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Digitising film reels with Pi Film Capture

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/digitising-reels-pi-film-capture/

Joe Herman’s Pi Film Capture project combines old projectors and a stepper motor with a Raspberry Pi and a Raspberry Pi Camera Module, to transform his grandfather’s 8- and 16-mm home movies into glorious digital films.

We chatted to him about his Pi Film Capture build at Maker Faire New York 2016:

Film to Digital Conversion at Maker Faire New York 2016

Uploaded by Raspberry Pi on 2017-08-25.

What inspired Pi Film Capture?

Joe’s grandfather, Leo Willmott, loved recording home movies of his family of eight children and their grandchildren. He passed away when Joe was five, but in 2013 Joe found a way to connect with his legacy: while moving house, a family member uncovered a box of more than a hundred of Leo’s film reels. These covered decades of family history, and some dated back as far as 1939.

Super 8 film reels

Kodachrome film reels of the type Leo used

This provided an unexpected opportunity for Leo’s family to restore some of their shared history. Joe immediately made plans to digitise the material, knowing that the members of his extensive family tree would provide an eager audience.

Building Pi Film Capture

After a failed attempt with a DSLR camera, Joe realised he couldn’t simply re-film the movies — instead, he would have to capture each frame individually. He combined a Raspberry Pi with an old Super 8 projector, and set about rigging up something to do just that.

He went through numerous stages of prototyping, and his final hardware setup works very well. A NEMA 17 stepper motor  moves the film reel forward in the projector. A magnetic reed switch triggers the Camera Module each time the reel moves on to the next frame. Joe hacked the Camera Module so that it has a different focal distance, and he also added a magnifying lens. Moreover, he realised it would be useful to have a diffuser to ‘smooth’ some of the faults in the aged film reel material. To do this, he mounted “a bit of translucent white plastic from an old ceiling fixture” parallel with the film.

Pi Film Capture device by Joe Herman

Joe’s 16-mm projector, with embedded Raspberry Pi hardware

Software solutions

In addition to capturing every single frame (sometimes with multiple exposure settings), Joe found that he needed intensive post-processing to restore some of the films. He settled on sending the images from the Pi to a more powerful Linux machine. To enable processing of the raw data, he had to write Python scripts implementing several open-source software packages. For example, to deal with the varying quality of the film reels more easily, Joe implemented a GUI (written with the help of PyQt), which he uses to change the capture parameters. This was a demanding job, as he was relatively new to using these tools.

Top half of GUI for Pi Film Capture Joe Herman

The top half of Joe’s GUI, because the whole thing is really long and really thin and would have looked weird on the blog…

If a frame is particularly damaged, Joe can capture multiple instances of the image at different settings. These are then merged to achieve a good-quality image using OpenCV functionality. Joe uses FFmpeg to stitch the captured images back together into a film. Some of his grandfather’s reels were badly degraded, but luckily Joe found scripts written by other people to perform advanced digital restoration of film with AviSynth. He provides code he has written for the project on his GitHub account.

For an account of the project in his own words, check out Joe’s guest post on the IEEE Spectrum website. He also described some of the issues he encountered, and how he resolved them, in The MagPi.

What does Pi Film Capture deliver?

Joe provides videos related to Pi Film Capture on two sites: on his YouTube channel, you’ll find videos in which he has documented the build process of his digitising project. Final results of the project live on Joe’s Vimeo channel, where so far he has uploaded 55 digitised home videos.

m093a: Tom Herman Wedding, Detroit 8/10/63

Shot on 8mm by Leo Willmott, captured and restored by Joe Herman (Not a Wozniak film, but placed in that folder b/c it may be of interest to Hermans)

We’re beyond pleased that our tech is part of this amazing project, helping to reconnect the entire Herman/Willmott clan with their past. And it was great to be able to catch up with Joe, and talk about his build at Maker Faire last year!

Maker Faire New York 2017

We’ll be at Maker Faire New York again on the 23-24 September, and we can’t wait to see the amazing makes the Raspberry Pi community will be presenting there!

Are you going to be at MFNY to show off your awesome Pi-powered project? Tweet us, so we can meet up, check it out and share your achievements!

The post Digitising film reels with Pi Film Capture appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

AWS Earns Department of Defense Impact Level 5 Provisional Authorization

Post Syndicated from Chris Gile original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/aws-earns-department-of-defense-impact-level-5-provisional-authorization/

AWS GovCloud (US) Region image

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has granted the AWS GovCloud (US) Region an Impact Level 5 (IL5) Department of Defense (DoD) Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (CC SRG) Provisional Authorization (PA) for six core services. This means that AWS’s DoD customers and partners can now deploy workloads for Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) exceeding IL4 and for unclassified National Security Systems (NSS).

We have supported sensitive Defense community workloads in the cloud for more than four years, and this latest IL5 authorization is complementary to our FedRAMP High Provisional Authorization that covers 18 services in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region. Our customers now have the flexibility to deploy any range of IL 2, 4, or 5 workloads by leveraging AWS’s services, attestations, and certifications. For example, when the US Air Force needed compute scale to support the Next Generation GPS Operational Control System Program, they turned to AWS.

In partnership with a certified Third Party Assessment Organization (3PAO), an independent validation was conducted to assess both our technical and nontechnical security controls to confirm that they meet the DoD’s stringent CC SRG standards for IL5 workloads. Effective immediately, customers can begin leveraging the IL5 authorization for the following six services in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region:

AWS has been a long-standing industry partner with DoD, federal-agency customers, and private-sector customers to enhance cloud security and policy. We continue to collaborate on the DoD CC SRG, Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and other government requirements to ensure that policy makers enact policies to support next-generation security capabilities.

In an effort to reduce the authorization burden of our DoD customers, we’ve worked with DISA to port our assessment results into an easily ingestible format by the Enterprise Mission Assurance Support Service (eMASS) system. Additionally, we undertook a separate effort to empower our industry partners and customers to efficiently solve their compliance, governance, and audit challenges by launching the AWS Customer Compliance Center, a portal providing a breadth of AWS-specific compliance and regulatory information.

We look forward to providing sustained cloud security and compliance support at scale for our DoD customers and adding additional services within the IL5 authorization boundary. See AWS Services in Scope by Compliance Program for updates. To request access to AWS’s DoD security and authorization documentation, contact AWS Sales and Business Development. For a list of frequently asked questions related to AWS DoD SRG compliance, see the AWS DoD SRG page.

To learn more about the announcement in this post, tune in for the AWS Automating DoD SRG Impact Level 5 Compliance in AWS GovCloud (US) webinar on October 11, 2017, at 11:00 A.M. Pacific Time.

– Chris Gile, Senior Manager, AWS Public Sector Risk & Compliance

 

 

Announcing the Winners of the AWS Chatbot Challenge – Conversational, Intelligent Chatbots using Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda

Post Syndicated from Tara Walker original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/announcing-the-winners-of-the-aws-chatbot-challenge-conversational-intelligent-chatbots-using-amazon-lex-and-aws-lambda/

A couple of months ago on the blog, I announced the AWS Chatbot Challenge in conjunction with Slack. The AWS Chatbot Challenge was an opportunity to build a unique chatbot that helped to solve a problem or that would add value for its prospective users. The mission was to build a conversational, natural language chatbot using Amazon Lex and leverage Lex’s integration with AWS Lambda to execute logic or data processing on the backend.

I know that you all have been anxiously waiting to hear announcements of who were the winners of the AWS Chatbot Challenge as much as I was. Well wait no longer, the winners of the AWS Chatbot Challenge have been decided.

May I have the Envelope Please? (The Trumpets sound)

The winners of the AWS Chatbot Challenge are:

  • First Place: BuildFax Counts by Joe Emison
  • Second Place: Hubsy by Andrew Riess, Andrew Puch, and John Wetzel
  • Third Place: PFMBot by Benny Leong and his team from MoneyLion.
  • Large Organization Winner: ADP Payroll Innovation Bot by Eric Liu, Jiaxing Yan, and Fan Yang

 

Diving into the Winning Chatbot Projects

Let’s take a walkthrough of the details for each of the winning projects to get a view of what made these chatbots distinctive, as well as, learn more about the technologies used to implement the chatbot solution.

 

BuildFax Counts by Joe Emison

The BuildFax Counts bot was created as a real solution for the BuildFax company to decrease the amount the time that sales and marketing teams can get answers on permits or properties with permits meet certain criteria.

BuildFax, a company co-founded by bot developer Joe Emison, has the only national database of building permits, which updates data from approximately half of the United States on a monthly basis. In order to accommodate the many requests that come in from the sales and marketing team regarding permit information, BuildFax has a technical sales support team that fulfills these requests sent to a ticketing system by manually writing SQL queries that run across the shards of the BuildFax databases. Since there are a large number of requests received by the internal sales support team and due to the manual nature of setting up the queries, it may take several days for getting the sales and marketing teams to receive an answer.

The BuildFax Counts chatbot solves this problem by taking the permit inquiry that would normally be sent into a ticket from the sales and marketing team, as input from Slack to the chatbot. Once the inquiry is submitted into Slack, a query executes and the inquiry results are returned immediately.

Joe built this solution by first creating a nightly export of the data in their BuildFax MySQL RDS database to CSV files that are stored in Amazon S3. From the exported CSV files, an Amazon Athena table was created in order to run quick and efficient queries on the data. He then used Amazon Lex to create a bot to handle the common questions and criteria that may be asked by the sales and marketing teams when seeking data from the BuildFax database by modeling the language used from the BuildFax ticketing system. He added several different sample utterances and slot types; both custom and Lex provided, in order to correctly parse every question and criteria combination that could be received from an inquiry.  Using Lambda, Joe created a Javascript Lambda function that receives information from the Lex intent and used it to build a SQL statement that runs against the aforementioned Athena database using the AWS SDK for JavaScript in Node.js library to return inquiry count result and SQL statement used.

The BuildFax Counts bot is used today for the BuildFax sales and marketing team to get back data on inquiries immediately that previously took up to a week to receive results.

Not only is BuildFax Counts bot our 1st place winner and wonderful solution, but its creator, Joe Emison, is a great guy.  Joe has opted to donate his prize; the $5,000 cash, the $2,500 in AWS Credits, and one re:Invent ticket to the Black Girls Code organization. I must say, you rock Joe for helping these kids get access and exposure to technology.

 

Hubsy by Andrew Riess, Andrew Puch, and John Wetzel

Hubsy bot was created to redefine and personalize the way users traditionally manage their HubSpot account. HubSpot is a SaaS system providing marketing, sales, and CRM software. Hubsy allows users of HubSpot to create engagements and log engagements with customers, provide sales teams with deals status, and retrieves client contact information quickly. Hubsy uses Amazon Lex’s conversational interface to execute commands from the HubSpot API so that users can gain insights, store and retrieve data, and manage tasks directly from Facebook, Slack, or Alexa.

In order to implement the Hubsy chatbot, Andrew and the team members used AWS Lambda to create a Lambda function with Node.js to parse the users request and call the HubSpot API, which will fulfill the initial request or return back to the user asking for more information. Terraform was used to automatically setup and update Lambda, CloudWatch logs, as well as, IAM profiles. Amazon Lex was used to build the conversational piece of the bot, which creates the utterances that a person on a sales team would likely say when seeking information from HubSpot. To integrate with Alexa, the Amazon Alexa skill builder was used to create an Alexa skill which was tested on an Echo Dot. Cloudwatch Logs are used to log the Lambda function information to CloudWatch in order to debug different parts of the Lex intents. In order to validate the code before the Terraform deployment, ESLint was additionally used to ensure the code was linted and proper development standards were followed.

 

PFMBot by Benny Leong and his team from MoneyLion

PFMBot, Personal Finance Management Bot,  is a bot to be used with the MoneyLion finance group which offers customers online financial products; loans, credit monitoring, and free credit score service to improve the financial health of their customers. Once a user signs up an account on the MoneyLion app or website, the user has the option to link their bank accounts with the MoneyLion APIs. Once the bank account is linked to the APIs, the user will be able to login to their MoneyLion account and start having a conversation with the PFMBot based on their bank account information.

The PFMBot UI has a web interface built with using Javascript integration. The chatbot was created using Amazon Lex to build utterances based on the possible inquiries about the user’s MoneyLion bank account. PFMBot uses the Lex built-in AMAZON slots and parsed and converted the values from the built-in slots to pass to AWS Lambda. The AWS Lambda functions interacting with Amazon Lex are Java-based Lambda functions which call the MoneyLion Java-based internal APIs running on Spring Boot. These APIs obtain account data and related bank account information from the MoneyLion MySQL Database.

 

ADP Payroll Innovation Bot by Eric Liu, Jiaxing Yan, and Fan Yang

ADP PI (Payroll Innovation) bot is designed to help employees of ADP customers easily review their own payroll details and compare different payroll data by just asking the bot for results. The ADP PI Bot additionally offers issue reporting functionality for employees to report payroll issues and aids HR managers in quickly receiving and organizing any reported payroll issues.

The ADP Payroll Innovation bot is an ecosystem for the ADP payroll consisting of two chatbots, which includes ADP PI Bot for external clients (employees and HR managers), and ADP PI DevOps Bot for internal ADP DevOps team.


The architecture for the ADP PI DevOps bot is different architecture from the ADP PI bot shown above as it is deployed internally to ADP. The ADP PI DevOps bot allows input from both Slack and Alexa. When input comes into Slack, Slack sends the request to Lex for it to process the utterance. Lex then calls the Lambda backend, which obtains ADP data sitting in the ADP VPC running within an Amazon VPC. When input comes in from Alexa, a Lambda function is called that also obtains data from the ADP VPC running on AWS.

The architecture for the ADP PI bot consists of users entering in requests and/or entering issues via Slack. When requests/issues are entered via Slack, the Slack APIs communicate via Amazon API Gateway to AWS Lambda. The Lambda function either writes data into one of the Amazon DynamoDB databases for recording issues and/or sending issues or it sends the request to Lex. When sending issues, DynamoDB integrates with Trello to keep HR Managers abreast of the escalated issues. Once the request data is sent from Lambda to Lex, Lex processes the utterance and calls another Lambda function that integrates with the ADP API and it calls ADP data from within the ADP VPC, which runs on Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

Python and Node.js were the chosen languages for the development of the bots.

The ADP PI bot ecosystem has the following functional groupings:

Employee Functionality

  • Summarize Payrolls
  • Compare Payrolls
  • Escalate Issues
  • Evolve PI Bot

HR Manager Functionality

  • Bot Management
  • Audit and Feedback

DevOps Functionality

  • Reduce call volume in service centers (ADP PI Bot).
  • Track issues and generate reports (ADP PI Bot).
  • Monitor jobs for various environment (ADP PI DevOps Bot)
  • View job dashboards (ADP PI DevOps Bot)
  • Query job details (ADP PI DevOps Bot)

 

Summary

Let’s all wish all the winners of the AWS Chatbot Challenge hearty congratulations on their excellent projects.

You can review more details on the winning projects, as well as, all of the submissions to the AWS Chatbot Challenge at: https://awschatbot2017.devpost.com/submissions. If you are curious on the details of Chatbot challenge contest including resources, rules, prizes, and judges, you can review the original challenge website here:  https://awschatbot2017.devpost.com/.

Hopefully, you are just as inspired as I am to build your own chatbot using Lex and Lambda. For more information, take a look at the Amazon Lex developer guide or the AWS AI blog on Building Better Bots Using Amazon Lex (Part 1)

Chat with you soon!

Tara

Cloudflare Kicking ‘Daily Stormer’ is Bad News For Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-kicking-daily-stormer-is-bad-news-for-pirate-sites-170817/

“I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet.”

Those are the words of Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, who decided to terminate the account of controversial Neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer.

Bam. Gone. At least for a while.

Although many people are happy to see the site go offline, the decision is not without consequence. It goes directly against what many saw as the core values of the company.

For years on end, Cloudflare has been asked to remove terrorist propaganda, pirate sites, and other possibly unacceptable content. Each time, Cloudflare replied that it doesn’t take action without a court order. No exceptions.

“Even if it were able to, Cloudfare does not monitor, evaluate, judge or store content appearing on a third party website,” the company wrote just a few weeks ago, in its whitepaper on intermediary liability.

“We’re the plumbers of the internet. We make the pipes work but it’s not right for us to inspect what is or isn’t going through the pipes,” Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince himself said not too long ago.

“If companies like ours or ISPs start censoring there would be an uproar. It would lead us down a path of internet censors and controls akin to a country like China,” he added.

The same arguments were repeated in different contexts, over and over.

This strong position was also one of the reasons why Cloudflare was dragged into various copyright infringement court cases. In these cases, the company repeatedly stressed that removing a site from Cloudflare’s service would not make infringing content disappear.

Pirate sites would just require a simple DNS reconfiguration to continue their operation, after all.

“[T]here 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,” it said.

That comment looks rather misplaced now that the CEO of the same company has decided to “kick” a website “off the Internet” after an emotional, but deliberate, decision.

Taking a page from Cloudflare’s (old) playbook we’re not going to make any judgments here. Just search Twitter or any social media site and you’ll see plenty of opinions, both for and against the company’s actions.

We do have a prediction though. During the months and years to come, Cloudflare is likely to be dragged into many more copyright lawsuits, and when they are, their counterparts are going to bring up Cloudflare’s voluntary decision to kick a website off the Internet.

Unless Cloudflare suddenly decides to pull all pirate sites from its service tomorrow, of course.

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

Usenet Pirate Pays €4,800 ‘Fine’ After Being Exposed by Provider

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/usenet-pirate-pays-e4800-fine-after-being-exposed-by-provider-170811/

Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN has been very active over the past several years, targeting uploaders on various sharing sites and services.

They cast their net wide and have gone after torrent users, Facebook groups, YouTube pirates and Usenet uploaders as well.

To pinpoint the latter group, BREIN contacts Usenet providers asking them to reveal the identity of a suspected user. This is also what happened in a case involving a former customer of Eweka.

The person in question, known under the alias ‘Badfan69,’ was accused of uploading 9,538 infringing works to Usenet, mostly older titles. After Eweka handed over his home address, BREIN reached out to him and negotiated a settlement.

The 44-year-old man has now agreed to pay a settlement of €4,800. If he continues to upload infringing content he will face an additional penalty of €2,000 per day, to a maximum of €50,000.

The case is an important victory for BREIN, not just because of the money.

When the anti-piracy group reached out to Usenet provider Eweka, the company initially refused to hand over any personal details. The Usenet provider argued that it’s a neutral intermediary that would rather not perform the role of piracy police. Instead, it wanted the court to decide whether the request was legitimate.

This resulted in a legal dispute where, earlier this year, a local court sided with BREIN. The Court stressed that in these type of copyright infringement cases, the Usenet provider is required to hand over the requested details.

Under Dutch law, ISPs can be obliged to hand over the personal details of their customers if the infringing activity is plausible and the damaged party has a legitimate interest. Importantly, the legal case clarified that this generally doesn’t require an intervention from the court.

“Providers must decide on a motivated request for the handover of a user’s address, based on their own consideration. A refusal to provide the information must be motivated, otherwise, it will be illegal and the provider will be charged for the costs,” BREIN notes.

While these Usenet cases are relatively rare, BREIN and other parties in the Netherlands, such as Dutch Filmworks, are also planning to go after large groups of torrent users. With the Usenet decision in hand, BREIN may want to argue that regular ISPs must also expose pirating users, without an intervention of the court.

This is not going to happen easily though. Several ISPs, most prominently Ziggo, announced that they would not voluntarily cooperate and are likely to fight out these requests in court to get a solid ‘torrent’ precedent.

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

The Pirate Bay Isn’t Affected By Adverse Court Rulings – Everyone Else Is

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/the-pirate-bay-isnt-affected-by-adverse-court-rulings-everyone-else-is-170618/

For more than a decade The Pirate Bay has been the world’s most controversial site. Delivering huge quantities of copyrighted content to the masses, the platform is revered and reviled across the copyright spectrum.

Its reputation is one of a defiant Internet swashbuckler, but due to changes in how the site has been run in more recent times, its current philosophy is more difficult to gauge. What has never been in doubt, however, is the site’s original intent to be as provocative as possible.

Through endless publicity stunts, some real, some just for the ‘lulz’, The Pirate Bay managed to attract a massive audience, all while incurring the wrath of every major copyright holder in the world.

Make no mistake, they all queued up to strike back, but every subsequent rightsholder action was met by a Pirate Bay middle finger, two fingers, or chin flick, depending on the mood of the day. This only served to further delight the masses, who happily spread the word while keeping their torrents flowing.

This vicious circle of being targeted by the entertainment industries, mocking them, and then reaping the traffic benefits, developed into the cheapest long-term marketing campaign the Internet had ever seen. But nothing is ever truly for free and there have been consequences.

After taunting Hollywood and the music industry with its refusals to capitulate, endless legal action that the site would have ordinarily been forced to participate in largely took place without The Pirate Bay being present. It doesn’t take a law degree to work out what happened in each and every one of those cases, whatever complex route they took through the legal system. No defense, no win.

For example, the web-blocking phenomenon across the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia was driven by the site’s absolute resilience and although there would clearly have been other scapegoats had The Pirate Bay disappeared, the site was the ideal bogeyman the copyright lobby required to move forward.

Filing blocking lawsuits while bringing hosts, advertisers, and ISPs on board for anti-piracy initiatives were also made easier with the ‘evil’ Pirate Bay still online. Immune from every anti-piracy technique under the sun, the existence of the platform in the face of all onslaughts only strengthened the cases of those arguing for even more drastic measures.

Over a decade, this has meant a significant tightening of the sharing and streaming climate. Without any big legislative changes but plenty of case law against The Pirate Bay, web-blocking is now a walk in the park, ad hoc domain seizures are a fairly regular occurrence, and few companies want to host sharing sites. Advertisers and brands are also hesitant over where they place their ads. It’s a very different world to the one of 10 years ago.

While it would be wrong to attribute every tightening of the noose to the actions of The Pirate Bay, there’s little doubt that the site and its chaotic image played a huge role in where copyright enforcement is today. The platform set out to provoke and succeeded in every way possible, gaining supporters in their millions. It could also be argued it kicked a hole in a hornets’ nest, releasing the hell inside.

But perhaps the site’s most amazing achievement is the way it has managed to stay online, despite all the turmoil.

This week yet another ruling, this time from the powerful European Court of Justice, found that by offering links in the manner it does, The Pirate Bay and other sites are liable for communicating copyright works to the public. Of course, this prompted the usual swathe of articles claiming that this could be the final nail in the site’s coffin.

Wrong.

In common with every ruling, legal defeat, and legislative restriction put in place due to the site’s activities, this week’s decision from the ECJ will have zero effect on the Pirate Bay’s availability. For right or wrong, the site was breaking the law long before this ruling and will continue to do so until it decides otherwise.

What we have instead is a further tightened legal landscape that will have a lasting effect on everything BUT the site, including weaker torrent sites, Internet users, and user-uploaded content sites such as YouTube.

With The Pirate Bay carrying on regardless, that is nothing short of remarkable.

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

AWS GovCloud (US) Heads East – New Region in the Works for 2018

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-govcloud-us-heads-east-new-region-in-the-works-for-2018/

AWS GovCloud (US) gives AWS customers a place to host sensitive data and regulated workloads in the AWS Cloud. The first AWS GovCloud (US) Region was launched in 2011 and is located on the west coast of the US.

I’m happy to announce that we are working on a second Region that we expect to open in 2018. The upcoming AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region will provide customers with added redundancy, data durability, and resiliency, and will also provide additional options for disaster recovery.

Like the existing region, which we now call AWS GovCloud (US-West), the new region will be isolated and meet top US government compliance requirements including International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), NIST standards, Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Moderate and High, Department of Defense Impact Levels 2-4, DFARs, IRS1075, and Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) requirements. Visit the GovCloud (US) page to learn more about the compliance regimes that we support.

Government agencies and the IT contactors that serve them were early adopters of AWS GovCloud (US), as were companies in regulated industries. These organizations are able to enjoy the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of public cloud while benefiting from the isolation and data protection offered by a region designed and built to meet their regulatory needs and to help them to meet their compliance requirements. Here’s a small sample from our customer base:

Federal (US) GovernmentDepartment of Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration 18F (Digital Services Delivery), NASA JPL, Defense Digital Service, United States Air Force, United States Department of Justice.

Regulated IndustriesCSRA, Talen Energy, Cobham Electronics.

SaaS and Solution ProvidersFIGmd, Blackboard, Splunk, GitHub, Motorola.

Federal, state, and local agencies that want to move their existing applications to the AWS Cloud can take advantage of the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) offered by AWS Professional Services.

Jeff;

 

 

Usenet Provider is Obliged to Identify Pirates, Court Rules

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/usenet-provider-has-to-identify-pirates-court-rules-170609/

Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has targeted pirates of all shapes and sizes over the past several years.

It’s also one of the few groups that actively tracks down copyright infringers on Usenet, which still has millions of frequent users.

BREIN sets its aim on prolific uploaders and other large-scale copyright infringers. After identifying its targets, it asks providers to reveal the personal details connected to the account.

Last December, BREIN asked Usenet provider Eweka to hand over the personal details of one of its former customers but the provider refused to cooperate voluntarily.

In its defense, the Usenet provider argued that it’s a neutral intermediary that would rather not perform the role of piracy police. Instead, it preferred to rely on the court to make a decision.

The provider had already taken a similar position earlier last year, but the Court of Haarlem ruled that it must hand over the information.

In a new ruling this week, the Court issued a similar order.

The Court stressed that in these type of situations the Usenet provider is required to hand over the requested details, without intervention from the court. This is in line with case law.

Under Dutch law, ISPs can be obliged to hand over the personal details of their customers if the infringing activity is plausible and the aggrieved party has a legitimate interest.

The former Eweka customer was known under the alias ‘Badfan69’ and previously uploaded 9,538 allegedly infringing works to Usenet, Tweakers reports. He was tracked down through information from the headers of the binaries he posted.

BREIN is pleased with the verdict, which once again strengthens its position in cases where third-party providers hold information on infringing customers.

“Most of the intermediaries adhere to the law and voluntarily provide the relevant data when BREIN makes a motivated request,” BREIN director Tim Kuik responds.

“They have to decide quickly because rightsholders have an interest in stopping uploaders and holding them liable as soon as possible. This sentence emphasizes this once again.”

The court ordered Eweka to pay legal fees of roughly 1,500 euros. In addition, the provider faces a penalty of 1,000 euros per day, to a maximum of 100,000 euros, if it fails to hand over the requested information in its possession.

Eweka hasn’t commented publicly on the verdict yet. But, with two rulings in favor of BREIN, it is unlikely that the provider will continue to fight similar cases in the future.

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

Cloudflare Doesn’t Want to Become the ‘Piracy Police’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-doesnt-want-to-be-the-piracy-police-170413/

As 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 likes of The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent, which rely on the U.S.-based company to keep server loads down.

Copyright holders are not happy that CloudFlare services these sites. Last year, the RIAA and MPAA called the company out for aiding copyright infringers and helping pirate sites to obfuscate their actual location.

The rightsholders want Internet services such as Cloudflare to help them address online piracy more effectively. They are pushing for voluntary agreements to go above and beyond what the law prescribes them to do.

In the UK, for example, search engines have agreed to do more to hinder piracy, and advertisers, payment processors, and ISPs have also taken more active roles in combatting infringement.

In a whitepaper, Cloudflare sees this trend as a worrying development. The company points out that the safe harbor provisions put in place by the DMCA and Europe’s eCommerce Directive have been effective in fostering innovation for many years. Voluntary “anti-piracy” agreements may change this.

“Slowly however, a wider net of intermediaries — from hosting providers to search engines, eCommerce platforms and other internet players — have been encouraged to help address new societal challenges, to help ‘clean up the web’, and effectively become internet police. Innovation continues but at the same time is threatened,” Cloudflare writes.

In addition, rightsholders are trying to update current legislation to increase liability for Internet services. In Europe, for example, a new copyright law proposal will make piracy filtering systems mandatory for some Internet services.

In its whitepaper, Cloudflare argues the such “back-door attempts to update legislation” should be closely monitored.

Instead of putting the blame on outsiders, copyright holders should change their views and embrace the Internet, the company argues. There are plenty of opportunities on the Internet, and the losses rightholders claim are often overblown rhetoric.

“Internet innovation has kept pace but many content creators and rights-holders have not adapted, and many content creators claim a loss in earning power as a result of online piracy.”

According to Cloudflare, content creators are often too quick to put the blame onto others, out of frustration.

“Many rights-holders are frustrated by their own inability to monetize the exchange of protected content and so the internet is seen not as a digital opportunity but rather a digital threat.”

Cloudflare argues that increased monitoring and censorship are not proper solutions. Third-party Internet services shouldn’t be pushed into the role of Internet police out of a fear of piracy.

Instead, the company cautions against far-reaching voluntary agreements that may come at the expense of the public.

“Voluntary measures have their limits and care must be taken not to have intermediaries be pushed into the area of excessive monitoring or indeed censorship. Intermediaries should not be forced to act as judge and jury, and indeed putting commercial entities in such a position is dangerous.”

Cloudfare stresses that it does not monitor, evaluate, judge or store content on sites operated by its clients, nor has it plans to do so. The company merely acts as a neutral ‘reverse proxy’ and operates within the boundaries of the law

Of course, Cloudflare isn’t completely deaf to the concerns of copyright holders. Among other things, it has a trusted notifier program that allows rightsholders to obtain the true location of pirate sites that use the service. However, they explicitly say ‘no’ to proactive monitoring.

“Policy makers should not look for quick, short-term solutions to other complex problems of the moment involving the internet. A firehose approach which soaks anyone and everyone standing around an issue, is simply not the way forward,” the company writes.

The full whitepaper titled “Intermediary Liability: Safeguarding Digital Innovation and the Role of Internet Intermediaries” is avaialble here (pdf).

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

Blizzard Wants $8.5 Milion Copyright Damages From “Cheat” Maker

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/blizzard-wants-8-5-milion-copyright-damages-from-cheat-maker-170314/

Over the years video game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment has released many popular game titles including Overwatch and World of Warcraft.

While most gamers stick to the rules, there’s also a small group that tries to game the system. By using cheats, they play with an advantage over regular users.

The German outfit Bossland is behind several popular cheats including “Honorbuddy”, Demonbuddy, and the currently unavailable “Watchover Tyrant”. Blizzard has been fighting the company on its home turf for several years already and filed a complaint at a federal court in California as well last year.

In the complaint, Blizzard accused the cheat maker of various forms of copyright infringement, unfair competition, and violating the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. According to Blizzard the bots and cheats also caused millions of dollars in lost sales, as they ruin the games for many legitimate players.

After Bossland had failed to have the case dismissed over a lack of jurisdiction, things went quiet earlier this year. Bossland stopped responding, and when the Court gave the German company a 24-hour ultimatum to reply, it remained silent.

The WoW Honorbot

honotbuddy

In response, Blizzard has now submitted a motion for default judgment. According to the game developer, it is clear that Bossland violated the DMCA by selling its “circumvention” tools and it demands to be compensated in return.

Blizzard says it prefers a conservative estimate of the damages. Bossland previously testified that it sold 118,939 products to users in the United States since July of 2013, and Blizzard projects that at a minimum, 36% of these sales were cheats for their games.

This translates to 42,818 infringements for a total of well over $8 million is statutory damages.

“In this case, Blizzard is only seeking the minimum statutory damages of $200 per infringement, for a total of $8,563,600.00. While Blizzard would surely be entitled to seek a larger amount, Blizzard seeks only minimum statutory damages.

“Blizzard does not seek such damages as a “punitive” measure against Bossland or to obtain an unjustified windfall,” the game developer adds (pdf).

According to Blizzard, it is a “calculated and bad-faith tactic” of the German cheat manufacturer to go for a default judgment. In doing so, the company tries to shield its alleged unlawful conduct from the reach of United States.

Adding to that, the game developer believes that Bossland’s revenue from the cheats may have been even higher than the damages they are asking for.

“Notably, $200 approximates the cost of a one-year license for the Bossland Hacks. So, it is very likely that Bossland actually received far more than $8 million in connection with its sale of the Bossland Hacks.”

Since Bossland failed to defend itself, it is likely that Blizzard will get a substantial damages award. However, whether they will ever see a penny from the cheat maker is less certain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Splits $750 Piracy Penalty Between BitTorrent Peers

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/judge-splits-750-piracy-penalty-between-bittorrent-peers-170217/

Many Hollywood insiders see online piracy as a major threat, but only very few are willing to target alleged file-sharers with lawsuits.

LHF Productions, one of the companies behind the blockbuster “London Has Fallen,” has no problem crossing this line. Since the first pirated copies of the film appeared online last year, the company has been suing alleged downloaders in multiple courts.

As is usual in these cases, defendants get the option to sign a quick settlement to resolve the matter or defend their case in court. Those who ignore the lawsuits completely face a default judgment, which can turn out to be quite expensive depending on the Judge.

This week, Judge Ricardo Martinez ruled over a series of LHF cases at the Seattle District Court. The movie company requested default judgments against 28 defendants in five cases, demanding $2,500 from each defendant.

When the accused downloaders don’t defend themselves, judges nearly always rule in the plaintiff’s favor, which is also true for these cases. However, Judge Martinez decided not to award the requested penalties in full.

The filmmaker had argued that $2,500, and even more in attorney’s fees and costs, is a rather modest request. However, in his order this week the Judge sees things differently.

“The Court also acknowledges that the amount at stake is not, as LHF contends, modest – LHF seeks enhanced statutory damages in the amount of $2,500 along with $2,605.50 in attorneys’ fees, and amounts ranging between $90 and $150 in costs, for each named Defendant in this matter,” he writes (pdf).

Instead, the Judge places the damages amount at the statutory minimum, which is $750.

Even more interesting, and the first time we’ve seen this happening, is that the penalty will be split among the swarm members in each case. The filmmakers alleged that the defendants were part of the same swarm, so they are all liable for the same infringement, Judge Martinez argues.

“Because the named Defendants in this action were alleged to have conspired with one another to infringe the same digital copy of LHF’s motion picture, the Court will award the sum of $750 for Defendants’ infringement of the same digital copy of London Has Fallen.”

“Each of the Defendants is jointly and severally liable for this amount,” Judge Martinez adds in his order.

This means that in one of the cases, where there are eight defaulted defendants, each has to pay just over $93 in damages.

As for the lowered damages amount itself, the Judge clarifies that these type of cases are not intended to result in large profits. Especially not, when the rightsholders have made little effort to prove actual damage or to track down the original sharer.

“The Court is not persuaded. Statutory damages are not intended to serve as a windfall to plaintiffs, and enhanced statutory damages are not warranted where plaintiffs do not even try to demonstrate actual damages.”

In addition to limiting the penalty, the Judge also reduced the requested attorney’s fees. Since the case was mostly based on identical complaints and motions, the court had trouble believing that the law firm spent hundreds of hours in preparation.

Instead, the court granted only $550 in attorney’s fees per defendant. This means that the default defendants will have to pay a few hundred dollars each, instead of the $5,000 plus the filmmakers wanted.

According to the Fight Copyright Trolls blog, which first published details of the unusual order, splitting the awards between the defendants in the same swarm could turn out to be a “fatal blow” to these type of lawsuits.

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

Hosting Provider Steadfast Denies Liability for ‘Pirate’ Site

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hosting-provider-steadfast-denies-liability-for-pirate-site-170205/

steadfastCopyright holders are increasingly urging third-party Internet services to cut their ties with pirate sites.

Hosting providers, search engines, ISPs, domain name registrars, and advertisers should all do more to counter online piracy, the argument goes.

Last year, adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan took things up a notch by dragging several third-party intermediaries to court. The company targeted CDN provider CloudFlare, advertising network JuicyAds, and several hosting providers, including Chicago-based Steadfast.

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

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

ALS Scan clearly disagrees with this reasoning. According to the adult company, Steadfast should have stopped the infringements on the website of their client.

In addition, the company says that the hosting provider can’t hide behind “safe harbor” protection as it failed to implement a repeat infringer policy, branding ImageBam a frequent offender.

“Steadfast could remove the infringements on imagebam.com, or the site itself, from the Internet. Steadfast financially benefited from the draw of infringement on imagebam.com,” ALS Scan wrote in its opposition brief (pdf) last week.

“Steadfast’s safe harbor defenses are intensely factual, not susceptible of resolution on demurrer. Steadfast failed to reasonably implement a policy of terminating account holders who are repeat infringers, and thus cannot claim DMCA safe harbors,” they add.

Earlier this week Steadfast responded to these and other claims by the adult publisher, arguing that the company is misrepresenting case-law.

The hosting provider maintains that the DMCA law shields it from liability. The repeat infringer argument doesn’t apply here, as they company doesn’t have the ability to control the actions of ImageBam users, among other things.

“In its Opposition, ALS states that in order to avoid liability for contributory infringement, a service provider must terminate services to repeat infringers. This is simply not the law. The service provider must have more power to influence the activity,” Steadfast argues in its reply (pdf).

It is now up to the California District Court to decide which side is right. In addition to Steadfast, several other defendants including CloudFlare are still trying to turn the case in their favor as well.

While ALS Scan is not an internationally known rightsholder, the case may prove to be vital for many Internet-based services in the United States. As we’ve seen with the case between Cox Communication and BMG, an entire industry is put at risk when a service provider loses its safe harbor protection.

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

Hello World – a new magazine for educators

Post Syndicated from Philip Colligan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/hello-world-new-magazine-for-educators/

Today, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is launching a new, free resource for educators.

Hello World – a new magazine for educators

Hello World is a magazine about computing and digital making written by educators, for educators. With three issues each year, it contains 100 pages filled with news, features, teaching resources, reviews, research and much more. It is designed to be cross-curricular and useful to all kinds of educators, from classroom teachers to librarians.

Hello World is a magazine about computing and digital making written by educators, for educators. With three issues each year, it contains 100 pages filled with news, features, teaching resources, reviews, research and much more.

It is designed to be cross-curricular and useful to all kinds of educators, from classroom teachers to librarians.  While it includes lots of great examples of how educators are using Raspberry Pi computers in education, it is device- and platform-neutral.

Community building

As with everything we do at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Hello World is about community building. Our goal is to provide a resource that will help educators connect, share great practice, and learn from each other.

Hello World is a collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Computing at School, the grass-roots organisation of computing teachers that’s part of the British Computing Society. The magazine builds on the fantastic legacy of Switched On, which it replaces as the official magazine for the Computing at School community.

We’re thrilled that many of the contributors to Switched On have agreed to continue writing for Hello World. They’re joined by educators and researchers from across the globe, as well as the team behind the amazing MagPi, the official Raspberry Pi magazine, who are producing Hello World.

print (“Hello, World!”)

Hello World is available free, forever, for everyone online as a downloadable pdf.  The content is written to be internationally relevant, and includes features on the most interesting developments and best practices from around the world.

The very first issue of Hello World, the magazine about computing and digital making for educators

Thanks to the very generous support of our sponsors BT, we are also offering the magazine in a beautiful print version, delivered for free to the homes of serving educators in the UK.

Papert’s legacy 

This first issue is dedicated to Seymour Papert, in many ways the godfather of computing education. Papert was the creator of the Logo programming language and the author of some of the most important research on the role of computers in education. It will come at no surprise that his legacy has a big influence on our work at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, not least because one of our co-founders, Jack Lang, did a summer internship with Papert.

Seymour Papert

Seymour Papert with one of his computer games at the MIT Media Lab
Credit: Steve Liss/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images

Inside you’ll find articles exploring Papert’s influence on how we think about learning, on the rise of the maker movement, and on the software that is used to teach computing today from Scratch to Greenfoot.

Get involved

We will publish three issues of Hello World a year, timed to coincide with the start of the school terms here in the UK. We’d love to hear your feedback on this first issue, and please let us know what you’d like to see covered in future issues too.

The magazine is by educators, for educators. So if you have experience, insights or practical examples that you can share, get in touch: [email protected].

The post Hello World – a new magazine for educators appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Harry Potter and the Real-life Weasley Clock

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/harry-potter-real-life-weasley-clock/

Pat Peters (such a wonderful Marvel-sounding name) recently shared his take on the Weasley Clock, a device that hangs on the wall of The Burrow, the rickety home inhabited by the Weasley family in the Harry Potter series.

Mrs. Weasley glanced at the grandfather clock in the corner. Harry liked this clock. It was completely useless if you wanted to know the time, but otherwise very informative. It had nine golden hands, and each of them was engraved with one of the Weasley family’s names. There were no numerals around the face, but descriptions of where each family member might be. “Home,” “school,” and “work” were there, but there was also “traveling,” “lost,” “hospital,” “prison,” and, in the position where the number twelve would be on a normal clock, “mortal peril.”

The clock in the movie has misplaced “mortal peril”, but aside from that it looks a lot like what we’d imagined from the books.

There’s a reason why more and more Harry Potter-themed builds are appearing online. The small size of devices such as the Raspberry Pi and Arduino allow for a digital ‘brain’ to live within an ordinary object, allowing control over it that you could easily confuse with magic…if you allow yourself to believe in such things.

So with last week’s Real-life Daily Prophet doing so well, it’s only right to share another Harry Potter-inspired project.

Harry Potter Weasley Clock

The clock serves not to tell the time but, rather, to indicate the location of Molly, Arthur and the horde of Weasley children. And using the OwnTracks GPS app for smartphones, Pat’s clock does exactly the same thing.

Pat Peters Weasley Clock Raspberry Pi

Pat has posted the entire build on instructables, allowing every budding witch and wizard (and possibly a curious Muggle or two) the chance to build their own Weasley Clock.

This location clock works through a Raspberry Pi that subscribes to an MQTT broker that our phone’s publish events to. Our phones (running the OwnTracks GPS app) send a message to the broker anytime we cross into or out of one of our waypoints that we have set up in OwnTracks, which then triggers the Raspberry Pi to run a servo that moves the clock hand to show our location.

There are no words for how much we love this. Here at Pi Towers we definitely have a soft spot for Harry Potter-themed builds, so make sure to share your own with us in the comments below, or across our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and G+.

The post Harry Potter and the Real-life Weasley Clock appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

ISP Says it Won’t Send BREIN’s Anti-Piracy Warnings

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/isp-says-it-wont-send-breins-anti-piracy-warnings-170118/

breinlogoAs one of Europe’s most prominent anti-piracy groups, BREIN is at the forefront of copyright enforcement in the Netherlands. In early January the outfit revealed some its achievements over the past year, including enforcement actions against hundreds of sites and prolific uploaders of pirate content.

While tackling those closer to the top of the tree, BREIN has had a tendency to leave regular ‘pirate’ users alone. However, in recent times it has been developing plans to target Internet subscribers with ‘educational’ warning notices.

This past weekend, BREIN chief Tim Kuik said that his group hopes to bring about behavioral change among downloaders by contacting them via their ISPs.

“The ISPs can then send the account holder a warning which informs them that their account has been used to infringe copyright. The message is that they are bringing you up to date with illegal activities,” Kuik said.

Last year, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens) gave BREIN permission to collect the IP-addresses of pirating BitTorrent users, allowing the group to target uploaders on a broader scale. But the group still needs help from service providers, since it needs to tie those addresses to individual accounts.

“The Data Protection Authority recommended we make arrangements with the ISPs on the processing of the personal data. Because we do not have the identity of the user,” Kuik said on Sunday.

However, unlike in the US and UK where similar programs are already underway, Dutch ISPs are giving the plan a less than warm welcome. In comments yesterday, leading cable provider Ziggo confirmed it will not participate in BREIN’s program.

“As an ISP we are a neutral access provider. This does not include the role of active enforcement of rights or interests of third parties, including BREIN,” said spokesman Erik van Doeselaar, as quoted by Tweakers.

Other providers aren’t excited by BREIN’s plans either. KPN, based in The Hague, said that there are many unknowns when it comes to privacy.

“As an ISP we can not pass judgment on the legality and proportionality of the plan,” said spokesman Stijn Wesselink.

A third ISP, XS4All, said the anti-piracy outfit’s plans haven’t yet been made clear.

“I won’t the slam the door before I’ve seen [BREIN’s] plans, but it seems highly unlikely that ISPs will act as enforcers,” said spokesman Niels Huijbregts.

BREIN, on the other hand, believe that ISPs should cooperate, since when customers download and share copyrighted content without permission, they breach their providers’ Terms of Service.

The anti-piracy outfit hopes to introduce a scheme similar to the one now underway in the UK, which has received cooperation from four major ISPs.

BREIN says it wishes to mirror the UK effort by having ISPs send educational notices to encourage users towards legal services. However, the anti-piracy outfit is not on the best of terms with local providers and hasn’t been for many years.

Both Ziggo and XS4All are currently embroiled in prolonged legal battle with BREIN, who want the providers to block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay.

Thus far the ISPs have refused, steadfastly sticking to their position that, as a service provider, the copyright wars are not their battle. It now seems likely that the same stance will carry over to the proposed warning notice scheme.

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

Battle of The Bots! ‘Dubious’ Pirate Sites Trigger ‘Bogus’ Takedowns

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/battle-of-the-bots-dubious-pirate-sites-trigger-bogus-takedowns-170107/

robotPirate sites come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from torrent indexes, through streaming portals, to MP3 download sites.

Since it’s not always easy to get visitors, some of these sites employ some dubious tricks to draw an audience. By using machine generated pages filled with complete nonsense, for example.

Let’s take this “ShareMP3.link” page for example. At first sight, it appears to be a regular MP3 download portal, offering music from popular artists. However, it does more than that.

In fact, the site offers a result for every search term, generating pages on the fly. Whether it’s for “TorrentFreak,” “sdfasgf56u” or “Pizzagate,” there’s always an MP3 available

This results in interesting pages such as the following, offering the latest TorrentFreak music.

tfdownload

Or what about this page, with some of the latest Twittergate and Pizzagate tunes ready for download?

twitter-pizza

These and many other similar sites appear to grab content from external sources such as YouTube, regardless of whether it’s actual music. In addition to confusing the public, they are also triggering bots at some takedown companies.

The Twittergate / Pizzagate page mentioned earlier was actually targeted in a recent notice sent by AudioLock for a completely unrelated artist named “靳松”.

While the odd name is likely an encoding issue, the link and many others listed in the complaint have little to do with it. Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident either as we can easily spot several other mistakes for “pizzagate” or “trump putin,” for example.

So why are these pages flagged as being ‘pirate’ then? Well, these type of sites generally list random links to other keyword searches on their download pages, which may at one point have linked to an infringing term. Still, the identified page itself is something entirely different.

In addition, takedowns may also be triggered because a keyword is similar to one used by the artist in question, such as the band “New Order” in the takedown notice below.

trumpputin

Making matters worse, the whole situation might be self-reinforcing at times. That is, when the DMCA bots search for something that is then automatically generated, this likely creates more pages with the same results and more takedowns.

Luckily, the public is largely kept away from this battle. They are just machines fighting each other in a perpetual and utterly useless war.

Copyright holders, however, might want to reconsider whether this is how they want to target piracy on the Internet. After all, they are the ones paying the bills for these dubious practices.

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

Australian Govt Advisory Body Digs in Over Fair Use & Geo-Unblocking

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/australian-govt-agency-digs-in-over-fair-use-geo-unblocking-161222/

copyright-bloodEarlier this year, Australia’s Productivity Commission released a draft report covering various aspects of the country’s intellectual property system.

Among the Commission’s recommendations was advice to the government that it should allow citizens to access geo-blocked content in order for them to obtain the best deals on international content.

“Geoblocking results in Australians paying higher prices (often for a lesser or later service) than consumers overseas,” the draft read.

The report also urged the introduction of fair use provisions into local copyright law instead of the current “fair dealing” arrangement.

“Australia’s copyright system has expanded over time, often with no transparent, evidence-based policy analysis demonstrating the need for, or quantum of, new rights. A new system of user rights, including the introduction of a broad, principles-based fair use exception, is needed to help address this imbalance,” the report said.

During the summer, copyright holders fought back, claiming that fair use would have a negative effect on creation. Music group IFPI, for example, warned that fair use would threaten innovation and disadvantage creators while creating legal uncertainty.

“Licensing, not exceptions to copyright, drives innovation. Innovation is best achieved through licensing agreements between content owners and users, including technological innovators,” IFPI said. In December, similar arguments were presented in a new campaign championed by local celebrities.

But in a final inquiry report sent to the government in September and published this week, the Commission’s position remains unmoved.

“Rights holders have argued against the adoption of fair use in Australia. They claim that by design, fair use is imprecise and would create significant legal uncertainty for both rightsholders and users. Initial uncertainty is not a compelling reason to eschew a fair use exception, especially if it serves to preserve poor policy outcomes,” the Commission writes.

“Australia’s current exceptions are themselves subject to legal uncertainty, and evidence suggests that fair use cases, as shown in the US, are more predictable than rights holders argue. Moreover, courts routinely apply principles-based law to new cases, such as in consumer and employment law, updating case law when the circumstances warrant doing so.”

The Commission says that over time, both rightsholders and users will become “increasingly comfortable” when making judgments over what is and is not fair use. In the event that Courts are called on to decide, four factors should be considered.

• the purpose and character of the use
• the nature of the copyright material
• the amount and substantiality of the part used
• the effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyright material.

“Rights holders also argued fair use would significantly reduce their incentives to create and invest in new works, holding up Canada as an example. Some have proclaimed that fair use will equate with ‘free use’, particularly by the education sector. But these concerns are ill-founded and premised on flawed (and self-interested) assumptions,” the Commission writes.

“Indeed, rather than ignore the interests of rights holders, under fair use the effect on the rights holder is one of the factors to be considered. Where a use of copyright material harms a rights holder, the use is less likely to be considered fair. In the US, where fair use is long established, creative industries thrive.”

Fair Use recommedation from the Commissionrecco-51

And when it comes to allowing Australians unfettered access to legitimate content, the Commission remains equally unmoved. It notes that prompt access to reasonably priced content is vital in the fight against piracy and the government should change the law to make it clear to consumers that they have the right to obtain content from overseas, should that mean getting a better deal.

“Research consistently demonstrates that timely and cost effective access to
copyright-protected works is the best way for industry to reduce online copyright
infringement. Therefore, in addition to implementing a new exception for fair use, the Commission is recommending making it easier for users to access legitimate copyright-protected content,” the inquiry report reads.

“Studies show Australian consumers systematically pay higher prices for professional software, music, games and e-books than consumers in comparable overseas markets. While some digital savvy consumers are able to avoid these costs (such as through the use of proxy servers and Virtual Private Networks), most pay inflated prices for lower standard services and some will ultimately infringe.

“The Australian Government should make clear that it is not an infringement of Australia’s copyright system for consumers to circumvent geoblocking technology and should avoid international obligations that would preclude such practices,” it adds.

Anti-Geoblocking recommendation from the Commissionrecco-52

The Intellectual Property Arrangements final inquiry report is available here.

Note: An earlier version of this article referred to the Productivity Commission as an “agency”. That has been corrected to “advisory body”.

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

Court Protects BitTorrent Pirate From Overaggressive Filmmakers

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/court-protects-bittorrent-pirate-from-overaggressive-filmmakers-161214/

cobblerIn recent years, file-sharers around the world have been pressured to pay significant settlement fees, or face legal repercussions.

These so-called “copyright trolling” efforts have been a common occurrence in the United States for more than half a decade.

The makers of the Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler are one of the parties actively involved in these practices. In one of their Oregon cases they recently settled with local resident Santos Cerritos, after a lengthy legal back-and-forth.

Cerritos eventually agreed to pay the statutory minimum damages of $750 and reasonable attorney fees. A substantial amount, but better than the $150,000 maximum damages rightsholders often want.

However, when the filmmakers announced their fees demand things took a turn for the worse. They wanted Cerritos to pay for their entire legal bill of $17,348, which is many times more than the damage award itself.

The accused pirate protested this request in court and in a recent ruling Oregon Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman agreed that the “fee-shifting” request is unreasonable.

The Judge notes that the damages amount in the settlement is already substantial and that it acts as a proper deterrent. That is enough. The defendant should not be required to fund the filmmakers’ copyright enforcement actions.

“In light of the substantial financial penalty already imposed, an attorney fee award is not necessary to deter further infringement, nor is a fee award necessary to encourage Plaintiff to continue to protect its rights, where Plaintiff has been vigilant to date and has the resources to police their copyright,” Judge Beckerman writes.

In a critical note, the Judge adds that these BitTorrent cases are creating results that are not in line with the goals of the Copyright Act. Instead, the threat of unreasonably high damages creates an unequal and unfair bargaining position.

“For this Court to award Plaintiff its attorney’s fees in this case would only contribute to the continued overaggressive assertion and negotiation of these Copyright Act claims,” she notes.

As a result of such overaggressive actions, several defendants have chosen not to defend themselves at all, opting for a default judgment instead. This isn’t purely in the interest of justice, but rather to exploit copyright law for commercial gain, the Judge suggests.

“A startling number of subscribers are failing to show up for Rule 45 depositions, and alleged infringers are more often than not choosing default judgments over litigation,” Judge Beckerman writes.

“By allowing this scenario to occur for several years now, the federal courts are not assisting in the administration of justice, but are instead enabling plaintiffs’ counsel and their LLC clients to receive a financial windfall by exploiting copyright law.”

Another argument against the high demand for attorney fees is the fact that the filmmakers unnecessarily prolonged the case. The case could have been settled early, but the rightsholder refused to do so, likely for financial reasons.

Keeping Cerritos’ financial position in mind, Judge Backerman doesn’t see it as appropriate to leave the defendant with more than $17,000 in debt that could have been avoided with an early settlement.

“If the Court were to force Cerritos to pay Plaintiff’s counsel his fee of $17,348.60, it would take Cerritos and his family years and years to satisfy that debt. It is a debt that was avoidable had counsel working together cooperatively to resolve this case.”

The Judge therefore denies the motion for attorney fees. While admitting that piracy is a problem, she doesn’t believe that these high costs are a burden an individual downloader should carry.

“Online piracy is a serious problem that demands meaningful solutions. Plaintiff has every right to enforce the copyright it holds, but not to demand that individual consumers who downloaded a single movie pay more than their share of the problem,” Judge Beckerman concludes.

Although Cerritos still lost the case and still owes the $750 in damages and $525 in other costs, he will be pleased with this outcome. Others who are in the same position will be glad too. It presents another hurdle to the ‘copyright trolls’ and makes it a little easier for their targets to fight similar demands.

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