks now, The Pirate Bay has closed the site to new users. 

People who try to register an account are out of luck. While the registration page is still up, it persistently returns the following error message: “Wrong code x. The username and/or e-mail address is already in use.

Error…

While this may appear to be some kind of coding mistake, it is in fact intentional. TPB admin ‘Winston’ closed registrations following a request from the crew, staff member Spud17 informs TorrentFreak.

“Registrations are closed at the request of one of the crew members, as TPB was being battered by floods of malware torrents,” Spud17 says.

“We’ve asked Winston to make it so that new uploaders cannot upload 1000 fakes in 2 seconds.” 

Closing registrations does indeed fix this, but it’s a pretty drastic measure. The crew hopes that a more permanent spam control feature will be introduced and that registrations will then open up again. 

At the time of writing the crew doesn’t know when this issue will be dealt with. It could be a matter of days, but a few more weeks is also possible. Patience is the only advice they can give. 

The people who already had an account can still upload torrents, of course, so most regular users won’t even notice that there’s an issue. If they do, it’s probably because there is less spam than usual. 

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

Terminating Subscribers Doesn’t Stop Pirates, Charter Argues

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/terminating-subscribers-doesnt-stop-pirates-charter-argues-190605/

Regular Internet providers are being put under increasing pressure for not doing enough to curb copyright infringement.

Music rights company BMG got the ball rolling a few years ago when it won its piracy liability lawsuit against Cox.

Following on the heels of this case, several major record labels including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music, hopped onto the bandwagon. Helped by the RIAA, they went after ISP Grande Communications and, more recently, Charter Communications.

The labels accuse Charter of deliberately turning a blind eye to its pirating subscribers. They argue that the ISP failed to terminate or otherwise take meaningful action against the accounts of repeat infringers, even though it was well aware of them.

A few days ago Charter responded to these allegations. The company denies that it plays an active role in any infringing activities and believes the labels’ arguments are flawed.

“This suit is the latest effort in the music industry’s campaign to hold Internet Service Providers (‘ISPs’) liable for copyright infringement, allegedly carried out by internet subscribers, for merely providing internet access,” Charter states. 

The labels sued the ISP for two types of secondary liability for copyright infringement; contributory infringement and vicarious liability. While Charter believes that both claims will fail, it has submitted a motion to dismiss only the latter.

In its motion Charter notes that, in order for a vicarious liability claim to succeed, the labels must show that the ISP profited directly from copyright infringements that it had both a right and ability to control. This is not the case, the ISP notes. 

“Plaintiffs fail to allege a plausible causal connection between any alleged
direct infringement and the subscription fees received by Charter,” the motion reads

“For example, Plaintiffs do not allege that infringers specifically chose Charter over other providers so they could infringe Plaintiffs’ copyrights, or that other ISPs were terminating subscribers, leading them to seek out Charter as a safe haven.”

In addition, the ISP points out that it doesn’t operate a file-sharing service, nor does it promote BitTorrent, or receive compensation for any file-sharing services. Instead, it merely charges a flat fee from its subscribers for which it provides Internet access.

The labels argued that the ISP offers a tiered pricing structure, charging higher fees for higher downloading speeds. However, Charter notes that this isn’t in any way catered to pirates. People who consume legal media also benefit from higher speeds, after all.

“Plaintiffs do not, and cannot, allege that those who illegally download music want faster speeds than those who do so legally, much less than those who download considerably larger movie or other files,” Charter writes.

“Such allegations would be implausible, as subscribers paying for higher tiers of service for lawful uses want to download content just as fast as those doing so illegally.”

Charter stresses that there is no evidence that it directly profits from copyright infringement. In addition, it doesn’t have a right and ability to control any infringements either, which negates another element of vicarious liability.

The labels argued that the ISP has control over the infringements, as it can terminate the Internet accounts of repeat infringers. However, Charter counters that this doesn’t prevent subscribers from continuing to pirate elsewhere.

“Charter cannot monitor and control its subscribers’ use of the internet, and its ability to terminate subscribers altogether does not prevent them from committing acts of infringement from other connections,” Charter notes.

Charter adds that it can’t monitor and control its subscribers’ use of the Internet, while adding that peer-to-peer file sharing protocols can be used for both infringing and non-infringing purposes.

All in all the ISP sees terminations as an overbroad and imprecise measure.

“Plaintiffs’ termination remedy suffers from ‘imprecision and overbreadth’ based on the inability to confirm allegations in a notice, the extremity of the measure, and the failure to halt infringing activity from another source,” Charter adds.

Based on these and other arguments Charter asks the court to dismiss the vicarious liability claim. That would still leave the contributory infringement claim intact, but the ISP is confident that it can deal with this at a later stage.

In addition to the suit against Charter, the record labels also sued its subsidiary Bright House for the same alleged offenses in a Florida court. Bright House responded to this lawsuit with a near identical motion to dismiss.

Both motions are now with the respective courts, which will at a later stage decide whether to dismiss the claims or not.

A copy of Charter Communications’ motion to dismiss the claim for vicarious liability 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.

Canadian Copyright Review Rejects Site-Blocking Regime, Keeps Safe Harbors

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/canadian-copyright-review-rejects-site-blocking-regime-keeps-safe-harbors-190603/

Late 2017 Canada’s government requested the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) to carry out a thorough review of the Copyright Act.

After dozens of hearings, where it heard hundreds of witnesses and reviewed input from various stakeholders, the final review is now ready and published in public.

In a detailed report spanning 182 pages, the Committee issues 36 recommendations, covering a wide range of copyright issues. Interestingly, the first suggestion from the Committee is to remove the mandatory five-year review, which it just completed.

Through various hearings and briefs, many rightsholders stressed that stronger copyright protections are required to deal with online piracy. This includes regular pirate sites but covers also copyright-infringing material uploaded to sites such as YouTube and Facebook.

Several stakeholders, including the Motion Picture Association-Canada, argued that ‘content filters’ would be appropriate. This is comparable to the requirement put forward in Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive, which may result in ‘upload filters.’ 

Related proposals suggested narrowing the ‘safe harbor’ for online service providers (OSPs). This includes changes to sections 31.1 and 41.27 of the Copyright Act, including abolishing these altogether.

While the Committee acknowledged the “value gap” problem for rightsholders, it stresses that the rights of Internet users should be taken into account as well.

“[P]roposed amendments to sections 31.1 and 41.27 of the Act would be too blunt a solution to address the issue, especially since there is no consensus among stakeholders about which OSPs cause problems and why. Subjecting OSPs to increased regulations should also reflect a balanced approach,” the report reads.

The Committee finds it questionable, for example, that online services would be required to take down or de-monetize content, without allowing the uploader to respond to allegations of copyright infringement. That appears to refer, indirectly, to the EU’s Article 17. 

Instead of making any concrete suggestions, the Committee recommends keeping an eye on how the EU deals with this issue, and draw lessons from this approach. Ultimately, however, any changes should be in the best interests of all Canadians, which is summarized in two recommendations.

“Recommendation 21: That the Government of Canada monitor the implementation, in other jurisdictions, of extended collective licensing as well as legislation making safe harbour exceptions available to online service providers conditional to measures taken against copyright infringement on their platforms.”

“Recommendation 22 That the Government of Canada assert that the content management systems employed by online service providers subject to safe harbour exceptions must reflect the rights of rights-holders and users alike.”

Moving onto enforcement against traditional pirate sites, the Committee reviewed input from various stakeholders who suggested the introduction of a site-blocking regime. 

“The fight against piracy should focus more on large-scale, commercial infringers, and less on individual Canadians who may or may not understand that they are engaged in infringement,” the Committee notes, adding that it sees value in pirate site blocking. 

To this end, the Telecommunications Act could be revised to streamline the blocking process. However, creating a separate regime that would bypass the courts, as several rightsholders have suggested, goes too far.

“It is for the courts to adjudicate whether a given use constitutes copyright infringement and to issue orders in consequence. The courts already have the expertise necessary to protect the interests of all involved parties,” the Committee writes. 

Among other things, a separate regime without oversight would increase the risk of overreach, which could lead to net neutrality violations. The Committee, therefore, suggests that any changes that would simplify site-blocking should keep net neutrality in mind.

“Recommendation 27: Following the review of the Telecommunications Act, that the Government of Canada consider evaluating tools to provide injunctive relief in a court of law for deliberate online copyright infringement and that paramount importance be given to net neutrality in dealing with impacts on the form and function of Internet in the application of copyright law.”

That’s a major disappointment to the Fairplay Coalition, which came up with the site-blocking regime. However, rightsholders did succeed in convincing the Committee that higher statutory damages are needed to deter infringement.

Another piracy-related issue that came up relates to the notice-and-notice scheme. This allows rightsholders to send infringement notices to ISPs, which must be forwarded to subscribers. 

ISPs complained that this is very resource intensive, as there is no standard notice format. That also opens the door to abuse, where rightsholders demand settlements from subscribers, even though that’s outlawed. The Committee agrees and recommends standardization of the notices. 

“Recommendation 25: That the Government of Canada make regulations to require notices sent under the notice-and-notice regime be in a prescribed machine-readable format.”

The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) was also heard by the Committee.  The organization wants ISPs and other large companies to maintain a Whois database of IPv6 IP-addresses and numbers. This would help to track down copyright infringers.

Such a database is already in place for IPv4 numbers but the Committee recommends expanding this so it covers IPv6 resources as well.

“Recommendation 26: That the Government of Canada examine ways to keep IPv6 address ownership information up-to-date in a publicly accessible format similar in form and function to American Registry for Internet Numbers’ IPv4 ‘WHOIS’ service.”

The last issue we highlight is a proposed limitation to fair dealing for educational use. Several publishers requested this noting that they’re losing revenue, but the Committee believes that a further review is needed before it can make any concrete recommendations.

At the same time, the Committee proposes to expand current fair dealing rights by making the examples which are listed in the Copyright Act illustrative, instead of exhaustive. This would make it easier to classify new types of creative expressions as fair dealing.

All-in-all the review of the Copyright Act provides a mixed bag for all involved. While the recommendations are clear, it is still up to the Canadian government to act on them. 

University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, who has followed the developments closely, describes the report as balanced. However, we expect that many rightsholders had hoped for more. 

The Committee makes it clear, however, that their conclusions represent a compromise. Not everyone will agree, but it’s what they have to work with going forward.

“Reviewing the Act is not about deciding who is right between stakeholders, but about capturing as many perspectives as possible to ensure that, on the whole, the resulting recommendations reflect the reality of living together,” the Committee writes.

“This report’s success lies in making stakeholders feel compelled to respond to it with passion, integrity, and rigour –whether or not they agree with its content,” it adds.

A copy of the Statutory Review of the Copyright Act 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.

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 06/03/19

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-movies-of-the-week-on-bittorrent-06-03-19/

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Captain Marvel 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(…)Captain Marvel7.1 / trailer
2(1)Us (Subbed HDRip)7.2 / trailer
3(3)Avengers: Endgame (HDCam)9.1 / trailer
4(2)Shazam! (Subbed HDRip)7.5 / trailer
5(…)Deadwood8.4 / trailer
6(…)Captive State7.0 / trailer
7(5)Five Feet Apart7.1 / trailer
8(6)Glass6.9 / trailer
9(4)John Wick 3 (HDCam)8.2 / trailer
10(10)Booksmart7.5 / trailer

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

Netflix Joins Effort to Expand Aussie Pirate Site Blocklist

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/village-roadshow-hopes-to-expand-aussie-blocklist-with-dozens-of-pirate-sites-190603/

Copyright holders are increasingly demanding that ISPs should block access to pirate sites in order to protect their business.

This is also the case in Australia, where blocking injunctions were made possible four years ago following amendments to copyright law.

The orders are requested under Section 115a of Australia’s Copyright Act. This allows copyright holders to apply for injunctions to force ISPs to prevent subscribers from accessing ‘pirate’ sites.

Over the past two years, many of the world’s largest torrent and streaming sites have already been blocked, but the work is far from done. A new application recently submitted at the Federal Court of Australia requests ISPs to block dozens of websites.

The complaint comes from Village Roadshow as well as several other prominent movie companies such as Disney Enterprises and Universal City Studios. For the first time, Netflix Studios has joined in as well, as Computerworld notes.

Netflix’s involvement doesn’t really come as a surprise as the streaming giant has gradually expanded its anti-piracy efforts of the years. It joined the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment, for example, as well as the MPAA.

The list of targets identified in the complaint includes a wide variety of sites, including the torrent sites BitTorrent.am and HD-torrents.org, streaming portals Yo-movies.com and Afdah.com, as well as several release blogs such as Scene-rls.com and Crazy4tv.com.

In total, the injunction lists 86 sites, which are operating from a total of 137 domain names.

Interestingly, the court order has a strong focus on Asian content. Several of the targeted sites, such as BTBTT and 123kubo.org, are predominantly popular in Asian countries. In addition, the list also includes many anime sites such as Animeultima.to and Ryuanime.com.

The latter is likely due to the fact that the Australian distribution group Madman Anime Group is listed as one of the applicants as well.

According to the movie outfits, these sites really only have one purpose. That is, to allow their visitors to download, stream or otherwise access copyrighted content.

“The primary purpose of the Target Online Locations is to infringe or facilitate the infringement of copyright,” the application reads.

“[T]he owners or operators of the Target Online Locations demonstrate a disregard for copyright generally, in that they provide easy access to the copyright works of others, sometimes in exchange for money, and sometimes on a free basis,”

The list of ISPs that requested to set up the blockades includes Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG, Vodafone, and several subsidiaries. If granted, the measures will have to be implemented through DNS blocking, IP-address blocking, or any other means agreed with the rightsholder.

The application follows a well-defined format and considering the movie companies’ previous efforts, the blocking order will likely be granted.

List of all sites and URLs requested to be blocked.


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‘Netflix’ Flags Netflix.com As a Pirate Site, Or Does It?

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-flags-netflix-com-as-a-pirate-site-or-does-it-190602/

Netflix, like many other rightsholders, keeps a close eye on pirate sites.

The company has its own in-house anti-piracy team and also works with third-party companies, to issue takedown requests.

Over the past two years, the streaming giant has sent more than five million of these to Google alone. Many of them ask the search engine to remove links to pirate sites, but this week our eye was drawn to a more unusual request.

The notice in question was sent by the anti-piracy outfit Marketly, on behalf of Netflix, and identifies 250 URLs which presumably link to pirated copies of the movie “Triple Frontier.” However, on closer inspection, many of the reported links are not infringing at all.

The most obvious mistake is that the notice reports Netflix’s own listing of “Triple Frontier” as a pirate copy, requesting Google to remove it from its search index.

Google spotted the mistake and didn’t comply. However, that’s not the only error. The same takedown request also includes a variety of links to other legitimate websites. This article from The Wrap about Netflix’s streaming numbers for example, which mentions Triple Frontier, but isn’t piracy related.

The same is true for several other reported URLs. This includes a Hollywood Reporter story, this top ten list from Variety, this article from The Daily Dot, a Business Insider report, and IMDb’s news page for Triple Frontier. We could go on and on.

These findings could easily be used to once again argue that automated DMCA takedown processes are highly inaccurate. After all, if Google wasn’t sharp enough to spot these errors, legitimate content would have disappeared from the search results.

However, since we have seen our fair share of imposters over the past year, we’re not sure that this notice was sent by Marketly at all, or if Netflix has anything to do with it.

Marketly indeed works for Netflix and the streaming service does own the distribution rights to Triple Frontier. However, neither company is known for its negligence when it comes to these types of takedown efforts, although Marketly took down one of our tweets recently.

Upon closer inspection, our doubts started to grow. For one, the Marketly that sent this takedown requests has a separate listing in Google’s transparency report.

In addition, there have been other Marketly imposters recently. For example, Google has flagged this copycat as being fraudulent.

We’re more than happy and are inclined to chalk this clearly erroneous notice up as another scam attempt. Likely in an effort of a pirate site to punish competitors, as we’ve seen before.

However, that doesn’t make this less of a problem. In fact, if scammers continue to make claims like this, it will likely lead to overbroad takedowns. And with millions of URLs being submitted per day, Google will have a hard time catching them all.

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

File-Sharing Legend “Napster” Turns 20 Years Old Today

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/filesharing-legend-napster-turns-20-years-old-today-190601/

Somewhere in the fall of 1998 a user named ‘Napster’ joined the w00w00 IRC channel, a chatroom on the EFnet network populated by a few dozen elite ‘hackers’.

‘Napster’ shared a new idea with the group. The then 17-year-old developer wanted to create a network of computers that could share files with each other. More specifically, music tracks.

To many people, including some in the IRC channel, that idea sounded absurd. At the time people could already download files from the fringes of the Internet but on a very limited scale. And even then, the choice was limited, and transfers were very unreliable.

Creating a network of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people who would all open up their hard drives to the rest and offer up bandwidth, was something that was entirely alien. ‘Napster’, however, had a feeling that people might be interested.

This feeling was shared by another teenage computer fanatic named ‘Man0War’. The two shared ideas online and eventually decided to meet up.

That’s when Shawn Fanning (aka Napster), who got the Napster nickname for his ‘nappy’ hair, first saw Sean Parker (aka Man0War). Together, they came up with a plan to bring the idea to fruition.

Fast forward a few months and it’s June 1, 1999. What started as a distant vision was now a fully-fledged application that was ready to shake the world. The software, which carried the name of its inventor, Napster, soon found its way to millions of computers all over the world.

Napster

From there, things developed quickly. After roughly three months, Napster already provided access to four million songs and in less than a year, 20 million people had downloaded the application.

What started as a simple idea quickly transformed into a multi-million dollar business. The company, which employed several people that were in the w00w00 IRC channel, changed the way millions of people enjoyed music.

For many of Napster’s users, the application represented something magical. It was a gateway for musical exploration that dwarfed even the largest record stores in town. And all for free.

Initially, the novelty concealed the fact that people were not supposed to share their music libraries with the rest of the world, but this would quickly change. Within a year, the RIAA sued Napster Inc. and soon after several artists including Metallica and Dr. Dre followed.

Like most record labels, these artists saw the file-sharing software as a threat. They felt that it would destroy the music industry, which was at its peak at the time. However, there were also more positive sounds from artists who recognized the promotional effect of Napster.

While Dr. Dre said “Fuck Napster,” Chuck D famously described it as “the new radio.”

Napster’s users were not concerned about what the labels and artists thought. They were interested in expanding their music libraries. While there are no official numbers, Napster was responsible for a significant portion of the global Internet traffic at the time.

Napster

University campuses were soon transformed into file-sharing hotspots. At some campuses over half of all bandwidth was consumed by MP3-sharing students and staff. This eventually led to a ban of the application at several universities, even before copyright issues arose. 

Meanwhile, the user base swelled to a peak of more than 26.4 million users worldwide in February 2001. But despite the epidemic growth and backing from investors, the small file-sharing empire couldn’t overcome the legal challenges.

The RIAA case resulted in an injunction from the Ninth Circuit Court, which ordered the network to shut down. This happened during July 2001, little more than two years after Napster launched. By September that year, the case had been settled for millions of dollars.

While the Napster craze was over, file-sharing had mesmerized the masses and the cat was out of the bag. Grokster, KaZaa, Morpheus, LimeWire, and many others popped up and provided sharing alternatives, for as long as they lasted. Meanwhile, BitTorrent was also knocking on the door. 

While the aforementioned software was often associated with piracy, Napster had a momentous impact on the development of legal services. People clearly signaled that there were interested in downloading music, so the first download stores were launched, with iTunes taking the lead.

These download portals never came close to what Napster offered though. Many music fans were not interested in buying a few tracks here and there, they wanted millions of files at their fingertips, ready to be played. This included a Swedish teenager named Daniel Ek. 

The Napster experience eventually triggered Ek to come up with a legal alternative that would replicate his first experience with piracy. That application was Spotify, which for its part sparked a music streaming subscription boom. 

Interestingly, music streaming is now the most important source of income for the music industry. These Napster-inspired services are good for roughly half of all the music revenues worldwide, completing the circle, in a way. 

Even the Napster brand, which has switched owners several times, lives on as a music subscription service today, owned by US retailer Best Buy. 

Napster’s founders, meanwhile, went on to create several other successful companies.

Sean Parker is a multi-billionaire now, in part thanks to his early involvement with Facebook. Fanning, aka Napster, is not doing badly either, with a net worth of more than 100 million, much like many other members of the w00w00 IRC channel.

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