Tag Archives: Copyright

Popular YouTuber Experiments With WebTorrent to Beat Censorship

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/popular-youtuber-experiments-with-webtorrent-to-beat-censorship-160930/

sadyoutubeWhen discussing the most influential websites on the planet, there can be little doubt that YouTube is a true giant. The video-hosting platform is the second most popular site on the Internet behind its owner’s Google.com

YouTube attracts well over a billion visitors every month, with many flocking to the platform to view the original content uploaded by its army of contributors. However, with great power comes great responsibility and for YouTube that means pleasing advertisers.

As a result, YouTube has rules in place over what kind of content can be monetized, something which caused a huge backlash recently.

In a nutshell, if you don’t produce content that is almost entirely “appropriate for all audiences,” (without references to drugs, violence, and sex, for example), your content is at risk of making no money. But YouTube goes further still, by flagging “controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies.” Awkward.

Many YouTubers view this refusal to monetize content as a form of censorship but recognize that as long as they’re in bed with the company, they’re going to have to play by its rules. For some, this means assessing alternatives.

Popular YouTuber Connor Hill (Bluedrake42 – 186,600 subscribers) is no stranger to YouTube flagging his videos. As a result, he’s decided to take matters into his own hands by experimenting with WebTorrent.

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As previously reported, WebTorrent brings torrents to the web. Instead of using standalone applications it allows people to share files directly from their browser, without having to configure or install anything.

Early on, WebTorrent creator Feross Aboukhadijeh identified “people-powered websites” as a revolutionary application for WebTorrent.

“Imagine a video site like YouTube, where visitors help to host the site’s content. The more people that use a WebTorrent-powered website, the faster and more resilient it becomes,” he told TF.

It is exactly this application for the technology that has excited Bluedrake. By taking his content, embedding it in his website, and using his own fans for distribution, Bluedrake says he can take back control.

“This solution does not require torrent clients, this solution does not require torrent files, this is a seamless video-player hosted solution, with a completely decentralized database, supported by the people watching the content itself,” Bluedrake says in a new video. “And it works…REALLY well.

Of course, all torrents need seeds to ensure that older content is always available, so Bluedrake says that the servers already funded by his community will have backup copies of all videos ready to seed, whenever that’s necessary.

“That’s literally the best of both worlds. A CDN and a TVDN – a Torrent Video Distribution Network – at the same time. It will be community-funded and community supported…and then we’ll have truly censorship-free, entirely impervious video content, in a network. That gives me chills,” Bluedrake adds.

But while this solution offers the opportunity to avoid censorship, there is no intention to break the law. Bluedrake insists that the freedom of peer-to-peer will only be used for speech, not to infringe copyright.

“All I want is a site where people can say what they want. I want a site where people can operate their business without having somebody else step in and take away their content when they say something they don’t like. We’re going to host our own content distribution network within a peer-to-peer, web-socketed torrent service,” he says.

The development has excited WebTorrent creator Feross Aboukhadijeh.

“This is just one of the extremely creative uses for WebTorrent that I’ve heard about. I’m continually amazed at what WebTorrent users are building with the open source torrent engine,” Feross informs TF.

“When a video site uses WebTorrent, visitors help to host the site’s content. The more people that use a WebTorrent-powered website, the faster and more resilient it becomes. I think that’s pretty cool. It’s something that traditional CDNs cannot offer.

“The magic of WebTorrent is that people can use it however they like. It’s not just a desktop torrent app but it’s a JavaScript library that anyone can use anywhere on the web.”

Of course, one YouTuber using the technology is a modest start but the potential is there for this to get much bigger if Bluedrake can make a success of it.

“The way that we get P2P technology to go mainstream is simple: make it easy, make it better,” Feross says.

“This is part of a larger trend of decentralized protocols replacing centralized services, as we’ve seen with Bitcoin and blockchain apps.”

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

J.J. Abrams Can’t Stop Copyright Lawsuit Against Star Trek Fan-Film

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/j-j-abrams-cant-stop-copyright-lawsuit-star-trek-fan-film-160930/

axanarEarlier this year Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios filed a lawsuit against the makers of a Star Trek inspired fan film, accusing them of copyright infringement.

The dispute centers around the well-received short film Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar and the planned follow-up feature film Axanar.

Among other things, the Star Trek rightsholders claim ownership over various Star Trek related settings, characters, species, clothing, colors, shapes, words, short phrases and even the Klingon language.

A few months after the complaint was filed it appeared that the movie studios and the Axanar team had found a way to resolve their issues. During a Star Trek fan event director J.J. Abrams announced that the case would be over soon, citing discussions with Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin.

“We started talking about this realizing that this is not an appropriate way to deal with the fans. The fans should be celebrating this thing,” Abrams said. “So Justin went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now, within the next few weeks, it will be announced this is going away.”

However, as time passed it appears that the director had spoken too soon, or perhaps made up the entire claim ad-lib. The case didn’t “go away” at all and this week it became clear that Paramount and CBS Studios see J.J. Abrams’ comments as irrelevant.

Both parties are currently in the discovery phase where they hope to gather evidence from the other side to back up their claims. Axanar was particularly interested in obtaining any communications the studios had with Justin Lin and J.J. Abrams, which seem to favor their claims.

However, through their lawyers CBS and Paramount refused to hand anything over, noting that this is information is irrelevant, if it exists at all. “We objected to your requests for communications with Justin Lin and J.J. Abrams as irrelevant, and did not agree to produce those documents,” they wrote in an email earlier this month.

The email

axanemail

To resolve this and other outstanding discovery disputes, the parties now ask the court what information should be handed over, and what can remain confidential.

In the joint motion (pdf) CBS and Paramount reiterate that the comments J.J. Abrams made are “not relevant” to any party’s claim. The directors are not authorized to speak on behalf of the movie studios and their comments have no impact on the damages amount, they argue.

“J.J. Abrams is a producer/director of certain Star Trek Copyrighted Works and Justin Lin was the director of Star Trek Beyond. Neither Mr. Abrams nor Mr. Lin is an authorized representative of either of the Plaintiffs,” the studios claim.

“A third party’s statement about the merits of this lawsuit has absolutely no bearing on the amount of money Defendants’ obtained by their infringing conduct, nor does it bear on any other aspect of damages,” they add.

Axanar disagrees with this assessment. They claim that Abrams statements about dropping the “ridiculous” lawsuit in the interest of fans, is central to a possible fair use claim and damages.

“Statements that Star Trek belongs to all of us and that the lawsuit is ridiculous and was going to be ‘dropped’ is relevant to the impact on the market prong of the fair use analysis, and Plaintiffs utter lack of
damages,” Axanar claims.

The court will now have to decide what information CBS and Paramount must share. It’s clear, however, that J.J. Abrams spoke way too soon and that the movie studios are not ready to drop their lawsuit without putting up a fight.

While Abrams may not have realized it at the time, his comments are a blessing for the fan-film. It offers Axanar great leverage in potential settlement discussions and will reflect badly on CBS and Paramount if the case heads to trial.

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

Man Who Leaked The Revenant Online Fined $1.1m

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/man-leaked-revenant-online-fined-1-1m-160930/

revenantIn December 2015, many so-called ‘screener’ copies of the latest movies leaked online. Among them a near perfect copy of Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s ‘The Revenant’.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and slated for a Christmas day release, in a matter of hours the tale vengeance clocked up tens of thousands of illegal downloads.

With such a high-profile leak, it was inevitable that the authorities would attempt to track down the individual responsible. It didn’t take them long.

Following an FBI investigation, former studio worker William Kyle Morarity was discovered as the culprit. Known online by the username “clutchit,” the 31-year-old had uploaded The Revenant and The Peanuts Movie to private torrent tracker Pass The Popcorn.

The Revenant

therevenant

Uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison, so his sentencing always had the potential to be punishing for the Lancaster man, despite his early guilty plea.

This week Morarity was sentenced in federal court for criminal copyright infringement after admitting screener copies of both movies to the Internet.

After being posted online six days in advance of its theatrical release, it was estimated that The Revenant was downloaded at least a million times during a six week period, costing Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation to suffer losses of “well over $1 million.”

United States District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson ordered Morarity to pay $1.12 million in restitution to Twentieth Century Fox. He also sentenced the 31-year-old to eight months’ home detention and 24 months’ probation.

According to court documents, Morarity obtained the screeners and copied them to a portable hard drive. He then uploaded the movies to Pass The Popcorn on December 17 and December 19.

“The film industry creates thousands of jobs in Southern California,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker commenting on the sentencing.

“The defendant’s illegal conduct caused significant harm to the victim movie studio. The fact that the defendant stole these films while working on the lot of a movie studio makes his crime more egregious.”

Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said that Morarity had abused his position of trust to obtain copies of the movies and then used them in a way that caused Fox to incur huge losses.

“The theft of intellectual property – in this case, major motion pictures – discourages creative incentive and affects the average American making ends meet in the entertainment industry,” Fike said.

As part of his punishment, Morarity also agreed to assist the FBI to produce a public service announcement aimed at educating the public about the harms of copyright infringement and the illegal uploading of movies to the Internet.

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

Research: Movie Piracy Hurts Sales, But Not Always

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/research-movie-piracy-hurts-sales-but-not-always-160929/

europe-flagResearch into online piracy comes in all shapes and sizes, often with equally mixed results. The main question is often whether piracy is hurting sales.

New research conducted by economists from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, tries to find answers for the movie industry.

For a new paper titled “Movie Piracy and Displaced Sales in Europe,” the researchers conducted a large-scale survey among 30,000 respondents from six countries, documenting their movie consumption patterns.

Using statistical models and longitudinal data, they were able to estimate how piracy affects legal sales and if this differs from country to country.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the findings show that not every pirated movie is a lost sale. Instead, for every hundred films that are first viewed from a pirated source, 37 viewings from paid movies are ‘lost’.

This results in a displacement rate of 0.37, which is still a high number of course, also compared to previous research.

It’s worth noting that in some cases piracy actually has a beneficial effect. This is true for movies that people have seen more than twice.

“Interestingly, we found evidence of a sampling effect: for movies that are seen more than twice, first unpaid consumption slightly increases paid second consumption,” the researchers write.

However, the sampling effect doesn’t outweigh the loss in sales. Overall the researchers estimate that online piracy leads to a significant loss in revenue for the movie industry.

“Using a back-of-the-envelope calculation, we show that this implies that unpaid movie viewings reduced movie sales in Europe by about 4.4% during the sample period,” they write.

This negative effect is driven by a relatively small group of consumers. Roughly 20% of the respondents with the highest movie consumption are responsible for 94% of lost movie sales. Or put differently, the most avid film fans pirate the most.

Interestingly, there are large between-country differences too. In Germany online movie piracy results in ‘only’ a 1.65% loss, this figure is 10.41% for Spain. The UK (2.89%), France (5.73%), Poland (7.21%) and Sweden (7.65%) rank somewhere in between.

According to the researchers, their findings can help policymakers to decide what the best anti-piracy enforcement strategies are. In addition, changes between countries could help to evaluate existing and future measures and inspire future research.

“The estimates that we provide can help policy makers to asses the efficient use of public resources to be spent on copyright enforcement of movies.”

“In particular, since we find that virtually all the lost sales of movies are due to a very small group of individuals, most damages of movie piracy could therefore potentially be prevented with well targeted policies,” the researchers conclude.

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

UK IP Crime Report 2016 Reveals IPTV/Kodi Piracy as Growing Threat

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/uk-ip-crime-report-2016-reveals-iptvkodi-piracy-as-growing-threat-160929/

For more than a decade the IP Crime Group and the Intellectual Property Office have collaborated to produce an assessment of the level of IP crime in the UK. Their annual IP Crime Report details the responses of businesses, anti-piracy groups, and government agencies.

As usual, this year’s report covers all areas of IP crime, both in the physical realm and online. However, it is the latter area that appears to be causing the most concern to participating anti-piracy groups.

“Perhaps the area where IP crime statistics most often reach jaw-dropping levels is in relation to the industries providing digital content,” the report reads.

“During a sample three-month period last year, 28% of those questioned admitted their music downloads in the UK came from illegal sources. Similarly, 23% of films, 22% of software, 16% of TV and 15% of games were downloaded in breach of copyright.”

While noting that illicit music downloads have actually reduced in recent years, the report highlights areas that aren’t doing so well, TV show consumption for example.

“The reasons for the spike in TV copyright infringement appear to be, in part, technological, with ‘unofficial services’ such as uTorrent, BitTorrent, TV catch up apps and established sources such as YouTube offering content without legal certainty,” it adds.

But while several methods of obtaining free TV content online are highlighted in the report, none achieve as much attention as IPTV – commonly known as Kodi with illicit third-party addons.

In her report preamble, Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville-Rolfe describes anti-IPTV collaboration between the Federation Against Copyright Theft, Trading Standards, and the Police, as one of the year’s operational successes. Indeed, FACT say anti-IPTV work is now their top priority.

Federation Against Copyright Theft

“We have prioritised an emerging threat to the audiovisual industry, internet protocol TV (IPTV) boxes,” FACT write.

“In their original form, these boxes are legitimate. However, with the use of apps and add-ons, they allow users to access copyright infringing material, from live TV and sports, to premium pay-for channels and newly released films. Once configured these boxes are illegal.”

FACT say they are concentrating on two areas – raising awareness in the industry and elsewhere while carrying out enforcement and disruption operations.

“In the last year FACT has worked with a wide range of partners and law enforcement bodies to tackle individuals and disrupt businesses selling illegal IPTV boxes. Enforcement action has been widespread across the UK with numerous ongoing investigations,” FACT note.

Overall, FACT say that 70% of the public complaints they receive relate to online copyright infringement. More than a quarter of all complaints now relate to IPTV and 50% of the anti-piracy group’s current investigations involve IPTV boxes.

fact-ipcrime

British Phonographic Industry (BPI)

In their submission to the report, the BPI cite three key areas of concern – online piracy, physical counterfeiting, and Internet-enabled sales of infringing physical content. The former is their top priority.

“The main online piracy threats to the UK recorded music industry at present come from BitTorrent networks, MP3 aggregator sites, cyberlockers, unauthorised streaming sites, stream ripping sites and pirate sites accessed via mobile devices,” the BPI writes.

“Search engines – predominantly Google – also continue to provide millions of links to infringing content and websites that are hosted by non-compliant operators and hosts that cannot be closed down have needed to be blocked in the UK under s.97A court orders (website blocking).”

The BPI notes that between January 2015 and March 2016, it submitted more than 100 million URL takedowns to Google and Bing. Counting all notices since 2011 when the BPI began the practice, the tally now sits at 200 million URLs.

“These astronomic numbers demonstrate the large quantity of infringing content that is available online and which is easily accessible to search engine users,” the BPI says.

On the web-blocking front, the BPI says it now has court orders in place to block 63 pirate sites and more than 700 related URLs, IP addresses and proxies.

“Site blocking is proving a successful strategy, and the longer the blocks are in place, the more effective they tend to be. The latest data available shows that traffic to sites blocked for over one year has reduced by an average of around 80%; with traffic to sites blocked for less than a year reduced by an average of around 50%,” the BPI adds.

Infringement warnings for Internet subscibers

The Get it Right campaign is an educational effort to advise the public on how to avoid pirate sites and spend money on genuine products. The campaign has been somewhat lukewarm thus far, but the sting in the tail has always been the threat of copyright holders sending warnings to Internet pirates.

To date, nothing has materialized on that front but hidden away on page 51 of the report is a hint that something might happen soon.

“A further component of the ‘Get it Right’ campaign is a subscriber alert programme that will, starting by the end of 2016, advise ISPs’ residential subscribers when their accounts are believed to have been used to infringe copyright,” the report reads.

“Account holders will receive an Alert from their ISP, advising them that unlawful uploading of a copyright content file may have taken place on their internet connection and offering advice on where to find legitimate sources of content.”

Overall, the tone of the report suggests a huge threat from IP crime but one that’s being effectively tackled by groups such as FACT, BPI, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, and various educational initiatives. Only time will tell if next year’s report will retain the optimism.

The full report can be downloaded here (pdf)

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

Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Appeal Concludes, Will He Get a “Fair Go”?

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcoms-extradition-appeal-concludes-160928/

megaupload-logoLast December a New Zealand District Court ruled that Kim Dotcom and his colleagues can be sent to the United States to face criminal charges.

This decision was immediately appealed and over the past weeks there’s been a lengthy series of appeal hearings at New Zealand’s High Court.

Represented by a team of lawyers, Kim Dotcom and his fellow Megaupload defendants have argued that the New Zealand District Court failed to give them a fair hearing. The entire case was live-streamed on YouTube and earlier today the final arguments were presented.

Kim Dotcom’s defense lawyer Ron Mansfield repeated several claims that have been discussed over the past several weeks. He argues that the lower court made critical errors in its final ruling and that crucial evidence was overlooked or not considered at all.

One of the main arguments of the United States government is that Megaupload would only disable a URL when it received a takedown notice, not the underlying file. As a result of the deduplication technology it employed, this meant that the file could still be accessed under different URLs.

However, according to Dotcom’s defense, it was a standard practice in the Internet service provider industry to remove just the URL, something copyright holders were apparently well aware of.

“How can a copyright holder have been reasonably expecting Megaupload to take down files in response to takedown notices specifying URLs if the copyright holders knew that the prevailing industry practice was to prevent access by removing the URL, not the file,” Mansfield said.

“The use of deduplication technology by Internet service providers […] was not a secret. It was widespread within the industry and well-known both by the Internet service provider industry and the content industry,” he added.

While various stakeholders disagree on what services such as Megaupload are required to do under the DMCA, removing the URLs only was not something unique to Megaupload.

In addition, Mansfield previously cited the “Dancing Baby” case where it was held that copyright holders should consider fair use before requesting a takedown. This means that removing an underlying file down may be too broad, as fair use isn’t considered for all URLs.

Overall the defense believes that Megaupload and its employees enjoy safe harbor protection and can’t be held criminally liable for copyright infringement. As such, there is no extraditable offense.

Mr. Mansfield closes his argument by highlighting the unprecedented nature of this case, which has been ongoing for nearly five years.

“Today marks 1730 days since 20 January 2012, when the New Zealand police effectively dropped from the sky and conducted the search of Mr. Dotcom’s home. And at that point they then sought about arresting him. The officers were disguised, armed and left him and his family effectively bereft of assets and income,” Mansfield said.

Mr. Mansfield

mansfield

Mansfield describes the U.S. litigation strategy as an aggressive one and argues that the failure to accept and review critical evidence deprived Kim Dotcom of a fair trial.

“Sportsmanship in a court of law is called fairness and the United States conduct has in our submission both been unlawful and unreasonable and the tactics they have adopted have been unfair and prevented Mr. Dotcom and the other appellants from having the benefit of a fair hearing.”

“He simply has not had a fair go. And we do ask that your honor considers the submissions which have been presented, because, in effect, after that period of time, after 1730 days it would be the first time there is a meaningful judicial assessment of the facts and of the submissions presented,” Mansfield concluded.

While the primary hearings are over, there are still some smaller details to work out and it is expected to take several weeks before New Zealand High Court reaches a decision. However, Kim Dotcom is confident that he’s on the winning site and congratulated his lawyers.

“I like to thank my legal team for an excellent job. My 5 children will grow up around their father thanks to your brilliance. I’m grateful,” Dotcom posted on Twitter a few hours ago.

Whatever the outcome, it’s unlikely that the case will stop at the High Court. Given the gravity of the case, both the United States and the Megaupload defendants are likely to take it all the way to the Supreme Court if the decision doesn’t go their way.

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

uTorrent’s New Altruistic Mode Ensures You Give More Than You Take

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/utorrent-altruistic-mode-ensures-you-give-more-than-you-take-160928/

utorrent-logo-newAs the name suggests, file-sharing is all about sharing. In the old days this would be achieved by having folders full of files that anyone could take. These days, with BitTorrent’s distributed nature, it’s more about sharing content and associated bandwidth.

With that in mind, good torrent etiquette dictates that one always shares at least as much as one downloads. So, if a file is 1GB in size, it’s accepted that the user should try to share 1GB back. This is known as a 1:1 ratio. Those who upload 2GB will achieve a 2:1 ratio and those aiming for 3:1 will need to upload 3GB to others.

Generally, the more people upload the healthier the swarm, so with that in mind BitTorrent Inc. has just introduced an interesting feature to new builds of their uTorrent and BitTorrent clients. It’s called Altruistic Mode and manages to be both straightforward and somewhat confusing.

Essentially, Altruistic Mode is aimed at users who want to absolutely guarantee that they are always maintaining a 2:1 ratio (2GB uploaded for every 1GB downloaded). At first view one might think that the same goal could be achieved by downloading 1GB and letting the client seed 2GB back. However, that relies on others joining the swarm later and as mentioned earlier, Altruistic Mode wants to guarantee a 2:1 ratio, not just aim for one.

So how is this achieved? Well, in normal situations torrent clients always upload as much as they can anyway, so Altruistic Mode achieves its goals by downloading less.

The initially confusing end result here is that people who enable Altruistic Mode could find that due to their client’s insistence on maintaining a 2:1 ratio, the torrent they’re downloading might never complete. It is called Altruistic Mode for a reason and when seen in that light, the importance of a finished download places second to a healthy swarm.

altruistic-mode

BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen says that the effects of Altruistic Mode on a torrent will depend on how that torrent would behave in the same swarm in regular ‘download’ mode.

– If Download Mode would upload at a greater than 2:1 ratio then an Altruistic Mode peer will have very similar behavior.

– If Download Mode would upload at a ratio between 2:1 and 1:1 then Altruistic Mode will upload less and download a lot less than Download Mode would, resulting in a 2:1 upload to download ratio.

– If Download Mode would upload at a ratio of less than 1:1 then Altruistic Mode will do very little uploading or downloading.

“The precise definition of Altruistic Mode is that it initially downloads two pieces and after that, every time it uploads two pieces worth of data it downloads one more,” Cohen explains.

“This is a simple and reliable strategy for making sure that you never get much worse than a 2:1 ratio. It results in all the behaviors described above, which do have some technical caveats….but the essential message is right in every case.”

Cohen says that a 2:1 ratio was considered a logical choice, particularly given that a 3:1 ratio or higher has the potential to impose severe restrictions on some swarms. Ironically, if too many people decide to act selflessly and turn the feature on in the same swarm, everyone’s download may never complete.

“Going for a higher number [than 2:1] could also cause swarms to no longer have a complete copy of the file if too many peers are in Altruistic Mode, which would harm not just the one peer in Altruistic Mode but other peers as well,” Cohen explains.

“Because of this, we feel that a 2:1 ratio is a sweet spot and aren’t offering any user configuration options for it. You may get ratios of greater than 2:1 in Altruistic Mode, but in those cases you could have used regular Download Mode and gotten the same results.”

For those not familiar with how BitTorrent works (and certainly many casual users), Altruistic Mode is a bit of a head-scratcher, to say the least. And, given the prospect that a download might never complete with it switched on, it seems unlikely that swarms will be inundated with clients using the mode.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting addition to the uTorrent and Mainline BitTorrent clients and described as “an experiment” that could be further developed.

“If this goes well we may roll out another feature in the future where a peer starts out in Altruistic Mode and later switches to regular Download Mode, which would not change the upload ratio significantly but would help other peers download faster at the beginning, so peers who want to get a complete file eventually but aren’t in a rush can allow other peers who care about getting it sooner to finish first,” Cohen concludes.

Altruistic Mode is available in uTorrent 3.4.9 and above, and BitTorrent 7.9.9 and above. It is turned off by default but can be unlocked in Preferences/BitTorrent and then activated for individual torrents.

More information can be found here.

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

Cloudflare: We Can’t Shut Down Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-we-cant-stop-pirate-sites-160927/

cloudflareAs one of the leading CDN and DDoS protection services, Cloudflare is used by millions of websites across the globe.

This includes thousands of “pirate” sites, including The Pirate Bay, who rely on the U.S. based company to keep server loads down.

Copyright holders are generally not happy that Cloudflare is doing business with these sites. While most stop at complaining, adult entertainment outfit ALS Scan took the matter to court.

In a complaint filed at a California federal court two months ago, the company accused the CDN service of various counts of copyright and trademark infringement. ALS listed several copyright-infringing websites Cloudflare does business with, but which it allegedly failed to terminate as clients.

Yesterday, Cloudflare responded to the allegations (pdf), arguing that ALS Scan has no legal grounds to come after them. For this reason, they say the entire case should be dismissed.

Among other things, Cloudflare argues that they are not liable for contributory copyright infringement. Even if it wanted to, it couldn’t take any measures to effectively stop pirate sites from operating.

“CloudFlare is not the operator of the allegedly infringing sites but is merely one of the many intermediaries across the internet that provide automated CDN services, which result in the websites in question loading a bit faster than they would if they did not utilize CDN services.”

If Cloudflare terminated the accounts of allegedly infringing websites, the sites themselves would still continue to exist. It would just require a simple DNS reconfiguration to continue their operation.

“Indeed, there are no measures of any kind that CloudFlare could take to prevent this alleged infringement, because the termination of CloudFlare’s CDN services would have no impact on the existence and ability of these allegedly infringing websites to continue to operate,” Cloudflare writes.

As such, the company argues that it’s not “materially contributing” to any of the alleged copyright infringements.

This role puts Cloudflare on par with other third party service providers such as domain registrars and advertisers. The question of whether these services can be held liable for pirate sites is at the heart of this case.

The CDN provider further stresses that the claims for contributory copyright infringement also fail under the under the “inducement” theory.

Under the Grokster ruling, inducement would require an intentional form of advertising or messaging where the public is encouraged to infringe. This is not the case here, the company argues.

“Here, ALS has pleaded no facts regarding such a theory. Instead, ALS makes only conclusory allegations using the term inducement, devoid of any factual support,” Cloudflare writes.

“For instance, ALS Scan does not plead (as it must) facts sufficient to allege that CloudFlare solicited, advertised, promoted or rewarded acts of direct infringement by others, or that CloudFlare was created for the purpose of facilitating mass copyright infringement.”

In addition to the above, Cloudflare says that ALS fails to state proper claims other forms of copyright and trademark infringement, asking the court to dismiss the case.

Advertising network JuicyAds, which is also named in the suit, requested the same earlier this month. All parties will have a chance to defend their positions in a court hearing, after which the court will have to decide how to continue.

With theoretical damages that can run to dozens of millions of dollars and well as broad liability implications, it’s expected to become a heated fight.

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

Dotcom Petitions Appeals Court For Rehearing Over Seized Millions

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dotcom-petitions-appeals-court-for-rehearing-over-seized-millions-160927/

As Megaupload was being shutdown in 2012, authorities in the United States, New Zealand and Hong Kong swooped on millions of dollars in cash and other property.

The US government said that these considerable assets were the product of copyright infringement and money laundering. As a result, sweeping steps were taken to take control of bank accounts and other property belonging to the defendants in the so-called Mega Conspiracy.

After meeting with stiff opposition when attempting to extradite Dotcom and his co-defendants, the US Government branded them fugitives from justice and subsequently won a legal battle to seize their millions.

Soon after, Megaupload’s legal team filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, that ended in disappointment last month when a three-judge panel at the Fourth Circuit handed down a two to one decision against Dotcom.

The Fourth Circuit upheld the decision of the lower court, dismissing the argument that the seizure order against Dotcom’s assets had no jurisdiction and finding that as a fugitive, the Megaupload founder had no standing to reclaim his assets. With more than $67m at stake, that was a particularly big deal.

At the time, Dotcom vowed to fight back and yesterday the first stage of that process began. Headed by Ira Rothken, Dotcom’s US legal defense announced that they had filed a Petition to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing and rehearing en banc on the issues of forfeiture and fugitive disentitlement.

“Petitioners seek en banc review of a 2-1 ruling that conflicts with the precedents of this Court, the Supreme Court, and other circuits on issues of importance to the scope of federal jurisdiction over foreign property and civil forfeiture law,” the filing begins (pdf).

The petition goes on to highlight the gravity of the matter – the largest criminal copyright case in U.S. history – and notes that the US government acted aggressively by seizing property first and then relying on the doctrine of “fugitive disentitlement” to achieve forfeiture without having a trial on the merits.

Noting that the decision of the Fourth Circuit panel was not unanimous (Judge Floyd dissented), Dotcom’s team says that the ruling conflicts with precedents of both the Fourth Circuit and the Supreme Court.

“[U]nder this Court’s precedent, ‘[o]nly if the court has exclusive custody and control over the property does it have jurisdiction over the property so as to be able to adjudicate rights in it that are binding against the world,” the petition reads.

Noting that the property in question is controlled by foreign courts that are not compelled to comply with a U.S. forfeiture order, the petition describes the ruling as both a “hypothetical judgment” and an “unconstitutional advisory opinion.”

“En banc review is needed to ensure uniformity in this Court’s decisions, and to avoid a conflict with Supreme Court precedent,” it adds.

Finally, the petition underlines the claims Dotcom has been making from the beginning, that the US Government is abusing its powers in order to gain unfair advantage over citizens of foreign countries that have never set foot on US soil.

“By stacking allegations of fugitive status on top of allegations of forfeitability, the government can obtain an unprecedented, roving worldwide license to indict foreign citizens who have never lived or worked in the United States and forfeit their foreign property — all without proving any wrongdoing or having control over the property,” it warns. “Review is warranted.”

Whether a rehearing will be granted remains to be seen but Dotcom says he intends to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

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

YouTube-MP3 Ripping Site Sued By IFPI, RIAA and BPI

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-mp3-ripping-site-sued-by-ifpi-riaa-and-bpi-160926/

Two weeks ago, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry published research which claimed that half of 16 to 24-year-olds use stream-ripping tools to copy music from sites like YouTube.

The industry group said that the problem of stream-ripping has become so serious that in volume terms it had overtaken downloading from ‘pirate’ sites. Given today’s breaking news, the timing of the report was no coincidence.

Earlier today in a California District Court, a huge coalition of recording labels sued the world’s largest YouTube ripping site. UMG Recordings, Capitol Records, Warner Bros, Sony Music, Arista Records, Atlantic Records and several others claim that YouTube-MP3 (YTMP3), owner Philip Matesanz, and Does 1-10 have infringed their rights.

“YTMP3 rapidly and seamlessly removes the audio tracks contained in videos streamed from YouTube that YTMP3’s users access, converts those audio tracks to an MP3 format, copies and stores them on YTMP3’s servers, and then distributes copies of the MP3 audio files from its servers to its users in the United States, enabling its users to download those MP3 files to their computers, tablets, or smartphones,” the complaint reads.

The labels allege that YouTube-MP3 is one of the most popular sites in the entire world and as a result its owner, German-based company PMD Technologies UG, is profiting handsomely from their intellectual property.

“Defendants are depriving Plaintiffs and their recording artists of the fruits of their labor, Defendants are profiting from the operation of the YTMP3 website. Through the promise of illicit delivery of free music, Defendants have attracted millions of users to the YTMP3 website, which in turn generates advertising revenues for Defendants,” the labels add.

And it’s very clear that the labels mean business. YouTube-MP3 is being sued for direct, contributory, vicarious and inducement of copyright infringement, plus circumvention of technological measures.

Among other things, the labels are also demanding a preliminary and permanent injunction forbidding the Defendants from further infringing their rights. They also want YouTube-MP3’s domain name to be surrendered.

“This is a coordinated action to protect the rights of artists and labels from the blatant infringements of YouTube-mp3, the world’s single-largest ‘stream ripping’ site,” says IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore.

“Music companies and digital services today offer fans more options than ever before to listen to music legally, when and where they want to do so – over hundreds of services with scores of millions of tracks – all while compensating artists and labels. Stream ripping sites should not be allowed jeopardize this.”

Cary Sherman, the Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) says that YouTube-MP3 is making money on the back of their business and needs to be stopped.

“This site is raking in millions on the backs of artists, songwriters and labels. We are doing our part, but everyone in the music ecosystem who says they believe that artists should be compensated for their work has a role to play,” Sherman says.

“It should not be so easy to engage in this activity in the first place, and no stream ripping site should appear at the top of any search result or app chart.”

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor says that it’s time for web services and related companies to stop supporting similar operations.

“It’s time to stop illegal sites like this building huge fortunes by ripping off artists and labels. Fans have access now to a fantastic range of legal music streaming services, but they can only exist if we take action to tackle the online black market,” Taylor says.

“We hope that responsible advertisers, search engines and hosting providers will also reflect on the ethics of supporting sites that enrich themselves by defrauding creators.”

TorrentFreak contacted YouTube-MP3 owner Philip Matesanz for comment but at the time of publication we were yet to receive a response.

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

Game Maker Thanks Reddit Pirates for Attention, Offers Discounts

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/game-maker-thanks-reddit-pirates-attention-offers-discounts-160926/

superbeatNo copyright holder will be happy to see their work being shared for free on pirate sites, if their income depends on it. However, how they respond can make quite a difference.

Every now and then we see artists and developers scolding or lecturing pirates. While such an emotional response is understandable, it’s usually counterproductive.

Although some casual pirates can be threatened, most usually get very defensive when rightsholders call out their behavior.

Perhaps unwittingly, the studio behind the popular Vita game SUPERBEAT XONiC took a more gentle approach. Taking a page from a reverse psychology handbook, they confronted pirates with positivity.

After noticing that several people were posting links to pirated copies of their game in the Vitahacks and VitaPiracy subreddits, PM Studios joined the discussion. Not with a tirade, but with kind words and a discount offer.

“We feel honored that you enjoy our game SUPERBEAT XONiC so much, we would like to invite you to take this opportunity to purchase it on sale at the Playstation Store,” they commented on severalthreads.

“You can enjoy the original game and show support to the team for just $15.99 (60% off), no Playstation Plus required! [link] Have a nice day!”

PM Studio’s response

discount

The people in the subreddit were pleasantly surprised by the response and created a thank you thread. This generated even more exposure including a write-up at Destructoid, with positive comments all around.

While we doubt that PM Studios appreciates the fact that people are downloading their game without paying for it, they do seem to realize that all these ‘pesky pirates’ are potential customers. Rightly so, as the most prolific pirates are often the people who buy a lot of games as well.

And with their positive response, the developers undoubtedly picked up a few extra purchases, as various self-proclaimed pirates suggest that they now plan to buy the game.

“I appreciate the ability to be able to download a game and give it a good run. Demos do not always sway purchasing decisions in the right way, for numerous reasons,” Mr_Cloud_Strife writes.

“When devs can look the offender right in the eye and say, ‘We are really happy that you enjoy the game! We have even discounted it for those that CHOOSE to purchase it.’ How can you say no?”

The response from the game developer works particularly well because it’s a relatively rare sight. However, one of the users who linked to a pirated version of SUPERBEAT XONiC believes others should follow suit.

“This is how all game studios should conduct themselves!” codemasterv writes.

PM Studios probably feels exactly the same, when they convert another pirate into a paying customer.

“This is how all pirates should conduct themselves….”

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

MacOS Sierra Breaks Popular Keygens, Pirate Finds Fix

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/macos-sierra-breaks-popular-keygens-pirate-finds-fix-160926/

core-keygenThose who prefer to pirate rather than pay for their software often face installation issues. These range from the very simple to the fairly complex, depending on the strength of the anti-piracy technology deployed by manufacturers.

At the lower end of the scale, users are sometimes required to input a fake serial number into their software. This is achieved by running a key generator or “keygen”, a tool bundled with a pirate release by the team who cracked it.

This is often straightforward but for users of the macOS Sierra, the latest update to the Mac operating system currently being rolled out by Apple, things are proving problematic.

When people try to run keygens and cracks that are bundled with many Mac pirate software releases, the tools break and offer the following error report.

“Termination Reason: EXEC, [0xc] This UPX compressed binary contains an invalid Mach-O header and cannot be loaded,” the message reads.

According to Mac Kung Fu, it is keygens’ reliance on a free multiplatform executable packer that is causing the issues.

“[The problem] occurs because the creators of the hacks and keygens use the popular open source UPX app to package their code but subsequently attempt to cover their tracks by erasing any mention of the app, including the vital markers to compressed data. This confuses macOS Sierra, causing the error,” the report notes.

Searches on popular torrent sites do indeed reveal a fairly widespread problem. In particular, there are many complaints noted by users of keygens published by popular piracy release group CORE.

upx-1

Several users commenting on CORE releases that have been uploaded to The Pirate Bay are reporting similar issues but the problems aren’t isolated in English-speaking areas. As suggested by the image below, the problem is widespread.

upx-2

UPX’s developers have been made aware of the issues since they affect more than just keygens and cracks. It’s reported that v3.92 of UPX will address the problem.

However, that won’t fix the broken keygens and cracks already available online. People who have already upgraded to MacOS Sierra will find that these tools won’t work, effectively taking that pirate software out of the marketplace for them.

But of course, pirates are an ingenious bunch and the thirst for free software is a great motivator. That has already prompted a user called zerocoolroot to find a fix, which reportedly works.

upx-3

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

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 09/26/16

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/top-10-pirated-movies-week-092616/

ghostbThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Ghostbusters 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.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (…) Ghostbusters 5.5 / trailer
2 (1) Captain America: Civil War 8.1 / trailer
3 (…) I.T. 5.4 / trailer
4 (2) X-Men: Apocalypse 6=7.8=3 / trailer
5 (…) Swiss Army Man 7.6 / trailer
6 (8) The Legend of Tarzan 6.4 / trailer
7 (4) Now You See Me 2 6.8 / trailer
8 (5) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 6.2 / trailer
9 (3) Alice Through The Looking Glass 6.4 / trailer
10 (6) The Shallows 6.6 / trailer

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

Man Likely to Sacrifice Himself Testing Streaming Piracy Limits

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/man-likely-to-sacrifice-himself-testing-streaming-piracy-limits-160925/

android-boxYear in, year out, people with an interest in Internet file-sharing discuss what is permissible under current legislation. It’s an important exercise if people are to stay on the right side of the law.

These discussions have historically taken place among enthusiasts but with the advent of easily accessible piracy tools such as Popcorn Time, modified Kodi, and Showbox, the man in the street his now taking part.

One individual that has provoked interest among the public is UK-based Brian ‘Tomo’ Thompson, who was previously raided by police and Trading Standards after selling “fully loaded” Android boxes from his shop in the north-east.

Thompson is now being prosecuted by his local council. He says he intends to fight back to discover where the boundaries lie for sellers of similar devices.

“All I want to know is whether I am doing anything illegal. I know it’s a grey area but I want it in black and white,” he said this week.

“I’m prepared to accept what the court decides but at the moment as far as I’m concerned I’m not breaking the law.”

There are many people who share Thompson’s opinion and there’s no shortage of supporters willing the Middlesbrough man on to victory against what some see as a vindictive prosecution.

But while this is indeed an attack on the little guy, Thompson is almost certainly about to sacrifice himself for little to no gain. Admittedly the case isn’t completely straightforward, but a conviction seems almost inevitable. Here’s why.

Hardware devices – whether a computer, Android phone, tablet, or in this case, a set-top box – are 100% legal. Anyone can buy, sell or trade such devices almost anywhere in the world with no issues.

Thompson knows this, describing the blank devices as “just like a big USB stick.” While not a great analogy, for the purposes of the law, that will suffice.

On its own, the Kodi media player is also 100% legal. Anyone can download, install, use or give away the software with no problems whatsoever. Installing Kodi on an Android device and selling it is legal almost everywhere and definitely legal in the UK.

If Thompson had only done the above – sell Android set-top boxes with basic Kodi installed – he would have no issues with the police or indeed Trading Standards. Individually and combined, the software and devices are completely non-infringing.

However, Thompson did not stop there. What he did was sold Android boxes with Kodi installed, plus all the extra third-party addons that allow people to view infringing movies, TV shows, live sports, plus all the other ‘goodies’ that buyers of these boxes demand. His adverts on Facebook make that very clear.

tomo-1

It is these third-party addons that make what Thompson did unlawful. Selling devices and/or software designed for infringing copying purposes is illegal in the UK. Encouraging others to break the law never goes in a defendant’s favor either.

According to The Northern Echo, since he was raided in March, Thompson has been selling boxes that do not have the addons installed.

“These boxes are available from all over the place, not just me, but it’s the downloading of software to watch channels that is apparently causing the problem,” he said.

But despite not offering them himself, the businessman continued to encourage his customers to install the addons on devices he supplied, despite being targeted twice previously by the authorities.

The advert below is currently available on Thompson’s Facebook page and many of the channels are subscription-only affairs. Judges rarely look kindly on people encouraging others to break the law, especially where big corporate interests are the perceived victims.

tomo-2

Finally, there is another issue that could negatively affect Thompson’s defense. In June 2015, a company called Geeky Kit was raided near to Thompson’s premises. That company was also targeted for selling fully-loaded Android boxes. That company’s storefront at the time of the raid is shown below.

The signage clearly states that items being sold within are being offered on the basis that they provide access to subscription TV package channels for free. Geeky Kit’s premises remained closed in the weeks that followed the raid but in August came a surprise announcement from Thompson.

tomo-3

Thompson is now set to appear before Magistrates’ Court next week in what will be a first-of-its-kind case. Much will hinge on the outcome, for Thompson and others in his position.

“This may have to go to the crown court and then it may go all the way to the European court, but I want to make a point with this and I want to make it easier for people to know what it legal and what isn’t,” he said. “I expect it go against me but at least I will know where I stand.”

While some definitive legal clarity in this area would help thousands of people to understand where the boundaries lie with these boxes, one can’t help but think that this is a particularly bad case for testing the waters.

Whether it will go entirely against Thompson next week remains to be seen, but if he wins the case and boxes with addons are declared legal to sell, it will be nothing short of a miracle. Companies like Sky, Premier League, and the Federation Against Copyright Theft, will rightly go into meltdown.

“It is the first case of its kind in the world so it is going to be interesting,” Thompson concludes.

He’s not wrong there.

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

Court: Uploaded Can’t Ignore ‘Spam’ Copyright Notices

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/court-uploaded-cant-ignore-spam-copyright-notices-160925/

uploadedlogoWith millions of visitors per month, Uploaded is one of the largest file-hosting services on the Internet.

Like many of its ‘cloud hosting’ competitors, the service is also used to share copyright infringing material, which is a thorn in the side of various copyright holder groups.

In Germany this has resulted in several lawsuits, where copyright holders want Uploaded to be held liable for files that are shared by its users, if they fail to respond properly to takedown notices.

In one of these cases the court has now clarified that Uploaded can even be held liable for copyright infringement if those messages are never read, due to an overactive ‘spam’ filter.

The case was started several years ago by anti-piracy company proMedia GmbH, which sent a takedown notice to Uploaded on behalf of a record label. The notice asked the site to remove a specific file, but that never happened.

Uploaded, in its defense, argued that it had never seen the takedown notice. It was flagged by its DDoS protection system and directly sent to a spam folder. As such, the notice in question was never read.

Last week the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg ruled on the case. It affirmed an earlier ruling from the Regional Court of Hamburg, concluding that Uploaded can be held liable, spam or no spam.

The court argued that because Uploaded’s anti-DDoS system willingly created a “cemetery for emails,” they can be treated as if they had knowledge of the takedown notices. This decision is now final.

Anja Heller, attorney at the German law firm Rasch which represented the plaintiff, is happy with the outcome in this case.

“File-hosters have to handle their inboxes for abuse notices very carefully. On the one hand they cannot easily claim not having received a notice. On the other hand they have to check blacklisted notices on a regular basis,” she says.

The current lawsuit dealt exclusively with the liability question, so the copyright owners have to file a separate proceeding if they want to obtain damages.

However, together with previous liability verdicts, it definitely makes it harder for file-hosters to operate without a solid anti-piracy strategy.

“The verdict once again shows the high demands German courts place on file-hosters, which are not only obliged to take down links immediately after having received a notice, but have to keep their services clean from infringing content as well,” Heller concludes.

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

TPBClean: A ‘Safe for Work’ Pirate Bay Without Porn

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/tpbclean-safe-work-pirate-bay-without-porn-160925/

tpbcleanOver the years, regular Pirate Bay visitors have seen plenty of scarcely dressed girls being featured on the site.

The XXX category has traditionally been one of the largest, and TPB’s ads can show quite a bit of flesh as well. While there are many people who see this adult themed content as a feature, not everyone appreciates it.

This didn’t go unnoticed to “MrClean,” a developer with quite a bit of experience when it comes to torrent proxy sites.

He was recently confronted with the issue when several Indian programmers he tried to hire for torrent related projects refused to work on a site that listed porn and other nudity.

“Over fifty percent of those contacted refused to work on the project, not for copyright related reasons, but because they didn’t want to work on a project that had ANY links with adult content,” MrClean tells TF.

Apparently, there is a need for pornless torrent sites, so “MrClean” decided to make a sanitized torrent site for these proper folks. This is how the TPBClean proxy site was born.

“Since TPB is now the biggest torrent site again, I figured there might be people with similar feelings toward adult content that would appreciate a clean version of the bay,” MrClean explains.

TPBClean is a direct proxy of all Pirate Bay torrents, minus those in the porn categories. In addition, the site has a customized look, without any ads.

“Although many TPB users don’t mind tits in their face while searching the top 100, TPBClean users will have a more ‘Safe For Work’ experience,” MrClean notes.

People who try searching for XXX content get the following response instead. “Any Explicit/Adult Content has been Removed 🙂” We did some test searches and it appears to work quite well.

XXX filtered

noxxx

The Pirate Bay team can usually appreciate inventive creative expressions, although they might find it hard to believe that anyone would be interested in a torrent site without porn.

In any case, MrClean says that he doesn’t mean to do any harm to the original Pirate Bay, which he full-heartedly supports. And thus far the public response has mainly been positive as well.

“Finally a PirateBay you can browse with your granny!” Pirate Bay proxy portal UKBay tweeted excitingly.

granny

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

ISPs Offered Service to “Protect Safe Harbor” Under DMCA

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/isps-offered-service-to-protect-safe-harbor-under-dmca-160924/

warningEarly August, a federal court in Virginia found Internet service provider Cox Communications liable for copyright infringements carried out by its customers.

The ISP was found guilty of willful contributory copyright infringement and ordered to pay music publisher BMG Rights Management $25 million in damages.

The case was first filed in 2014 after it was alleged that Cox failed to pass on infringement notices sent to the ISP by anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp. It was determined that the ISP had also failed to take firm action against repeat infringers.

Although the decision is still open to appeal, the ruling has ISPs in the United States on their toes. None will want to fall into the same trap as Cox and are probably handling infringement complaints carefully as a result. This is where Colorado-based Subsentio wants to step in.

Subsentio specializes in helping companies meet their obligations under CALEA, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, a wiretapping law passed in 1994. It believes these skills can also help ISPs to retain their safe harbor protection under the DMCA.

This week Subsentio launched DMCA Records Production, a service that gives ISPs the opportunity to outsource the sending and management of copyright infringement notices.

“With the average ISP receiving thousands of notices every month from owners of copyrighted content, falling behind on DMCA procedural obligations is not an option,” says Martin McDermott, Chief Operating Officer at Subsentio.

“The record award of US$25 million paid by one ISP for DMCA violations last year was a ‘wake-up call’ — service providers that fail to take this law seriously can face the same legal and financial consequences.”

Subsentio Legal Services Manager Michael Allison informs TorrentFreak that increasing levels of DMCA notices received by ISPs need to be handled effectively.

“Since content owners leverage bots to crawl the internet for copyrighted content, the volume of DMCA claims falling at the footsteps of ISPs has been on the rise. The small to mid-level ISPs receive hundreds to thousands of claims per month,” Allison says.

“This volume may be too high to add to the responsibilities of a [network operations center] or abuse team. At the same time, the volume might not constitute the hiring of a full-time employee or staff.”

Allison says that his company handles legal records production for a number of ISP clients and part of that process involves tying allegedly infringing IP addresses and timestamps to ISP subscribers.

“The logistics behind tying a target IP address and timestamp to a specific subscriber is usually an administrative and laborious process. But it’s a method we’re familiar with and it’s a procedure that’s inherent to processing any DMCA claim.”

Allison says that the Cox decision put ISPs on notice that they must have a defined policy addressing DMCA claims, including provisions for dealing with repeat infringers, up to and including termination. He believes the Subsentio system can help ISPs achieve those goals.

“[Our system] automatically creates a unique case for each legal request received, facilitates document generation, notates actions taken on the case, and allows for customized reporting via any number of variables tied to the case,” Allison explains.

“By creating a case for each DMCA claim received, we can track ISP subscribers for repeat offenses, apply escalation measures when needed, and alert ISPs when a subscriber has met the qualifications for termination.”

TF understands that many of Subsentio’s current clients are small to mid-size regional ISPs in the United States so whether any of the big national ISPs will get involved remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it’s quite possible that the formalizing and outsourcing of subscriber warnings will lead to customers of some smaller ISPs enjoying significantly less slack than they’ve become accustomed to.

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

German Library Claims Copyright on “Nazi Anthem,” Censors Documentary on YouTube

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/german-library-claims-copyright-nazi-anthem-censors-documentary-youtube-160924/

docudownWhen it comes to Nazi propaganda, Germany has an extensive censorship track record. After the Second World War it was policy to ban all Nazi propaganda, most famously Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Even today the issue is still a hot topic. For example, earlier this week our attention was drawn towards a rather unusual censorship effort on behalf of the German National Library.

With help from BR:Enter Music, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek sent a takedown request to YouTube, targeting the historical 2006 documentary You Don’t Know Hitler.

The film in question serves as a reminder of the horrors Hitler brought forth. It is composed of historical material and other propaganda footage, including clips from Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 film Triumph of the Will.

The content that triggered the takedown request is a version of the infamous Horst Wessel Lied, also known to a wider public as the Nazi Anthem. According to the claim, the library owns the right to the recording.

Documentarian and filmmaker James K. Lambert informs TorrentFreak that this is not the first time that his film has been targeted, but usually these claims are dropped when he protests them.

“The complete film has been posted for nearly four years and I periodically get claims against me from companies who say they own this sound recording or that image. These false claims were always dropped once I pushed back.”

Copyright claim

german-national-library-youtube

This time, however, that was not enough. The National German Library insists that the film infringes on their rights and as a result the filmmaker has been slapped with a copyright strike.

“According to BR Enter, DNB owns the ‘sound recording’ rights to this track, ‘Version 11’ specifically, which is allegedly the version I used in my film when I extracted it from the Nazi propaganda documentary, Triumph Of The Will.”

While it seems strange that the German state would own the rights to a 87-year-old song it didn’t produce, the issue is a bit of a minefield. Over the years, Germany has indeed obtained the copyrights to a lot of Nazi propaganda, some of which are still enforceable today.

On the other hand, there is a long history of denying Nazi copyrights or permitting its use, starting with the US Government which sanctioned it in Frank Capra’s counter propaganda series Why We Fight.

What’s clear, however, is that after all these years Nazi copyrights are still being enforced. This is something Lambert is fiercely protesting. According to the documentarian, people have the right to see history for what it was.

“Nazi propaganda is part of the criminal record of their Crimes Against Humanity; they are not marketable commodities that should exclusively belong to anyone,” Lambert tells us.

To get his documentary reinstated Lambert submitted a counter-notice which he documented in detail in a lengthy blog post. According to Lambert the song he used is in the public domain and even if it isn’t, it would fall under fair use.

TorrentFreak contacted both BR:Enter and the National German Library several days ago asking for comment on the issue. However, at the time of publication we have yet to hear back.

Lambert hopes that his counterclaim will be accepted and that the documentary will be reinstated soon. For the future, he hopes that YouTube will improve its processes so it can better deal with these fair use cases, keeping the rights of documentarians in mind.

“This matter should never have reached this absurd point. YouTube should not have given unquestioned deference to BR Enter Music’s claim against me and my documentary should not have been taken down from YouTube.

“I hope this counter-claim will finally resolve this matter and restore the video to my channel because I am completely within my rights to have made this film and to publicly show it to others,” Lambert concludes.

For those who are interested, Lambert’s documentary You Don’t Know Hitler is still available on Vimeo.

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

Mexican Police Target Popular KickassTorrents ‘Clone,’ Seize Domain

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mexican-police-target-popular-kickasstorrents-clone-seize-domain-160923/

kickasstorrents_500x500Two months ago KickassTorrents (KAT) was shut down by the U.S. Government, following the arrest of the site’s alleged owner.

Soon after the official site went offline various mirrors and clones launched to take its place, to the pleasure of hundreds of thousands of users.

One of the most popular mirrors started as KAT.am. While this domain name was swiftly seized, and later picked up by scammers, the initial site continued to operate from kickass.cd and kickass.mx.

However, this week the site got in trouble again. Without prior notice the .MX domain name was taken out of circulation by the registry, following an intervention from Mexico’s federal police.

The authorities say they were tipped off by copyright holders and wasted no time in containing the threat.

“This action took place after various distribution companies reported intellectual property infringements. In response, staff at the Center for Prevention of Electronic Crimes started a cyber intelligence operation to locate the source where this crime was committed,” the federal police reported.

“Currently the website is out of service, and our research continues to locate the administrators,” they added.

Although there is no doubt that Kickass.mx is offline, in a rather confusing press release police keep referring to kickass.com.mx, which appears to be an unrelated website.

TorrentFreak reached out to the operator of the Kickass.mx “clone,” which is really just a Pirate Bay mirror with a KickassTorrents skin, who was surprised by the domain seizure.

“The suspension of the MX TLD was very unexpected and came as a shock to us because we used EasyDNS to register the domain name,” the Kickass.mx operator says.

EasyDNS has a track record of standing up against domain seizures and suspensions that are requested without a proper court order. However, in this case EasyDNS was bypassed as the police went directly to the MX domain registry.

“Their team is trying to get into touch with the Mexican registry to get the domain back though any positive development in this regard seems unlikely,” the operator adds.

For now, the KAT-themed site remains available from the Kickass.cd domain and more backup domains are expected to follow in the near future, probably without Mexican ties.

“We already have three more TLDs and plan to set up mirror sites on them to increase resilience,” he concludes.

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

Mitchell: The MIT License, Line by Line

Post Syndicated from n8willis original http://lwn.net/Articles/701758/rss

At his blog, Kyle E. Mitchell (“who is not your attorney“) takes a close, line-by-line reading of the popular MIT software license. The details he points out begin on line one with the license’s title: “‘The MIT License’ is a not a single license, but a family of license forms derived from language prepared for releases from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has seen a lot of changes over the years, both for the original projects that used it, and also as a model for other projects. The Fedora Project maintains a kind of cabinet of MIT license curiosities, with insipid variations preserved in plain text like anatomical specimens in formaldehyde, tracing a wayward kind of evolution.

Despite the license being only 171 words, Mitchell finds quite a bit to expand on, such as the ambiguities of the phrase “to deal in the Software without restriction”: “As a result of this mishmash of legal, industry, general-intellectual-property, and general-use terms, it isn’t clear whether The MIT License includes a patent license. The general language ‘deal in’ and some of the example verbs, especially ‘use’, point toward a patent license, albeit a very unclear one. The fact that the license comes from the copyright holder, who may or may not have patent rights in inventions in the software, as well as most of the example verbs and the definition of ‘the Software’ itself, all point strongly toward a copyright license.” Nevertheless, Mitchell notes, “despite some crusty verbiage and lawyerly affectation, one hundred and seventy one little words can get a hell of a lot of legal work done.”