Tag Archives: canada

Police Confirm Arrests of BlackCats-Games Operators

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/police-confirm-arrests-blackcats-games-operators-161020/

After being down for several hours, yesterday the domain of private tracker BlackCats-Games was seized by the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

The domain used to point to an IP address in Canada, but was later switched to a server known to be under the control of PIPCU, the UK’s leading anti-piracy force.

Following several hours of rumors, last evening sources close to the site began to confirm that the situation was serious. Reddit user Farow went public with specific details, noting that the owner of BlackCats-Games had been arrested and the site would be closing down.

Former site staff member SteWieH added that there had in fact been two arrests and it was the site’s sysops that had been taken into custody.

While both are credible sources, there was no formal confirmation from PIPCU. That came a few moments ago and it’s pretty bad news for fans of the site and its operators.

“Officers from the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) have arrested two men in connection with an ongoing investigation into the illegal distribution of copyright protected video games,” the unit said in a statement.

Police say that the raids took place on Tuesday, with officers arresting two men aged 47 and 44 years at their homes in Birmingham, West Midlands and Blyth, Northumberland. Both were arrested on suspicion of copyright infringement and money laundering offenses.

Detectives say they also seized digital media and computer hardware.

PIPCU report that the investigation into the site was launched in cooperation with UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). Former staff member SteWieH says that a PayPal account operated by the site in 2013 appears to have played an important role in the arrests.

Detective Sergeant Gary Brownfrom the City of London Police Intellectual Property Unit said that their goal was to disrupt the work of “content thieves.”

“With the ever-growing consumer appetite for gaming driving the threat of piracy to the industry, our action today is essential in disrupting criminal activity and the money which drives it,” Brownfrom said.

“Those who steal copyrighted content exploit the highly skilled work and jobs supported by the gaming industry. We are working hard to tackle digital intellectual property crime and we will continue to target our enforcement activity towards those identified as content thieves whatever scale they are operating at.”

UK Interactive Entertainment welcomed the arrests.

“UKIE applauds the action taken by PIPCU against the operators of the site. Sites like this are harmful to the hard work of game creators around the world. PIPCU’s actions confirm that these sites will not be tolerated, and are subject to criminal enforcement,” a spokesman said.

Stanley Pierre-Louis, general counsel for the Entertainment Software Association, thanked PIPCU for its work.

“ESA commends PIPCU for its commitment to taking action against sites that facilitate the illegal copying and distribution of incredibly advanced works of digital art. We are grateful for PIPCU’s leadership in this area and their support of creative industries.”

Both men have been released on police bail.

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

Blackcat Games Domain Seized by UK Anti-Piracy Police

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/blackcat-games-domain-seized-by-uk-anti-piracy-police-161019/

blackcats-1For the past several years, the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been contacting torrent, streaming, and file-hosting sites in an effort to close them down.

In the main, PIPCU has relied on its position as a government agency to add weight to its threats that one or way or another, sites will either be shut down or have their operations hampered.

Many sites located overseas didn’t take the threats particularly seriously but on several occasions, PIPCU has shown that it doesn’t need to leave the UK to make an impact. That appears to be the case today with private tracker Blackcats-Games.

With around 30K members, the long-established private tracker has been a major player in the gaming torrents scene for many years but earlier today TorrentFreak received a tip that the site may have attracted the attention of the authorities.

With the site down no further news became available, but in the past few hours, fresh signs suggest that the site is indeed in some kind of legal trouble.

Results currently vary depending on ISP and region, but most visitors to the site’s Blackcats-Games.net domain are now greeted with the familiar banner that PIPCU places on sites when they’re under investigation.


TorrentFreak has confirmed that the police images appearing on the site’s main page are not stored on the front-facing server BlackCats-Games operated in Canada (OVH,, but are actually being served from an IP address known to be under the control of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

The same server also provides the images for previously-seized domains including filecrop.com, mp3juices.com, immunicity.org, nutjob.eu, deejayportal.co.uk and oldskoolscouse.co.uk.


Of course, being greeted by these PIPCU images leads many users to the conclusion that the site may have been raided and/or its operators arrested. While that is yet to be confirmed by the authorities or sources close to the site, there is also a less dramatic option.

PIPCU is known to approach registrars with requests for them to suspend domains. The police argue that since they have determined that a particular site is acting illegally, registrars should comply with their requests.

While some like Canada-based EasyDNS have not caved in to the demands, others have. This has resulted in domains quickly being taken out of the control of site operators without any due process. It’s certainly possible that this could’ve happened to Blackcats-Games.net.

Furthermore, a separate micro-site (nefarious-gamer.com) on BlackCats’ server in Canada is still serving a short message, an indication that the server hasn’t been completely seized. However, there are probably other servers elsewhere, so only time will tell how they have been affected.

Until official word is received from one side or the other, the site’s users will continue to presume the worst. In 2015, PIPCU deprioritized domain suspensions so more could be at play here.

Update: A source close to the site has informed TF that there has been an arrest but was unable to confirm who was detained.

Update2: A Reddit moderator says that the owner of Blackcats-Games has been raided and arrested, with equipment seized.

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

Now Open – AWS US East (Ohio) Region

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/now-open-aws-us-east-ohio-region/

As part of our ongoing plan to expand the AWS footprint, I am happy to announce that our new US East (Ohio) Region is now available. In conjunction with the existing US East (Northern Virginia) Region, AWS customers in the Eastern part of the United States have fast, low-latency access to the suite of AWS infrastructure services.

The Details
The new Ohio Region supports Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and related services including Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, Auto Scaling, Elastic Load Balancing, NAT Gateway, Spot Instances, and Dedicated Hosts.

It also supports (deep breath) Amazon API Gateway, Amazon Aurora, AWS Certificate Manager (ACM), AWS CloudFormation, Amazon CloudFront, AWS CloudHSM, Amazon CloudWatch (including CloudWatch Events and CloudWatch Logs), AWS CloudTrail, AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeDeploy, AWS CodePipeline, AWS Config, AWS Database Migration Service, AWS Direct Connect, Amazon DynamoDB, EC2 Container Registy, Amazon ECS, Amazon Elastic File System, Amazon ElastiCache, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon EMR, Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon Glacier, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS Import/Export Snowball, AWS Key Management Service (KMS), Amazon Kinesis, AWS Lambda, AWS Marketplace, Mobile Hub, AWS OpsWorks, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon Redshift, Amazon Route 53, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), AWS Service Catalog, Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS), AWS Storage Gateway, Amazon Simple Workflow Service (SWF), AWS Trusted Advisor, VM Import/Export, and AWS WAF.

The Region supports all sizes of C4, D2, I2, M4, R3, T2, and X1 instances. As is the case with all of our newer Regions, instances must be launched within a Virtual Private Cloud (read Virtual Private Clouds for Everyone to learn more).

Well Connected
Here are some round-trip network metrics that you may find interesting (all names are airport codes, as is apparently customary in the networking world; all times are +/- 2 ms):

  • 12 ms to IAD (home of the US East (Northern Virginia) Region).
  • 20 ms to JFK (home to an Internet exchange point).
  • 29 ms to ORD (home to a pair of Direct Connect locations hosted by QTS and Equinix and another exchange point).
  • 91 ms to SFO (home of the US West (Northern California) Region).

With just 12 ms of round-trip latency between US East (Ohio) and US East (Northern Virginia), you can make good use of unique AWS features such as S3 Cross-Region Replication, Cross-Region Read Replicas for Amazon Aurora, Cross-Region Read Replicas for MySQL, and Cross-Region Read Replicas for PostgreSQL. Data transfer between the two Regions is priced at the Inter-AZ price ($0.01 per GB), making your cross-region use cases even more economical.

Also on the networking front, we have agreed to work together with Ohio State University to provide AWS Direct Connect access to OARnet. This 100-gigabit network connects colleges, schools, medical research hospitals, and state government across Ohio. This connection provides local teachers, students, and researchers with a dedicated, high-speed network connection to AWS.

14 Regions, 38 Availability Zones, and Counting
Today’s launch of this 3-AZ Region expands our global footprint to a grand total of 14 Regions and 38 Availability Zones. We are also getting ready to open up a second AWS Region in China, along with other new AWS Regions in Canada, France, and the UK.

Since there’s been some industry-wide confusion about the difference between Regions and Availability Zones of late, I think it is important to understand the differences between these two terms. Each Region is a physical location where we have one or more Availability Zones or AZs. Each Availability Zone, in turn, consists of one or more data centers, each with redundant power, networking, and connectivity, all housed in separate facilities. Having two or more AZ’s in each Region gives you the ability to run applications that are more highly available, fault tolerant, and durable than would be the case if you were limited to a single AZ.

Around the office, we sometimes play with analogies that can serve to explain the difference between the two terms. My favorites are “Hotels vs. hotel rooms” and “Apple trees vs. apples.” So, pick your analogy, but be sure that you know what it means!



Putlocker.is Mysteriously Goes Down

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/putlocker-is-mysteriously-goes-down-161014/

putlockerisWith dozens of millions of monthly views, Putlocker.is is the go-to video streaming site for many people.

The site ranks among the 250 most-visited websites on the Internet and is particularly popular in the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

However, starting three days ago the site suddenly became inaccessible. While a brief downtime stint is nothing unusual for these type of sites, the prolonged downtime is cause for concern among users.

Many are voicing their frustration after being confronted by yet another CloudFlare downtime banner, showing them that the site’s servers are still unresponsive.

“Putlocker is down so I no longer have a reason to live,” one user dramatically announced.

“Putlocker has been down the whole day. I’m going through serious withdrawals,” another added.

Putlocker.is down


Looking for answers, TorrentFreak tried to contact the Putlocker.is team on their known support address. However, this email returned an error message as well.

As far as we can see the current problems are related to the site’s servers. The domain name itself is operating as it should and hasn’t been seized or suspended by the registrar.

Interestingly, the downtime occurs right after Hollywood’s MPAA reported the site to the United States Trade Representative, describing it as one of the largest piracy threats.

“Putlocker.is is the most visited infringing English language video streaming link site in the world,” the MPAA wrote.

According to the MPAA the site is believed to operate from Vietnam, with its servers being hosted at the Swiss company Private Layer. Whether there’s a direct relation between the report and the downtime is unclear though.

Meanwhile, several “other” Putlockers are seizing the opportunity to gain some traction, at least for the time being. Whether the real Putlocker.is will return as well has yet to be seen.

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

Amazon ECS Service Auto Scaling Enables Rent-A-Center SAP Hybris Solution

Post Syndicated from Chris Barclay original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/amazon-ecs-service-auto-scaling-enables-rent-a-center-sap-hybris-solution/

This is a guest post from Troy Washburn, Sr. DevOps Manager @ Rent-A-Center, Inc., and Ashay Chitnis, Flux7 architect.


Rent-A-Center in their own words: Rent-A-Center owns and operates more than 3,000 rent-to-own retail stores for name-brand furniture, electronics, appliances and computers across the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Rent-A-Center (RAC) wanted to roll out an ecommerce platform that would support the entire online shopping workflow using SAP’s Hybris platform. The goal was to implement a cloud-based solution with a cluster of Hybris servers which would cater to online web-based demand.

The challenge: to run the Hybris clusters in a microservices architecture. A microservices approach has several advantages including the ability for each service to scale up and down to meet fluctuating changes in demand independently. RAC also wanted to use Docker containers to package the application in a format that is easily portable and immutable. There were four types of containers necessary for the architecture. Each corresponded to a particular service:

1. Apache: Received requests from the external Elastic Load Balancing load balancer. Apache was used to set certain rewrite and proxy http rules.
2. Hybris: An external Tomcat was the frontend for the Hybris platform.
3. Solr Master: A product indexing service for quick lookup.
4. Solr Slave: Replication of master cache to directly serve product searches from Hybris.

To deploy the containers in a microservices architecture, RAC and AWS consultants at Flux7 started by launching Amazon ECS resources with AWS CloudFormation templates. Running containers on ECS requires the use of three primary resources: clusters, services, and task definitions. Each container refers to its task definition for the container properties, such as CPU and memory. And, each of the above services stored its container images in Amazon ECR repositories.

This post describes the architecture that we created and implemented.

Auto Scaling

At first glance, scaling on ECS can seem confusing. But the Flux7 philosophy is that complex systems only work when they are a combination of well-designed simple systems that break the problem down into smaller pieces. The key insight that helped us design our solution was understanding that there are two very different scaling operations happening. The first is the scaling up of individual tasks in each service and the second is the scaling up of the cluster of Amazon EC2 instances.

During implementation, Service Auto Scaling was released by the AWS team and so we researched how to implement task scaling into the existing solution. As we were implementing the solution through AWS CloudFormation, task scaling needed to be done the same way. However, the new scaling feature was not available for implementation through CloudFormation and so the natural course was to implement it using AWS Lambda–backed custom resources.

A corresponding Lambda function is implemented in Node.js 4.3, while automatic scaling happens by monitoring the CPUUtilization Amazon CloudWatch metric. The ECS policies below are registered with CloudWatch alarms that are triggered when specific thresholds are crossed. Similarly, by using the MemoryUtilization CloudWatch metric, ECS scaling can be made to scale in and out as well.

The Lambda function and CloudFormation custom resource JSON are available in the Flux7 GitHub repository: https://github.com/Flux7Labs/blog-code-samples/tree/master/2016-10-ecs-enables-rac-sap-hybris

Scaling ECS services and EC2 instances automatically

The key to understanding cluster scaling is to start by understanding the problem. We are no longer running a homogeneous workload in a simple environment. We have a cluster hosting a heterogeneous workload with different requirements and different demands on the system.

This clicked for us after we phrased the problem as, “Make sure the cluster has enough capacity to launch ‘x’ more instances of a task.” This led us to realize that we were no longer looking at an overall average resource utilization problem, but rather a discrete bin packing problem.

The problem is inherently more complex. (Anyone remember from algorithms class how the discrete Knapsack problem is NP-hard, but the continuous knapsack problem can easily be solved in polynomial time? Same thing.) So we have to check on each individual instance if a particular task can be scheduled on it, and if for any task we don’t cross the required capacity threshold, then we need to allocate more instance capacity.

To ensure that ECS scaling always has enough resources to scale out and has just enough resources after scaling in, it was necessary that the Auto Scaling group scales according to three criteria:

1. ECS task count in relation to the host EC2 instance count in a cluster
2. Memory reservation
3. CPU reservation

We implemented the first criteria for the Auto Scaling group. Instead of using the default scaling abilities, we set group scaling in and out using Lambda functions that were triggered periodically by a combination of the AWS::Lambda::Permission and an AWS::Events::Rule resources, as we wanted specific criteria for scaling.

The Lambda function is available in the Flux7 GitHub repository: https://github.com/Flux7Labs/blog-code-samples/tree/master/2016-10-ecs-enables-rac-sap-hybris

Future versions of this piece of code will incorporate the other two criteria along with the ability to use CloudWatch alarms to trigger scaling.


Using advanced ECS features like Service Auto Scaling in conjunction with Lambda to meet RAC’s business requirements, RAC and Flux7 were able to Dockerize SAP Hybris in production for the first time ever.

Further, ECS and CloudFormation give users the ability to implement robust solutions while still providing the ability to roll back in case of failures. With ECS as a backbone technology, RAC has been able to deploy a Hybris setup with automatic scaling, self-healing, one-click deployment, CI/CD, and PCI compliance consistent with the company’s latest technology guidelines and meeting the requirements of their newly-formed culture of DevOps and extreme agility.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment below.

Coming in 2017 – New AWS Region in France

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/coming-in-2017-new-aws-region-in-france/

As cloud computing becomes the new normal for organizations all over the world and as our customer base becomes larger and more diverse, we will continue to build and launch additional AWS Regions.

Bonjour la France
I am happy to announce that we will be opening an AWS Region in Paris, France in 2017. The new Region will give AWS partners and customers the ability to run their workloads and store their data in France.

This will be the fourth AWS Region in Europe. We currently have two other Regions in Europe — EU (Ireland) and EU (Frankfurt) and an additional Region in the UK expected to launch in the coming months. Together, these Regions will provide our customers with a total of 10 Availability Zones (AZs) and allow them to architect highly fault tolerant applications while storing their data in the EU.

Today’s announcement means that our global infrastructure now comprises 35 Availability Zones across 13 geographic regions worldwide, with another five AWS Regions (and 12 Availability Zones) in France, Canada, China, Ohio, and the United Kingdom coming online throughout the next year (see the AWS Global Infrastructure page for more info).

As always, we are looking forward to serving new and existing French customers and working with partners across Europe. Of course, the new Region will also be open to existing AWS customers who would like to process and store data in France.

To learn more about the AWS France Region feel free to contact our team in Paris at aws-in-france@amazon.com.

A venir en 2017 – Une nouvelle région AWS en France

Je suis heureux d’annoncer que nous allons ouvrir une nouvelle région AWS à Paris, en France, en 2017. Cette nouvelle région offrira aux partenaires et clients AWS la possibilité de gérer leurs charges de travail et de stocker leurs données en France.

Cette Région sera la quatrième en Europe. Nous avons actuellement deux autres régions en Europe – EU (Irlande) et EU (Francfort) et une région supplémentaire ouvrira dans les prochains mois au Royaume-Uni. Cela portera à dix le total des Zones de Disponibilités (AZ) en Europe permettant aux clients de concevoir des applications tolérantes aux pannes et de stocker leurs données au sein de l’Union Européenne.

Cette annonce signifie que notre infrastructure globale comprend désormais 35 Zones de Disponibilités, réparties sur 13 régions dans le monde et que s’ajoute à cela l’ouverture l’année prochaine de cinq régions AWS (et 12 Zones de Disponibilités) en France, au Canada, en Chine, dans l’Ohio, et au Royaume-Uni (pour plus d’informations, visitez la page d’AWS Global Infrastructure).

Comme toujours, nous sommes impatients de répondre aux besoins de nos clients français, actuels et futurs, et de travailler avec nos partenaires en Europe. Bien entendu, cette nouvelle région sera également disponible pour tous les clients AWS souhaitant traiter et stocker leurs données en France.

Pour en savoir plus sur la région AWS en France, vous pouvez contacter nos équipes à Paris: aws-in-france@amazon.com.


Copyright Trolls Claim Student Pirates Could Lose Scholarships, Face Deportation

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/copyright-trolls-claim-student-pirates-lose-scholarships-face-deportation-160910/

trollAt the turn of the century when file-sharing was in its infancy, some of the earliest adopters of P2P technology were those in the student population.

Freely available Internet access for those in educational establishments meant unprecedented numbers of young people going online, and with that a large upswing in unauthorized downloading.

The RIAA was one of the first groups to take a stand, suing thousands of students across the United States in an effort to send a message that free music may very well come at a cost. Later, changes in legislation meant that schools and universities across the country could lose funding if they didn’t keep piracy under control.

Of course, students continue to download to this day and each time they do they risk receiving a warning letter or worse, as students in Canada are finding out.

According to the copyright office at the University of Manitoba, mainly US-based rightsholders are writing on a regular basis to students demanding cash settlements for alleged infringement.

Noting that the university forwards copyright infringement notices to students as they’re required to under the country’s ‘notice and notice‘ regime, the copyright office says some of the letters are “tantamount to extortion.”

In a piece published in official student newspaper The Manitoban, copyright office strategy manager Joel Guenette says that while many of the 8,000 notices received are legitimate (HBO is said to have sent many warnings in connection with Game of Thrones downloads), others sink to reprehensible lows.

In addition to cautioning over the potential for multi-million dollar lawsuits, some notice senders are stepping up their threats to suggest that students could lose their scholarships if fines aren’t paid. For visiting students, things become even more scary.

According to the university’s copyright office, some porn producers have told foreign students that they could face deportation if an immediate cash settlement of hundreds of dollars is not forthcoming.

“None of these are real consequences that could ever happen in the Canadian scheme of things, but we hear from students all the time – especially international students – who are really freaked out by this,” Guenette says.

While being scared is understandable in such situations, Guenette’s department is keen to educate students on what these notices really mean. Particularly, they’re keen to stress that notice senders have no idea who notices have been delivered to, so students shouldn’t believe that copyright holders already know who they are.

Day to day, there’s nothing in current law that compels the University to hand over their identities but students can still compromise themselves by negotiating directly with notice senders, so that isn’t advised.

“We can’t tell students ‘ignore these notices’ and we can’t tell students ‘never pay a claim’ but, personally, I want students to know what these are and I want them to know that most of these settlement claims are extortion,” Guenette says.

“When I’m talking to students directly, without giving them legal advice, I would say ‘if I were you, I would never pay this.’ In my opinion, I don’t think any student on campus should be paying this.”

The University of Manitoba certainly isn’t on its own as other educational establishments are reporting similar problems. According to a separate report, the University of Calgary also finds itself in a similar position.

The university says that it’s been receiving similar copyright notices since January 2015 and now wants to crackdown on unlawful file-sharing across campus. A meeting took place in August to discuss how the university intends to deal with unauthorized downloading but the problem isn’t straightforward.

“We can certainly track an IP address, but the difficulty is that the owner of that device is not necessarily the downloader of content. Someone can use someone else’s computer without that person’s knowledge,” says provost and vice-president Dru Marshall.

Complications aside, it’s likely that if the flood of notices to universities continue, they could be forced to take more robust action. How that will manifest itself is yet to be seen, but it’s unlikely that copyright trolls will benefit, despite being the main cause of the problem.

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

Swedish ISP Attacks Copyright Trolls, Over Trademark Infringement

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/swedish-isp-attacks-copyright-trolls-over-trademark-infringement-160905/

trollsignIn recent years, file-sharers all across the world have been threatened with lawsuits, if they don’t pay a significant settlement fee.

The process was pioneered in Germany where it turned into an industry by itself, but copyright holders have also targeted alleged pirates in the UK, United States, Canada and elsewhere.

Earlier this year, rightsholders began targeting Sweden, with more details appearing in public last week.

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).

Spridningskollen spokesman Gordon Odenbark compared the process with speeding cameras, where torrent users risk a ‘fine’ if they get caught. This will generate revenue, but could also act as a deterrent, preventing other people from violating rightsholders’ rights.

Interestingly, however, shortly after Spridningskollen announced its plans the group itself faced allegations of intellectual property rights violations. Swedish ISP Bahnhof is accusing the group of trademark infringement, noting that they have a claim on the “spridningskollen” mark.

“Bahnhof was the first to apply for the Spridningskollen trademark rights at the Swedish Patent and Registration Office,” the ISP announced.

Earlier this year Bahnhof was the first ISP to warn the public about the looming flood of settlement requests. To help the public understand the severity of the issue the ISP launched the site Spridningskollen.org, which they say maps the “spread of extortion letters” from copyright holders.

Bahnhof’s Spridningskollen.org


Now that the anti-piracy group has ‘stolen’ their name, Bahnhof plans to take action over the apparent trademark infringement.

“It is surprising that those who claim to defend intellectual property rights don’t track it better themselves. It says a lot about the quality level of their so-called initiative,” Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung says.

The ISP is demanding that the website of the anti-piracy group, Spridningskollen.se, is shut down.

“Our lawyers are looking into it. We see the many different ways that interfere with their operation. Extortion letters are unethical, anachronistic and counter-productive,” Karlung says.

In addition, Bahnhof is calling on the Government to reform copyright law in order to prevent excessive and overbroad enforcement tactics.

Until then, the ISP vows to protect its subscribers from the copyright trolling practice as best as they can. This means that if copyright holders demand IP-address info and user details from Bahnhof, they will fight this in court.

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

Attention Swedish Pirate Bay Users, Copyright Trolls Have Arrived

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/attention-swedish-pirate-bay-users-copyright-trolls-have-arrived-160902/

tpbEvery day, millions of people around the globe use file-sharing networks. Much of that sharing involves the unauthorized downloading and/or distribution of copyright material.

In response, some companies have decided to monetize the activity by tracking alleged infringers back to their Internet service providers and by a variety of methods, getting them to pay a fine.

Commonly known as copyright trolling, this business model has been deployed in the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere. To date, Sweden has escaped its clutches, despite being home to The Pirate Bay and a large number of file-sharers. That is now about to change.

In a new announcement, an organization calling itself Spridningskollen (Distribution Check) says it is about to launch a new initiative to punish those who file-share. The aim: to save the industry and educate the masses.

Distribution Check says that since the start of the year, German anti-piracy outfit Excipio has been monitoring the activities of Swedish file-sharers. That data will be used to track alleged file-sharers back to their ISPs.

“One can compare it to a speed camera. In the same way that a speed camera only records those who drive too fast, only those Internet users who share copyrighted material without permission are logged,” says spokesman Gordon Odenbark.

Initially, the group says it will target between 500 and 1,000 file-sharers and each will be asked to settle for around $233 (2,000 kronor).

“At this moment, we have said that we are only asking for [$233] per film, but that amount will be increased. I can almost guarantee that we will raise the damages in the fall,” OdenBark says.

These “cheap now, expensive later” claims are classic copyright troll tactics which are designed to encourage prompt payments from alleged file-sharers. But of course, some will refuse to pay, and for those individuals the threat of legal action via local firm Gothia Law are already being dangled.

“The amount [being demanded] is lower than the Swedish courts have sentenced file-sharers to pay historically, so you can consider it as a kind of settlement,” the company says on its website. “If you pay the sum, rights holders will stop their demands and both parties can avoid a costly and time-consuming trial.”

In common with similar schemes in operation in the UK, Distribution Check are trying to promote their project as an educational exercise. They say that in the first instance there will be a YouTube piracy awareness campaign. That will be followed by the settlement demands.

“Sure, it may seem hard to tackle individual file-sharers in this way, but to get a behavioral change, it’s probably necessary. A similar initiative has been operated in Germany and Finland, and it has been proven to work,” the company says.

“Ultimately, it is about the film and television industry’s survival. Illegal file sharing of copyrighted material costs the cultural sector several million in lost revenues annually. With Distribution Check, we want to ensure that television and movie companies get paid for their work, so that they can continue to run their business.”

Users concerned about the titles involved in this dragnet should look to content offered by Scanbox Entertainment, Noble Entertainment, Atlantic and Crystalis Entertainment, who are all Distribution Check partners.

More often than not, copyright trolls have more bark than bite, so their threats should be taken seriously but with a decent pinch of salt. In the meantime, customers of ISP Bahnhof can probably sleep more soundly than most. The ISP certainly won’t be handing over identities to trolls without a fight.

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

Amazon CloudFront Expands to Canada

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-cloudfront-expands-to-canada/

With a long feature list (powered in large part by customer requests) Amazon CloudFront is well-suited to delivering your static, dynamic, and interactive content to users all over the world at high speed and with low latency. As part of the AWS Free Tier, you can handle up to 2 million HTTP and HTTPS requests and transfer up to 50 GB of data each month at no charge.

I am happy to announce that we are adding CloudFront edge locations in Toronto and Montreal in order to better serve our users in the region, bringing the global count up to 59 (full list). This includes a second edge location in São Paolo, Brazil that we recently brought online. Pricing for the locations in Toronto and Montreal is the same as for our US edge locations (see CloudFront Pricing for more info). The edge locations in Canada fall within Price Class 100.

If your application already uses CloudFront you need not do anything special in order to take advantage of the new locations. Your users will enjoy fast, low-latency access to your static, dynamic, or streamed content regardless of their location. As a developer, you will find CloudFront to be simple to use as well as cost-effective. Because it is elastic, you don’t need to over-provision in order to handle unpredictable traffic loads.

Before you ask, these new locations will also support Amazon Route 53 in the future. Again, you won’t need to do anything special in order to take advantage of the new locations!



PS – You can learn more about CloudFront at our monthly Office Hours (register now). The next session will be held at 10 AM PT on August 30th, 2016.

Amazon CloudFront se développe au Canada

Grâce à ses nombreuses fonctionnalités (développées en partie à la demande des clients) Amazon CloudFront est parfaitement adapté pour offrir un contenu statique, dynamique et interactif à haut débit et faible latence aux utilisateurs du monde entier. Dans le cadre du niveau gratuit AWS, vous pouvez traiter jusqu’à deux millions de requêtes HTTP et HTTPS, et transférer gratuitement jusqu’à 50 Go de données par mois.

Afin de mieux répondre à nos utilisateurs, j’ai le plaisir d’annoncer l’ajout d’emplacements périphériques Amazon CloudFront à Toronto et Montréal, portant ainsi leur nombre total à 59 (liste complète). Cela comprend la mise en service récente d’un second emplacement périphérique à São Paulo, Brésil. La tarification pour les emplacements à Toronto et Montréal est la même que pour nos emplacements périphériques aux USA (pour en savoir plus consultez la Tarification CloudFront). Les emplacements périphériques au Canada relèvent de la catégorie de tarifs 100.

Si votre application utilise déjà CloudFront, aucune action supplémentaire n’est nécessaire pour que vous profitiez des nouveaux emplacements. Vos utilisateurs apprécieront la rapidité daccès avec faible latence à votre contenu statique, dynamique ou diffusé, quel que soit le lieu où ils se trouvent. En tant que développeur, CloudFront vous paraîtra simple d’utilisation et économique. CloudFront étant un produit élastique, il ne vous sera pas nécessaire de surenchérir pour gérer les pics de trafic.

Pour votre information, ces nouveaux emplacements prendront également en charge Amazon Route 53 dans le futur. Encore une fois, aucune action supplémentaire n’est nécessaire pour que vous profitiez de ces nouveaux emplacements !



PS – Vous pourrez en savoir plus sur CloudFront durant nos sessions mensuelles (Inscrivez-vous maintenant). La prochaine session aura lieu à 10 h HAP le 30 août 2016.

Europe Has The Highest Online Piracy Rates, By Far

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/europe-has-the-highest-online-piracy-rates-by-far-160801/

europe-flagDespite the growing availability of legal options, online piracy remains rampant. Every day pirate sites are visited hundreds of millions of times.

Piracy tracking outfit MUSO has documented the piracy landscape with data from 14,000 of the largest global piracy sites. In total, the company recorded 141 billion visits to pirate sites last year alone.

But where are these pirates coming from?

In absolute numbers the United States clearly comes out on top. With nearly 10 billion visits to streaming portals and over 3 billion to torrent sites, the U.S. beats all other countries.

Perhaps not a surprise, as the U.S. is one of the largest countries in the world with a high Internet penetration. Things get more interesting, however, when we look at the piracy rate based on the number of Internet users around the world.

Data MUSO exclusively shared with TorrentFreak, shows that different countries float to the top when the Internet population is taken into account.

A comparison of the top 50 countries with the most piracy traffic shows that Europe in particular has a persistent piracy problem. In fact, all of the 10 countries with the highest online piracy rates are in Europe.

Latvia comes out on top with a massive 46% of the Internet users visiting pirate sites, followed by Bulgaria, Lithuania, Croatia, Spain and Greece. The top 10 piracy havens is completed by Serbia, Ireland, Romania and Sweden.

The first non-European country in the list is Australia, with a piracy rate of 16%, followed by Israel. Canada is the first North American country, located in the middle of the bunch, with a piracy rate of 11%.

When taking the size of the Internet population into account, the United States is actually one of the countries with the lowest piracy rates, just under 5%. The UK also has a modest piracy rate with nearly 8%.

Most surprising, perhaps, is the low piracy rate in Germany, where less than 2% of the Internet population are considered to be “pirates.” Vietnam closes the list with just over 1%.

The dataset includes visits to both international and local pirate sites, and MUSO believes that it’s an accurate overview of the global piracy landscape. The current list is based on data from 2015 and it will be interesting to see if these rankings will change over time.

Below is the top 50 in reverse order. China, Japan and Korea were excluded as MUSO didn’t have sufficient sites representing these countries to accurately include them.

Top 50 pirate countries by relative piracy rank.






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

isoHunt Founder Settles with Music Industry for $66 Million

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/isohunt-founder-settles-cria-66-million/

isohunt-fredomAfter years of legal battles, isoHunt and its founder Gary Fung are free at last.

Today, Fung announced that he has settled the last remaining lawsuit with Music Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA).

“After 10 long years, I’m happy to announce the end of isoHunt’s and my lawsuits,” Fung says, noting that he now owes the Canadian music group $66 million.

The multi-million dollar agreement follows an earlier settlement with the MPAA, for $110 million, on paper. While most site owners would be devastated, Fung has long moved beyond that phase and responds rather sarcastically.

“And I want to congratulate both Hollywood and CRIA on their victories, in letting me off with fines of $110m and $66m, respectively. Thank you!” he notes, adding that he’s “free at last”.

The consent order (pdf) signed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia prohibits isoHunt’s founder from operating any file-sharing site in the future.

It further requires Fung to pay damages of $55 million and another $10 million in aggravated punitive damages. The final million dollars is issued to cover the costs of the lawsuit.

Although isoHunt shut down 2013, it took more than two years for the last case to be finalized. The dispute initially began in the last decennium, when the Canadian music industry went after several prominent torrent sites.

In May 2008, isoHunt received a Cease and Desist letter from the CRIA in which they demanded that isoHunt founder Gary Fung should take the site offline. If Fung didn’t comply, the CRIA said it would pursue legal action, and demand $20,000 for each sound recording the site has infringed.

A similar tactic worked against Demonoid, but the isoHunt founder didn’t back down so easily. Instead, he himself filed a lawsuit against the CRIA asking the court to declare the site legal.

That didn’t work out as isoHunt’s founder had planned, and several years later the tables have been turned entirely, with the defeat now becoming final.

While the outcome won’t change anything about isoHunt’s demise, Fung is proud that he was always able to shield its users from the various copyright groups attacking it. No identifiable user data was shared at any point.

Fung is also happy for the support the site’s users have given him over the years.

“I can proudly conclude that I’ve kept my word regarding users’ privacy above. To isoHunt’s avid users, it’s worth repeating since I shutdown isoHunt in 2013, that you have my sincerest thanks for your continued support,” Fung notes.

“Me and my staff could not have done it for more than 10 years without you, and that’s an eternity in internet time. It was an interesting and challenging journey for me to say the least, and the most profound business learning experience I could not expect.”

The Canadian entrepreneur can now close the isoHunt book for good and move on to new ventures. One of the projects he just announced is a mobile search tool called “App to Automate Googling” AAG for which he invites alpha testers.

The original isoHunt site now redirects to MPAA’s “legal” search engine WhereToWatch. However, the name and design lives on via the clone site IsoHunt.to, which still draws millions of visitors per month – frustrating for the MPAA and Music Canada.

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

KickassTorrents’ Connections to the US Doomed the Site

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/kickasstorrents-connections-to-the-us-doomed-the-site-160723/

katTo the huge disappointment of millions of BitTorrent users, KickassTorrents disappeared this week following an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States.

With a huge hole now present at the top of the torrent landscape, other sites plus interested groups and individuals will be considering their options. Step up their game and take over the top slot? Cautiously maintain the status quo? Or pull out altogether…

Make no mistake, this is a game of great reward, matched only by the risk. If the DHS complaint is to be believed, Kickass made dozens of millions of euros, enough to tempt even the nerviest of individuals. But while that might attract some, is avoiding detection almost impossible these days?

The complaint against KAT shows that while not inevitable, it’s becoming increasingly difficult. It also shows that carelessness plays a huge part in undermining security and that mistakes made by others in the past are always worth paying attention to.

Servers in the United States

Perhaps most tellingly, in the first instance KAT failed to learn from the ‘mistakes’ made by Megaupload. While the cases are somewhat dissimilar, both entities chose to have a US presence for at least some of their servers. This allowed US authorities to get involved. Not a great start.

“[Since 2008], KAT has relied on a network of computer servers around the world to operate, including computer servers located in Chicago, Illinois,” the complaint against the site reads.

The Chicago server weren’t trivial either.

“According to a reverse DNS search conducted by the hosting company on or about May 5, 2015, that server was the mail client ‘mail.kat.ph’.”

Torrent site mail servers. In the United States. What could go possibly go wrong?

In a word? Everything. In January 2016, DHS obtained a search warrant and cloned the Chicago servers. Somewhat unsurprisingly this gifted investigating agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan (the same guy who infiltrated Silk Road) valuable information.

“I located multiple files that contained unique user information, access logs, and other information. These files include a file titled ‘passwd’ located in the ‘etc’ directory, which was last accessed on or about January 13, 2016, and which identified the users who had access to the operating system,” Der-Yeghiayan said.

Servers in Canada

KAT also ran several servers hosted with Montreal-based Netelligent Hosting Services. There too, KAT was vulnerable.

In response to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request, in April 2016 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police obtained business records associated with KAT’s account and made forensic images of the torrent site’s hard drives.

Why KAT chose Netelligent isn’t clear, but the site should have been aware that the hosting company would be forced to comply with law enforcement requests. After all, it had happened at least once before in a case involving Swedish torrent site, Sparvar.

Mistakes at the beginning

When pirate sites first launch, few admins expect them to become world leaders. If they did, they’d probably approach things a little differently at the start. In KAT’s case, alleged founder Artem Vaulin registered several of the site’s domains in his own name, information that was happily handed to the DHS by US-based hosting company GoDaddy.

Vaulin also used a Gmail account, operated by US-based Google. The complaint doesn’t explicitly say that Google handed over information, but it’s a distinct possibility. In any event, an email sent from that account in 2009 provided a helpful bridge to investigators.

“I changed my gmail. now it’s admin@kickasstorrents.com,” it read.

Forging further connections from his private email accounts to those operated from KAT, in 2012 Vaulin sent ‘test’ emails from KAT email addresses to his Apple address. This, HSI said, signaled the point that Vaulin began using KAT emails for business.

No time to relax, even socially

In addition to using an email account operated by US-based Apple, (in which HSI found Vaulin’s passport and driver’s license details, plus his banking info), the Ukranian also had an iTunes account.

Purchases he made there were logged by Apple, down to the IP address. Then, thanks to information provided by US-based Facebook (notice the recurring Stateside theme?), HSI were able to match that same IP address against a login to KAT’s Facebook page.

Anonymous Bitcoin – not quite

If the irony of the legitimate iTunes purchases didn’t quite hit the spot, the notion that Bitcoin could land someone in trouble should tick all the boxes. According to the complaint, US-based Bitcoin exchange Coinbase handed over information on Vaulin’s business to HSI.

“Records received from the bitcoin exchange company Coinbase revealed that the KAT Bitcoin Donation Address sent bitcoins it received to a user’s account maintained at Coinbase. This account was identified as belonging to Artem Vaulin located in Kharkov, Ukraine,” it reads.

Final thoughts

For a site that the US Government had always insisted was operating overseas, KickassTorrents clearly had a huge number of United States connections. This appears to have made the investigation much more simple than it would have been had the site and its owner had maintained a presence solely in Eastern Europe.

Why the site chose to maintain these connections despite the risks might never be answered, but history has shown us time and again that US-based sites are not only vulnerable but also open to the wrath of the US Government. With decades of prison time at stake, that is clearly bad news.

But for now at least, Vaulin is being detained in Poland, waiting to hear of his fate. Whether or not he’ll quickly be sent to the United States is unclear, but it seems unlikely that a massively prolonged Kim Dotcom-style extradition battle is on the agenda. A smaller one might be, however.

While the shutdown of KAT and the arrest of its owner came out of the blue, the writing has always been on the wall. The shutdown is just one of several momentous ‘pirate’ events in the past 18 months including the closure (and resurrection) of The Pirate Bay, the dismantling of the main Popcorn Time fork, and the end of YTS/YIFY.

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

GameStop – Moving a Mission-Critical Multichannel Marketing Platform to AWS

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/gamestop-moving-a-mission-critical-multichannel-marketing-platform-to-aws/

GameStop sells new and pre-owned video game hardware, software, and accessories, consumer electronics, and wireless services. With over 7,000 retail locations spread across 14 countries, the company sells to and interacts with millions of customers every day. In addition to their retail locations, they follow an omni-channel strategy and run a loyalty program with over 46 million members worldwide.

I spoke with Justin Newcom (Senior Director, International Technology Services & Support) and Jim March (Advanced Cloud Systems Engineer) of GameStop to learn how they moved their mission-critical multichannel marketing platform from traditional hosting to AWS. This is their story!

The Business Challenge
The story begins in March of 2015 when one of GameStop’s existing international hosting contracts was about to expire. The GameStop team decided to take a serious look at alternative hosting solutions. They sent out an RFP (Request For Proposal) to several traditional hosts and to some cloud vendors, including AWS. As the responses arrived, it became obvious, in Justin’s words, that “AWS was the clear winner.” Jim, after returning from a briefing held by another cloud vendor, dug in to AWS and found that it was far more mature and sophisticated than he had once thought.

They decided to move forward with AWS, basing their decision on the product, the pace of innovation, our reputation, and our pricing. However, even though they had picked the winner, they knew that they still had a lot to learn if they were going to have a successful journey.

The Journey Begins
The GameStop technology leaders decided to create a learning culture around AWS. They spoke with other AWS customers and partners, and ultimately brought in a prominent Gold-level AWS Technology Partner to accompany them on their cloud journey. They chose the mission-critical multichannel marketing platform as their first migration target. This platform goes beyond e-commerce, and manages all in-store customer activities in Canada and Europe, as well as online customer interaction. It integrates in-store and online activity; allowing, for example, customers to make an online purchase at the cash register.

The migration to AWS was complete in time for the 2015 holiday shopping season and AWS performed flawlessly. The first Black Friday was a turning point for GameStop. Even though they were not yet using Auto Scaling, they were able to quickly launch new EC2 instances in order to meet demand.  The site remained up and responsive.

Early in the journey, some other initial successes proved to be important turning points. For example, the team had just four hours to prepare for a “surprise” launch of Nintendo’s Amiibo in Canada. The launch went off without a hitch. Another time, they spun up new infrastructure on AWS to deal with a special sales promotion that was scheduled to last for just six hours. This went well and cost them just $300 in AWS charges. In light of these early successes, internal teams were empowered to think about other high-impact, short-term marketing programs, including “spot” sales that would last for an hour or two. Jim told me that events of this type, once traumatic and expensive, were now “fun.”

Time for a Transformation
With the first migration successfully completed, the next step was to transform the IT organization, acquiring cloud skills and experience along the way, as they became the organization’s cloud infrastructure team. As part of this modernization, they made sure that their team was gaining experience with Agile and DevOps practices, along with new technologies such as microservices and containers. They brought in modern tools like Jira and Confluence, sought executive buy-in to take new approaches and to run some experiments, and arranged for a series of in-house courses. I should note that this is turning out to be a very common model among companies that are taking a big leap in to the future! In some cases the cloud  begets the use of other modern practices; in others the use of modern practices begets the use of cloud.

With the transformation well under way, the team is now looking at all of ways that they can use AWS to improve efficiency and to save money. They anticipate becoming a different type of internal IT supplier, with the ability to form strong internal partnerships, provide better purchasing advice, and to assist teams that have varying levels of IT expertise. Costs have gone down,  predictability has gone up, and they are now positioned to build and deploy innovative solutions that were not feasible in the past.

GameStop is now looking to consolidate their international IT infrastructure resources, some of which are housed in “data rooms” (not quite data centers) in disparate non-US locations. They see AWS as a single platform to develop against, and have instituted a common model that can be replicated across locations, business units, and applications. They are no longer buying new hardware. Instead, as the hardware reaches the end of its useful life the functionality is moved to AWS and the data room is emptied out. At the present pace, all eight of the data rooms will be empty within three years.

Migrating to and Using AWS
Migration is generally a two-stage process for the GameStop international teams. In the first stage they lift-and-shift the current application to the cloud. In the second, they refactor and optimize in pursuit of additional efficiency and better maintainability. Before the migration the multichannel team saw IT served via third-party partners as a bottleneck. After the move to AWS the relationship improved and the teams were able to cooperatively work toward solutions.

During the refactoring phase they take a look at every aspect of the existing operation and decide how they can replace existing functionality with a modern AWS alternative. This includes database logic, network architecture, security, backups, internal messaging, and monitoring.

The team is intrigued by the serverless processing model and plans to use AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway to rebuild their internal service architecture, replacing an older and less flexible technology stack in the process. They are also planning to route all logs and metrics to Amazon CloudWatch for storage and analysis, with a goal of making them fully searchable.

The migration is still a work in progress and there’s still more work to be done. Some of the EC2 instances are still treated as pets rather than as cattle; the goal is to get to a model where all of the infrastructure is dynamic and disposable, and where logging in to a server to check status or to make a change is a rarity.

I asked Justin and Jim for advice and recommendations they could make to other organizations that are contemplating a move to the cloud. This is what they told me:

  • Go all-in on automation. Expect it and build for it.
  • Treat infrastructure as code. Take the migration as an opportunity to create a culture that embraces this practice.
  • Do everything right, from the beginning. Do not move an application that will cause you grief, simply to move it to the cloud. Choose your low-hanging fruit and spend your initial budget on what you know. Treat the migration as a learning process, but save money where you can.
  • Don’t cave to time pressure. Communicate with your business partners. The cloud is new for everyone and there will be bumps in the road. Be open and transparent and explain why things take time.
  • Ensure that the leadership team is all-in with the IT team. Having top-down buy-in from your management team is a must.

Jim also told me that he likes to think of the AWS Management Console‘s Launch Instance button as a form of technical debt that must be repaid with future automation.

I would like to thank Justin and Jim for their insights and to congratulate them on their work to move GameStop’s IT environment into the future!


Accused “Pirate” Questions Dallas Buyers Club’s Copyright Claim

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/accused-pirate-questions-dallas-buyers-clubs-copyright-claim-160718/

dallasMovie studio Voltage Pictures is no stranger to suing BitTorrent users.

The company has filed lawsuits against alleged pirates in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia, and is estimated to have made a lot of money doing so.

Most of these cases target downloaders of the Oscar-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club. Voltage Pictures is one of the production companies behind the film, but as is common in Hollywood, it’s not the sole rightsholder.

In fact, another company named “Dallas Buyers Club LLC” (DBC) has also filed dozens of cases against pirates. While one might think that both rightsholders are working in tandem, they are in fact fighting over the anti-piracy loot behind the scenes.

In a case DBC and Truth Entertainment filed against Voltage Pictures last year (pdf), the latter is accused of various deceptive practices, including breach of contract and fraud.

The two plaintiffs suggest that Voltage has been holding back money from foreign proceeds. They further state that the production company hasn’t been open about its practices.

Aside from claims that money has gone missing, its anti-piracy methods are also under the spotlight. According to DBC, Voltage hasn’t provided any details on enforcement actions, nor has it shared any of the proceeds from its anti-piracy efforts.

“DBC entered into an Agreement with Voltage to act as its agent to enforce Anti-piracy actions against people who have illegally downloaded or otherwise obtained the ability to watch the movie without paying for the right to watch it,” the filing reads.

“The only updates DBC receives are thorough, mostly negative, media reports about the actions of Voltage around the World. DBC has not received any funds, reports, updates or any information from Voltage on the status numerous lawsuits filed around the World in the name of DBC.”

Where’s the anti-piracy bounty?


While the paperwork doesn’t explicitly state that both parties agreed to share the anti-piracy bounty, the claims above suggest that this is the case. Most interesting, perhaps, is that it’s unclear whether all enforcement actions are ultimately driven by Voltage.

This confusing situation is casting doubt over the legitimacy of these piracy lawsuits, as FCT highlights. This prompted Nicholas Ranallo, attorney for an accused “pirate”, to ask a California federal court for an extra safeguard.

Ranallo mentions that there is doubt over who owns the movie and he cites the legal battle between Dallas Buyers Club LLC, in whose name his defendant was sued, and Voltage.

“It is unclear what rights (if any) are actually held by Voltage Pictures or the suing entities, though it is abundantly clear that Voltage Pictures controls the litigation and keeps the proceeds collected on behalf of the purported plaintiffs,” Ranallo writes.

The amended complaint against the accused pirate identifies Dallas Buyers Club LLC as the owner, but the original complaint listed Truth LLC as such. Then again, the DVD cover and other material list Voltage as the copyright holder.

“Various advertising and promotional materials cast further doubt about the claims that Dallas Buyers Club LLC owns the relevant copyright(s), and reveal a myriad of entities that have, at one time or another, claimed copyright in the film.”

As a safeguard, Ranallo asks the court to require Dallas Buyers Club to post a $50,000 bond (pdf), to secure costs and attorney fees if the suspicions do indeed hold ground.

While it’s not uncommon for several companies to have a stake in a single movie, it will be interesting to see if this case leads to more clarity over the rights they have to pursue a copyright claim in court.

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

Nintendo Cracks Down on Pokémon Go Piracy

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/nintendo-cracks-pokemon-go-piracy-160714/

pokeThe Pokémon Go game is taking the world by storm, despite the fact that it’s not yet officially released in most countries.

The game came out in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States last week, and over the past few days Germany and the UK joined in.

However, that doesn’t mean people elsewhere can’t play it yet.

As the craze spread, so did the various pirated copies, which have been downloaded millions of times already. The Internet is littered with unauthorized Pokémon Go files and guides explaining how to install the game on various platforms.

To give an indication of how massive Pokémon Go piracy is, research from Similarweb revealed that as of yesterday 6.8% of all Android devices in Canada and the Netherlands had the game installed.

In fact, it’s safe to say that unauthorized copies are more popular than the official ones, for the time being.

The APK files for Android are shared widely on torrent sites. At The Pirate Bay, for example, it’s the most shared Android game by far. Even more impressive, it also sent millions of extra daily visitors to APKmirror.com, which hosts copies of the game as well.

Most pirated Android games


Nintendo is obviously not happy with this black market distribution. Although it doesn’t seem to hurt its stock value, the company is targeting the piracy issue behind the scenes.

TorrentFreak spotted several takedown requests on behalf of Nintendo that were sent to Google Blogspot and Google Search this week. The notices list various links to pirated copies of the game, asking Google to remove them.

One of the takedown notices


Thus far the efforts have done little to stop the distribution. The files are still widely shared on torrent sites and various direct download services. The copies on APKmirror.com remain online as well.

In fact, it’s virtually impossible to stop a game that’s gone viral from being shared online. Even if it issues thousands of takedown requests, Nintendo won’t be able to catch ’em all.

Nintendo probably has good reasons to roll Pokémon Go out gradually, but the best anti-piracy strategy is obviously to make the game available worldwide as quickly as possible.

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

NOvA uses AWS to Shed Light on Neutrino Mysteries

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/nova-uses-aws-to-shed-light-on-neutrino-mysteries/

My colleague Sanjay Padhi wrote the guest post below in order to tell the story of how AWS powered an important scientific discovery.


Ghostlike particles called neutrinos are everywhere, cosmic rays bombard us with them, the sun bathes us in them. Though incredibly difficult to detect, they may hold the key to why there is more matter than antimatter around. Prominent physicist and Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi named this mysterious particle the “neutrino” (or “little neutral one”). It took time to realize that neutrinos have very unstable egos. They are able to switch or change their identities (“flavors”) through space also called neutrino oscillation. The 2015 Nobel prize in Physics was awarded to Takaaki Kajita (Super-Kamiokanda, Japan) and Arthur B. McDonald (SNO, Canada) for the discovery of neutrino oscillations.

It is extremely exciting to announce that the US flagship experiment in the intensity frontier, NOvA, unveils new results with the help of AWS infrastructure, that sheds light on our understanding of the quantum universe. They see an intriguing preference for “non-maximal” mixing between neutrino identities. These results were presented at the Imperial College in London England, in the presence of researchers from around the world that are gathered for the XXVII International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics.

From Experiment to Understanding the Data
Deep in the woods at the Ash River Laboratory in northern Minnesota, close to the Canadian border, the NOvA experiment studies neutrino identities using the most intense particle beams sent from Fermilab, near Chicago, Illinois, passing through the Earth’s crust and traveling over 500 miles. As the neutrinos travel the distance between the laboratories, they undergo a fundamental change in their identities. These changes are carefully measured by the massive NOvA detector.

The detector stands 53 feet tall and 180 feet long and weights 14,000 metric tons (over 30 million pounds). It acts as a gigantic digital camera to observe and capture the faint traces of light and energy that are left by particle interactions within the detector. The experiment captures two million “pictures” per second of these interactions. The pictures are analyzed by sophisticated software. The extreme sensitivity of the detector, electronics and software allow for individual neutrino interactions to be identified, classified and measured.

The NOvA experiment is being conducted by more than 200 scientists from 41 universities and research institutions from seven countries.  It is hosted by Fermilab, the leading U.S. laboratory for high-energy and particle physics.

The new result as shown below is not only consistent with the dramatic change in neutrino identity as seen in previous measurements, but has an intriguing hint that the effect is not quite as large as the theoretically expected maximum. This is a significant important step along the way to NOvA’s overall goal of solving this decades long mystery of why there is more matter than antimatter around in the universe we see.

AWS and NOvA
NOvA and other neutrino experiments hosted at Fermilab need to analyze over 10 PB of data each year as part of their ongoing physics analysis efforts. Historically, these analyses have been performed using a combination of dedicated on premises computing centers located at Fermilab, collaborating universities and grid federations. With the increase in data size, complexity of algorithms and the demand for large scale data processing, NOvA via Fermilab’s HEP Cloud used AWS storage and compute infrastructure in order to meet the peak demand for data/IO-intensive processing for the analysis. AWS Cloud Credits for Research Program helped immensely with the adoption and integration towards AWS Cloud.

Amazon S3 for Data Buffering
NOvA ran three major physics analysis campaigns on AWS as part of the critical path to physics results that is presented today at the Neutrino 2016 conference. Each of these analysis campaigns featured different degrees of data intensiveness.

The analysis applications consumed up to 1 GB of input per core hour of analysis and produced 1 GB of physics output. They ran at the scale of 7,500 concurrent cores on the spot market, for a total of over 400,000 core hours, more than doubling their processing capacity during critical weeks of a multi-month processing campaign.

By buffering the input and output data on Amazon S3, NOvA was able to feed data to the analyses at peak bandwidths above 1 GB/s, thus minimizing IO wait and cost. The image above depicts NOvA’s submission system for their data intensive workflows to the AWS infrastructure using HEP Cloud. Given the integration of the data management middleware with Amazon S3, the scientific applications will continue to use the known interfaces for handling massive amounts of data by the experiments.

The large data volume handling was also enabled by the recently upgraded peering point between Amazon in Oregon and the Energy Science Network (ESNet). This peering point provides a 100-Gbps path for data transport between AWS and the national laboratories and was used to transfer more than 100 TB of input and 150 TB of output at bandwidths ranging 5 to 12 Gbps between Fermilab and AWS. With the strengthening of the Data Egress Waiver program for the publicly funded ISP, AWS is becoming an outstanding resource for data-intensive science.

Peter Shanahan (Co-spokesperson of the NOvA experiment) told me:

Our experience with Amazon Web Services shows its potential as a reliable way to meet our peak data processing needs at times of high demand.

I hope that you enjoyed this brief insight into the ways in which AWS is helping to explore the nature of our universe!

Sanjay Padhi, Ph.D. – AWS Scientific Computing

Canada Federal Court Restrains Sale of ‘Pirate’ Boxes

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/canada-federal-court-restrains-sale-of-pirate-boxes-160610/

android-boxFor years Internet piracy was the preserve of desktop machines running various flavors of peer-to-peer file-sharing software. Now, with viable computing available in devices as small as a phone, piracy is a do-anywhere affair.

As a result it’s now common for people to stream media to their living room and for that purpose there are few more convenient solutions than an Android device. Whether phone, tablet, HDMI stick or set-top box, the Android platform can bring all the latest movies, TV shows and live sports to any living room, for little to no outlay.

This type of Internet piracy is thriving all around the world and has already resulted in arrests in the UK and civil actions elsewhere. The latest news comes out of Canada, where Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Videotron and others are taking on several retailers of Android set-top boxes.

The broadcasters’ claims are relatively straightforward. As station operators they own the Canadian rights to a variety of TV shows. The defendants (ITVBOX.NET, My Electronics, Android Bros Inc., WatchNSaveNow Inc and MTLFreeTV) all sell devices that come ready configured with software designed to receive copyrighted content over the Internet.

The plaintiffs began their inquiries in April 2015 and in the year that followed purchased and tested the defendants’ products. They not only found that the devices provided access to their content for free, but also that the defendants advertised their products as a way to avoid paying cable bills.

Unsurprisingly the devices contained at least three sets of software – Kodi (along with the necessary infringing addons), the Popcorn Time-like Showbox application, plus tools to receive pirate subscription channels for a monthly fee.

As a result the TV companies went to court in an effort to obtain an interlocutory injunction to stop the devices being made available for sale. The plaintiffs made claims under both the Copyright Act and Radiocommunication Act, the latter due to the devices receiving “illegally decrypted programming”.

Describing pre-loaded set-top boxes as an “existential threat” to their businesses, the plaintiffs said that piracy and subsequent declining subscriptions are the main factors behind falling revenue. On this basis and as a deterrent to others supplying such devices, an injunction should be granted.

While the plaintiffs showed up in force, court documents reveal that only one defendant attended the hearing. Vincent Wesley of MTLFreeTV told the court that he had nothing to do with the development or maintenance of the installed software. The set-top boxes, he argued, are just pieces of hardware like a tablet or computer and have “substantial non-infringing uses.”

The court wasn’t convinced.

“The devices marketed, sold and programmed by the Defendants enable consumers to obtain unauthorized access to content for which the Plaintiffs own the copyright. This is not a case where the Defendants merely serve as the conduit, as was argued by Mr. Wesley,” Judge Daniele Tremblay-Lamer wrote in her order.

“Rather, they deliberately encourage consumers and potential clients to circumvent authorized ways of accessing content — say, by a cable subscription or by streaming content from the Plaintiffs’ websites — both in the manner in which they promote their business, and by offering tutorials in how to add and use applications which rely on illegally obtained content.”

As is often the case, the defendants’ marketing strategies appear set to haunt them. All imply infringing uses with descriptions such as “Original Cable Killer”, “Cancel cable today”, “Every Movie Ever Made”, “Every TV Show Ever Made” and “Live Sports and Events”.

Granting the interlocutory injunction, the judge said that other companies selling similar devices can be joined as parties to the injunction, should the plaintiffs identify them as defendants.

“This is not the first time a new technology has been alleged to violate copyright law, nor will it be the last. There are questions for the Court to resolve at trial rather than at this interlocutory stage,” the judge wrote.

“For the time being, I am satisfied that the Plaintiffs have established a strong prima facie case of copyright infringement and that an injunction would prevent irreparable harm without unduly inconveniencing the Defendants.”

A full trial will follow but from the evidence and defense presented thus far, it shouldn’t prove a difficult one for the broadcasters to win.

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

Netflix Blocks IPv6 Tunnels Over Geo-Unblocking Fears

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-blocks-ipv6-over-geo-unblocking-fears-160608/

netflix-logoIt used to be a little talked about secret but the fact that all Netflix users aren’t treated equally is now well and truly out of the bag.

Due to licensing deals with content providers, most regions in the world are granted access to differing levels of content. Users in the United States get the best deal from a choice perspective while subscribers in many other regions are offered much more shallow libraries.

However, for many years determined subscribers from all over the world have been using various tricks to gain access to the forbidden fruits of the U.S. Netflix library. This has largely been achieved through the use of VPNs and proxies, techniques which worked almost flawlessly until complaints from rightsholders forced Netflix into a crackdown earlier this year.

Nevertheless, other methods to circumvent Netflix blocks do exist. Some savvy individuals have been using something known as a tunnel broker, an online service which provides the user with a network tunnel. One particular type, known as an IPv6 tunnel broker, provides users with a modern IPv6 tunnel to sites via the much older (but massively more prevalent) IPv4 protocol.

One such service is provided free of charge by Hurricane Electric, the operator of the world’s largest IPv6 transit network. Called simply ‘IPv6 Tunnel Broker‘, the company describes the service as follows.

“Our free tunnel broker service enables you to reach the IPv6 Internet by tunneling over existing IPv4 connections from your IPv6 enabled host or router to one of our IPv6 routers. Our tunnel service is oriented towards developers and experimenters that want a stable tunnel platform,” Hurricane explains.

With noble goals at heart, this service is clearly not designed to give Netflix headaches. However, with tunnel endpoints in the United States that was apparently the net result, with people using the service able to access titles geo-restricted to the U.S.

Somehow this situation came to Netflix’s attention and during the past few days the company decided to take action. Numerous reports indicate that Netflix has now blocked users of Hurricane Electric’s tunnel broker from accessing its services, regardless of their intent. They now receive the message below.


A Reddit user called KeiroD contacted Netflix after receiving an identical message with the same error code – M7111-1331-5059. From the transcript of the discussion its clear that KeiroD already had a good idea why he was blocked.

“The only thing that I can think of that would affect us would be using the Hurricane Electric tunnelbroker but we’re US-based as is Hurricane Electric’s tunnel,” he explained. Netflix responded as expected.

“Yes it is possible as they work the same as the VPN or proxies. There is a way to find out if that is the reason, do you have a way to turn it off for a moment so we can try the service again?” customer support asked.

In response KeiroD turned off IPv6 in his router’s tunnel broker setup, rebooted, and played a random movie successfully.

General blocking aside, the sad part here is that KeiroD is based in the United States, so already had access to U.S. content on Netflix. The fact that his account with Netflix was registered in the United States and his endpoint was in Kansas City didn’t help at all.

Interestingly, the topic is also under discussion in Hurricane Electric’s forums. After years of people questioning whether he had access to the U.S. version of Netflix, a Canadian user there reported that his Netflix suddenly stopped working a few days ago.

“Turns out that I did [have the U.S. Netflix] and didn’t even know it! Now Netflix is blocking me, and after a long while I finally figured out that it was because of my IPv6 tunnel. The thing is though, I am in Canada, and I use the tunnel server in Toronto, also in Canada, but Netflix detects my connections as coming from the US!” he explains.

“Well of course this problem only affects traffic coming over the IPv6 tunnel. If I shut it down, then Netflix works fine over native IPv4. I obviously still want my IPv6 connectivity, and don’t have any easy way that I know of to specifically block only Netflix-related traffic from resolving IPv6 addresses and using the tunnel.”

Sadly, however, Hurricane say they can’t help.

“Our [subnet] is registered as part of a US company, and that is the address space being used there. We do not have any IPv6 allocations allocated and designated as ‘Canada’,” a senior Hurricane engineer responded.

“Our [subnet] is used globally, as-is. If Netflix has some sort of whitelisting system in place, perhaps the ranges used there can be submitted, if such a whitelist exists, Netflix willing.”

As an avid supporter of IPv6, Netflix’s decision to block Hurricane users is somewhat disappointing, especially when they have U.S. accounts and are also based in the U.S.

Understandably the company is responding to pressure from rightsholders but interestingly there’s no change in the current situation even when they aren’t a factor. Netflix previously indicated it wanted to improve licensing issues by creating its own shows, shows that can be accessed anywhere in the world without issues. But even they are off-limits, it seems.

“This started happening to me this afternoon. Called Netflix support, and based on that conversation I concluded they consider Tunnelbroker a VPN/Proxy,” another user on HE’s forums explains.

“They’re not wrong, but it’s still frustrating. Ironically the show I was trying to resume is a Netflix original. I wouldn’t have expected that there would be licensing issues on their own content.”

And so the whac-a-mole continues….

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