Tag Archives: ACE

ApolloTV Streaming App Shuts Down Following ACE Cease-and-Desist Notice

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/apollotv-streaming-app-shuts-down-following-ace-cease-and-desist-notice-200304/

While third-party Kodi addons remain popular with those seeking free access to premium video, standalone apps for Android and iOS have gained traction in recent years.

Easy to install and use on set-top boxes, tablets and phones, these tools often provide a Popcorn-Time or Showbox-like experience, offering the latest movies and TV shows in a familiar Netflix-style interface. On the one hand, they’re popular with users but Hollywood studios and other content creators consider them a risk to their business that needs to be countered.

ApolloTV is a relatively recent addition to the growing market. Available for iOS and Android, the application gained a reasonable following and is featured in dozens of tutorials and YouTube video installation guides. At the time of writing, however, it seems highly unlikely that the project will continue.

Over the past several days, rumors began to circulate that ApolloTV would be shutting down. The whispers suggested that the application’s developer had been targeted by copyright holders and as a result, the app would be discontinued. Counter-rumors suggested that the developer simply wanted a way out so TorrentFreak approached ‘Sam’ directly to find out.

“I received a cease and desist from the Alliance 4 Creativity – the same people who took down Openload and Streamango – citing ApolloTV making available copyrighted works copied and hosted by unaffiliated third parties without permission from the copyright holder,” Sam informs us.

The claim seems reasonable given the circumstances. ApolloTV didn’t host any content of its own but did provide access to content hosted on third-party file-hosting platforms, a common feature among similar ‘scraper’-type applications.

As TF discovered, Sam made little to no effort to hide his identity so it appears that ACE had few difficulties tracking him down. However, while we reached him easily via email, ACE managed to discover his home address which enabled them to serve the cease-and-desist notice by hand.

“I was surprised that I actually received the cease and desist physically, in person (it was delivered by a court officer), at my home address,” he explains.

Sam says that he doesn’t have the time or the resources to fight a lawsuit and since ACE were very reasonable, he’ll be complying with their requests immediately. He doesn’t want to go into too many additional details but says that as part of the settlement, he will need to shut down the project’s Github page and hand over the Apollo domain to ACE.

At the time of writing, the official ApolloTV repository on Github has been taken down. ACE nor the MPA appear to have filed any official DMCA takedown requests with the developer platform so at this point things seem to be progressing quickly on a voluntary basis.

TorrentFreak sought comment from ACE on the reported action but, at the time of publishing, we were yet to receive a response.

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

RapidVideo Agrees to Pay Settlement to ACE, Hands Over Domains

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpa-now-owns-rapidvideos-domain-names-200225/

Up until late last year RapidVideo was one of the largest video hosting sites on the Internet, used by millions of people.

Like many of its competitors, the platform was often frequented by pirates. As such, it was a thorn in the side of many major entertainment industry companies.

For RapidVideo this eventually culminated in a lawsuit filed by two members of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), Warner Bros. Entertainment and Netflix. The media companies hoped the court would to put an end to the site’s alleged infringing activity.

RapidVideo’s operator decided not to await the verdict and shut the site down without prior warning. This meant that from one day to the next, one of the largest sites on the Internet was gone.

While we already knew that the site wasn’t coming back, something changed a few days ago. Ownership of the Rapidvideo.com and Rapidvideo.is domains was handed over to the MPA, as the whois details below show.

Initially, it wasn’t clear whether RapidVideo’s operator handed over the domain names voluntarily. However, the MPA, which leads the global anti-piracy coalition ACE, informs TorrentFreak that the transfers are part of a settlement. This also marks the end of the German lawsuit.

“The case has now been closed, with the operator agreeing to transfer the domain names and to paying a substantial amount of damages to the ACE members,” says Jan Van Voon, MPA’s Chief of Global Content Protection.

After the MPA gained control over the domains, Rapidvideo.is started to redirect to the ACE website and the .com domain will likely follow suit. The same happened with similar sites that were previously taken over following legal pressure, including Openload and Streamango.

RapidVideo’s operator previously said that, before it shut down, ACE and the MPA demanded far-reaching anti-piracy measures. The rightsholders requested a thorough “take down, stay down” policy that would go further than hash or filename filtering.

Facing these demands as well as a legal battle, the site decided to throw in the towel instead.

This shutdown combined with the substantial settlement is yet another victory for ACE and its members. These include Netflix and Warner Bros. Entertainment, which got the ball rolling.

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

Anti-Piracy Coalition ACE Goes After Clipwatching and Fembed

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-coalition-ace-goes-after-clipwatching-and-fembed-200208/

The online piracy ecosystem is constantly evolving.

Ten years ago the entertainment industries were mostly concerned with torrent sites. Today, online streaming sites and services are the main challenges.

To tackle this threat, some of the largest companies in the world bundled their powers. In 2017 they formed the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), which lists prominent members including major Hollywood studios, Netflix, Amazon, and other entertainment giants.

The coalition has been very active both in- and outside of court. It has shut down various streaming tools, including unofficial Kodi add-ons and builds, and secured million-dollar judgments against pirate streaming box vendors.

This week we spotted a new tactic. On behalf of ACE, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) obtained a DMCA subpoena at a California District Court. The subpoena is directed at CDN provider Cloudflare and targets the video hosting services Fembed.com and Clipwatching.com.

Both sites allow users to upload videos that can be streamed from external sites. This makes them attractive to many pirate sites, which use these platforms to host their videos.

The MPA sees these hosting sites as pirate operations. In its submission to the US Trade Representative, the industry group highlighted Clipwatching.com as one of the most notorious copyright infringers online.

“As a video host, Clipwatching.com has a generous affiliation program, offering payments of $60 for every 10,000 views in tier 1 countries. Users can pay $30 per year to access the uploaded content without advertisements,” MPA wrote.

With the recently obtained subpoena, the MPA hopes to find out more about the people running these sites. Late last week it sent a copy of the legal paperwork to Cloudflare, asking it to hand over any personal information it has on the associated account holders.

“[Y]ou are required to disclose to the Motion Picture Association, Inc. (on behalf of the ACE Members) information sufficient to identify the infringers. This would include the individuals’ names, physical addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, payment information, account updates and account history,” the MPA informed Cloudflare.

According to the MPA, both sites have exploited the exclusive rights of ACE members. This includes hosting pirated copies of the movies “The Lion King” and “Daddy’s Home,” which remain online today.

The obtained personal information will be used to “protect” the movie companies’ copyrights, the MPA notes. Exactly how that will take place is unknown, but if the information is usable, the operators can expect some legal pressure.

These DMCA subpoenas are not new. The RIAA has been using the same tactic for a few months already, with mixed success. However, as far as we know, this is the first DMCA subpoena ACE has obtained against Cloudflare.

A copy of the subpoena the MPA obtained on behalf of ACE is available here (pdf). A copy of the letter to Cloudflare can be found here (pdf).

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

Domain Seizures Give ACE Anti-Piracy Portal a Massive Traffic Boost

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/domain-seizures-give-ace-anti-piracy-portal-a-massive-traffic-boost-191230/

In 2017, the newly formed anti-piracy group Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) announced its presence to the world. Headed up by the traditional studios of the MPA plus Netflix and Amazon, the coalition also featured dozens of global movie and TV show giants.

The clear aim of ACE is to tackle video piracy on a global scale by pooling resources, finances, and knowledge. At least publicly, the coalition had a relatively slow start but as projects came to fruition, sites and platforms associated with piracy began to fall.

Some legal battles were conducted publicly through US courts (Omniverse, SetTV) but many others were settled quietly behind the scenes, without any official announcements. But perhaps the most dramatic, such as the takedowns of major IPTV player Vaders and file-hosting platforms Openload and Streamango, began silently, never went to trial, and were only confirmed when big cash settlements were revealed.

But of course, cash wasn’t the only thing ACE demanded from these players. In numerous cases so far (1,2,3,4,5), ‘pirate’ platforms were also compelled to hand over their domain names to the MPA. However, instead of lying dormant, ACE now uses them to deliver a short message to former users, declaring that platforms have been shut down due to copyright infringement.

A few seconds later visitors are then diverted to ACE’s anti-piracy portal, a place where movies and TV shows can’t be found. Instead, pro-copyright messages are presented with every click alongside details of previous ACE successes, shutdowns, and some (but certainly not all) ACE domain seizures.

Despite plenty of smaller domain seizures, traffic to Alliance4Creativity.com was minimal right up until September 2019 but then things took off in a big way. SimilarWeb stats reveal that at the start of the month the site had around 10,000 monthly visits.

At the start of October, however, visits had skyrocketed to around 620,000 per month, an increase of more than 6000%.

While this increase is impressive in its own right, by the start of November ACE’s website was receiving 2.3 million monthly visits, around 23,000% up on September’s traffic. Leading pirate sites aside, many illicit platforms never reach this number of eyeballs.

Given that the Openload/Streamango shutdown took place on October 31, it seems likely that the majority of the traffic to ACE’s site comes from former users of the defunct file-hosting platforms.

Whether the figures will continue to rise when SimilarWeb’s stats update remains a question, however. It’s possible that all traffic is yet to be accounted for but as a negative, former Openload and Streamango users are unlikely to keep revisiting the domains now that they know that ACE is in control.

TorrentFreak approached ACE for comment on its increasingly ‘popular’ website, which is now delivering its anti-piracy message while being largely fueled by traffic from seized ‘pirate’ domains. Unfortunately, an ACE spokesperson declined on the group’s behalf.

In the background, however, more seizures are taking place. TF has discovered that in recent weeks ACE quietly took over the domains of another pair of allegedly-infringing sites, Jailbrokenfirestick.com and Jailbrokefiretv.com. In common with other smaller seizures, no official announcements were made but nevertheless, will still add to the Alliance’s growing website traffic.

Finally, there’s a strong chance that ACE will be analyzing the traffic hitting these former ‘pirate’ domains that they now own. While that data isn’t likely to be particularly useful from a direct litigation perspective, it will certainly prove of interest to the global anti-piracy alliance.

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

SET TV Operator and Manager Must Pay Millions in Piracy Damages

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/set-tv-operator-and-manager-must-pay-millions-in-piracy-damages-191130/

The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the anti-piracy alliance featuring several Hollywood studios, Amazon, Netflix and other entertainment outfits, has declared war on pirate streaming services.

The alliance is the driving force behind several lawsuits including the one filed against Florida-based IPTV service SET TV early last year.

At the time, SET TV was a popular software-based IPTV service that was also sold pre-loaded with set-top boxes. While it was marketed as a legal service, ACE members framed it as little more than a pirate tool, allowing buyers to stream copyright-infringing content.

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

Soon after the lawsuit was filed the IPTV service went offline, leaving its 180,000 subscribers behind. But that didn’t mean the case against SET TV, its owner Jason Labossiere, and employee Nelson Johnson, was over. ACE pressed on, hoping to get a judgment in its favor.

Without any of the defendants putting up a defense, ACE booked its first victory a few months ago. The media companies submitted a motion for a default judgment against the company SET Broadcast, LLC, which the court granted.

ACE celebrated the victory in public, but the matter wasn’t completely closed. The anti-piracy alliance managed to secure a judgment against the company, but not the two employees. To address that, the copyright holders went back to the court requesting another default judgment.

This week the U.S. District Court for Central California granted their request. SET TV owner Jason Labossiere and employee Nelson Johnson, who both failed to put up a defense, were found guilty of willful copyright infringement.

The rightsholders demanded the maximum in statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the 51 infringed works. The Court deemed this appropriate. The mentioned works were just a small sample so the actual damages “would likely be astronomically higher.”

As a result, Labossiere and Johnson must pay $7,650,000 in damages. The two are jointly and severally liable, meaning that both can be required to pay the full amount if the other is unable to.

In addition to the damages, the Court also issued a permanent injunction to prevent any future copyright infringement. Among other things, the men are prohibited from operating the Set TV Now service, as well as any website, system, software, or service that is substantially similar.

With judgments against all defendants, the most recent order effectively ends the SET TV lawsuit. However, it’s certainly not the end of ACE’s legal campaigns.

A copy of the default judgment granted by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald, is available here (pdf).

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

IPTV Supplier Omniverse Agrees to Pay $50 Million in Piracy Damages

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/iptv-supplier-omniverse-agrees-to-pay-50-million-in-piracy-damages-191113/

In February, several major Hollywood studios filed a lawsuit against Omniverse One World Television.

Under the flag of anti-piracy group ACE, the companies accused Omniverse and its owner Jason DeMeo of supplying of pirate streaming channels to various IPTV services.

Omniverse sold live-streaming services to third-party distributors, such as Dragon Box and HDHomerun, which in turn offered live TV streaming packages to customers. According to ACE, the company was a pirate streaming TV supplier, offering these channels without permission from its members.

Omniverse disagreed with this characterization and countered that it did everything by the book. It relied on a deal from the licensed cable company Hovsat, which has a long-standing agreement with DirecTV to distribute a broad range of TV-channels with few restrictions.

Omniverse

As time went on, however, it transpired that the streaming provider was clearly worried about the legal threat. After several of its distributors distanced themselves from the service, Omniverse decided to wind down its business.

The streaming provider also filed a third-party complaint (pdf) against Hovsat for indemnification and breach of contract, among other things. Omniverse believed that it was properly licensed and wants Hovsat to pay the damages for any alleged infringements if that was not the case.

That there are damages became crystal clear yesterday, when ACE announced that it had obtained a consent judgment against Omniverse. Both parties have agreed to settle the matter with the streaming provider committing to pay a $50 million settlement.

“Damages are awarded in favor of Plaintiffs and against Defendants,
jointly and severally, in the total amount of fifty million dollars,” the proposed judgment reads.

The agreement also includes a permanent injunction that prevents Omniverse and its owner Jason DeMeo from operating the service and being involved in supplying or offering pirate streaming channels in any other way.

The damages amount of $50 million is a substantial figure. In the past, however, we have seen that the public figure can be substantially higher than what’s agreed in private. In any case, Omniverse may hold Hovsat accountable, as previously suggested.

Karen Thorland, Senior Vice President at the Motion Picture Association, which has a leading role in the ACE coalition, is pleased with the outcome.

“This judgment and injunction are a major win for creators, audiences, and the legitimate streaming market, which has been undermined by Omniverse and its ‘back office’ piracy infrastructure for years,” Thorland, says

Over the past years, ACE has built a steady track record of successful cases against IPTV providers and services. In addition to Omniverse, it also helped to shut down SetTV, Dragon Box, TickBox, Vader Streams, and many third-party Kodi addons.

The consent judgment and permanent injunction (pdf) have yet to be signed off by the court but since both parties are in agreement, that’s mostly a formality.

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

ACE Hits Two More Pirate Streaming Sites, Seizes More Openload Domains

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/ace-hits-two-more-pirate-streaming-sites-seizes-more-openload-domains-191110/

After a standing start just over two years ago, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment quickly became the most feared anti-piracy group on the planet.

Compromised of around three dozen entertainment companies, including the major Hollywood studios, Netflix and Amazon, the group now targets piracy on a global scale, sharing resources and costs to tackle infringement wherever it might be.

Last week the group took down Openload and Streamango, a dramatic and significant action by any standard. However, as documented here on several occasions (1,2,3), the anti-piracy group also shuts down smaller players with little to no fanfare. Today we can report that another two sites have joined the club.

The first, IPTVBox.plus, appears to have been a seller/reseller of IPTV services targeted at the Brazilian market. Its packages started off pretty cheaply, less than US$4.50 for around 1000 standard definition channels.

The ‘master’ package, however, offered an impressive 13,000 mixed SD, HD and ‘FullHD’ channels for around US$9.70 per month, almost double the price but still cheap by most standards.

IPTVBox.plus…..gone

Thanks to the intervention of ACE, however, the site’s domain is now in the hands of the MPA. A notice on the site informs visitors that the platform bit the dust for infringing copyright. The familiar timer then runs down to zero and diverts disappointed users to the ACE homepage for a lesson in copyright.

Finally, a dedicated streaming portal has also handed over its domain to ACE. PlanetaTVonlineHD.com first appeared online in 2015, streaming popular TV shows such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Prison Break to a fairly sizeable audience.

But now, without any official announcement from ACE, the show is clearly over for the TV show streaming platform.

Like so many other similar sites and services, its domain now redirects to the ACE anti-piracy portal. What happened between the parties may never be known but it seems fairly obvious that the group’s influence convinced the site’s operator that continuing just wasn’t worth the trouble.

Finally, over the past week ACE has been taking control of more Openload, Streamango, and StreamCherry domains. We previously reported that Openload.co, oload.cc, oload.club, oload.download, openload.pw and oloadcdn.net had been seized, but more can be added to the list. They are:

StreamCherry.com, Oload.stream, fruithosted.net, oload.win, oload.life, oload.services, oload.xyz, oload.space, oload.biz, oload.vip, oload.tv, oload.monster, oload.best, oload.press, oload.live, oload.site, oload.network, oload.website, oload.online, olpair.com, and openload.status.

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

Global Anti-Piracy Coalition Takes On Password Sharing

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/global-anti-piracy-coalition-takes-on-password-sharing-191031/

The online piracy ecosystem is constantly evolving.

Ten years ago the entertainment industries were mostly concerned with torrent sites. Today, different types of unauthorized online streaming are the main challenge.

To tackle this threat, some of the largest companies in the world bundled their powers. In 2017 they formed the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), which lists prominent members including major Hollywood studios, Netflix, Amazon, and other entertainment giants.

More recently, Internet providers started to join the alliance. Earlier this month Comcast was presented as the first ISP to join, but the Canadian company Bell is also a member. Yesterday, Charter was added to the growing group.

The addition of these names isn’t a complete surprise as most telecom companies are content companies as well nowadays. As such, they have a vested interest in limiting online piracy. Thus far, ACE has done so by focusing on bringing down unauthorized streaming services, including Set TV and Dragon Box.

However, there’s another threat on the horizon that needs to be addressed: password sharing. While it is is far removed from the typical piracy scenario where someone shares a file without permission, sharing a password is also seen as facilitating unauthorized access.

Most media platforms haven’t strictly enforced this type of unauthorized use but, according to ACE, the issue is now on the agenda.

A working group will focus on reducing unauthorized access to content. While this is a rather broad description, ACE adds that it will offer opportunities to share “best practices” on issues including “improper password sharing” and “inadequate encryption.”

Tom Rutledge, CEO of ACE’s newest member, Charter, immediately embraced the password sharing topic, which the company is looking forward to addressing.

“We are very pleased that ACE and its coalition of members have committed through this initiative to take on unauthorized password sharing and other content security practices, and we look forward to working together on this important issue,” Rutledge said.

According to Charter, both creators, distributors, and consumers will benefit from a unified strategy to tackle this and other ‘piracy’ threats.

“Consumer, creators, and distributors alike will benefit from collaborative solutions that make content more secure and curtail unauthorized copyright use and distribution, while preserving the customer’s ability to enjoy the content rights they’ve purchased on the network, platform, device, and locations to which they subscribe,” Rutledge adds.

This isn’t the first time Charter has mentioned password sharing as a problem. Last week, the company also highlighted this as part of a new content distribution deal with Fox.

Also, ACE’s focus on password sharing comes roughly two weeks after its member Netflix addressed the issue in its latest quarterly earnings call. There, Netflix chief product officer Greg Peters said that the company will continue to monitor the situation, adding that no concrete actions are planned yet.

“So we’re looking at the situation and, you know, we’ll see, getting those consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that, but I think we’ve got no big plans to announce at this point in time in terms of doing something differently there,” Peters said.

According to research published by Magid last year, Netflix alone could miss out on roughly $135 million in subscriptions alone due to password sharing, which is a rather substantial amount.

However, as is often the case with “unauthorized” access, these one-on-one calculations are not very reliable. It’s unrealistic to think and all the people who share passwords now will suddenly pay for a subscription if they can’t. In fact, some people may simply cancel theirs, if they can’t share a password.

This may be where ACE comes in. With all the major streaming players combined in a single anti-piracy coalition, they have the opportunity to streamline their strategies in “best practices”, so consumers don’t simply walk over to the next competitor.

With ACE’s focus on password sharing, it’s clear that the problem is being taken seriously, and that countermeasures are being considered.

TorrentFreak reached out to ACE for further details on password sharing and how it compares to traditional piracy, but the organization has yet to provide a comment.

We also asked the group about Charter’s involvement in a rather prominent piracy lawsuit, where several major music labels accuse the ISP of not doing enough to curb piracy. We have yet to hear back on that as well.

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

More ‘Pirate’ CDNs Shut Down Following BREIN, MPA, ACE Legal Action

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/more-pirate-cdns-shut-down-following-brein-mpa-ace-legal-action-191025/

Last Friday, Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN teamed up with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment to take action against a massive supplier of pirate movies and TV shows.

Moonwalk, as the Content Delivery Network was known, supplied an estimated 80% of known Russian streaming portals. These sites were able to embed a video player which presented not only movies and TV shows from Moonwalk, but advertising too. For this service, Moonwalk reportedly paid the sites $0.60 per 1000 views.

After bailiffs acting on BREIN’s behalf served ex parte court orders on five Netherlands-based hosting providers, which required them to disconnect and preserve evidence on Moonwalk’s operations, the CDN shut down, stating it would “NEVER be up again“.

This week TorrentFreak spoke with cybersecurity company Group-IB. The Singapore-based firm, which is a partner of both INTERPOL and Europol, had previously supplied us with information detailing the activities of Moonwalk. It has now provided an interesting update on the fallout from last week’s legal action.

Group-IB says that at the time of its shutdown, Moonwalk was even bigger than the conservative figures published by BREIN last week suggest. While BREIN claimed more than 26,000 movies and 10,000 TV shows were stored, Group-IB says that 28,258 movies were being distributed alongside 14,549 TV shows at the time of the shutdown.

However, it’s the knock-on effect and the state of the market after the takedown that raises the most interest.

Group-IB informs us that another big “pirate-powered” CDN known as HDGO has also shut down following the action by BREIN and its partners. The cybersecurity firm believes that the closures are connected because HDGO used some of the same infrastructure as Moonwalk.

“Compared with other CDNs HDGO provided new content faster and guaranteed a higher income for pirate websites’ owners,” says Dmitry Tyunkin, Deputy Director of Anti-Piracy and Brand Protection at Group-IB.

A second “pirate-powered” CDN, known online as Kodik, has also shut down as a result of the Moonwalk action. Again, Kodik is believed to have used the same infrastructure as Moonwalk and HDGO, suggesting that the BREIN court orders may have had an even wider effect.

“The Kodik CDN used some of Moonwalk’s servers, especially the ones where TV show content was stored. According to our estimates, Kodik could have lost 8,000 out of 17,000 TV shows. It’s known that there was a pirated content ‘exchange agreement’ between Moonwalk and Kodik,” Tyunkin adds.

It’s estimated that Moonwalk’s CDN player could have been built-in into thousands of websites so the removal of the players could have an even more profound effect.

“In the short-term perspective, the shutdown of Moonwalk, HDGO and Kodik could mean a big blow to online piracy in Russia and can potentially contain pirated video content distribution for some time.”

But Moonwalk, HDGO, and Kodik weren’t the only players in the ‘pirate CDN’ market. Group-IB says that despite the magnitude of the recent efforts and initial fallout, in the long-term the “many competitors” of Moonwalk are likely to step in to facilitate supply.

The company believes there are 10 “pirate-powered” CDNs still supplying the market, including major players HDVB, VideoCDN, and Collaps.

“According to Group-IB’s data, 80% of pirated movies in Russia are now streamed, a figure that increases to 90% for TV shows,” the company says.

“The majority of Russian online pirates use CDNs because they store hundreds of thousands of files containing films and TV series, and offer a technical service that allows to automatically place this content on pirate websites.

“Some of these technical CDN providers also offer web modules that autofill sites with film posters and descriptions, and in some cases even supply unique reviews.”

Finally, in terms of impact on the global market, Group-IB believes the shutdowns have the potential to affect between 5 and 10 percent of worldwide supply but cautions that this is “definitely a temporary change.”

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

RapidVideo Shuts Down Following Legal Pressure from Warner Bros and Netflix

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/rapidvideo-shuts-down-following-legal-pressure-from-warner-bros-and-netflix-191021/

RapidVideo is a popular file-hosting service that specializes in hosting videos.

Similar to other file-hosting services, it can be used for good and bad. The bad, in this case, is people uploading pirated videos. 

Whether the site’s operators want it or not, that’s what many of RapidVideo’s users are indeed doing. Two weeks ago this resulted in yet another scathing report from movie industry group MPA, which branded the site as a “notorious” piracy haven. 

Behind the scenes, the website’s operator faces mounting pressure as well. RapidVideo has been targeted by lawyers from the MPA and ACE, two of the most powerful anti-piracy forces, which are demanding far-reaching copyright enforcement measures from the site.

To back up their pressure, two MPA/ACE members, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Netflix, filed a lawsuit in Germany to stop the alleged copyright infringements the site enables. While this case remains ongoing, the site’s operator decided not to await the verdict and has shut the site down effective immediately.

The millions of users who regularly visit the site currently see nothing more than a 404 error.

RapidVideo not accessible

TorrentFreak spoke to “Alex Bytes,” the operator of RapidVideo, who informed us that the shutdown is permanent. The site’s operator already considered throwing the towel after the adoption of the new EU Copyright Directive earlier this year, which may make upload filters semi-mandatory for some sites.

“It was high time to quit, because of the upcoming law changes within the EU, due to Article 13/17, where it is a more challenging situation for service providers,” RapidVideo’s Alex tells us.

By shutting the service down, RapidVideo also hopes to get the lawsuit from Warner Bros. and Netflix off its back. In addition, Alex points out that advertising revenues were dropping significantly, so it was hardly worth continuing anyway.

According to RapidVideo’s operator, ACE and the MPA previously demanded far-reaching measures to prevent piracy. The rightsholders requested a thorough “take down, stay down” policy, that would go further than hash or filename filtering.

Instead, rightsholders wanted the site to implement a system similar to YouTube’s Content-ID where more advanced fingerprinting techniques are used to match file uploads to potentially infringing content.

This wasn’t an option for RapidVideo, likely because it would require substantial investments. The other option, shutting the entire site down, became more and more attractive instead, especially in light of the pending lawsuit.

“By shutting down, the lawyers have no more reason to fight in the court against me,” Alex tells us.

For now, however, the court case remains ongoing. TorrentFreak reached out to the lawyer of Warner Bros. and Netflix for a comment on RapidVideo’s decision and the future of their legal claims, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

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

Comcast Becomes First ISP to Join ACE Global Anti-Piracy Coalition

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/comcast-becomes-first-isp-to-join-ace-global-anti-piracy-coalition-191016/

In the summer of 2017, one of the most important anti-piracy initiatives of recent years was born.

After years of protecting their own content from unlicensed reproduction and distribution, 30 of the world’s most powerful media companies came together to form the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).

Led by the MPAA (now MPA), the companies declared a pooling of resources to tackle piracy more efficiently and on a global scale. Since then, ACE has added several new members to bolster the ranks and this week added two more, one of which is particularly notable.

“We are excited to have Comcast and Viacom join ACE – our leading global content protection organization,” says Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association.

“As the parent companies of two of our original members, they have been supporters of our efforts and numerous successes, but now as members, they will strengthen the legal and operational work we’re able to do to reduce the threat of piracy and support creators.”

Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures, which in turn is a current member of both the MPA and ACE. It also owns UK-based Channel 5, which joined ACE in March 2019.

Comcast owns ACE members NBCUniversal, Sky, and Telemundo, all of which have been with the alliance from its inception. Comcast also operates telecoms giant Comcast Cable, which under the Xfinity brand is one of the largest telecoms companies in the United States.

The addition of Comcast to the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment is intriguing. Among almost three dozen other current members, it is the first Internet service provider to commit to the global anti-piracy initiative. How that will play out on the ground is currently unclear.

Given that three of its subsidiaries are already members, the addition of Comcast seems a logical move. ACE, however, seems to be placing emphasis on Comcast’s position as a major ISP which, with imagination, could have all kinds of implications when it comes to anti-piracy enforcement.

ACE plays its cards very close to its chest and we know it only publicizes a small percentage of its actions. As previously reported, many others are kept deliberately quiet. What we know thus far though, is that ACE tends to focus on the provision and distribution of infringing content, rather than targeting end-users – customers of ISPs for example.

Nevertheless, that Comcast and by extension Xfinity are now part of the world’s largest anti-piracy coalition should give pause for thought. If nothing else it shows clear intent by an ISP to positively participate in the global fight against movie and TV show piracy, in all its forms. ACE will no doubt consider this a major achievement.

The full list of members of the ACE anti-piracy coalition now reads as follows: Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Channel 5, Comcast, Constantin Film, Discovery, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telefe, Telemundo, Televisa, Univision Communications Inc., Viacom, Village Roadshow, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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Battle Against IPTV Continues As MPA & ACE Take Over Four More Domains

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/battle-against-iptv-mpa-ace-take-over-four-more-domains-191013/

If the figures that were cited following the recent international police operation against Xtream Codes are any yardstick, providers and sellers of ‘pirate’ IPTV providers currently number in their thousands.

While there are relatively few sources at the very top of the pyramid, there could be in excess of 5,000 players selling IPTV subscriptions to the public, which by recent estimates could dwarf even the five million accounts cited by the authorities.

In common with the task of removing every torrent, streaming and similar site from the Internet, the possibility of handing a death blow to the entire IPTV industry seems a distant dream for content providers. But that doesn’t mean incremental efforts aren’t underway.

As previously documented, the massive Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which comprises dozens of the world’s largest content companies, is quietly taking down sellers and providers of IPTV. Today we can reveal that another four have had their domains commandeered by MPA America, the organization previously known as the MPAA.

VStreamTV.com first appeared to gain traction back in 2015, selling an inconspicuous set-top box to the public. Promising no contract and no monthly fees, the $349 device boasted 100,000 movies and TV shows, plus 1,000 channels of live entertainment.

Also say ‘Yes’ to an ACE takeover, apparently….

By 2019, the site was offering its latest ‘VS4+’ device, promising unlimited entertainment to customers looking to permanently cut the cord. Then, a few weeks ago, it all came to an end. The site shut down without notice after its domain was taken over by the MPA. Like many before it, it now directs to the anti-piracy portal operated by ACE.

According to web records, MaxTVLive.com only appeared on the scene in 2018. Among other things, the site seems to have offered a custom Android APK to be installed on users’ own devices. For the price of $25 per month, Max TV users could enjoy live TV and other content on a single device, with extra devices costing an extra $5 per month.

However in common with VStreamTV, a few weeks ago the party came to an abrupt end. It seems likely that ACE came knocking with demands to shut down the business as the service’s website is now owned by the MPA and redirects to the ACE portal.

What ultimately happened with MyIQXTV.com isn’t in question – it was taken over by the MPA and now redirects to the ACE portal. We weren’t able to recover a copy of the operation’s website but if it was in any way connected to the IXQtv service (note subtle difference in spelling), it’s no surprise it appeared on the MPA/ACE radar.

IXQtv shut down August 1st and was no ordinary operation. While many IPTV providers operate via resellers, IXQtv operated a ridiculously full-blown multi-level-marketing (MLM) scheme which paid affiliates not only on sales of streaming packages but also commissions for recruiting yet more affiliates. Think Amway for IPTV.

Finally, the obviously-named JailbrokenBlackBox.co takes last place on today’s update of recent domain takeovers. Information on precisely what packages, services or tools the site offered isn’t clear but like the others, it clearly attracted the negative attention of the world’s biggest entertainment companies.

Details of earlier domain takeovers carried out by ACE and the MPA against IPTV-related operations can be found here (1,2,3,4)

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ACE Also Wants Millions in Piracy Damages from SET TV Operator and Manager

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/ace-also-wants-millions-in-piracy-damages-from-set-tv-operator-and-manager/

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

At the time, the company offered a popular software-based IPTV service and also sold pre-loaded set-top boxes. These were portrayed as legitimate, but ACE and its members disagreed.

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

Soon after the lawsuit was filed the IPTV service went offline, leaving its 180,000 subscribers behind. But that didn’t mean the case against SET TV, its owner Jason Labossiere, and its employee Nelson Johnson was over. ACE pressed on, hoping to get a judgment in its favor.

Without any of the defendants putting up a defense, ACE booked its first victory a few months ago. The media companies submitted a motion for a default judgment against the company SET Broadcast, LLC, which the court granted.

In a ruling handed down last July, the court ordered SET TV to pay $7,650,000. This reflects the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the 51 works that were infringed by the defunct IPTV provider.

While ACE was pleased with the outcome, it wasn’t done yet. The default judgment only applied to the corporate entity, not the owner and its employee. With a new request, the anti-piracy alliance hopes to hold Labossiere and Johnson liable as well.

While the other two defendants initially responded to the court, they didn’t answer any recent requests. As such, ACE is now requesting a similar default judgment against Labossiere and Johnson, holding them jointly and severally for the payment of the $7,650,000 in damages

“Defendants Labossiere and Johnson are the individual Defendants who operated, managed, and ultimately profited from the willful, unlawful business of Set Broadcast. Settled law permits entry of default against willful infringers likeLabossiere and Johnson who refuse to participate in their own defense,” ACE writes.

“Plaintiffs therefore respectfully request that the Court enter default judgment against Labossiere and Johnson and hold them jointly and severally liable for the harm they inflicted upon Plaintiffs,” the Alliance adds.

In addition to the damages, ACE also requests a permanent injunction to prevent any future copyright infringement. Among other things, the defendants should be prohibited from operating the SetTV now service, as well as any website, system, software, or service that is substantially similar.

Without a response from the defendants, it’s likely that the court will grant the order.

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MPA America Quietly Takes Over Yet More ‘Pirate’ IPTV Domains

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mpa-america-quietly-takes-over-yet-more-pirate-iptv-domains-190920/

When pirate sites are taken down following legal action, it’s not uncommon for the plaintiffs to try and take control of their domains.

The practice has been going on for years, with domains like isoHunt.com and the affiliated Podtropolis.com still redirecting to an anti-piracy page operated by the MPAA.

More recently we’ve reported on the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (which is headed up by the MPAA or MPA America as it’s now known) taking over domains previously used to offer ‘pirate’ IPTV services. They include OneStepTV, TVStreamsNow and DoozerIPTV but none of these ‘seizures’ have been reported by the organization.

Behind the scenes, however, many more additional takeovers are taking place, all without fanfare.

Visitors to former IPTV provider BestTVStream, for example, are now being directed to ACE’s anti-piracy portal. The signs suggest that the service may have come to some agreement with ACE which included handing over its domain to MPA A, but no public details are available.

A similar scenario faces former customers of IPTV provider XCaliberTV who are now being informed that the service has been shut down due to copyright infringement before being diverted to ACE’s site in the same manner.

Exactly the same can be said of More Media Solutions, which operated from MoreMediaBox.com. One day last month it was working, the next it began diverting to ACE, with no one saying a word.

One of the more curious ‘seizures’ involves two domains with the same initial name – rveal.biz and rveal.xyz. According to a capture by the Wayback Machine, the former of these domains previously diverted to Rveal.com, which is a still-functioning site offering Android-style TV boxes. Previously, it appears that Rveal sold devices that claimed to provide access to premium content for free.

We contacted Rveal for comment a little while back but in common with similar inquiries placed with some former operators of other apparently ‘seized’ or ‘commandeered’ domains, we received no response.

We cannot draw any firm conclusions from that silence but not wanting to say much – if anything at all – does seem to be the norm in many of these domain cases, both before, during, and after ‘seizure’. The Vaders.tv and Minihosts.org takedowns were well-publicized, but many others are quietly being dealt with, quite probably with the agreement of the parties involved.

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Vader Streams Was Shut Down By ACE, Must Pay $10m Damages

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/vader-streams-was-shut-down-by-ace-must-pay-10m-damages-190821/

There are several large IPTV providers with brands that are well known across the unlicensed industry. One of those was Vader, otherwise known as Vader Streams, or just Vaders.

Notable for its Darth Vader logo, the platform served large numbers of direct customers and subscription re-sellers with at least 1,300 TV channels and a library of VOD content running close to 3,000 titles.

This May, however, something went seriously wrong.

“We have no choice but to close down Vader. We can’t reveal much publically, but by now some of you should know through the other means what happened,” a notice posted to the site’s Telegram channel read.

“We tried everything in our power to avoid this, to avoid any outage, but enough people worked against us.”

With that, Vader went down, never to appear again. As highlighted in our subsequent review of the Vader closure, we had strong suspicions that anti-piracy giant the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) had become involved.

We’d obtained an unverified copy of what looked like a cease-and-desist notice, apparently sent by ACE members to Vader, over its VOD content. Unable to confirm its authenticity, we made a decision not to publish it.

However, it’s now 100% clear that ACE, the global anti-piracy company made up of dozens of powerful content companies, did indeed shutter Vader. And it’s now evident why they refused to comment.

ACE proceeded against Vader through a secret court proceeding in Canada through which it obtained a so-called “Anton Piller” order, a civil search warrant that grants plaintiffs no-notice permission to enter a defendant’s premises in order to secure and copy evidence to support their case, before it can be destroyed or tampered with. A similar process was used against TVAddons founder Adam Lackman in 2017.

While the case against Lackman is moving forward at glacial speed more than two years later, the Vader matter now appears to be over. After obtaining a permanent injunction from the Federal Court in Canada, ACE has shuttered the service and landed Vader with a bill for $10 million in damages.

According to ACE, Vader must also “cede administrative control” over its entire “piracy infrastructure”, permanently cease-and-desist from doing anything in future connected to offering, selling, or promoting unlicensed streams, and/or developing, updating, hosting or promoting any Kodi add-ons connected to pirated content.

“On behalf of all ACE members, I applaud the Court’s decision to permanently put an end to piracy operations conducted by Vader Streams,” Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement.

“Actions like these can help reduce piracy and promote a dynamic, legal marketplace for creative content that provides audiences with more choices than ever before, while supporting millions of jobs in the film and television industry.”

Robert Malcolmson, Senior Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, Bell Canada – a prominent ACE member – described the action by the Federal Court as “strong and appropriate”, adding that “illegal streaming services like Vader Streams cause serious harm to creators and distributors, the entire broadcasting and cultural sectors and ultimately Canadian consumers.”

While ACE says that Vader must “cede administrative control” over its entire “piracy infrastructure”, it remains unclear what that means in real terms.

At the time of the shutdown, Vader said that it was “going to make sure, no Email, IP, account + reseller name goes to the wrong hands. Everything will be wiped clean and that’s all.”

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IPTV Service SET TV Must Pay $7.6 Million in Piracy Damages

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/iptv-service-set-tv-must-pay-7-6-million-in-piracy-damages-190801/

Last year the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), an anti-piracy partnership forged between Hollywood studios, Netflix, Amazon, and others, sued Florida-based SET Broadcast, LLC.

At the time, the company offered a popular software-based IPTV service and also sold pre-loaded set-top boxes.

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

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

Initially, SET TV hired an attorney who informed the court that it had stopped offering its service and subscriptions. At the same time, it denied the copyright infringement allegations. After this initial response, however, things went quiet.

SET TV stopped responding, even to requests for payments from its own lawyer, who eventually withdrew from the case. This lack of progress eventually prompted the copyright holders to request a default judgment.

According to Netflix, Amazon and the Hollywood studios, SET TV is guilty of willful copyright infringement. The service caused their entire business model “immense damage” and to compensate these losses, they requested the maximum statutory damages for a total of 51 works.

After a careful review of the paperwork, US District Judge Michael Fitzgerald sided with the copyright holders.

In a default judgment released this week, the court orders SET TV to pay $7,650,000. This reflects the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the 51 works that were infringed by the defunct IPTV provider.

from the judgment

The Judge notes that awarding the maximum amount of damages is appropriate in this case, as the 51 works are just a small fraction of the actual number works that were infringed.

“Thus, the actual damages in this case would likely be astronomically higher than the measure provided by the maximum statutory damages for the furnished representative works,” Judge Fitzgerald writes.

In addition to the damages, the Court also issued a permanent injunction to prevent any future copyright infringement. Among other things, SET TV is prohibited from operating its Settv now service, as well as any website, system, software, or service that is substantially similar.

Karen Thorland, Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at the MPAA, which is also part of ACE, is happy with the outcome.

“SetTVNow and other piracy outfits threaten millions of creators, damage economic growth, and hurt consumers,” Thorland says.

“The victory over SetTVNow is a great step forward to reducing the piracy of movies and television shows, including the theft of live TV. It also continues ACE’s legal and operational victories, which continue to protect the legitimate market for creative content,” she adds.

Whether SET TV, which is incorporated as Set Broadcast LLC, can pay the full damages is unknown. The company previously reached a settlement with Dish last November, agreeing to pay more than $90 million in damages. Considering this, it’s doubtful that there is much money left.

A copy of the default judgment against Set Broadcast LLC is available here (pdf).

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Netflix and Hollywood Want Millions in Piracy Damages from SET TV

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-and-hollywood-want-millions-in-piracy-damages-from-set-tv-190701/

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

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

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

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

Initially, SET TV hired an attorney who informed the court that it had stopped offering its service and subscriptions. At the same time, the copyright infringement allegations were denied. After this initial response, however, things quietened down.

When the copyright holders requested to depose owner SET TV owner Jason Labossiere and its employee Nelson Johnson, who are both listed as defendants, they failed to respond. The same was true for the corporate entity.

Not much later SET TV’s lawyer withdrew from the case, citing unpaid invoices. This lack of progress eventually prompted the copyright holders to file for an entry of default. This was awarded and a few days ago Netflix, Amazon and the Hollywood studios submitted their demands.

According to a filing at a California Federal court, the rightsholders argue that SET TV (Set Broadcast) is guilty of willful copyright infringement. To compensate their losses, they request the maximum statutory damages for a total of 51 works.

“Set Broadcast has willfully infringed Plaintiffs’ Copyrighted Works and, in
doing so, caused Plaintiffs and their entire business model immense damage. The $7,650,000 statutory damages sought here therefore represents only a fraction of the actual damages inflicted by Set Broadcast on Plaintiffs,” the motion reads.

The motion notes that SET TV had 260,000 monthly users, of which a significant percentage accessed copyright-infringing content. The 51 works that are mentioned in the motion are just the tip of the iceberg, the rightsholders note, which further supports the request for substantial damages.

In addition to monetary relief, the companies also request a permanent injunction to prevent any infringements of their works going forward. This is needed, they argue, because it’s possible that the infringing activities will continue at a later date.

“Though the Setvnow service appears to no longer be available, Set Broadcast’s apparent cessation of its willful and flagrant infringement does not and should not prevent this Court from exercising its discretion to permanently enjoin Set Broadcast from infringing Plaintiffs’ Copyrighted Works.

“There is a significant threat of continuing irreparable injuries to Plaintiffs,” they add.

With SET TV no longer defending itself, it is likely that the court will side with the copyright holders. However, the question remains whether they will ever see a piece of the millions that they’re after.

In a similar copyright infringement case,  SET TV previously reached a settlement with Dish last November, agreeing to pay more than $90 million in damages. Considering this, it’s doubtful that there is much money left to take.

–=

A copy of the motion for default judgment, submitted on behalf of Amazon, Netflix, Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Television, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios, Universal Cable Productions, Universal Television, and Warner Bros. is available here (pdf).

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SET TV Loses Lawyer and Goes Dark in Piracy Case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Popular Streaming Site Pelispedia Shuts Down, Operators Arrested

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/popular-streaming-site-pelispedia-shuts-down-operators-arrested-190522/

With over a million visitors per day, Pelispedia.tv was one of the most popular streaming sites in Latin America. 

Just a few weeks ago, it was highlighted by the US Trade Representative as a notorious pirate site, following a referral from Hollywood’s MPAA. 

By then, rightsholders and enforcement authorities already had their eyes focused on the site’s alleged operators, a couple from Uruguay. Following collaborative efforts from Interpol, rightsholders, and Uruguayan authorities, this culminated in two arrests last week.

According to Uruguayan prosecutor Mónica Ferrero, the alleged operators are charged with “a continuing offense of making available a digital broadcast for profit without the written authorization of their respective holders or successors, and a crime of money laundering.”

The two, who are referred to in local media by their initials JAGR and MJHG, will remain in custody for  30 days. Their case is being handled by a court specialized in organized crime, which will take a closer look at the allegations. 

Initially, Pelispedia.tv remained online following the arrests, but since yesterday it is no longer available. The sister site Pelisplus is still accessible but is also expected to shut down.

Pelispedia

The pair reportedly have no other employment and made roughly $5,000 per month from the business. In addition to the arrests, several assets were seized including hardware, a 2008 Peugeot, a 2014 Volkswagon, $1,257 in cash, and two Payoneer cards. 

The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment collaborated with the authorities and is pleased with the outcome thus far.

“We thank Interpol, the Uruguayan police, and prosecutors for their leadership in this important action against a major illegal streaming service operator,” ACE spokesperson Richard VanOrnum said, commenting on the news.

MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin agrees and sees the shutdown of Pelispedia.tv as another example of ACE’s successful and ongoing global effort to reduce piracy.

“Each time we collaborate with law enforcement authorities to disrupt major piracy operations like Pelispedia.tv, we support the millions of people around the world working in the film and television industry and the dynamic legal marketplace for creative content,” Rivkin notes.

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MPAA / ACE Shut Down ‘Pirate’ IPTV Service, Seize Domain

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-ace-shut-down-pirate-iptv-service-seize-domain-190517/

In 2015, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a new initiative designed to target existing and developing piracy operations on a global scale, announced its launch.

Headed up by the studios of the MPAA plus Netflix and Amazon, more than 30 international media now complete its ranks, including the likes of BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada, MGM, and Village Roadshow, to name just a few.

In addition to targeting Kodi add-ons and their developers, ACE has made unlicensed IPTV services one of its priorities. This morning we can report that the anti-piracy giant has claimed another scalp.

In the grand scheme, OneStepTV.com appears to have been a relative newcomer. Archives suggest that the service launched in 2018 and grew to offer around 600 TV channels and 20,000 pieces of VOD content (such as movies), for $25 per month or less.

No credit checks…

While many of One Step TV’s customers appeared to have enjoyed the service, a few weeks ago problems appear to have become evident to subscribers looking to renew their package.

A post on Facebook dated April 25, 2019, signaled payment processing issues, one of the most common signs that a platform might be in trouble.

“We have been subscribers for awhile now and like your service very much. We are a little confused and concerned as recently we were told that customers cannot renew their subscriptions anymore,” the post reads.

“Is your business going away, or do you anticipate fixing the payment issue in the near future? We really would like to continue doing business with you.”

A few days later, more serious issues hit the streaming service. With its payment processing suspended, the platform itself disappeared.

One Step TV — gone

One Step TV’s public social media posts don’t give any explanation for the outage but yesterday an ominous change to the service’s homepage gave the clearest indication yet of what may have transpired.

Instead of One Step TV’s sales pitch, visitors to OneStepTV.com are now presented with a message from the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment. Five seconds later the page redirects to the Alliance’s homepage.

Five seconds before redirect

While a page and redirect like this are very easy to fake (pirate sites frequently display similar pages as April Fool pranks), this one is very different. Not only does the domain redirect to the Alliance’s website as promised, changes to One Step TV’s domain records confirm that the domain has been taken over.

Seized by the MPAA

As the image above shows, the domain is now in the hands of the MPAA and has probably been that way since yesterday morning. The site itself is hosted by Amazon, a founding member of ACE.

All the pieces of the puzzle together strongly suggest that in this format at least, One Step TV is done. It’s not clear if a lawsuit is involved but as far as we can see, none have been filed recently by ACE’s lead members.

While it’s difficult to say for sure, this closure bears the hallmarks of a cease-and-desist and subsequent settlement agreement. Given ACE’s reluctance to talk about such agreements, it seems unlikely there will be a detailed public statement.

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