Tag Archives: DMCA

The Curious Takedown Notices of ‘Tongues of Glass’ Poet Shaun Shane

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/the-curious-takedown-notices-of-tongues-of-glass-poet-shaun-shane-180519/

Over the years we have published numerous articles on dubious or inaccurate takedown notices, both from large media conglomerates and independent copyright holders.

One of the most curious cases is without doubt that of Shaun Shane and his poem ‘Tongues Made of Glass.’

Five years ago the case first made headlines when On Press Inc. started hounding people on social media because they dared to recite the single line poem, which consists of just eighteen words.

At the time, Techdirt reported on the issue, which was quickly picked up by others including BoingBoing, professor Michael Geist, and lawyer Ken White at Popehat. Needless to say, the number of poem recitals only increased.

On Press Inc. wasn’t happy with the coverage. Responding to the media attention, the company asked Google to remove links to the poem from its search engine.

This effort backfired in an even bigger way. Not only did it lead to more articles, Google also rejected most of the requests. Even worse, the poem was also posted in full in the Lumen database, where copies of Google’s DMCA notices are published.

Fast forward five years and the Tongues Made of Glass poem is back on the radar. This time it appears to be author ‘Shaun Shane’ himself who’s sending takedown notices to Google.

As before, the DMCA notices are mostly targeting articles that reference the previous debacles, including our own, but the accusations now go far beyond that.

According to Shaun Shane, people are using black hat SEO bots to fool Google’s search algorithm and make these articles rank high for his name.

“Someone is using Bots for the reported Url to artificially raise its ranking in Google search results for the search terms ‘Shaun Shane’ beyond what Googles search algorithm would natural assign it and are engaging in Black Hat Seo [sic],” he writes in the takedown notices.

We’re not sure what these alleged black hat tactics have to do with a copyright claim. What we do know, however, is that the repeated coverage of the poem’s dubious takedowns may have something to do with the high ranking.

It doesn’t end at these accusations though.

Looking more closely at the reported URLs we see some usual suspects, including BoingBoing, TorrentFreak, Techdirt and Popehat links. However, there are also several innocent bystanders being dragged into the drama.

The poet also targets the website of the company “Shaun Shane Bricklaying,” the Linkedin profile of sales manager Shaun Shane, a piece on Legend Solar founders Shaun Alldredge and Shane Perkins, and the TripAdvisor profile of Shaun & Shane Tour Operators.

Needless to say, none of these links are even remotely infringing, and we seriously doubt that they are using Black Hat SEO. They just happen to use the keywords “Shaun” and “Shane”.

Google, luckily, denied all of the takedown requests that we referenced here. We did see one URL that was removed, which used an image with the poem, without any context.

This means that the end result for Shaun Shane is not very uplifting. Most of the content he reported remains online and with new news reports being published (including this one), they will only end up higher in the search results next time.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Roku Displays FBI Anti-Piracy Warning to Legitimate YouTube & Netflix Users

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/roku-displays-fbi-anti-piracy-warning-to-legitimate-youtube-netflix-users-180516/

In 2018, dealing with copyright infringement claims is a daily issue for many content platforms. The law in many regions demands swift attention and in order to appease copyright holders, most platforms are happy to oblige.

While it’s not unusual for ‘pirate’ content and services to suddenly disappear in response to a DMCA or similar notice, the same is rarely true for entire legitimate services.

But that’s what appeared to happen on the Roku platform during the night, when YouTube, Netflix and other channels disappeared only to be replaced with an ominous anti-piracy warning.

As the embedded tweet shows, the message caused confusion among Roku users who were only using their devices to access legal content. Messages replacing Netflix and YouTube seemed to have caused the greatest number of complaints but many other services were affected.

FoxSportsGo, FandangoNow, and India-focused YuppTV and Hotstar were also blacked out. As were the yoga and transformational videos specialists over at Gaia, the horror buffs at ChillerFlix, and UK TV service BritBox.

But while users scratched their heads, with some misguidedly blaming Roku for not being diligent enough against piracy, Roku took to Twitter to reveal that rather than anti-piracy complaints against the channels in question, a technical hitch was to blame.

However, a subsequent statement to CNET suggested that while blacking out Netflix and YouTube might have been accidental, Roku appears to have been taking anti-piracy action against another channel or channels at the time, with the measures inadvertently spilling over to innocent parties.

“We use that warning when we detect content that has violated copyright,” Roku said in a statement.

“Some channels in our Channel Store displayed that message and became inaccessible after Roku implemented a targeted anti-piracy measure on the platform.”

The precise nature of the action taken by Roku is unknown but it’s clear that copyright infringement is currently a hot topic for the platform.

Roku is currently fighting legal action in Mexico which ordered its products off the shelves following complaints that its platform is used by pirates. That led to an FBI warning being shown for what was believed to be the first time against the XTV and other channels last year.

This March, Roku took action against the popular USTVNow channel following what was described as a “third party” copyright infringement complaint. Just a couple of weeks later, Roku followed up by removing the controversial cCloud channel.

With Roku currently fighting to have sales reinstated in Mexico against a backdrop of claims that up to 40% of its users are pirates, it’s unlikely that Roku is suddenly going to go soft on piracy, so more channel outages can be expected in the future.

In the meantime, the scary FBI warnings of last evening are beginning to fade away (for legitimate channels at least) after the company issued advice on how to fix the problem.

“The recent outage which affected some channels has been resolved. Go to Settings > System > System update > Check now for a software update. Some channels may require you to log in again. Thank you for your patience,” the company wrote in an update.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Bing Deleted a Quarter Billion Pirate Research Results Last Year

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/bing-deleted-quarter-billion-pirate-research-results-last-year-180511/

While search engines are extremely helpful for the average Internet user, copyright holders also see a massive downside.

For years entertainment industry groups have been frustrated by the fact that “infringing sites” show up in search results. In fact, they see engines as a potential breeding ground for new pirates.

With Google the dominant player, a lot of reporting on the topic has focused on the company whose name has become synonymous with search. Rightfully so, perhaps, as the sheer number of takedown requests it receives surpasses that of all competitors. However, Bing is not that far behind.

When we first queried Microsoft on the issue five years ago, the company didn’t publish its numbers yet. Instead, we were informed that Bing was asked to delete hundreds of thousands of URLs per month.

Today, this number has increased significantly. Microsoft recently published its latest DMCA takedown figures which allow us to take a look at the total number of links the company removed in 2017, adding up to nearly a quarter billion.

In the first half of the year, 16.2 million notices came in, asking Bing to remove over 121 million links. Nearly all of these requests were honored.

Copyright Removal Requests, January-June 2017

In the second half, the number of notices grew to 19.1 million, and the reported URLs slightly increased to 127 million. Again, more than 99 percent of all reported links were removed.

Copyright Removal Requests, July-December 2017

Interestingly, Microsoft itself actively uses DMCA takedown requests to remove links to infringing content. The company previously informed us that it sends notices to its own search engine as well.

In the latest transparency report, Microsoft stresses that, as a copyright holder, it respects copyrights. However, it adds that its users’ freedom of expression is kept in mind as well.

“As an intellectual property company itself, Microsoft encourages respect for intellectual property, including copyrights. We also are committed to freedom of expression and the rights of users to engage in uses that may be permissible under applicable copyright laws.”

The 248 million-plus links Bing receives is significant, but Google easily tops this figure. Last year the leading search engine removed roughly a billion URLs, suggesting that it’s a higher priority for copyright holders.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

RIAA: ISP Profited From Keeping Pirating Customers Aboard

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-isp-profited-from-keeping-pirating-customers-aboard-180508/

Last year several major record labels, represented by the RIAA, filed a lawsuit against ISP Grande Communications accusing it of turning a blind eye to pirating subscribers.

According to the RIAA, the Internet provider knew that some of its subscribers were frequently distributing copyrighted material, but failed to take any meaningful action in response.

Grande refuted the accusations and filed a motion to dismiss the case. The ISP partially succeeded as the claims against its management company Patriot were dropped. The same was true for the vicarious infringement allegations, as the court saw no evidence that the ISP had a direct financial interest in the infringing activity.

While the RIAA could still go after the ISP for contributory copyright infringement, it wants more. A few days ago, the music group submitted a motion for leave to file an amended complaint including new evidence obtained during discovery.

Among other things, the RIAA argues in more detail that Grande willingly kept pirating subscribers abroad, to generate more revenue. According to the complaint, Grande terminated accounts of pirating subscribers in the past, but stopped doing so in 2010.

“The evidence in this case reveals that, until 2010, Grande actually suspended and may even have terminated known repeat infringing customers,” reads the amended complaint, filed at a Texas federal court.

“But then, from 2011 to 2016, Defendants made the conscious decision not to terminate a single Grande subscriber for copyright infringement, regardless of how much proof they received, from any source, of those subscribers blatant, repeat infringement.”

After the RIAA filed its lawsuit, Grande allegedly started terminating subscribers again, According to the music group, the ISP hereby implicitly acknowledged that it acted unlawfully during the period in between.

The new complaint claims that Grande profited from the repeat infringers. They were also the most profitable customers by profit margin, as many had a more lucrative “a la carte” subscription.

“Defendants’ policy of refusing to take meaningful action against repeat infringers protects a significant revenue stream that Grande receives every month from its many infringing subscribers,” RIAA writes.

These allegations, including the claim that RIAA members’ sound recordings acted as a draw, are backed up by evidence filed under seal.

According to the record labels, however, it’s clear that Grande failed to adopt and reasonably implement a policy to stop repeat infringers. As such, it should have no DMCA safe harbor defense and be held liable for both vicarious and contributory copyright infringement.

In addition, the RIAA stated that newly discovered evidence also shows that the ISPs’ management company Patriot should not escape liability.

If the court accepts the amended complaint, Grande will have to respond to the new evidence and additional allegations.

As in the original complaint, the RIAA seeks statutory damages, which could go up to $150,000 per infringed work, actual damages, plus profits generated by Grande as a result of the infringement. The music group also asks for preliminary and permanent injunctions preventing Grande from further infringement.

A copy of the amended complaint is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Judges Refuse to Unmask Alleged Pirates, Citing Privacy Concerns

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/judges-refuse-to-unmask-alleged-pirates-citing-privacy-concerns-180507/

Since the turn of the last decade, numerous people have been sued for illegal file-sharing in US courts.

These cases are generally filed by a small group of rightsholders and this year “Strike 3 Holdings” has proven itself to be one of the most active litigants.

The company, which distributes its works through various adult websites, has filed cases against hundreds of alleged defendants over the past several months.

As is common in these cases, the copyright holder only knows the defendant by an IP-address. It then asks the courts to grant a subpoena, allowing it to ask Internet providers for the personal details of the alleged offenders, so it can send a settlement request.

In most district courts this established process is usually just a matter of filing boilerplate paperwork but in Minnesota, this didn’t go as easily as Strike 3 had expected.

Late last month, Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel denied such a discovery motion. As a result, Strike 3 is not allowed to ask the ISP, Comcast in this case, for the personal details of the account holder associated with the IP-address.

According to Judge Noel, these cases present a conflict between the copyright protections of the DMCA on the one hand and the privacy rights of the public as set out in the Communications Act. Here, the scale tips in the favour of the latter.

“This Court concludes that the conflict between the statutes, DMCA and the Communications Act, compels it to deny Plaintiff’s instant ex parte motion,” Judge Noel wrote.

This order didn’t go unnoticed. Last week Magistrate Judge David Schultz cited the ruling in two similar cases, also filed by Strike 3. Again, the subpoena requests were denied to secure the privacy of the alleged BitTorrent pirates.

“From this Court’s perspective there are obvious tensions between DMCA, the Communications Act, and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45,” Schultz’s orders read.

“The Court is not unsympathetic to Plaintiff’s need to discover the actual identity of the infringer of its copyright; however, the discovery sought by Plaintiff through a Rule 45 subpoena directly collides with federal privacy protections.”

In the orders, which are all nearly identical, the magistrate judges note that unless there’s a binding precedent from the Eighth Circuit or further guidance from Congress, they have no other option than to deny these discovery requests.

While this is good news for the defendants in these cases, copyright troll watcher ‘FCT’ notes that it’s too early to celebrate. Since issuing these subpoenas is a well-established procedure, the district judge or an appeal court may reverse the denials.

This lack of agreement is also apparent from another ruling that came in right before the weekend, where another Minnesota Magistrate Judge granted a similar subpoena request from Strike 3, witch the caveat that the defendant should be able to proceed anonymously.

That said, if the orders from Magistrate Judges Noel and Schultz stand, it’s a clear win for the defendants in these cases. While it won’t stop Strike 3 from continuing it’s business, at least a few people are spared from receiving settlement demands in the mail.

The denials are available here (pdf 1,2,3) and the order granting the subpoena can be found here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Cloudflare and RIAA Agree on Tailored Site Blocking Process

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-and-riaa-agree-on-tailored-site-blocking-process-180501/

Representing various major record labels, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against pirate site MP3Skull three years ago.

With millions of visitors per month, the MP3 download portal had been one of the prime sources of pirated music for a long time.

In 2016, the record labels won their case , but the site initially ignored the court order and continued to operate. This prompted the RIAA to go after third-party services including Cloudflare, demanding that they block associated domain names.

Cloudflare objected and argued that the DMCA shielded the company from the broad blocking requirements. However, the court ruled that the DMCA doesn’t apply in this case, opening the door to widespread anti-piracy filtering.

The court stressed that, before issuing an injunction against Cloudflare, it still had to be determined whether the CDN provider is “in active concert or participation” with the pirate site. This has yet to happen. Since MP3Skull has ceased its operations, the RIAA has shown little interest in pursuing the matter any further.

While there is no longer an immediate site blocking threat, the order opened the door to similar blocking requests in the future. Cloudflare, therefore, asked the court to throw the order out, arguing that since MP3Skull is no longer available the issue is moot.

A month ago, US District Court Judge Marcia Cooke denied that request, urging the parties to go back to the negotiating table and find a solution both sides can live with.

In short, the solution that Cloudflare and the RIAA agreed on is that the record labels can file an emergency motion requiring the CDN provider to block new domain names of MP3Skull, if the site resurfaces.

“Plaintiffs may request in such an amendment a specific direction to Cloudflare to cease providing services to websites at specified domains without needing to show that Cloudflare is in active concert or participation with the Defendants with respect to such services,” the order reads.

The RIAA must inform Cloudflare in advance if it plans to file such a request, which then has the option to respond. If there are no objections, the CDN provider is required to take action within 24 hours, or a full business day, whichever is longer.

This is essentially what the RIAA was after, but Cloudflare was sure to make it clear that the ruling does not mean that they are seen as operating “in active concert or participation” with the pirate site.

“For the sake of clarity, the Court’s direction to Cloudflare […] is not a finding that Cloudflare is ‘in active concert or participation’ with Defendants as provided in Rule 65(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” it reads.

This means that the order, as with the previous injunction, leaves many options open and questions unanswered. It is specifically tailored to one site, without setting in stone how similar cases will be dealt with in the future.

But considering the recent pressure from rightsholders on Cloudflare, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this battle is renewed in a new arena in the future.

Meanwhile, MP3Skull, the site which got this all started, hasn’t been seen online for over a year.

A copy of US District Court Judge Marcia Cooke’s order is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Reddit Repeat Infringer Policy Shuts Down Megalinks Piracy Sub

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/reddit-repeat-infringer-policy-shuts-down-megalinks-piracy-sub-180430/

Without doubt, Reddit is one of the most popular sites on the entire Internet. At the time of writing it’s the fourth most visited site in the US with 330 million users per month generating 14 billion screenviews.

The core of the site’s success is its communities. Known as ‘sub-Reddits’ or just ‘subs’, there are currently 138,000 of them dedicated to every single subject you can think of and tens of thousands you’d never considered.

Even though they’re technically forbidden, a small but significant number are dedicated to piracy, offering links to copyright-infringing content hosted elsewhere. One of the most popular is /r/megalinks, which is dedicated to listing infringing content (mainly movies and TV shows) uploaded to file-hosting site Mega.

Considering its activities, Megalinks has managed to stay online longer than most people imagined but following an intervention from Reddit, the content indexing sub has stopped accepting new submissions, which will effectively shut it down.

In an announcement Sunday, the sub’s moderators explained that following a direct warning from Reddit’s administrators, the decision had been taken to move on.

“As most of you know by now, we’ve had to deal with a lot of DMCA takedowns over the last 6 months. Everyone knew this day would come, eventually, and its finally here,” they wrote.

“We received a formal warning from Reddit’s administration 2 days ago, and have decided to restrict new submissions for the safety of the subreddit.”

The message from Reddit’s operators makes it absolutely clear that Reddit isn’t the platform to host what amounts to a piracy links forum.

“This is an official warning from Reddit that we are receiving too many copyright infringement notices about material posted to your community. We will be required to ban this community if you can’t adequately address the problem,” the warning reads.

Noting that Redditors aren’t allowed to post content that infringes copyrights, the administrators say they are required by law to handle DMCA notices and that in cases where infringement happens on multiple occasions, that needs to be handled in a more aggressive manner.

“The law also requires us to issue bans in cases of repeat infringement. Sometimes a repeat infringement problem is limited to just one user and we ban just that person. Other times the problem pervades a whole community and we ban the community,” the admins continue.

“This is our formal warning about repeat infringement in this community. Over the past three months we’ve had to remove material from the community in response to copyright notices 60 times. That’s an unusually high number taking into account the community’s size.

The warning suggests ways to keep infringing content down but in a sub dedicated to piracy, they’re all completely irrelevant. It also suggests removing old posts to ensure that Reddit doesn’t keep getting notices, but that would mean deleting pretty much everything. Backups exist but a simple file is a poor substitute for a community.

So, with Reddit warning that without change the sub will be banned, the moderators of /r/megalinks have decided to move on to a new home. Reportedly hosted ‘offshore’, their new forum already has more than 9,800 members and is likely to grow quickly as the word spreads.

A month ago, the /r/megaporn sub-Reddit suffered a similar fate following a warning from Reddit’s admins. It successfully launched a new external forum which is why the Megalinks crew decided on the same model.

“[A]fter seeing how /r/megaporn approached the same situation, we had started working on an offshore forum a week ago in anticipation of the ban. This allows us to work however we want, without having to deal with Reddit’s policies and administration,” the team explain.

Ever since the BMG v Cox case went bad ways for the ISP in 2015, repeat infringer policies have become a very hot topic in the US. That Reddit is now drawing a line in the sand over a relatively small number of complaints (at least compared to other similar platforms) is clear notice that Reddit and blatant piracy won’t be allowed to walk hand in hand.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Nike Sued for Running Pirated Software

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/nike-sued-for-running-pirated-software-100426/

Virtually every piece of software is cracked and made available on the Internet, through a myriad of pirate sources.

These are generally visited by regular people out to save a few bucks, but according to Quest Software, pirated license keys found their way to Nike’s office as well.

The company, known for developing a variety of database software, filed a lawsuit in an Oregon federal court this week, accusing Nike of copyright infringement. Both parties have had a software license agreement in place since 2001, but during an audit last year, Qwest noticed that not all products were properly licensed.

“That audit revealed that Nike had deployed Quest Software Products far in excess of the scope allowed by the parties’ SLA,” Quest writes in their complaint, filed at a federal court in Oregon.

Quest keeps a database of all valid keys and found that Nike used “cracked” versions, which are generally circulated on pirate sites. This is something Nike must have been aware of, it adds.

“The audit also revealed that Nike had used pirated keys to bypass the Quest License Key System and made unauthorized copies of certain Quest Software Products by breaking the technological security measures Quest had in place,” Quest writes.

“Upon information and belief, to obtain a pirated key for Quest Software Products, customers must affirmatively seek out and obtain pirated keys on download sites known to traffic in counterfeit or illegally downloaded intellectual property, such as BitTorrent.”

Pirated keys?

When the software company found out, it confronted Nike with the findings. However, according to the complaint, Nike refused to purchase the additional licenses that were required for its setup. This prompted Quest to go to court instead.

At this point, it’s not entirely clear to Quest how many pirated keys were used on Nike computers. That’s something the company would like to find out during the discovery process.

Quest is certain, however, that its customer crossed a line. It accuses Nike of copyright infringement, breach of contract, and violating the DMCA’s circumvention provisions.

The company requests an injunction restraining Nike from any infringing activity and demands compensation for the damages it suffered as a result. The exact height of these damages will have to be determined at trial.

A copy of the complaint is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

How Many Piracy Warnings Would Get You to Stop?

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/how-many-piracy-warnings-would-get-you-to-stop-180422/

For the past several years, copyright holders in the US and Europe have been trying to reach out to file-sharers in an effort to change their habits.

Whether via high-profile publicity lawsuits or a simple email, it’s hoped that by letting people know they aren’t anonymous, they’ll stop pirating and buy more content instead.

Traditionally, most ISPs haven’t been that keen on passing infringement notices on. However, the BMG v Cox lawsuit seems to have made a big difference, with a growing number of ISPs now visibly warning their users that they operate a repeat infringer policy.

But perhaps the big question is how seriously users take these warnings because – let’s face it – that’s the entire point of their existence.

There can be little doubt that a few recipients will be scurrying away at the slightest hint of trouble, intimidated by the mere suggestion that they’re being watched.

Indeed, a father in the UK – who received a warning last year as part of the Get it Right From a Genuine Site campaign – confidently and forcefully assured TF that there would be no more illegal file-sharing taking place on his ten-year-old son’s computer again – ever.

In France, where the HADOPI anti-piracy scheme received much publicity, people receiving an initial notice are most unlikely to receive additional ones in future. A December 2017 report indicated that of nine million first warning notices sent to alleged pirates since 2012, ‘just’ 800,000 received a follow-up warning on top.

The suggestion is that people either stop their piracy after getting a notice or two, or choose to “go dark” instead, using streaming sites for example or perhaps torrenting behind a decent VPN.

But for some people, the message simply doesn’t sink in early on.

A post on Reddit this week by a TWC Spectrum customer revealed that despite a wealth of readily available information (including masses in the specialist subreddit where the post was made), even several warnings fail to have an effect.

“Was just hit with my 5th copyright violation. They halted my internet and all,” the self-confessed pirate wrote.

There are at least three important things to note from this opening sentence.

Firstly, the first four warnings did nothing to change the user’s piracy habits. Secondly, Spectrum presumably had enough at five warnings and kicked in a repeat-infringer suspension, presumably to avoid the same fate as Cox in the BMG case. Third, the account suspension seems to have changed the game.

Notably, rather than some huge blockbuster movie, that fifth warning came due to something rather less prominent.

“Thought I could sneak in a random episode of Rosanne. The new one that aired LOL. That fast. Under 24 hours I got shut off. Which makes me feel like [ISPs] do monitor your traffic and its not just the people sending them notices,” the post read.

Again, some interesting points here.

Any content can be monitored by rightsholders but if it’s popular in the US then a warning delivered via an ISP seems to be more likely than elsewhere. However, the misconception that the monitoring is done by ISPs persists, despite that not being the case.

ISPs do not monitor users’ file-sharing activity, anti-piracy companies do. They can grab an IP address the second someone enters a torrent swarm, or even connects to a tracker. It happens in an instant, at a time of their choosing. Quickly jumping in and out of a torrent is no guarantee and the fallacy of not getting caught due to a failure to seed is just that – a fallacy.

But perhaps the most important thing is that after five warnings and a disconnection, the Reddit user decided to take action. Sadly for the people behind Rosanne, it’s not exactly the reaction they’d have hoped for.

“I do not want to push it but I am curious to what happens 6th time, and if I would even be safe behind a VPN,” he wrote.

“Just want to learn how to use a VPN and Sonarr and have a guilt free stress free torrent watching.”

Of course, there was no shortage of advice.

“If you have gotten 5 notices, you really should of learnt [sic] how to use a VPN before now,” one poster noted, perhaps inevitably.

But curiously, or perhaps obviously given the number of previous warnings, the fifth warning didn’t come as a surprise to the user.

“I knew they were going to hit me for it. I just didn’t think a 195mb file would do it. They were getting me for Disney movies in the past,” he added.

So how do you grab the attention of a persistent infringer like this? Five warnings and a suspension apparently. But clearly, not even that is a guarantee of success. Perhaps this is why most ‘strike’ schemes tend to give up on people who can’t be rehabilitated.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

The DMCA and its Chilling Effects on Research

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/04/the_dmca_and_it.html

The Center for Democracy and Technology has a good summary of the current state of the DMCA’s chilling effects on security research.

To underline the nature of chilling effects on hacking and security research, CDT has worked to describe how tinkerers, hackers, and security researchers of all types both contribute to a baseline level of security in our digital environment and, in turn, are shaped themselves by this environment, most notably when things they do upset others and result in threats, potential lawsuits, and prosecution. We’ve published two reports (sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation and MacArthur Foundation) about needed reforms to the law and the myriad of ways that security research directly improves people’s lives. To get a more complete picture, we wanted to talk to security researchers themselves and gauge the forces that shape their work; essentially, we wanted to “take the pulse” of the security research community.

Today, we are releasing a third report in service of this effort: “Taking the Pulse of Hacking: A Risk Basis for Security Research.” We report findings after having interviewed a set of 20 security researchers and hackers — half academic and half non-academic — about what considerations they take into account when starting new projects or engaging in new work, as well as to what extent they or their colleagues have faced threats in the past that chilled their work. The results in our report show that a wide variety of constraints shape the work they do, from technical constraints to ethical boundaries to legal concerns, including the DMCA and especially the CFAA.

Note: I am a signatory on the letter supporting unrestricted security research.

Google Search Receives Fewer Takedown Notices Than Before

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/google-search-receives-fewer-takedown-notices-than-before-180414/

In recent years Google has had to cope with a continuous increase in takedown requests from copyright holders, which target pirate sites in search results.

Just a few years ago the search engine removed ‘only’ a few thousand URLs per day. This has since grown to millions and has kept growing, until recently.

Around a year ago Google received a billion takedown requests a year, and for a while, it stabilized at roughly 20 million requests per week. By October last year, Google search had processed over three billion DMCA requests since it started counting.

After that, it appears that things calmed down a little. Where Google’s weekly takedown chart went up year after year, it’s now trending in a downward direction.

During the past half year, Google received ‘only’ 375 million takedown requests. That translates to roughly 15 million per week or 750 million per year. This is a 25% decrease compared the average in 2016.

Does this mean that copyright holders can no longer find enough pirated content via the search engine? We doubt it. But it’s clear that some of the big reporting agencies are sending in less complaints.

Degban, for example, which was at one point good for more than 10% of the weekly number of DMCA requests, has disappeared completely. Other big players, such as the Mexican anti-piracy outfit APDIF and Remove Your Media, have clearly lowered their volumes.

APDIF’s weekly DMCA volume

Of all the big players, UK Music Group BPI has been most consistent. Their average hasn’t dropped much in recent years, but is certainly not rising either.

It’s too early to tell whether this trend will hold, but according to the numbers we see now, Google will for the first time have a significant decrease in the number of takedown requests this year.

Despite the decrease, Google is under quite a bit of pressure from copyright holders to improve its takedown efforts. Most would like Google to delist pirate site domains entirely.

While the search engine isn’t willing to go that far, it does give a lower ranking to sites for which it receives a large volume of takedown requests. In addition, the company recently started accepting ‘prophylactic’ DMCA requests, for content that is not indexed yet.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Reddit Copyright Complaints Jump 138% But Almost Half Get Rejected

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/reddit-copyright-complaints-jump-138-but-almost-half-get-rejected-180411/

So-called ‘transparency reports’ are becoming increasingly popular with Internet-based platforms and their users. Among other things, they provide much-needed insight into how outsiders attempt to censor content published online and what actions are taken in response.

Google first started publishing its report in 2010, Twitter followed in 2012, and they’ve now been joined by a multitude of major companies including Microsoft, Facebook and Cloudflare.

As one of the world’s most recognized sites, Reddit joined the transparency party fairly late, publishing its first report in early 2015. While light on detail, it revealed that in the previous year the site received just 218 requests to remove content, 81% of which were DMCA-style copyright notices. A significant 62% of those copyright-related requests were rejected.

Over time, Reddit’s reporting has become a little more detailed. Last April it revealed that in 2016, the platform received ‘just’ 3,294 copyright removal requests for the entire year. However, what really caught the eye is how many notices were rejected. In just 610 instances, Reddit was required to remove content from the site, a rejection rate of 81%.

Having been a year since Reddit’s last report, the company has just published its latest edition, covering the period January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

“Reddit publishes this transparency report every year as part of our ongoing commitment to keep you aware of the trends on the various requests regarding private Reddit user account information or removal of content posted to Reddit,” the company said in a statement.

“Reddit believes that maintaining this transparency is extremely important. We want you to be aware of this information, consider it carefully, and ask questions to keep us accountable.”

The detailed report covers a wide range of topics, including government requests for the preservation or production of user information (there were 310) and even an instruction to monitor one Reddit user’s activities in real time via a so-called ‘Trap and Trace’ order.

In copyright terms, there has been significant movement. In 2017, Reddit received 7,825 notifications of alleged copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that’s up roughly 138% over the 3,294 notifications received in 2016.

For a platform of Reddit’s unquestionable size, these volumes are not big. While the massive percentage increase is notable, the site still receives less than 10 complaints each day. For comparison, Google receives millions every week.

But perhaps most telling is that despite receiving more than 7,800 DMCA-style takedown notices, these resulted in Reddit carrying out just 4,352 removals. This means that for whatever reasons (Reddit doesn’t specify), 3,473 requests were denied, a rejection rate of 44.38%. Google, on the other hand, removes around 90% of content reported.

DMCA notices can be declared invalid for a number of reasons, from incorrect formatting through to flat-out abuse. In many cases, copyright law is incorrectly applied and it’s not unknown for complainants to attempt a DMCA takedown to stifle speech or perceived competition.

Reddit says it tries to take all things into consideration before removing content.

“Reddit reviews each DMCA takedown notice carefully, and removes content where a valid report is received, as required by the law,” the company says.

“Reddit considers whether the reported content may fall under an exception listed in the DMCA, such as ‘fair use,’ and may ask for clarification that will assist in the review of the removal request.”

Considering the numbers of community-focused “subreddits” dedicated to piracy (not just general discussion, but actual links to content), the low numbers of copyright notices received by Reddit continues to baffle.

There are sections in existence right now offering many links to movies and TV shows hosted on various file-hosting sites. They’re the type of links that are targeted all the time whenever they appear in Google search but copyright owners don’t appear to notice or care about them on Reddit.

Finally, it would be nice if Reddit could provide more information in next year’s report, including detail on why so many requests are rejected. Perhaps regular submission of notices to the Lumen Database would be something Reddit would consider for the future.

Reddit’s Transparency Report for 2017 can be found here.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Popular Torrent Site Loses Domain After Copyright Complaint

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/popular-torrent-site-loses-domain-after-copyright-complaint-180409/

With millions of visitors per month, Yggtorrent is one of the largest torrent sites on the Internet.

Catering to a French audience, it’s not widely known everywhere, but in France, it’s getting close to a spot among the 100 most visited sites in the country.

Yggtorrent is not the typical torrent indexer. It sees itself as a community instead and has a dedicated tracker, something that’s quite rare these days. The site is really only a few months old and filled the gap T411 left behind when it closed last year.

Its popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by copyright holders either. In addition to sending thousands of DMCA notices, local anti-piracy group SACEM went a step further a few weeks ago, asking Yggtorrent’s domain registrar Internet.bs for help.

In a letter sent on behalf of SACEM, BrandAnalytic pointed out that the torrent site is offering copyrighted content without permission from the owners, thereby violating the law.

“This contravening domain name provides users with copyright-protected works without any express or tacit permission of the societies or their authors, composers and publishers,” the complaint reads.

BrandAnalytic/SACEM’s complaint

Strangely enough, the letter also accuses the site of phishing. As evidence, BrandAnalytic sent a screenshot of the site’s registration page while mentioning that it automatically installs cookies on users’ computers.

Since Yggtorrent uses a Whois privacy service, BrandAnalytic says it can’t identify the owners. They, therefore, ask Internet.bs to step in and take the domain offline.

“As you are the Registrar of this contravening domain name, we count on your prompt and amicable collaboration to remove it from the global domain tree,” BrandAnalytic writes.

The complaint was sent late February and Internet.bs forwarded it to the torrent site at the time, so it could respond appropriately. However, Yggtorrent did not respond at all.

After a reminder, the registrar decided to put the torrent site’s .com domain name on hold a few days ago, which means that it became inaccessible.

TorrentFreak spoke to an operator of Yggtorrent who explains that the site receives thousands of DMCA complaints and that it’s impossible to answer them all. They’ll now leave the .com domain domain behind and move to a new one, Yggtorrent.is.

Instead of using Internet.bs as registrar, the new domain name was purchased through Njalla, the privacy-oriented domain registration service that was founded by former Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde.

“Now, we know that we should not use internet.bs anymore. This is not the first time they suspend a domain name like this. It happened to Extratorrent in the past.

“We use Njalla right now, it’s safe,” Yggtorrent’s operator adds.

While the site is indeed back online, older torrents may not function as usual, as the tracker of the .com domain is no longer accessible. The site, therefore, recommends users to update the tracker address manually got get them going again.

Yggtorrent, which came under new management recently, appears to come out of this issue relatively unscathed. However, being in the crosshairs of SACEM is not without risk. The organization previously took out What.cd and Zone-Telechargement, among others.

Yggtorrent’s homepage

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Hosting Provider Steadfast is Not Liable for ‘Pirate’ Site

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hosting-provider-steadfast-is-not-liable-for-pirate-site-180403/

In 2016, adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan dragged several third-party Internet services to court.

The company targeted companies including CDN provider CloudFlare and the Chicago-based hosting company Steadfast, accusing them of copyright infringement because they offered services to pirate sites.

ALS argued that Steadfast refused to shut down the servers of the image sharing platform Imagebam.com, which was operated by its client Flixya. The hosting provider had been targeted with dozens of DMCA notices, and ALS accused Steadfast of turning a blind eye to the situation.

Steadfast denied these allegations. The hosting provider did indeed lease servers to Flixya for ten years but said that it forwarded all notices to its client. The hosting company could not address individual infringements, other than shutting down the entire site, which would have been disproportionate in their view.

With a trial getting closer, the hosting company submitted a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it can’t be held liable for copyright infringement. A few days ago California District Court Judge George Wu ordered on the matter, bringing good news for Steadfast.

Judge Wu dismissed all claims against Steadfast, including contributory copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, and contributory trademark infringement, which is a clear win.

Dismissed

The order clarifies that hosting providers such as Steadfast can be held liable for pirate sites. This is also the case when these sites are hosted on servers that are leased by a company which itself has a takedown policy, something Steadfast contended.

In this case, it is clear that Steadfast knew of the infringements. It could have shut down imagebam.com but failed to do so, and continued to provide server space to known copyright infringers on the site. All these arguments could, in theory, weigh against the hosting provider.

However, in order to be liable for contributory copyright infringement, ALS Scan needed to show that Steadfast failed to take simple steps to prevent the copyright infringements at issue. This is where the adult entertainment publisher’s arguments failed.

Steadfast forwarded all notices to its customer Flixya which resulted in the removal of the infringing images. In other words, the hosting provider took simple steps that prevented further copyright infringements.

“Given these undisputed facts, the Court would find that Steadfast did not ‘[fail] to take simple measures’ to prevent the specific acts of infringement of which it was aware. Steadfast took simple steps that resulted in all of the at-issue images being removed,” Judge Wu writes.

ALS argued that Steadfast should have shut down the entire server of its customer to prevent future infringements, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Service providers only have to take measures if they know that infringements occurred or will occur in the future. The latter was not obvious here.

“As such, the Court is not convinced that Steadfast had any reason, legal or practical, to terminate Flixya’s account and power down its servers,” the order reads.

Steadfast founder and CEO Karl Zimmerman is happy with the outcome of the case. He agrees that hosting providers have a responsibility to respond to copyright infringement complaints, but stresses that his company already has the right procedures in play.

“We already check and assure the content is removed, and yes, if the content simply stays up, that is concerning and shows that more could be done,” Zimmerman informs TF.

“We took action in forwarding the complaints, tracking those complaints, and validating the content had been removed. We did what was required of us, which is why I thought it was odd we were in this case in the first place.”

Hosting providers should take measures to help curb copyright infringement, according to Steadfast. However, shutting down entire services of customers who take down infringing links when they’re asked too, goes too far. Zimmerman is glad that Judge Wu agreed with this.

“To me, it simply does not seem reasonable to have to shut down a customer just because future infringement of their users is possible, when every indication is that the customer is completely law-abiding and I’m glad the judge agreed with that,” he says.

A copy of United States District Court Judge George Wu’s order is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Comcast Doesn’t Disconnect All Binging Pirates

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/comcast-doesnt-disconnect-all-binging-pirates-180401/

Regular Internet providers are being put under increasing pressure for not doing enough to curb copyright infringement.

Earlier this year the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ISPs are required to terminate ‘repeat infringers’ based on allegations from copyright holders alone, a topic that has been contested for years.

As this case progressed, several Internet providers reviewed their applicable policies and updated them if needed. This was also true for Comcast, which published its repeat infringer policy online late 2017.

While it’s clear that Comcast reserves the right to terminate accounts of persistent pirates, it remains unclear when this would happen.

“Any infringement of third party copyright rights violates the law. We reserve the right to treat any customer account for whom we receive multiple DMCA notifications from content owners as a repeat infringer,” the company simply notes.

Today, we are able to add some further clarification, from a ‘binging’ pirate.

A few days ago we were contacted by a Comcast subscriber who received not one, not two, but more than 50 DMCA alerts from Comcast in a single day.

Alert!

Although he had received similar alerts in previous months, in the first email of the batch Comcast clarified that this was the first alert under their DMCA repeat infringer policy, which may have something to do with the recent policy update.

“This alert from Comcast is to let you know that this month, we received notifications of alleged copyright infringement associated with your XFINITY Internet account,” the email clarified.

“That means your Internet service may have been used repeatedly to copy or share a movie, show, song, game or other copyrighted content without any required permission, and you have triggered the first step of our DMCA repeat infringer policy.”

In total, the subscriber received close to 70 DMCA notices last month, but aside from a crowded inbox, nothing happened. Apparently, receiving this many DMCA notices by itself is not sufficient to be qualified as a “repeat infringer” under Comcast’s policy.

We reached out to Comcast last week and a company spokesperson told us that they would answer follow-up questions over email. However, more than a week has passed and despite several reminders, we haven’t heard back.

While copyright holders may frame Comcast’s approach as a failure to terminate accounts of repeat infringers, the company may have a good reason.

Dozens of the notices our tipster received came from Rightscorp and were triggered by files from the same torrent. This means that downloading a torrent with a discography of an artist can result in dozens if not hundreds of notices.

Perhaps Comcast is taking a more gradual approach, not one based solely on volume. This is also what their repeat infringer policy, which mentions a “multi-step” process, suggests.

“Upon receipt of repeated DMCA notifications in a calendar month, the customer account will progress from one policy step to the next one.”

While more than a month has passed, our tipster says he hasn’t heard about any new steps, nor was he urged to acknowledge the alerts in any way. But maybe he got lucky…

As for the law, this requires ISPs to “adopt and reasonably implement a policy” to terminate “repeat infringers” in “appropriate circumstances,” with no mention of volume or a timeframe.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Cloudflare Fails to Eliminate ‘Moot’ Pirate Site Blocking Threat

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-fails-eliminate-moot-pirate-site-blocking-threat/

Representing various major record labels, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against pirate site MP3Skull three years ago.

With millions of visitors per month the MP3 download site had been one of the prime sources of pirated music for a long time.

In 2016, the record labels won their case against the MP3 download portal but the site initially ignored the court order and continued to operate. This prompted the RIAA to go after third-party services including Cloudflare, demanding that they block associated domain names.

Cloudflare objected and argued that the DMCA shielded the company from the broad blocking requirements. However, the court ruled that the DMCA doesn’t apply in this case, opening the door to widespread anti-piracy filtering.

The court stressed that, before issuing an injunction against Cloudflare, it still had to be determined whether the CDN provider is “in active concert or participation” with the pirate site. However, this has yet to happen. Since MP3Skull has ceased its operations the RIAA has shown little interest in pursuing the matter any further.

While there is no longer an immediate site blocking threat, it makes it easier for rightsholders to request similar blocking requests in the future. Cloudflare, therefore, asked the court to throw the order out, arguing that since MP3Skull is no longer available the issue is moot.

This week, US District Court Judge Marcia Cooke denied that request.

Denied

This is, of course, music to the ears of the RIAA and its members.

The RIAA wants to keep the door open for similar blocking requests in the future. This potential liability for pirates sites is the main reason why the CDN provider asked the court to vacate the order, the RIAA said previously.

While the order remains in place, Judge Cooke suggests that both parties are working on some kind of compromise or clarification and gave two weeks to draft this into a new proposal.

“The parties may draft and submit a joint proposed order addressing the issues raised at the hearing on or before April 10, 2018,” Judge Cooke writes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Roku Removes USTVnow Service Following “3rd Party” Copyright Complaint

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/roku-removes-ustvnow-service-following-3rd-party-copyright-complaint-180329/

Earlier this week, customers of the popular Roku streaming media player began complaining about a problem with the product, specifically in connection with USTVnow.

USTVnow promotes itself as a service targeted at American expats and the military, offering “a wide range of live American channels to watch on their computer, mobile device or television.”

Indeed, USTVnow offers a fairly comprehensive service, with eight channels (including ABC and FOX) on its free tier and 24 channels on its premium $29.00 per month package.

USTVnow’s top package

Having USTVnow available via Roku helps to spread the free tier and drive business to the paid tier but, as of this week, that’s stopped happening. USTVnow has been completely removed from the Roku platform, much to the disappointment of customers.

“I spoke to Roku support and [they told me] that USTVNOW is no longer available for Roku at this time,” a user in Roku’s forums complained.

In response, a Roku engineer said that “Roku has been asked to remove this channel by the content rights owner”, which was as confusing as it was informative.

USTVnow endorses the Roku product, actively promotes it on the front page of its site, and provides helpful setup guides.

So, in an effort to get to the bottom of the problem, TorrentFreak contacted Roku, asking for details. The company responded quickly.

“Yes, that is correct, the channel was removed from our platform,” Roku spokesperson Tricia Misfud confirmed.

“When we receive a notice regarding copyright infringement we are swift to review which in this case resulted in us removing the channel.”

Roku pointed us to its copyright infringement page which details its policies and actions when a complaint is received. However, that didn’t really help to answer why it would remove USTVnow when USTVnow promotes the Roku service.

So we asked Roku again to elaborate on who filed the notice and on what grounds.

“The notice was in regards to the copyright of the content,” came the response.

While not exactly clear, this suggested that USTVnow wasn’t the problem but someone else. Was it a third-party perhaps? If so, who, and what was the content being complained about?

“It was from a third party,” came the vague response.

With USTVnow completely unavailable via Roku, there are some pretty annoyed customers out there. However, it seems clear that at least for now, the company either can’t or won’t reveal the precise details of the complaint.

It could conceivably be from one of the major channels offered in the USTVnow package but equally, it could be a DMCA notice from a movie or TV show copyright holder who objects to their content being distributed on the device, or even USTVnow itself.

USTVnow has a deal with Nittany Media to provide streaming services based on Nittany’s product but there is always a potential for a licensing problem somewhere, potentially big ones too.

We’ll update this article if and when more information becomes available.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Google Adds ‘Kodi’ to Autocomplete Piracy Filter

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/google-adds-kodi-to-autocomplete-piracy-filter-180328/

In recent years entertainment industry groups have repeatedly urged Google to ramp up its anti-piracy efforts.

These remarks haven’t fallen on deaf ears and Google has made several changes to its search algorithms to make copyright-infringing material less visible.

The company demotes results from domain names for which it receives many DMCA takedown notices, for example, and it has also removed several piracy-related terms from its autocomplete feature.

The latter means that when one types “pirate ba” it won’t suggest pirate bay. Instead, people see “pirate bays” or “pirate books” as suggestions. Whether that’s very effective is up for debate, but it’s intentional.

“Google has taken steps to prevent terms closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete and Related Search,” the company previously explained.

“This is similar to the approach we have taken for a narrow class of terms related to pornography, violence, and hate speech.”

When the piracy filter was first implemented, several seemingly neutral terms such as BitTorrent and uTorrent were also targeted. While these were later reinstated, we recently noticed another autocomplete ban that’s rather broad.

It turns out that Google has recently removed the term “Kodi” from its autocomplete results. While Kodi can be abused through pirate add-ons, the media player software itself is perfectly legal, which makes it an odd decision.

Users who type in “Kod” get a list of suggestions including “Kodak” and “Kodiak,” but not the much more popular search term Kodi.

Kodiak?

Similarly, when typing “addons for k” Google suggests addons for Kokotime and Krypton 17.6. While the latter is a Kodi version, the name of the media player itself doesn’t come up as a suggestion.

Once users type the full Kodi term and add a space, plenty of suggestions suddenly appear, which is similar to other banned terms.

Kokotime

Ironically enough, the Kokotime app is frequently used by pirates as well. Also, the names of all of the pirate Kodi addons we checked still show up fine in the autosuggest feature.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t document its autocomplete removal decisions, nor does it publish the full list of banned words. However, the search engine confirms that Kodi’s piracy stigma is to blame here.

“Since 2011, we have been filtering certain terms closely associated with copyright infringement from Google Autocomplete. This action is consistent with that long-standing strategy,” a spokesperson told us.

The Kodi team, operated by the XBMC Foundation, is disappointed with the decision and points out that their software does not cross any lines.

“We are surprised and disappointed to discover Kodi has been removed from autocomplete, as Kodi is perfectly legal open source software,” XBMC Foundation President Nathan Betzen told us.

The Kodi team has been actively trying to distance itself from pirate elements. They enforce their trademark against sellers of pirate boxes and are in good contact with Hollywood’s industry group, the MPAA.

“We have a professional relationship with the MPAA, who have specifically made clear in the past their own position that Kodi is legal software,” Betzen notes.

“We hope Google will reconsider this decision in the future, or at a minimum limit their removal to search terms where the legality is actually in dispute.”

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Rapidgator Plans to Launch Blockchain Powered File-Storage Platform

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/rapidgator-plans-to-launch-blockchain-powered-file-storage-platform-180325/

For several years, Rapidgator has been one of the leading file-sharing sites on the Internet.

While Rapidgator’s functionality hasn’t drastically changed in recent years, the site’s CEO has been working on an ambitious new project. This month, he’s introducing their blockchain powered file-sharing and distribution platform Market.space to the world.

Generally speaking, we’re not too eager to cover ICOs and new cryptocurrencies but with a major file-sharing player getting involved, we decided to take a closer look.

Simply speaking, the new platform will act as a hosting aggregator. Professional hosting services can offer their unused capacity, creating a market where consumers can pick the option that’s best for them, with bulletproof anonymity.

Decentralized file-storage services are not new by any means. Platforms such as Filecoin and Storj.io have been around for a while, so how does Market.space differentiate itself?

According to Rapidgator’s operator and CEO, Alex Rakhmanov, Market.space will focus on partnerships with large professional hosting companies. This as opposed to storing content on computers of the public.

“Market.space will be booking.com for storage where the customer can select the best location for his storage and the lowest price,” Rakhmanov says.

On the demand side, the audience can be quite diverse, ranging from companies who need a file-storage solution to artists or scientists who want to share their data.

The technical details and fine print of the plan are spelled out in the whitepaper, although it’s hard to judge a project without being able to try a working version. The most interesting part to us, at this point, is the link to Rapidgator, which is publicly promoted.

The Market.space website highlights the CEO and mentions Rapidgator as an established file-sharing platform with a storage capacity of more than 20 Petabytes and 40 million visitors per month.

Although that’s a testament to its file-sharing expertise, critics are likely to point out the piracy label copyright holders have applied to the site over the years.

Market.space’s Background

While the site can be used to share any type of file, it has often been criticized as a piracy haven. Earlier this year, the site was also featured on the US Trade Representative’s list of notorious markets.

These characterizations are not new, but Rapidgator’s CEO categorically refutes the claims.

“Rapidgator is a highly acclaimed file-sharing website, with an established technology behind it. We comply with the DMCA and remove files when they are reported,” Rakhmanov tells TorrentFreak.

He stresses that Rapidgator currently works with major industry players such as IFPI, who have direct access to their takedown tools. Market.space will also comply with DMCA takedown notices, although this isn’t expected to be a major issue.

“As for market.space it is more a business to business model. I don’t think there will be any copyright issues,” Rakhmanov says.

“Still, we’ll have to register the new project for DMCA purposes and remove files if they are reported. If a report is false, the user can send a counternotice and restore it,” he adds.

Market.space’s token sale, which will various tokens including SIA and Storj, starts on April 16. The ICO has a hard cap of $50 million, and a minimum of $15 million is required to get the project off the ground.

Market.space

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Repeat Infringer Policy Doesn’t Have to Be Spelled Out, Appeals Court Rules

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/repeat-infringer-policy-doesnt-have-to-be-spelled-out-appeals-court-rules-180324/

The “repeat infringer” issue is a hot topic in US Courts, leading to much uncertainty among various Internet services.

Under the DMCA, companies are required to implement a reasonable policy to deal with frequent offenders.

This not only applies to commercial Internet providers, as Cox found out the hard way, but also to websites that host user-uploaded content, such as video and image hosting services.

Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order that provides some further clarification on how a repeat infringer policy should be documented.

The case in question was filed by adult content producer Ventura Content, which accused the adult-themed site Motherless of copyright infringement. While Motherless relies on user-uploaded content, the adult producer argued that it is liable for pirated content on its site.

In a majority ruling, the Court found that Motherless did not know about the alleged infringements before the lawsuit was filed and removed them within a day of being properly alerted.

This means that the site is entitled to safe harbor protection if it implemented a reasonable repeat infringer policy, which brings us to the crux of the case.

The operator of the site, Joshua Lange, is the sole employee who single-handedly deals with all takedown requests. The site also has a page informing users that there is a repeat infringer policy, without providing specific details.

The adult content producer argued that the site had failed to reasonably implement such a policy, but the Court disagreed, noting that the DMCA doesn’t prescribe a written policy.

“The details of the termination policy are not written down. However, the statute does not say that the policy details must be written, just that the site must inform subscribers of ‘a policy’ of terminating repeat infringers in appropriate circumstances,” the Court states.

In this case, the details of the policy were in the mind of the operator, who made his decisions based on a case-by-case evaluation.

“Lange uses his judgment, not a mechanical test, to terminate infringers based on the volume, history, severity, and intentions behind a user’s infringing content uploads.”

The fact that the details of the policy were not spelled out doesn’t mean that Motherless has no safe harbor protection, although this may be different for large companies.

“A company might need a written policy to tell its employees or independent contractors what to do if there were a significant number of them, but Motherless is not such a firm.

“So the lack of a detailed written policy is not by itself fatal to safe harbor eligibility. Neither is the fact that Motherless did not publicize its internal criteria,” the Court adds.

Surprisingly, the site’s operator didn’t keep any written logs of repeat infringers either. He simply kept track of them in his head and terminated more than a thousand accounts this way. This didn’t work flawlessly, as a few repeat infringers slipped through, but the Court believes it was good enough.

“It is tempting, perhaps, to say that a policy is not ‘reasonably’ implemented if it does not include both a database of users whose uploads have generated DMCA notices and some automated means of catching them if they do it again. But the statute does not require that,” the order reads.

Overall, the Court sides with Motherless and its operator and affirmed the summary judgment in its favor.

This case is unique in many ways. Among other things, it shows that written details or logs are not always required for a “reasonable” repeat infringer policy. While this could be different for large companies, it is likely to be referenced frequently in related cases.

This week, hosting provider Steadfast was quick to use the ruling to argue that it sufficiently adopted and informed users of its repeat infringer policy.

—-

A copy of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is available here (pdf).

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