All posts by Ernesto

FBI-Controlled Megaupload Domain Now Features Soft Porn

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

fbiantiMegaupload was shutdown nearly half a decade ago, but all this time there has been little progress on the legal front.

Last December a New Zealand District Court judge ruled that Kim Dotcom and his colleagues can be extradited to the United States to face criminal charges, a decision that will be appealed shortly.

With the criminal case pending, the U.S. Government also retains control over several of the company’s assets.

This includes cash, cars, but also over a dozen of Megaupload’s former domain names, including,,,,, and

Initially, the domains served a banner indicating they had been seized as part of a criminal investigation. However, those who visit some of the sites today are in for a surprise.

This week we discovered that is now hosting a site dedicated to soft porn advertisements. Other seized domains are also filled with ads, including,, and



Interestingly, this all happened under the watch of the FBI, which is still listed as the administrative and technical contact for the domain names in question.

So how can this be?

Regular readers may recall that something similar happened to the main domain last year. At the time we traced this back to an expired domain the FBI used for their nameservers,

After expired, someone else took over the domain name and linked to scammy ads. The U.S. authorities eventually fixed this by removing the nameservers altogether, but it turns out that they didn’t do this for all seized domains.

A few weeks ago the domain expired once more and again it was picked up by an outsider. This unknown person or organization parked it at Rook Media, to generate some cash from the FBI-controlled domains.

As can be seen from the domain WHOIS data, still uses the old nameservers, which means that an outsider is now able to control several of the seized Megaupload domain names.


The ‘hijacked’ domains don’t get much traffic but it’s still quite embarrassing to have them linked to ads and soft porn. Commenting on our findings, Kim Dotcom notes that the sloppiness is exemplary of the entire criminal case.

“Their handling of the Megaupload domain is a reflection of the entire case: Unprofessional,” Dotcom tells us.

What’s clear is that the U.S. authorities haven’t learned from their past mistakes. It literally only takes a few clicks to update the nameserver info and reinstate the original seizure banner. One would assume that the FBI has the technical capabilities to pull that off.

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

U.S. Government Indicts Three Alleged KickassTorrents Operators

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

kickasstorrents_500x500Last month, Polish law enforcement officers arrested Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of KickassTorrents, who’s been held in a local prison since.

Polish authorities acted on a criminal complaint from the U.S. Government which contained several damning allegations.

This week, the Department of Justice (DoJ) followed up the complaint with a full grand jury indictment, which presents several new allegations.

In addition to Vaulin, it charges two other defendants, Ievgen Kutsenko and Oleksandr Radostin. The three men, all from Ukraine, are charged with several counts of copyright infringement and money laundering.

“Kickass Torrents, or ‘KAT,’ was a commercial website that facilitated and promoted the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted content over the Internet without authorization of the copyright owners,” the DoJ writes.

KAT’s seizure banner


According to the indictment, the ‘KAT conspiracy’ involved a variety of piracy-related websites. It mentions that the torrent storage service, which went offline together with KAT, was operated by the same people.

In addition, the defendants were involved in a variety of direct download sites where users could download or stream copyright-infringing content, sometimes in exchange for payments.

These sites include the popular streaming portal Solarmovie, which disappeared last month, as well as the defunct torrent leeching service Leechmonster.

“,,,,,,,, and were commercial websites that enabled registered users to download or stream copyrighted movies and other media directly from the website,” the indictment reads.


According to the U.S. Government, the three men used the sites to generate millions of dollars in revenue.

“…defendants […] and others designed, developed, and operated KAT,, and the direct download websites in order to encourage, induce, facilitate, engage in, and generate millions of dollars from the unlawful reproduction and distribution of copyright-protected media,” the indictment states.

The authorities describe KickassTorrents as a site that was developed purposefully to facilitate copyright infringements. Among other things, this included the sorting of torrents by genre, so they would be easier to find.

In addition, the defendants are also accused of developing a BitTorrent client to facilitate piracy, and of operating the subtitle repository

On the money laundering side, the indictment includes various examples of advertising payments that were made to bank accounts that were operated by the defendants. This includes a payment from an undercover IRS investigator, who posed as an advertiser.

The Department of Justice has yet to comment on the indictment and it’s currently unknown where the two additional defendants reside and if they have been arrested. The court record shows that two warrants were submitted yesterday, but these remain sealed for now.

Meanwhile, Artem Vaulin is still being held in a Polish prison, awaiting his extradition process.

His lawyer previously asked the Department of Justice to release his client. The defense argued that Vaulin can’t be held responsible for the potentially infringing actions of the KAT’s users, since criminal secondary or indirect copyright infringement does not exist under U.S. law.

A copy of the full indictment obtained by TorrentFreak is available here.

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

Cloudflare Fights RIAA’s Piracy Blocking Demands in Court

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

skullRepresenting various major record labels, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against MP3Skull last year.

With millions of visitors per month the MP3 download site had been one of the prime sources of pirated music for a long time, frustrating many music industry insiders.

Although the site was facing a claim of millions of dollars in damages, the owners failed to respond in court. This prompted the RIAA to file for a default judgment, with success.

Earlier this year a Florida federal court awarded the labels more than $22 million in damages. In addition, it issued a permanent injunction which allowed the RIAA to take over the site’s domain names.

However, despite the million dollar verdict, MP3Skull still continues to operate today. The site actually never stopped and simply added several new domain names to its arsenal, with as the most recent.

MP3Skull’s most recent home


The RIAA is not happy with MP3Skull’s contempt of court and has asked Cloudflare to help out. As a CDN provider, Cloudflare relays traffic of millions of websites through its network, including many pirate sites.

According to the RIAA, Cloudflare should stop offering its services to any MP3Skull websites, but the CDN provider has thus far refused to do so without a proper court order.

To resolve this difference of opinion, the RIAA has asked the Florida federal court for a “clarification” of the existing injunction, so it applies to Cloudflare as well.

In practice, this would mean that Cloudflare has to block all currently active domains, as well as any future domains with the keyword “MP3Skull,” which are tied to the site’s known IP-addresses.

“Cloudflare should be required to cease its provision of services to any of the Active MP3Skull Domains, as well as any website at either or that includes ‘MP3Skull’ in its name,” RIAA argued.

RIAA’s request


However, Cloudflare believes that this goes too far. While the company doesn’t object to disconnecting existing accounts if ordered to by a court, adding a requirement to block sites based on a keyword and IP-address goes too far.

The proposed injunction goes well beyond the scope of the DMCA, the CDN provider informs the court in an opposition brief this week (pdf).

“…Plaintiffs’ proposed injunction would force Cloudflare —which provides services to millions of websites— to investigate open-ended domain letter-string and IP address combinations to comply with the injunction.

“Cloudflare believes that this Court should hold the Plaintiffs accountable for following clear rules of the road,” Cloudflare adds.

The company suggests that the court could require it to terminate specific accounts that are found to be infringing, but doesn’t want to become the RIAA’s copyright cop.

“What Cloudflare cannot do, and which the Court should not require, is to serve as a deputy for the Plaintiffs and their RIAA trade association in investigating and identifying further targets of an injunction.”

To outsiders the difference between RIAA’s request and what Cloudflare suggests may seem small, but the company draws a clear line to prevent having to scan for pirate sites, proactively. This could turn into a slippery censorship slope, they feel.

This isn’t the first time that the RIAA has requested a keyword ban. In a similar case last year Cloudflare was ordered to terminate any accounts with the term “grooveshark” in them. However, in this case the RIAA owned the trademark, which makes it substantially different as it doesn’t involve the DMCA.

The EFF applauds Cloudflare’s actions and hopes the court will properly limit the scope of these and other blocking efforts.

“The limits on court orders against intermediaries are vital safeguards against censorship, especially where the censorship is done on behalf of a well-financed party,” EFF’s Mitch Stoltz writes.

“That’s why it’s important for courts to uphold those limits even in cases where copyright or trademark infringement seems obvious,” he adds.

The Florida court is expected to rule on the RIAA’s injunction demands during the days to come, a decision that will significantly impact future blocking requests.

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

Cloudflare Faces Lawsuit For Assisting Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

cloudflareAs one of the leading providers of DDoS protection and an easy to use CDN service, Cloudflare is used by millions of sites across the globe.

This includes many “pirate” sites who rely on the U.S. based company to keep server loads down.

The Pirate Bay is one of the best-known customers, but there are literally are thousands of other ‘pirate’ sites that use services from the San Francisco company.

As a result, copyright holders are not happy with CloudFlare’s actions. Just recently, the Hollywood-affiliated group Digital Citizens Alliance called the company out for helping pirate sites to stay online.

Adult entertainment outfit ALS Scan agrees and has now become the first dissenter to take CloudFlare to court. In a complaint filed at a California federal court, ALS describes piracy as the greatest threat to its business.

The rise of online piracy has significantly hurt the company’s profits, they argue, noting that “pirate” sites are not the only problem.

“The problems faced by ALS are not limited to the growing presence of sites featuring infringing content, or ‘pirate’ sites. A growing number of service providers are helping pirate sites thrive by supporting and engaging in commerce with these sites,” ALS writes (pdf).

These service providers include hosting companies, CDN providers, but also advertising brokers. The lawsuit at hand zooms in on two of them, CloudFlare and the advertising provider Juicy Ads.

According to the complaint, both companies have failed to cut their ties with alleged pirate sites, even though they received multiple takedown notices.

CloudFlare and Juicy Ads’ terms state that they terminate accounts of repeat infringers. However, according to ALS both prefer to keep these sites on as customers, so they can continue to profit from them.

“Even though the law requires parties to terminate business with repeat infringers, and even though both Juicy Ads and Cloudflare’s own terms
state that they will terminate business with repeat infringers, neither Juicy Ads nor Cloudflare has terminated its business accounts with these chronic direct infringers.

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

The complaint lists,,, and and CloudFlare customers that host copyright infringing material from ALS, and as of today these sites are still using the CDN provider’s services.

Juicy Ads reportedly terminated the accounts of several infringing sites after they learned about the lawsuit, but that doesn’t mean that it can escape liability for its earlier actions.

ALS holds both companies responsible for various counts of copyright and trademark infringement, for which it demands actual and statutory damages. With hundreds of works at stake, theoretical damages can run to dozens of millions of dollars.

Both CloudFlare and Juicy Ads have yet to file a formal response to the allegations.

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

Cox Denies Liability for Pirating Subscribers, Appeals $25 Million Verdict

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

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

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

The verdict was a massive victory for the music company and a disaster for Cox, but the case is not closed yet.

After a failed motion for judgment as a matter of law earlier this month, the ISP has now informed the court that it will take the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Cox denies any wrongdoing and hopes to get a judgment in its favor at the appeals court.

Cox’s appeal notice


Considering the gravity of the case, Cox’s move is not surprising. The liability verdict has come as a shock to the Internet provider industry, as it suggests that providers have to actively disconnect repeat infringers.

At the moment, many ISPs don’t have a solid policy in place where repeat copyright infringers lose their subscription. In fact, the law doesn’t prescribe when and based on what evidence an ISP has to terminate an account.

Up until now, several Internet providers argued that only a court could determine if a subscriber is a repeat infringer, but with the Cox verdict this has now become uncertain.

After the appeal, which is expected to take several months at least, both Cox and BMG still have the option to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp is using the current verdict to threaten other ISPs to forward their notices. Thus far, however, this doesn’t appear to have had much effect.

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

Indian Piracy Blocks Scare Torrent Users With 3-Year Prison Sentence

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

stop-blockedStarting a few days ago, many Indian Internet users noticed that their favorite torrent websites were blocked and displaying a rather scary message.

The blocks themselves are nothing new. For years Indian copyright holders have sought to protect their content from unauthorized online distribution.

This has mainly taken the form of so-called ‘John Doe’ orders where access to sites such as The Pirate Bay or ExtraTorrent is restricted to protect copyrighted content from being freely shared.

However, the warning message that’s currently presented when attempting to access blocked sites has a lot of people worried.

The notice reads that the site in question has been blocked per instruction of the Government or through a court order, similar to what it said before. In addition, it adds that those who still access the content in question may face up to three years in prison and a hefty fine.

“Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of up to Rs. 3,00,000/-.”

The new blocking message


A relatively small change, but one with widespread impact it seems.

Several Indian news outlets have started to warn their readership that the threat is real. India Today, for example, reports that merely downloading a torrent file or viewing a copyrighted image from a file-hosting site may land people in prison.

“You don’t have to download a torrent file, and then the actual videos or other files, which might have copyright. Just accessing information under a blocked URL will land you in jail and leave your bank account poorer by Rs 3 lakh,” the news site reports.

While the warning message can be interpreted in various ways, very little appears to have changed. There’s no new law that introduces higher sentences. In fact, the message clearly quotes India’s 1957 Copyright Act.

In addition, there are no signs that the authorities are planning to crack down on individual file-sharers. Let alone people who merely download a torrent file, not the infringing content itself.

There is a recent court case that may have spurred the recent change though.

Earlier this year the Government’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology actually intervened in one of the “John Doe” cases on behalf of the public, arguing against site-wide blocks.

In this case, the High Court decided against the Government, arguing that broad blockades are warranted. Among other things, the Court found that it is the “duty of the government” to “assist in the enforcement of court orders.”

In this light it could be that the Government “assisted” in updating the language of the blocking message.

From the information we’ve seen thus far, the wording of the blocking notification is the only thing that has changed so far. But, considering the response from the media and public, this is already quite effective as a deterrent.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 08/22/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

nowyouseeThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Now You See Me 2 is the most downloaded movie.

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

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
1 (…) Now You See Me 2 6.8 / trailer
2 (1) Independence Day: Resurgence (Subbed HDRip) 5.6 / trailer
3 (2) The Legend of Tarzan (Subbed HDRip) 6.6 / trailer
4 (…) Neighbors 2 6.0 / trailer
5 (…) Imperium 6.7 / trailer
6 (3) The Jungle Book 7.8 / trailer
7 (6) Suicide Squad (HDTS) 6.9 / trailer
8 (4) Warcraft 7.7 / trailer
9 (7) Jason Bourne (CAM/TS) 7.4 / trailer
10 (5) The Nice Guys 7.7 / trailer

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

Fail: Anti-Piracy Outfits Send Takedown Request For Non-Existent Torrents

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

failOver the past years a lot has been said about the effectiveness and accuracy of DMCA takedown practices.

Rightsholders often complain that it’s impossible to keep content offline, while critics warn about mistakes caused by automated takedown bots.

The latter has been illustrated anecdotally, but we recently stumbled upon a rather worrying development that illustrates just how far anti-piracy groups are prepared to go when it comes to fabricating “evidence”.

One of the companies involved is IP-Echelon, which sends takedown notices on behalf of HBO and Paramount Pictures, among others.

Looking through their recent submissions we see notices targeting sites that allegedly distribute popular content such as recent episodes of Game of Thrones, Ballers, and Silicon Valley.

Among the sites reported are The Pirate Bay, ExtraTorrent and various lesser known sites. However, our eye was drawn to and

The latter two have been operating as so-called torrent caches for a long time. These don’t have a searchable index of torrents, but serve as a hosting platform for torrent sites, identifying torrents by their unique hash.

For example, a torrent for an episode of Ballers that aired a few weeks ago has the hash C87000EF73557A488D5C21BF8F9FA4CC24EC0513. This file would then be available at Zoink under the following url:

We say would be, because was shut down at the end of 2014. The same is true for the other torrent cache, Torrage, which has been offline for quite a while as well.

However, the takedown notices IP-Echelon sends on behalf of HBO and Paramount pictures still list these sites with hashes of new torrents, which never existed when the sites were still online.


How can this be? Well, it seems obvious that IP-Echelon is fabricating URLs based on torrent hashes without checking if they even exist. This isn’t an isolated mistake either, as the company is sending dozens of these fabricated notices per month.

In this case, no harm has been done. The sites in question are offline and can’t be punished by Google’s downranking algorithm. However, the fact that they keep fabricating links more than a year after sites have disappeared, shows that there is little oversight.

TorrentFreak spoke to the former hosting provider of Zoink and Torrage who confirms that both sites remain targeted, and not just by IP-Echelon.

Indian anti-piracy outfit MarkScan is also sending takedown notices to Zoink and Torrage’s former hosting provider on a regular basis, we were informed. In addition, the company is also sending takedown requests to Google for new torrents, as does Rico Management.

It’s safe to say that these anti-piracy outfits are quite sloppy, to say the least. Of course, copyright holders have the right to protect their content, but they have to play by the rules.

Making up evidence certainly doesn’t look good in this regard.

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

Dallas Buyers Club Lawyer Calls Out “Copyleft” TorrentFreak

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

dallasThe makers of Dallas Buyers Club have sued thousands of BitTorrent users over the past few years.

Many of these cases end up being settled for an undisclosed amount. This usually happens after the filmmakers obtain the identity of the Internet account holder believed to have pirated the movie.

The tactics used by Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) are often described as “copyright trolling,” and equated to the abusive practices of Prenda Law.

However, according to Dallas Buyers Club attorney James S. Davis this is certainly not the case. In a recent filing requesting the deposition of an alleged pirate, he distances his enforcement actions from Prenda’s previous practices.

“In these cases, Plaintiffs would offer settlements for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of defense, creating a situation in which a Defendant would reluctantly pay rather than have their names associated with illegally downloaded porn,” DBC’s lawyer writes (pdf).

“This was a pattern of clear abuse and is well recognized,” he adds.

It’s quite unusual for a lawyer to open his filing by scolding his former ‘colleagues,’ but in this case it serves a higher purpose.

The problem, according to Davis, is that Prenda’s actions gave rise to an “aggressive BitTorrent Defense Bar.” This group of individuals and organizations is actively protests all related copyright enforcement actions, including DBC’s cases.

This group of torrent defenders apparently uses TorrentFreak and other sites to spread their message to the public.

“[An] aggressive BitTorrent Defense Bar, whom is against any copyright enforcement, has attempted to have all copyright enforcement actions categorized as part of the ‘porn-trolling collective’ through the use of the internet with sites like,,,, and related arguments presented to the courts,” Davis writes.

As if that wasn’t enough, the “defense bar,” which is apparently against all copyright enforcement, also organizes itself on a political level through the “copyleft” Pirate Party.

“In some countries this opposition is organized as a political party called the Pirate Party, but domestically often referred to as the Copyleft. This BitTorrent Defense Bar is critical of any copyright enforcement actions without regards to any specifics,” Davis writes.


Davis tells the court that copyright holders can’t do anything right in the eyes of these torrent defenders. If settlement amounts are too high it’s seen as extortion, and if they’re too low they exploit the costs of litigation and their nuisance value.

Dallas Buyers Club’s lawyer hopes that the court will see through these arguments and judge the cases on their merit.

“On scrutiny, the courts are finding that current enforcement practices used by counsel, are not to ‘plunder the citizenry,’ ‘exploit individuals,’ monetizing, or profiting from illegal downloading, but truly motivated by Plaintiff’s desire to protect its copyrights interests and fight piracy,” he writes.

At TorrentFreak we were surprised to see ourselves mentioned in relation to a mysterious copyleft BitTorrent defense bar that rallies against all copyright enforcement.

While we have our opinions, we do not recognize ourselves in the description given by DBC’s lawyer. In fact, without copyright enforcement we would have very little to write about.

We contacted Davis for a comment on the allegations but unfortunately he hasn’t replied to our request, perhaps worried that we would unleash our inner copyleftists.

Luckily for him, however, his arguments did convince the court. Judge Jacqueline Scott granted his request to interrogate various alleged BitTorrent pirates, which he can use to find out more about the actual copyright infringers.

Some would say that such depositions can be abused as another instrument to pressure defendants into settling, but those concerns are unwarranted according to Davis, of course.

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

Scammers Use Harvard Education Platform to Promote Pirated Movies

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

harvardlawH2O is a tool that allows professors and students to share learning material in a more affordable way.

This is very welcome in a time where textbook and other educational costs continue to rise year after year.

Developed by the Berkman Center and the Harvard Law School Library, the H2O platform is mainly geared towards law professors but anyone with an .edu email address is allowed to join.

“H2O allows users – faculty or students – to develop, remix, and share online textbooks and casebooks under a Creative Commons license,” Harvard Law School explains.

H2O is a welcome system that’s actively used by many renowned scholars. However, in recent weeks the platform was also discovered by scammers. As a result, it quickly filled up with many links to pirated content.

Instead of course instructions and other educational material, the H2O playlists of these scammers advertise pirated movies. Below is an example of one of these dubious entries, but there are thousands more.

The scammers in question are operating from various user accounts and operate much like traditional spam bots, offering pages with movie links and related keywords such as putlocker, megashare, viooz, torrent and YIFY.

A “pirate” H2O playlist


While most students won’t mind free access to the latest blockbusters, the links provided are not leading to regular pirate sites and services.

Instead they point to scammy portals, many of which require a credit card to signup, which undoubtedly leads to disappointment. These kinds of scams are nothing new, but seeing them listed on a Harvard website is a new development.



With links from the official Harvard domain name, the pages are an SEO goldmine and do very well in Google’s search results. This is something copyright holders have noticed too..

Over the past few weeks movie studios including Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Columbia and Magnolia Pictures have sent dozens of DMCA notices trying to get the pages removed from the search engine.

Interestingly, Google has thus far chosen to take no action, which means that the pages remain indexed in search results. Whether the movie studios have sent DMCA notices to Harvard directly is unknown, but since the H2O playlists are still online this seems unlikely.

Although the movie link pages don’t meet the standards of a typical Harvard course, they do serve as a crash course on how to recognize piracy scams and avoid them in the future. That’s worth something too.

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

BREIN Tracks Down Facebook Music Pirate, Settles for €7,000

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

facebook-shareDutch anti-piracy group BREIN has targeted operators of pirate sites for over a decade but more recently it began going after individual file-sharers as well.

The rightsholder-backed group has targeted Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents uploaders, for example, as well as a prolific Usenet uploader.

Today BREIN announces another success in its ongoing anti-piracy quest. The group obtained an ex-parte court order against a man who uploaded music to a cyberlocker which he then shared to a Facebook group.

According to BREIN the man and other members of the Dutch Facebook group shared pirated music as a hobby, gaining recognition for the links they posted.

Presented with the court order, the man agreed to stop his activities and pay a €7,000 settlement. In a message posted to the Facebook group he announced the reason for his sudden departure.

“Ladies and gentlemen, by order of BREIN I have to stop uploading music. I will therefore quit effective immediately. In addition, I will leave the group today, both as administrator and as a member.”

“I wish everyone all the best,” he concludes, noting that he faces an additional fine up to €50,000 if he continues sharing links to pirated content.

The €7,000 settlement is lower than those negotiated in previous cases closed by BREIN. The anti-piracy group says that it bases the amount on the financial circumstances of the uploaders, suggesting that the man has a lower income than some of the previous defendants.

BREIN doesn’t explain how it tracked down the uploader in question, but it seems likely that his Facebook account exposed him. Whether Facebook also assisted in the investigation is unknown.

Initially, the Facebook music sharing group continued to operate, but it was closed shortly thereafter. In addition, Facebook closed several similar groups after reports from BREIN.

It’s clear that the anti-piracy group is targeting uploaders of all shapes and sizes. In addition, it continues to keep its eyes on linking sites and cyberlockers.

“Among cyberlockers are many who deceitfully use the limitation of liability for hosting services. They have ineffective Notice & Takedown policies, which ensure that their main source of revenue, unauthorized entertainment content, continues to exist,” BREIN notes.

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

Anti-Piracy Firm Rightcorp Continues to Lose Big Money

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

rightscorpFor several years, piracy monetization firm Rightscorp has been trying to turn piracy into profit.

The company sends DMCA notices to ISPs and bundles these with settlement demands, intended for Internet subscribers who allegedly shared pirated content. If the accused subscribers pay $30, they avoid further trouble.

Rightscorp works with prominent copyright holders including music licensing group BMG and movie studio Warner Bros. However, thus far they haven’t been able to turn their scheme into a success.

Instead, the company has been turning a loss quarter after quarter, a trend that continues with its most recent financial figures published this week.

According to the latest financial report, Rightscorp generated just $146,043 in revenue during the second quarter of 2016. That’s 38% less than the $233,816 it made during the same period last year.

The costs during the same period were substantial, $671,781, meaning that Rightscorp recorded a loss of over half a million during the past three months. A significant amount, but due to reduced operating expenses it’s better than the $1,7 million loss it recorded last year.


One of Rightscorp’s problems, as previously highlighted, is that many ISPs refuse to forward their settlement requests. Some Internet providers flat-out refuse to forward Rightscorp’s notices and others, such as Comcast, remove the settlement part.

ISPs’ refusal to forward notices is also one of the reasons that was given for the disappointing numbers for the most recent quarter.

Rightscorp recently celebrated a court success, where Cox was ordered to pay $25 million because they failed to properly respond to its DMCA notices. This prompted the anti-piracy firm to threaten every ISP in the country, but whether that will have any effect has yet to be seen.

Under U.S. law Internet providers are not required to forward DMCA notices to their subscribers, and if they choose to do so they can remove the settlement request. With this in mind, Rightscorp’s aggressive stance may actually work against them.

After losing the court case Cox has started to process Rightscorp’s notices, but whether they also forward the settlement requests is unknown.

Interestingly, the biggest settlement news of the year actually goes against Rightscorp. The company and several copyright holders, including Hollywood studio Warner Bros, previously agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over intimidating robo-calls.

As a result, more than 2,000 accused pirates are eligible for a $100 settlement each, and according to the quarterly report Rightscorp has set aside $200,000 to cover these costs.

Ironically, that’s more than the revenue the company itself generated from settlements over the past several months.

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

International Olympic Committee Cracks Down on Periscope Pirates

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

perigoneThe International Olympic Committee (IOC) is known to maintain a tight grip on its intellectual property rights.

Using an image of the Olympic rings or even just the world ‘Olympic’ can lead to legal trouble, especially in a commercial context.

Most valuable, however, are the broadcast rights. With literally billions of dollars at stake, the IOC is going all out to prevent people from streaming its events without permission.

In previous years we’ve seen a crackdown on torrents, with the IOC targeting The Pirate Bay. Nowadays, however, live streaming appears to be a bigger target, including homemade rebroadcasts using Twitter’s Periscope.

Over the past week the IOC has sent hundreds of takedown notices to Periscope, targeting live streams of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

While most Periscope streams are of a horrible quality, with only a few dozen viewers, they’re seen as a legitimate threat. As a result, the IOC has hired a dedicated team of investigators to track down and report these and other unauthorized streams.

At the time of writing, Periscope has received around 1,000 takedown requests from the IOC for infringing footage from Rio, and this number continues to rise.

Periscope Olympics


Periscope is the only live streaming service that publicly shares its takedown notices with the Lumen database but it’s safe to say that the IOC also targets other sites and services. These include dedicated sports streaming sites offering high-quality streams.

Besides the rebroadcasting of the official TV-signal, the IOC also explicitly forbids the use of Periscope and similar apps to broadcast footage at official Olympic venues. This means that visitors and accredited persons are not allowed to live-stream inside any of the stadiums.

“Broadcasting images via live-streaming applications (e.g. Periscope, Meerkat) is prohibited inside Olympic venues,” IOC’s digital media guidelines state (pdf).

Rules or no rules, it appears that thousands of Periscope users are happily streaming live events. And even if they all stopped, the anti-piracy efforts seem rather futile.

Besides homebrew live-streams there are numerous dedicated streaming sites that continue to offer high-quality footage of the Olympics.

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

Nintendo Pressure Shuts Down Fan-Made Pokémon Uranium Game

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

pokeuraniumAfter nearly ten years of development, the fan-made RPG Pokémon Uranium was finally released last week.

In no time the game was downloaded over a million times, in part leveraging on the success of this summer’s Pokémon hype.

Unfortunately for the makers it wasn’t just fans that jumped on the release, Nintendo’s lawyers quickly sprang into action too. Claiming copyright infringement, they asked the game’s hosting provider(s) to stop distributing the game.

While the developers themselves were not contacted directly, they decided to pull the release offline to avoid legal problems.

“After receiving more than 1,500,000 downloads of our game, we have been notified of multiple takedown notices from lawyers representing Nintendo of America,” Pokémon Uranium’s makers write in a statement.

“While we have not personally been contacted, it’s clear what their wishes are, and we respect those wishes deeply. Therefore, we will no longer provide official download links for the game through our website.”

Within a matter of days, nearly a decade of hard work now appears to have been ‘for nothing.’ Those who look hard enough can still find unofficial download links scattered online, but it’s only a matter of time before Nintendo begins clearing these up as well.

While the game’s makers and players are disappointed, Nintendo’s actions don’t come as a surprise. The company is known to go after fan projects that use Nintendo trademarks or copyrights, including Game Boy emulators and Mario inspired browser games.

Just last week, Nintendo’s lawyers pressured the makers of a fan-made Metroid 2 remake to pull their game offline. As with Pokémon Uranium, several years of hard work will now stay hidden from the public if the game maker has its way.

Nintendo is of course allowed to protect their rights, and they do have a good case to prohibit these fan-made games from being distributed. However, considering the enthusiastic response from the public, Nintendo could also learn something from these fan projects.

Why shut down a great project and waste hundreds of hours of work if you can use it to your advantage? This sentiment is widely shared online.

“It’s their business, I can understand it, but what I want more than anything is that they learn from their ‘competition’ instead of just destroying it,” sw9876 writes on Reddit.

“Honestly, this may be my favorite Pokemon game ever. The story is great, and long. The Pokemon designs are sweet and were made to look distinct from already existing Pokemon without being dumb. At any rate, this game is great. I hope the talent, effort and creativity put into it doesn’t go to waste.”

In part, Nintendo may already be doing this. In 2013 Nintendo pulled down the popular fan-made game “Full Screen Mario” and a few months later the company announced its new “Mario Maker” which included many similar features.

According to developer Josh Goldberg, his game may have inspired the Nintendo release, without him being credited.

“I think it’s too much of a coincidence that in the fall they take down a fan site that was too popular for them, then in the spring and summer they release a trailer for this product,” he previously told The Washington Post in an interview.

In any case, it’s safe to say that developers who plan to release a game inspired by a Nintendo release should refrain from using any trademarked or copyrighted material. Or else it’s doomed to be shut down sooner or later.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 08/15/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

indepenThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Independence Day: Resurgence is the most downloaded movie.

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

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
1 (2) Independence Day: Resurgence (Subbed HDRip) 5.6 / trailer
2 (1) The Legend of Tarzan (Subbed HDRip) 6.6 / trailer
3 (4) The Jungle Book 7.8 / trailer
4 (3) Warcraft 7.7 / trailer
5 (6) The Nice Guys 7.7 / trailer
6 (…) Suicide Squad (HDTS) 6.9 / trailer
7 (5) Jason Bourne (CAM/TS) 7.4 / trailer
8 (…) Me Before You 7.6 / trailer
9 (7) Batman: The Killing Joke 7.3 / trailer
10 (…) Money Monster 6.7 / trailer

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

Pirate Bay is The King of Torrents Once Again

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

thepirateHollywood hoped that it would never happen, but this week The Pirate Bay quietly turned thirteen years old.

The site was founded in 2003 by Swedish pro-culture organization Piratbyrån (Piracy Bureau). The idea was to create the first public file-sharing network in Sweden, but the site soon turned into the global file-sharing icon it is today.

Over the years there have been numerous attempts to shut the site down. Following pressure from the United States, Swedish authorities raided the site in 2006, only to see it come back stronger.

The criminal convictions of the site’s founders didn’t kill the site either, nor did any of the subsequent attempts to take it offline.

The Pirate Bay is still very much ‘alive’ today.

That’s quite an achievement by itself, looking at all the other sites that have fallen over the years. Just last month KickassTorrents shut down, followed by Torrentz a few days ago.

Many KickassTorrents and Torrentz users are now turning to TPB to get their daily dose of torrents. As a result, The Pirate Bay is now the most visited torrent site, once again.

TorrentFreak spoke to several members of the TPB-crew. While they are not happy with the circumstances, they do say that the site has an important role to fulfil in the torrent community.

“TPB is as important today as it was yesterday, and its role in being the galaxy’s most resilient torrent site will continue for the foreseeable future,” Spud17 says.

“Sure, TPB has its flaws and glitches but it’s still the go-to site for all our media needs, and I can see TPB still being around in 20 or 30 years time, even if the technology changes,” she adds.

Veteran TPB-crew member Xe agrees that TPB isn’t perfect but points to the site’s resilience as a crucial factor that’s particularly important today.

“TPB ain’t perfect. There are plenty of things wrong with it, but it is simple, steadfast and true,” Xe tells TorrentFreak.

“So it’s no real surprise that it is once more the destination of choice or that it has survived for so long in spite of the inevitable turnover of crew.”

And resilient it is. Thirteen years after the site came online, The Pirate Bay is the “King of Torrents” once again.

Finally, we close with a yearly overview of the top five torrent sites of the last decade. Notably, the Pirate Bay is the only site that appears in the list every year, which is perhaps the best illustration of the impact it had, and still has today.


1. TorrentSpy
2. Mininova
3. The Pirate Bay
4. isoHunt
5. Demonoid


1. Mininova
2. isoHunt
3. The Pirate Bay
4. Torrentz
5. BTJunkie


1. The Pirate Bay
2. Mininova
3. isoHunt
4. Torrentz
5. Torrentreactor


1. The Pirate Bay
2. Torrentz
3. isoHunt
4. Mininova
5. BTJunkie


1. The Pirate Bay
2. Torrentz
3. isoHunt
4. KickassTorrents
5. BTJunkie


1. The Pirate Bay
3. KickassTorrents
4. isoHunt
5. BTJunkie


1. The Pirate Bay
2. KickassTorrents
3. Torrentz
4. ExtraTorrent
5. 1337X


1. The Pirate Bay
2. KickassTorrents
3. Torrentz
4. ExtraTorrent
5. YIFY-Torrents


1. KickassTorrents
3. ExtraTorrent
4. The Pirate Bay
5. YTS


1. KickassTorrents
2. The Pirate Bay
3. ExtraTorrent
4. Torrentz


1. The Pirate Bay
2. ExtraTorrent
5. 1337X

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

Torrentz Remains Down, But The Clone Wars Are On

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

torrentzMere hours after announced its farewell last week, various clones and mirrors juggled into position to take over.

As one of the oldest and largest torrent sites around, Torrentz had an active following of millions of users. This is something a lot of site owners envy, and these people see the demise of Torrentz as an opportunity.

Taking over an established brand is something the torrent community has seen before in recent years.

When isoHunt was shut down by the MPAA, quickly took its place, and remains one of the most popular torrent sites today. Similarly, and others took over when YIFY was forced to stop, with success.

This week we have seen a flurry of Torrentz clones appear online. These sites hope to pick up where the original site left off, all offering similar meta-search engine functionality while copying the Torrentz look and feel.

As with previous cases, the success of these takeovers relies on getting a healthy number of eyeballs. Promotion on social media helps, as does a viral Reddit thread and news coverage.

Some clone operators are even willing to pay hard cash to get covered, as we’ve experienced first hand. A few days ago TorrentFreak received an offer to do a “paid” news article. This is something we would never do of course, but it shows that this is a serious business.

So who are these clones? Without endorsing any site, or falsely claiming that “Torrentz is back” as other news outlets have done, here are some of the alternatives we’ve encountered. has been widely reported as a Torrentz alternative and the site itself bills itself as an upgrade. With a massive 63 sites in their index, with a total of 59,658,880 torrents, it certainly has a wide coverage.

For now the site doesn’t have any extra features such as bookmarks, voting or commenting options.

torrentz2 is another clone that popped up this week. The site has a more modest index than but still covers 25 sites, good for a total 27,508,811 active torrents.

The voting functionality appears to work too, but users are not able to log in, at least when we checked. Interestingly, the site claims to index more torrents and sites on its help page, but perhaps the frontpage still has some catching up to do. is another clone but unlike the other sites it doesn’t advertise itself as such. Instead, the number of indexed sites and torrents mentioned on the frontpage are just copied from the original site.

The above are just a few examples. It’s not our goal to give a complete overview, but it’s clear that several sites are in the race to become the next ‘Torrentz.’

In a way, it is sad to see others taking over the ‘goodwill’ that a site like Torrentz took years to establish. However, judging from public responses, many people don’t care about these sentiments as long as they can get their torrents.

The question that remains, however, is how resilient and trustworthy these new sites are.

Some site owners may have good intentions, but there are also plenty of scammers, phishing for credit card details, or serving malicious content. As is often the case with torrent sites, money is a big motivator for those people.

Time will tell if and to what degree this applies to the clones that have emerged over the past days.

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

Court: Failed to Prevent Piracy, Faces Damages

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

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

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

In Germany this prompted music rights group GEMA, which represents roughly 70,000 artists, to address the matter in court.

This week the Regional Court of Munich ruled that Uploaded must take a more proactive stance when it comes to online piracy. In its current form the site can be held liable for the infringements of its users, which means that it faces damages.

According to the court order, Uploaded is not only obliged to remove infringing files when they are reported. It must also take additional measures, such as preventing the same files from being uploaded again.

This is similar to the “take-down and stay-down” principle copyright holder worldwide are lobbying for.

Overall, the court found that Uploaded’s business model is “risk-inducing” and “dangerous for copyright owners,” highlighting the anonymity of users and the referral program as factors that increase the service’s liability.

Like other file-hosting services, Uploaded allows users to generate revenue by referring new customers to the site.

Uploaded referral program


GEMA CEO Dr. Harald Heker is happy with the outcome and calls for a regulatory framework where site operators are held responsible for the piracy that occurs though their services.

“File-hosting services earn a lot of money though the exploitation of creative content. Copyright infringements are willingly accepted. This imbalance hurts our members and is something we can’t accept,” he says.

Uploaded’s parent company Cyando AG has yet to comment on the ruling.

This is not the first case Uploaded has lost in Germany, Rasch lawyer Mirko Brüß informs TorrentFreak. In April the company lost a similar case against the Association of American Publishers, which dealt with pirated e-books.

“What the judgments have in common is that, according to the court, Uploaded is not only obliged to take down content when they are notified of an infringement. They also have to take proactive measures to prevent the same work from being re-uploaded and made available for download again.”

While Uploaded can be held liable for damages, the court order is not yet legally binding and is likely to be appealed. In any case, a follow-up case is required to establish an exact damages amount.

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

KickassTorrents Crew Ask For Donations to Rebuild The Site

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

kickasstorrents_500x500With an active community and millions of regular visitors, KickassTorrents (KAT) was much more than a site to leech the latest torrents from.

Many considered it to be their virtual home where they gathered with friends on a daily basis.

This ended abruptly last month. When the site’s alleged operator was arrested following a criminal investigation of the U.S. Government, the official site went down with him.

While it’s unlikely that the original site will return anytime soon, a group of KAT-crew members have been working hard to keep the community together.

Within a few days a new forum was launched at, supported by several high ranking moderators of the original site. In the weeks that followed thousands of members returned to the community, which now has plans to expand.

The site started a fundraising campaign asking for money to repair and rebuild the “authentic KAT site code.” The team is accepting donations through PayPal and a Gofundme campaign, hoping to collect several thousands dollars.

“This site we now inhabit is costing money: Money that a few individuals put up to ensure the survival of this Community. This is still not the Kat we all remember but on a daily basis it is getting closer,” Johnno23 says. fundraiser


The big question is whether this means that the torrent download and upload functionality will be returned to its former glory. For the time being, this appears to be one of the long-term goals.

To find out more TorrentFreak spoke with Mr.Gooner aka the President, a long time KAT-crew member and one of the top admins at the original site.

Mr. Gooner explains that many of the original site staffers have returned to the community, but that funds are needed to develop and maintain it during the months to come.

While the initial focus will be on the community element, torrents are expected to return as well in the future.

“At this stage, it very much depends on pending legal action and rulings in regards to the legality of torrents in the US. However the community can be reassured that in one way or another, KAT will return to its former glory,” Mr. Gooner says.

That said, fully restoring the old site with the original database is not an option at this moment.

The site administrators and crew, all regular users at one point, were clearly separated from the people who technically and financially ran the site. This means that the people in charge of don’t have access to the original code and data.

“It is our understanding that the databases have been secured in such a way that the information inside would become useless if an unauthorised attempt was made to access them,” Mr. Gooner says.

So, if torrent sharing is added to the current community site, it has to be coded by new people. This will take time and money, obviously, and the current crew is not certain if that will happen anytime soon.

Fundraisers are always welcomed with a healthy dose of scepticism, which is no different this time around.

From the information we have gathered so far, it’s safe to say that people shouldn’t expect the original KAT functionality to be restored fully in the near future.

In that regard, Mr. Gooner and others still encourage people to continue uploading in the meantime, even when that’s on other torrent sites.

“Run those seedboxes and torrent clients 24/7 where possible. Just because uploading stopped at KAT we are all still pirates and we will always encourage uploading,” he says.

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

Scammers Take Over Popular KickassTorrents ‘Mirror’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original

kickasstorrents_500x500After losing two of the largest torrent sites, KickassTorrents and, there’s a lot of uncertainty and doubt in the torrent community.

Many people are looking for alternatives to their favorite sites and a natural response is to look for mirrors. was one of the first sites to present itself as a replacement. While it misleadingly claimed to have a copy of KAT’s database, a flurry of news reports helped the site to gain traction.

This ended abruptly last week. The mirror’s domain name was suspended after a complaint from the Motion Picture Association, forcing the operators to move elsewhere.

However, for the past few days has been back in action. At first glance it appears to be a fully working mirror, but people who try to download something will be prompted to register a ‘free’ account.

“Free Account Required. You must create a Free Account to access KickassTorrents,” the popup notification reads.


The signup page redirects to a scammy portal, and requires people to enter their credit card details if they want a free trial.

Needless to say, this has nothing to do with the original KickassTorrents site, and has all the signs of a classic pay to download scam, which usually ends in disappointment for those who sign up.

So how can it be that scammers managed to get hold of the popular domain?

Well, as it turns out the .AM domain registry simply made the domain available for registration again after it was suspended. This allowed the scammers to pick it up, and link it to their KickassTorrents ripoff.

The “register to download” mirror scam isn’t anything new. Several other “mirrors” employ the same tactics and have been doing so for years. However, with the current confusion created by KickassTorrents’ demise, they can do a lot more damage now.

For this reason, we can probably expect many more scammy sites to appear during the days and weeks to come.

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