Tag Archives: game of thrones

Watch Game of Thrones with a Raspberry Pi-powered Drogon

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/watch-game-of-thrones-with-raspberry-pi-powered-drogon/

Channel your inner Targaryen by building this voice-activated, colour-changing, 3D-printed Drogon before watching the next episode of Game of Thrones.

Winter has come

This is a spoiler-free zone! I’ve already seen the new episode of season 8, but I won’t ruin anything, I promise.

Even if you’ve never watched an episode of Game of Thrones (if so, that’s fine, I don’t judge you), you’re probably aware that the final season has started.

And you might also know that the show has dragons in it — big, hulking, scaley dragons called Rhaegal, Viserion, and Drogon. They look a little something like this:Daenerys-Targaryen-game-of-thrones

Well, not anymore. They look like this now:


Raspberry Pi voice-responsive dragon!

The creator of this project goes by the moniker Botmation. To begin with, they 3D printed modified a Drogon model they found on Thingiverse. Then, with Dremel in hand, they modified the print, to replace its eyes with RGB LEDs. Before drawing the LEDs through the hollowed-out body of the model, they soldered them to wires connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero W‘s GPIO pins.

Located in the tin beneath Drogon, the Pi Zero W is also equipped with a microphone and runs the Python code for the project. And thanks to Google’s Speech to Text API, Drogon’s eyes change colour whenever a GoT character repeats one of two keywords: white turns the eyes blue, while fire turns them red.

If you’d like more information about building your own interactive Drogon, here’s a handy video. At the end, Botmation asks viewers to help improve their code for a cleaner voice-activation experience.

3D printed Drogon with LED eyes for Game of Thrones

Going into the final season of Game of Thrones with your very own 3D printed Drogron dragon! The eyes are made of LEDs that changes between Red and Blue depending on what happens in the show. When you’re watching the show, Drogon will watch the show with you and listen for cues to change the eye color.

Drogon for the throne!

I’ve managed to bag two of the three dragons in the Pi Towers Game of Thrones fantasy league, so I reckon my chances of winning are pretty good thanks to all the points I’ll rack up by killing White Walker.

Wait — does killing a White Walker count as a kill, since they’re already dead?

Ah, crud.

The post Watch Game of Thrones with a Raspberry Pi-powered Drogon appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

MPAA Aims to Prevent Piracy Leaks With New Security Program

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-aims-to-prevent-piracy-leaks-with-new-security-program-180403/

When movies and TV shows leak onto the Internet in advance of their intended release dates, it’s generally a time of celebration for pirates.

Grabbing a workprint or DVD screener of an Oscar nominee or a yet to be aired on TV show makes the Internet bubble with excitement. But for the studios and companies behind the products, it presents their worst nightmare.

Despite all the takedown efforts known to man, once content appears, there’s no putting the genie back into the bottle.

With this in mind, the solution doesn’t lie with reactionary efforts such as Internet disconnections, site-blocking and similar measures, but better hygiene while content is still in production or being prepared for distribution. It’s something the MPAA hopes to address with a brand new program designed to bring the security of third-party vendors up to scratch.

The Trusted Partner Network (TPN) is the brainchild of the MPAA and the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA), a worldwide forum advocating the innovative and responsible delivery and storage of entertainment content.

TPN is being touted as a global industry-wide film and television content protection initiative which will help companies prevent leaks, breaches, and hacks of their customers’ movies and television shows prior to their intended release.

“Content is now created by a growing ecosystem of third-party vendors, who collaborate with varying degrees of security,” TPN explains.

“This has escalated the security threat to the entertainment industry’s most prized asset, its content. The TPN program seeks to raise security awareness, preparedness, and capabilities within our industry.”

The TPN will establish a “single benchmark of minimum security preparedness” for vendors whose details will be available via centralized and global “trusted partner” database. The TPN will replace security assessments programs already in place at the MPAA and CDSA.

While content owners and vendors are still able to conduct their own security assessments on an “as-needed” basis, the aim is for the TPN to reduce the number of assessments carried out while assisting in identifying vulnerabilities. The pool of “trusted partners” is designed to help all involved understand and meet the challenges of leaks, whether that’s movie, TV show, or associated content.

While joining the TPN program is voluntary, there’s a strong suggestion that becoming involved in the program is in vendors’ best interests. Being able to carry the TPN logo will be an asset to doing business with others involved in the scheme, it’s suggested.

Once in, vendors will need to hire a TPN-approved assessor to carry out an initial audit of their supply chain and best practices, which in turn will need to be guided by the MPAA’s existing content security guidelines.

“Vendors will hire a Qualified Assessor from the TPN database and will schedule their assessment and manage the process via the secure online platform,” TPN says, noting that vendors will cover their own costs unless an assessment is carried out at the request of a content owner.

The TPN explains that members of the scheme aren’t passed or failed in respect of their security preparedness. However, there’s an expectation they will be expected to come up to scratch and prove that with a subsequent positive report from a TPN approved assessor. Assessors themselves will also be assessed via the TPN Qualified Assessor Program.

By imposing MPAA best practices upon partner companies, it’s hoped that some if not all of the major leaks that have plagued the industry over the past several years will be prevented in future. Whether that’s the usual DVD screener leaks, workprints, scripts or other content, it’s believed the TPN should be able to help in some way, although the former might be a more difficult nut to crack.

There’s no doubting that the problem TPN aims to address is serious. In 2017 alone, hackers and other individuals obtained and then leaked episodes of Orange is the New Black, unreleased ABC content, an episode of Game of Thrones sourced from India and scripts from the same show. Even blundering efforts managed to make their mark.

“Creating the films and television shows enjoyed by audiences around the world increasingly requires a network of specialized vendors and technicians,” says MPAA chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin.

“That’s why maintaining high security standards for all third-party operations — from script to screen — is such an important part of preventing the theft of creative works and ultimately protects jobs and the health of our vibrant creative economy.”

According to TPN, the first class of TPN Assessors was recruited and tested last month while beta-testing of key vendors will begin in April. The full program will roll out in June 2018.

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

TVAddons Suffers Big Setback as Court Completely Overturns Earlier Ruling

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/tvaddons-suffers-big-setback-as-court-completely-overturns-earlier-ruling-180221/

On June 2, 2017 a group of Canadian telecoms giants including Bell Canada, Bell ExpressVu, Bell Media, Videotron, Groupe TVA, Rogers Communications and Rogers Media, filed a complaint in Federal Court against Montreal resident, Adam Lackman.

Better known as the man behind Kodi addon repository TVAddons, Lackman was painted as a serial infringer in the complaint. The telecoms companies said that, without gaining permission from rightsholders, Lackman communicated copyrighted TV shows including Game of Thrones, Prison Break, The Big Bang Theory, America’s Got Talent, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and dozens more, by developing, hosting, distributing and promoting infringing Kodi add-ons.

To limit the harm allegedly caused by TVAddons, the complaint demanded interim, interlocutory, and permanent injunctions restraining Lackman from developing, promoting or distributing any of the allegedly infringing add-ons or software. On top, the plaintiffs requested punitive and exemplary damages, plus costs.

On June 9, 2017 the Federal Court handed down a time-limited interim injunction against Lackman ex parte, without Lackman being able to mount a defense. Bailiffs took control of TVAddons’ domains but the most controversial move was the granting of an Anton Piller order, a civil search warrant which granted the plaintiffs no-notice permission to enter Lackman’s premises to secure evidence before it could be tampered with.

The order was executed June 12, 2017, with Lackman’s home subjected to a lengthy search during which the Canadian was reportedly refused his right to remain silent. Non-cooperation with an Anton Piller order can amount to a contempt of court, he was told.

With the situation seemingly spinning out of Lackman’s control, unexpected support came from the Honourable B. Richard Bell during a subsequent June 29, 2017 Federal Court hearing to consider the execution of the Anton Piller order.

The Judge said that Lackman had been subjected to a search “without any of the protections normally afforded to litigants in such circumstances” and took exception to the fact that the plaintiffs had ordered Lackman to spill the beans on other individuals in the Kodi addon community. He described this as a hunt for further evidence, not the task of preserving evidence it should’ve been.

Justice Bell concluded by ruling that while the prima facie case against Lackman may have appeared strong before the judge who heard the matter ex parte, the subsequent adversarial hearing undermined it, to the point that it no longer met the threshold.

As a result of these failings, Judge Bell vacated the Anton Piller order and dismissed the application for interlocutory injunction.

While this was an early victory for Lackman and TVAddons, the plaintiffs took the decision to an appeal which was heard November 29, 2017. Determined by a three-judge panel and signed by Justice Yves de Montigny, the decision was handed down Tuesday and it effectively turns the earlier ruling upside down.

The appeal had two matters to consider: whether Justice Bell made errors when he vacated the Anton Piller order, and whether he made errors when he dismissed the application for an interlocutory injunction. In short, the panel found that he did.

In a 27-page ruling, the first key issue concerns Justice Bell’s understanding of the nature of both Lackman and TVAddons.

The telecoms companies complained that the Judge got it wrong when he characterized Lackman as a software developer who came up with add-ons that permit users to access material “that is for the most part not infringing on the rights” of the telecoms companies.

The companies also challenged the Judge’s finding that the infringing add-ons offered by the site represented “just over 1%” of all the add-ons developed by Lackman.

“I agree with the [telecoms companies] that the Judge misapprehended the evidence and made palpable and overriding errors in his assessment of the strength of the appellants’ case,” Justice Yves de Montigny writes in the ruling.

“Nowhere did the appellants actually state that only a tiny proportion of the add-ons found on the respondent’s website are infringing add-ons.”

The confusion appears to have arisen from the fact that while TVAddons offered 1,500 add-ons in total, the heavily discussed ‘featured’ addon category on the site contained just 22 add-ons, 16 of which were considered to be infringing according to the original complaint. So, it was 16 add-ons out of 22 being discussed, not 16 add-ons out of a possible 1,500.

“[Justice Bell] therefore clearly misapprehended the evidence in this regard by concluding that just over 1% of the add-ons were purportedly infringing,” the appeals Judge adds.

After gaining traction with Justice Bell in the previous hearing, Lackman’s assertion that his add-ons were akin to a “mini Google” was fiercely contested by the telecoms companies. They also fell flat before the appeal hearing.

Justice de Montigny says that Justice Bell “had been swayed” when Lackman’s expert replicated the discovery of infringing content using Google but had failed to grasp the important differences between a general search engine and a dedicated Kodi add-on.

“While Google is an indiscriminate search engine that returns results based on relevance, as determined by an algorithm, infringing add-ons target predetermined infringing content in a manner that is user-friendly and reliable,” the Judge writes.

“The fact that a search result using an add-on can be replicated with Google is of little consequence. The content will always be found using Google or any other Internet search engine because they search the entire universe of all publicly available information. Using addons, however, takes one to the infringing content much more directly, effortlessly and safely.”

With this in mind, Justice de Montigny says there is a “strong prima facie case” that Lackman, by hosting and distributing infringing add-ons, made the telecoms companies’ content available to the public “at a time of their choosing”, thereby infringing paragraph 2.4(1.1) and section 27 of the Copyright Act.

On TVAddons itself, the Judge said that the platform is “clearly designed” to facilitate access to infringing material since it targets “those who want to circumvent the legal means of watching television programs and the related costs.”

Turning to Lackman, the Judge said he could not claim to have no knowledge of the infringing content delivered by the add-ons distributed on this site, since they were purposefully curated prior to distribution.

“The respondent cannot credibly assert that his participation is content neutral and that he was not negligent in failing to investigate, since at a minimum he selects and organizes the add-ons that find their way onto his website,” the Judge notes.

In a further setback, the Judge draws clear parallels with another case before the Canadian courts involving pre-loaded ‘pirate’ set-top boxes. Justice de Montigny says that TVAddons itself bears “many similarities” with those devices that are already subjected to an interlocutory injunction in Canada.

“The service offered by the respondent through the TVAddons website is no different from the service offered through the set-top boxes. The means through which access is provided to infringing content is different (one relied on hardware while the other relied on a website), but they both provided unauthorized access to copyrighted material without authorization of the copyright owners,” the Judge finds.

Continuing, the Judge makes some pointed remarks concerning the execution of the Anton Piller order. In short, he found little wrong with the way things went ahead and also contradicted some of the claims and beliefs circulated in the earlier hearing.

Citing the affidavit of an independent solicitor who monitored the order’s execution, the Judge said that the order was explained to Lackman in plain language and he was informed of his right to remain silent. He was also told that he could refuse to answer questions other than those specified in the order.

The Judge said that Lackman was allowed to have counsel present, “with whom he consulted throughout the execution of the order.” There was nothing, the Judge said, that amounted to the “interrogation” alluded to in the earlier hearing.

Justice de Montigny also criticized Justice Bell for failing to take into account that Lackman “attempted to conceal crucial evidence and lied to the independent supervising solicitor regarding the whereabouts of that evidence.”

Much was previously made of Lackman apparently being forced to hand over personal details of third-parties associated directly or indirectly with TVAddons. The Judge clarifies what happened in his ruling.

“A list of names was put to the respondent by the plaintiffs’ solicitors, but it was apparently done to expedite the questioning process. In any event, the respondent did not provide material information on the majority of the aliases put to him,” the Judge reveals.

But while not handing over evidence on third-parties will paint Lackman in a better light with concerned elements of the add-on community, the Judge was quick to bring up the Canadian’s history and criticized Justice Bell for not taking it into account when he vacated the Anton Piller order.

“[T]he respondent admitted that he was involved in piracy of satellite television signals when he was younger, and there is evidence that he was involved in the configuration and sale of ‘jailbroken’ Apple TV set-top boxes,” Justice de Montigny writes.

“When juxtaposed to the respondent’s attempt to conceal relevant evidence during the execution of the Anton Piller order, that contextual evidence adds credence to the appellants’ concern that the evidence could disappear without a comprehensive order.”

Dismissing Justice Bell’s findings as “fatally flawed”, Justice de Montigny allowed the appeal of the telecoms companies, set aside the order of June 29, 2017, declared the Anton Piller order and interim injunctions legal, and granted an interlocutory injunction to remain valid until the conclusion of the case in Federal Court. The telecoms companies were also awarded costs of CAD$50,000.

It’s worth noting that despite all the detail provided up to now, the case hasn’t yet got to the stage where the Court has tested any of the claims put forward by the telecoms companies. Everything reported to date is pre-trial and has been taken at face value.

TorrentFreak spoke with Adam Lackman but since he hadn’t yet had the opportunity to discuss the matter with his lawyers, he declined to comment further on the record. There is a statement on the TVAddons website which gives his position on the story so far.

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The Pi Towers Secret Santa Babbage

Post Syndicated from Mark Calleja original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/secret-santa-babbage/

Tired of pulling names out of a hat for office Secret Santa? Upgrade your festive tradition with a Raspberry Pi, thermal printer, and everybody’s favourite microcomputer mascot, Babbage Bear.

Raspberry Pi Babbage Bear Secret Santa

The name’s Santa. Secret Santa.

It’s that time of year again, when the cosiness gets turned up to 11 and everyone starts thinking about jolly fat men, reindeer, toys, and benevolent home invasion. At Raspberry Pi, we’re running a Secret Santa pool: everyone buys a gift for someone else in the office. Obviously, the person you buy for has to be picked in secret and at random, or the whole thing wouldn’t work. With that in mind, I created Secret Santa Babbage to do the somewhat mundane task of choosing gift recipients. This could’ve just been done with some names in a hat, but we’re Raspberry Pi! If we don’t make a Python-based Babbage robot wearing a jaunty hat and programmed to spread Christmas cheer, who will?

Secret Santa Babbage

Ho ho ho!

Mecha-Babbage Xmas shenanigans

The script the robot runs is pretty basic: a list of names entered as comma-separated strings is shuffled at the press of a GPIO button, then a name is popped off the end and stored as a variable. The name is matched to a photo of the person stored on the Raspberry Pi, and a thermal printer pinched from Alex’s super awesome PastyCam (blog post forthcoming, maybe) prints out the picture and name of the person you will need to shower with gifts at the Christmas party. (Well, OK — with one gift. No more than five quid’s worth. Nothing untoward.) There’s also a redo function, just in case you pick yourself: press another button and the last picked name — still stored as a variable — is appended to the list again, which is shuffled once more, and a new name is popped off the end.

Secret Santa Babbage prototyping


As the build was a bit of a rush job undertaken at the request of our ‘Director of Vibe’ Emily, there are a few things I’d like to improve about this functionality that I didn’t get around to — more on that later. To add some extra holiday spirit to the project at the last minute, I used Pygame to play a WAV file of Santa’s jolly laugh while Babbage chooses a name for you. The file is included in the GitHub repo along with everything else, because ‘tis the season, etc., etc.

Secret Santa Babbage prototyping

Editor’s note: Considering these desk adornments, Mark’s Secret Santa gift-giver has a lot to go on.

Writing the code for Xmas Mecha-Babbage was fairly straightforward, though it uses some tricky bits for managing the thermal printer. You’ll need to install the drivers to make it go, as well as the CUPS package for managing the print hosting. You can find instructions for these things here, thanks to the wonderful Adafruit crew. Also, for reasons I couldn’t fathom, this will all only work on a Pi 2 and not a Pi 3, as there are some compatibility issues with the thermal printer otherwise. (I also tested the script on a Pi Zero W…no dice.)

Building a Christmassy throne

The hardest (well, fiddliest) parts of making the whole build were constructing the throne and wiring the bear. Using MakerCase, Inkscape, a bit of ingenuity, and a laser cutter, I was able to rig up a Christmassy plywood throne which has a hole through the seat so I could run the wires down from Babbage and to the Pi inside. I finished the throne by rubbing a couple of fingers of beeswax into it; as well as making the wood shine just a little bit and protecting it against getting wet, this had the added bonus of making it smell awesome.

Secret Santa Babbage inside

Next year’s iteration will be mulled wine–scented.

I next soldered two LEDs to some lengths of wire, and then ran the wires through holes at the top of the throne and down the back along a small channel I had carved with a narrow chisel to connect them to the Pi’s GPIO pins. The green LED will remain on as long as Babbage is running his program, and the red one will light up while he is processing your request. Once the red LED goes off again, the next person can have a go. I also laser-cut a final piece of wood to overlay the back of Babbage’s Xmas throne and cover the wiring a bit.

Creating a Xmas cyborg bear

Taking two 6 mm tactile buttons, I clipped the spiky metal legs off one side of each (the buttons were going into a stuffed christmas toy, after all) and soldered a length of wire to each of the remaining legs. Next, I made a small incision into Babbage with my trusty Swiss army knife (in a place that actually made me cringe a little) and fed the buttons up into his paws. At some point in this process I was standing in the office wrestling with the bear and muttering to myself, which elicited some very strange looks from my colleagues.

Secret Santa Babbage throne

Poor Babbage…

One thing to note here is to make sure the wires remain attached at the solder points while you push them up into Babbage’s paws. The first time I tried it, I snapped one of my connections and had to start again. It helped to remove some stuffing like a tunnel and then replace it afterward. Moreover, you can use your fingertip to support the joints as you poke the wire in. Finally, a couple of squirts of hot glue to keep Babbage’s furry cheeks firmly on the seat, and done!

Secret Santa Babbage

Next year: Game of Thrones–inspired candy cane throne

The Secret Santa Babbage masterpiece

The whole build process was the perfect holiday mix of cheerful and macabre, and while getting the thermal printer to work was a little time-consuming, the finished product definitely raised some smiles around the office and added a bit of interesting digital flavour to a staid office tradition. And it also helped people who are new to the office or from other branches of the Foundation to know for whom they will be buying a gift.

Secret Santa Babbage

Ready to dispense Christmas cheer!

There are a few ways in which I’ll polish this project before next year, such as having the script write the names to external text files to create a record that will persist in case of a reboot, and maybe having Secret Santa Babbage play you a random Christmas carol when you squeeze his paw instead of just laughing merrily every time. (I also thought about adding electric shocks for those people who are on the naughty list, but HR said no. Bah, humbug!)

Make your own

The code and laser cut plans for the whole build are available here. If you plan to make your own, let us know which stuffed toy you will be turning into a Secret Santa cyborg! And if you’ve been working on any other Christmas-themed Raspberry Pi projects, we’d like to see those too, so tag us on social media to share the festive maker cheer.

The post The Pi Towers Secret Santa Babbage appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Game of Thrones Leaks “Carried Out By Former Iranian Military Hacker”

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/game-of-thrones-leaks-carried-out-by-former-iranian-military-hacker-171122/

Late July it was reported that hackers had stolen proprietary information from media giant HBO.

The haul was said to include confidential details of the then-unreleased fourth episode of the latest Game of Thrones season, plus episodes of Ballers, Barry, Insecure, and Room 104.

“Hi to all mankind,” an email sent to reporters read. “The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening. What’s its name? Oh I forget to tell. Its HBO and Game of Thrones……!!!!!!”

In follow-up correspondence, the hackers claimed to have penetrated HBO’s internal network, gaining access to emails, technical platforms, and other confidential information.

Image released by the hackers

Soon after, HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler confirmed a breach at his company, telling employees that there had been a “cyber incident” in which information and programming had been taken.

“Any intrusion of this nature is obviously disruptive, unsettling, and disturbing for all of us. I can assure you that senior leadership and our extraordinary technology team, along with outside experts, are working round the clock to protect our collective interests,” he said.

During mid-August, problems persisted, with unreleased shows hitting the Internet. HBO appeared rattled by the ongoing incident, refusing to comment to the media on every new development. Now, however, it appears the tide is turning on HBO’s foe.

In a statement last evening, Joon H. Kim, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the FBI, announced the unsealing of an indictment charging a 29-year-old man with offenses carried out against HBO.

“Behzad Mesri, an Iranian national who had previously hacked computer systems for the Iranian military, allegedly infiltrated HBO’s systems, stole proprietary data, including scripts and plot summaries for unaired episodes of Game of Thrones, and then sought to extort HBO of $6 million in Bitcoins,” Kim said.

“Mesri now stands charged with federal crimes, and although not arrested today, he will forever have to look over his shoulder until he is made to face justice. American ingenuity and creativity is to be cultivated and celebrated — not hacked, stolen, and held for ransom. For hackers who test our resolve in protecting our intellectual property — even those hiding behind keyboards in countries far away — eventually, winter will come.”

According to the Department of Justice, Mesri honed his computer skills working for the Iranian military, conducting cyber attacks against enemy military systems, nuclear software, and Israeli infrastructure. He was also a member of the Turk Black Hat hacking team which defaced hundreds of websites with the online pseudonym “Skote Vahshat”.

The indictment states that Mesri began his campaign against HBO during May 2017, when he conducted “online reconnaissance” of HBO’s networks and employees. Between May and July, he then compromised a number of HBO employee user accounts and used them to access the company’s data and TV shows, copying them to his own machines.

After allegedly obtaining around 1.5 terabytes of HBO’s data, Mesri then began to extort HBO, warning that unless a ransom of $5.5 million wasn’t paid in Bitcoin, the leaking would begin. When the amount wasn’t paid, three days later Mesri told HBO that the amount had now risen to $6m and as an additional punishment, data could be wiped from HBO’s servers.

Subsequently, on or around July 30 and continuing through August 2017, Mesri allegedly carried through with his threats, leaking information and TV shows online and promoting them via emails to members of the press.

As a result of the above, Mesri is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, one count of computer hacking (five years), three counts of threatening to impair the confidentiality of information (five years each), and one count of interstate transmission of an extortionate communication (two years). No copyright infringement offenses are mentioned in the indictment.

The big question now is whether the US will ever get their hands on Mesri. The answer to that, at least through any official channels, seems to be a resounding no. There is no extradition treaty between the US and Iran meaning that if Mesri stays put, he’s likely to remain a free man.


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UK Government Publishes Advice on ‘Illicit Streaming Devices’

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/uk-government-publishes-advice-on-illicit-streaming-devices-171120/

With torrents and other methods of obtaining content simmering away in the background, unauthorized streaming is the now the method of choice for millions of pirates around the globe.

Previously accessible only via a desktop browser, streaming is now available on a wide range of devices, from tablets and phones through to dedicated set-top box. These, collectively, are now being branded Illicit Streaming Devices (ISD) by the entertainment industries.

It’s terminology the UK government’s Intellectual Property Office has adopted this morning. In a new public advisory, the IPO notes that illicit streaming is the watching of content without the copyright owner’s permission using a variety of devices.

“Illicit streaming devices are physical boxes that are connected to your TV or USB sticks that plug into the TV such as adapted Amazon Fire sticks and so called ‘Kodi’ boxes or Android TV boxes,” the IPO reports.

“These devices are legal when used to watch legitimate, free to air, content. They become illegal once they are adapted to stream illicit content, for example TV programmes, films and subscription sports channels without paying the appropriate subscriptions.”

The IPO notes that streaming devices usually need to be loaded with special software add-ons in order to view copyright-infringing content. However, there are now dedicated apps available to view movies and TV shows which can be loaded straight on to smartphones and tablets.

But how can people know if the device they have is an ISD or not? According to the IPO it’s all down to common sense. If people usually charge for the content you’re getting for free, it’s illegal.

“If you are watching television programmes, films or sporting events where you would normally be paying to view them and you have not paid, you are likely to be using an illicit streaming device (ISD) or app. This could include a film recently released in the cinema, a sporting event that is being broadcast by BT Sport or a television programme, like Game of Thrones, that is only available on Sky,” the IPO says.

In an effort to familiarize the public with some of the terminology used by ISD sellers on eBay, Amazon or Gumtree, for example, the IPO then wanders into a bit of a minefield that really needs much greater clarification.

First up, the government states that ISDs are often described online as being “Fully loaded”, which is a colloquial term for a device with addons already installed. Although they won’t all be infringing, it’s very often the case that the majority are intended to be, so no problems here.

However, the IPO then says that people should keep an eye out for the term ‘jail broken’, which many readers will understand to be the process some hardware devices, such as Apple products, are put through in order for third-party software to be run on them. On occasion, some ISD sellers do put this term on Android devices, for example, but it’s incorrect, in a tiny minority, and of course misleading.

The IPO also warns people against devices marketed as “Plug and Play” but again this is a dual-use term and shouldn’t put consumers off a purchase without a proper investigation. A search on eBay this morning for that exact term didn’t yield any ISDs at all, only games consoles that can be plugged in and played with a minimum of fuss.

“Subscription Gift”, on the other hand, almost certainly references an illicit IPTV or satellite card-sharing subscription and is rarely used for anything else. 100% illegal, no doubt.

The government continues by giving reasons why people should avoid ISDs, not least since their use deprives the content industries of valuable revenue.

“[The creative industries] provide employment for more than 1.9 million people and contributes £84.1 billion to our economy. Using illicit streaming devices is illegal,” the IPO writes.

“If you are not paying for this content you are depriving industry of the revenue it needs to fund the next generation of TV programmes, films and sporting events we all enjoy. Instead it provides funds for the organized criminals who sell or adapt these illicit devices.”

Then, in keeping with the danger-based narrative employed by the entertainment industries’ recently, the government also warns that ISDs can have a negative effect on child welfare, not to mention on physical safety in the home.

“These devices often lack parental controls. Using them could expose children or young people to explicit or age inappropriate content,” the IPO warns.

“Another important reason for consumers to avoid purchasing these streaming devices is from an electrical safety point of view. Where devices and their power cables have been tested, some have failed EU safety standards and have the potential to present a real danger to the public, causing a fire in your home or premises.”

While there can be no doubt whatsoever that failing EU electrical standards in any way is unacceptable for any device, the recent headlines stating that “Kodi Boxes Can Kill Their Owners” are sensational at best and don’t present the full picture.

As reported this weekend, simply not having a recognized branding on such devices means that they fail electrical standards, with non-genuine phone chargers presenting a greater risk around the UK.

Finally, the government offers some advice for people who either want to get off the ISD gravy train or ensure that others don’t benefit from it.

“These devices can be used legally by removing the software. If you are unsure get advice to help you use the device legally. If you wish to watch content that’s only available via subscription, such as sports, you should approach the relevant provider to find out about legal ways to watch,” the IPO advises.

Get it Right from a Genuine Site helps you get the music, TV, films, games, books, newspapers, magazines and sport that you love from genuine services.”

And, if the public thinks that people selling such devices deserve a visit from the authorities, people are asked to report them to the Crimestoppers charity via an anonymous hotline.

The government’s guidance is exactly what one might expect, given that the advisory is likely to have been strongly assisted by companies including the Federation Against Copyright Theft, Premier League, and Sky, who have taken the lead in this area during the past year or so.

The big question is, however, whether many people using these devices really believe that obtaining subscription TV, movies, and sports for next to free is 100% legal. If there are people out there they must be in the minority but at least the government itself is now putting them on the right path.

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

EU Piracy Report Suppression Raises Questions Over Transparency

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/eu-piracy-report-suppression-raises-questions-transparency-170922/

Over the years, copyright holders have made hundreds of statements against piracy, mainly that it risks bringing industries to their knees through widespread and uncontrolled downloading from the Internet.

But while TV shows like Game of Thrones have been downloaded millions of times, the big question (one could argue the only really important question) is whether this activity actually affects sales. After all, if piracy has a massive negative effect on industry, something needs to be done. If it does not, why all the panic?

Quite clearly, the EU Commission wanted to find out the answer to this potential multi-billion dollar question when it made the decision to invest a staggering 360,000 euros in a dedicated study back in January 2014.

With a final title of ‘Estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU’, the completed study is an intimidating 307 pages deep. Shockingly, until this week, few people even knew it existed because, for reasons unknown, the EU Commission decided not to release it.

However, thanks to the sheer persistence of Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda, the public now has a copy and it contains quite a few interesting conclusions. But first, some background.

The study uses data from 2014 and covers four broad types of content: music,
audio-visual material, books and videogames. Unlike other reports, the study also considered live attendances of music and cinema visits in the key regions of Germany, UK, Spain, France, Poland and Sweden.

On average, 51% of adults and 72% of minors in the EU were found to have illegally downloaded or streamed any form of creative content, with Poland and Spain coming out as the worst offenders. However, here’s the kicker.

“In general, the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements,” the study notes.

“That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect.”

For a study commissioned by the EU with huge sums of public money, this is a potentially damaging conclusion, not least for the countless industry bodies that lobby day in, day out, for tougher copyright law based on the “fact” that piracy is damaging to sales.

That being said, the study did find that certain sectors can be affected by piracy, notably recent top movies.

“The results show a displacement rate of 40 per cent which means that for every ten recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally,” the study notes.

“People do not watch many recent top films a second time but if it happens, displacement is lower: two legal consumptions are displaced by every ten illegal second views. This suggests that the displacement rate for older films is lower than the 40 per cent for recent top films. All in all, the estimated loss for recent top films is 5 per cent of current sales volumes.”

But while there is some negative effect on the movie industry, others can benefit. The study found that piracy had a slightly positive effect on the videogames industry, suggesting that those who play pirate games eventually become buyers of official content.

On top of displacement rates, the study also looked at the public’s willingness to pay for content, to assess whether price influences pirate consumption. Interestingly, the industry that had the most displaced sales – the movie industry – had the greatest number of people unhappy with its pricing model.

“Overall, the analysis indicates that for films and TV-series current prices are higher than 80 per cent of the illegal downloaders and streamers are willing to pay,” the study notes.

For other industries, where sales were not found to have been displaced or were positively affected by piracy, consumer satisfaction with pricing was greatest.

“For books, music and games, prices are at a level broadly corresponding to the
willingness to pay of illegal downloaders and streamers. This suggests that a
decrease in the price level would not change piracy rates for books, music and
games but that prices can have an effect on displacement rates for films and
TV-series,” the study concludes.

So, it appears that products that are priced fairly do not suffer significant displacement from piracy. Those that are priced too high, on the other hand, can expect to lose some sales.

Now that it’s been released, the findings of the study should help to paint a more comprehensive picture of the infringement climate in the EU, while laying to rest some of the wild claims of the copyright lobby. That being said, it shouldn’t have taken the toils of Julia Reda to bring them to light.

“This study may have remained buried in a drawer for several more years to come if it weren’t for an access to documents request I filed under the European Union’s Freedom of Information law on July 27, 2017, after having become aware of the public tender for this study dating back to 2013,” Reda explains.

“I would like to invite the Commission to become a provider of more solid and timely evidence to the copyright debate. Such data that is valuable both financially and in terms of its applicability should be available to everyone when it is financed by the European Union – it should not be gathering dust on a shelf until someone actively requests it.”

The full study can be downloaded here (pdf)

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

Live Mayweather v McGregor Streams Will Thrive On Torrents Tonight

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/live-mayweather-v-mcgregor-streams-will-thrive-on-torrents-tonight-170826/

Tonight, August 26, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will finally meet UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor in what is being billed as the biggest fight in boxing history.

Although tickets for inside the arena are still available for those with a lot of money to burn, most fans will be viewing on a screen of some kind, whether that’s in a cinema, sports bar, or at home in front of a TV.

The fight will be available on Showtime in the United States but the promoters also say they’ve done their best to make it accessible to millions of people in dozens of countries, with varying price tags dependent on region. Nevertheless, due to generally high prices, it’s likely that untold thousands around the world will attempt to watch the fight without paying.

That will definitely be possible. Although Showtime has won a pre-emptive injunction to stop some sites offering the fight, many hundreds of others are likely to fill in the gaps, offering generally lower-quality streams to the eager masses. Whether all of these sites will be able to cope with what could be unprecedented demand will remain to be seen, but there is one method that will thrive under the pressure.

Torrent technology is best known for offering content after it’s aired, whether that’s the latest episode of Game of Thrones or indeed a recording of the big fight scheduled for the weekend. However, what most ‘point-and-click’ file-sharers won’t know is that there’s a torrent-based technology that offers live sporting events week in, week out.

Without going into too many technical details, AceStream / Ace Player HD is a torrent engine built into the ever-popular VLC media player. It’s available on Windows, Android and Linux, costs nothing to install, and is incredibly easy to use.

Where regular torrent clients handle both .torrent files and magnet links, AceStream relies on an AceStream Content ID to find streams to play instead. This ID is a hash value (similar to one seen in magnet links, but prefaced with ‘acestream://’) which relates to the stream users want to view.

Once found, these can be copied to the user’s clipboard and pasted into the ‘Open Ace Stream Content ID’ section of the player’s file menu. Click ‘play’ and it’s done – it really is that simple.

AceStream is simplicity itself

Of course, any kind of content – both authorized and unauthorized – can be streamed and shared using AceStream and there are hundreds of live channels available, some in very high quality, 24/7. Inevitably, however, there’s quite an emphasis on premium content from sports broadcasters around the world, with fresh links to content shared on a daily basis.

The screenshot below shows a typical AceStream Content ID indexing site, with channels on the left, AceStream Content IDs in the center, plus language and then stream speed on the far right. (Note: TF has redacted the links since many will still be live at time of publication)

A typical AceSteam Content ID listing

While streams of most major TV channels are relatively easy to find, specialist channels showing PPV events are a little bit more difficult to discover. For those who know where to look, however, the big fight will be only a cut-and-paste away and in much better quality than that found on most web-based streaming portals.

All that being said, for torrent enthusiasts the magic lies in the ability of the technology to adapt to surging demand. While websites and streams wilt under the load Saturday night, it’s likely that AceStream streams will thrive under the pressure, with viewers (downloaders/streamers) also becoming distributors (uploaders) to others watching the event unfold.

With this in mind, it’s worth noting that while AceStream is efficient and resilient, using it to watch infringing content is illegal in most regions, since simultaneous uploading also takes place. Still, that’s unlikely to frighten away enthusiasts, who will already be aware of the risks and behind a VPN.

Ace Streams do have an Achilles heel though. Unlike a regular torrent swarm, where the initial seeder can disappear once a full copy of the movie or TV show is distributed around other peers, AceStreams are completely reliant on the initial stream seeder at all times. If he or she disappears, the live stream dies and it is all over. For this reason, people looking to stream often have a couple of extra stream hashes standing by.

But for big fans (who also have the money to spend, of course), the decision to pirate rather than pay is one not to be taken lightly. The fight will be a huge spectacle that will probably go down in history as the biggest combat sports event of all time. If streams go down early, that moment will be gone forever, so forget telling your kids about the time you watched McGregor knock out Mayweather in Round Two.

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

Game of Thrones Pirates Arrested For Leaking Episode Early

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/game-of-thrones-pirates-arrested-for-leaking-episode-early-170814/

Over the past several years, Game of Thrones has become synonymous with fantastic drama and story telling on the one hand, and Internet piracy on the other. It’s the most pirated TV show in history, hands down.

With the new season well underway, another GoT drama began to unfold early August when the then-unaired episode “The Spoils of War” began to circulate on various file-sharing and streaming sites. The leak only trumped the official release by a few days, but that didn’t stop people downloading in droves.

As previously reported, the leaked episode stated that it was “For Internal Viewing Only” at the top of the screen and on the bottom right sported a “Star India Pvt Ltd” watermark. The company commented shortly after.

“We take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner’s end to swiftly determine the cause. This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action,” a spokesperson said.

Now, just ten days later, that investigation has already netted its first victims. Four people have reportedly been arrested in India for leaking the episode before it aired.

“We investigated the case and have arrested four individuals for unauthorized publication of the fourth episode from season seven,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Akbar Pathan told AFP.

The report indicates that a complaint was filed by a Mumbai-based company that was responsible for storing and processing the TV episodes for an app. It has been named locally as Prime Focus Technologies, which markets itself as a Netflix “Preferred Vendor”.

It’s claimed that at least some of the men had access to login credentials for Game of Thrones episodes which were then abused for the purposes of leaking.

Local media identified the men as Bhaskar Joshi, Alok Sharma and Abhishek Ghadiyal, who were employed by Prime Focus, and Mohamad Suhail, a former employee, who was responsible for leaking the episode onto the Internet.

All of the men were based in Bangalore and were interrogated “throughout the night” at their workplace on August 11. Star India welcomed the arrests and thanked the authorities for their swift action.

“We are deeply grateful to the police for their swift and prompt action. We believe that valuable intellectual property is a critical part of the development of the creative industry and strict enforcement of the law is essential to protecting it,” the company said in a statement.

“We at Star India and Novi Digital Entertainment Private Limited stand committed and ready to help the law enforcement agencies with any technical assistance and help they may require in taking the investigation to its logical conclusion.”

The men will be held in custody until August 21 while investigations continue.

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

Man Leaks New ‘Power’ Episodes Online, Records His Own Face

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/man-leaks-new-power-episodes-online-records-his-own-face-170809/

With the whole world going crazy for Game of Thrones, another TV series has been turning some serious numbers. Produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, crime drama ‘Power’ has been pulling in around eight million viewers per episode.

After premiering in June 2014, Power is now seven episodes into season four, which is set to reach its climax on August 27. But somewhat typically for the Internet these days, fans won’t necessarily have to wait another three weeks to find out what happens. During the past few hours, the final three episodes of ‘Power’ leaked online.

While that’s something in itself, this leak is possibly the most bizarre to take place in the history of piracy. Having been tipped off that screener episodes were available online, TF went looking for evidence. We found it, but it wasn’t what we expected.

The leaks consist of the three episodes (one complete, the other two missing a few minutes) being played back on an iPhone. A white one. With a broken screen.

Power leaks: Broken iPhone edition

The off-center nature of the image above isn’t typical though and most of the time the main picture is both central and well-defined, with surprisingly clear audio. It’s certainly not going to win any prizes for quality but for the extremely impatient it offers some kind of relief.

The big question, of course, is how these episodes happened to find their way onto that battered iPhone in the first place. Incredibly, the videos themselves provide the answers, with the thoughtful ‘cammer’ explaining in several voice-overs how he gained access to one of STARZ hottest properties.

“This is like the special, this is only for the people that work at STARZ that watch this shit. My man sent me the whole log-in shit. I had to pay that n******r though,” he said.

The log-in referenced by the leaker appears to unlock press access to unreleased content on mediaroom.starz.com. That page has been taken down since, quite possibly due to the leak. Thanks to the video though, we can see how the portal looked on the leaker’s phone.

Unreleased ‘Power’ episodes on the STARZ portal

“That’s the whole series bitch, but I can’t log out though, so I can’t send it to you. The man says don’t log out. So i’m gonna watch these last two episodes and then spoil it for y’all,” the ‘cammer’ said over one of the episodes.

The original claim that theses were screener copies holds up. Throughout all three episodes, an occasional message appears across the bottom of the screen, declaring that the episodes are “for screening purposes only.”

Screener copies, for your eyes only

If the whole situation isn’t bizarre enough so far, the episodes contain quite a bit of complaining from the ‘cammer’, mainly due to his arm aching from holding up the recording phone for such a long time.

Why he didn’t simply place it down on the table isn’t clear. He managed it with the playback phone, which is seen leaning against a large water container throughout, something the ‘cammer’ believes is pretty badass.

“You see, I got my shit propped up like a G,” he said, placing the phone against the water bottle. “Next episode, definitely not holdin’ this shit, so you n*****s gotta relax.”

If this whole scenario isn’t crazy enough, the ‘cammer’ polishes off his virtuoso performance by turning the ‘cam’ phone around and recording his own face for several seconds. To save his embarrassment we won’t publish an image here but needless to say, he is extremely easy to identify, as is his Facebook page, where the content seems to have first appeared.

While there’s clearly no criminal mastermind behind these leaks, dumping unreleased TV shows online can result in a hefty jail sentence, no matter how poorly it’s done. The gentleman involved should hope that STARZ and the FBI are prepared to see the funny side. Fingers crossed….

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

Foxtel Targets 128 Torrent & Streaming Domains For Blocking Down Under

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/foxtel-targets-128-torrent-streaming-domains-for-blocking-down-under-170808/

In 2015, Australia passed controversial legislation which allows ‘pirate’ sites located on servers overseas to be blocked at the ISP level.

“These offshore sites are not operated by noble spirits fighting for the freedom of the internet, they are run by criminals who profit from stealing other people’s creative endeavors,” commented then Foxtel chief executive Richard Freudenstein.

Before, during and after its introduction, Foxtel has positioned itself as a keen supporter of the resulting Section 115a of the Copyright Act. And in December 2016, with the law firmly in place, it celebrated success after obtaining a blocking injunction against The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound and isoHunt.

In May, Foxtel filed a new application, demanding that almost 50 local ISPs block what was believed to be a significant number of ‘pirate’ sites not covered by last year’s order.

Today the broadcasting giant was back in Federal Court, Sydney, to have this second application heard under Section 115a. It was revealed that the application contains 128 domains, each linked to movie and TV piracy.

According to ComputerWorld, the key sites targeted are as follows: YesMovies, Vumoo, LosMovies, CartoonHD, Putlocker, Watch Series 1, Watch Series 2, Project Free TV 1, Project Free TV 2, Watch Episodes, Watch Episode Series, Watch TV Series, The Dare Telly, Putlocker9.is, Putlocker9.to, Torlock and 1337x.

The Foxtel application targets both torrent and streaming sites but given the sample above, it seems that the latter is currently receiving the most attention. Streaming sites are appearing at a rapid rate and can even be automated to some extent, so this battle could become extremely drawn out.

Indeed, Justice Burley, who presided over the case this morning, described the website-blocking process (which necessarily includes targeting mirrors, proxies and replacement domains) as akin to “whack-a-mole”.

“Foxtel sees utility in orders of this nature,” counsel for Foxtel commented in response. “It’s important to block these sites.”

In presenting its application, Foxtel conducted live demonstrations of Yes Movies, Watch Series, 1337x, and Putlocker. It focused on the Australian prison drama series Wentworth, which has been running on Foxtel since 2013, but also featured tests of Game of Thrones.

Justice Burley told the court that since he’s a fan of the series, a spoiler-free piracy presentation would be appreciated. If the hearing had taken place a few days earlier, spoilers may have been possible. Last week, the latest episode of the show leaked onto the Internet from an Indian source before its official release.

Justice Burley’s decision will be handed down at a later date, but it’s unlikely there will be any serious problems with Foxtel’s application. After objecting to many aspects of blocking applications in the past, Australia’s ISPs no longer appear during these hearings. They are now paid AU$50 per domain blocked by companies such as Foxtel and play little more than a technical role in the process.

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

TVAddons Returns, But in Ugly War With Canadian Telcos Over Kodi Addons

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/tvaddons-returns-ugly-war-canadian-telcos-kodi-addons-170801/

After Dish Network filed a lawsuit against TVAddons in Texas, several high-profile Kodi addons took the decision to shut down. Soon after, TVAddons itself went offline.

In the weeks that followed, several TVAddons-related domains were signed over (1,2) to a Canadian law firm, a mysterious situation that didn’t dovetail well with the US-based legal action.

TorrentFreak can now reveal that the shutdown of TVAddons had nothing to do with the US action and everything to do with a separate lawsuit filed in Canada.

The complaint against TVAddons

Two months ago on June 2, a collection of Canadian telecoms giants including Bell Canada, Bell ExpressVu, Bell Media, Videotron, Groupe TVA, Rogers Communications and Rogers Media, filed a complaint in Federal Court against Montreal resident, Adam Lackman, the man behind TVAddons.

The 18-page complaint details the plaintiffs’ case against Lackman, claiming that he communicated copyrighted TV shows including Game of Thrones, Prison Break, The Big Bang Theory, America’s Got Talent, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and dozens more, to the public in breach of copyright.

The key claim is that Lackman achieved this by developing, hosting, distributing or promoting Kodi add-ons.

Adam Lackman, the man behind TVAddons (@adam.lackman on Instagram)

A total of 18 major add-ons are detailed in the complaint including 1Channel, Exodus, Phoenix, Stream All The Sources, SportsDevil, cCloudTV and Alluc, to name a few. Also under the spotlight is the ‘FreeTelly’ custom Kodi build distributed by TVAddons alongside its Kodi configuration tool, Indigo.

“[The defendant] has made the [TV shows] available to the public by telecommunication in a way that allows members of the public to have access to them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them…consequently infringing the Plaintiffs’ copyright…in contravention of sections 2.4(1.1), 3(1)(f) and 27(1) of the Copyright Act,” the complaint reads.

The complaint alleges that Lackman “induced and/or authorized users” of the FreeTelly and Indigo tools to carry out infringement by his handling and promotion of infringing add-ons, including through TVAddons.ag and Offshoregit.com, in contravention of sections 3(1)(f) and 27(1) of the Copyright Act.

“Approximately 40 million unique users located around the world are actively using Infringing Addons hosted by TVAddons every month, and approximately 900,000 Canadian households use Infringing Add-ons to access television content. The amount of users of Infringing add-ons hosted TVAddons is constantly increasing,” the complaint adds.

To limit the harm allegedly caused by TVAddons, the complaint asked for interim, interlocutory, and permanent injunctions restraining Lackman and associates from developing, promoting or distributing any of the allegedly infringing add-ons or software. On top, the plaintiffs requested punitive and exemplary damages, plus costs.

The interim injunction and Anton Piller Order

Following the filing of the complaint, on June 9 the Federal Court handed down a time-limited interim injunction against Lackman which restrained him from various activities in respect of TVAddons. The process took place ex parte, meaning in secret, without Lackman being able to mount a defense.

The Court also authorized a bailiff and computer forensics experts to take control of Internet domains including TVAddons.ag and Offshoregit.com plus social media and hosting provider accounts for a period of 14 days. These were transferred to Daniel Drapeau at DrapeauLex, an independent court-appointed supervising counsel.

The order also contained an Anton Piller order, a civil search warrant that grants plaintiffs no-notice permission to enter a defendant’s premises in order to secure and copy evidence to support their case, before it can be destroyed or tampered with.

The order covered not only data related to the TVAddons platform, such as operating and financial details, revenues, and banking information, but everything in Lackman’s possession.

The Court ordered the telecoms companies to inform Lackman that the case against him is a civil proceeding and that he could deny entry to his property if he wished. However, that option would put him in breach of the order and would place him at risk of being fined or even imprisoned. Catch 22 springs to mind.

The Court did, however, put limits on the number of people that could be present during the execution of the Anton Piller order (ostensibly to avoid intimidation) and ordered the plaintiffs to deposit CAD$50,000 with the Court, in case the order was improperly executed. That decision would later prove an important one.

The search and interrogation of TVAddons’ operator

On June 12, the order was executed and Lackman’s premises were searched for more than 16 hours. For nine hours he was interrogated and effectively denied his right to remain silent since non-cooperation with an Anton Piller order amounts to contempt of court. The Court’s stated aim of not intimidating Lackman failed.

The TVAddons operator informs TorrentFreak that he heard a disturbance in the hallway outside and spotted several men hiding on the other side of the door. Fearing for his life, Lackman called the police and when they arrived he opened the door. At this point, the police were told by those in attendance to leave, despite Lackman’s protests.

Once inside, Lackman was told he had an hour to find a lawyer, but couldn’t use any electronic device to get one. Throughout the entire day, Lackman says he was reminded by the plaintiffs’ lawyer that he could be held in contempt of court and jailed, even though he was always cooperating.

“I had to sit there and not leave their sight. I was denied access to medication,” Lackman told TorrentFreak. “I had a doctor’s appointment I was forced to miss. I wasn’t even allowed to call and cancel.”

In papers later filed with the court by Lackman’s team, the Anton Piller order was described as a “bombe atomique” since TVAddons had never been served with so much as a copyright takedown notice in advance of this action.

The Anton Piller controversy

Anton Piller orders are only valid when passing a three-step test: when there is a strong prima facie case against the respondent, the damage – potential or actual – is serious for the applicant, and when there is a real possibility that evidence could be destroyed.

For Bell Canada, Bell ExpressVu, Bell Media, Videotron, Groupe TVA, Rogers Communications and Rogers Media, serious problems emerged on at least two of these points after the execution of the order.

For example, TVAddons carried more than 1,500 add-ons yet only 1% of those add-ons were considered to be infringing, a tiny number in the overall picture. Then there was the not insignificant problem with the exchange that took place during the hearing to obtain the order, during which Lackman was not present.

Clearly, the securing of existing evidence wasn’t the number one priority.

Plaintiffs: We want to destroy TVAddons

And the problems continued.

No right to remain silent, no right to consult a lawyer

The Anton Piller search should have been carried out between 8am and 8pm but actually carried on until midnight. As previously mentioned, Adam Lackman was effectively denied his right to remain silent and was forbidden from getting advice from his lawyer.

None of this sat well with the Honourable B. Richard Bell during a subsequent Federal Court hearing to consider the execution of the Anton Piller order.

“It is important to note that the Defendant was not permitted to refuse to answer questions under fear of contempt proceedings, and his counsel was not permitted to clarify the answers to questions. I conclude unhesitatingly that the Defendant was subjected to an examination for discovery without any of the protections normally afforded to litigants in such circumstances,” the Judge said.

“Here, I would add that the ‘questions’ were not really questions at all. They took the form of orders or directions. For example, the Defendant was told to ‘provide to the bailiff’ or ‘disclose to the Plaintiffs’ solicitors’.”

Evidence preservation? More like a fishing trip

But shockingly, the interrogation of Lackman went much, much further. TorrentFreak understands that the TVAddons operator was given a list of 30 names of people that might be operating sites or services similar to TVAddons. He was then ordered to provide all of the information he had on those individuals.

Of course, people tend to guard their online identities so it’s possible that the information provided by Lackman will be of limited use, but Judge Bell was not happy that the Anton Piller order was abused by the plaintiffs in this way.

“I conclude that those questions, posed by Plaintiffs’ counsel, were solely made in furtherance of their investigation and constituted a hunt for further evidence, as opposed to the preservation of then existing evidence,” he wrote in a June 29 order.

But he was only just getting started.

Plaintiffs unlawfully tried to destroy TVAddons before trial

The Judge went on to note that from their own mouths, the Anton Piller order was purposely designed by the plaintiffs to completely shut down TVAddons, despite the fact that only a tiny proportion of the add-ons available on the site were allegedly used to infringe copyright.

“I am of the view that [the order’s] true purpose was to destroy the livelihood of the Defendant, deny him the financial resources to finance a defense to the claim made against him, and to provide an opportunity for discovery of the Defendant in circumstances where none of the procedural safeguards of our civil justice system could be engaged,” Judge Bell wrote.

As noted, plaintiffs must also have a “strong prima facie case” to obtain an Anton Piller order but Judge Bell says he’s not convinced that one exists. Instead, he praised the “forthright manner” of Lackman, who successfully compared the ability of Kodi addons to find content in the same way as Google search can.

So why the big turn around?

Judge Bell said that while the prima facie case may have appeared strong before the judge who heard the matter ex parte (without Lackman being present to defend himself), the subsequent adversarial hearing undermined it, to the point that it no longer met the threshold.

As a result of these failings, Judge Bell declared the Anton Piller order unlawful. Things didn’t improve for the plaintiffs on the injunction front either.

The Judge said that he believes that Lackman has “an arguable case” that he is not violating the Copyright Act by merely providing addons and that TVAddons is his only source of income. So, if an injunction to close the site was granted, the litigation would effectively be over, since the plaintiffs already admitted that their aim was to neutralize the platform.

If the platform was neutralized, Lackman could no longer earn money from the site, which would harm his ability to mount a defense.

“In considering the balance of convenience, I also repeat that the plaintiffs admit that the vast majority of add-ons are non-infringing. Whether the remaining approximately 1% are infringing is very much up for debate. For these reasons, I find the balance of convenience favors the defendant, and no interlocutory injunction will be issued,” the Judge declared.

With the Anton Piller order declared unlawful and no interlocutory injunction (one effective until the final determination of the case) handed down, things were about to get worse for the telecoms companies.

They had paid CAD$50,000 to the court in security in case things went wrong with the Anton Piller order, so TVAddons was entitled to compensation from that amount. That would be helpful, since at this point TVAddons had already run up CAD$75,000 in legal expenses.

On top, the Judge told independent counsel to give everything seized during the Anton Piller search back to Lackman.

The order to return items previously seized

But things were far from over. Within days, the telecoms companies took the decision to the Court of Appeal, asking for a stay of execution (a delay in carrying out a court order) to retain possession of items seized, including physical property, domains, and social media accounts.

Mid-July the appeal was granted and certain confidentiality clauses affecting independent counsel (including Daniel Drapeau, who holds the TVAddons’ domains) were ordered to be continued. However, considering the problems with the execution of the Anton Piller order, Bell Canada, TVA, Videotron and Rogers et al, were ordered to submit an additional security bond of CAD$140,000, on top of the CAD$50,000 already deposited.

So the battle continues, and continue it will

Speaking with TorrentFreak, Adam Lackman says that he has no choice but to fight the telcoms companies since not doing so would result in a loss by default judgment. Interestingly, both he and one of the judges involved in the case thus far believe he has an arguable case.

Lackman says that his activities are protected under the Canadian Copyright Act, specifically subparagraph 2.4(1)(b) which states as follows:

A person whose only act in respect of the communication of a work or other subject-matter to the public consists of providing the means of telecommunication necessary for another person to so communicate the work or other subject-matter does not communicate that work or other subject-matter to the public;

Of course, finding out whether that’s indeed the case will be a costly endeavor.

“It all comes down to whether we will have the financial resources necessary to mount our defense and go to trial. We won’t have ad revenue coming in, since losing our domain names means that we’ll lose the majority of our traffic for quite some time into the future,” Lackman told TF in a statement.

“We’re hoping that others will be as concerned as us about big companies manipulating the law in order to shut down what they see as competition. We desperately need help in financially supporting our legal defense, we cannot do it alone.

“We’ve run up a legal bill of over $100,000 to date. We’re David, and they are four Goliaths with practically unlimited resources. If we lose, it will mean that new case law is made, case law that could mean increased censorship of the internet.”

In the hope of getting support, TVAddons has launched a fundraiser campaign and in the meantime, a new version of the site is back on a new domain, TVAddons.co.

Given TVAddons’ line of defense, the nature of both the platform and Kodi addons, and the fact that there has already been a serious abuse of process during evidence preservation, this is now one of the most interesting and potentially influential copyright cases underway anywhere today.

TVAddons is being represented by Éva Richard , Hilal Ayoubi and Karim Renno in Canada, plus Erin Russell and Jason Sweet in the United States.

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

IoT Sleepbuddy, the robotic babysitter

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/sleepbuddy-robotic-babysitter/

You’re watching the new episode of Game of Thrones, and suddenly you hear your children, up and about after their bedtime! Now you’ll probably miss a crucial moment of the show because you have to put them to bed again. Or you’re out to dinner with friends and longing for the sight of your sleeping small humans. What do you do? Text the babysitter to check on them? Well, luckily for you these issues could soon be things of the past, thanks to Bert Vuylsteke and his Pi-powered Sleepbuddy. This IoT-controlled social robot could fulfil all your remote babysitting needs!

IoT Sleepbuddy – babyphone – Design concept

This is the actual concept of my robot and in what context it can be used.

A social robot?

A social robot fulfils a role normally played by a person, and interacts with humans via human language, gestures, and facial expressions. This is what Bert says about the role of the Sleepbuddy:

[For children, it] is a friend or safeguard from nightmares, but it is so much more for the babysitters or parents. The babysitters or parents connect their smartphone/tablet/PC to the Sleepbuddy. This will give them access to control all his emotions, gestures, microphone, speaker and camera. In the eye is a hidden camera to see the kids sleeping. The speaker and microphone allow communication with the kids through WiFi.

The roots of the Sleepbuddy

As a student at Ghent University, Bert had to build a social robot using OPSORO, the university’s open-source robotics platform. The developers of this platform create social robots for research purposes. They are also making all software, as well as hardware design plans, available on GitHub. In addition, you will soon be able to purchase their robot kits via a Kickstarter. OPSORO robots are designed around the Raspberry Pi, and controlled via a web interface. The interface allows you to customise your robot’s behaviour, using visual or text-based programming languages.

Sleepbuddy Bert Vuylsteke components

The Sleepbuddy’s components

Building the Sleepbuddy

Bert has provided a detailed Instructable describing the process of putting the Sleepbuddy together, complete with video walk-throughs. However, the making techniques he has used include thermoforming, laser cutting, and 3D printing. If you want to recreate this build, you may need to contact your local makerspace to find out whether they have the necessary equipment.

Sleepbuddy Bert Vuylsteke assembly

Assembling the Sleepbuddy

Finally, Bert added an especially cute touch to this project by covering the Sleepbuddy in blackboard paint. Therefore, kids can draw on the robot to really make it their own!

So many robots!

At Pi Towers we are partial to all kinds of robots, be they ones that test medical devices, play chess or Connect 4, or fight other robots. If they twerk, or are cute, tiny, or shoddy, we maybe even like them a tiny bit more.

Do you share our love of robots? Would you like to make your own? Then check out our resource for building a simple robot buggy. Maybe it will kick-start your career as the general of a robot army. A robot army that does good, of course! Let us know your benevolent robot overlord plans in the comments.

The post IoT Sleepbuddy, the robotic babysitter appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

2016-06-26 Лекцията ми от ПловдивConf, “ХУДЛ: една полезна дрога”

Post Syndicated from Vasil Kolev original https://vasil.ludost.net/blog/?p=3309

(колебаех се дали да пиша за brexit или за лекцията ми, но някакси човешката глупост трябва да стои на по-заден план от полезните неща)

Докато четях “The view from the cheap seats” на Нийл Геймън, ми хрумна да направя тая лекция. Може да гледате слайдовете, докато я четете, но да знаете, че няма нито една картинка. Опитал съм се да следвам донякъде каквото говорих на самата презентация.
(добавих нещо интересно към генератора ми на презентациите, epub версия, която може да се гледа на някакъв reader вместо бележки)

ХУДЛ: една полезна дрога

Добрутро, добри хора.

Радвам се, че въпреки жегата има някакви хора да ме слушат, и няма да обвинявам никой, ако заспи.

Заглавието нарочно беше избрано така, за да останат някакви хора в залата, а и ми беше интересно колко ще избягат, като видят за какво става въпрос. Може би беше грешка, понеже колкото повече хора има в залата, толкова по-горещо става…

Темата е художествената литература.
(брех, никой не избяга. Може би защото всички спят?)

Та, защо трябва на някой да му пука за литературата, и защо изобщо трябва да ви говоря по въпроса? Литературата е силно недооценена във влиянието си, в полезността си и в това какво невероятно изживяване ни дава. Много хора считат книгите за нещо, което ги карат да учат в училище и с което им губят времето, нещо, което няма смисъл. Това е доста неприятно, понеже хората, които планират колко големи трябва да са затворите в бъдеще са открили сериозна корелация в едно поколение между количеството хора, които не са чели като деца и броят от същото поколение, които са станали затворници.
(това важи за американските затвори, за нашите нищо не може да се каже)
Както ще разказвам по-долу, има много полезни моменти в четенето, както и защо е толкова приятно.

Защо ви го разказвам аз? Понеже няма много други хора, които да се хванат да го правят – има разни инициативи, насочени към обществото, като “аз чета” и не-помня-какви-други, но те са много широки и се мотаят често по медии, на които никой не вярва. Аз ще се опитам да направя лекция, насочена поне донякъде към IT хората, с надеждата да има някакъв ефект (не само да не влезем в затвора 🙂 ). Също така, на мен литературата ми е помогнала много и искам да го споделя и с вас, понеже мисля, че не трябва да съм един от малкото облагодетелствани 🙂

Има неща, за които няма да говоря. Ще пропусна всичкият non-fiction (който в момента може би е половината от това, което чета) – техническа, историческа и всякаква научна литература – там има също шедьоври и полезни неща, но те изискват по-скоро цикъл лекции (например “на какво може да ни научи историческата литература”, “технически книги, написани добре” или “основен курс по политика и защо ни е”). Иска ми се да говоря и за комиксите, но те заслужават съвсем отделна лекция, и също така ще пропусна книгите-игри, понеже имам твърде малък досег с тях.

И нека да започна с това защо книгите и художествената литература по-специално имат са полезни за нас.

Най-мощният анти-депресант, който съм откривал (изписвали са ми някакви неща, без да стигам до тия от конския тип), е всъщност да се озовете в ситуация, която да ви накара да видите колко не е страшно вашето текущо положение, да го видите от страни и да може да поставите в перспектива това, което ви се случва. Моят пример беше да бъда настанен преди да ми правят дупката в главата в невро-онкологичното отделение (в превод – рак на главата). Така, като видиш около себе си хора с доста по-сериозен проблем, твоят поглед върху нещата започва да се променя. Не го препоръчвам на никого (въпреки че имаше идеята разни депресирани техничари да ходят да помагат на болни от рак хора), но върши работа.

По-лек вариант на това е просто да се озовете в друг свят, който да ви помогне да си промените представите. Има различни начини:

Може да гледате филми. Те обаче са кратки, нямат достатъчно история, филмите над два часа не се получават, а в два часа никаква история не може да се събере.
Също така, няма достатъчно, няма достатъчно материал – единствено порно-индустрията произвежда достатъчно материал (май беше 4 часа за всеки час реално време), но там историите куцат и твърде бързо омръзва.
Филмите вдигат и шум – все някой говори и трябва да се слуша, а и дори да сте фенове на нямото кино, там пак има soundtrack, който си е част от историята. Това прави цялото нещо не-толкова-социално, щото не могат трима човека да гледат три филма в една стая, няма как да се получи. Някои хора, на които си изнасях преди това лекцията казаха, че това е само мой проблем, но не мога да го пропусна.
И най-вече, в наше време всички филми са ужасно клиширани.

Друг вариант са сериалите (всъщност аз даже гледам сериали). Те имат предимството, че са по-дълги и могат да съберат една книга както трябва, да изградят историята и героите както трябва, и даже могат в общи линии да предадат една книга – примерът е как Game of thrones се получава (на филм нямаше как да стане), и поне според мен Властелинът на пръстените щеше да е много по-добре на сериал, отколкото на 10 часа филми.
Проблем е пак, че няма достатъчно материал – освен, че няма порно сериали, по принцип производството им е бавно и тежко. Въобще, всичко кинематографично иска много по-голям ресурс.
Също така, и двете не оставят време за мислене. И филмите, и сериалите се движат със собствено темпо, което не ви дава възможност да спрете и да помислите, да предъвчете информацията. Също така трудно може да се избърза – например наскоро гледах сериал, на който първия сезон беше зле, втория ставаше и третия беше невероятен, но нямаше как да мина бързо през първия, понеже не е само пълнеж, но и setup на историята, който си е важен. Може би просто няма решение на тоя проблем…
Пак вдигат шум, и пак са ужасно клиширани. Всеки път, като гледаш нещо в общи линии е ясно какво ще се случи, просто защото пътеките са утъпкани и никой не смее да излезе извън тях (с много малко изключения, като например Black Mirror).

Имаме и резервен вариант – алкохол и/или халюциногени, които могат да са супер ефективни (към публиката: да, наздраве, и се надявам да е алкохол, не халюциноген, че не е ясно какво ще виждаш), но са вредни за черния дроб (и не само), и като цяло са твърде опасни.
(вероятно трябва да направим една лекция за различните вещества и въздействието им, но май няма да е моя такава. Но, ако видите из турнето лекция, която се казва “бензин”, ще е за нещо такова, щото човекът е пил бензин, и се надявам да го навия)

А книгите…
Книгите са огромно количество. Да прочетете 1 GB чист текст ви трябват 20на години (сметката е, че 1 страница е около 4kb, което прави ~250000 страници, дори при моя темп на четене са 5 години). Само в проекта Гутенберг има 21GB книги (проектът, който събира книгите с изтекли авторски права), да не говорим за количеството други архиви, като например libgen (където има около 10 милиона книги). Според една сметка на google до 2010 е имало 129 милиона книги, които няма как да бъдат прочетени от един човек, дори един процент е непосилно число. Аз, с много желание, за целия си живот има шанс да прочета най-много 10000 книги, ако се старая много.
Книги може да четете навсякъде, без да пречите на хората (с изключение на случаите, в които четете докато някакви хора ви обръщат внимание).
Разнообразието на идеи в книги е най-голямото съществуващо – всички идеи тръгват от някакви книги или ги има в такива, и има нещо като правило 34 на internet-а (което гласи, че ако има нещо, то има порно с него) – ако нещо съществува, то има книга по темата. При 129 милиона книги не е трудно.
Има и формати, които работят без ток – има хартиени книги, работят без ток, само със светлина (даже не е задължително да е слънчева), не им трябва даже internet. Предполагам, все още сте виждали такива напред-назад, ако ще да е само да си подпирате монитора 🙂
И книгите са най-близкото нещо, което имаме до телепатия. Малко по-нататък ще ви го покажа 🙂

Книгите ни дават нова информация и перспективи. Никой от нас не знае всичко.
Авторите постоянно си задават въпроси от типа на “ако продължава така” (бежанската криза), “какво щеше да стане, ако…” (хората развият свръхестествени способности), пробват да намерят отговори, и с това ви карат и вие да си задавате същите въпроси и да стигате до някакви отговори, или да оспорвате техните. Като цяло, ви карат да мислите, а съм чувал (е, или съм чел някъде), че да мислиш е полезно. Не знам някой да го е доказал, та ще го оставя като аксиома 🙂

Развива важното за нас въображение. Ето един цитат:
‘Oh, you know for years we’ve been making wonderful things. We make your iPods. We make phones. We make them better than anybody else, but we don’t come up with any of these ideas. You bring us things and then we make them. So we went on a tour of America talking to people at Microsoft, at Google, at Apple, and we asked them a lot of questions about themselves, just the people working there. And we discovered that they all read science fiction when they were teenagers. So we think maybe it’s a good thing.’

Идва от първата организирана от държава (Китай) конференция за фантастика. Събрали там разни писатели и свързани хора, и Нийл Геймън, който бил там попитал местен партиец – защо правят такова нещо, никъде другаде не бил виждал нещо подобно. Отговорът е цитатът по-горе, че колкото и да са добри китайците в копирането или правенето на техника, нищо от това, което правят не е измислено там. Та, някакви хора отишли, разпитвали всякакви работещи из Силициевата долина и общото, което намерили било четенето на фантастика в ранна възраст. Та, може би е нещо хубаво?
Предположението е, че това развива (важното за нас) въображение.

Също така, от книгите могат да дойдат много нови идеи и насоки (за което имам три пълни слайда):

Фантастика с вампири в космоса ме накара да седна и прочета много неща по темата за човешкото съзнание, мислене, свободната воля и свързаните теми. Беше доста странно, понеже попаднах на нея от thread в един блог, където се питаше за наистина важна книга от последните 10 години, и там много хора казваха – тази книга е страхотна, не се плашете от вампирите. Ще я спомена даже по-нататък пак.

“Нощната стража” и няколко други книги на Тери Пратчет ме накараха да се замисля върху смисъла и работата на полицията (и да си потърся малко книги по темата). В нашата държава ние виждаме полицаите като нещо, което пречи и някак смислената им роля се губи. Като цяло Пратчет е замислящ по редица подобни теми.

“Дзен и изкуството да поддържаш мотоциклет” (странно заглавие, доста стара книга) е книгата, заради която спрях да пиша оценки, вътре има глава, която обяснява много добре защо.

“Fight club” и темата за консумеризма – книгата е прилично по-добра от филма (въпреки че филмът много се старае).

Dead air на Iain Banks и как се бори човек с идиоти е също доста забавна.

И да, наистина представата ми за армията и казармата отвътре все още се базират на “Приключенията на добрия войник Швейк” на Ярослав Хашек. На мен казармата ми се размина, но си мисля, че нямаше много да ми мръдне представата…

“Little brother” и “Homeland” на Кори Доктороу дадоха интересни идеи за следващите протести (каквато е и целта им, те са не толкова книги, колкото наръчници).

“Махалото на Фуко” и “Пражкото гробище” на Умберто Еко са може би най-закопаващите книги за конспиративните теории.

“Сатанински строфи” на Салман Рушди ме накара да се ровя повече в Исляма и да се опитам да разбера какъв точно им е проблема на тия хора с книгата.

Братя Стругацки и всичко, което са написали само по себе си е много храна за размисъл, по всякакви социални теми.

Крайтън и Хейли са ме карали да се интересувам от инфраструктурата на всичко – заводи, летища, болници…

Като пример не за мен – Артър Кларк е измислил комуникационните спътници.

И всякакви други неща, които не ми е преписват от слайда 🙂

Разбира се, може да четем просто за удоволствие. Спомням си как първата книга, която наистина ми хареса (“Откраднатата баба” на Атанас Мочуров – не помнех автора, ама я издирих по заглавието) съм я чел 39 пъти, просто щото ми харесваше. Идея си нямам защо съм ги броил, но мисля, че в един момент я знаех почти на изуст (трябва да съм бил на 6-7-8 години).
Спомням си една такава случка, като беше излязла “Нощната стража” на Тери Пратчет, със съквартиранта си я бяхме взели и вечерта като се прибрахме, седнахме да четем, всеки в неговата стая. По едно време аз свърших книгата, погледнах навън и без да се усетя, казах на глас “Брех, то се е съмнало!”. От другата стая чух “А, вярно бе!”…

Дори самият език може да достави огромно удоволствие. Ето малко цитати:
(дължа бира на Андрей, щото се сети от къде са няколко от тях)

“И наистина, бай Ганьо разлюти супата си до такваз степен, щото един непривикнал човек би се отровил.”
Тоя цитат винаги си го спомням, като ям шкембе чорба.

“The house had four windows set in the front of a size and proportion which more or less exactly failed to please the eye.”
(“Пътеводител на галактическия стопаджия”)

“Отдавна умряла проститутка гонеше съвсем жив мъж през тълпата и си искаше отдавна дължими пари за минала услуга.”
(Стивън Ериксън, една от книгите за Корбал Броуч и Бочалайн.

“What is a flower? A giant sexual organ in its Sunday best. The truth has been known for a long time, yet, over-aged adolescents that we are, we persist in speaking sentimental drives about the delicacy of flowers. We construct idiotic phrases like “So-and-so is in the flower of his youth”, which is as absurd as saying “in the vagina of his youth””
(Амели Нотомб, “Любовен саботаж”)

“Икономиката е псевдонауката, която разглежда илюзорните отношения на субектите от първи и втори род във връзка с халюцинаторния процес на тяхното въображаемо забогатяване.”
(Виктор Пелевин, “Generation П”, любим цитат ми е да го казвам на икономисти. Доста близък до реалността, донякъде чак притеснителен как една измислица движи голяма част от обществото)

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
(Оруел, разбира се)

“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”

Честно казано, бих могъл да направя презентация само от цитати и пак да звучи добре, но ще е малко нечестно 🙂

Разбира се, чувал съм и доста оплаквания. Можем да започнем с “ама това не ли бягство от реалността”, и ще отговоря пак с цитат (който е цитат от някой друг): “C. S. Lewis wisely pointed out that the only people who inveigh against escape tend to be jailers.” (Нийл Геймън). Интересно, че като човек чете (non-fiction) книги за правилата по разни тоталитарни лагери и затвори (съветските са един много добър пример), там всякакви такива неща като личен живот и бягане от реалността са максимално забранени (има един особено добър пример в румънските “превъзпитателни” лагери), като успяват да потрошат психически сериозна част от хората. Да се чуди човек Оруел без да е бил там как толкова добре ги е описал…

За някои хора е бавно. Не знам защо бързат, а човек се научава да чете с повече четене. Това дори е предимство, защото ни дава възможност да четем със собственото си темпо, да обмисляме нещата – няма какво да ни припира.

Чувал съм хора да казват, че книгите са им скучни. Това значи, че четат грешните книги – при толкова много съществуващи не е особено възможно да няма нищо интересно. Има всякакви странни неща, включително преди няколко години някой написа “Гордост и предразсъдъци със зомбита”…

А защо това подзаглавие, къде е дрогата? Пробвайте 🙂 Става ясно много бързо, нуждата да разберете какво става, да се нарадвате на езика, на идеите… Доколкото знам, хората се лекуват от желанието си за четене чрез умиране (за разлика от опиатите, където поне има програми и институции да помогнат). Винаги има желанието да се намери още нещо такова, толкова интересно и забавно (а защо не и повече?). В статистиката на goodreads (които са не-чак-толкова-голяма социална мрежа) за миналата година в reading challenge има 1,722,620 участника и 29,258,154 прочетени книги. Забавното е, че аз, дето чета по около 100 книги годишно, не влизам даже в топ 20-30%, щото има хора, дето четат по 900…

“Какво да четем” е доста често срещан въпрос. Правилният отговор (и най-лесният) е “каквото ви хареса”. Никой друг няма как да знае какво ще ви хареса, та каквото хванете и ви е забавно – четете го 🙂 Дал съм по-долу малко идеи, но моят вкус може сериозно да се различава от вашия. Това не е проблем, щото, както казах по-горе – 129 милиона…
(започвам с цитат от книгата, с > отпред)

> “Истината е, че откакто ме назначиха в тоалетните на четирийсет и четвъртия етаж, ходенето по нужда се бе превърнало в политически акт.”
“Изумление и трепет” на Амели Нотомб е кратко, забавно, леко странно (както повечето ѝ книги) и се чете бързо и с удоволствие. Започвам с него, преди да продължа с тухлите.

> – How long do you want these messages to remain secret?[…]
> – I want them to remain secret for as long as men are capable of evil.
“Cryptonomicon”-а на Нийл Стивънсън мисля, че съм споменавал и преди – в книжните си лекции в initLab и в кило други post-ове. Криптография, валути, втората световна война, модерните крипто-пънкове, Алан Тюринг, и просто радост за душата. За всички, на които е харесала Стивънсън е написал Бароковия цикъл, който е три такива тухли в края си има спор между Нютон и Лайбниц на темата за свободната воля. От нея може да ви станат интересни много неща.

> ‘And what would humans be without love?’
> RARE, said Death.
Чудех се и не можах да избера една книга на Тери Пратчет, за това препоръчвам целия. Имаше проблем с част от преводите му, в оригинал е прекрасен, пробвайте го.

> “Bill could smell Its breath and it was a smell like exploded animals lying on the highway at midnight.”
Стивън Кинг е човекът с телепатията. В книгите му е пълно с такива изречения, които в един момент започвате да си представяте. Има хора, които твърдят, че не е сериозен писател, понеже пише там някакви си популярни ужаси, но истината е, че той е един от наистина големите майстори на езика и на това да бръкне някъде във вас. Може би и буквално 🙂 От него препоръчвам като за начало “Мъртвата зона”, “То”, “Зеления път”, или каквото изобщо си харесате. Има много филми по него, и сполучливите са точно защото са успели да предадат телепатията достатъчно добре на екрана.

> “This is how you communicate with a fellow intelligence: You hurt it, you keep on hurting it, until you can distinguish the speech from the screams.”
Blindsight на Peter Watts (“Слепоглед” на български, не съм гледал как е превода) е книгата с вампирите в космоса и една от най-издържаните научно фантастики, на които съм попадал. Авторът е океански биолог, работил по специалността си 10на години, публикувал и т.н., и решил в един момент да мине към фантастиката. Това е първа книга от втората му поредица, и това беше много замисляща книга, в която намерих и много от неща по темата за изкуствения интелект, които преди това бях виждал в “Новият разум на царя” на Роджър Пенроуз (математик, книгата е научно-популярна на темата докъде може да стигне изкуствения интелект, с прилично количество математика).
А за вампирите обяснението е, че те са вътрешно-видов хищник, който се храни с хора, има много добро зрение, и е изчезнал когато хората са започнали да строят къщи, понеже ако вампир види прав ъгъл, му се задействат едновременно твърде много от зрителните рецептори, получава се претоварване и нещо близко до припадък. За останалото препоръчвам да хванете книгата 🙂

> “Governments always commit their entire populations when the demands grow heavy enough. By their passive acceptance, these populations become accessories to whatever is done in their name.”
“Експериментът Досейди” на Франк Хърбърт. Повечето хора знаят за “Дюн”, но това също си заслужава да се прочете, поне като идея за посоката, в която може да тръгне дадено общество под натиск (и която може да отговори защо хората от много потиснати общества успяват да “hack”-нат тези от по-свободните, на по-прост език защо престъпността в Европа след 1989 е осново от източно-европейски произход).

> “We are a wretched, petty species, and we have been given power to destroy ourselves with.”
“Worm” на Wildbow е интересен случай. Ако не беше толкова добро, и толкова трудно за оставяне, не знам дали нямаше да застрелям човека, който ми я препоръча – книгата е около 5000 страници, и не дава възможност да я оставиш. И докато с други книги това е в общи линии да не се спи една нощ, тук това беше две седмици непрестанно четене до ранните часове. Може да се намери online на url-то, и я препоръчвам на всички, не само защото искам и други хора да преживеят същото нещо 🙂 Може просто да я започнете, то не е нужно много…

Имаше няколко въпроса след лекцията:
Функциониращ адрес на libgen – не се намира трудно, има един, завършващ на .rus.ec….
Техники за бързо четене дали използвам – мисля, че само една, че не субвокализирам (т.е. не си произнасям на ум думите), но не помня как съм го научил, случи се във ваканцията ми между първи и втори клас, просто започнах да чета по-бързо. Има някакви начини и доста информация по темата, може да е полезно да се пробва. Скоростта на четене много зависи и от количеството информация, има неща (като фентъзита), които могат да се четат много по-бързо, понеже просто информацията вътре не е толкова много.
Ако до края на живота си съм принуден да избера една книга, която да препрочитам, коя ще е – никаква идея. Мислих, мислих, но ще трябва да е нещо много по-дебело от Worm …
Минавало ли ми е през ума да пиша някаква книга – аз не пиша особено добре, а и това иска доста време и спокойствие, които нямам. Доколкото знам, е нужно да напишеш около милион думи текстове, за да свикнеш да пишеш добре, не знам дали съм стигнал до там. Иначе, многото четене е изискване за доброто писане, но не е достатъчно.