All posts by Ernesto

Pirate Site Pubfilm Taunts Hollywood With Domain Name Whac-A-Mole

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-site-pubfilm-taunts-hollywood-with-domain-name-whac-a-mole-170525/

In recent years, most large pirate sites have faced domain name issues of some kind, which can be quite frustrating.

Copyright holders realize that going after a website’s domain name is a good way to decrease its traffic. Eventually, the site owner might even give up entirely.

The major Hollywood studios might have had this in mind as one of their main goals when they filed a complaint against the pirate site Pubfilm earlier this year.

The lawsuit was kept sealed initially, to prevent Pubfilm’s operator from moving to a new domain preemptively, hoping that this would maximize the effect. This worked, as the site was taken by surprise when it lost its domain name through a court order. However, Pubfilm didn’t throw in the towel.

Soon after the pubfilm.com domain name was suspended, the site moved to pubfilm.ac. And that wasn’t all. Pubfilm also started to actively advertise its new domain through Google Adsense, something we had never witnessed before.

Fast forward a few weeks and Pubfilm is still around, and so is the lawsuit. While the Hollywood studios managed to have the new .ac and .io domains suspended, Pubfilm is still not backing off.

Instead, the pirate streaming site now has a series of alternative domain names people can use to access the site.

Pubfilm.is is the main domain name since yesterday, but the operator also has Pubfilm.ru, Pubfilm.eu and Pubfilm.su in hand. These alternatives are actively advertised on the website, so users know where to go if the current domain is suspended.

“Alternative domain names: PUBFILM.IS PUBFILM.EU PUBFILM.RU PUBFILM.SU. Any other domains are fake!!” a notice on the site reads.

The domain name whac-a-mole is reminiscent of a similar situation The Pirate Bay was in two years ago. At the time, the notorious torrent site rotated close to a dozen domain names, before going back to its original .org gTLD.

The difference with Pubfilm, however, is that Hollywood has a US court order which they can wave at registrars and registries. This makes it easier to have domains suspended, although that’s not guaranteed.

We expect that other pirate sites will keep a close eye on the current situation. Instead of crushing Pubfilm, MPAA’s lawsuit may turn into a field experiment to see what domain names are safe from a US court order, which is not something Hollywood hoped for.

To be continued.

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

No, ExtraTorrent Has Not Been Resurrected

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/no-extratorrent-has-not-been-resurected-170524/

Last week the torrent community entered a state of shock when another major torrent site closed its doors.

Having served torrents to the masses for over a decade, ExtraTorrent decided to throw in the towel, without providing any detail or an apparent motive.

The only strong message sent out by ExtraTorrent’s operator was to “stay away from fake ExtraTorrent websites and clones.”

Fast forward a few days and the first copycats have indeed appeared online. While this was expected, it’s always disappointing to see “news” sites including the likes of Forbes and The Inquirer are giving them exposure without doing thorough research.

“We are a group of uploaders and admins from ExtraTorrent. As you know, SAM from ExtraTorrent pulled the plug yesterday and took all data offline under pressure from authorities. We were in deep shock and have been working hard to get it back online with all previous data,” the email, sent out to several news outlets read.

What followed was a flurry of ‘ExtraTorrent is back’ articles and thanks to those, a lot of people now think that Extratorrent.cd is a true resurrection operated by the site’s former staffers and fans.

However, aside from its appearance, the site has absolutely nothing to do with ET.

The site is an imposter operated by the same people who also launched Kickass.cd when KAT went offline last summer. In fact, the content on both sites doesn’t come from the defunct sites they try to replace, but from The Pirate Bay.

Yes indeed, ExtraTorrent.cd is nothing more than a Pirate Bay mirror with an ExtraTorrent skin.

There are several signs clearly showing that the torrents come from The Pirate Bay. Most easy to spot, perhaps, is a comparison of search results which are identical on both sites.

Chaparall seach on Extratorrent.cd

The ExtraTorrent “resurrection” even lists TPB’s oldest active torrent from March 2004, which was apparently uploaded long before the original ExtraTorrent was launched.

Chaparall search on TPB

TorrentFreak is in touch with proper ex-staffers of ExtraTorrent who agree that the site is indeed a copycat. Some ex-staffers are considering the launch of a new ET version, just like the KAT admins did in the past, but if that happens, it will take a lot more time.

“At the moment we are all figuring out how to go about getting it back up and running in a proper fashion, but as you can imagine there a lot of obstacles and arguments, lol,” ex-ET admin Soup informed us.

So, for now, there is no real resurrection. ExtraTorrent.cd sells itself as much more than it is, as it did with Kickass.cd. While the site doesn’t have any malicious intent, aside from luring old ET members under false pretenses, people have the right to know what it really is.

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

Alleged KickassTorrents Founder Released on Bail

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/alleged-kickasstorrents-founder-released-on-bail-170523/

kickasstorrents_500x500Last summer, Polish law enforcement officers arrested Artem Vaulin, the alleged founder of KickassTorrents.

Polish authorities acted on a criminal complaint from the US Government, which accused him of criminal copyright infringement and money laundering.

Facing severe back problems, Vaulin was transferred to a hospital in December, and he later continued treatment in a Warsaw prison while awaiting progress in his extradition case.

After being held in custody for nearly ten months, a breakthrough came last week when Vaulin was released on bail. The Verge reports that bail was set at $108,000 and that the alleged KickassTorrents founder now lives in a rented appartment in Warsaw.

Vaulin isn’t allowed to leave the country, but will be enjoying relative freedom, and most importantly, the company of his wife and son.

Two days before his release, The Verge’s Greg Sandoval spoke with Vaulin, who couldn’t go into detail on his alleged involvement with KickassTorrents. However, the Ukrainian entrepreneur stressed that he wasn’t looking for trouble.

“I’m a businessman. When I start a business I consult lawyers. I was never told that anything I was involved in was against the law,” Vaulin told Sandoval.

“I’m not crazy. If someone came to me to tell me the United States was angry with something I do, whatever it was, I would stop,” he added.

While life on bail is a great improvement compared to the conditions in prison, the case is not over yet. In March, the Warsaw District Court ruled in first instance that Vaulin can be extradited, but the second instance decision is still pending.

Over in the United States, the defense team also has a motion pending. In February, Vaulin’s lawyers urged the Illinois District Court to dismiss the indictment because there’s no proof of actual criminal copyright infringement.

Lead counsel Ira Rothken is happy that his client has been released on bail, and he’s confident that they will appear as victors down the road.

“We are pleased that the Court freed Artem Vaulin from prison in Poland. This will allow him to better take care of his health, be with his family, and assist in his defense,” Rothken tells TorrentFreak.

“We look forward to the US Federal Court ruling on his pending motion to dismiss. If the US indictment is defective then extradition based on the indictment is erroneous – Artem shouldn’t have to leave his family behind,” he adds.

The full coverage on The Verge has some additional comments from the alleged KAT founder, which is well worth reading.

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

Malicious Subtitles Threaten Kodi, VLC and Popcorn Time Users, Researchers Warn

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/malicious-subtitles-threaten-kodi-vlc-and-popcorn-time-users-researchers-warn-170523/

Online streaming is booming, and applications such as Kodi, Popcorn Time and VLC have millions of daily users.

Some of these use pirated videos, often in combination with subtitles provided by third-party repositories.

While most subtitle makers do no harm, it appears that those with malicious intent can exploit these popular streaming applications to penetrate the devices and systems of these users.

Researchers from Check Point, who uncovered the problem, describe the subtitle ‘attack vector’ as the most widespread, easily accessed and zero-resistance vulnerability that has been reported in recent years.

“By conducting attacks through subtitles, hackers can take complete control over any device running them. From this point on, the attacker can do whatever he wants with the victim’s machine, whether it is a PC, a smart TV, or a mobile device,” they write.

“The potential damage the attacker can inflict is endless, ranging anywhere from stealing sensitive information, installing ransomware, mass Denial of Service attacks, and much more.”

In a demonstration video, using Popcorn Time, the researchers show how easy it is to compromise the system of a potential victim.

A demo of the subtitles vulnerability

XBMC Foundation’s Project lead Martijn Kaijser informs TorrentFreak that the Kodi team is aware of the situation, which they will address soon. “We will release 17.2 which will have the fix this week,” he told us.

VLC’s VideoLAN addressed the issue as well, and doesn’t expect that it is still exploitable.

“The VLC bug is not exploitable. The first big issue was fixed in 2.2.5. There are 2 other small issues, that will be fixed in 2.2.6,” VideoLAN informed us.

The team behind PopcornTime.sh applied a fix several months ago after the researchers approached them, TorrentFreak is informed. The Popcorn Time team trusts their subtitle provider OpenSubtitles but says that it now sanitizes malicious subtitle files, also those that are added by users.

The same applies to the Butter project, which is closely related to Popcorn Time. Butter was not contacted by Check Point but their fix is visible in a GitHub commit from February.

“None of the Butter Project developers were contacted by the research group. We’d love to have them talk to us if our code is still vulnerable. To the extent of our research it is not, but we’d like the ‘responsible disclosure’ terms to actually mean something,” The Butter project informs TorrentFreak.

Finally, another fork Popcorn-Time.to, also informed us that they are not affected by the reported vulnerability.

The Check Point researchers expect that other applications may also be affected. They do not disclose any technical details at this point, nor do they state which of the applications successfully addressed the vulnerability.

“Some of the issues were already fixed, while others are still under investigation. To allow the developers more time to address the vulnerabilities, we’ve decided not to publish any further technical details at this point,” the researchers state.

More updates will be added if more information becomes available. For now, however, people who regularly use subtitle files should remain vigilant.

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

Copyright Troll Attorney John Steele Disbarred by Illinois Supreme Court

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/copyright-troll-attorney-john-steele-disbarred-by-illinois-supreme-court-170522/

Over the years, copyright trolls have been accused of involvement in various dubious schemes and actions, but there’s one group that has gone above and beyond.

Prenda Law grabbed dozens of headlines, mostly surrounding negative court rulings over 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.

The allegations also raised the interest of the US Department of Justice, which indicted Prenda principals John Steele and Paul Hansmeier late last year. The two stand accused of running a multi-million dollar fraud and extortion operation.

A few weeks ago Steele pleaded guilty, admitting among other things that they did indeed use The Pirate Bay to operate a honeypot for online pirates.

Following the guilty plea the Illinois Supreme Court, which started looking into the case long before the indictment, has now decided to disbar the attorney. This means that Steele no longer has the right to practice law.

The decision doesn’t really come as a surprise. Steele has admitted to two of the 18 counts listed in the indictment, including some of the allegations that were also listed by the Supreme Court.

In its conclusion, the Court lists a variety of misconduct including “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, by conduct including filing lawsuits without supporting facts, under the names of entities like Ingenuity 13 and AF Holdings, which were created by Movant for purposes of exacting settlements.”

Also, Steele’s trolling operation was “using means that had no substantial purpose other than to embarrass or burden a third person, or using methods of obtaining evidence that violates the legal rights of such a person…,” the Supreme Court writes.

Steele was disbarred “on consent,” according to Cook County Record, which means that he agreed to have his Illinois law practice license revoked.

The disbarment is not unexpected considering Steele’s guilty plea. However, victims of the Prenda trolling scheme may still welcome it as a form of justice. Meanwhile, Steele has bigger problems to worry about.

The former Prenda attorney is still awaiting his sentencing in the criminal case. In theory, he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in prison as well as a criminal fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, by signing a plea agreement, he likely gets a reduced sentence.

The Illnois Supreme Court conclusions are available here (pdf), courtesy of Fight Copyright Trolls.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 05/22/17

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-pirated-movies-week-bittorrent-052217/

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Logan, which came out as DVDRip last week, is the most downloaded movie for the second week in a row.

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

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (1) Logan 8.6 / trailer
2 (8) The Fate of the Furious (subbed HDRip) 6.7 / trailer
3 (…) The Boss Baby 6.5 / trailer
4 (2) Ghost in The Shell (Subbed HDRip) 6.9 / trailer
5 (3) First Fight 5.7 / trailer
6 (4) Kong: Skull Island (Subbed HDRip) 7.0 / trailer
7 (…) T2 Trainspotting 7.7 / trailer
8 (…) Beauty and the Beast 7.6 / trailer
9 (7) Split 7.0 / trailer
10 (5) The Great Wall 6.9 / trailer

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

RIAA Says Artists Don’t Need “Moral Rights,” Artists Disagree

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-says-artists-dont-need-moral-rights-artists-disagree-170521/

Most people who create something like to be credited for their work. Whether you make a video, song, photo, or blog post, it feels ‘right’ to receive recognition.

The right to be credited is part of the so-called “moral rights,” which are baked into many copyright laws around the world, adopted at the international level through the Berne Convention.

However, in the United States, this is not the case. The US didn’t sign the Berne Convention right away and opted out from the “moral rights” provision when they eventually joined it.

Now that the U.S. Copyright Office is looking into ways to improve current copyright law, the issue has been brought to the forefront again. The Government recently launched a consultation to hear the thoughts of various stakeholders, which resulted in several noteworthy contributions.

As it turns out, both the MPAA and RIAA are against the introduction of statutory moral rights for artists. They believe that the current system works well and they fear that it’s impractical and expensive to credit all creators for their contributions.

The MPAA stresses that new moral rights may make it harder for producers to distribute their work and may violate the First Amendment rights of producers, artists, and third parties who wish to use the work of others.

In the movie industry, many employees are not credited for their work. They get paid, but can’t claim any “rights” to the products they create, something the MPAA wants to keep intact.

“Further statutory recognition of the moral rights of attribution and integrity risks upsetting this well-functioning system that has made the United States the unrivaled world leader in motion picture production for over a century,” they stress.

The RIAA has a similar view, although the central argument is somewhat different.

The US record labels say that they do everything they can to generate name recognition for their main artists. However, crediting everyone who’s involved in making a song, such as the writer, is not always a good idea.

“A new statutory attribution right, in addition to being unnecessary, would likely have significant unintended consequences,” the RIAA writes (pdf).

The RIAA explains that the music industry has weathered several dramatic shifts over the past two decades. They argue that the transition from physical to digital music – and later streaming – while being confronted with massive piracy, has taken its toll.

There are signs of improvement now, but if moral rights are extended, the RIAA fears that everything might collapse once gain.

“After fifteen years of declining revenues, the recorded music industry outlook is finally showing signs of improvement. This fragile recovery results largely from growing consumer adoption of new streaming models..,” the RIAA writes.

“We urge the Office to avoid legislative proposals that could hamper this nascent recovery by injecting significant additional risk, uncertainty, and complexity into the recorded music business.”

According to the RIAA it would be costly for streaming services credit everyone who’s involved in the creative process. In addition, they simply might not have the screen real estate to pull this off.

“If a statutory attribution right suddenly required these services to provide attribution to others involved in the creative process, that would presumably require costly changes to their user interfaces and push them up against the size limitations of their display screens.”

This means less money for the artists and more clutter on the screen, according to the music group. Music fans probably wouldn’t want to see the list of everyone who worked on a song anyway, they claim.

“To continue growing, streaming services must provide a compelling product to consumers. Providing a long list of on-screen attributions would not make for an engaging or useful experience for consumers,” RIAA writes.

The streaming example is just one of the many issues that may arise, in the eyes of the record labels. They also expect problems with tracks that are played on the radio, or in commercials, where full credits are rarely given.

Interestingly, many of the artists the RIAA claims to represent don’t agree with the group’s comments.

Music Creators North America and The Future of Music Coalition, for example, believe that artists should have statutory moral rights. The latter group argues that, currently, small artists are often powerless against large corporations.

“Moral rights would serve to alleviate the powerlessness faced by creators who often must relinquish their copyright to make a living from their work. These creators should still be provided some right of attribution and integrity as these affect a creator’s reputation and ultimately livelihood.”

The Future of Music Coalition disagrees with the paternalistic perspective that the public isn’t interested in detailed information about the creators of music.

“While interest levels may vary, a significant portion of the public has a great interest in understanding who exactly contributed to the creation works of art which they admire,” they write (pdf).

Knowing who’s involved requires attribution, so it’s crucial that this information becomes available, they argue.

“Music enthusiasts revel in the details of music they adore, but when care is not taken to document and preserve that information, those details can often lost over time and eventually unattainable.”

“To argue that the public generally has a homogenously disinterested opinion of creators is insulting both to the public and to creators,” The Future of Music Coalition adds.

The above shows that the rights of artists are clearly not always aligned with the interests of record labels.

Interestingly, the RIAA and MPAA do agree with major tech companies and civil rights groups such as EFF and Public Knowledge. These are also against new moral rights, albeit for different reasons.

It’s now up to the U.S. Copyright Office to determine if change is indeed required, or if everything will remain the same.

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

Fake ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ Leaks Troll Pirates and Reporters

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/fake-pirates-of-the-caribbean-leaks-troll-pirates-and-reporters-170520/

Earlier this week, news broke that Disney was being extorted by hackers who were threatening to release an upcoming film, reportedly ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.’

This prompted pirates and reporters to watch torrent sites for copies of the film, and after a few hours the first torrents did indeed appear.

The initial torrent spotted by TF was just over 200MB, which is pretty small. As it turned out, the file was fake and linked to some kind of survey scam.

Fake torrents are quite common and even more so with highly anticipated releases like a “Pirates Of The Caribbean” leak.

Soon after the fist fake, another one followed, this one carrying the name of movie distribution group ETRG. After the first people downloaded a copy, it quickly became clear that this was spam as well, and the torrent was swiftly removed from The Pirate Bay.

Unfortunately, however, some reporters confused the fake releases with the real deal. Without verifying the actual content of the files, news reports claimed that Pirates Of The Caribbean had indeed leaked.

“Hackers Dump Pirates of the Caribbean On Torrent Sites Ahead of Premiere,” Softpedia reported, followed by the award-winning security blog Graham Cluley who wrote that the “New Pirates of the Caribbean movie leaked online.”

Leaks? (via Softpedia)

The latter was also quick to point to a likely source of the leak. Hacker group The Dark Overlord was cited as the prime candidate, even though there were no signs linking it to the leak in question. This is off for a group that regularly takes full public credit for its achievements.

News site Fossbytes also appeared confident that The Dark Overlord was behind the reported (but fake) leaks, pretty much stating it as fact.

“The much-awaited Disney movie Pirates Of The Caribbean 5 Dead Men Tell No Tales was compromised by a hacker group called TheDarkOverlord,” the site reported.

Things got more confusing when the torrent files in question disappeared from The Pirate Bay. In reality, moderators simply removed the spam, as they usually do, but the reporters weren’t convinced and speculated that the ‘hackers’ could have reuploaded the files elsewhere.

A few hours later another ‘leak’ appeared on The Pirate Bay, confirming these alleged suspicions. This time it was a 54GB file which actually had “DARK-OVERL” in the title.

DARK-OVERL!!!

Soon after the torrent appeared online someone added a spam comment suggesting that it had a decent quality. One of the reporters picked this up and wrote that “comments indicate the quality is quite high.”

Again, at this point, none of the reporters had verified that the leaks were real. Still, the news spread further and further.

TorrentFreak also kept an eye on the developments and reached out to a source who said he’d obtained a copy of the 54GB release. This pirate was curious, but didn’t get what he was hoping for.

The file in question did indeed contain video material, he informed us. However, instead of an unreleased copy of the Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, he says he got several copies of an animation movie – Trolls…..

“Turns out, the iso contains a couple of .rar files that house a bunch of Trolls DVDs. I hope everyone learned their lesson, if it’s too good to be true it probably is.”

Indeed it is.

In the spirit of this article we have to stress that we didn’t verify the contents of the (now deleted) “Trolls” torrent ourselves. However, it’s clear that the fake leaks trolled several writers and pirates.

We reached out to Softpedia reporter Gabriela Vatu and Graham Cluley, who were both very receptive to our concerns and updated the initial articles to state that the leaks were not verified.

Let’s hope that this will stop the rumors from spreading any further.

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

ExtraTorrent’s Distribution Groups ettv and EtHD Keep Going

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/extratorrents-distribution-groups-ettv-and-ethd-keep-going-170519/

This week the torrent community entered a state of shock when another major torrent site closed its doors.

Having served torrents to the masses for over a decade, ExtraTorrent decided to throw in the towel, without providing any detail or an apparent motive.

ExtraTorrent operator SaM simply informed us that “it’s time we say goodbye.”

Now that a few days have passed the dust is slowly beginning to settle. Frequent ExtraTorrent users have started to flock to alternatives such as The Pirate Bay, Torrentz2 and RARBG, which have all noticed a clear uptick in users.

What has also become clear is that ExtraTorrent won’t have quit without leaving its mark. The site was home to several prominent uploaders and groups, and some feared that these would go down with the site. However, it looks like that won’t be the case for them all.

On Thursday, shortly after the site was closed, ExtraTorrent operator SaM said that the movie torrent distribution group ETRG would disappear, but that there was hope for others.

“Ettv and Ethd could remain operational if they get enough donations to sustain the expenses and if the people handling it [are] ready to keep going,” SaM said.

Indeed, both TV groups are keeping the ET spirit alive as dozens of fresh torrents have appeared over the past few days. While they’re no longer on ExtraTorrent, the accounts on The Pirate Bay remain very active, as can be seen below.

ettv’s recent releases

Another well-known uploader, DDR, will continue to release torrents as well. TorrentFreak was informed that the uploader will use the ‘SaM’ accounts at The Pirate Bay and 1337x to continue his work.

And ExtraTorrent’s name lives on elsewhere too. The image hosting site Extraimage, which was regularly used by torrent uploaders to feature samples, is still up and running as well.

There is another major casualty of the ExtraTorrent closure though. TorrentFreak is informed that ET’s inhouse encoder FUM, known for regular high-quality TV releases, will stop.

Over the weeks we will see what the real impact of the surprise shutdown will be. A community was destroyed this week, and many uploaders lost their home, but as we’ve seen with KickassTorrents, Torrentz, and other sites before them, the torrent ecosystem isn’t easily disrupted.

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

Private Torrent Tracker Freshon.tv Shuts Down

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/private-torrent-tracker-freshon-tv-shuts-down-170519/

This isn’t a particularly good week for avid torrent users. After the public ExtraTorrent index shut down, the private community must now say goodbye to Freshon.tv (TvT).

Sysops of the private tracker, which specialized in TV releases, have decided to move on and focus on their personal lives instead.

“We are shutting the website down due to the lack of interest,” TvT staff wrote in a message yesterday.

“This is no longer a fun activity and the old members simply have other things to focus on, like work and families. We like to thank each member that was present in the comunity we built and maintained for a decade.”

Soon after, the site went dark, removing the option to login and showing a brief shutdown message instead.

Poor hamsters

The decsion came as a surprise to the site’s users. Several staffers were also unaware of the decision the sysops had taken, according to a statement by a member on Reddit.

“We, the staff, didn’t know of this until they made the public announcement, so this all comes a bit rushed,” Liberateus writes, adding that fellow torrent tracker Morethan.tv is willing to take on refugees.

“Morethan.tv is a rather young but fast growing tracker focused on TV and movie content, with a nice community, dedicated staff and a huge selection of content,” he writes.

The Reddit thread also includes offers from other trackers that are willing to take people in, so it appears that most users will find a new home.

Freshon, or ‘TV Torrents RO,’ was one of the larger specialized TV trackers on the Internet. The site had close to 20,000 users who together shared tens of thousands of torrents.

The site was particularly popular popular in Romania, from where the site originated. The specialized TV tracker first saw the light of day more than a decade a ago, reportedly with help from several staffers of the defunct torrents.ro tracker.

Better times for TvT (image via Opentrackers)

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

Elsevier Wants $15 Million Piracy Damages From Sci-Hub and Libgen

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/elsevier-wants-15-million-piracy-damages-from-sci-hub-and-libgen-170518/

Two years ago, academic publisher Elsevier filed a complaint against Sci-Hub, Libgen and several related “pirate” sites.

The publisher accused the websites of making academic papers widely available to the public, without permission.

While Sci-Hub and Libgen are nothing like the average pirate site, they are just as illegal according to Elsevier’s legal team, which swiftly obtained a preliminary injunction from a New York District Court.

The injunction ordered Sci-Hub’s founder Alexandra Elbakyan, who is the only named defendant, to quit offering access to any Elsevier content. This didn’t happen, however.

Sci-Hub and the other websites lost control over several domain names, but were quick to bounce back. They remain operational today and have no intention of shutting down, despite pressure from the Court.

This prompted Elsevier to request a default judgment and a permanent injunction against the Sci-Hub and Libgen defendants. In a motion filed this week, Elsevier’s legal team describes the sites as pirate havens.

“Defendants’ websites exist for the sole purpose of providing unauthorized and unlawful access to the copyrighted works of Elsevier and other scientific publishers. Collectively, Defendants are responsible for the piracy of millions of Elseviers’ copyrighted works as well as millions of works published by others.”

As compensation for the losses it has suffered, Elsevier is now demanding $15 million in damages. The publisher lists 100 works as evidence and argues that the maximum amount of $150,000 in statutory damages is warranted in this case.

“Here, Defendants’ willful conduct rises to the level of truly egregious conduct, justifying the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringed work,” Elsevier’s team writes (pdf).

“The Preliminary Injunction constituted such notice by a court, and Defendants have flagrantly disregarded the Preliminary Injunction by continuing to operate their piracy enterprises.”

Not only did the defendants ignore the preliminary injunction by continuing to operate their websites, Sci-Hub’s operator stated that she chose to willingly disregard the court order.

“Moreover, Elbakyan has publicly stated that she is aware that Sci-Hub’s actions are unlawful and that this Court has enjoined her infringing activities, but that she intends to continue to defy the Court’s Order.”

The amount is also justified based on the scale of infringement, Elsevier stresses. The sites in question offer dozens of millions of copyrighted works which are downloaded hundreds of thousands of times per day.

A good chunk of these papers are copyrighted, many by Elsevier. In fact, when the original complaint was filed, Elsevier had trouble locating ScienceDirect-hosted articles that were not available through Libgen.

“Here, the scale of Defendants’ infringement is so staggering that a reasonable estimate of appropriate damages, even if based on a lower, license- fee-based metric, would be difficult, if not impossible, to calculate,” Elsevier’s legal team writes.

Since the court’s clerk has already entered a default against the defendants, it’s likely that Elsevier will win the case. As a result, Sci-Hub and Libgen will likely have to relocate again. Whether Elsevier will see any damages from the defendants has yet to be seen.

Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan wasn’t really sure how to comment on the million dollar claims. She described Elsevier’s requests as “funny” and “ridiculous,” while confirming that the site is not going anywhere.

“The Sci-Hub will continue as usual. In case of problems with the domain names, users can rely on TOR scihub22266oqcxt.onion,” Elbakyan tells us.

In hindsight, Elsevier may regret its decision to take legal action.

Instead of taking Sci-Hub and Libgen down, the lawsuit and the associated media attention only helped them grow. Last year we reported that its users were downloading hundreds of thousands of papers per day from Sci-Hub, a number that has likely increased since.

Also, Elbakyan is now seen as a hero by several prominent academics, illustrated by the fact that the prestigious publication Nature listed her as one of the top ten people that mattered in science last year.

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

Thailand Arrests Brits Over Pirated Football Streams

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/thailand-arrests-brits-over-pirated-football-streams-170517/

In recent years there’s been an increase in the availability of unlicensed TV streams, with vendors offering virtually any channel imaginable, for free or in exchange for a small fee.

Many of these IPTV packages are unlicensed. That makes them a lot cheaper to the end users, which explains why their popularity is growing.

While the phenomenon remained under the radar for a long time, more recently we have seen several raids on vendors who sell these ‘pirate’ subscriptions. After arrests in Spain and Poland, Thai authorities have also joined in.

Last week the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) arrested two British men, William Lloyd, 39 and William Robinson, 35, for their alleged involvement in selling unlicensed IPTV subscriptions. The pair were arrested together with 33-year-old local man, Supatra Raksasat.

The enforcement action followed a complaint from the Football Association Premier League Ltd (FAPL) and was made public yesterday. According to the authorities, the men sold pirate subscriptions to dozens of TV-channels through 365sport.tv.

365sport.tv

The website in question was taken offline and is no longer operational. However, cached versions show that the outfit sold subscriptions for 10 or 22 premium sports channels for a monthly fee of 600 ($17) and 999 ($29) Thai Baht respectively.

During the raids DSI, which is a special department of the Ministry of Justice, seized mobile phones, nine computer servers, nine computers, and a total of 49 set-top boxes, local media reports.

DSI deputy chief Suriya Singhakamol said that the men were also accused of offering unauthorized content through a variety of other sites targeted at expats, including Thaiexpat.tv, Hkexpat.tv, Indoexpat.tv, Vietexpat.tv, and Euroexpat.tv.

Following the Premier League complaint, DSI’s cybercrime unit launched a special investigation which found that 365sport.tv offered the unlicensed streams through Thai servers.

The authorities subsequently obtained arrest warrants through the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court.

While the case remains open, the two British suspects have been handed over to officials from the British embassy, which requested their bail. All unlicensed IPTV streams, meanwhile, are no longer online.

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

Hackers Demand Ransom Over Stolen Copy of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hackers-demand-ransom-over-stolen-copy-of-pirates-of-the-caribbean-5-170516/

During a town hall meeting in New York on Monday, Disney CEO Bob Iger informed a group of ABC employees that hackers have stolen one of the company’s movies.

The hackers offered to keep it away from public eyes in exchange for ransom paid in Bitcoin but Disney says it has no intention to pay.

Although Iger did not mention the movie by name during the meeting, Deadline reports that it’s a copy of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.’

The fifth movie in the ‘Pirates‘ franchise starring Johnny Depp, is officially scheduled to appear in theaters next week. Needless to say, a high-quality leak at this point will be seen as a disaster for Disney.

The “ransom” demand from the hacker is reminiscent of another prominent entertainment industry leak, where the requested amount of Bitcoin was not paid.

Just a few weeks ago a group calling itself TheDarkOverlord (TDO) published the premiere episode of the fifth season of Netflix’s Orange is The New Black, followed by nine more episodes a few hours later.

Despite Netflix’s anti-piracy efforts, the ten leaked episodes of Orange is The New Black remain popular on many torrent indexes and pirate streaming sites.

There is no indication that the previous and threatened leaks are related in any way. TorrentFreak has seen a list of movies and TV-shows TDO said they have in their possession, but the upcoming ‘Pirates’ movie isn’t among them.

The Disney hackers have threatened to release the movie in increments, but the movie studio is hoping that they won’t go ahead with their claims.

Thus far there haven’t been any reports of leaked parts of the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film. Disney, meanwhile, is working with the FBI to track down the people responsible for the hack.

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

ExtraTorrent Suffers Extended Downtime

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/extratorrent-suffers-extended-downtime-170515/

extratorrentWith millions of daily visitors ExtraTorrent is the second largest torrent site, trailing only behind The Pirate Bay.

However, for almost a day now visitors have been unable to reach the site. Those who try to access it see a Cloudflare notification instead, suggesting that the site’s servers are down.

TorrentFreak reached out to the site’s operator a while ago, but thus far we haven’t heard back. The site’s official Facebook page doesn’t have any updates on the situation either.

ExtraTorrent is down

While users may fear the worst, for now the most likely explanation is that the site is down as the result of a technical problem. The site’s domain names are operating as they should, but there might be an issue with the server.

Although ExtraTorrent is offline, several release groups connected to the site are still operating. The popular TV distribution groups EtHD and ettv continue to release content through other sites, including The Pirate Bay.

ExtraTorrent’s image hosting site ExtraImage is also up and running, as usual.

If we hear more about the current downtime, we will update the article accordingly. For the time being, however, ExtraTorrent users will have to get their torrent fix elsewhere.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 05/15/17

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-pirated-movies-week-bittorrent-051517/

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Logan, which came out as DVDRip last week, is the most downloaded movie.

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

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (3) Logan 8.6 / trailer
2 (1) Ghost in The Shell (Subbed HDRip) 6.9 / trailer
3 (…) First Fight 5.7 / trailer
4 (4) Kong: Skull Island (Subbed HDRip) 7.0 / trailer
5 (…) The Great Wall 6.9 / trailer
6 (2) xXx: Return of Xander Cage 5.3 / trailer
7 (6) Split 7.0 / trailer
8 (8) The Fate of the Furious 6.7 / trailer
9 (…) Get Out 7.9 / trailer
10 (5) Gifted 7.0 / trailer

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

Law Professor Shows How to Fight Copyright Trolls

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/law-professor-shows-how-to-fight-copyright-trolls-170514/

In recent years, file-sharers around the world have been pressured to pay significant settlement fees, or face legal repercussions.

These so-called “copyright trolling” efforts have been a common occurrence in the United States for more than half a decade, and still are.

While rightsholders should be able to take legitimate piracy claims to court, there are some who resort to dodgy and extortion-like tactics extract money from alleged pirates, including people who are innocent.

This practice has been a thorn in the side of Matthew Sag, a professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and the Associate Director for Intellectual Property at the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies.

“Over the past few years, I have seen one example after another of innocent defendants being victimized by these lawsuits,” Sag explains to TorrentFreak.

This motivated the professor to take action. One of the problems he signals is that not all defense lawyers are familiar with these cases. They sometimes need dozens of hours to research them, which costs the defendant more than the cash settlement deal offered by the copyright holder.

As a result, paying off the trolls may seem like the most logical and safe option to the accused, even when they are innocent.

“Put simply, by the time your average lawyer has figured out what’s wrong with these cases and how to respond she has sunk 50 to 100 hours into a case that probably could’ve been settled for $2000 or $3000,” Sag notes.

“That makes no sense, so people settle cases with no merit. That, in turn, encourages meritless cases. We wanted to level the playing field and reduce the plaintiffs’ informational advantage,” he adds.

To balance the scales of justice, the professor wrote an article together with Jake Haskell, a recent Loyola University Law School graduate. Titled “Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling,” the paper provides a detailed overview of the various tactics the defense can use.

Not all cases filed by copyright holders can be characterized as “trolling.” According to Sag, copyright trolls can be best defined as “systematic opportunist, want” and he hopes that defense lawyers can use his article to prevent clear abuses.

Of course, judges play an important role as well, and some could certainly benefit from reading the paper.

“The federal courts should not be used as vending machines to issue indiscriminate hunting licenses. Judges need to keep a close eye on discovery and tactics used by the plaintiff to prolong proceedings or run up attorney’s fees,” Sag tells us.

“Hopefully, we have given defense lawyers a significant head start on figuring out how to defend these claims. If innocent defendants refused to settle, the plaintiffs would be forced to clean up their act,” he adds.

The article is a recommended read for everyone with an interest in copyright trolling in general, and is well worth a read for anyone wants to learn more about how these companies operate.

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

Texas Court Orders Temporary ‘Pre-Piracy’ Shutdown of Sports Streaming Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/texas-court-orders-temporary-pre-piracy-shutdown-of-sports-streaming-sites-170513/

Copyright holders often complain that they have virtually no means to target pirate sites, especially those run from overseas.

Interestingly, however, in recent months it has become apparent that the US Federal Court system can be used as a prime enforcement tool to shut down pirate domain names.

This is also the path Indian media outfit Times Content Limited (TCL) decided to go down. The company operates the cricket channel Willow TV and owns the US broadcasting rights to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, which is currently ongoing.

Two weeks ago the company sued several sports streaming sites including smartcric.com and crickethdlive.com. These sites allow users to watch cricket games for free over the Internet, without permission.

To stop this from taking place, the Indian company requested a broad injunction, which the court granted last week.

The preliminary injunction (pdf) orders various third party providers to stop working with these sites effective immediately to prevent future copyright infringements. This also applies to any new domain names or websites the operators may launch.

“…all service providers whose services will enable or facilitate Defendants’ anticipated infringement are ordered to suspend all services with respect to smartcric.com, smartcric.eu, crickethdlive.com, and crickethdlive.pw, or any other website or domain that is redirected from the Websites and continues to distribute and publicly perform the 2017 IPL,” it reads.

Domain registries and registrars are not the only parties that are compelled to comply. It also lists a broad range of intermediaries including hosting companies, CDN services, advertising outfits, and streaming providers.

Where this order clearly differs from similar injunctions in the US is that it specifically targets “anticipated infringement.” Or put differently, it aims to prevent piracy before it takes place.

From the injunction

What stands out further is that the injunction is temporary in nature. It only applies while the Cricket tournament is active. This ends on May 22, after which the parties involved are free to lift or reverse the actions they took.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Court’s intent is to ensure that Defendants’ Websites be rendered offline, inaccessible and incapable of receiving or displaying audio or video signals between the date of this order and 6:00 am. CDT on May 22, 2017,” the injunction reads.

Over the past few days several of the seized domain names have been placed in a Godaddy holding account belonging to the law firm that represents TCL. And per court order, they will stay there until said date.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the case is over after the tournament ends. In the complaint, TCL also requests damages and other punitive measures, which is something that has to be decided over at a later date.

TorrentFreak spoke to the operator of the streaming sites in question, who says that the lawsuit took him by surprise. After losing his initial domain names he registered several new ones, but these were swiftly taken down as well.

“I moved Smartcric.com to Smartcric.be and Crickethdlive.com to Crickethdlive.pw. However, both domains were suspended as well within a day. Later, I moved Crickethdlive content to Crickethdlive.to however that was suspended yesterday as well,” the operator says.

“It was shocking to see that non-US registries were following the order issued by a US court. It was unfair and unjust to comply with orders of a non-competent court by these registries.”

Interestingly, one of the domain names was registered through the domain name service Njalla, which Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde recently launched. Sunde stresses that the domain was seized beyond their control and that no personal information was shared.

“We’re looking into the case at the moment, but the court took the domain and sent it to a legal firm. We have no way of going above the court and ICANN on this. However, we have of course not sent any information about the customer to anyone,” Sunde says.

The streaming site operator still doubts that he will get his domain names back after the injunction expires. Instead, he’s decided to focus his effort on finding a domain name that falls outside of the scope of the US courts.

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

Judge Threatens to Bar ‘Copyright Troll’ Cases Over Lacking IP-location Evidence

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/judge-threatens-to-bar-copyright-troll-cases-over-lacking-ip-location-evidence-170212/

While relatively underreported, many U.S. district courts are still swamped with lawsuits against alleged film pirates.

The copyright holders who initiate these cases generally rely on an IP address as evidence. This information is collected from BitTorrent swarms and linked to a geographical location using geolocation tools.

With this information in hand, they then ask the courts to grant a subpoena, directing Internet providers to hand over the personal details of the associated account holders.

Malibu Media, the Los Angeles-based company behind the ‘X-Art’ adult movies, is behind most of these cases. The company has filed thousands of lawsuits in recent years, targeting Internet subscribers whose accounts were allegedly used to share Malibu’s films via BitTorrent.

Increasingly, judges around the country have grown wary of these litigation efforts. This includes US Federal Judge William Alsup, who’s tasked with handling all such cases in the Northern District of California.

Responding to a recent request, Judge Alsup highlights the fact that Malibu filed a “monsoon” of hundreds of lawsuits over the past 18 months, but later dismissed many of them after without specifying a reason.

The judge is skeptical about the motivation for these dismissals. In particular, because courts have previously highlighted that Maxmind’s geolocation tools, which are cited in the complaints, may not be entirely accurate. This could mean that the cases have been filed in the wrong court.

“Malibu Media’s voluntary dismissal without prejudice of groups of its cases is not a new pattern. A sizable portion of the cases from previous waves were terminated in the same way,” Judge Alsup writes (pdf).

“The practice has just become more frequent, and it follows skepticism by the undersigned judge and others around the country about the accuracy of the Maxmind database,” he adds.

This is not the first time that geolocation tools have been called into doubt and to move the accuracy claims beyond Maxmind’s own “hearsay,” Judge Alsup now demands extra evidence.

In his order he denies the request to continue a case management conference in one of their cases. Instead, he will use that hearing to address the geolocation issues. In addition, all Malibu cases in the district may be barred if the accuracy of these tools isn’t “fully vetted.”

“That request is DENIED. Instead, Malibu Media is hereby ordered to SHOW CAUSE at that hearing, why the Court should not bar further Malibu Media cases in this district until the accuracy of the geolocation technology is fully vetted,” the order reads.

“To be clear, this order applies even if Malibu Media voluntarily dismisses this action,” Judge Alsup adds.

Denied

SJD, who follows the developments closely and first reported on the order, suspects that the IP-address ‘error rate’ may in fact be higher than most people believe. She therefore recommends defense lawyer to depose ISP employees to get to the bottom of the issue.

“If you are a defense attorney who litigates one of the BitTorrent infringement cases, I suggest deposing a Comcast employee tasked with subpoena processing. I suspect that the error rate is much higher than trolls want everyone to believe, and such testimony has a potential to become a heavy weapon in every troll victim’s arsenal,” SJD says.

In any case, it’s no secret that geolocation databases are far from perfect. Most are not updated instantly, which means that the information could be outdated, and other entries are plainly inaccurate.

This is something the residents of a Kansas farm know all too well, as their house is the default location of 600 million IP-addresses, which causes them quite a bit of trouble.

It will be interesting to see if Malibu will make any efforts to properly “vet” Maxmind’s database. It’s clear, however, that Judge Alsup will not let the company use his court before fully backing up their claims.

To be continued.

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

BREIN ‘Hunts Down’ Pirate Media Player Vendors

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/brein-hunts-down-pirate-media-player-vendors-170512/

A surge of cheap media players, which often use the open source Kodi software, has made it easy for people to stream video from the Internet directly to their TVs.

In some cases vendors add pirate add-ons to these devices, selling these “fully-loaded” boxes through their own stores or marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.

Over the past several years, there has been little enforcement effort on this front. However, this changed a few weeks ago, when the European Court of Justice ruled that selling devices pre-configured to obtain copyright-infringing content is illegal.

The media players themselves can still be sold, and the Kodi software is legal too, but vendors who ship boxes with pirate add-ons could get a letter from rightsholders. The Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN, is particularly active on this front.

The group states that 84 vendors have already halted their sales in response to the European court ruling. Roughly half of these stopped before the ruling was announced, and 44 followed afterwards.

BREIN says that it contacted 51 sellers after the court order and 37 of these did indeed stop. The group also filed complaints against 11 vendors of which one has halted its sales, with six others stopping voluntarily.

Those who continue to offer “fully-loaded” boxes now risk hefty fines, BREIN Director Tim Kuik warns.

“The use of this type of player is causing major damage to the makers and providers of films, series, and sports broadcasts. The progress and settlements are therefore solid and run to tens of thousands of euros and more,” Kuik notes.

“The longer the vendors persist in their offering of illegal media players, the more expensive it becomes for them.”

In addition to online sellers, BREIN says it’s also keeping an eye on offline sales via markets and brick and mortar stores.

“It’s not just about webshops and ordinary stores, market traders will also get their turn. Sellers must realize that this is punishable as a crime. BREIN will ensure that this kind of crime does not pay.”

While there’s little doubt that BREIN’s efforts and threats have an effect, it appears that there are still plenty of vendors who continue to offer “fully loaded” boxes. So the ‘hunt’ is likely to continue for a while.

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

YouTube Keeps People From Pirate Sites, Study Shows

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-keeps-people-from-pirate-sites-study-shows-170511/

The music industry has witnessed some dramatic changes over the past decade and a half.

With the rise of digital, people’s music consumption habits evolved dramatically, followed by more change when subscription streaming services came along.

Another popular way for people to enjoy music noawdays is via YouTube. The video streaming platform offers free access to millions of songs, which are often uploaded by artists or the labels themselves.

Still, YouTube is getting little praise from the major labels. Instead, music insiders often characterize the video platform as a DMCA-protected piracy racketeer, that exploits legal loopholes to profit from artists’ hard work.

YouTube is generating healthy profits at a minimal cost and drives people away from legal platforms, the argument goes.

In an attempt to change this perception, YouTube has commissioned a study from the research outfit RBB Economics to see how the service impacts the music industry. The first results, published today, are a positive start.

The study examined exclusive YouTube data and a survey of 1,500 users across Germany, France, Italy and the U.K, asking them about their consumption habits. In particular, they were asked if YouTube keeps them away from paid music alternatives.

According to YouTube, which just unveiled the results, the data paints a different picture.

“The study finds that this is not the case. In fact, if YouTube didn’t exist, 85% of time spent on YouTube would move to lower value channels, and would result in a significant increase in piracy,” YouTube’s Simon Morrison writes.

If YouTube disappeared overnight, roughly half of all the time spent there on music would be “lost.” Furthermore, a significant portion of YouTube users would switch to using pirate sites and services instead.

“The results suggest that if YouTube were no longer able to offer music, time spent listening to pirated content would increase by +29%. This is consistent with YouTube being a substitute for pirated content,” RBB Economics writes.

In addition, the researchers also found that blocking music on YouTube doesn’t lead to an increase in streaming on other platforms, such as Spotify.

While YouTube doesn’t highlight it, the report also finds that some people would switch to “higher value” (e.g. paid) services if YouTube weren’t available. This amounts to roughly 15% of the total.

In other words, if the music industry is willing to pass on the $1 billion YouTube currently pays out and accept a hefty increase in piracy, there would be a boost in revenue through other channels. Whether that’s worth it is up for debate of course.

YouTube believes that the results are pretty convincing though. They rely on RBB Economic’s conclusion that there no evidence of “significant cannibalization” and believe that their service has a positive impact overall.

“The cumulative effect of these findings is that YouTube has a market expansion effect, not a cannibalizing one,” YouTube writes.

The full results are available here (pdf), courtesy of RBB Economics. YouTube announced that more of these reports will follow in the near future.

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