Tag Archives: Copyright

UK Piracy Blocklist Expands With 123movies and Other Streaming Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/uk-piracy-blocklist-expands-with-123movies-and-other-streaming-sites-161028/

blocked-censorThe list of websites that are blocked in the UK for facilitating copyright infringement is growing longer and longer.

In a new ruling, the High Court orders Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, Telefonica UK and Virgin to block access to over a dozen ‘pirate’ streaming sites.

The new blocking request was issued following a complaint from the Motion Picture Association Europe (MPA), which acts on behalf of several major Hollywood movie studios.

Among the new sites are the popular streaming portal 123movies.to, Genvideos.org, Hdmovieswatch.net and Spacemov.net.

The 123movies.to website is by far the largest target on the list. The site is currently the most used pirate site in the UK, and attracts millions of daily visitors around the globe.

While the looming blockade will result in a temporary reduction in traffic, 123movies is already anticipating such measures. The streaming portal currently features a message alerting people that they have an alternative .ru domain available that may help to bypass blockades.

“You can access out site through http://123movies.ru domain if the main domain is blocked by your ISP,” the alert reads.


TorrentFreak has confirmation from one of the large UK Internet providers that the court order has been granted. However, at the time of writing the new blockades have yet to be put in place by most ISPs.

As in previous cases, the latest blocking application was not seriously contested by the ISPs, which have given up on defending their position in court. As a result, it is now a mere formality for copyright holders to have a pirate site banned.

In addition, rightsholders have the freedom to add new domains without the need for a new court order if a blocked site decides to move to a new home. This will be needed, as sites such as GeekTV and Themovie4u already moved on.

Whether the present blocks will be more than a drop in the ocean has yet to be seen. There are many other streaming portals that are still available, which means that the movie studios will probably be back in court soon enough.

The full rundown of newly blocked sites is as follows. This list was released by a large UK ISP.

123movies.to, Geektv.is, Genvideos.org, Gowatchseries.biz, Hdmovies14.net, Hdmovieswatch.net, Themovie4u.com, Moviesub.net, Movietubenow.biz, Series-cravings.me, Spacemov.com, Streamallthis.is and Watchmovies.ms.

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

Conservancy’s First GPL Enforcement Feedback Session

Post Syndicated from Bradley M. Kuhn original http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2016/10/27/gpl-feedback.html

[ This blog
was crossposted
on Software Freedom Conservancy’s website
. ]

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I had the privilege
of attending Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELC EU) and the OpenWrt Summit
in Berlin, Germany earlier this month. I gave a talk (for which the video is
available below) at the OpenWrt Summit. I also had the opportunity to host
the first of many conference sessions seeking feedback and input from the
Linux developer community about Conservancy’s
GPL Compliance Project for
Linux Developers

ELC EU has no “BoF Board” where you can post informal
sessions. So, we scheduled the session by word of mouth over a lunch hour.
We nevertheless got an good turnout (given that our session’s main
competition was eating food 🙂 of about 15 people.

Most notably and excitingly, Harald Welte, well-known Netfilter developer
and leader of gpl-violations.org,
was able to attend. Harald talked about his work with
gpl-violations.org enforcing his own copyrights in Linux, and
explained why this was important work for users of the violating devices.
He also pointed out that some of the companies that were sued during his
most active period of gpl-violations.org are now regular upstream

Two people who work in the for-profit license compliance industry attended
as well. Some of the discussion focused on usual debates that charities
involved in compliance commonly have with the for-profit compliance
industry. Specifically, one of them asked how much compliance is
enough, by percentage?
I responded to his question on two axes.
First, I addressed the axis of how many enforcement matters does the GPL
Compliance Program for Linux Developers do, by percentage of products
violating the GPL
? There are, at any given time, hundreds of
documented GPL violating products, and our coalition works on only a tiny
percentage of those per year. It’s a sad fact that only that tiny
percentage of the products that violate Linux are actually pursued to

On the other axis, I discussed the percentage on a per-product basis.
From that point of view, the question is really: Is there a ‘close
enough to compliance’ that we can as a community accept and forget
about the remainder?
From my point of view, we frequently compromise
anyway, since the GPL doesn’t require someone to prepare code properly for
upstream contribution. Thus, we all often accept compliance once someone
completes the bare minimum of obligations literally written in the GPL, but
give us a source release that cannot easily be converted to an upstream
contribution. So, from that point of view, we’re often accepting a
less-than-optimal outcome. The GPL by itself does not inspire upstreaming;
the other collaboration techniques that are enabled in our community
because of the GPL work to finish that job, and adherence to
the Principles assures
that process can work. Having many people who work with companies in
different ways assures that as a larger community, we try all the different
strategies to encourage participation, and inspire today’s violators to
become tomorrow upstream contributors — as Harald mention has already
often happened.

That same axis does include on rare but important compliance problem: when
a violator is particularly savvy, and refuses to release very specific
parts of their Linux code
(as VMware did),
even though the license requires it. In those cases, we certainly cannot
and should not accept anything less than required compliance — lest
companies begin holding back all the most interesting parts of the code
that GPL requires them to produce. If that happened, the GPL would cease
to function correctly for Linux.

After that part of the discussion, we turned to considerations of
corporate contributors, and how they responded to enforcement. Wolfram
Sang, one of the developers in Conservancy’s coalition, spoke up on this
point. He expressed that the focus on for-profit company contributions,
and the achievements of those companies, seemed unduly prioritized by some
in the community. As an independent contractor and individual developer,
Wolfram believes that contributions from people like him are essential to a
diverse developer base, that their opinions should be taken into account,
and their achievements respected.

I found Wolfram’s points particularly salient. My view is that Free
Software development, including for Linux, succeeds because both powerful
and wealthy entities and individuals contribute and collaborate
together on equal footing. While companies have typically only enforce the
GPL on their own copyrights for business reasons (e.g., there is at least
one example of a major Linux-contributing company using GPL enforcement
merely as a counter-punch in a patent lawsuit), individual developers who
join Conservancy’s coalition follow community principles and enforce to
defend the rights of their users.

At the end of the session, I asked two developers who hadn’t spoken during
the session, and who aren’t members of Conservancy’s coalition, their
opinion on how enforcement was historically carried out by
gpl-violations.org, and how it is currently carried out by Conservancy’s
GPL Compliance Program for Linux Developers. Both responded with a simple
response (paraphrased): it seems like a good thing to do; keep doing

I finished up the session by inviting everyone to
the join
the principles-discuss
list, where public discussion about GPL
enforcement under the Principles has already begun. I also invited
everyone to attend my talk, that took place an hour later at the OpenWrt
Summit, which was co-located with ELC EU.

In that talk, I spoke about a specific example of community success in GPL
enforcement. As explained on the
OpenWrt history page,
OpenWrt was initially made possible thanks to GPL enforcement done by
BusyBox and Linux contributors in a coalition together. (Those who want to
hear more about the connection between GPL enforcement and OpenWrt can view
my talk.)

Since there weren’t opportunities to promote impromptu sessions on-site,
this event was a low-key (but still quite nice) start to Conservancy’s
planned year-long effort seeking feedback about GPL compliance and
enforcement. Our next
session is
an official BoF session at Linux Plumbers Conference
, scheduled for
next Thursday 3 November at 18:00. It will be led by my colleagues Karen
Sandler and Brett Smith.

“MPAA and RIAA’s Anti-Piracy Plans Harm The Internet”

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-and-riaas-anti-piracy-plans-harm-the-internet-161027/

iicEarlier this month, several copyright holder groups sent their annual “notorious markets” submissions to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

The U.S. Government uses this input for the Special 301 report, an overview of threats to various copyright industries. The recommendations usually include well-known piracy sites such as The Pirate Bay, but increasingly third-party technology providers are also added to the mix.

For example, this year the MPAA and RIAA identified domain name registrars as possible piracy facilitators. In addition, several “rogue” hosting providers were mentioned, as well as CDN provider Cloudflare.

The inclusion of these technology companies is a dangerous development according to the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (I2Coalition), which counts Google, Amazon, Verisign and Dreamhost among its members.

The I2Coalition submitted a rebuttal to the USTR this week in which they outline their concerns. They warn that if the MPAA and RIAA have their way, the entire Internet could be put at risk.

“Certain submissions favor an approach to intellectual property and infringement protections that would be harmful to the Internet infrastructure marketplace, and therefore to the Internet itself, as well as the global U.S. and global economies,” they write.

The main problem is that the entertainment industry groups “vilify” specific technologies instead of the marketplaces themselves, as the Special 301 process is supposed to do.

For example, MPAA’s characterization of Cloudflare as a service that creates “obstacles to enforcement” as it helps pirate sites to “hide,” is inappropriate according to the coalition.

“Technologies themselves cannot be bad actors. Further, a number of submissions characterize technologies and those using the technologies using unnecessarily inflammatory language.”

In addition to misguided statements about technology, I2Coalition also argues that the submissions show a misinterpretation of the obligations domain name registrars have under the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA).

Ideally, the MPAA and RIAA would like domain registrars to suspend domain names that are accused of copyright infringement, but most refuse to do so without a court order. Rightfully so, according to I2Coalition.

“Both the vilification of technology, and misconstruing of the RAA have one goal in common: forcing Internet infrastructure companies to act as intermediaries in intellectual property disputes,” the group writes.

“This is not the answer to intellectual property infringement, is not the purpose of the Special 301 process, and proposals to expand the use of these companies as intermediaries are misguided.”

Using a page from the entertainment industry playbook, the technology companies stress that billions of dollars are at stake if the Government steers policies in the wrong direction.

“The Internet infrastructure industry generates more than $100 billion in annual revenue and is growing at a rate of nearly 20% per year.

“Creating regulatory and legal hurdles to the industry’s progress will not only negatively impact the architecture and viability of the global Internet, it will also impact the overall economy, which is dependent on the continued growth of the Internet infrastructure industry.”

The rebuttal and other submissions will form the basis of the U.S. Government’s Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, which is expected to come out later this year.

I2Coalition’s full submission is available here (pdf).

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

UK Considers Fines to Force Search Engines to Tackle Piracy

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/uk-considers-fines-force-search-engines-tackle-piracy-161027/

parliamentContent owners regularly accuse companies such as Google and Bing of including infringing content in their search results, often on the initial pages following a search where exposure to the public is greatest.

In addition to having these ‘pirate’ results demoted or removed entirely, content providers believe that results featuring genuine content should receive priority, to ensure that the legitimate market thrives.

At least in part, Google has complied with industry requests. Sites which receive the most takedown notices are demoted in results, while some legitimate content has been appearing higher. But of course, entertainment industry companies want more – and they might just get it.

Currently under discussion in Parliament is the Digital Economy Bill. It’s been covered here on several occasions (1,2,3) due to a key aim of harmonizing the punishments for on-and-offline infringement.

However, the Bill appears to be broadening in scope and the role of search engines is now on the agenda, something which the BPI hinted at last week in comments to TorrentFreak.

A new clause titled “Power to provide for a code of practice related to copyright infringement” envisions a situation whereby search engines come to a voluntary agreement with rightsholders on how best to tackle piracy, or have one forced upon them.

“The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for a search engine to be required to adopt a code of practice concerning copyright infringement that complies with criteria specified in the regulations,” the proposed clause reads.

“The regulations may provide that if a search engine fails to adopt such a code of practice, any code of practice that is approved for the purposes of that search engine by the Secretary of State, or by a person designated by the Secretary of State, has effect as a code of practice adopted by the search engine.”

If the clause was adopted, the Secretary of State would also be granted powers to investigate disputes surrounding a search engine’s compliance with any code, appoint a regulator, and/or impose “financial penalties or other sanctions” if companies like Google fall short.

The Conservative government previously made a manifesto commitment to reduce copyright infringement and several MPs believe that this clause would help it to achieve that aim.

Speaking in Parliament this week, Labour MP Kevin Brennan said that Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Minister for Intellectual Property, had chaired a series of roundtable discussions and meetings between rights holders and search engines including Google, Bing and Yahoo.

The rights holders proposed a voluntary code of practice, with some interesting parameters for the search engines to live up to.

“The guiding principles for the voluntary code of conduct would have been that in the top three results, fewer than 1% link to illegal sites; in the top 10, fewer than 5%; and in the top 20, fewer than 10%,” Brennan explained.

“Achieving these objectives would improve the quality of search results and resolve disadvantages that limit the visibility of legitimate sites on which consumers can buy or stream copyrighted works.”

However, it appears that the search engines in question aren’t particularly enthusiastic about the role they’re being asked to play.

“In essence, rights holders want search engines to do what ISPs already do — work co-operatively to take action against sites that have been identified by the High Court as pirate sites — but despite numerous efforts, search engines will not co-operate or agree to the code of practice,” Brennan said.

“They continue to take little responsibility for the fact that listings can overwhelmingly consist of illegal content—the equivalent of the ‘Yellow Pages’ refusing to take responsibility for publishing the details of crooked traders and fraudsters.”

Introducing the new clause (which grants the Secretary of State power to fine search engines) could help the search engines to become more compliant, Brennan said.

“Given the difficulties in negotiations, the new clause would provide a legal backstop to prevent search engines from refusing point-blank to co-operate in discussions. While the code of practice remains a voluntary dream, search engines can refuse to collaborate, as they have for many years.”

Concluding, Brennan indicated that given the Digital Economy Bill is in front of MPs, there is no better time to introduce such a clause. However, Minister for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock urged patience.

“I care about the substance of getting this Bill through right. There are, of course, important parts of parliamentary process both here and in the [House of Lords],” Hancock said.

“Given that the round table discussions are ongoing, including a meeting next week, now is not the right time for the broad reserve power.”

The debates continue.

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

Major ‘Pirate’ Movie Streaming Site Fmovies Sued in US Court

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/major-pirate-movie-streaming-site-fmovies-sued-in-us-court-161026/

fmovieslogoPirate video streaming sites are booming. Their relative ease of use and on demand viewing makes them a viable alternative to P2P file-sharing, which has traditionally dominated the piracy arena.

Over the past months, several newcomers appeared on the scene, some of which have quickly grown to become serious traffic magnets.

Fmovies.to is one of these relative newcomers. In tandem with the similar looking 123movies.to, the streaming service has built a user base of millions of people since the start of the year.

The downside to this success is that copyright holders are bound to come knocking, and this is exactly what has happened. A few days ago Fmovies.to and its operators were sued in a Florida federal court by the Philippine media conglomerate ABS-CBN.

In a complaint filed at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the media company brands Fmovies as a classic pirate site.

“Defendant’s website is a classic example of a pirate operation, having no regard whatsoever for the rights of ABS-CBN and willfully infringing ABS-CBN’s intellectual property,” the company’s lawyers write (pdf).

“As a result, ABS-CBN requires this Court’s intervention if any meaningful stop is to be put to Defendant’s piracy,” the complaint adds, explaining that several of its movies are freely available on the site.

An ABS-CBN movie playing on Fmovies


ABS-CBN accuses Fmovies.to of unfair competition and several counts of both trademark and copyright infringement, direct or through the site’s users. In doing so, they argue that the streaming service has cause them substantial harm.

“Defendant’s Internet-based website business is an illegal operation, infringing on the intellectual property rights of ABS-CBN through its distribution and performance of ABS CBN’s Copyrighted Works and using the ABS-CBN Marks to promote, advertise, and distribute such content.”

At this point it’s unclear who is operating the site. The media company notes that the domain names are registered anonymously so it’s very possible that the operators are not from the United States.

However, ABS-CBN argues the court has jurisdiction over the defendant since the site is operating in the state of Florida.

Through the court case the media conglomerate is seeking damages, which may run to millions of dollars. In addition, they request a permanent injunction to bar the operators from running Fmovies.

This includes a request to seize the site’s current and future domain names that are tied to copyright infringements.

This is not the first time ABS-CBN has gone after pirate sites and recent history shows that the consequences can be quite severe. In a default judgment last year, a U.S. federal court in Oregon ordered the operator of several tiny streaming sites to pay $10 million in damages to the company.

However, with a user base of millions of people, Fmovies.to is by far the largest movie streaming site to be targeted in a U.S. Court, although probably not the last.

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

Why Professional Open Source Management is Critical for your Business

Post Syndicated from mikesefanov original https://yahooeng.tumblr.com/post/152340372151

By Gil Yehuda, Sr. Director of Open Source and Technology Strategy

This byline was originally written for and appears in CIO Review

In his Open Source Landscape keynote at LinuxCon Japan earlier this year, Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation said that the trend toward corporate-sponsored open source projects is one of the most important developments in the open source ecosystem. The jobs report released by the Linux Foundation earlier this year found that open source professionals are in high demand. The report was followed by the announcement that TODOGroup, a collaboration project for open source professionals who run corporate open source program offices, was joining the Linux Foundation. Open source is no longer exclusively a pursuit of the weekend hobbyist. Professional open source management is a growing field, and it’s critical to the success of your technology strategy.

Open Source Potential to Reality Gap

Open source has indeed proven itself to be a transformative and disruptive part of many companies’ technology strategies. But we know it’s hardly perfect and far from hassle-free. Many developers trust open source projects without carefully reviewing the code or understanding the license terms, thus inviting risk. Developers say they like to contribute to open source, but are not writing as much of it as they wish. By legal default, their code is not open source unless they make it so. Despite being touted as an engineering recruitment tool, developers don’t flock to companies who toss the words “open source” all over their tech blogs. They first check for serious corporate commitment to open source.

Open source offers potential to lower costs, keep up with standards, and make your developers more productive. Turning potential into practice requires open source professionals on your team to unlock the open source opportunity. They will steer you out of the legal and administrative challenges that open source brings, and help you create a voice in the open source communities that matter most to you. Real work goes into managing the strategy, policies, and processes that enable you to benefit from the open source promise. Hence the emerging trend of hiring professionals to run open source program offices at tech companies across the industry.

Getting the Program off the Ground

Program office sounds big. Actually, many companies staff these with as few as one or two people. Often the rest is a virtual team that includes someone from legal, PR, developer services, an architect, and a few others depending on your company. As a virtual team, each member helps address the areas they know best. Their shared mission is to provide an authoritative and supportive decision about all-things open source at your company. Ideally they are technical, respected, and lead with pragmatism – but what’s most important is that they all collaborate toward the same goal.

The primary goal of the open source program office is to steer the technology strategy toward success using the right open source projects and processes. But the day-to-day program role is to provide services to engineers. Engineers need to know when they can use other people’s code within the company’s codebase (to ‘inbound’ code), and when they can publish company code to other projects externally (to ‘outbound’ code). Practical answers require an understanding of engineering strategy, attention to legal issues surrounding licenses (copyright, patent, etc.), and familiarity with managing GitHub at scale.

New open source projects and foundations will attract (or distract) your attention. Engineers will ask about the projects they contribute to on their own time, but in areas your company does business. They seek to contribute to projects and publish new projects. Are there risks? Is it worth it? The questions and issues you deal with on a regular basis will help give you a greater appreciation for where open source truly works for you, and where process-neglect can get in the way of achieving your technology mission.

Will it Work?

I’ve been running the open source program office at Yahoo for over six years. We’ve been publishing and supporting industry-leading open source projects for AI, Big Data, Cloud, Datacenter, Edge, Front end, Mobile, all the way to Zookeeper. We’ve created foundational open source projects like Apache Hadoop and many of its related technologies. When we find promise in other projects, we support and help accelerate them too, like we did with OpenStack, Apache Storm and Spark. Our engineers support hundreds of our own projects, we contribute to thousands of outside projects, and developers around the world download and use our open source code millions of times per week! We are able to operate at scale and take advantage of the open source promise by providing our engineers with a lightweight process that enables them to succeed in open source.

You can do the same at your company. Open source professionals who run program offices at tech companies share openly – it comes with the territory. I publish answers about open source on Quora and I’m a member of TODOGroup, the collaboration project managed by the Linux Foundation for open source program directors. There, I share and learn from my peers who manage the open source programs at various tech companies.

Bottom line: If you want to take advantage of the value that open source offers, you’ll need someone on your team who understands open source pragmatics, who’s plugged into engineering initiative, and who’s empowered to make decisions. The good news is you are not alone and there’s help out there in the open source community.

Repeat Infringers Can Be Mere Downloaders, Court Rules

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/repeat-infringers-can-be-mere-downloaders-court-rules-161026/

copyright-bloodA case that recording labels EMI and Capitol filed against the long-since defunct music service MP3Tunes has been rolling on for nearly a decade.

MP3Tunes was originally a site selling MP3s from non-major label artists. It later added a locker service which allowed users to store their MP3s online and play them remotely on Internet-enabled devices.

MP3Tunes also ran Sideload.com, a service which enabled users to search for MP3s on the web and add them to the MP3Tunes service. Many of these MP3s infringed copyright, MP3Tunes and owner Michael Robertson both got sued, and together got mauled in court.

MP3Tunes went bankrupt in 2012 and following a 2014 trial, the jury awarded the plaintiffs $41m in damages. Punitive damages of $7.5m were later reduced to $750,000.

The case went to appeal and yesterday the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals handed down an opinion that should attract the attention of service providers and Internet users alike. The most interesting points from a wider perspective cover the parameters which define so-called ‘repeat infringers’.

Following an important case involving music outfit BMG, piracy monetization firm Rightscorp, and ISP Cox Communications, it was broadly accepted that a repeat infringer was a subscriber who repeatedly infringed BMG’s copyrights. In that case, those were subscribers who were repeatedly caught using BitTorrent to share (upload) copyrighted music online.

The fine received by Cox in that case provided the clearest indication yet that in order to retain their ‘safe harbor’ under the DMCA, service providers must take action against such ‘repeat infringers’. However, in the opinion handed down yesterday, the Court widens the net beyond those who get caught uploading.

Noting that the District Court in the MP3Tunes case had also defined a ‘repeat infringer’ as a user who posts or uploads infringing content “to the Internet for the world to experience or copy”, the Court of Appeals adds that the same court determined that a mere downloader of infringing content could not be defined as a repeat infringer “that internet services providers are obligated to ban from their websites.”

According to the Court of Appeal, that definition was too narrow.

“We reject this definition of a ‘repeat infringer,’ which finds no support in the text, structure, or legislative history of the DMCA. Starting with the text, we note that the DMCA does not itself define ‘repeat infringers’,” the opinion reads (pdf).

Noting that ‘repeat’ means to do something “again or repeatedly” while an ‘infringer’ is “[s]omeone who interferes with one of the exclusive rights of a copyright,” the Court of Appeals goes on to broaden the scope significantly.

“Copyright infringement is a strict liability offense in the sense that a plaintiff is not required to prove unlawful intent or culpability, and a user does not have to share copyrighted works in order to infringe a copyright,” its opinion reads.

“In the context of this case, all it takes to be a ‘repeat infringer’ is to repeatedly upload or download copyrighted material for personal use,” adding “that a ‘repeat infringer’ does not need to know of the infringing nature of its online activities, or to upload rather than download content.”

The notion that the term ‘repeat infringer’ can now be applied to anyone who knowingly (or unknowingly) downloads infringing content on multiple occasions is likely to set pulses racing. How it will play out in practical real-world scenarios will remain to be seen, but it’s certainly food for thought.

For those looking for more detail, Hollywood Reporter has a report covering the specifics in the MP3Tunes case, which will now head back to the District Court for damages to be determined and/or another trial.

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

Aussie KickassTorrents Blocking Battle Continues, Despite Takedown

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/aussie-kickasstorrents-blocking-battle-continues-despite-takedown-161025/

Back in April, members of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Australasian collecting society APRA AMCOS teamed up to file the music industry’s first ‘pirate’ site blocking application Down Under.

Filed at the Federal Court under section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968, member labels Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music and J Albert & Son demanded that then leading torrent site KickassTorrents (KAT) should be blocked by the country’s ISPs.

Arguing that KickassTorrents showed a “complete disrespect for music creators and the value of music”, the industry groups asked leading ISPs Telstra, Optus, TPG, and Foxtel to stop their subscribers from accessing the site. However, during the summer that job was effectively carried out for them by the US Department of Justice, which shut down KickassTorrents and had its owner arrested.

But despite the disappearance of the site, the Aussie case has continued. The music industry is now focusing on the many clones, copies, and wannabees that are using the KickassTorrents name to get traffic, despite having nothing to do with the original site.

This week the parties were back in the Federal Court. The ISPs aren’t fighting the blocking demand per se, but as usual there’s a dispute over who will foot the bill for legal proceedings and will shoulder costs of implementing the blockades.

None of the ISPs are objecting to paying for the blocking systems to be put in place. However, they want rightsholders to pay for the initial implementation and ongoing maintenance of a block, which according to ComputerWorld will be put in place for three years.

ISP Optus estimated a cost of AUS$12,500 (US$9,533) to put blocks in place. TPG informed the court that following initial setup, each domain name would cost $50 to block.

Simplifying the rolling injunctions demands made by the movie and TV industry in the blocking case against The Pirate Bay and others, the music industry is seeking straight-forward DNS-based blocking backed up by a system which would block subsequently appearing clones, mirrors, and proxy sites.

The record labels and their allies foresee an application to the court containing details of any site they wish the ISPs to block, with the ISPs given 10 days to object to the blocking demand. The court would then decide whether the parties would need to appear before another hearing in advance of the domain being added to the blocklist.

Of course, KickassTorrents no longer exists so the continuing of a case to have it blocked is somewhat unusual, to say the least.

Illustrating just how far removed the case has shifted from its original aims is an image posted by CNET, which shows the original domains the industry wanted blocked, and how that has completely changed following the demise of KAT.


– Kat.al is an incomplete snapshot of KAT before it went offline.
– Kattor.zyx has nothing to do with KAT, redirects to another site.
– Kickass.cd is a clone of The Pirate Bay.
– Kickasstorrents.immunicity.date is another ‘snapshot’ site.
– Kickass.pe is completely inactive
– Kickass.Ukbypass.download (see Kickass.cd)
– Kickass.Unblocked.tv (see Kickass.cd)

The case (which now has only tenuous links to KickassTorrents) continues alongside the movie industry’s blocking case against The Pirate Bay. That too is experiencing argument over who will pay for what and has also been affected by takedowns.

The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, Torrentz, TorrentHound and Solarmovie are featured in that action, but only the first two domains are intact after last three permanently closed (1,2) in recent months.

Only time will tell whether the expense and inevitable game of whac-a-mole will be worth it, but all the signs point to this being a complex battle with no definite end.

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

Warner Bros. Claims Agency Ran its Own Pirate Movie Site

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/warner-bros-claims-agency-ran-its-own-pirate-movie-site-161025/

cofeeleakWhen so-called DVD screeners of the latest movies leak to pirate sites, studios are among the first to highlight the damaging effects. Often the copies are of excellent quality, a gift to millions of file-sharers worldwide but a potential headache for subsequent official distribution efforts.

While studios have had the means to track screeners back to their sources for a long time, when compared to the number of leaks it is relatively rare for industry insiders to face civil legal action. That changed yesterday when Warner Bros. Entertainment sued talent agency Innovative Artists.

In a lawsuit filed in a California federal court, Warner accuses the agency of effectively setting up its own pirate site, stocked with rips of DVD screeners that should have been kept secure.

“Beginning in late 2015, Innovative Artists set up and operated an illegal digital distribution platform that copied movies and then distributed copies and streamed public performances of those movies to numerous people inside and outside of the agency,” the complaint (pdf) reads.

“Innovative Artists stocked its platform with copies of Plaintiff’s works, including copies that Innovative Artists made by ripping awards consideration ‘screener’ DVDs that Plaintiff sent to the agency to deliver to one of its clients.”

Given its position in the industry, Innovative Artists should have known better than to upload content, Warner’s lawyers write.

“The actions Plaintiff complains of are blatantly illegal. That illegality would be obvious to anyone, but especially to Innovative Artists, a talent agency that claims to promote the interests of actors, writers, directors and others whose livelihoods depend critically on respect for copyright,” the complaint adds.

Only making matters worse is the fact that some of the DVD screeners ripped by the agency leaked out beyond its platform, which was actually a shared folder on its Google Drive account.

According to the complaint, Warner Bros. discovered something was amiss when content security company Deluxe Entertainment Services advised that screener copies of Creed and In the Heart of the Sea had appeared on file-sharing sites.

Both movies were made available by Hive-CM8, a release outfit responsible for many leaks during December 2015. Crucially, both contained watermarks that enabled them to be tracked back to the source.

“Because the screeners were ‘watermarked’ — embedded with markers that identified their intended recipients — Plaintiff traced the copies to screeners that Plaintiff had sent to an Innovative Artists client, in care of the agency,” the complaint notes.

“Instead of forwarding the screeners directly to its client, Innovative Artists used illegal ripping software to bypass the technical measures that prevent access to and copying of the content on DVDs. Innovative Artists then copied the movies to its digital distribution platform, where those copies became available for immediate downloading and streaming along with infringing copies of many other copyrighted movies.”

While the allegations are damaging enough already, they don’t stop there. The complaint alleges that the agency also gave others access to the screeners stored on Google Drive in return for access to other titles not yet in its possession.

“Innovative Artists traded access to some of its unauthorized digital copies of movies in exchange for unauthorized copies of content possessed by third parties. For example, in one case, Innovative Artists granted an assistant at another company access to the digital distribution platform because the assistant had provided a screener to Innovative Artists for a title that was not already on the platform,” Warner writes.

For copyright infringement, Warner Bros. seeks actual or statutory damages, up to the maximum of $150,000 for willful infringement, attorneys’ fees, and an injunction. For the breaches of anti-circumvention provisions when Innovative ripped the DVDs, the studio claims the maximum statutory damages as permitted by the DMCA.

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

Megaupload 2.0 Will Outsource File-Hosting and Prevent Takedown Abuse

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-2-0-will-outsource-file-hosting-and-prevent-takedown-abuse-161025/

megaupload-mu2For many people Kim Dotcom is synonymous with Megaupload, the file-sharing giant that was taken down by the U.S. Government early 2012.

While the underlying criminal case against its operators is still ongoing, Megaupload will soon be back in business. At least, a fresh incarnation of the service which will be different in quite a few aspects.

This weekend Megaupload 2, or MU2, secured its first investment round. Through Max Keiser’s crowdfunding platform Bank to the Future, it raised well over a million dollars from 354 investors in just two weeks.

That’s quite an impressive achievement for a service that has yet to be launched and for which many technical details have yet to be released.

To find out a bit more TorrentFreak reached out to Kim Dotcom, who is not officially part of the venture but is operating as its chief “evangelist,” in part because of his ongoing legal cases.

As things currently stand, Megaupload 2.0 won’t be fully operational on the planned launch date, January 20th next year. However, the company will release additional details on how it will operate and function at that date, which also marks the fifth anniversary of the takedown of the original Megaupload.

“It is unlikely that we can make a full January 20th launch happen. The fund-raising was delayed and the legal team needed more time for the new setup. But we will reveal more details about Megaupload 2 and Bitcache on that special day,” Dotcom says.

From what has been revealed thus far, Megaupload 2.0 and the associated Bitcache platform will allow people to share and store files, linking every file-transfer to a bitcoin transaction.

This adds a layer of security for users of the service but also provides options for content creators to generate revenue. These bitcoin transactions will occur off the blockchain through Bitcache, since the blockchain itself wasn’t built to handle the massive volume Megaupload 2.0 envisions.


The bitcoin element is not the only part that’s different from the original Megaupload though. Perhaps surprisingly, the new incarnation isn’t going to store all files itself. Instead, it plans to use third-party providers such as Maidsafe and Storj.

“Megaupload 2 will be a caching provider for popular files on special high-speed servers that serve the files from ram. Long term storage will mostly be provided by numerous third-party sites that we are partnering with. You can expect more details on January 20,” Dotcom tells us.

This means that MU2 will mostly act as an intermediary between other file-storage platforms, adding a separate layer of encryption through Bitcache.

“MU2 via its third-party encryption providers will make sure that every file is encrypted on-the-fly. On top of that Bitcache will add an additional layer of encryption with its new ‘pay per download’ encrypted container.”

How the pay-per-download functionality will work exactly is unknown. The transaction value is said to be “absolutely minimal” per individual transfer, but good enough for content providers to earn revenue.

Another change compared to the original Megaupload is that the new service won’t offer unrestricted direct delete access to copyright holders. Instead, it will have a takedown procedure where all rightholder requests will be processed and manually checked by people.

“Megaupload 2 will not provide a direct delete tool,” Dotcom says, referring to the many mistakes rightsholders made on the original service.

“It will be a more time-consuming effort but because of mass automated takedown requests by the content industry with a failure rate of over 30% it has become a requirement to protect the rights of users.”

Megaupload 2.0 will be the third file storage service to use the Mega brand. A year after the takedown Dotcom launched the privacy company, Mega, which is still operational today albeit without his blessing.

From what we know thus far it’s clear that MU2 and Bitcache will be something quite different from both the original service and Mega. According to Dotcom, all changes will be for the better and he said that former Megaupload users will be welcomed with open arms.

With over a million raised by investors already, MU2 is currently valued at well over $50 million. While this is still peanuts compared to the multi-billion dollar IPO the original Megaupload was working on, it shows that people have faith in Dotcom and his team.

During the weeks to come more details about the new incarnation are expected to be released, which we plan to keep a close eye on.

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

Police Confiscate Hundreds of Computers Over Movie Piracy Allegations

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/police-confiscate-hundreds-of-computers-over-piracy-allegations-161024/

During the summer, Poland became entangled in what is likely to be one of the world’s most important copyright battles. Alleged KickassTorrents founder Artem Vaulin was arrested in the country, where he continues to fight extradition to the United States.

Now Poland finds itself at the center of separate but related file-sharing controversy, this time related to the activities of copyright trolls and the authorities apparently working on their behalf.

Like most areas of Europe, Poland is being targeted by aggressive content owners. These companies trawl torrent networks for IP addresses in the hope they will lead to people prepared to pay a settlement amount to make legal issues go away. But while in the rest of the continent these matters are generally a civil legal matter, in Poland police are deeply involved.

According to several reports in local media, police have visited hundreds of homes across the country, seizing hundreds of computers alleged to have been involved in the sharing of a comedy movie titled “Screwed“.

“We have established 2,600 downloads of the film. This applies to about 900 computers,” the District Prosecutor’s Office in Szczecin told local news outlet TVN24.

The prosecutor’s office say that the seizures were made to protect evidence and stop infringement but the actions of the authorities are causing real concern. TVN24 reports that on a national scale as many as 40,000 people may have downloaded the movie and therefore risk being visited by the police.

Also raising eyebrows is the evidence authorities are acting upon. It is unclear who obtained the IP address-based evidence or whether it has been subjected to any independent scrutiny. Also controversial is the basis upon which computers are being seized.

The action is said to be primarily aimed at people who not only download but also redistribute content online. Of course, this describes most BitTorrent users perfectly, since downloading and simultaneous uploading is all part of the process.

However, the authorities say that their main targets are people cashing in on mass distribution, and that does not accurately describe the general public nor the hundreds, perhaps thousands of people getting caught up in this sweep.

Nevertheless, legal experts cited by local media insist that while downloading is a civil offense, uploading can be viewed as a criminal matter which could lead to fines or even imprisonment of up to two years. However, the wronged party – in this case a movie studio – can offer the alleged wrongdoer a way out if he or she pays compensation.

The action is just one of many similar operations to hit Poland in recent months. A year ago, police seized around 1,000 computers alleged to have downloaded and shared the same movie.

Somewhat worryingly, prosecutors later admitted that they did not verify the technical processes used by the distributors to identify the alleged infringers.

It was also claimed that in some cases police advised suspects to settle with their accusers rather than face legal action. While it’s not unusual for police to act as mediators in all kinds of disputes, critics felt that the advice was inappropriate in an unproven copyright case.

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

BPI Reports Quarter Billion ‘Pirate’ Links to Google, Ask UK Govt. For Help

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/bpi-reports-quarter-billion-pirate-links-to-google-ask-uk-govt-for-help-161024/

googlepiratebayDespite the growing availability of legal music services in many countries, record labels are facing a constant stream of pirated music.

In an attempt to prevent these infringements, BPI and other music industry groups send millions of takedown notices to Internet services every month.

Although several major search engines are targeted, most of these requests are directed at Google. The numbers are quite staggering, and over the past few hours UK music industry group BPI hit a new milestone.

BPI just crossed the mark of 250,000,000 reported links, and is currently adding nearly three million new ones every week.

The majority of these allegedly copyright infringing URLs have been removed from Google’s search results. While this usually happens in a matter of hours, the music group believes that more should be done to address the underlying problem.

“Consumers are still too often directed towards the online black market when they search online for entertainment, rather than to legal services that reward artists and creators,” BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor informs TorrentFreak.

“The fact the BPI alone has now sent a quarter of a billion notices to Google to remove search results directing consumers to illegal copies of music – and almost as many again to Bing – demonstrates that there is a major problem underlying the UK digital economy,” he adds.

Copyright holder groups and search engines have organized several roundtable discussions in an attempt to find new solutions, but thus far without a satisfactory result for both sides.

In recent years Google has introduced a variety of tweaks and changes to the way its search engine operates. It downranks sites for which it receives a lot of takedown requests, for example. Similarly, it actively promotes legal content in search results.

However, BPI and other rightsholders would like search engines to go even further, by delisting pirate sites in their entirety or making sure that pirated content can’t simply reappear under a new URL.

Google is not willing to go this far, as it may lead to over-blocking and other problems, which has brought both camps to a stalemate.

BPI hopes that the UK Government can help to break this impasse. Lawmakers are currently working on a new and revised version of the Digital Economy Bill which could be used to address the search issue, by demanding a proactive stance from Google, Bing and others.

“The Digital Economy Bill which is before Parliament represents a real opportunity for Government to back the creative businesses that provide millions of UK jobs, by insisting that search engines put in place an effective Code of Practice to address this problem,” Taylor says.

While the search issue has been brought up in the recent discussions in parliament, there is no search engine related language in the current form of the bill. So for now, BPI has to keep adding to the quarter billion URLs they have targeted already, onto the next milestone.

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 10/24/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-pirated-movies-week-102416/

suicidesquadThis week we have two newcomers in our chart.

Suicide Squad is the most downloaded movie for the third week in a row.

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

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
1 (1) Suicide Squad 6.7 / trailer
2 (…) Bad Moms 6.5 / trailer
3 (2) Don’t Breathe 7.5 / trailer
4 (…) Sausage Party 6.7 / trailer
5 (4) Star Trek Beyond 7.4 / trailer
6 (3) Lights Out 6.6 / trailer
7 (6) Mechanic: Resurrection 5.8 / trailer
8 (9) Independence Day: Resurgence 5.4 / trailer
9 (10) The Infiltrator 7.2 / trailer
10 (7) Captain America: Civil War 8.1 / trailer

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

iKeepSafe Inadvertently Gives Students a Valuable Lesson in Creators’ Rights

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/ikeepsafe-inadvertently-gives-students-a-valuable-lesson-in-creators-rights-161023/

Children and students of all kinds are some of the most valuable assets to society. After all, they’re literally the future of the planet. As a result, hundreds of groups around the world dedicate themselves to protecting their interests, from general welfare and healthcare to Internet safety.

One of the groups dedicated to the latter is the Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe), an alliance of policy leaders, educators, law enforcement and technology experts.

iKeepSafe has launched a new initiative in partnership with pro-copyright/anti-piracy group Creative Future called the Contribute to Creativity Challenge.

“We know that when students are given the opportunity to be creative, they not only learn to make conscious choices about sharing their creative work, but they also understand the value of respecting the rights of other creators,” iKeepSafe says.

The challenge is a competition which requires students to submit electronic projects that center around the importance of behaving well online, such as respecting copyright and related rights.

“To participate, each entrant will need to submit an electronic project educating others about the importance of being an ethical, responsible online digital citizen,” iKeepSafe notes.

“The submissions will be judged according to the judging rubric and the winning entries will each receive a $75 Amazon gift card for books or classroom supplies.”

For those submitting entries the exercise of considering what makes a good digital citizen should be an enlightening one. Indeed, the creative process itself should also be enjoyable and educational, further sweetened by the prospect of a few bucks should the entry be a winner.

But for those young creators getting involved, there’s another equally valuable lesson to be learned from this exercise, even at the tender age of 12.

It’s quite likely that some participating students will be considering getting involved in the business of content creation, whether that’s in the music, movie, TV, or publishing sectors. With that in mind, they should consider the terms and conditions of any contracts entered into. This competition is a great place to start.

The Contribute to Creativity Challenge has five pages of T&Cs (pdf). They include rules that submitted content cannot infringe other people’s intellectual property rights or condone any illegal activities, which is fair enough.

However, since this is all about being creative and respecting creators’ rights, we took a look at what rights these young creators will have over their content after it’s submitted to the competition and what uses it will be put to thereafter.

“By entering the Competition, each Entrant hereby grants to Promoter and their assigns, licensees and designees a non-exclusive, irrevocable, perpetual license to use, copy, publish, and publicly display the Entry and all elements of the Entry (including, but not limited to, the Entrant’s name, city and country, biographical information, statements, voice, photograph and other likeness (unless prohibited by law)) in whole or in part,” the conditions read.

Of course, some kind of license is required if the competition operators are to be able to do anything with the entries. However, it also means that whether the entrant likes it or not (or even understands the legal jargon), their submitted work can be published along with their photographs until the end of time by iKeepSafe, “in any and all media either now known or not currently known, in perpetuity throughout the universe for all purposes.”

In perpetuity. Universe. All purposes. And, just to be clear, “without notification and without compensation of any kind to Entrant or any third party.” (emphasis ours)

Of course, there will be many students who will relish the thought of their projects gaining some publicity since that could really help their profile. However, it seems likely from the conditions of the competition that what iKeepSafe really wants is free material for upcoming campaigns.

“The Promoter shall have the right, without limitation, to reproduce, alter, amend, edit, publish, modify, crop and use each Entry in connection with commercials, advertisements and promotions related to the Promoter, the sale of Promoter’s products, the Competition and any other competition sponsored by Promoter, in any and all media, now or hereafter known, including but not limited to, all forms of television distribution, theatrical advertisements, radio, the Internet, newspapers, magazines and billboards,” the conditions read.

The eagle-eyed will have noticed that student entrants grant iKeepSafe a non-exclusive license, which usually means that they are also free to exploit their works themselves, a luxury that an exclusive license does not offer. While that’s a good thing, a subsequent clause could conceivably muddy the waters.

“Entrant agrees not to release any publicity or other materials on their own or through someone else regarding his or her participation in the Competition without the prior consent of the Promoter, which it may withhold in its sole discretion,” it reads.

Just to be absolutely clear, there’s no suggestion that iKeepSafe are leading students down a dark path here, since their overall goal of promoting ethical behavior online is a noble one. That being said, would it really hurt to properly compensate student creators featured in subsequent campaigns that will largely exist to help businesses?

After all, the message here is about being ethical, and with Creative Future on board – which represents rightsholders worth billions of dollars – there’s more than a little bit of cash lying around to properly compensate these young creators.

Perhaps the key lesson for students and other creators to be aware of at this early stage is that some companies and organizations will be prepared to exploit their creative work while giving little or indeed absolutely nothing back.

Today it’s a harmless school project competition entry on ethics, but in a few years time it could be something worth millions, ask George Michael.

Finally, if being ethical and responsible really is the goal, perhaps students and competition operators alike should consider a much less restrictive Creative Commons license.

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

Pirate Party On Course For Historic Election Win in Iceland

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-party-on-course-for-historic-election-win-in-iceland-161023/

pirate-iceFounded in 2006 by Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate party movement has scored some significant victories over the years.

The greatest success is the continuing presence in the European Parliament, but in Iceland the local Pirate Party is writing history as well.

Iceland’s Pirates have a great track record already, with three members in the national Parliament. However, more may join in the future as the party has added many new supporters in recent months.

With elections just a week away the tension is growing. The Pirates have been leading the polls for most of the year and are currently neck-and-neck with the Social Democratic Alliance to become the largest party in the country.

This brings the Pirates in an unusual position where they have to start thinking about possible partners to form a coalition Government, for the first time in history.

TF spoke with Ásta Helgadóttir, Member of Parliament for the Icelandic Pirate Party, who says that the party is ready to bring the change many citizens are longing for.

“Firstly, by adopting a new constitution which has already been voted on in a non-binding referendum,” Helgadóttir says.

asta“This will change how Iceland functions as a democracy, transitioning into a much more meaningful democracy. The Pirates are focused on decentralization of power, access to information and civil and human rights. The pillars of any meaningful notion of democracy.”

Despite the Pirate name, copyright issues are not central to their plans. That said, they have spoken out against recent web-blocking efforts.

Iceland’s ISPs have been ordered to block access to ‘infringing’ sites such as The Pirate Bay, which the party sees as a step in the wrong direction. The party fears that these censorship efforts will lead to more stringent measures.

“These measures are not a solution and only exacerbate the problem. There needs to be a review of copyright law and how creators are compensated for their work,” Helgadóttir notes, adding that some ISPs are planning to fight the blockades in court.

While the Pirate Party movement has always appealed to the younger generations, in Iceland it receives support across all age groups. One of their main selling points is a broad and clear vision for Iceland that breaks with the current political establishment.

The Pirate Party was in part formed by supporters of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a unanimously adopted parliamentary resolution to create the optimal environment for freedom of information and free expression.

“This work is still under way but something the Pirates want to implement,” Helgadóttir says.

“The resolution brings limited liability for intermediaries, whistleblower protection, enhanced source protection, due process, defamation law reform and data protection, among other things.”

With just a week to go, there’s a realistic chance that the Pirates will book a historic election win, allowing them to govern the country during the years to come.

In that regard, the timing could hardly be any better. With the recent revelations from the Panama Papers scandal and the banking crisis fresh in mind, people are longing for change.

According to Helgadóttir, the party hasn’t set any specific goals in terms of a vote percentage they want to reach. Whatever the outcome, they will to their best to and steer the country in the right direction once again.

“We do not have a specific target in terms of percentages. Our objective is to get the ball rolling on some fundamental issues, whether that happens with 10% of the vote or 40% of the vote is not paramount.”

The parliamentary elections will take place next week, October 29.

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

Anti-Piracy Outfits Agree to Strengthen International Cooperation

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-outfits-agree-to-strengthen-international-cooperation-161022/

With the Internet and therefore online piracy having developed into a truly global phenomenon, anti-piracy groups everywhere are expanding their reach.

What was once a semi-isolated affair has become a multi-agency, cross-continent operation, with governments and rights holders alike striving to share information and pool resources.

An event this week illustrated where things are going, with representatives from around the world descending upon Brussels for a meeting hosted by the Motion Picture Association.

The International Roundtable, titled “Combating Internet Piracy: International Practice”, saw government officials from Europe and Russia join representatives from the United States and the UK to discuss cooperation against piracy.

The meeting (Photo via Роскомнадзор)


According to information released by Russian telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor and translated by the MPA, those gathered agreed that a “lack of intellectual property protection causes significant economic damage to individual rights holders and the global economy.”

Of course, that message certainly isn’t new. Neither are mounting public claims by rights holders that Internet users are being put at risk through their visits to unauthorized sites.

Those assembled agreed that consumers are negatively impacted from enjoying entertainment in a safe environment since pirate sites “are a fertile ground for identity theft, viruses, malware or spyware.”

As mentioned earlier, anti-piracy groups and initiatives of all kinds now understand that collaboration is part of the way forward, whether that’s sharing information or working towards tougher legal frameworks.

“In particular, participants acknowledged the need to strengthen international cooperation in the fight against IPR violations on the Internet and to continue sharing experiences in improving legislation, and law enforcement practice in combating copyright infringement in the digital environment in the EU, Russian Federation, and USA,” a summary of the meeting reads.

Those at the meeting included representatives from the US “six-strikes” Copyright Alert System and the UK’s GetitRight campaign. Details are fairly scarce, but these groups are likely to have shared data on how educational messages affect the behaviors of Internet pirates and how voluntary agreements with industry players such as ISPs can become part of the anti-piracy package.

Another item on the agenda was the role that search engines and user-generated content companies play when it comes to fighting online piracy. While Russia has its own issues with services like Yandex, for the US and Europe the focus is very much on Google and sites such as YouTube.

Service provider liability and related legislative initiatives will continue to be hot topics in the months and years ahead. This is particularly true of the United States, where the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA are under scrutiny alongside a controversial debate on the so-called ‘value gap‘ claimed to be present on YouTube.

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

Pirate Sites Remain Popular in the UK, Despite Website Blockades

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-sites-remain-popular-in-the-uk-despite-website-blockades-161022/

blocked-censorWebsite blocking has become one of the favorite anti-piracy tools of the entertainment industries in recent years.

The UK is a leader on this front, with the High Court ordering local ISPs to block access to many popular file-sharing sites.

Over time the number of blocked URLs has expanded to well over 1,000, with popular torrent, streaming, and direct download sites being the main targets.

While research has shown that this approach is somewhat effective, there are plenty of options through which people can circumvent the blockades, including many reverse proxies.

Similarly, pirate sites can simply switch to a new domain name to evade the court orders, and new sites are allowed to flourish in the shadow of those that are no longer available.

This week we decided to take a look at the current pirate site landscape in the UK, with some surprising results.

As it turns out, the list of top ten most-used pirate sites in the UK includes several sites that are on the ISPs blockists. In some cases the sites remain accessible on their original domain names, via the HTTPS URL.

As we’ve highlighted before, not all ISPs are able to block HTTPS traffic, which allows their subscribers to load The Pirate Bay and other blocked sites just fine.

There are also websites that intentionally help visitors to circumvent the blocks by registering new domain names. Unblocked.vip, for example, has cycled through various domain names in order to remain available.

And then there are the newcomers. 123movies.to deserves a mention here as it’s currently the most-used pirate site in the UK. With an Alexa rank of 81, it’s even one of the 100 most-visited sites in the country.



Below we’ve made an overview of the ten most-used pirate sites in the UK. Several of these are on the blocklist, with a current or previous URL. This suggests that the blocking efforts are not as effective as rightsholders would like them to be.

The conclusion is also in line with research from Italy, which suggested that site-blocking can actually be counterproductive. Similarly, a UK report revealed that it significantly boosts traffic to non-blocked websites.

While the entertainment industries still see enough value in website blocking, it’s clear that it’s not the silver bullet that will defeat piracy. And at a rate of £14,000 per site, it comes at a high cost.

The label “pirate site” applies to sites that have been classified as such by entertainment industry groups. It’s worth noting that at the time of writing, several of the sites (*) had already started redirecting to new domain names. Putlocker.is is currently down.

Site Alexa rank Type Original site blocked?
123movies.to 81 Streaming No
Watchseries.ac (*) 126 Streaming Yes
Unblocked.vip (*) 127 Proxy links Yes
Putlocker.is (down) 161 Streaming No
Pirateproxy.red (*) 183 Torrents (proxy) Yes
Thepiratebay.org 316 Torrents Yes
Rutracker.org 384 Torrents No
Vodlocker.com 407 Cyberlocker No
Zippyshare.com 412 Cyberlocker No
Yify-torrent.org 431 Torrents No

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

Android Pirate App Store Case Ends in Mistrial, Jury Undecided

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/android-pirate-app-store-case-ends-in-mistrial-jury-undecided-161021/

applanetAssisted by police in France and the Netherlands, the FBI took down the “pirate” Android stores Appbucket, Applanet and SnappzMarket during the summer of 2012.

During the years that followed several people connected to the Android app sites were arrested and indicted, and slowly but surely these cases are now reaching their conclusions.

Two months ago the first sentencing was announced, and it was a big one. SnappzMarket’s ‘PR manager’ Scott Walton was handed a 46-month prison sentence for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.

Like several others, Walton had pleaded guilty in order to get a reduced sentence. However, not all did. David Lee, a California man linked to Applanet, decided to move to trial instead.

The indictment charged Lee with aiding and abetting criminal copyright infringement (pdf). In addition, he was charged with conspiring to infringe copyrights and violating the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.

As the case progressed it became clear that the U.S. Government’s evidence wasn’t as strong as initially thought. Before the trial even started, the prosecution voluntarily dropped the criminal copyright infringement charge.

The “overt” acts that were scrapped due to a lack of evidence are all related to an undercover FBI agent in the Northern District of Georgia, who supposedly downloaded pirated apps from Applanet’s computer servers.

What remained was the conspiracy charge and last week both parties argued their case before the jury. Over the course of several days many witnesses were heard, including FBI agents and co-defendant Gary Sharp, who previously pleaded guilty.

Friday last week the closing arguments were presented after which the jury retreated to deliberate at 10:30 in the morning. At the end of the day, however, they still hadn’t reached a decision so the court decided to continue after the weekend.

On Monday the jury got back together but after having failed to reach a verdict by the end of the day, a mistrial was declared. This means that David Lee has not been found guilty.



TorrentFreak reached out to Lee’s lawyers for more information but they declined to comment.

In the jury instructions the defense hammered on the fact that the government must prove that either the conspiracy or an overt act took place in the District of Georgia, even if the defendant never set foot there.

It could be that the Jury couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on that point or any of the other key issues.

TF also contacted the Department of Justice, who didn’t go into detail either, but informed us that they are still evaluating the outcome. “We are considering our options,” a DoJ spokesperson said.

In theory, the U.S. Government can ask for a retrial, which means that the case has to be tried again. For now, however, David Lee remains out of prison.

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

Cisco Develops System To Automatically Cut-Off Pirate Video Streams

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/cisco-develops-system-automatically-cut-off-pirate-video-streams-161021/

network-roundWhile torrents continue to be one of the Internet’s major distribution methods for copyrighted content, it’s streaming that’s capturing the imagination of the pirating mainstream.

Easy to use via regular web browsers, modified Kodi installations, and fully-fledged IPTV services, streaming is now in the living rooms of millions of people. As such it is viewed as a threat to subscription and PPV TV providers worldwide, especially those offering live content such as sporting events.

Pirate services obtain content by capturing and restreaming feeds obtained from official sources, often from something as humble as a regular subscriber account. These streams can then be redistributed by thousands of other sites and services, many of which are easily found using a simple search.

Dedicated anti-piracy companies track down these streams and send takedown notices to the hosts carrying them. Sometimes this means that streams go down quickly but in other cases hosts can take a while to respond or may not comply at all. Networking company Cisco thinks it has found a solution to these problems.

The company’s claims center around its Streaming Piracy Prevention (SPP) platform, a system that aims to take down illicit streams in real-time. Perhaps most interestingly, Cisco says SPP functions without needing to send takedown notices to companies hosting illicit streams.

“Traditional takedown mechanisms such as sending legal notices (commonly referred to as ‘DMCA notices’) are ineffective where pirate services have put in place infrastructure capable of delivering video at tens and even hundreds of gigabits per second, as in essence there is nobody to send a notice to,” the company explains.

“Escalation to infrastructure providers works to an extent, but the process is often slow as the pirate services will likely provide the largest revenue source for many of the platform providers in question.”

To overcome these problems Cisco says it has partnered with Friend MTS (FMTS), a UK-based company specializing in content-protection.

Among its services, FMTS offers Distribution iD, which allows content providers to pinpoint which of their downstream distributors’ platforms are a current source of content leaks.

“Robust and unique watermarks are embedded into each distributor feed for identification. The code is invisible to the viewer but can be recovered by our specialist detector software,” FMTS explains.

“Once infringing content has been located, the service automatically extracts the watermark for accurate distributor identification.”

Friend MTS also offers Advanced Subscriber iDentification (ASiD), a system that is able to identify legitimate subscribers who are subsequently re-transmitting content online.

According to Cisco, FMTS feeds the SPP service with pirate video streams it finds online. These are tracked back to the source of the leak (such as a particular distributor or specific pay TV subscriber account) which can then be shut-down in real time.

“The process is fully automated, ensuring a timely response to incidents of piracy. Gone are the days of sending a legal notice and waiting to see if anyone will answer,” Cisco says.

“SPP acts without the need to involve or gain cooperation from any third parties, enabling an unmatched level of cross-device retransmission prevention and allowing service providers to take back control of their channels, to maximize their revenue.”

Friends MTS and Cisco believe the problem is significant. During the last month alone the company says it uncovered 12,000 HD channels on pirate services that were being sourced from Pay TV providers.

How much of dent the companies will be able to make in this market will remain to be seen but not having to rely on the efficiency of takedown requests certainly has the potential to shift the balance of power.

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

UK Movie Pirates Lose Appeal, Prison Time Stands

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/uk-movie-pirates-lose-appeal-prison-time-stands-161020/

piratkeybEarly 2013, five UK men were arrested for their alleged involvement in several interrelated movie release groups including RemixHD, 26K, UNiQUE, DTRG and HOPE/RESISTANCE.

The groups were responsible for distributing no less than 9,000 copyright infringing movies on popular torrent sites, including ExtraTorrent.

These releases generated five million unauthorized ‘views’ and a million pounds in lost revenue, according to a calculation from UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft, which was actively involved in the case.

All the men opted to plead guilty and late last year Wolverhampton Crown Court handed down sentences adding up to 17 years of jail time.

Sahil Rafiq and Reece Baker received the toughest sentences, four-and-a-half years and four years and two months, respectively. The pair appealed the decision in court this week, but without the desired result.

Defense lawyers argued that a reduced sentence would be appropriate as the men didn’t profit from the widespread copyright infringement. However, the Court of Appeal rejected this argument and denied the appeal.

“Whilst we accept that the sentences passed on these two young men were stiff, we are unpersuaded that they were manifestly excessive,” Mr Justice Hickinbottom said, quoted by Express & Star.

This means that Sahil Rafiq, who was accused of uploading more than 880 movies and causing 1.5 million illegal downloads as founder of 26K, will have to sit out his four-and-a-half year sentence.

Reece Baker, a member of DTRG and the founder of HOPE/RESISTANCE, has to serve four years and two months. He was said to have triggered more than 226,000 illegal downloads and aggravated his circumstances by continuing to upload movies while he was on bail.

The three other men haven’t appealed their sentences, as far as we know.

Graeme Reid, founder of ‘RemixHD,’ was jailed for three years and six months and ANALOG and TCM founder Ben Cooper received the same sentence. Scott Hemming, who uploaded some 800 movies, received a two-year suspended sentence.

Due to the distributed nature of BitTorrent, many of the movies the men released online are still being shared on public torrent sites, and perhaps will still be long after they’ve served their sentences.

Additional background and information is available in our previous in -depth coverage on these cases, here and here.

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