Tag Archives: anonymous

Cloudflare: We Can’t Shut Down Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-we-cant-stop-pirate-sites-160927/

cloudflareAs one of the leading CDN and DDoS protection services, Cloudflare is used by millions of websites across the globe.

This includes thousands of “pirate” sites, including The Pirate Bay, who rely on the U.S. based company to keep server loads down.

Copyright holders are generally not happy that Cloudflare is doing business with these sites. While most stop at complaining, adult entertainment outfit ALS Scan took the matter to court.

In a complaint filed at a California federal court two months ago, the company accused the CDN service of various counts of copyright and trademark infringement. ALS listed several copyright-infringing websites Cloudflare does business with, but which it allegedly failed to terminate as clients.

Yesterday, Cloudflare responded to the allegations (pdf), arguing that ALS Scan has no legal grounds to come after them. For this reason, they say the entire case should be dismissed.

Among other things, Cloudflare argues that they are not liable for contributory copyright infringement. Even if it wanted to, it couldn’t take any measures to effectively stop pirate sites from operating.

“CloudFlare is not the operator of the allegedly infringing sites but is merely one of the many intermediaries across the internet that provide automated CDN services, which result in the websites in question loading a bit faster than they would if they did not utilize CDN services.”

If Cloudflare terminated the accounts of allegedly infringing websites, the sites themselves would still continue to exist. It would just require a simple DNS reconfiguration to continue their operation.

“Indeed, there are no measures of any kind that CloudFlare could take to prevent this alleged infringement, because the termination of CloudFlare’s CDN services would have no impact on the existence and ability of these allegedly infringing websites to continue to operate,” Cloudflare writes.

As such, the company argues that it’s not “materially contributing” to any of the alleged copyright infringements.

This role puts Cloudflare on par with other third party service providers such as domain registrars and advertisers. The question of whether these services can be held liable for pirate sites is at the heart of this case.

The CDN provider further stresses that the claims for contributory copyright infringement also fail under the under the “inducement” theory.

Under the Grokster ruling, inducement would require an intentional form of advertising or messaging where the public is encouraged to infringe. This is not the case here, the company argues.

“Here, ALS has pleaded no facts regarding such a theory. Instead, ALS makes only conclusory allegations using the term inducement, devoid of any factual support,” Cloudflare writes.

“For instance, ALS Scan does not plead (as it must) facts sufficient to allege that CloudFlare solicited, advertised, promoted or rewarded acts of direct infringement by others, or that CloudFlare was created for the purpose of facilitating mass copyright infringement.”

In addition to the above, Cloudflare says that ALS fails to state proper claims other forms of copyright and trademark infringement, asking the court to dismiss the case.

Advertising network JuicyAds, which is also named in the suit, requested the same earlier this month. All parties will have a chance to defend their positions in a court hearing, after which the court will have to decide how to continue.

With theoretical damages that can run to dozens of millions of dollars and well as broad liability implications, it’s expected to become a heated fight.

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

Dotcom Petitions Appeals Court For Rehearing Over Seized Millions

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dotcom-petitions-appeals-court-for-rehearing-over-seized-millions-160927/

As Megaupload was being shutdown in 2012, authorities in the United States, New Zealand and Hong Kong swooped on millions of dollars in cash and other property.

The US government said that these considerable assets were the product of copyright infringement and money laundering. As a result, sweeping steps were taken to take control of bank accounts and other property belonging to the defendants in the so-called Mega Conspiracy.

After meeting with stiff opposition when attempting to extradite Dotcom and his co-defendants, the US Government branded them fugitives from justice and subsequently won a legal battle to seize their millions.

Soon after, Megaupload’s legal team filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, that ended in disappointment last month when a three-judge panel at the Fourth Circuit handed down a two to one decision against Dotcom.

The Fourth Circuit upheld the decision of the lower court, dismissing the argument that the seizure order against Dotcom’s assets had no jurisdiction and finding that as a fugitive, the Megaupload founder had no standing to reclaim his assets. With more than $67m at stake, that was a particularly big deal.

At the time, Dotcom vowed to fight back and yesterday the first stage of that process began. Headed by Ira Rothken, Dotcom’s US legal defense announced that they had filed a Petition to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing and rehearing en banc on the issues of forfeiture and fugitive disentitlement.

“Petitioners seek en banc review of a 2-1 ruling that conflicts with the precedents of this Court, the Supreme Court, and other circuits on issues of importance to the scope of federal jurisdiction over foreign property and civil forfeiture law,” the filing begins (pdf).

The petition goes on to highlight the gravity of the matter – the largest criminal copyright case in U.S. history – and notes that the US government acted aggressively by seizing property first and then relying on the doctrine of “fugitive disentitlement” to achieve forfeiture without having a trial on the merits.

Noting that the decision of the Fourth Circuit panel was not unanimous (Judge Floyd dissented), Dotcom’s team says that the ruling conflicts with precedents of both the Fourth Circuit and the Supreme Court.

“[U]nder this Court’s precedent, ‘[o]nly if the court has exclusive custody and control over the property does it have jurisdiction over the property so as to be able to adjudicate rights in it that are binding against the world,” the petition reads.

Noting that the property in question is controlled by foreign courts that are not compelled to comply with a U.S. forfeiture order, the petition describes the ruling as both a “hypothetical judgment” and an “unconstitutional advisory opinion.”

“En banc review is needed to ensure uniformity in this Court’s decisions, and to avoid a conflict with Supreme Court precedent,” it adds.

Finally, the petition underlines the claims Dotcom has been making from the beginning, that the US Government is abusing its powers in order to gain unfair advantage over citizens of foreign countries that have never set foot on US soil.

“By stacking allegations of fugitive status on top of allegations of forfeitability, the government can obtain an unprecedented, roving worldwide license to indict foreign citizens who have never lived or worked in the United States and forfeit their foreign property — all without proving any wrongdoing or having control over the property,” it warns. “Review is warranted.”

Whether a rehearing will be granted remains to be seen but Dotcom says he intends to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

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

YouTube-MP3 Ripping Site Sued By IFPI, RIAA and BPI

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-mp3-ripping-site-sued-by-ifpi-riaa-and-bpi-160926/

Two weeks ago, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry published research which claimed that half of 16 to 24-year-olds use stream-ripping tools to copy music from sites like YouTube.

The industry group said that the problem of stream-ripping has become so serious that in volume terms it had overtaken downloading from ‘pirate’ sites. Given today’s breaking news, the timing of the report was no coincidence.

Earlier today in a California District Court, a huge coalition of recording labels sued the world’s largest YouTube ripping site. UMG Recordings, Capitol Records, Warner Bros, Sony Music, Arista Records, Atlantic Records and several others claim that YouTube-MP3 (YTMP3), owner Philip Matesanz, and Does 1-10 have infringed their rights.

“YTMP3 rapidly and seamlessly removes the audio tracks contained in videos streamed from YouTube that YTMP3’s users access, converts those audio tracks to an MP3 format, copies and stores them on YTMP3’s servers, and then distributes copies of the MP3 audio files from its servers to its users in the United States, enabling its users to download those MP3 files to their computers, tablets, or smartphones,” the complaint reads.

The labels allege that YouTube-MP3 is one of the most popular sites in the entire world and as a result its owner, German-based company PMD Technologies UG, is profiting handsomely from their intellectual property.

“Defendants are depriving Plaintiffs and their recording artists of the fruits of their labor, Defendants are profiting from the operation of the YTMP3 website. Through the promise of illicit delivery of free music, Defendants have attracted millions of users to the YTMP3 website, which in turn generates advertising revenues for Defendants,” the labels add.

And it’s very clear that the labels mean business. YouTube-MP3 is being sued for direct, contributory, vicarious and inducement of copyright infringement, plus circumvention of technological measures.

Among other things, the labels are also demanding a preliminary and permanent injunction forbidding the Defendants from further infringing their rights. They also want YouTube-MP3’s domain name to be surrendered.

“This is a coordinated action to protect the rights of artists and labels from the blatant infringements of YouTube-mp3, the world’s single-largest ‘stream ripping’ site,” says IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore.

“Music companies and digital services today offer fans more options than ever before to listen to music legally, when and where they want to do so – over hundreds of services with scores of millions of tracks – all while compensating artists and labels. Stream ripping sites should not be allowed jeopardize this.”

Cary Sherman, the Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) says that YouTube-MP3 is making money on the back of their business and needs to be stopped.

“This site is raking in millions on the backs of artists, songwriters and labels. We are doing our part, but everyone in the music ecosystem who says they believe that artists should be compensated for their work has a role to play,” Sherman says.

“It should not be so easy to engage in this activity in the first place, and no stream ripping site should appear at the top of any search result or app chart.”

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor says that it’s time for web services and related companies to stop supporting similar operations.

“It’s time to stop illegal sites like this building huge fortunes by ripping off artists and labels. Fans have access now to a fantastic range of legal music streaming services, but they can only exist if we take action to tackle the online black market,” Taylor says.

“We hope that responsible advertisers, search engines and hosting providers will also reflect on the ethics of supporting sites that enrich themselves by defrauding creators.”

TorrentFreak contacted YouTube-MP3 owner Philip Matesanz for comment but at the time of publication we were yet to receive a response.

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

Game Maker Thanks Reddit Pirates for Attention, Offers Discounts

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/game-maker-thanks-reddit-pirates-attention-offers-discounts-160926/

superbeatNo copyright holder will be happy to see their work being shared for free on pirate sites, if their income depends on it. However, how they respond can make quite a difference.

Every now and then we see artists and developers scolding or lecturing pirates. While such an emotional response is understandable, it’s usually counterproductive.

Although some casual pirates can be threatened, most usually get very defensive when rightsholders call out their behavior.

Perhaps unwittingly, the studio behind the popular Vita game SUPERBEAT XONiC took a more gentle approach. Taking a page from a reverse psychology handbook, they confronted pirates with positivity.

After noticing that several people were posting links to pirated copies of their game in the Vitahacks and VitaPiracy subreddits, PM Studios joined the discussion. Not with a tirade, but with kind words and a discount offer.

“We feel honored that you enjoy our game SUPERBEAT XONiC so much, we would like to invite you to take this opportunity to purchase it on sale at the Playstation Store,” they commented on severalthreads.

“You can enjoy the original game and show support to the team for just $15.99 (60% off), no Playstation Plus required! [link] Have a nice day!”

PM Studio’s response

discount

The people in the subreddit were pleasantly surprised by the response and created a thank you thread. This generated even more exposure including a write-up at Destructoid, with positive comments all around.

While we doubt that PM Studios appreciates the fact that people are downloading their game without paying for it, they do seem to realize that all these ‘pesky pirates’ are potential customers. Rightly so, as the most prolific pirates are often the people who buy a lot of games as well.

And with their positive response, the developers undoubtedly picked up a few extra purchases, as various self-proclaimed pirates suggest that they now plan to buy the game.

“I appreciate the ability to be able to download a game and give it a good run. Demos do not always sway purchasing decisions in the right way, for numerous reasons,” Mr_Cloud_Strife writes.

“When devs can look the offender right in the eye and say, ‘We are really happy that you enjoy the game! We have even discounted it for those that CHOOSE to purchase it.’ How can you say no?”

The response from the game developer works particularly well because it’s a relatively rare sight. However, one of the users who linked to a pirated version of SUPERBEAT XONiC believes others should follow suit.

“This is how all game studios should conduct themselves!” codemasterv writes.

PM Studios probably feels exactly the same, when they convert another pirate into a paying customer.

“This is how all pirates should conduct themselves….”

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

MacOS Sierra Breaks Popular Keygens, Pirate Finds Fix

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/macos-sierra-breaks-popular-keygens-pirate-finds-fix-160926/

core-keygenThose who prefer to pirate rather than pay for their software often face installation issues. These range from the very simple to the fairly complex, depending on the strength of the anti-piracy technology deployed by manufacturers.

At the lower end of the scale, users are sometimes required to input a fake serial number into their software. This is achieved by running a key generator or “keygen”, a tool bundled with a pirate release by the team who cracked it.

This is often straightforward but for users of the macOS Sierra, the latest update to the Mac operating system currently being rolled out by Apple, things are proving problematic.

When people try to run keygens and cracks that are bundled with many Mac pirate software releases, the tools break and offer the following error report.

“Termination Reason: EXEC, [0xc] This UPX compressed binary contains an invalid Mach-O header and cannot be loaded,” the message reads.

According to Mac Kung Fu, it is keygens’ reliance on a free multiplatform executable packer that is causing the issues.

“[The problem] occurs because the creators of the hacks and keygens use the popular open source UPX app to package their code but subsequently attempt to cover their tracks by erasing any mention of the app, including the vital markers to compressed data. This confuses macOS Sierra, causing the error,” the report notes.

Searches on popular torrent sites do indeed reveal a fairly widespread problem. In particular, there are many complaints noted by users of keygens published by popular piracy release group CORE.

upx-1

Several users commenting on CORE releases that have been uploaded to The Pirate Bay are reporting similar issues but the problems aren’t isolated in English-speaking areas. As suggested by the image below, the problem is widespread.

upx-2

UPX’s developers have been made aware of the issues since they affect more than just keygens and cracks. It’s reported that v3.92 of UPX will address the problem.

However, that won’t fix the broken keygens and cracks already available online. People who have already upgraded to MacOS Sierra will find that these tools won’t work, effectively taking that pirate software out of the marketplace for them.

But of course, pirates are an ingenious bunch and the thirst for free software is a great motivator. That has already prompted a user called zerocoolroot to find a fix, which reportedly works.

upx-3

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 09/26/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-pirated-movies-week-092616/

ghostbThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Ghostbusters is the most downloaded movie.

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

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (…) Ghostbusters 5.5 / trailer
2 (1) Captain America: Civil War 8.1 / trailer
3 (…) I.T. 5.4 / trailer
4 (2) X-Men: Apocalypse 6=7.8=3 / trailer
5 (…) Swiss Army Man 7.6 / trailer
6 (8) The Legend of Tarzan 6.4 / trailer
7 (4) Now You See Me 2 6.8 / trailer
8 (5) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 6.2 / trailer
9 (3) Alice Through The Looking Glass 6.4 / trailer
10 (6) The Shallows 6.6 / trailer

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

Man Likely to Sacrifice Himself Testing Streaming Piracy Limits

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/man-likely-to-sacrifice-himself-testing-streaming-piracy-limits-160925/

android-boxYear in, year out, people with an interest in Internet file-sharing discuss what is permissible under current legislation. It’s an important exercise if people are to stay on the right side of the law.

These discussions have historically taken place among enthusiasts but with the advent of easily accessible piracy tools such as Popcorn Time, modified Kodi, and Showbox, the man in the street his now taking part.

One individual that has provoked interest among the public is UK-based Brian ‘Tomo’ Thompson, who was previously raided by police and Trading Standards after selling “fully loaded” Android boxes from his shop in the north-east.

Thompson is now being prosecuted by his local council. He says he intends to fight back to discover where the boundaries lie for sellers of similar devices.

“All I want to know is whether I am doing anything illegal. I know it’s a grey area but I want it in black and white,” he said this week.

“I’m prepared to accept what the court decides but at the moment as far as I’m concerned I’m not breaking the law.”

There are many people who share Thompson’s opinion and there’s no shortage of supporters willing the Middlesbrough man on to victory against what some see as a vindictive prosecution.

But while this is indeed an attack on the little guy, Thompson is almost certainly about to sacrifice himself for little to no gain. Admittedly the case isn’t completely straightforward, but a conviction seems almost inevitable. Here’s why.

Hardware devices – whether a computer, Android phone, tablet, or in this case, a set-top box – are 100% legal. Anyone can buy, sell or trade such devices almost anywhere in the world with no issues.

Thompson knows this, describing the blank devices as “just like a big USB stick.” While not a great analogy, for the purposes of the law, that will suffice.

On its own, the Kodi media player is also 100% legal. Anyone can download, install, use or give away the software with no problems whatsoever. Installing Kodi on an Android device and selling it is legal almost everywhere and definitely legal in the UK.

If Thompson had only done the above – sell Android set-top boxes with basic Kodi installed – he would have no issues with the police or indeed Trading Standards. Individually and combined, the software and devices are completely non-infringing.

However, Thompson did not stop there. What he did was sold Android boxes with Kodi installed, plus all the extra third-party addons that allow people to view infringing movies, TV shows, live sports, plus all the other ‘goodies’ that buyers of these boxes demand. His adverts on Facebook make that very clear.

tomo-1

It is these third-party addons that make what Thompson did unlawful. Selling devices and/or software designed for infringing copying purposes is illegal in the UK. Encouraging others to break the law never goes in a defendant’s favor either.

According to The Northern Echo, since he was raided in March, Thompson has been selling boxes that do not have the addons installed.

“These boxes are available from all over the place, not just me, but it’s the downloading of software to watch channels that is apparently causing the problem,” he said.

But despite not offering them himself, the businessman continued to encourage his customers to install the addons on devices he supplied, despite being targeted twice previously by the authorities.

The advert below is currently available on Thompson’s Facebook page and many of the channels are subscription-only affairs. Judges rarely look kindly on people encouraging others to break the law, especially where big corporate interests are the perceived victims.

tomo-2

Finally, there is another issue that could negatively affect Thompson’s defense. In June 2015, a company called Geeky Kit was raided near to Thompson’s premises. That company was also targeted for selling fully-loaded Android boxes. That company’s storefront at the time of the raid is shown below.

The signage clearly states that items being sold within are being offered on the basis that they provide access to subscription TV package channels for free. Geeky Kit’s premises remained closed in the weeks that followed the raid but in August came a surprise announcement from Thompson.

tomo-3

Thompson is now set to appear before Magistrates’ Court next week in what will be a first-of-its-kind case. Much will hinge on the outcome, for Thompson and others in his position.

“This may have to go to the crown court and then it may go all the way to the European court, but I want to make a point with this and I want to make it easier for people to know what it legal and what isn’t,” he said. “I expect it go against me but at least I will know where I stand.”

While some definitive legal clarity in this area would help thousands of people to understand where the boundaries lie with these boxes, one can’t help but think that this is a particularly bad case for testing the waters.

Whether it will go entirely against Thompson next week remains to be seen, but if he wins the case and boxes with addons are declared legal to sell, it will be nothing short of a miracle. Companies like Sky, Premier League, and the Federation Against Copyright Theft, will rightly go into meltdown.

“It is the first case of its kind in the world so it is going to be interesting,” Thompson concludes.

He’s not wrong there.

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

Court: Uploaded Can’t Ignore ‘Spam’ Copyright Notices

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/court-uploaded-cant-ignore-spam-copyright-notices-160925/

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

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

In Germany this has resulted in several lawsuits, where copyright holders want Uploaded to be held liable for files that are shared by its users, if they fail to respond properly to takedown notices.

In one of these cases the court has now clarified that Uploaded can even be held liable for copyright infringement if those messages are never read, due to an overactive ‘spam’ filter.

The case was started several years ago by anti-piracy company proMedia GmbH, which sent a takedown notice to Uploaded on behalf of a record label. The notice asked the site to remove a specific file, but that never happened.

Uploaded, in its defense, argued that it had never seen the takedown notice. It was flagged by its DDoS protection system and directly sent to a spam folder. As such, the notice in question was never read.

Last week the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg ruled on the case. It affirmed an earlier ruling from the Regional Court of Hamburg, concluding that Uploaded can be held liable, spam or no spam.

The court argued that because Uploaded’s anti-DDoS system willingly created a “cemetery for emails,” they can be treated as if they had knowledge of the takedown notices. This decision is now final.

Anja Heller, attorney at the German law firm Rasch which represented the plaintiff, is happy with the outcome in this case.

“File-hosters have to handle their inboxes for abuse notices very carefully. On the one hand they cannot easily claim not having received a notice. On the other hand they have to check blacklisted notices on a regular basis,” she says.

The current lawsuit dealt exclusively with the liability question, so the copyright owners have to file a separate proceeding if they want to obtain damages.

However, together with previous liability verdicts, it definitely makes it harder for file-hosters to operate without a solid anti-piracy strategy.

“The verdict once again shows the high demands German courts place on file-hosters, which are not only obliged to take down links immediately after having received a notice, but have to keep their services clean from infringing content as well,” Heller concludes.

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

TPBClean: A ‘Safe for Work’ Pirate Bay Without Porn

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/tpbclean-safe-work-pirate-bay-without-porn-160925/

tpbcleanOver the years, regular Pirate Bay visitors have seen plenty of scarcely dressed girls being featured on the site.

The XXX category has traditionally been one of the largest, and TPB’s ads can show quite a bit of flesh as well. While there are many people who see this adult themed content as a feature, not everyone appreciates it.

This didn’t go unnoticed to “MrClean,” a developer with quite a bit of experience when it comes to torrent proxy sites.

He was recently confronted with the issue when several Indian programmers he tried to hire for torrent related projects refused to work on a site that listed porn and other nudity.

“Over fifty percent of those contacted refused to work on the project, not for copyright related reasons, but because they didn’t want to work on a project that had ANY links with adult content,” MrClean tells TF.

Apparently, there is a need for pornless torrent sites, so “MrClean” decided to make a sanitized torrent site for these proper folks. This is how the TPBClean proxy site was born.

“Since TPB is now the biggest torrent site again, I figured there might be people with similar feelings toward adult content that would appreciate a clean version of the bay,” MrClean explains.

TPBClean is a direct proxy of all Pirate Bay torrents, minus those in the porn categories. In addition, the site has a customized look, without any ads.

“Although many TPB users don’t mind tits in their face while searching the top 100, TPBClean users will have a more ‘Safe For Work’ experience,” MrClean notes.

People who try searching for XXX content get the following response instead. “Any Explicit/Adult Content has been Removed 🙂” We did some test searches and it appears to work quite well.

XXX filtered

noxxx

The Pirate Bay team can usually appreciate inventive creative expressions, although they might find it hard to believe that anyone would be interested in a torrent site without porn.

In any case, MrClean says that he doesn’t mean to do any harm to the original Pirate Bay, which he full-heartedly supports. And thus far the public response has mainly been positive as well.

“Finally a PirateBay you can browse with your granny!” Pirate Bay proxy portal UKBay tweeted excitingly.

granny

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

ISPs Offered Service to “Protect Safe Harbor” Under DMCA

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/isps-offered-service-to-protect-safe-harbor-under-dmca-160924/

warningEarly August, a federal court in Virginia found Internet service provider Cox Communications liable for copyright infringements carried out by its customers.

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

The case was first filed in 2014 after it was alleged that Cox failed to pass on infringement notices sent to the ISP by anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp. It was determined that the ISP had also failed to take firm action against repeat infringers.

Although the decision is still open to appeal, the ruling has ISPs in the United States on their toes. None will want to fall into the same trap as Cox and are probably handling infringement complaints carefully as a result. This is where Colorado-based Subsentio wants to step in.

Subsentio specializes in helping companies meet their obligations under CALEA, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, a wiretapping law passed in 1994. It believes these skills can also help ISPs to retain their safe harbor protection under the DMCA.

This week Subsentio launched DMCA Records Production, a service that gives ISPs the opportunity to outsource the sending and management of copyright infringement notices.

“With the average ISP receiving thousands of notices every month from owners of copyrighted content, falling behind on DMCA procedural obligations is not an option,” says Martin McDermott, Chief Operating Officer at Subsentio.

“The record award of US$25 million paid by one ISP for DMCA violations last year was a ‘wake-up call’ — service providers that fail to take this law seriously can face the same legal and financial consequences.”

Subsentio Legal Services Manager Michael Allison informs TorrentFreak that increasing levels of DMCA notices received by ISPs need to be handled effectively.

“Since content owners leverage bots to crawl the internet for copyrighted content, the volume of DMCA claims falling at the footsteps of ISPs has been on the rise. The small to mid-level ISPs receive hundreds to thousands of claims per month,” Allison says.

“This volume may be too high to add to the responsibilities of a [network operations center] or abuse team. At the same time, the volume might not constitute the hiring of a full-time employee or staff.”

Allison says that his company handles legal records production for a number of ISP clients and part of that process involves tying allegedly infringing IP addresses and timestamps to ISP subscribers.

“The logistics behind tying a target IP address and timestamp to a specific subscriber is usually an administrative and laborious process. But it’s a method we’re familiar with and it’s a procedure that’s inherent to processing any DMCA claim.”

Allison says that the Cox decision put ISPs on notice that they must have a defined policy addressing DMCA claims, including provisions for dealing with repeat infringers, up to and including termination. He believes the Subsentio system can help ISPs achieve those goals.

“[Our system] automatically creates a unique case for each legal request received, facilitates document generation, notates actions taken on the case, and allows for customized reporting via any number of variables tied to the case,” Allison explains.

“By creating a case for each DMCA claim received, we can track ISP subscribers for repeat offenses, apply escalation measures when needed, and alert ISPs when a subscriber has met the qualifications for termination.”

TF understands that many of Subsentio’s current clients are small to mid-size regional ISPs in the United States so whether any of the big national ISPs will get involved remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it’s quite possible that the formalizing and outsourcing of subscriber warnings will lead to customers of some smaller ISPs enjoying significantly less slack than they’ve become accustomed to.

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

German Library Claims Copyright on “Nazi Anthem,” Censors Documentary on YouTube

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/german-library-claims-copyright-nazi-anthem-censors-documentary-youtube-160924/

docudownWhen it comes to Nazi propaganda, Germany has an extensive censorship track record. After the Second World War it was policy to ban all Nazi propaganda, most famously Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Even today the issue is still a hot topic. For example, earlier this week our attention was drawn towards a rather unusual censorship effort on behalf of the German National Library.

With help from BR:Enter Music, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek sent a takedown request to YouTube, targeting the historical 2006 documentary You Don’t Know Hitler.

The film in question serves as a reminder of the horrors Hitler brought forth. It is composed of historical material and other propaganda footage, including clips from Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 film Triumph of the Will.

The content that triggered the takedown request is a version of the infamous Horst Wessel Lied, also known to a wider public as the Nazi Anthem. According to the claim, the library owns the right to the recording.

Documentarian and filmmaker James K. Lambert informs TorrentFreak that this is not the first time that his film has been targeted, but usually these claims are dropped when he protests them.

“The complete film has been posted for nearly four years and I periodically get claims against me from companies who say they own this sound recording or that image. These false claims were always dropped once I pushed back.”

Copyright claim

german-national-library-youtube

This time, however, that was not enough. The National German Library insists that the film infringes on their rights and as a result the filmmaker has been slapped with a copyright strike.

“According to BR Enter, DNB owns the ‘sound recording’ rights to this track, ‘Version 11’ specifically, which is allegedly the version I used in my film when I extracted it from the Nazi propaganda documentary, Triumph Of The Will.”

While it seems strange that the German state would own the rights to a 87-year-old song it didn’t produce, the issue is a bit of a minefield. Over the years, Germany has indeed obtained the copyrights to a lot of Nazi propaganda, some of which are still enforceable today.

On the other hand, there is a long history of denying Nazi copyrights or permitting its use, starting with the US Government which sanctioned it in Frank Capra’s counter propaganda series Why We Fight.

What’s clear, however, is that after all these years Nazi copyrights are still being enforced. This is something Lambert is fiercely protesting. According to the documentarian, people have the right to see history for what it was.

“Nazi propaganda is part of the criminal record of their Crimes Against Humanity; they are not marketable commodities that should exclusively belong to anyone,” Lambert tells us.

To get his documentary reinstated Lambert submitted a counter-notice which he documented in detail in a lengthy blog post. According to Lambert the song he used is in the public domain and even if it isn’t, it would fall under fair use.

TorrentFreak contacted both BR:Enter and the National German Library several days ago asking for comment on the issue. However, at the time of publication we have yet to hear back.

Lambert hopes that his counterclaim will be accepted and that the documentary will be reinstated soon. For the future, he hopes that YouTube will improve its processes so it can better deal with these fair use cases, keeping the rights of documentarians in mind.

“This matter should never have reached this absurd point. YouTube should not have given unquestioned deference to BR Enter Music’s claim against me and my documentary should not have been taken down from YouTube.

“I hope this counter-claim will finally resolve this matter and restore the video to my channel because I am completely within my rights to have made this film and to publicly show it to others,” Lambert concludes.

For those who are interested, Lambert’s documentary You Don’t Know Hitler is still available on Vimeo.

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

Mexican Police Target Popular KickassTorrents ‘Clone,’ Seize Domain

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mexican-police-target-popular-kickasstorrents-clone-seize-domain-160923/

kickasstorrents_500x500Two months ago KickassTorrents (KAT) was shut down by the U.S. Government, following the arrest of the site’s alleged owner.

Soon after the official site went offline various mirrors and clones launched to take its place, to the pleasure of hundreds of thousands of users.

One of the most popular mirrors started as KAT.am. While this domain name was swiftly seized, and later picked up by scammers, the initial site continued to operate from kickass.cd and kickass.mx.

However, this week the site got in trouble again. Without prior notice the .MX domain name was taken out of circulation by the registry, following an intervention from Mexico’s federal police.

The authorities say they were tipped off by copyright holders and wasted no time in containing the threat.

“This action took place after various distribution companies reported intellectual property infringements. In response, staff at the Center for Prevention of Electronic Crimes started a cyber intelligence operation to locate the source where this crime was committed,” the federal police reported.

“Currently the website is out of service, and our research continues to locate the administrators,” they added.

Although there is no doubt that Kickass.mx is offline, in a rather confusing press release police keep referring to kickass.com.mx, which appears to be an unrelated website.

TorrentFreak reached out to the operator of the Kickass.mx “clone,” which is really just a Pirate Bay mirror with a KickassTorrents skin, who was surprised by the domain seizure.

“The suspension of the MX TLD was very unexpected and came as a shock to us because we used EasyDNS to register the domain name,” the Kickass.mx operator says.

EasyDNS has a track record of standing up against domain seizures and suspensions that are requested without a proper court order. However, in this case EasyDNS was bypassed as the police went directly to the MX domain registry.

“Their team is trying to get into touch with the Mexican registry to get the domain back though any positive development in this regard seems unlikely,” the operator adds.

For now, the KAT-themed site remains available from the Kickass.cd domain and more backup domains are expected to follow in the near future, probably without Mexican ties.

“We already have three more TLDs and plan to set up mirror sites on them to increase resilience,” he concludes.

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

Copyright Troll Partner “Kicked Uber Driver in the Head”

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/copyright-troll-partner-kicked-uber-driver-in-the-head-160923/

croucherIn October 2015, a well-known copyright-trolling outfit announced the launch of the “largest” anti-piracy campaign seen in the UK for years.

German-based monitoring company Maverick Eye said that it had teamed up with London-based Hatton & Berkeley and other key players to target file-sharers with cash settlement demands.

Due to the complexity of the setup, some likened the project to a “smoke and mirrors” operation.

Initially, Hatton & Berkeley and its owner Robert Croucher became known for demanding money from alleged Sky Broadband downloaders of the Robert Redford movie The Company You Keep.

“Hatton and Berkeley stands alongside our colleagues in an international operation that has so far yielded drastic reductions in streaming, torrenting and illegal downloads across Europe,” a company spokesperson said at the time.

Common to all of Hatton and Berkeley’s letters to ISP subscribers are threats that if they don’t pay, ultimately they will end up in court. To date, that has never happened, but interestingly Hatton and Berkeley’s Robert Croucher is now in some legal trouble of his own.

According to a Court News report (subscription), 35-year-old Croucher has been appearing in court this week following allegations of a serious assault.

It all began following a night out at the exclusive members-only Raffles club in Chelsea, London, which is frequented by the rich, famous, and Croucher. It is the only nightclub the Queen has ever attended.

After leaving the club, it’s understood that Croucher tried to get into an Uber car but things quickly got out of hand.

According to driver Mohammad Hussain, a woman was the first to get into his vehicle. Croucher is said to have thrown his bag into the car, something which provoked an argument between the pair. Croucher then slammed the door.

“I got out to open the door, and then the gentlemen took the keys from through the window,” Hussain told Hammersmith Magistrates’ court. “He then slapped me.”

Croucher admits hitting Mr Hussain but according to the Uber driver, things got much worse from there.

“I was begging for my keys and he suddenly pushed me on the pavement,” Hussain told the Court.

“He has just kicked me in several parts of my body and head. My head was very swollen, I went to hospital where I stayed for four hours. I went to my GP a few days later and got prescribed antibiotics, it was severe pain.”

Croucher, who gave his address as Hawthorn Road, Hornsey, north London, admits assault but denies kicking Mr Hussain.

This is the third time in as many months Croucher has made the news.

In the House of Lords during July, Lord Lucas advised recipients of threatening letters from Croucher’s Hatton & Berkeley to thrown them away.

“I really urge them to put [their correspondence] in the bin. The current scammers aren’t pursuing anyone [in court] they’re just after threats, and extortion, and shaking people down,” Lord Lucas said.

Then in August, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority published details of its investigation into claims on Croucher’s personal website that one of his projects had created 10,000 jobs.

The ASA concluded that the claims were misleading and ordered the advertising not to appear again in its current form. Despite the ruling, the claim is still present on the site’s main page.

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

BMG Pressed Internet Provider to Pay Piracy Compensation

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/bmg-pressed-internet-provider-to-pay-piracy-compensation-160922/

piratkeybFor several years, music rights group BMG has been chasing down pirating BitTorrent users. With help from Rightscorp the company regularly sends DMCA notices to ISPs.

These notices are bundled with settlement demands, intended for Internet subscribers who allegedly shared pirated content. If the accused subscribers pay $30, they avoid further trouble.

However, BMG’s enforcement efforts are not only directed at individual subscribers. Behind the scenes, the company is also putting pressure on ISPs to cooperate with their scheme, or pay up instead.

One of their targets is US-based Internet provider RCN. A relatively small player with roughly 400,000 subscribers, but allegedly good for millions of alleged copyright infringements.

According to BMG, the ISP is liable for the infringements of its users. RCN clearly disagrees with this accusation and went to court earlier this year to ask clarification in the form of a declaratory judgment.

A few days ago the ISP submitted an amended complaint (pdf), revealing a letter that shows how the music licensing group put pressure on them by demanding preventive measures as well as compensation.

In the letter, BMG’s law firm Steptoe & Johnson informed RCN’s executive vice president Jeffrey Kramp that the ISP failed to terminate repeat infringers on its network, despite receiving millions of notices.

“The evidence shows that RCN is allowing repeat infringers to use its network to continue their infringement of BMG works even after RCN has been notified of their specific instances of infringement,” the letter reads.

“Since Rightscorp began monitoring BMG’s copyrights, it has identified millions of instances of infringement involving thousands of BMG copyrighted works using the RCN network.”

BMG’s letter to RCN (full pdf)

steptoerightsc

RCN had previously noted that BMG accused the ISP of secondary copyright infringement and the letter shared by RCN late last week shows how.

“RCN’s knowledge and allowance of unchecked infringement to occur using its network makes it liable for secondary copyright infringement and actual or statutory damages as high as $150,000 per infringed work,” BMG’s lawyer writes.

With hundreds of works at stake, the potential damages run to dozens of millions. However, just like the accusations against individual subscribers, RCN can make these go away by signing a settlement agreement and paying compensation.

“We are hopeful that a resolution of this ongoing and damaging infringement can be reached. To that end, we suggest the parties meet to discuss a settlement that would include a means of preventing or limiting future infringement and appropriate compensation to BMG,” the letter suggests.

It’s clear that with this language BMG hoped to pressure the Internet provider into cooperating. This didn’t work out though, as RCN decided to lawyer-up instead and sue them instead.

In the amended complaint, the Internet provider asks for a declaratory judgment that it’s not liable for infringing any of BMG’s copyrights or any damage resulting from alleged infringements of their subscribers.

While ISPs enjoy safe harbor protections under the DMCA, this does not guarantee a positive outcome for RCN.

In a similar liability case last year, Internet provider Cox Communications was held responsible for the copyright infringements of its subscribers. In that case a Virginia federal court ordered Cox to pay BMG $25 million in damages.

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

Despite Adobe Efforts, Photoshop Still Most Popular Software on Pirate Bay

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/despite-adobe-efforts-photoshop-still-most-popular-software-on-pirate-bay-160922/

Ever since their official release, Adobe software products have been popular with pirates. Editing studio Photoshop has been the most enduring, appearing on pirates’ machines since 1990.

In order to innovate, in 2013 Adobe said it would move away from boxed ‘retail’ products and switch to a cloud-subscription model. This meant that the large initial outlay associated with its products could be exchanged for a more affordable monthly fee.

In July 2014, Adobe said the strategy was working, declaring that piracy had fallen. Just over a year later, Adobe was celebrating again, noting that casual pirates had been converted by the lower price of entry.

This week Adobe had more good news for shareholders. In the third quarter, the company generated more than $1.46 billion in revenue, up from $1.22 billion year-on-year. Creative Cloud, the company’s replacement for the old disc-based Creative Suite, accounted for $803 million in revenue, up 39% year-on-year.

In a Q3 2016 earnings conference call the discussion somewhat inevitably turned to piracy, with Adobe Executive Vice President Mark Garrett noting that mitigation is one of the company’s key aims.

“Our focus with Creative Cloud continues to be in three key areas; growing our core base of users, including migrating the legacy user base of Creative Suite users, addressing piracy and growing our installed base in the education market, driving new customer adoption in adjacent markets,” Garrett said.

Heather Bellini from Goldman Sachs wanted to know whether Adobe sees potential for additional revenue boosts as piracy is further eroded.

“Is there kind of a framework that we could think about in terms of the impact on top line growth that you can get from piracy reduction and are there things that you are doing that you are changing even more than you were kind of a couple of years ago to stay ahead of the pirates?” Bellini asked.

Adobe President and Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen responded, indicating that a large proportion of recent growth can be apportioned to pirates jumping ship to become part of Creative Cloud.

“If you look at the macro level we used to sell approximately three million units of Creative Suite a year and if you look at the numbers right now of where we are with Creative Cloud, it’s clear that we have seen significant acceleration,” Narayen said.

“Without a doubt, a large part of that acceleration is people who want Creative Cloud and are no longer pirating Creative products, but are actually as a result of the low price and the value that we are delivering using the entire subscription-based offerings.”

Additionally, Adobe says it has taken other measures to clamp down on pirates, including action against people attempting to abuse trials and sites offering pirated copies.

“Once the trial expires [we’ve ensured] that they don’t have access to the products. And as you know, we have also shutdown places, online websites where people could buy a repackaged box,” Narayen said.

But while Adobe hasn’t been shy to detail its subscription revenues, the company has again refused to say how many subscriptions it has sold. This makes it difficult to compare, one for one, pirated instances of its software in use versus new subscriptions being taken up. During the call, Narayen offered no additional clarity.

“In terms of the installed base of pirates, I think the numbers for that are all over the map. But I think you can go back and look at the last numbers that we gave in terms of the addressable market and you would see that there is still significant headroom,” he said.

“Let’s get the markets that are most developed, let’s address casual pirates, let’s hit the enterprise and then let’s now expand that into emerging markets where there was more piracy and now we have the ability to counter that, both through pricing as well as through technology.”

Exactly one year ago, Adobe products occupied four of the top eight slots in The Pirate Bay’s most popular software download list, with Photoshop Creative Suite 6 taking the top position. In 2016, things haven’t changed that much.

adobe-tpb

As shown in the image above, Adobe products still share half of the top eight positions with Microsoft, but this time around Photoshop Creative Cloud has taken over at the top from CS6.

Not exactly the transition to the cloud Adobe had in mind of course, but maybe more pirates will subscribe properly next year.

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

ISP Trolls Copyright Troll With A Taste of Its Own Medicine

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/bahnhof-trolls-copyright-trolls-160922/

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

These so-called “copyright trolling” efforts have been a common occurrence in several countries, with Sweden one of the latest hunting grounds.

One of the organizations leading the way is Spridningskollen (Distribution Check). Using data gathered by German anti-piracy outfit Excipio, they plan to start by targeting around 1,000 alleged pirates, offering them settlements of around $233 (2,000 kronor).

While many Internet providers don’t put up a real fight to protect their subscribers, privacy conscious Bahnhof is. Not only does Bahnhof delete all logs that could link IP-addresses to alleged infringements, the company is also pushing back in other creative ways.

Previously they accused Spridningskollen of trademark infringement and this week they followed up this threat with a more concrete warning.

Giving the “trolls” a taste of their own medicine, Bahnhof sent them an invoice for the exact amount they also ask from accused pirates, to settle the alleged trademark infringement.

“You’re infringing our trademark ‘Spridningskollen.’ Bahnhof filed for the trademark on 2016-08-31, with the launch of the website Spridningskollen.org,” the settlement invoice reads.

The anti-piracy outfit uses Spridningskollen.se for their website and Bahnhof urges the company to pay up and take it down, or else.

faktura

“Choose to pay 2,000 kronor and switch off your site Spridningskollen.se as soon as possible, or face legal action when the trademark application has been processed,” they write.

“You can say that this letter is a settlement offer. If the infringer of the trademark does not pay the rightsholder the case can proceed to trial, which is far more costly for all involved.”

It’s unlikely that the anti-piracy coalition is going to comply voluntarily, as the trademark application can be disputed. Nevertheless, Bahnhof’s provocative approach is refreshing to say the least.

When asked, most ISPs will say that they have the best interests of their subscribers at heart, but very few companies are willing to go above and beyond and highlight possible abuse.

And adding some irony in the mix makes it all the better.

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

Stop Piracy? Legal Alternatives Beat Legal Threats, Research Shows

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/stop-piracy-legal-alternatives-beat-legal-threats-research-shows-160921/

cassetteYesterday the RIAA announced the biggest growth in recorded music sales since the late 1990s, a healthy 8.1% increase compared to the year before.

The record numbers were achieved despite the widespread availability of pirated music. So what happened here? Did all those pirates suddenly grow a conscience?

The answer to this question is partly given by new research published in the journal Risk Analysis.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia, Lancaster University, and Newcastle University found that perceived risk has very little effect on people’s piracy habits. This means that stricter punishments or tough copyright laws are not the answer.

Instead, unauthorized file-sharing (UFS) is best predicted by the supposed benefits of piracy. As such, the researchers note that better legal alternatives are the best way to stop piracy.

The results are based on a psychological study among hundreds of music and ebook consumers. They were subjected to a set of questions regarding their file-sharing habits, perceived risk, industry trust, and online anonymity.

By analyzing the data the researchers found that the perceived benefit of piracy, such as quality, flexibility of use and cost are the real driver of piracy. An increase in legal risk was not directly associated with any statistically significant decrease in self-reported file-sharing.

“Given that we observe a much more powerful predictor of behavior in perceived benefit, changes to legal frameworks may not be the most effective route to change behaviour,” lead author Dr Steven Watson says.

“Specifically, one strategy to combat unlawful file-sharing would be to provide easy access to information about the benefits of legal purchases or services, in an environment in which the specific benefits UFS offers are met by these legal alternatives.”

Alternatively, there is a more indirect route to influence piracy, by increasing the “trust” people have in regulators. This could increase risk perception and also lower the perceived benefits of piracy. However, the researchers note that this isn’t the most efficient option.

In their paper, the researchers mention subscription services such as Spotify as the most compelling alternatives.

This brings us back to the record revenue the RIAA reported yesterday, which can be attributed to the growth of legal services. The RIAA notes that with the introduction of Tidal and Apple Music, subscription service revenues doubled compared to last year.

So it’s legal options that drive the recent revenue growth, not anti-piracy enforcement.

Of course, the idea that subscription services can compete with piracy isn’t new. When Spotify launched its first beta in the fall of 2008, we billed it as “an alternative to music piracy,” and various reports have shown that pirates gladly switch over to good legal services.

The UK researchers also conclude that legal alternatives are a viable option to decrease piracy, one that’s preferred over legal threats.

“It is perhaps no surprise that legal interventions regarding UFS have a limited and possibly short-term effect, while legal services that compete with UFS have attracted significant numbers of consumers,” says co-author Dr Piers Fleming.

Techdirt’s Mike Masnick, who published a “The carrot or the stick” report last year, notes that the findings are in line with their conclusions.

According to Masnick, there is now ample evidence showing that enforcement is not the answer to piracy, but thus far the relevant stakeholders continue to hide their heads in the sand.

“And yet, politicians, regulators and legacy industry folks still insist that ratcheting up enforcement is the way to go. What will it take for them to actually follow what the evidence says, rather than continuing with faith-based copyright policies?” Masnick writes.

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

Malicious Torrent Network Tool Revealed By Security Company

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/malicious-torrent-network-tool-revealed-by-security-company-160921/

danger-p2pMore than 35 years after 15-year-old high school student Rich Skrenta created the first publicly spread virus, millions of pieces of malware are being spread around the world.

Attackers’ motives are varied but these days they’re often working for financial gain. As a result, popular websites and their users are regularly targeted. Security company InfoArmor has just published a report detailing a particularly interesting threat which homes in on torrent site users.

“InfoArmor has identified a special tool used by cybercriminals to distribute malware by packaging it with the most popular torrent files on the Internet,” the company reports.

InfoArmor says the so-called “RAUM” tool is being offered via “underground affiliate networks” with attackers being financially incentivized to spread the malicious software through infected torrent files.

“Members of these networks are invited by special invitation only, with strict verification of each new member,” the company reports.

InfoArmor says that the attackers’ infrastructure has a monitoring system in place which allows them to track the latest trends in downloading, presumably so that attacks can reach the greatest numbers of victims.

“The bad actors have analyzed trends on video, audio, software and other digital content downloads from around the globe and have created seeds on famous torrent trackers using weaponized torrents packaged with malicious code,” they explain.

RAUM instances were associated with a range of malware including CryptXXX, CTB-Locker and Cerber, online-banking Trojan Dridex and password stealing spyware Pony.

“We have identified in excess of 1,639,000 records collected in the past few months from the infected victims with various credentials to online-services, gaming, social media, corporate resources and exfiltrated data from the uncovered network,” InfoArmor reveals.

What is perhaps most interesting about InfoArmor’s research is how it shines light on the operation of RAUM behind the scenes. The company has published a screenshot which claims to show the system’s dashboard, featuring infected torrents on several sites, a ‘fake’ Pirate Bay site in particular.

dashtorrents

“Threat actors were systematically monitoring the status of the created malicious seeds on famous torrent trackers such as The Pirate Bay, ExtraTorrent and many others,” the researchers write.

“In some cases, they were specifically looking for compromised accounts of other users on these online communities that were extracted from botnet logs in order to use them for new seeds on behalf of the affected victims without their knowledge, thus increasing the reputation of the uploaded files.”

raum-1

According to InfoArmor the malware was initially spread using uTorrent, although any client could have done the job. More recently, however, new seeds have been served through online servers and some hacked devices.

In some cases the malicious files continued to be seeded for more than 1.5 months. Tests by TF on the sample provided showed that most of the files listed have now been removed by the sites in question.

Completely unsurprisingly, people who use torrent sites to obtain software and games (as opposed to video and music files) are those most likely to come into contact with RAUM and associated malware. As the image below shows, Windows 7 and 10 packs and their activators feature prominently.

raum-2

“All of the created malicious seeds were monitored by cybercriminals in order to prevent early detection by [anti-virus software] and had different statuses such as ‘closed,’ ‘alive,’ and ‘detected by antivirus.’ Some of the identified elements of their infrastructure were hosted in the TOR network,” InfoArmor explains.

The researchers say that RAUM is a tool used by an Eastern European organized crime group known as Black Team. They also report several URLs and IP addresses from where the team operates. We won’t publish them here but it’s of some comfort to know that between Chrome, Firefox and MalwareBytes protection, all were successfully blocked on our test machine.

InfoArmor concludes by warning users to exercise extreme caution when downloading pirated digital content. We’d go a step further and advise people to be wary of installing all software from any untrusted sources, no matter where they’re found online.

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

Most Young Millennials Love Piracy and Ad-Blockers

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/millennials-love-piracy-ad-blockers-160920/

piratekayDespite the availability of many legal services, piracy remains rampant among millennials in the United States.

This is one of the main conclusions of the “Millennials at the Gate” report, released by Anatomy Media. The report is based on a comprehensive survey of 2,700 young millennials between 18 and 24, and zooms in on piracy and ad-blocking preferences in this age group.

The results show that more than two thirds, a whopping 69%, admit to using at least one form of piracy to watch video.

Online streaming is by far the most popular choice among these pirates, whether it’s on the desktop (42%) or via mobile (41%). Torrenting, on the other hand, is on the decline and is stuck at 17% in this age group.

Piracy preferences

piracymillen

Streaming from unofficial sources is so dominant now that Anatomy Media decided to come up with a new word for those who engage in it: striminals. Whether they seriously considered the better fitting “striminalennials” is unclear.

“These streaming millennial criminals, or what we call ‘striminals,’ watch what they want, when they want, where they want, and they don’t pay for it,” the company explains.

Interestingly, 67% of all millennials believe that streaming unauthorized content is perfectly legal. Only 18% believe that it is wrong to stream content without paying for it.

It’s worth highlighting that it’s up for debate whether the term “criminal” accurately describes people who casually stream unauthorized videos. Attempts to make streaming a felony previously failed in the United States congress.

In addition to online piracy, young millennials are quite fond of ad-blockers. The report shows that two out of three use a mobile or desktop ad-blocker, or both.

Ad-blocking preferences

ad-blocking

Interestingly, there is a direct link between the use of ad-blockers and online piracy. Millennials who are into mobile piracy use mobile ad-blockers more often, while desktop pirates have a higher preference for desktop ad-blockers.

Anatomy Media suggest that piracy and ad-blocking might reinforce each other. Online pirates may be more likely to use ad-blockers because pirate sites are often ad-ridden, they argue. However, this causal relationship wasn’t researched.

Piracy and ad-blocking

piracyadblocking

While the above paints a grim picture for media companies, not all is lost according to Anatomy Media. The company, which conveniently specializes in “creative advertising,” says that a better viewing experience could encourage millennials to move over to the right side.

“Young millennials’ dissatisfaction with their viewer experience and their overwhelming adoption of ad blockers is a call-to-action to improve the viewer experience and review the nature of the digital ad experience,” the report concludes.

“Millennials will accept advertising as long as it is restrained, targeted and relevant,” the company self-servingly adds.

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

Web Security Firm Sitelock Uses DMCA to Censor Critics

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/web-security-firm-sitelock-uses-dmca-to-censor-critics-160920/

copyright-bloodThe takedown provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act are most closely associated with alleged infringement in the file-sharing space. As a result, millions of notices are sent to a wide range of websites, not least Google’s search.

As a recent case involving Warner illustrated, erroneous notices can prove controversial, but perhaps the most egregious examples involve efforts to silence critics under the guise of protecting copyrights. One such situation appears to be underway between two players in the website security sector.

In the blue corner stands SiteLock, the self-professed “Global Leader in business website security solutions.” With more than 8,000,000 customers worldwide, it’s more than likely that its logo (shown bottom right in the image below) is familiar to readers.

sitelock-1

Sitelock’s product range is impressive but no matter what it does, the company cannot seem to impress White Fir Design, its rival in the blue corner.

For the past few years, web design and security company White Fir has been publishing articles critical of SiteLock. In 2014, for example, the company published a piece declaring that Sitelock was poor at protecting its clients.

This was followed by several others continuing on the same theme, including a May 2016 piece declaring that Sitelock was scamming its customers. Clearly, things were beginning to heat up.

It’s not clear whether Sitelock disagrees with any of White Fir’s critique but the company has certainly noticed the articles published web outfit. That became evident this week when Sitelock filed DMCA notices against two pieces published by White Fir.

“We have seen a lot of ridiculous stuff from SiteLock recently, but this has to take the cake,” White Fir said in a statement.

“They have now filed a DMCA takedown notice against our website for including a screenshot of their homepage in one [of] our posts.”

The screenshot posted by White Fir originally appeared in an article which claimed how Sitelock had placed their seal of approval on a site, despite it being dangerous for visitors. The screenshot has now been removed but a copy can be seen below.

The allegedly-infringing screenshot

sitelock-2

The resulting DMCA notice from SiteLock claims that White Fir’s use of the screenshot is infringing.

“My name is Logan Kipp, I am contacting you on behalf of my company SiteLock, LLC. A website that your company hosts at IP *66.39.94.41 (WHITEFIRDESIGN.COM) is infringing on at least one copyright owned by SiteLock, LLC,” the complaint to White Fir’s hosting company reads.

“Content has been taken from our official websites, SiteLock.com and wpdistrict.sitelock.com, and used without the authorization of SiteLock, LLC on the website WHITEFIRDESIGN.COM.”

The second complaint Sitelock filed against White Fir concerned a piece published early September which alleged that SiteLock had reported certain versions of WordPress as having “critical” vulnerabilities when in fact they did not.

To support their critique, White Fir included a screenshot of a table published by SiteLock. It’s clear that White Fir had the right to do so under Fair Use but SiteLock’s Logan Kipp felt otherwise, filing a complaint with White Fir’s host.

“I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future,” SiteLock told the host.

“If service providers do not investigate and remove or disable the infringing material [safe harbor] immunity is lost. Therefore, in order for you to remain immune from a copyright infringement action you will need to investigate and ultimately remove or otherwise disable the infringing material from your servers with all due speed should the direct infringer, your client, not comply immediately.”

Quite why White Fir chose to comply with SiteLock’s takedown demands is unclear, as the usage of the screenshots is legal for the purposes of news reporting and critique. However, as White Fir point out, if the aim was to silence them, that has backfired.

“What makes this even more ridiculous is [SiteLock] clearly now know that their post is showing that they lack a basic understanding of WordPress security, but instead of fixing their post, they are trying to hide you from seeing an image on our website,” White Fir explain.

“The only reasonable explanation we can think of for them doing this is that they thought they could get the pages those images were on removed by filing [the complaint], because removing the images alone doesn’t do anything to cover up what they are up to.”

And so the DMCA wars continue….

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