Tag Archives: Copyright

Pirate Bay Prosecution In Trouble, Time Runs Out For Investigators

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-prosecution-trouble-time-runs-investigators-170227/

pirate bayDecember 2014, The Pirate Bay went dark after police raided the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof datacenter built into a mountain complex near Stockholm.

The hosting facility reportedly offered services to The Pirate Bay, EZTV and several other torrent related sites, which were pulled offline as a result.

The authorities later announced that 50 servers were seized during the raid. And not without success, it seemed. The raid resulted in the longest ever period of downtime for The Pirate Bay, nearly two months, and led to chaos and a revolt among the site’s staffers.

However, despite a new criminal investigation into The Pirate Bay, the site has been operating as usual for a while now. As it now transpires, the raid may not result in any future prosecutions.

According to prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson, who took over the case from Fredrik Ingblad last year, time is running out. Some of the alleged crimes date back more than five years, which is outside the statute of limitations.

“Some of the suspected crimes are from 2011, although the seizures are from 2014. And the statute of limitations on them are five years,” prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson told IDG.

While several years have passed, there’s not much progress to report. The police provided the prosecutor with some updates along the way, but it’s not clear when the investigation will be completed.

“I have over time received new information from the police, but I have not received any clear indication of when the investigation will be completed,” the prosecutor said.

Even if the investigation is finalized, there are still a lot of steps to take before any indictments are ready. Meanwhile, the quality of the evidence isn’t getting any better. Based on his comments, the prosecutor isn’t very optimistic in this regard.

“The oral evidence could get worse because people forget. There may be difficulties with other monitoring data that may have changed or disappeared, such as registers and data restorations,” he said.

This isn’t the first setback for the authorities. Previously, they had to drop one of the main suspects from the case as they lacked sufficient resources to analyze the data that were seized during the raid.

On top of that, people from the Pirate Bay team itself said that if they were indeed the target, the police didn’t have much on them.

According to the TPB team, only one of their servers was confiscated in 2014, and this one was hosted at a different location. The server in question was operated by the moderators and used as a communication channel for TPB matters.

The team said that it chose to pull their actual site offline as a precaution but that relocating to a new home proved to be harder than expected, hence the prolonged downtime.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 02/27/17

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-pirated-movies-week-bittorrent-022717/

This week we have two newcomers in our chart.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the most downloaded movie.

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

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (…) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 7.6 / trailer
2 (6) Passengers 7.1 / trailer
3 (1) Doctor Strange 8.0 / trailer
4 (5) Assassin’s Creed (Subbed HDRip) 6.3 / trailer
5 (3) Arrival 8.3 / trailer
6 (2) Moana 7.8 / trailer
7 (…) Collateral Beauty 6.6 / trailer
8 (4) Hacksaw Ridge 8.5 / trailer
9 (10) Jack Reacher: Never Go Back 6.3 / trailer
10 (8) La La Land (DVDscr) 8.8 / trailer

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

Torrent Legend Mininova Will Shut Down For Good

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/torrent-legend-mininova-will-shut-down-for-good-170226/

In December 2004, the demise of the mighty Suprnova left a meteor crater in the fledgling BitTorrent landscape.

This gaping hole was soon filled by the dozens of new sites that emerged to fulfill the public’s increasing demands for torrents. Mininova soon became the most successful of them all.

Mininova was founded by five Dutch students just a month after Suprnova closed its doors. The site initially began as a hobby project, but in the years that followed the site’s founders managed to turn it into a successful business that generated millions of dollars in revenue.

With this success also came legal pressure. Even though the site complied with takedown requests, copyright holders were not amused. In 2009 this eventually resulted in a lawsuit filed by local anti-piracy outfit BREIN, which Mininova lost.

As a result, the site had to remove all infringing torrents, a move which ended its reign. The site remained online but instead of allowing everyone to upload content, Mininova permitted only pre-approved publishers to submit files.

Now, more than seven years after “going legal” the site will shut down for good. A notice published on the website urges uploaders to back up their files before April 4th, when the plug will be pulled.

Mininova’s shutting down

The decision doesn’t mean that the legal contribution platform was a total failure. In fact, over 950 million ‘legal’ torrents were downloaded from Mininova in recent years. However, the site’s income couldn’t make up for the costs.

“All goods things come to an end, and after more than 12 years we think it’s a good time to shut down the site which has been running at a loss for some years,” Mininova co-founder Niek tells TorrentFreak.

Looking back, Mininova has many great memories. The site’s users have always been very grateful, for example, and there were also several artists who thanked the site’s operators for offering them a great promotional tool.

“The support from our users was especially amazing to experience, millions of people used the site on a daily basis and we got many emails each day – ranging from a simple ‘thank you’ to some extensive story how a specific upload made their day,” Niek says.

“The feedback from artists was great to see as well, many thanked us for promoting their content, as some of them broke through and signed with labels as a result,” he adds.

The file-sharing and piracy ecosystem has changed quite a bit since Mininova’s dominance. File-hosting services became more popular first, and nowadays streaming sites and tools with slick user interfaces are the new standard.

Torrent sites, on the other hand, show little progress according to Mininova’s founder, who believes that the growth of legal services could make them less relevant in the future.

“We haven’t seen many changes in the last decade – the current torrent sites look very similar to what Mininova did twelve years ago,” Niek says.

“With content-specific distribution platforms such as Spotify and Netflix becoming more and more widespread and bandwidth becoming cheaper, there might be less of a need for torrent sites in the future.”

The original founders of Mininova have moved on as well. They’re no longer students and have parted ways, moving on to different projects and ventures. Now and then, however, they look back at how their lives looked ten years ago, with a smile.

“Overall we’re happy that we have been a part of the history of the Internet,” Niek concludes.

“We want to thank everybody who has been around and supported us through the times! Without our users, there would have been no Mininova. So THANK YOU!”

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

Russia Drafts Legislation to Remove Pirate Sites From Search Engines

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/russia-drafts-legislation-remove-pirate-sites-search-engines-170226/

Copyright holders all over the world believe that search engines play a crucial role in the piracy ecosystem. They argue that when seeking out content, people often use sites like Google, which can lead them to infringing material on pirate sites.

Entertainment companies can address the problem by sending takedown notices, but they insist that’s a very inefficient process. Pirate content is way too visible in search results, they argue, particularly when it appears in the first few pages of results.

With most countries continuing to grapple with the issue, it now appears that Russia intends to legislate against it. This week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev submitted a draft bill to parliament that will force search engines to remove specified pirate sites from their results.

Developed by the Ministry of Communications, the bill will compel search companies such as Google and local giant Yandex to deindex sites that have failed to respond to takedown requests on several occasions, perhaps as little as twice.

One such example is huge torrent site RuTracker, which was blocked by local ISPs following an order from the Moscow City Court. RuTracker was effectively told to remove around 320,000 torrents to avoid a ban but chose not to do so after running a poll among its users. Under current legislation, RuTracker is now blocked for life, and if the new law is passed, all of its pages will disappear from search engines.

The draft bill also targets counter-measures employed by sites attempting to circumvent ISP blockades.

Often, when one domain is blocked, sites will buy new domains in an effort to keep going. Others will use proxy sites and even full-scale mirrors to stay one step ahead of the court. The bill refers to all of these options as “derivative sites” and will allow for them to be blocked without further court process.

The bill was approved during a government meeting on February 17 and will now pass through its various parliamentary stages before becoming law.

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

All Oscar Nominees Are Available on Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/all-oscar-nominees-are-available-on-pirate-sites-170225/

The Oscars is the most watched awards show of the year, closely followed by hundreds of millions of movie fans around the world.

This week Hollywood’s finest are gathering at the red carpet once again. While they associate the celebration with eternal fame and recognition, for online pirates it’s a highly anticipated event as well.

Traditionally, Oscar winners tend to do very well in pirate circles, so we decided to take a look at the availability of this year’s contenders through unauthorized channels.

Relying on data from Oscar piracy watcher Andy Baio, we see that all nominated* films are now available on pirate sites, most in decent quality too. There’s only one film that hasn’t been released as a screener, Blu-Ray or other high-quality rip, and that’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Ironically, the Star Wars movie was one of the most anticipated releases during the screener season and despite various teases and rumored leaks, it hasn’t come out yet. Instead, Star Wars pirates have had to settle for a HDTS copy.

Another issue that deserves a closer look is the availability of leaked screener copies.

For well over a decade, pirated screeners of the latest movies have started to leak online around December. Ironically, many of these titles leaked from DVD screener copies which were sent out to reviewers, including Academy members who vote for the Oscars.

This year, however, “screener season” started out a bit different than before. Previously, the first leaked screeners always came out before December 16th but this time it remained quiet.

When Christmas came there were still no leaked screeners, and it took until early January before the ball started rolling.

The silence was broken with a release of the Denzel Washington movie Fences and soon after more and more screeners appeared online. While some feared that screener season would never be the same again, at the end of the road it turned out to be a relatively regular year.

With just a few hours to go before the awards ceremony, a total of 14 screeners of nominated films have leaked online, which is comparable to previous years.

Screener leaks of Oscar nominees

The chart above shows an overview of the screener leaks per year. These are only for movies that eventually received an Academy Awards nomination*, so the total number will be even higher.

Finally, it’s worth noting that despite the widespread availability of pirate copies, screener leaks appear to be under a bit of pressure. Like previous years, most of the leaked screeners have been released by Hive-CM8.

This means that one group has to carry a pretty heavy burden. If they stop doing what they do, the screener supply could be severely limited.

That said, the focus on screeners might be a bit overstated. Except for a few prominent leaks, the interest in screener copies is not significantly higher than the average HDrip or Blu-Ray release, which are still widely available.

Foreign film and documentary categories are not included

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

HBO Goes After ‘Online’ Pirates in the Caribbean

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hbo-goes-after-online-pirates-in-the-caribbean-170225/

HBO’s daughter company in Latin America, HBO LA, is not happy with the rampant piracy that’s taking place in the Caribbean.

Earlier this month the company submitted its latest 301 ‘watch list’ submission to the U.S. Government, urging the authorities to take appropriate action.

HBO is steadily expanding its services to the Caribbean and Central American regions. However, their efforts to roll out legitimate services are frustrated by local pirates. These aren’t just individual pirates, large cable operators are in on it too.

“…a lack of enforcement by Caribbean and Central American governments is allowing local cable operators to build substantial enterprise value by increasing their subscriber base through offering pirated content,” HBO LA writes (pdf).

The same goes for hotels, which treat their visitors to prime HBO programming without paying a proper license.

“In addition to piracy by large cable providers, non-U.S. owned hotel chains on a variety of islands are known to pirate content exclusively licensed to HBO LA by using their own onsite facilities or obtaining service from cable operators who pirate,” HBO LA informs the government.

Piracy by cable operators and hotels is not new. HBO has reported these issues to the authorities before, but thus far little has changed. In the meantime, however, the company has started to notice another worrying trend.

Online piracy has started to become more prevalent, with many stores now selling IPTV boxes and other devices that allow users to access HBO content without permission.

“In the past year, HBO LA continued to see a significant increase in the problem of online piracy of its service throughout all of HBO LA’s territory,” HBO LA writes.

“In the Caribbean, several brick-and-mortar stores customarily sell Roku or generic Android set-top devices (like the Mag250, Avov, and the MXIII) preinstalled with an unlicensed streaming service and offering a few hundred channels of content, including content for which HBO LA holds exclusive license in the territory.”

A Facebook ad highlighted by HBO LA

The company lists various examples of stores that offer these kinds of products including the Gizmos and Gadgets Electronics store in Guyana. This store sells Roku devices with an unlicensed streaming service called “ROKU TV” pre-installed.

By selling “pirate” subscriptions to thousands of customers the company is making over a million dollars per year, HBO estimates. And more recently the same store started to sell a subscription-less service as well.

“Additionally, Gizmos and Gadgets Electronics has recently started offering a second integrated hardware and service device known as the Gizmo TV BOX, which offers over 200 channels with no monthly fee,” HBO LA writes.

This is just one example of the many that are listed by the Latin American daughter of HBO.

The cable provider says it’s already taken various steps to stop the different types of infringements but hopes that U.S. authorities will help out where local governments fail. Towards the end of their submission, HBO LA encourages the United States Trade Representative to apply appropriate pressure and threats, to turn the tide.

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

Steal This Show S02E11: How The Swarm Will Beat The Cloud

Post Syndicated from J.J. King original https://torrentfreak.com/steal-show-s02e11-swarm-will-beat-cloud/

stslogo180If you enjoy this episode, consider becoming a patron and getting involved with the show. Check out Steal This Show’s Patreon campaign: support us and get all kinds of fantastic benefits!

This episode features the CEO of Storj.io, Shawn Wilkinson to discuss how BitTorrent-like swarms could be the future of online file storage.

In addition to beating services like Dropbox and Google Drive on price, Storj has built-in encryption that makes it impossible to snoop on files – plus its decentralized infrastructure makes it next to impossible to censor them or take them down.

Sound familiar?

Previous episodes on Zeronet, Yours Network, and the Distributed Library of Alexandria have proved that there’s a new groundswell of interest in peer-to-peer content services that put control of content back in the hands of users. Storj is already available in beta form and ready to test out today. Could this be technology that kills Big Content’s surveillance-ridden cloud? Tune in and find out!

Steal This Show aims to release bi-weekly episodes featuring insiders discussing copyright and file-sharing news. It complements our regular reporting by adding more room for opinion, commentary, and analysis.

The guests for our news discussions will vary, and we’ll aim to introduce voices from different backgrounds and persuasions. In addition to news, STS will also produce features interviewing some of the great innovators and minds.

Host: Jamie King

Guest: Shawn Wilkinson

Produced by Jamie King
Edited & Mixed by Riley Byrne
Original Music by David Triana
Web Production by Siraje Amarniss

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

Swedish Internet Users Face New Wave of Piracy Cash Demands

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/swedish-internet-users-face-new-wave-of-piracy-cash-demands-170225/

Last year, mass ‘copyright-trolling’ hit Sweden for the first time. An organization calling itself Spridningskollen (Distribution Check) claimed its new initiative would save the entertainment industries and educate the masses.

Predictably there was a huge backlash, both among the public and in the media, something which eventually led the group to discontinue its operations in the country. Now, however, a new wave of trolling is about to hit the country.

Swedish publication Breakit.se reports that a major new offensive is about to begin, with a Danish law firm Njord and movie company Zentropa at the helm.

The companies are targeting the subscribers of several ISPs, including Telia, Tele2 and Bredbandsbolaget, the provider that will shortly begin blocking The Pirate Bay. It’s not clear how many people will be targeted but Breakit says that many thousands of IP addresses cover 42 pages of court documents.

Bredbandsbolaget confirmed that a court order exists and it will be forced to hand over the personal details of its subscribers.

“The first time we received such a request, we appealed because we do not think that the privacy-related sacrifice is proportionate to the crimes that were allegedly committed. Unfortunately we lost and must now follow the court order,” a spokesperson said.

It appears the trolls are taking extreme measures to ensure that ISPs comply. Some Swedish ISPs have a policy of deleting IP address logs but earlier this week a court ordered Telia to preserve data or face a $22,000 fine.

Jeppe Brogaard Clausen of the Njord lawfirm says that after identifying the subscribers he wants to “enter into non-aggressive dialogue” with them. But while this might sound like a friendly approach, the ultimate aim will be to extract money. It’s also worth considering who is behind this operation.

The BitTorrent tracking in the case was carried out by MaverickEye, a German-based company that continually turns up in similar cases all over Europe and the United States. The company and its operator Patrick Achache are part of the notorious Guardaley trolling operation.

Also of interest is the involvement of UK-based Copyright Management Services Ltd, whose sole director is none other than Patrick Achache himself. The company is based at the same London address as fellow copyright trolling partner Hatton and Berkeley, which previously sent cash settlement demands to Internet users in the UK.

In addition to two Zentropa titles, the movies involved in the Swedish action are CELL, IT, London Has Fallen, Mechanic: Resurrection, Criminal and September of Shiraz. All have featured in previous Guardaley cases in the United States.

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.

Movie Company Issues Warning Over Fake “Piracy” Fines

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-company-issues-warning-over-fake-piracy-fines-170224/

For more than a decade copyright holders have been monitoring unauthorized downloads.

Traditionally this have resulted in harmless takedown notices but increasingly, these warnings are being turned into settlement demands or automated fines.

Rightsholders in the Netherlands are planning similar action, and this week it appeared that the first mass-campaign had gone live. Yesterday, several people received a letter in the mail which accused them of illegal downloading.

The letters in question were sent in the name of local distributer Dutch Filmworks and each quotes a standard fine of 150 euros per download. Adding in a classic conversion trick, those who pay within eights days only have to cough up €52.74.

The letters look pretty legitimate, especially to people who are unfamiliar with these type of demands. However, the fact that several crucial details are missing, including an IP-address and the name of the pirated movie, should set off alarm bells.

And indeed, after several people reported the apparent scam, Dutch Filmworks confirmed that they have nothing to do with these fines. To avoid any confusion, the movie distributer quickly placed a prominent warning on its website, advising recipients to trash the letters.

“There is a fake letter in circulation. This letter is NOT sent by Dutch Filmworks. Do not pay and throw the letter away,” the movie distributer warns.

While the letters look real enough to fool some people, the first mass warnings (with or without fines) have yet to be sent in the Netherlands.

When the process happens for real, things might not go as smoothly as copyright holders would like as several Internet providers are refusing to cooperate. Last month, leading Dutch Internet provider Ziggo said it had refused to voluntarily participate in the plan of local anti-piracy group BREIN, who want to send out mass warnings to pirates.

“As an ISP we are a neutral access provider. This does not include the role of active enforcement of rights or interests of third parties, including BREIN,” a company spokesperson said.

Also, if rightsholders want to obtain the personal details of alleged downloaders they will have to go to court first, which hasn’t happened thus far. Until then, it is safe to throw all unsubstantiated piracy letters in the trash.

Fake piracy fines are by no means a new phenomenon. Last year many U.S. Internet subscribers were targeted in a similar scam. In this case, the scammers used the name of a known piracy tracking outfit and rightsholders such as Lionsgate, to send fake DMCA notices and settlement demands to ISPs.

—-

A copy of the fake letter, pictured below, was posted by Tweakers.

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

Dozens of Pirate Sites Targeted in New Aussie Crackdown

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dozens-of-pirate-sites-targeted-in-new-aussie-crackdown-170224/

Following a case brought by Roadshow Films, Foxtel, Disney, Paramount, Columbia, and 20th Century Fox, last December more than fifty Internet service providers Down Under were ordered to start barring subscriber access to ‘pirate’ sites.

At the Federal Court, Justice John Nicholas ruled that The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt and streaming service SolarMovie would all have to be rendered inaccessible to consumers in Australia. Included in the order were dozens of proxy and mirror sites.

After working so hard to have site-blocking legislation passed, it was only a matter of time before rightsholders returned to have more sites blocked. It was therefore no surprise to hear that a new process was launched earlier today.

Backed by six movie studios, Village Roadshow is again in the driving seat, this time seeking to block dozens of ‘pirate’ sites. ComputerWorld reports that there are 41 sites targeted although a couple of domains in the list relate to the same core site.

Many popular torrent sites are in the spotlight including ExtraTorrent, RarBG, Demonoid, LimeTorrents, Torrent Downloads, TorrentProject, YTS and EZTV.

Streaming portals 123Movies, CouchTuner, Icefilms, Movie4K, PrimeWire, Viooz, Putlocker, WatchFree and WatchSeries are also listed alongside direct download sites RlsBB and TehParadox. The complaint also targets several proxy and mirror sites.

In its application, Roadshow requests that ISPs Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG, (and their subsidiaries) block the sites using the template established in the earlier Pirate Bay case. If the movie company wants additional proxy and mirror sites blocked in future, it will need to file an affidavit with the court.

The full list of sites, courtesy of Computerworld, reads as follows:

• 123Movies
• Alluc
• Bitsnoop
• Couchtuner
• Demonoid
• Extra.to
• ExtraTorrent.cc
• EYNY
• EZTV
• FMovies
• GenVideos
• Hdmovieswatch
• Icefilms
• Kinogo
• KissCartoon
• Limetorrents
• MegaShare
• Movie4k
• Phimmoi
• Piratebay.to
• PrimeWire
• Putlocker.ch
• Putlocker.plus
• Putlocker.run
• Putlockers.vip
• Rarbg
• RIsbb
• Shush
• Softarchive
• Spacemov
• Tehparadox
• Torrent Downloads
• TorrentProject
• Viooz
• WatchFree
• WatchSeries
• Xemphimso
• Xmovies8.org
• XMovies8.tv
• Yify Torrent
• YTS

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

Lawmakers Won’t Force Google to Police Piracy but Doubt Voluntary Code

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/lawmakers-wont-force-google-police-piracy-doubt-voluntary-code-170224/

Following a Digital Economy Bill committee earlier this month, it was revealed that copyright holders and search engines were close to finalizing a voluntary anti-piracy code. This Monday, it became reality.

Under this agreement, search engines will optimize their algorithms to demote pirated content in search results, with the aim of making infringing content less visible and legal content more so. The system is due to begin in earnest during early summer but what if it doesn’t do its job?

That eventuality has been discussed as part of the negotiations surrounding the Digital Economy Bill, with some lawmakers supporting an amendment which would give the Secretary of State the power to force Google and other search engines to tackle piracy, if the voluntary route fails.

To the relief of Google and the disappointment of rightsholders, this week the amendment was withdrawn but those in favor of the legislation didn’t go quietly. Lord Stevenson of Balmacara was particularly vocal after reading out a portion of the code (shown below) relating to the demoting of sites that receive large numbers of DMCA-style notices.

[T]o more effectively use such notices to demote domains demonstrated to be dedicated to infringement, and to work collaboratively with rights holders to consider other technically reasonable, scalable avenues empirically demonstrated to help materially reduce the appearance of illegitimate sites in the top search rankings

“I could read that again, because you would probably need to hear it again to have the faintest idea what we are talking about,” he said.

“I fear that it smacks of either a lowest common denominator approach or some hard arm-wrestling in the corridors where the discussion took place to get something that looks reasonable on paper.

“It does not smack of a real commitment to scourge out the terrible way in which search engines have referred people who should have known better to material that was not cleared for copyright and should not have been made available to them through that route.”

While Lord Stevenson clearly wasn’t happy, he did reveal some more information on how the code will be managed.

The Minister of State for Intellectual Property will oversee its implementation, supported by quarterly meetings of all parties involved. The Minister will also “set requirements for reporting by search engines and rights holders on any matter herein, including in particular those matters where the Code of Practice calls for ongoing discussion.”

Then, after a year of operation, the effectiveness of the code will be reviewed to ensure “continuing progress towards achieving the Shared Objectives.”

What those objectives are will remain a mystery, however. In response to Lord Stevenson’s request to see a copy of the code, Baroness Buscombe said that wouldn’t be possible.

“We do not plan to publish the code in full because details about the number of copyright infringement reports a site can receive before it is demoted might allow pirates to game the system. We are, however, very happy to share the commitments in the code in more general terms,” she said.

Baroness Buscombe went on to ask for the amendment to be dropped and that was followed by a spirited response from Lord Stevenson.

“I cannot see this agreement lasting and believe that there will have to be a backstop power at some stage,” he said.

“At the moment, it is a ‘large copyright holders against large search engines’ agreement, and on that level it might operate. I do not think it will be effective. I do not think it is sustainable because there will be new people coming in and business models and practices will change — we cannot foresee that.”

And with that the amendment was withdrawn and with it any chance of forcing search engines into compliance by law for the foreseeable future. Only time will tell how things will play out but as the wording of the paragraph cited by Lord Stevenson shows, there is plenty of room for manoever.

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

Warner Bros. Settles With Company That Leaked Oscar Screeners

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/warner-bros-settles-with-company-that-leaked-oscar-screeners-170223/

Perfect copies of movies still in theaters are relatively hard to come by, unless you know someone with access to DVD screeners, that is.

These discs are often given out to awards voters “for their consideration” and are supposed to be handled extremely securely so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

Nevertheless, every year screeners end up on torrent sites, much to the disappointment of movie companies.

Two titles that leaked back in 2015 were Creed and In the Heart of the Sea but their route to the Internet was a particularly unusual one. After obtaining the discs legally on behalf of its clients, talent agency Innovative Artists used ripping software to copy the movies to its own digital distribution platform.

Quite clearly its security was lacking, as notorious pirate group Hive-CM8 obtained copies of the movies and dumped them online. Both were watermarked, however, which allowed content security company Deluxe Entertainment Services to trace the copies back to Innovative Artists.

In response, Warner Bros. filed a lawsuit against the company last October. Warner pulled no punches, accusing Innovative Artists of using illegal software to circumvent the protection on the discs before placing them on an illegal distribution platform.

The agency publicly apologized for its actions but added that it was surprised by the lawsuit. It had cooperated with Warner right from the beginning in an effort to put things right, so the legal action came out of the blue.

Now, however, the dispute appears to be have been sorted out. According to information received by THR, Warner Bros. and Innovative Artists have come to some kind of settlement agreement.

No court documents have yet been filed to indicate that a settlement has been reached. That being said, it’s rare for such agreements to be made fully public so any terms could remain confidential, even when the notice of dismissal appears. THR says it contacted both parties for comment but neither side provided any information.

Meanwhile, Hive-CM8 have continued releasing copies of leaked DVD screeners over the past several weeks, showing that when one route of supply closes, another one opens.

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

Google: With No Fair Use, It’s More Difficult to Innovate

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/google-with-no-fair-use-its-more-difficult-to-innovate-170223/

With Fair Use Week now in full swing, people around the world are celebrating the freedom to use copyrighted content in certain contexts without fear of prosecution, thereby enabling creativity and inspiring innovation.

The legal freedom offered by fair use is a cornerstone of criticism, research, teaching and news reporting, one that enables the activities of thousands of good causes and enriches the minds of millions. However, not all countries fully embrace the concept.

Perhaps surprisingly, Australia is currently behind the times on this front, a point not lost on Google’s Senior Copyright Counsel, William Patry.

Speaking with The Australian (paywall), Patry describes local copyright law as both arcane and not fit for purpose, while acting as a hindrance to innovation and productivity.

“We think Australians are just as innovative as Americans, but the laws are different. And those laws dictate that commercially we act in a different way,” Patry told the publication.

“Our search function, which is the basis of the entire company, is authorized in the US by fair use. You don’t have anything like that here.”

Australia currently employs a more restrictive “fair dealing” approach, but it’s certainly possible that fair use could be introduced in the near future.

Last year, Australia’s Productivity Commission released a draft report covering various aspects of the country’s intellectual property system. One of its key recommendations was to adopt fair use legislation.

“The Australian Government should amend the Copyright Act 1968 to replace the current fair dealing exceptions with a broad exception for fair use,” the Commission wrote in its report.

“The new exception should contain a clause outlining that the objective of the exception is to ensure Australia’s copyright system targets only those circumstances where infringement would undermine the ordinary exploitation of a work at the time of the infringement.”

Unfortunately, the concept of fair use is not universally welcomed. Local anti-piracy and royalty organizations are opposing its introduction, claiming that it will undermine their ability to make money.

Interestingly, broadcaster Foxtel says that the deployment of fair use would introduce “significant and unnecessary uncertainty into Australian law.” This is the exact opposite of Google’s position.

The search giant says that Australia’s current exceptions fail to offer legal certainty and that a US-style fair use system would be much more predictable.

“If you are a company like Google who wants to store information in the cloud, or internet searches or text and data mining, we can do that safely in the US. We can’t do it here,” Patry concludes.

In its final inquiry paper, Australia’s Productivity Commission renewed its calls for the introduction of fair use, noting that in the US, where fair use is long established, “creative industries thrive.”

Whether fair use will ever hit Aussie shores remains to be seen, but yet again there is a division between how technology companies and entertainment groups would like copyright law to develop. It’s a battle that’s set to continue well into the future.

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

Google: 99.95% of Recent ‘Trusted’ DMCA Notices Were Bogus

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/google-99-95-of-recent-trusted-dmca-notices-were-bogus-170222/

Under current legislation, US-based Internet service providers are not expected to proactively police infringing user content. They are, however, expected to remove it, if a copyright holder complains.

The so-called ‘safe harbor’ that providers enjoy as a result of such cooperation is currently under the microscope, following rightsholder complaints that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act is failing them.

To address these concerns, the U.S. Copyright Office has been running an extended public consultation. As noted earlier, the RIAA and other music groups just submitted their comments and Google have now added theirs.

In contrast to the music groups who believe that the DMCA is “failing”, Google believes otherwise. Noting that rogue sites have been driven out of the United States by an effective DMCA, the search giant suggests leaving the law intact while encouraging voluntary mechanisms between content owners and providers.

“In short, the DMCA has proven successful at fostering ongoing collaboration between rightsholders and online service providers, a collaboration that continues to pay dividends both in the U.S. and in international contexts,” Google writes.

The company highlights its YouTube-based Content ID as one such collaboration, with the system helping creators take down or monetize infringing content, as they see fit. Google also cites the benefits afforded by the takedown tools it provides to rightsholders in respect of Google search.

“First, in recent years, Google has streamlined its submission process, enabling rightsholders to send more notices more easily (while still continuing to reduce the average time to resolution to under six hours),” the company notes.

“Second, Google has provided new incentives to make heavy use of the DMCA takedown system. We now use the number of valid DMCA requests a domain has received as one of the inputs in making ranking determinations in search results, so rightsholders seeking to take advantage of this signal have further incentive to file notices.”

But while Google supports the current takedown provisions, there are problems. The company says that a significant portion of the recent increases in DMCA submission volumes stem from notices that are either duplicate, unnecessary, or bogus.

“A substantial number of takedown requests submitted to Google are for URLs
that have never been in our search index, and therefore could never have appeared in our search results,” Google states.

“For example, in January 2017, the most prolific submitter submitted notices that Google honored for 16,457,433 URLs. But on further inspection, 16,450,129 (99.97%) of those URLs were not in our search index in the first place.”

This kind of rampant abuse was highlighted in our recent report which revealed that one small site had millions of bogus notices filed against it. But, according to Google, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“In total, 99.95% of all URLs processed from our Trusted Copyright Removal Program in January 2017 were not in our index,” the company reveals.

But despite the abuse, Google is apparently giving these ‘trusted’ submitters some wiggle room to be creative. In a rather unexpected move, the search giant says that it now accepts takedown notices for URLs that don’t exist, to ensure that they never appear in future search results.

While copyright holders will presumably enjoy that feature, it is a fairly curious move. A proactive takedown of a non-existent URL necessarily happens in advance of any determination of whether that URL is infringing, which goes way beyond any legislation currently being demanded.

That being said, some of these non-existent (and essentially fabricated) URLs do eventually turn up in Google search, albeit at a tiny rate.

“Of the 35,000,000 URLs we processed in the latter half of September 2016 that were not in our index, fewer than 2% of those would have made it into our index in the intervening four months; notices for the other 98% therefore were at best unnecessary,” Google says.

“Many of these submissions appear to be generated by merely scrambling the words in a search query and appending that to a URL, so that each query makes a different URL that nonetheless leads to the same page of results,” it adds, referencing an earlier TF report.

Overall, however, Google seems comfortable with the current notice-and-takedown framework, noting that a “robust ecosystem” of companies with expertise in sending takedown requests is being bolstered by voluntary service provider measures that already go beyond the requirements of Section 512 of the DMCA.

“While stakeholders can be expected to disagree about the details of these voluntary efforts, it cannot be said that the DMCA safe harbors are failing in the face of this overwhelming evidence that these voluntary measures continue to grow both in number and diversity,” Google concludes.

It’s crystal clear from Google’s submission that it sees the DMCA as a law it can work with, since it enables service providers to innovate without fear while simultaneously addressing the concerns of copyright holders. The latter see things quite differently though, so expect the battles to continue.

Google’s submission can be found here, via Michael Geist.

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

Music Industry Wants Piracy Filters, No Takedown Whack-a-Mole

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/music-industry-wants-piracy-filters-no-takedown-whack-a-mole-170222/

Signed into law nearly twenty years ago, the DMCA is one of the best known pieces of Internet related legislation.

The law provides a safe harbor for Internet services, shielding them from copyright infringement liability as long as they process takedown notices and deal with repeat infringers.

In recent years, however, various parties have complained about shortcomings and abuse of the system. On the one hand, rightsholders believe that the law doesn’t do enough to protect creators, while the opposing side warns of increased censorship and abuse.

To address these concerns, the U.S. Copyright Office is currently running an extended public consultation.

This week a new round of comments was submitted, including a detailed response from a coalition of music industry groups such as the RIAA, National Music Publishers’ Association, and SoundExchange. When it comes to their views of the DMCA the music groups are very clear: It’s failing.

The music groups note that they are currently required to police the entire Internet in search of infringing links and files, which they then have to take down one at a time. This doesn’t work, they argue.

They say that the present situation forces rightsholders to participate in a never-ending whack-a-mole game which doesn’t fix the underlying problem. Instead, it results in a “frustrating, burdensome and ultimately ineffective takedown process.”

“…as numerous copyright owners point out in their comments, the notice and takedown system as currently configured results in an endless game of whack-a-mole, with infringing content that is removed from a site one moment reposted to the same site and other sites moments later, to be repeated ad infinitem.”

Instead of leaving all the work up to copyright holders, the music groups want Internet services to filter out and block infringing content proactively. With the use of automated hash filtering tools, for example.

“One possible solution to this problem would be to require that, once a service provider receives a takedown notice with respect to a given work, the service provider use automated content identification technology to prevent the same work from being uploaded in the future,” the groups write.

“Automated content identification technologies are one important type of standard technical measure that should be adopted across the industry, and at a minimum by service providers who give the public access to large amounts of works uploaded by users.”

These anti-piracy filters are already in use by some companies and are relatively cheap to implement, even for relatively smaller services, the music groups note.

The whack-a-mole problem doesn’t only apply to hosting providers but also to search engines, the music groups complain.

While companies such as Google remove links to infringing material upon request, these links often reappear under a different URL. At the same time, pirate sites often appear before legitimate services in search results. A fix for this problem would be to stop indexing known pirate sites completely.

“One possible solution would be to require search engines to de-index structurally infringing sites that are the subject of a large number of takedown notices,” the groups recommend.

Ideally, they want copyright holders and Internet services to reach a voluntary agreement on how to filter pirated content. This could be similar to YouTube’s Content-ID system, or the hash filtering mechanisms Dropbox and Google Drive employ, for example.

If service providers are not interested in helping out, however, the music industry says new legislation might be needed to give them a push.

“The Music Community stands ready to work with service providers and other copyright owners on the development and implementation of standard technical measures and voluntary measures. However, to the extent such measures are not forthcoming, legislative solutions will be necessary to restore the balance Congress intended,” the recommendation reads.

Interestingly, this collaborative stance doesn’t appear to apply to all parties. File-hosting service 4Shared previously informed TorrentFreak that several prominent music groups have shown little interest in their voluntary piracy fingerprint tool.

The notion of piracy filters isn’t new. A few months ago the European Commission released its proposal to modernize the EU’s copyright law, under which online services will also be required to install mandatory piracy filters.

Whether the U.S. Government will follow suit has yet to be seen. In any case, rightsholders are likely to keep lobbying for change until they see significant improvements.

The full submission of the music groups is available here (pdf).

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

Italy Blocks 290 ‘Pirate’ Movie & TV Show Domains in 4 Months

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/italy-blocks-290-pirate-movie-tv-show-domains-in-4-months-170222-170222/

For so many years, Italy developed a reputation for doing little to stop the spread of infringing content online. As a result, pirate sites flourished and millions of citizens decided that paying for content was a thing of the past.

In recent times, things have changed. Italy now has one of the toughest anti-piracy regimes in Europe and regularly launches new actions, often targeting multiple sites in coordinated operations.

This week marks the start of another, with the Special Command Units of the Guardia di Finanza (GdF), a militarized police force under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance, acting on the orders of the Public Prosecutor of Rome.

Following the signing of a special decree issued by the Court of Rome, the GdF targeted the domains of 41 websites alleged to be involved in the distribution of first-run movies such as The Magnificent 7, Suicide Squad, and Legend of Tarzan.

Within the batch were many sites streaming live sporting events, such as soccer matches broadcasted by The Premier League, La Ligue 1, Bundesliga, La Liga and Champions League. Those who transmitted motor racing events were also in the frame, after drawing fire from Formula 1 and Moto GP broadcasters.

All domain names will be blocked by local ISPs or potentially seized, if within reach of local authorities.

Authorities report that in common with an operation carried out earlier this month, two anti-piracy strategies were employed, the so-called “follow-the-money” approach (whereby site owners are identified via payments made by advertisers and similar business partners) and the reportedly newer “follow-the-hosting” angle.

Investigating site hosts has been a core anti-piracy strategy for many years so precisely what’s new about this recent effort isn’t clear. However, much is being made of the ability to discover the true location of sites that attempt to hide behind various anonymization techniques available via the cloud.

Whether a true breakthrough has been made is hard to decipher since local authorities have a tendency to be a little dramatic. Nevertheless, there can be no doubts over their commitment.

According to Fulvia Sarzana, a lawyer with the Sarzana and Partners law firm which specializes in Internet and copyright disputes, a total of 290 sites have been targeted by court injunctions in the past four months alone.

Back in November, a landmark action to block more than 150 sites involved in the unauthorized streaming of movies and sports took place following the signing of a mass injunction by a judge in Rome. It was the biggest single blocking action in Italy since measures began in 2008.

Then, in early February, authorities widened their net further still, with a somewhat unusual campaign targeting sites that offered unauthorized digital versions of dozens of national newspapers and magazines including Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair.

With the latest blockades, Italy is now a true front-runner among European site-blocking nations. With many hundreds of domains now the subject of an injunction, the country is now firmly among the top three blocking countries, alongside the UK and Portugal.

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

Court: Hosting A Pirate Site Doesn’t Equal Copyright Infringement

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/court-hosting-a-pirate-site-doesnt-equal-copyright-infringement-170221/

Last year, adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan took things up a notch by dragging several third-party intermediaries to court.

The company targeted CDN provider CloudFlare, advertising network JuicyAds, and several hosting providers, including Chicago-based Steadfast.

Steadfast was not happy with the allegations and has recently asked the court to dismiss the case. Among other things, the company argued that it’s protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions.

“Steadfast does not operate or manage the Imagebam website. Steadfast does not in any way communicate with or interact with Imagebam’s individual users. Steadfast only provides computer storage,” the company wrote in its motion to dismiss.

In a tentative ruling issued this week, the California District Court agrees that the allegations in the second amended complaint (SAC) are not sufficient to hold the hosting company liable.

Merely hosting a pirate website is not enough to argue that the host contributes to the alleged copyright infringement on the image sharing site, Judge George Wu argues (pdf).

“In short, the Court is unaware of any authority holding that merely alleging that a defendant provides some form of ‘hosting’ service to an infringing website is sufficient to establish contributory copyright infringement.

“The Court would therefore find that the SAC fails to allege facts establishing that Steadfast materially contributed to the infringement,” Wu adds.

Among other things, the Court notes that ALS Scan fails to allege that Steadfast provides its hosting services with the goal to promote copyright infringement, or that it directly encouraged Imagebam to show pirated content on its website.

In addition, the vicarious liability allegation is insufficient too. This requires the copyright holder to show that the host has control over the infringing actions and that it financially benefits from them, which is not the case here.

“Here, the SAC contains no allegations that Steadfast has a direct financial interest in the infringing activity or has the right and ability to stop the infringing conduct,” Judge Wu writes.

As a result of the lacking evidence and allegations to support a secondary liability claim, the Court tentatively granted Steadfast’s motion to dismiss.

The ruling does keep the door open for ALS Scan to file an improved complaint, but for now, the victory goes to the hosting provider.

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

“We Won’t Block Pirate Bay,” Swedish Telecoms Giant Says

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/wont-block-pirate-bay-swedish-telecoms-giant-says-170221/

Last week after almost three years of legal wrangling, Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry finally achieved their dream of blocking a ‘pirate’ site

After losing an October 2015 trial at the Stockholm District Court, the rightsholders went to appeal last September, a hearing that ran for several days at the brand new Patent and Market Court.

Last Monday the court ruled that Bredbandsbolaget, the ISP at the center of the action, must block The Pirate Bay.

For the rest of Europe, where blocking is becoming more and more commonplace, it was just another day at the office. Back in Sweden, however, the reaction was more animated. It appears that Internet service providers don’t like the idea of becoming copyright policemen and as a result, none voiced support for the decision.

In other EU countries where blocking injunctions have been achieved, ISPs have often resigned themselves to the same fate and smoothed the process moving forward. The rightsholders are still holding on to the idea that might be a possibility in Sweden, as spokesman Per Strömbäck told IDG this morning.

“We believe that the legal situation is now clear and that ISPs should act in loyalty with Bredbandsbolaget and apply the same rules,” Strömbäck said.

“We believe and hope that we will get to a solution as we have in Norway, Denmark and the UK, where telecom operators cooperate and all block the pirate sites.”

But the signs are not good.

Last week ISP Bahnhof absolutely slammed the decision to block The Pirate Bay, describing the effort as signaling the “death throes” of the copyright industry. It even hinted that it may offer some kind of technical solution to customers who are prevented from accessing the site.

For those familiar with Bahnhof’s stance over the years, this response didn’t come as a surprise. The ISP is traditionally pro-freedom and has gone out of its way to make life difficult for copyright enforcers of all kinds.

However, as one of the leading telecoms companies in Sweden and neighboring Norway, ISP Telia is more moderate. Nevertheless, it too says it has no intention of blocking The Pirate Bay, unless it is forced to do so by law.

“No, we will not block if we are not forced to do so by a court,” a company press officer said this morning.

Telia says that the decision last week from the Patent and Market Court affects only Bredbandsbolaget, indicating that a fresh legal process will be required to get it to respond. That eventuality appears to be understood by the rightsholders but they’re keeping their options open.

“It depends on how [the ISPs] choose to act,” Strömbäck told IDG. “One can have lot of hypothetical scenarios in which some follow, but others do not. Or where some protest loudly and generate debate.”

Thus far, no ISPs have publicly indicated they’re a “follower”. Telia will not be “following”, while one can safely put Bahnhof into the “protest loudly” category. There are plenty of others, however, so it will take more time to see how this plays out.

Interestingly, way back in 2008 after the IFPI forced Danish ISP ‘Tele2’ to block access to The Pirate Bay, Telia received a letter warning that legal measures would follow if it didn’t follow suit. The ISP refused, noting that blocking would be illegal in Sweden.

While subsequent decisions from the EU and indeed Sweden’s courts have now indicated otherwise, it’s been nine long years since that initial threat to the ISP. But in all that time Telia hasn’t changed its position.

Almost a decade ago it advised copyright holders to move away from the idea of blocking and concentrate on providing better legal alternatives instead. Entertainment companies have indeed made significant progress on that front, but today Telia is standing by its long-standing advice, that blocking will not provide the solution.

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

Online Piracy Can Boost Comic Book Sales, Research Finds

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/online-piracy-can-boost-comic-book-sales-research-finds/

yenResearch into online piracy comes in all shapes and sizes, with equally mixed results. Often the main question is whether piracy hurts legitimate revenue streams.

In recent years we have seen a plethora of studies and most are focused on the effects on movies, TV-shows and music revenues. But what about comic books?

Manga in particular has traditionally been very popular on file-sharing networks and sites. These are dozens of large sites dedicated to the comics, which are downloaded in their millions.

According to the anti-piracy group CODA, which represents Japanese comic publishers, piracy losses overseas are estimated to be double the size of overseas legal revenue.

With this in mind, Professor Tatsuo Tanaka of the Faculty of Economics at Keio University decided to look more closely at how piracy interacts with legal sales. In a natural experiment, he examined how the availability of pirated comic books affected revenue.

The research uses a massive takedown campaign conducted by CODA in 2015, which directly impacted the availability of many pirated comics on various download sites, to see how this affected sales of 3,360 comic book volumes.

Interestingly, the results show that decreased availability of pirated comics doesn’t always help sales. In fact, for comics that no longer release new volumes, the effect is reversed.

“Piracy decreases sales of ongoing comics, but it increases sales of completed comics,” Professor Tanaka writes.

“To put this another way, displacement effect is dominant for ongoing comics, and advertisement effect is dominant for completed comics,” he adds.

For these finished comic seasons, the promotional element weighs heavier. According to the Professor, this suggests that piracy can effectively be seen as a form of advertising.

“Since completed comics series have already ended, and publishers no longer do any promotion for them, consumers almost forget completed comics. We can interpret that piracy reminds consumers of past comics and stimulates sales.”

The question that remains is whether the overall effect on the industry is positive or negative. The current study provided no answer to this effect, as it’s unknown how big the sales share is for ongoing versus completed comics, but future research could look into this.

Professor Tanaka stresses that there is an important policy implication of his findings. Since piracy doesn’t affect all sales the same (it’s heterogeneous), anti-piracy strategies may have to be adapted.

“If the effect of piracy is heterogeneous, it is not the best solution to shut down the piracy sites but to delete harmful piracy files selectively if possible,” Professor Tanaka adds

“In this case, deleting piracy files of ongoing comics only is the first best strategy for publishers regardless of whether the total effect is positive or negative, because the availability of piracy files of completed comics is beneficial to both publishers and consumers,” he adds.

The research shows once again that piracy is a complex phenomenon that can have a positive or negative impact depending on the context. This isn’t limited to comics of course, as previous studies have shown similar effects in the movie and music industries.

The full paper titled The Effects of Internet Book Piracy: The Case of Japanese Comics is available here (pdf).

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