Tag Archives: Breaking News

FACT Confirms Premier League Anti-Piracy Action Against IPTV Suppliers

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/fact-confirms-premier-league-anti-piracy-action-against-iptv-suppliers-190820/

Last month, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) said it had targeted people involved in the supply of ‘pirate’ IPTV subscriptions and the sale of modified set-top boxes.

Its ‘disruption team’ reported working with GAIN (Government Agency Intelligence Network) and the Federation Against Copyright Theft, targeting people in Wrexham and Blackburn. It now transpires that a broader operation took place.

This morning, FACT revealed that following a collaboration with the Premier League, aimed at disrupting the availability of illegal sports streams ahead of the new 2019/2020 football season, it had teamed up with law enforcement agencies to serve cease-and-desist notices.

FACT’s Eddy Leviten, who has just returned to the anti-piracy outfit following a period at the Alliance for Intellectual Property as its Director-General, informs TorrentFreak that actions were “taken across the country”.

In total, 16 premises were targeted in the operation, with cease-and-desist notices served on individuals suspected of supplying illegal sports streams.

Leviten declined to be more precise on the exact nature of the targets at this stage, but confirmed that “those involved were all engaged at a level sufficient to attract our interest.”

However, FACT does note that those targeted were all “promoting unauthorized access to premium television content” which combined with NWROCU’s earlier comments about IPTV could be compatible with lower-level IPTV subscription re-sellers.

These are individuals who operate no service of their own but buy ‘credits’ from bigger players in order to offer packages to the public. NWROCU previously mentioned “cracked online television boxes” too, which are potentially Android-style devices configured for piracy. Again, no further details are currently available.

Nevertheless, the involvement of the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) Disruption Teams may raise alarm bells with those operating in a similar niche. FACT, in conjunction with its Premier League partner, hopes that the cease-and-desist notices will stop the activity in hand while “deterring others from getting involved.”

Kieron Sharp, FACT Chief Executive says that last month’s activity is just one of the tactics being deployed against people committing offenses that affect both rightsholders and broadcasters.

“We have a program of continuous activity targeting different elements of the global piracy landscape, with consideration given to the scale of the offending so that the most effective and proportionate response is deployed,” Sharp says.

“The message is clear. If you are involved in any way in providing illegal streaming services, on any scale, you are not invisible or immune from action from FACT, rights owners and law enforcement.”

National GAIN Coordinator Lesley Donovan adds that the serving of cease-and-desist notices is intended to send a message to those “trying to make a quick buck” out of illegal streaming.

“Their actions are feeding a wider illicit industry which not only denies the economy of millions both in copyright theft and undeclared income but poses a direct risk to our communities due to their lack of parental controls and fire safety,” Donovan says.

“This type of activity is also often a cog in a larger criminal machine, often ultimately funding drugs, weapons and people trafficking.”

The claims of higher-tier offending such as those detailed by Donovan are often cited in connection with all forms of piracy. However, it is extremely rare (perhaps unheard of) for those claims to be backed up with publicly-available evidence. There have been claims in the media that paramilitary groups are involved in some way in Ireland, but no evidence beyond that.

Just recently, TorrentFreak spoke with one IPTV provider who contested the notion that most players in the market are high-level criminals involved in anything other than the supply of unlicensed streams. Since the matter has now been raised again, we’ll reestablish contact to see if they are prepared to respond to the allegations.

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

Netflix’s First Pirate Site Blocking Application Granted in Australia

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/netflixs-first-pirate-site-blocking-application-granted-in-australia/

The rate at which ‘pirate’ sites are being blocked in various countries raises the question of how many more there are left to block.

The answer, it seems, is plenty more yet.

Back in May, yet another application filed in Australia’s Federal Court presented a unique feature – the inclusion of US-based streaming giant Netflix as one of the applicants.

This was the first time the company had appeared requesting a blocking application in the region, claiming infringement of its works Santa Clarita Diet and Stranger Things.

Netflix didn’t appear on its own. The application was headed by local movie giant Roadshow Films and supported by other prominent movie companies such as Disney Enterprises, Universal City Studios, Warner Bros., Television Broadcasts Limited, TVBO, and Madman Anime Group.

Together they demanded the blocking of over 130 domains related to close to 90 torrent, streaming, and similar sites by more than 50 local ISPs.

The claims were filed under Section 115a of Australia’s Copyright Act, which can grant injunctions to force local ISPs to prevent their subscribers from accessing overseas-based ‘infringing locations. It’s taken three months, but the content companies have now been successful.

This morning, Justice Thawley in the Federal Court ordered the respondents including Telstra, Optus, TPG, Vocus, and Vodafone, to take “reasonable steps to disable access to the Target Online Locations” within 15 business days. Each ISP will be handed AUS$50 per domain by the applicants to cover compliance costs.

In common with previous orders, the ISPs were given the option to utilize DNS, IP address, and/or URL blocking techniques (or any other technical means agreed in writing between them and the applications) to prevent access to the sites.

Of course, sites often decide to take countermeasures when orders such as this are handed down in order to circumvent blocking, so the order allows the studios to provide additional information so that these can be swiftly dealt with by the ISPs moving forward.

An updated/amended domain and URL list (there can be changes following an original application) is yet to appear in court records. However, the list of sites and domains in the original application can be viewed in our earlier report.

The order handed down this morning 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.

DISH Files $10m Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Easybox IPTV

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dish-files-10m-copyright-infringement-lawsuit-against-easybox-iptv-190818/

As the use of unlicensed IPTV services continues to gain popularity with consumers around the world, content owners and broadcasters are faced with a growing illicit market to disrupt.

As a result, copyright infringement and similar lawsuits against ‘pirate’ IPTV providers are definitely on the rise, with US-based broadcaster DISH Network at the forefront.

This week, DISH filed another lawsuit in the United States, this time targeting ‘pirate’ IPTV provider Easybox IPTV. This ‘company’ (the term is used loosely, given the unknown structure of the operation) appears not dissimilar to several others previously targeted by the broadcaster.

The model adopted by Easybox suggests the outfit primarily targets less experienced IPTV users, something that’s supported by the operation offering ready-configured (aka ‘fully-loaded’) devices as well as add-on subscription packages.

Part of the Easybox IPTV offering

The DISH lawsuit, filed in a Texas federal court, list DOES 1-5 individually and collectively doing business as Easybox IPTV. DISH doesn’t appear to know the identities of the people it’s suing but has concluded they may be from China.

The broadcaster says that historical WHOIS records for the service’s domain name suggest a China base while delivery time for devices sent to China is much quicker than those sent to the United States.

At issue are DISH’s ‘protected channels’, i.e those it supplies as a result of licensing agreements obtained from various TV networks. These allow the company to “distribute and publicly perform” in the United States “by means including satellite, OTT, Internet protocol television (‘IPTV’), and Internet.”

Easybox IPTV’s service, which offers “more than 1,000 channels” to its subscribers, includes the ‘protected channels’, a breach of the broadcaster’s rights, according to DISH.

“Defendants use their Easybox Service to transmit the Protected Channels over the Internet to Service Users soon after the original authorized transmission,” the complaint reads.

“Defendants capture live broadcast signals of the Protected Channels, transcode these signals into a format useful for streaming over the Internet, transfer the transcoded content to one or more servers provided, controlled, and maintained by Defendants, and then transmit the Protected Channels to Service Users through OTT delivery.”

An interesting element to the case are the efforts expended by DISH, in advance of this lawsuit, in order to get Easybox to cease-and-desist its activities. According to the broadcaster, since January 27, 2016, DISH and its partners sent at least 116 infringement notices, all of which were ignored.

“Instead [of responding], Defendants prevented DISH’s counsel from viewing Easybox.tv by blocking their Internet Protocol (‘IP’) addresses,” the complaint adds.

On top of the direct notices, from February 8, 2016, more than 170 additional complaints were sent to CDNs associated with the Easybox service. DISH believes at least some of these were forwarded to the IPTV provider since it later countered by switching to different CDN providers.

All that considered, DISH is demanding a permanent injunction against Easybox (and anyone acting in concert with it) preventing it from “transmitting, streaming, distributing, or publicly performing in the United States, with any Easybox set-top box, smart IPTV subscription, subscription renewal, or any other device, application, service, or process, any of the Protected Channels or any of the programming that comprises any of the Protected Channels.”

DISH also seeks a ban on the distribution, sale, promotion or advertising of Easybox services and/or devices, including any inducement for others to carry out the same.

In addition, it requests statutory damages for 67 or more registered works at the rate of $150,000 each (more than $10 million) plus any profits generated by Easybox due to the infringement of non-registered works.

The DISH complaint against Easybox can be downloaded 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.

Cloudflare Flags Copyright Lawsuits as Potential Liabilities Ahead of IPO

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-flags-copyright-lawsuits-as-potential-liabilities-ahead-of-ipo-190816/

As a CDN and security company, Cloudflare currently serves around 20 million “Internet properties”, ranging from domains and websites through to application programming interfaces (APIs) and mobile applications.

At least hundreds of those properties, potentially more, are considered ‘pirate’ platforms by copyright groups, which has resulted in Cloudflare being sucked into copyright infringement lawsuits due to the activities of its customers.

On Thursday, Cloudflare filed to go public by submitting the required S-1 registration statement. It contains numerous warnings that copyright infringement lawsuits, both current and those that may appear in the future, could present significant issues of liability for the company.

Noting that some of Cloudflare’s customers may use its services in violation of the law, the company states that existing laws relating to the liability of service providers are “highly unsettled and in flux”, both in the United States and further afield.

“For example, we have been named as a defendant in a number of lawsuits, both in the United States and abroad, alleging copyright infringement based on content that is made available through our customers’ websites,” the filing reads.

“There can be no assurance that we will not face similar litigation in the future or that we will prevail in any litigation we may face. An adverse decision in one or more of these lawsuits could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.”

Cloudflare goes on to reference the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, noting that they may not offer “complete protection” for the company or could even be amended in the future to its detriment.

“If we are found not to be protected by the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, CDA [Communications Decency Act] or other similar laws, or if we are deemed subject to laws in other countries that may not have the same protections or that may impose more onerous obligations on us, we may face claims for substantial damages and our brand, reputation, and financial results may be harmed. Such claims may result in liability that exceeds our ability to pay or our insurance coverage,” Cloudflare warns.

As a global company, it’s not only US law the company has to consider. Cloudflare references the recently-approved Copyright Directive in the EU, noting that also has the potential to expose Cloudflare and other online platforms to liability.

As recently as last month and in advance of any claims under that particular legislation, Cloudflare experienced an adverse ruling in an Italian court. Local broadcaster RTI successfully argued that Cloudflare can be held liable if it willingly fails to act in response to copyright infringement notices. In addition, Cloudflare was ordered to terminate the accounts of several pirate sites.

Of course, it’s not uncommon for S-1 filings to contain statements that can be interpreted as impending doom, since companies are required to be frank about their business’s prospects. However, with single copyright cases often dealing with millions of dollars worth of alleged infringement, Cloudflare’s appraisal of the risks seems entirely warranted.

Cloudflare’s S-1 filing can be viewed here

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

‘Google Blocked TorrentFreak From Appearing in Search Feature’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/google-blocked-torrentfreak-from-appearing-in-search-feature-190815/

At TorrentFreak, we have written hundreds of articles about website blocking and censorship. Today, we’re featured in one ourselves.

Leaked Google documents reveal that TorrentFreak.com shows up in one of Google’s previously unknown blocklists, which actively hides our domain from the Google Now service.

Google Now was a Google search feature that presented users with informational cards, to provide users with more details on subjects of interest to them. While the brand no longer exists, the feature is still present in the Google Android app and its feed.

The controversial blocklist is part of a treasure trove of files that were leaked by whistleblower Zachary Vorhies, who shared them with Project Veritas. The entire collection of files uncovers many previously unknown policies and actions from Google.

“These documents were available to every single employee within the company that was full-time. And so as a fulltime employee at the company, I just searched for some keywords and these documents started to pop up,” Vorhies said.

The Google Now blocklist, which is available here, contains nearly 500 domain names. The file starts with APKMirror, eBay and some Google sites, and then continues with several torrent related sites including The Pirate Bay, RARBG and EZTV, as well as some that no longer exist.

TorrentFreak.com is grouped in with the torrent sites. While the list doesn’t give a reason for the block, it appears that it’s related to the subject of piracy.

Torrent blocks

The list then continues with sites that are tagged due to having a “high user block rate.” These include quite a few conservative websites. As the description suggests, they may have been filtered because a lot of users block these sites.

Further down the list, there are also a dozen sites that are supposedly “flagged for peddling hoax stories.”

High user block rate

This isn’t the first Google leak story by Project Veritas. The outlet previously published internal Google documents about what it described as “algorithmic unfairness.”

Google obviously wasn’t happy with the leaks. The company reportedly sent a threatening letter to Vorhies after it uncovered his identity, and the San Fransisco police later visited the Google insider for a “mental health” check.

The turn of events triggered Vorhies to release the documents in public and step out of the shadows. In addition to sharing the information publicly, he also sent the data dump to the US Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

TorrentFreak is not able to independently verify the authenticity of the blocklist or any of the other materials that were leaked. It’s also not clear whether the list is up-to-date and still actively used.

We reached out to a Google spokesperson to find out more. including why our site appears on this list, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

A full copy of all the leaked files, which also contains other documents about censorship, hiring practices, and psychological research, is accessible via Project Veritas. The site also published a detailed video interview with the whistleblower.

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

‘Get it Right’ Hopes High-Profile Social Influencers Can Deter Piracy

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/get-it-right-hopes-high-profile-social-influencers-can-deter-piracy-190815/

Last month, TorrentFreak reported that the Creative Content UK (CCUK) “Get it Right” anti-piracy campaign had ended the practice of sending infringement notices to ‘pirating’ Internet users in the UK.

“The educational emails sent by ISPs upon detection of infringing file-sharing activity have served their purpose and are ceasing, with the focus instead increasing the broader engagement with fans based around their passion for music, TV, film and all other kinds of creative content,” a CCUK spokesperson told us.

The wider campaign, which is funded by the UK government and run by music and movie industry groups BPI and MPA, launched a new phase today. It aims to educate consumers on the efforts expended during the creation of original content in the hope that will lead to a natural decline in piracy rates. Hearts and minds, if you will.

It begins with the first installment of a new mini-series featuring creators (social influencers) talking about their own content and what it takes to produce it, including the work put in by those behind the scenes.

Quite smartly, CCUK has gone down the “accessible superstar” route in its first episode by featuring popular YouTuber Caspar Lee and ‘influencer’ Snoochie Shy, who together have more than 10 million followers on various platforms.

The first video in the mini-series

Given that this writer had to Google for information on both Lee and Shy, it seems clear that the target audience of the campaign is relatively young. We spoke to CCUK who confirmed our suspicions.

“The principal target audience of the Get it Right campaign overall is 16-34, but the focus of this particular influencer video (and others to come) is more 16-24 — so Millennials and early Gen Z essentially. It may also resonate with some younger, early-teen Caspar and Snoochie followers too,” a CCUK spokesperson explained.

As the video notes, Caspar Lee starred in a movie (Laid in America) which according to CCUK was heavily pirated to the tune of 500,000 downloads/streams in a single month. This in itself raises an interesting question.

If Lee’s followers are his biggest fans, presumably they already have some level of respect for him. If that’s the case, why did so many of them pirate his movie, even after having semi-direct ‘personal’ contact with him through his social media channels? That’s something CCUK hopes to address with its campaign.

“One of the paradoxes of Internet/social media led fandom is arguably that there can be huge love and passion for the artist/influencer, their content and what they do and have to say, but this doesn’t always translate into their content being accessed from the right sources,” CCUK told TF.

“Some fans may even think — ‘this guy must be making loads of money — he’s not going to miss if I don’t pay for it.’ But the reality is that artists and creators do feel it, particularly new ones trying to break through.

“Think how many young creators are looking to make a living from the Internet and from creating content, and all the people that work with them, who can all be seriously impacted. Caspar and the people that worked with him didn’t get to make a sequel for example.”

CCUK add that some of this unofficial consumption may be down to a genuine lack of awareness, with people having difficulty differentiating between official and pirate platforms, for example. But whatever the reasons for piracy, the group’s leaders hope to use their education campaign to encourage a change in both behavior and attitudes.

“It’s encouraging to see Get It Right quietly but surely having a positive effect, and that its core message is getting through,” says Ian Moss, BPI Director of Public Affairs.

“Fans have a clear choice – If they value the creative process, and access content legally from licensed sources, creators will be able to invest more of their time and creativity into producing the music, film and other entertainment we love. If they don’t, and creators feel less able to take risks and invest, this rich choice will diminish for us all.”

Marianne Grant, who co-leads on the campaign for the MPA, believes that people who have been exposed to the Get it Right campaign are now more willing to see how their own actions can make a difference by spending more time considering whether to consume from legitimate sources.

“Since Get it Right was launched, more people are taking that time, with the almost 30 per cent of the population who have been exposed to Get it Right materials reducing significantly their use of infringing content,” Grant says.

“Our task now is to reach further into the population with these interesting and important messages – to provide more engaging and informative content to improve people’s understanding about the creative process and all the people who are involved in it — and to encourage further change.”

A CCUK spokesperson informs TF that this first ‘influencer’ video is “effectively a pilot”, the results of which will shape the direction of future videos in the series. They will target the same age group, so expect to see similar “influencers” playing a key role in future productions.

Whether the campaign will make a real difference “on the ground” remains to be seen. However, reading between the lines and given the target audience, older pirates may not be considered the biggest problem in the UK right now. And of course, they’ll be more set in their ways, so molding younger minds may be the easier option.

They’ll also know who Caspar Lee is, which is a big plus and a good start.

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

Warner Bros. Obtains Several Blocking Orders Targeting Major Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/warner-bros-obtains-blocking-orders-against-major-pirate-sites-190813/

India is no stranger to blocking pirate sites. Just last week, a court ordered local Internet service providers to block more than 1,200 sites to prevent the spread of a single movie.

Now, however, it appears that there additional legal moves underway to ensure that sites are not only blocked temporarily but also on a more permanent basis.

Over the past several weeks the High Court in Delhi has been handling many separate applications for permanent injunction filed by US-based Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

In all cases, the company states that several of its copyrighted works – movies Aquaman, A Star is Born, Wonder Woman, plus TV show Arrow – were made available via a broad range of torrent, streaming, linking, and proxy-type sites.

The complaints also cite works by studios including Columbia, Paramount, Universal, and Netflix as further examples of content being infringed on the platforms.

In just one of the complaints the list of infringing domains runs to 124 and includes some very well known names including local giant Tamilrockers, TorrentDownload.ch, TorrentDownloads.me and EZTV, iStole.it, Zoink.it, Torrents.me, Torrents.io, Zooqle, MovieRulz, LimeTorrents, Bolly4u, KatMovie, Monova, and 9xMovies.

In many cases, multiple domains are listed for the above sites, including alternates, proxies and other variants that are accessible via various unblocking platforms. All are accused of infringing the rights of Warner Bros. by providing access to its movie and TV shows content without authorization.

“[D]efendant Websites are primarily and substantially engaged in communicating to the public, hosting, streaming and/or making available to the public Plaintiff’s original content without authorization, and/or facilitating the same,” one order reads.

The order covering the above sites notes that Warner investigated and then served legal notices on the platforms ordering them to cease-and-desist. However, it’s reported that none acted to prevent their infringing activities.

To boost its case, Warner also informed the Court that some of the sites have already been blocked in other jurisdictions (including the UK, Portugal, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Russia, and Italy) for similar behavior.

After consideration, the Court found that there is a prima facie case and Warner should be awarded an interim injunction to prevent the sites from continuing their infringing activities. Furthermore, the sites should have their domains blocked by ISPs in India, to prevent further damage and losses.

The Court also addressed the issue of additional domains or platforms appearing to circumvent any blocking, by granting Warner permission to file additional updates with the Court that will allow for such mechanisms to be disabled by ISPs via an expedited process.

The example order detailed above is very specific, in that it orders ISPs to block the domain names of the sites plus a list of IP addresses. However, the vast majority appear to be using Cloudflare, so it remains to be seen whether the ISPs will use discretion or blindly block, which could cause considerable disruption to other sites using the same IP locations.

In some of the orders, it appears that domain registrars are also required to suspend domain names belonging or connected to various sites, including TamilRockers, Hindilinks4u, Otorrents, Filmlinks4u, Mp4Moviez, Series9.io, uWatchFree, OnlineWatchMovies, MovieRulzFree, and SkyMovies.

Several additional applications from Warner are on record at the Delhi High Court but are yet to be published as interim orders.

The main order detailed above can be found here (pdf), the rest here 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

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

Serie A Launches Anti-Piracy Campaign But Shares ‘Sponsor’ With Pirate Movies

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/serie-a-launches-anti-piracy-campaign-but-shares-sponsor-with-pirate-movies-190811/

There can be little doubt that the wide availability of unlicensed streaming portals and IPTV services is causing grave concern among football leagues all over Europe.

The Premier League has been particularly vocal about this growing form of piracy and has taken matters to the UK High Court, obtaining blocking orders which enable it to take action in real-time, with the help of Internet service providers.

With the new season about to start this month, Italy’s top-tier football league Serie A has launched an anti-piracy campaign of its own, declaring that “Piracy Kills Football” alongside the hashtag #STOPIRACY which it hopes fans will spread across social media.

“The Serie A League is at the forefront of addressing the scourge of piracy, we must defend football against this criminal attack and make it clear to those who use illegal decoders that they are committing a real crime,” says Serie A president Gaetano Miccichè.

“The problem is global and damages football at all levels. We are strengthening the tools to identify and counter acts of piracy in real-time, but it is essential for us to create a system together with the help of the Government and the telecoms operators.”

Piracy Kills Football (Image credit: Serie A)

However, it’s the comments of Serie A CEO Luigi De Siervo that serve to raise a wry smile when viewed from a wider angle to encompass all kinds of video piracy and a Serie A sponsorship deal in particular.

“Piracy is a criminal phenomenon, implemented by people who do not realize the seriousness of what they are doing,” the CEO writes. “Continuing will end up destroying the content creation industry, the cinema, TV, print media, but also and above all football, the quintessential premium product.”

Citing the potential destruction of the cinema is an interesting choice.

Readers may recall our recent article which detailed the activities of Russia-based gambling company, 1XBET. In a nutshell, the majority of CAM-copies of movies (those filmed in cinemas and released online during their theatrical release), currently contain lots of advertising and promo codes for 1XBET.

Pirate releases with 1XBET branding

According to SportBusiness Sponsorship, 1XBET is actually an official presenting partner for Serie A and as a result, its ads can be found almost everywhere on Serie A’s site. It even has its own ‘Player Profile’ page where the betting company is the star of the show. But there’s more.

“The three-year deal will run until 2021, making 1XBet the league’s International Presenting Partner, covering Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North Africa and the Americas,” the publication notes.

“As part of the deal, 1XBet will be featured in all match graphics, idents and virtual goal mat advertising in all live Serie A broadcasts.”

GOAL….sponsored by 1XBET

Bizarrely, given the coverage that 1XBET has received in relation to piracy and CAM copies of movies, its ads are also running on the very same page as Serie A’s anti-piracy campaign, right across the bottom of the screen and under the comments claiming that piracy is destroying cinema.

We’ve embedded some of the Serie A page below, so the context is clear in respect of the anti-piracy language (particularly that involving the cinema) and the positioning of the 1XBET advertising.

“1XBET is a gambling company originating from Russia that uses cam copies to advertise itself internationally,” Dmitry Tyunkin, Deputy Director of Anti-Piracy and Brand Protection at cyber-security firm Group-IB, previously told TorrentFreak.

As noted earlier, there’s no overwhelming evidence available to the general public that 1XBET itself is driving camming ‘sponsorship’ directly, even though the prevalence of the branding and advertising in pirate movie releases tends to suggest otherwise. Maybe pirates have taken it upon themselves to advertise the company in releases just for kicks., who knows.

Having said all that, Serie A doesn’t appear to consider any of this a problem, even when the same advertising appears on the same page as their very own anti-piracy campaign. Strange times indeed.

Finally, Serie A team Juventus promoted the campaign on Twitter. See for yourself how it went down with fans. Many cited much bigger issues as responsible for the impending death of football, not least (but not limited to) the extortionate prices fans are expected to pay to watch matches.

Mile 22 with 1XBET ads

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

Bulgaria CyberCrime Unit Arrests Man For Running Dozens of Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/bulgaria-cybercrime-unit-arrests-man-for-running-dozens-of-pirate-sites-190810/

Like many countries in Europe, Bulgaria is home to large numbers of pirate sites operating in multiple niches, from torrent and streaming platforms, to dedicated IPTV services.

In recent times authorities there have indicated that they are taking a tougher line to combat infringement in the country and yesterday announced results on that front.

According to an announcement from the Ministry of the Interior, a “special operation” was carried out this week to take down dozens of streaming platforms said to be involved in the unlicensed distribution of copyright works.

Carried out under the direction of the Sofia District Prosecutor’s office, the Cybercrime Specialized Unit at the State Security Service detained a 40-year-old man said to be the owner/operator of dozens of pirate sites, which appear to have focused on the streaming sector.

The authorities claimed that the man ran more than 40 websites which distributed movies online without obtaining permission from copyright holders. He allegedly got one site off the ground and then used the content from that to fuel the others, which were then supported financially by adverts provided by Google.

“He originally published the films on one of the sites he controlled. After reaching a certain number of visitors and the traffic generated – for which he was paid for by Google respectively – he downloaded the works and shared them again, but on some other domains,” the statement from the Ministry reads.

“The procedure was repeated 4-5 times until the resource was exhausted from the sites he controlled. Thus, for the same copyright sites, the capitalist received multiple payments from Google.”

According to the statement, most of the sites were “hosted” on the Internet by one of the largest cloud service providers in the United States. This, the authorities claimed, led the man to believe he was anonymous. However, international investigations carried out by Bulgaria’s General Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime (GDBOP) uncovered his identity.

The full list of sites attributed to the man by the authorities reads as follows:

x-movies-8.com, new123movies.com, phim-3s.com, phim-14.com, xxxmovies8.com, ww1.serialitebg.com, xmovies8- tv.com, onlinemovies2017.com, xmovies-8.com, onlinemovies2016.com, newcinema2016.info, movies-16.com, onlinemovies-gold.com , megashare-movies.com, newmovies-2016.com, onlinemovies-is.com, big-top-40.com, movie-8k.com, tv-1000.net, online-movies-pro.info, moviesonline-pro.com, filmi-bg-audio.com, terminator-genesys-online.info, starwars7download.info, resident-evil-7-online.info, mision-impossible-5-online.info, james-bond-24-online.info, onlain-filmi-bg.com, filmi-fen.com, filmi-2015.com, kinofilme-2014.com, movies-2017.com, hulu-movies.com, onlain-filmi.info, movies-2015.com, movies-16.com, movie-32.com, new123movies.stream

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HTTPS Interception “Breaks” Slider Music Search Engine

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/https-interception-breaks-slider-music-search-engine-190808/

Over the years, dozens of ‘pirate’ sites have suspended their operations for a wide range of reasons.

Pressure from rightsholders is perhaps the most common problem, but issues with hosting, domains, or even lack of time or resources have appeared high on the list.

Music search engine Slider.kz has a now cited a reason never heard before.

Slider.kz has been around for approximately nine years, having first appeared in 2010. It certainly doesn’t have the profile of some of today’s popular “stream-ripper” type sites but until recently has been quietly sourcing, indexing and making available for download thousands of tracks from its base in Kazakhstan.

Now, however, the site has problems. The issues are briefly outlined in a popup message when users first visit the site, which references problems with encryption.

Encryption problems

Once the message goes away, users are met with the most recent version of the Slider.kz homepage, complete with the usual search box. But those hoping to download or stream music in the browser (Slider previously offered both options) are presented with a disappointing message.

HTTPS woes for Slider

The problems appear related to the news last month that the government in Kazakhstan has recently begun intercepting HTTPS traffic. According to reports, local Internet service providers have been ordered to force their subscribers to install root certificates issued by the government, something which would allow various agencies to intercept what would otherwise be secure web traffic.

“Pursuant to the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Communications and clause 11 of Rules for Issuing and Applying Security Certificates, Kcell JSC informs its customers of the need to install Security Certificate on devices capable of connecting to the Internet,” service provider Kcell told its customers in a recent announcement.

“According to law, telecom network operators are to ensure that customers with whom the operators have service contracts are able to install the security certificate on their mobile devices.”

The provider goes on to explain that the security certificate must be installed on all devices used to access the Internet (whether mobile or desktop-based) because if not, customers may face “technical limitations when accessing certain websites.”

Slider.kz does not currently have a security certificate and is running on basic HTTP, meaning that simply accessing the site isn’t a problem. However, Slider appears to index music sourced from elsewhere so it’s possible that the new regime in Kazakhstan is interfering with that in some way.

We have been unable to reach Slider’s operator for a more detailed explanation but we can confirm that at least some the 499 sample tracks compiled by the site’s operator (a small selection of what is usually available) stream directly from the site’s server, not from third-party sources.

All that being said, it’s possible that Slider may return, sooner rather than later. Local media reports are now suggesting that the government may be backtracking on its earlier requirement for citizens to install the security certificate. Only time will tell if this will completely solve Slider’s problems.

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‘Cheating’ Fortnite Kid Wants Copyright Lawsuit Dismissed

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cheating-fortnite-kid-wants-copyright-lawsuit-dismissed-190807/

Frustrated by thousands of cheaters who wreak havoc in Fortnite’s “Battle Royale,” game publisher Epic Games has taken several to court.

The game developer isn’t trying to bankrupt these people financially. It is mainly interested in preventing them from cheating in the future.

The main strategy thus far has been to ‘settle’ the cases. Several accused cheaters have signed consent judgments, promising not to cheat or engage in any copyright-infringing activity going forward. This includes the popular YouTuber Golden Modz, who settled his case earlier this year.

Despite these widely publicized lawsuits, cheaters will be cheaters. The problem persists and some still openly sell cheats online while posting YouTube videos to promote their work.

This includes a YouTuber called CBV, who was sued by Epic Games a few weeks ago. The games company is pursuing the minor (referred to as C.B. in the complaint) with several claims, including copyright infringement and breaches of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.

While plenty of kids would be terrified facing a lawsuit like this, CBV didn’t appear to be impressed. In a YouTube video discussing his troubles, the 14-year-old states that he won’t make Fortnite videos anymore. But his tone is far from apologetic.

“Fuck epic games. I mean, at least they can’t come after my channel anymore. I’m never gonna make another video. But if they really want to come at my neck for 100 Mil then they can just fuck their brand on their own,” CBV notes.

“They’re going to attempt to bankrupt my family just because I made Fortnite cheats. Just cause I allegedly made Fortnite tonight cheats and played this game while making YouTube videos,” he adds.

In its complaint, Epic Games indeed seeks damages. However, the statutory maximum in this case, where one work is at stake, wouldn’t exceed $150,000, which is far from $100 million.

CBV is trying to make the point that it would look bad if Epic Games pursues massive damages from a relatively small cheater, who’s not even an adult. While that may be, arguments like that don’t win a lawsuit.

The YouTuber’s attorneys, however, have more arguments why the case should be dismissed. This week they filed a motion to dismiss the case. Among other things, they point out that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over their client and that requiring a minor to defend himself in another state would be unreasonable.

“Defendant C.B. is a child who lives in Illinois with absolutely no connection to North Carolina. Nonetheless, Plaintiff Epic Games, Inc., a multibillion company, wants to drag him into court here,” they write.

“Exercising jurisdiction over C.B. would be unfair and unreasonable, as well as forbidden by the United States Constitution,” the attorneys add.

One of the additional issues highlighted is that the TOS and EULA are not enforceable, because a minor can not enter into a legally binding contract. In fact, both Epic’s TOS and EULA specifically state that the signee has to be an adult.

In the YouTube video, CBV notes that the case is “kind of a joke,” adding that Epic Games surely doesn’t need the little money that he has, as they just hosted a 100 million dollar tournament.

However, reading through the paperwork it becomes clear that this lawsuit, which is similar to the ones that have been filed in the past, isn’t really about money. The main issue Epic Games appears to be concerned with is to stop CBV from promoting and selling hacks.

Epic has previously asked YouTube to remove several videos where this activity is promoted. Since CBV submitted DMCA counternotices to reinstate a video, Epic has to file a lawsuit, otherwise the video will automatically become available again after 14 days.

In other words, the lawsuits may not be about bankrupting and defendants, as we have suggested before, but mostly an indirect effort to ensure that certain hacking-related YouTube videos remain offline. Or as Epic Games puts it in the original complaint.

“Defendant’s submission of a DMCA counter notification, which requires YouTube to restore the infringing content unless Epic files an action seeking a court order to restrain Defendant from engaging in infringing activity, creates a continuing risk of copyright infringement.”

It will be up to the court to decide whether it has jurisdiction over the 14-year-old and if Epic’s claims hold up or not.

A copy of the motion to dismiss, filed on behalf of the alleged cheater, is available here (pdf).

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BREIN “Burns Buttocks” of Pirate Who Forged Email & Refused to Pay Up

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/brein-burns-buttocks-of-pirate-who-forged-email-refused-to-pay-up-190807/

Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN is famous for taking on pirates both large and small. From The Pirate Bay to people dealing in IPTV boxes and sundry media, BREIN is rarely out of the headlines for long.

One of BREIN’s current strategies is to track down pirates, make them admit to their crimes, and then negotiate a settlement. This usually involves agreeing to cease-and-desist and handing over some kind of cash payment, to go towards any supposed losses incurred by its copyright holder partners and the costs of pursuing the case.

While some people keep to the agreed terms, others do not. BREIN says it doesn’t let these cases lie. Case in point, a man who sold pirated copies of eBooks in the Netherlands.

According to BREIN, the 38-year-old operated under the name Ebookplaza and Alexnav, selling thousands of eBooks via sites including Marktplaats.nl, Speurders.nl and Tweedehands.nl. This caught the attention of BREIN, who tracked the man down.

“Taking into account the man’s capacity to pay, BREIN reached a settlement consisting of a declaration of abstention with a penalty clause and a contribution to the costs of 450 euros,” BREIN said in a statement this morning.

BREIN believes its original offer to settle was reasonable but still, no payment was forthcoming. The man did not respond to reminders and a summons was returned marked as “address unknown.” But despite the relatively small settlement amount, BREIN wasn’t prepared to let the case go.

After discovering the man had protected his data with the authorities, BREIN took steps to find out where he now lived and after a procedure discovered he hadn’t moved away at all. BREIN sent in the bailiffs who were handed email ‘evidence’ that the case had been dismissed. According to the anti-piracy group, that email was faked.

“That the email was forged was not only apparent from the incorrect terminology – after all, it is not a criminal case – but in particular because the sender’s address was not in use at the time. BREIN then summoned the man. He did not appear at the session,” the anti-piracy group explained.

As a result, a judge sitting in Eindhoven has now awarded BREIN an even higher amount plus costs – 1,421 euros – with interest added on top until the date the amount is settled in full.

“This man got a very reasonable settlement and now he has to pay a lot more. We will not let him escape that,” says BREIN chief Tim Kuik.

“Whoever burns his buttocks must sit on the blisters.”

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RIAA Asks Cloudflare to Unmask Owner of Turbobit

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-asks-cloudflare-to-unmask-owner-of-turbobit-190804/

When Megaupload was shut down in 2012, chaos ensued in the international file-hosting scene.

While Megaupload undoubtedly stored a lot of copyright-infringing content, it also cooperated with rightsholders and executed takedown demands, not unlike YouTube, for example.

Fearing the same fate, some sites shut down. Others, like fellow file-hosting sites Uploaded and Turbobit, reacted by preventing visitors from the United States from accessing their sites, at least temporarily. While both sites are still around today more than seven years later, the latter is now getting some attention from the RIAA, one of the plaintiffs in the currently-frozen Megaupload civil case.

On July 26, the RIAA filed for and obtained a DMCA subpoena which compels US CDN company Cloudflare to hand over the personal details of Turbobits’ operator, including names, physical addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, payment information, and account histories.

Turbobit stands accused of offering for distribution the album ‘Hurts 2B Human’ by American singer Pink. Another site listed in the subpoena, Hotsahiphop.org, is similarly accused of offering Mike Posner’s ‘Look What I’ve Become ft. Ty Dolla $ign’ without authorization.

However, it’s two fairly anonymous URLs listed in the same subpoena that offer a coincidental loop-around to the earlier Megaupload case of 2012.

321hiphop.is and gotth.is (Got This) are two pretty low-traffic sites that appear to be used as hosting platforms for various tracks and mixtapes. Since there are much bigger targets around today, it isn’t clear why they’re on the RIAA’s radar.

Nevertheless, the RIAA wants Cloudflare to hand over the personal details of their operators for the offense of hosting two copies of the 2010 Jay-Z track ‘Ultra’ which features none other than Swizz Beatz, the man Megaupload claimed was their CEO at the time of the raid in 2012.

Source: Megaupload (January 2012)

It’s unclear why Swizz Beatz was listed as the company’s CEO all of those years ago since the artist was never mentioned by name in any of the legal documentation connected to the raids or subsequent lawsuits. It was later confirmed by Ira Rothken, counsel for Megaupload, that Beatz was in negotiations to become the CEO, but it never came to pass.

However, Beatz did admit to working with Megaupload, possibly in connection with Megabox, the service that planned to give fans free music in return for their advertising clicks while giving most of the money back to the artists.

Megabox never came to light and here we are, seven years later, with the RIAA trying to tackle sites, not unlike Megaupload, with similar strategies, in order to protect his music.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems.

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Mindgeek Asks Cloudflare to Unmask Tube Site Uploaders

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mindgeek-asks-cloudflare-to-unmask-tube-site-uploaders-190803/

Mindgeek owns some of the most popular porn brands on the Internet. ‘Tube’ sites Pornhub, RedTube, and YouPorn are all company-owned, as are adult production companies Brazzers and Digital Playground, to name just two.

One of its subsidiaries, MG Premium Ltd, operates the latter two brands and many more like them. As content producers, they also get involved in sending takedown requests to Google. In fact, MG Premium is one of the most prolific senders of DMCA notices on the Internet today, after sending notices targeting more than 215 million URLs on Google search alone.

MG Premium – currently the 5th most active sender of notices to Google

Despite all the takedowns targeting various domains, MG Premium appears particularly interested in the activities of several adult-focused ‘tube’ sites.

Via applications filed in a federal court in Washington last week, the company says it is attempting to obtain the identities of people who illegally uploaded its content to Waxtube.com, Vivud.com, Veporns.com, Tubezx.com, Siska.tv, Redwap.me, and Pornbraze.com. It says it can do this by issuing a subpoena to Cloudflare, which all of the sites use.

“MG is the owner of numerous copyrighted audiovisual works. In the course of protecting its works, MG has determined that infringing copies of these works, posted at the direction of individual users and without authorization from MG, appear on Cloudflare’s website, Waxtube.com,” the subpoenas read, substituting the site name at the end as appropriate.

“Such infringements have been ongoing and MG has issued DMCA notifications to Clouflare’s DMCA Agent. All notifications have met the requirements of 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)(A) by setting forth, inter alia, a representative list of the copyrighted works that have been infringed and the identification and location on Cloudflare’s website of the infringing material. MG now seeks to obtain a DMCA Subpoena to learn the identity of the individuals who are posting the infringing content.”

The list and descriptions of allegedly-infringing URLs on Waxtube (which are detailed at the rate of roughly five per page in Waxtube’s case) run to six pages. The second site, Vivud.com, is backed up with more than 580 pages of URLs, with Tubezx.com and Redwap.com weighing in at close to 400 pages and 190 respectively.

The existence of the subpoenas raises a number of questions, not least how useful Cloudflare can be in these cases. The subpoenas specifically state that MG Premium wants to “identify alleged infringers who, without authorization from MG, posted material to..” the sites in question.

It’s not clear whether Cloudflare will be in a position to do that but it should be able to provide the details of the operators of the various sites, which may or may not provide a useful stepping stone for MG Premium to achieve its stated aim. Whether the adult company has further but as yet unstated plans will remain to be seen.

All of the Waxtube subpoena documents can be found here 1,2,3,4 (pdf)

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DISH Sues ‘Pirate’ IPTV Providers Including Two Already ‘Seized’ By ACE

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dish-sues-pirate-iptv-providers-including-two-already-seized-by-ace-190802/

Threats of legal action backed up by litigation was once regular news in the torrent site arena but as streaming has begun to take over, particularly among more casual pirates, it’s IPTV grabbing most of the headlines.

DISH Networks is rapidly becoming one of the most litigious companies around and this week, in collaboration with partner NagraStar – a joint venture between Dish Network and Kudelski – it added yet another anti-IPTV lawsuit to its growing roster.

Filed in a New Jersey federal court, the suit targets individuals and companies said to be behind what appears to be at least six IPTV providers and/or brands.

“Defendant [Wilmey] Jimenez created and operates and/or operated unauthorized pirate television streaming services under various brand names including BimoTV, TVStreamsNow, OneStepTV, IbexTV, and MagnumStreams,” the complaint reads.

“Defendant [Fernandez Manuel] DaRocha created and operates and/or operated unauthorized pirate television streaming services under the brand name SolTV, and Defendant DaRocha also uses SoITV to provide unauthorized and pirated programming content to Defendant Jimenez, which Defendant Jimenez then retransmits.”

The heart of the complaint centers around the unlicensed distribution of DISH’s programming. The company says that it believes that the defendants worked in concert with others with similar aims and this is where things begin to get a little tangled.

DISH claims that Jimenez and DaRocha “have a history in trafficking in similar piracy streaming services”, claiming that they sold access to the now-defunct SetTV, the IPTV provider that was ordered to settle with DISH for an eye-watering $90 million.

Previously, SetTV was also sued by the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a case that ended in a $7.6m default judgment just this week. There are some interesting ACE cross-overs in this case too.

While the domain of BimoTV appears to have disappeared out of use, the same cannot be said about those previously linked to TVStreamsNow and OneStepTV. As reported here in May and July, those domains are already in the hands of the MPAA. They display a copyright infringement warning before diverting to ACE’s website, which is also operated by the MPAA.

While unconfirmed by any official sources, this type of domain ‘seizure’ behavior usually points to some kind of settlement, in this case potentially with ACE and/or the MPAA. DISH is not a member of ACE, however, which suggests that settling with one group doesn’t grant immunity from another.

Unlike other cases involving IPTV providers, the DISH lawsuit isn’t based in copyright law. The company alleges violations of the Federal Communications Act (FCA) while demanding a permanent injunction to prevent the defendants from receiving and redistributing DISH content, and selling/distributing subscriptions and any associated reception devices.

DISH also requests an order to have the defendants’ social media pages removed, along with any advertising for the ‘pirate’ IPTV services. DISH further demands that their websites are handed over to the broadcaster. Of course, the company wants damages on top, which could reach $100,000 for each violation of the FCA. Very big numbers indeed.

The complaint can be obtained here (pdf)

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RIAA Targets Picosong Over Leaked Kanye West Track

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-targets-picosong-over-leaked-kanye-west-track-190730/

In theory at least, running a content upload site should be relatively straightforward. Put the necessary infrastructure in place, wait for users to upload files, then make those files available for download or streaming.

This works extremely well for sites like YouTube, for example, because they have teams of lawyers in place that ensure that the company operates to the letter of the law while standing by to swat away any irritating lawsuits over allegedly-infringing content.

Smaller sites tend not to have these luxuries, so there’s always the chance that groups like the RIAA will come knocking, threatening legal action for copyright infringement failings. This appears to be part of the puzzle facing popular upload site Picosong.

Picosong has been around for more than ten years. Its Twitter account dates back to May 2009, a lifetime for many similar sites operating in the same niche. For much of that time, the platform has provided a simple solution for users to host music files. Soon, however, that will come to an end.

A notice currently displayed on the site’s homepage says that Picosong has reached the end of the road. There are better alternatives for hosting musicians’ content, the announcement reads, so as a result, Picosong will close in October.

While the stated aim was to assist musicians to host (presumably) their own content, it’s clear that many uploaders to the site have been sharing content that doesn’t belong to them. A cursory skim around the web reveals plenty of links to content that is almost certainly copyrighted, a situation that affects Picosong and YouTube alike.

Whether Picosong’s impending shutdown was prompted by anything other than a lack of desire to compete with Soundcloud and Bandcamp is unclear. However, a filing at a federal court in Columbia reveals that the site is firmly on the radar of the RIAA after a leaked Kanye West track was uploaded to the site.

In common with similar efforts in 2019, the RIAA applied for and obtained a DMCA subpoena compelling domain registrar Namecheap to hand over the personal details of the site’s operator. Dated July 23, the application lists three infringing tracks;

  • Ed Sheeran & Travis Scott – Antisocial
  • Tyler, the Creator – 435
  • Kanye West feat. XXXTentacion, Ty Dolla Sign – The Storm

While the first two songs are already widely available, the latter appears to be an unreleased Kanye West track that hit the web earlier this month as part of a batch of similarly-leaked titles.

Pre-release content appearing online is a particularly sensitive matter for the labels. According to a contributor on Genius.com, the leak may even put the track’s album release at risk.

“‘The Storm’ is a leaked collaboration between Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign and the late XXXTENTACION. On the track, Ty and Kanye encourage a female listener to take control of their life. X’s rowdy verse, which was picked from his unreleased ‘Yes Indeed Remix,’ features him boasting about fighting, his sex life, and his expensive taste,” the review reads.

“‘The Storm’ is believed to be a cut from West’s upcoming album, Yandhi. However, since the track leaked online on July 12, 2019, its standing on the album is unsure.”

The Storm was previously uploaded to many hosting sites, including YouTube (where it remains at the time of writing) and Soundcloud, which appears to have responded to a takedown notice.

TorrentFreak requested comment from the operator of Picosong but at the time of publication, we were yet to receive a response.

The RIAA’s demand for a DMCA subpoena can be found here (pdf)

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File-hoster ‘Instaudio’ Announces Shutdown Citing Legal Pressure

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/file-hoster-instaudio-announces-shutdown-citing-legal-pressure-190730/

In the spring of 2013, more than six years ago, a new niche hosting service called Instaudio saw the light.

The site, operated by an anonymous musician, offered anyone a quick and easy way to upload music files. Before the launch, it was used as a private service, but the operator eventually made it available to the public at large.

Despite attracting a healthy user-base, the site always remained a side-project. The operator, who works at a music-related company, didn’t promote it either. People simply found their way to the site through word-of-mouth promotion.

This went well, but as time went by, more and more problems arose. As with any hosting service, some people started to use the site to share pirated files. On popular forums and leak-sharing sites, links to Instaudio were no exception either.

This meant that the operator had to worry about removing content from his platform. While the site accepts and honors takedown requests, it was never meant to be a platform for leaks, something that was communicated loud and clear on Twitter and elsewhere.

Despite this call, the abuse didn’t stop. This led to the frustrating situation that a site, which aimed to help musicians share files, was increasingly seen as a threat by music industry outfits. As a result, the operator has now decided to put an end to it himself.

A few days ago, Instaudio stopped accepting new uploads and signups. Previously uploaded files will remain available for now, but they will be made unavailable to the public at the end of August. Four weeks later, all files and user accounts will be purged.

In a public announcement, the Instaudio operator cites the “abuse” as one of the reasons for his decision.

“The abuse situation has gotten to the point where I’m being threatened with ‘legal consequences’ and other such things because, in those organizations’ judgment, I am ineffective at preventing infringing content from being distributed through Instaudio.”

To stop widespread uploading of pirated material Instaudio could implement an upload filter, but the operator is not a fan of these types of measures, as they can lead to false positives.

The old Instaudio

In addition to sharing pirated content, people were also abusing the site by hotlinking to files and bulk-downloading content. This significantly increased costs.

“Other forms of abuse also occurred, such as automated bulk-downloading, or hot-linking to Instaudio-hosted files on webpages with high traffic. Both of these result in high bandwidth, and therefore high cost for me,” the operator notes.

The growing costs are cited as another reason for the shutdown. As Instaudio was a personal project, all costs were paid out of the pockets of the operator. While he did have a sponsor, it has now reached the point where the costs are no longer justified.

All in all, the negatives outweigh the positives, and shutting Instaudio down is the logical conclusion.

“As time went on I had to put more and more effort into the ugly side of keeping Instaudio running, which left no energy to work on cool new features. Coupled with the cost and the stress, it became an overall negative for me,” Instaudion’s operator writes.

“I have other, more fulfilling hobbies that I’d much rather spend the time and money on,” he adds.

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Premier League & UEFA Obtain Court Orders to Block Piracy in 2019/20

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/premier-league-uefa-obtain-court-orders-to-block-piracy-in-2019-20-190729/

While rightsholders and anti-piracy groups often deploy multiple strategies for dealing with online copyright infringement, blocking websites, streams, and servers is now one of the most common.

The Premier League broke new ground on this front in 2017, after it obtained a pioneering injunction which enabled it to track live ‘pirate’ streams and have them blocked by leading ISPs BT, Virgin Media, EE, Sky Broadband and TalkTalk in real-time.

With backing from the High Court, the Premier League deployed its system during the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. We can now confirm that the Court recently granted permission for the efforts to continue during the 2019/20 campaign.

A High Court order signed off July 15, 2019, by Justice Arnold, but as yet unannounced by the Premier League or the Court, will be the basis for the blocking mechanism during the upcoming season. Thus far, one ISP has confirmed the existence of the order.

“A number of unidentified servers associated with infringing Premier League match footage will be blocked until the end of the 2019/20 Premier League season,” Sky notes.

Unlike other blocking orders targeting torrent sites or streaming platforms with a fixed domain, the servers streaming Premier League content are “unidentified” until its anti-piracy partners are able to locate them a few minutes before matches begin. The relevant IP addresses are then forwarded to the ISPs who block them under the authority of the Court.

TorrentFreak has been able to confirm that other ISPs are aware of the new Premier League order but are yet to make a public statement.

Late 2017, UEFA followed in the footsteps of the Premier League by obtaining a similar order covering the period February 13, 2018, to May 26, 2018, in an effort to protect European matches. A month later in July 2018, UEFA was given permission by the High Court to expand and extend its campaign until July 12, 2019.

Earlier this month, UEFA obtained permission from the High Court to continue. As yet, no associated documents have been published by the Court but both Sky and Virgin have confirmed they will be blocking ‘pirate’ servers again, with the Court’s authorization, until 2021.

“A number of unidentified servers associated with infringing UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Nations League, UEFA European Qualifiers and UEFA Friendlies match footage will be blocked until the end of the 2020/21 Champions League or Europa League competitions,” Sky notes.

Virgin states that it will block “Various Target Servers notified to Virgin Media by UEFA or its appointed agent for the duration of the UEFA 2019/2020 & 2020/2021 competition seasons.”

The technical details of the blocking systems deployed by both the Premier League and UEFA (TF understands they’re managed by different anti-piracy companies) are largely secret although some insiders have recently been prepared to talk more about what happens behind the scenes.

As the new season progresses, we expect to report more on how this digital game of cat-and-mouse is playing out.

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EBook.bike Owner Says Deficient DMCA Notices Means No Case to Answer

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/ebook-bike-owner-says-deficient-dmca-notices-means-no-case-to-answer-190727/

On March 27, 2019, US-based author John Van Stry filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Travis McCrea, the operator of eBook platform eBook.bike.

McCrea initially chose not to become involved in the suit and in June, Van Stry’s lawyers filed for a default judgment in a Texas court.

As reported here earlier this month, the presiding judge chose not to rubber-stamp the request but instead questioned whether the court had personal jurisdiction over McCrea, a Canada resident.

The parties were invited to file simultaneous briefs, indicating whether the alleged injury to the copyright holder occurred in Texas, whether any injury was sufficient enough to imply a “substantial connection” with the forum/state, and whether McCrea knew that “his acts would be felt” by Van Stry in Texas.

This week, Van Stry’s lawyers filed documents with the Court, sent to them by McCrea but yet to be officially filed by the defendant. That will happen in due course, the author’s legal team note. They make for interesting reading.

Representing himself, McCrea writes that his engagement in the case has been limited due to a number of factors including “massive waves of cyber bullying” and direct attacks on his ability to defend himself.

Van Stry previously launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise cash to fight McCrea, an effort that to date has raised more than $23,000. However, when McCrea opened his own fundraiser on the same platform, he says GoFundMe shut it down. In an earlier conversation, he told TF he didn’t know why that had happened.

“Why GoFundMe shut down my fundraiser but allowed his is beyond me,” he told us. “They cited ‘TOS Violations’ yet when I emailed asking for further elaboration they ignored my emails.”

In the documents filed by Van Stry’s team, McCrea informs the Court that “putting food” on the table had prevented him from being as engaged in the case as he would’ve liked but that shouldn’t be perceived as a sign of disrespect.

While acknowledging the motion for default judgment, he asks the Court to consider accepting a late motion to dismiss and a motion for change of venue, to be taken as part of the Court’s request for further information on jurisdiction.

“Regardless of any argument made by the Plaintiff, it is an inarguable fact that the Plaintiff did not file proper takedown notices as required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” the motion reads.

“It is not my intent to argue safe harbor at this moment, but rather the failure of the Plaintiff to even properly file a take-down notice in the first place or provide me with any reasonable notice of the infringement at all (without proper notice, the argument of safe harbor cannot even be entertained. If I am not properly informed of copyright infringement, I cannot reply to said infringement).”

McCrea points out a number of alleged deficiencies in the notices sent by Van Stry but majors on the fact that the DMCA requires takedown notices to contain “information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.” That usually means the precise URLs at which the content can be found, a detail reportedly missing from Van Stry’s notices.

One of the notices sent by Van Stry to eBook.bike

McCrea points out that one of the notices sent did contain a URL but it related to a search result page that contained no infringing material.

All notices, McCrea states, failed to meet other requirements as set out in law, by not offering “information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number”, a statement that the complaining party “has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law”, and a statement that the “information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”

In summary, due to the above McCrea says he has “no case to answer” because the original notices sent to him did not comply with the requirements of the DMCA.

“There are many details about my life in the initial claim and many not flattering, however, I have always shown a commitment to enforce copyright on websites I am involved with,” McCrea continues.

“I advocate change in copyright law, that’s true, but I advocate for copyright terms of 15 years not no copyright. I advocate for change through the law, not against it. Please don’t [allow] the Plaintiff to file a suit because of my religion and political beliefs without having to at least fulfill his legal obligations first.”

Finally, the documents indicate that McCrea will file a request for a change of venue from Texas to Seattle. This would be the closest state for him since he’s a resident of Canada, he adds.

The eBook.bike operator acknowledges that the existence of a motion for default judgment may limit his ability to file these requests but it will nevertheless prove interesting if the Court decides to examine the DMCA notice issue in addition to the matter of jurisdiction.

The related documents can be found here (1,2,3)

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

Scammer Targets Reddit Users With Premium Account Racket

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/scammer-targets-reddit-users-with-premium-account-racket-190722/

Reddit’s /r/piracy sub-Reddit is home to more than 402,000 subscribers hoping to hear about the latest news and developments in the world of digital piracy.

By its very nature, users are likely to be interested in getting something for free, so it’s no surprise that scammers are targeting its users offering just that.

Over the weekend, users of the sub-Reddit began commenting that they’d received unsolicited direct messages offering them a great deal. All they had to do was download a free piece of software called PremiumGet and in return, they would be given free premium accounts for use on Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, NordVPN and several other services.

The direct message: Ignore

It wasn’t initially clear why some users were getting the messages and others weren’t. However, a user one particular thread noted that immediately after posting in a discussion about ‘PremiumGet’, he received a message in his inbox advertising the scam. We had that theory tested and sure enough, the same message appeared.

The message contains a link to file-hosting platform Mediafire, where the suspiciously large 51.76MB file can be downloaded. According to the uploader, who engaged in disputes with other users elsewhere on Reddit about the tool, it doesn’t trigger alerts in anti-malware software so must be safe.

Not a virus – probably

The accompanying video, if anyone cares to view it, can be found here. Those who prefer not to inflate the view count on YouTube can see a screenshot below, which shows the screen directly after the one that prompts users to enter their Google or Facebook usernames and passwords.

We have zero intentions of download, installing, or otherwise testing the software, we’ll let the security specialists do their job there. However, there is a really simple rule for those still mulling it over, and we’ve seen a few of those this morning.

Random people on the Internet offering expensive stuff for free, requiring you to install software and then asking for your existing usernames and passwords to services that may have massive control over your entire digital life, never have your best interests at heart. Ever.

Walk away. Nothing good here.

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