Tag Archives: Copyright Issues

Facebook Buys Startup to Expand its Anti-Piracy Repertoire

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/facebook-buys-startup-expand-anti-piracy-repertoire-170725/

facebayIn common with other sites dealing with user-generated content, Facebook has to battle a constant stream of unauthorized copyright material.

When it comes to targeting infringement, Facebook has rolled out a few anti-piracy initiatives in recent years. The company has a “Rights Manager” tool that detects infringing material automatically and allows owners to take down or monetize this content.

The social media network is not done yet, though. Anti-piracy strategies need constant refinement and with a new acquisition, Facebook has expanded its expertise in this area.

Facebook has taken over the startup Source3, which specializes in IP recognition, IP licensing and rights administration services. The company is a known player in the copyright industry and its founders previously sold another startup, RightsFlow, to Google.

“Today, we wanted to let everyone know that we’ve decided to continue our journey with Facebook,” Source3 announced in a statement on its website.

“We’re excited to bring our IP, trademark and copyright expertise to the team at Facebook and serve their global community of two billion people, who consume content, music, videos and other IP every day.”

Commenting on the deal, a Facebook spokesperson informed Recode that they are excited to learn from Source3’s copyright expertise. No further details were released on the terms of the deal, and it’s unclear how much was paid.

Neither company has shared any concrete plans for the future, but it’s likely that the acquisition will be used to expand existing anti-piracy initiatives.

Among other things, the startup heavily focused on automated licensing tools. This could mean that Facebook might want to offer its users the option to license content from rightsholders and minimize copyright infringement in a positive way.

“Source3 can monitor and manage third-party IP and proactively establish licensing relationships with brands,” the company boasted on its website, before the acquisition.

“We also provide a range of scalable licensing tools, supported by a team of licensing veterans, to manage the licensing process from negotiation to real-time approvals to royalty reporting,” it added.

Time will tell how exactly Facebook will expand its anti-piracy efforts, but it’s clear that it remains a high priority for the social network.

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

Anime Torrent Site NYAA Goes Down After Domain Name Deactivation

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/anime-torrent-site-nyaa-goes-down-after-domain-name-deactivation-170502/

NYAA is heralded as one of the top sources for anime content and has an audience of millions of regular users.

The site has operated for years without any significant trouble. However, a few hours ago it suddenly became unreachable due to a worrying domain name issue.

The NYAA.se domain was updated with the infamous “serverhold” status (see update below) which suggests that the responsible registry interfered. The status has been used in the past when domain names have been flagged due to copyright issues and stripped of their DNS entries.

“This status code is set by your domain’s Registry Operator. Your domain is not activated in the DNS,” ICANN writes.

As a result of the issue, NYAA is no longer accessible from its .SE domain. TorrentFreak reached out to the responsible registry for a comment, but at the time of writing we haven’t heard back.

If the registry is indeed involved, then there must be some sort of legal authority backing the request. The .SE domain registry previously stated that it will not suspend any domain names unless there is a court order.

“We believe that the judicial authorities should determine whether or not it is appropriate to take action against a particular domain name registrant. Unless we have been ordered to do so, there is a risk that we could call the validity of the legal process into question by taking action before a ruling is passed,” Punkt SE said.

Thus far it’s unclear on what grounds the domain was deactivated. A copyright complaint is one of the possibilities, but this hasn’t been confirmed.

Whatever the reason for the deactivation, there’s still hope for the site’s users. In theory, the NYAA team could return online if they setup an alternative domain. That is, if the domain name deactivation is the only issue they are facing at the moment, which remains to be seen.

If more information becomes available on NYAA’s domain name troubles we will update this article accordingly.

Update: The NYAAtorrents.org and NYAA.eu domains are also deactivated now. This suggested that there’s a coordinated action involving multiple domain name registries.

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

Anti-Piracy Measures Shouldn’t Stifle Free Speech, EFF Says

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-measures-shouldnt-stifle-free-speech-eff-says-170224/

Still undecided about the future of the DMCA law, the U.S. Government’s Copyright Office extended its public consultation to evaluate the effectiveness of the Safe Harbor provisions.

The study aims to signal problems with the current takedown procedures and addresses ISPs’ repeat infringer policies, copyright takedown abuses, and the ever-increasing volume of DMCA notices.

Together with various rightsholders and Internet services, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) also submitted its recommendations this week. The digital rights group believes that the current law works as it should, and warns against a copyright enforcement expansion.

The Internet provides a crucial role in facilitating freedom of expression, something that shouldn’t be limited by far-reaching anti-piracy measures, the organization argues.

“Internet intermediaries provide the backbone for Internet users’ expression and are key to the public’s ability to exercise these rights,” EFF writes in its submission.

“Accordingly, the public has a strong interest in ensuring that the Internet remains a viable and accessible platform for free expression and innovation, and in ensuring that online platforms don’t unduly remove, filter, or block speech from the Internet.”

One of the areas of interest for the Copyright Office is how to deal with repeat infringers. The DMCA law requires Internet providers to have a repeat infringer policy in place, but stakeholders have different views on what these should look like.

According to the EFF, however, terminating people’s Internet access is much more than a slap on the wrist, as it can severely impede people’s ability to function in today’s society.

“Conduit ISPs serve as the bridge between their subscribers and the entire Internet. Terminating a subscriber’s Internet access account imposes a far more significant penalty that merely cutting off access to a single Internet service.”

Nowadays, terminating an Internet account often means that the entire household will be affected. The EFF warns that as a result, many people will lose access to important information and tools, which are needed for school, jobs, and even government services.

“Indeed, as former President Obama stated, Internet access today is ‘not a luxury, it’s a necessity’,” the EFF adds.

Another question posted by the Copyright Office deals with the necessity for anti-piracy filters. Yesterday, the RIAA and other music groups spoke out in favor of automated filters but the EFF fiercely opposes the idea.

One of the problems the group signals is that filtering will require Internet services to monitor their users’ activity, causing privacy concerns. In addition these filters will also be imprecise, targeting content that’s considered fair use, for example.

Finally, automated filters will require Internet services to police the Internet, which can be quite costly and stifle free speech at the same time.

“…by shifting the burden and cost of enforcement away from copyright holders and onto service providers, these proposals would stifle competition for Internet services, exacerbate current problems with the notice and takedown system, and increase the risk that valuable, lawful speech will be silenced,” the EFF writes.

The same free speech argument also applies to site-blocking initiatives. According to the EFF, such blocking efforts also restrict access to legitimate material. At the same time, the measures are far from effective.

“Site-blocking often has broader impacts on lawful online speech than intended. When entire domains are blocked, every other page hosted by those domains are subject to the block, regardless of whether they contain infringing content.

“Site-blocking is also largely ineffective at stemming online copyright infringement. Many sites are able to relaunch at new URLs, and users are often able to circumvent blocks using VPNs and the Tor browser,” the group adds.

In summary, the EFF concludes that overall the current law works pretty well and the group warns the Copyright Office not to give in to the broad “filter-everything” push from major copyright industry groups.

The EFF’s full submission to the U.S. Copyright office is available here (pdf).

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

4shared: Copyright Holders Abuse Google’s DMCA Takedown System

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/4shared-copyright-holders-abuse-googles-dmca-takedown-system-161123/

4sharedAs one of the largest online file-sharing services, 4shared is closely watched by copyright holders whose work is made available on the site.

The site itself has a DMCA takedown procedure in place so rightsholders can remove files directly, but interestingly, most complaints about the site are directed at Google’s search index.

Over the past several years the search engine has received a mind-boggling 50 million takedown requests for 4shared URLs, more than any other website out there.

An unusually high amount, especially considering that 4shared only has about 2 million pages indexed.

TorrentFreak had a chance to speak with 4shared, which isn’t proud of this record. However, the company believes that the numbers are massively inflated due to various dubious takedown practices.

One of the issues that was brought up first, is the question why rightsholders would target Google at all if they can remove infringing files directly from the site itself.

According to 4shared, the top reporting agencies know very well that 4shared has a strict removal policy. In fact, some even have direct delete access, allowing them to remove files from the site straight away.

“Complaining to Google is not effective if your goal is to remove a file asap,” 4shared’s Mike tells us. “It only removes the link from search results in Google, while sending a complaint directly means a quick block of the link itself.”

According to 4shared, the high number of takedown requests is in part driven by bogus reports. The company used the Lumen Database to review several takedown notices and quickly realized that many reported links are pointing to the same files, or none at all.

“What we can see is that numerous complaints provide a redundant volume of links that look like some machine-built template as well as a large amount of non-informative links to various parts of the 4shared website,” Mike says.

“The organization APDIF do Brasil, which is the top reporter, submits absolutely meaningless complaints where obviously a bot cycles some keyword through all possible variations of search requests without leading to any specific file which may be copyright-protected.”

One of the examples 4shared mentions (among many) is this link, which simply points to a 4shared search for the keyword “video.”

APDIF do Brasil alone is responsible for 35 million of the reported 4shared links Google received, so their submissions weigh heavily on the total number.

“In other words, 70% of delisting requests were sent by this organization and apparently numerous requests, if not all, contain meaningless links artificially increasing the volume of complaints in terms of links included,” Mike notes.

These automated claims are not new of course. At TorrentFreak we also repeatedly report on similar examples, where non-existent files or dead sites are targeted by copyright claims.

4shared says that broad or inflated request are rather common, highlighting several other reporting agencies such as Digimarc and Muso. The latter repeatedly targets links that ultimately point to the same file, such as in this notice.


“It includes numerous links to exactly the same 4shared’s page in one claim (#8). These are the same page because each page (file) has its unique ID. And in this example it is H8HJ_FJXce. Yes, links look different but this is the same page with parameter variations,” Mike says.

4shared believes that this is the result of automated takedown templates. Not least because files can only be in one category, not in multiple ones, as is the case here.

Perhaps just as strange, Muso has access to a direct removal account on 4shared, so in theory there shouldn’t be any reason to target Google. After all, they can easily remove the source file directly.

However, Muso informs TorrentFreak that they prefer to do both. The 4shared files that are reported to Google are also removed directly. According to the company, they do this to prevent people from finding other infringing content on the site.

Whether that’s what the DMCA reporting system is intended for is doubtful.

All in all, 4shared believes that some copyright holders abuse Google’s system. The 50 million record should, therefore, be taken with a grain of salt, or a spoonful.

“Taking into account that duplicates for our examples were found relatively easy makes us think that copyright owners substantially abuse Google’s DMCA reporting system,” Mike says.

Instead of bombarding Google with dubious requests, 4shared encourages rightsholders to reach out to them directly.

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