Tag Archives: holly

MPAA Revenue Drops 20% as Movie Studios Cut Back

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-revenue-drops-20-as-movie-studios-cut-back-180527/

As a united front for Hollywood, the MPAA has booked many anti-piracy successes in recent years.

Through its involvement in the shutdowns of Popcorn Time, YIFY, isoHunt, Hotfile, Megaupload and several other platforms, the organization has worked hard to get results.

Less visibly but at least as important, the MPAA uses its influence to lobby lawmakers, while orchestrating and managing anti-piracy campaigns both in the United States and abroad.

All this work doesn’t come for free, obviously. To pay the bills the MPAA relies on six major movie studios for financial support. Over the past several years, these revenues had stabilized, but according to its latest tax filing, they are dropping now.

The IRS filing, covering the fiscal year 2016, puts total revenue at $57 million, down from $73 million. The Hollywood studios paid the bulk of this sum through membership fees which total $50 million. That’s a 22% reduction compared to a year earlier.

At the end of the year, this resulted in a significant loss of $8 million. While that’s a lot of money, the MPAA is not in imminent danger, as the organization still has over $10 million in net assets and funds.

We haven’t seen any explanation for the lower membership fees. It could be more permanent, but it may also be an agreed decision, as there’s enough money in the bank.

Going over the numbers, we see that salaries make up a large chunk of the expenses. Chris Dodd, the former MPAA Chairman and CEO, was the highest paid employee with a total income of more than $3.4 million, including a $275,000 bonus.

This compensation was for Dodd’s last full year as CEO. He was replaced by Charles Rivkin last year, another political heavyweight, who previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs in the Obama administration.

Dodd’s compensation took up nearly 10% of the entire salary budget. The rest is divided over the MPAA’s other 196 employees. This brings the total workforce to 197, which is down as well, from 224 employees a year earlier.

Moving on, it’s always interesting to see where the MPAA’s grants and other types of funding go to.

As reported previously, the group donates handsomely to various research initiatives. This includes a recurring million dollar grant for Carnegie Mellon’s ‘Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics’ (IDEA), which focuses on piracy related topics.

Another major beneficiary is the Copyright Alliance, a non-profit that represents copyright holders large and small on a variety of issues. The group was co-founded by the MPAA and received $750,000 in support according to the latest filing.

The total grants budget is $3.1 million and includes many smaller payments, which is not that different from previous years. Other large cost items are the lobbying budget, which totaled $3.6 million, and $5.3 million in legal fees.

Aside from the big dip in revenues, there are no real outliers in the filing.

A copy of the MPAA’s latest form 990 is available here (pdf).

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

BPI Wants Piracy Dealt With Under New UK Internet ‘Clean-Up’ Laws

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/bpi-wants-music-piracy-dealt-with-under-uk-internet-clean-up-laws-180523/

For the past several years, the UK Government has expressed a strong desire to “clean up” the Internet.

Strong emphasis has been placed on making the Internet safer for children but that’s just the tip of a much larger iceberg.

This week, the Government published its response to the Internet Safety Strategy green paper, stating unequivocally that more needs to be done to tackle “online harm”.

Noting that six out of ten people report seeing inappropriate or harmful content online, the Government said that work already underway with social media companies to protect users had borne fruit but overall industry response has been less satisfactory.

As a result, the Government will now carry through with its threat to introduce new legislation, albeit with the assistance of technology companies, children’s charities and other stakeholders.

“Digital technology is overwhelmingly a force for good across the world and we must always champion innovation and change for the better,” said Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“At the same time I have been clear that we have to address the Wild West elements of the Internet through legislation, in a way that supports innovation. We strongly support technology companies to start up and grow, and we want to work with them to keep our citizens safe.”

While emphasis is being placed on hot-button topics such as cyberbullying and online child exploitation, the Government is clear that it wishes to tackle “the full range” of online harms. That has been greeted by UK music group BPI with a request that the Government introduces new measures to tackle Internet piracy.

In a statement issued this week, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor welcomed the move towards legislative change and urged the Government to encompass the music industry and beyond.

“This is a vital opportunity to protect consumers and boost the UK’s music and creative industries. The BPI has long pressed for internet intermediaries and online platforms to take responsibility for the content that they promote to users,” Taylor said.

“Government should now take the power in legislation to require online giants to take effective, proactive measures to clean illegal content from their sites and services. This will keep fans away from dodgy sites full of harmful content and prevent criminals from undermining creative businesses that create UK jobs.”

The BPI has published four initial requests, each of which provides food for thought.

The demand to “establish a new fast-track process for blocking illegal sites” is not entirely unexpected, particularly given the expense of launching applications for blocking injunctions at the High Court.

“The BPI has taken a large number of actions against individual websites – 63 injunctions are in place against sites that are wholly or mainly infringing and whose business is simply to profit from criminal activity,” the BPI says.

Those injunctions can be expanded fairly easily to include new sites operating under similar banners or facilitating access to those already covered, but it’s clear the BPI would like something more streamlined. Voluntary schemes, such as the one in place in Portugal, could be an option but it’s unclear how troublesome that could be for ISPs. New legislation could solve that dilemma, however.

Another big thorn in the side for groups like the BPI are people and entities that post infringing content. The BPI is very good at taking these listings down from sites and search engines in particular (more than 600 million requests to date) but it’s a game of whac-a-mole the group would rather not engage in.

With that in mind, the BPI would like the Government to impose new rules that would compel online platforms to stop content from being re-posted after it’s been taken down while removing the accounts of repeat infringers.

Thirdly, the BPI would like the Government to introduce penalties for “online operators” who do not provide “transparent contact and ownership information.” The music group isn’t any more specific than that, but the suggestion is that operators of some sites have a tendency to hide in the shadows, something which frustrates enforcement activity.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, the BPI is calling on the Government to legislate for a new “duty of care” for online intermediaries and platforms. Specifically, the BPI wants “effective action” taken against businesses that use the Internet to “encourage” consumers to access content illegally.

While this could easily encompass pirate sites and services themselves, this proposal has the breadth to include a wide range of offenders, from people posting piracy-focused tutorials on monetized YouTube channels to those selling fully-loaded Kodi devices on eBay or social media.

Overall, the BPI clearly wants to place pressure on intermediaries to take action against piracy when they’re in a position to do so, and particularly those who may not have shown much enthusiasm towards industry collaboration in the past.

“Legislation in this Bill, to take powers to intervene with respect to operators that do not co-operate, would bring focus to the roundtable process and ensure that intermediaries take their responsibilities seriously,” the BPI says.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Home Office will now work on a White Paper, to be published later this year, to set out legislation to tackle “online harms”. The BPI and similar entities will hope that the Government takes their concerns on board.

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

Police Arrest Suspected Member of TheDarkOverlord Hacking Group

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/police-arrest-suspected-member-of-the-dark-overlord-hacking-group-180517/

In April 2017, the first episode of the brand new season of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black was uploaded to The Pirate Bay, months ahead of its official release date.

The leak was the work of a hacking entity calling itself TheDarkOverlord (TDO). One of its members had contacted TorrentFreak months earlier claiming that the content was in its hands but until the public upload, nothing could be confirmed.

TDO told us it had obtained the episodes after hacking the systems of Hollywood-based Larson Studios, an ADR (additional dialogue recorded) studio, back in 2016. TDO had attempted to blackmail the company into paying a bitcoin ransom but when it wasn’t forthcoming, TDO pressed the nuclear button.

Netflix responded by issuing a wave of takedown notices but soon TDO moved onto a new target. In June 2017, TDO followed up on an earlier threat to leak content owned by ABC.

But while TDO was perhaps best known for its video-leaking exploits, the group’s core ‘business’ was hacking what many perceived to be softer targets. TDO ruthlessly slurped confidential data from weakly protected computer systems at medical facilities, private practices, and businesses large and small.

In each case, the group demanded ransoms in exchange for silence and leaked sensitive data to the public if none were paid. With dozens of known targets, TDO found itself at the center of an international investigation, led by the FBI. That now appears to have borne some fruit, with the arrest of an individual in Serbia.

Serbian police say that members of its Ministry of Internal Affairs, Criminal Police Directorate (UCC), in coordination with the Special Prosecution for High-Tech Crime, have taken action against a suspected member of TheDarkOverlord group.

Police say they tracked down a Belgrade resident, who was arrested and taken into custody. Identified only by the initials “S.S”, police say the individual was born in 1980 but have released no further personal details. A search of his apartment and other locations led to the seizure of items of digital equipment.

“According to the order of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for High-Tech Crime, criminal charges will be brought against him because of the suspicion that he committed the criminal offense of unauthorized access to a protected computer, computer networks and electronic processing, and the criminal offense of extortion,” a police statement reads.

In earlier correspondence with TF, the TDO member always gave the impression of working as part of a team but we only had a single contact point which appeared to be the same person. However, Serbian authorities say the larger investigation is aimed at uncovering “a large number of people” who operate under the banner of “TheDarkOverlord”.

Since June 2016, the group is said to have targeted at least 50 victims while demanding bitcoin ransoms to avoid disclosure of their content. Serbian authorities say that on the basis of available data, TDO received payments of more than $275,000.

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

Internet Association Blasts MPAA’s ‘Crony Politics’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/internet-association-blasts-mpaas-crony-politics-180516/

Last month, MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin used the Facebook privacy debacle to voice his concern about the current state of the Internet.

“The Internet is no longer nascent – and people around the world are growing increasingly uncomfortable with what it’s becoming,” Rivkin wrote in his letter to several Senators, linking Internet-related privacy breaches to regulation, immunities, and safe harbors.

“The moment has come for a national dialogue about restoring accountability on the internet. Whether through regulation, recalibration of safe harbors, or the exercise of greater responsibility by online platforms, something must change.”

While it’s good to see that the head of Hollywood’s main lobbying group is concerned about Facebook users, not everyone is convinced of his good intentions. Some suggest that the MPAA is hijacking the scandal to further its own, unrelated, interests.

This is exactly the position taken by the Internet Association, a US-based organization comprised of the country’s leading Internet-based businesses. The organization is comprised of many prominent members including Google, Twitter, Amazon, Reddit, Yahoo, and Facebook.

Several of these companies were the target of the MPAA’s criticism, named or not, which prompted the Internet Association to respond.

In an open letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, the group’s president and CEO, Michael Beckerman, lashes out against the MPAA and similar lobbying groups. These groups hijack the regulatory debate with anti-internet lobbying efforts, he says.

“Look no further than the gratuitous letter Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. Chairman & CEO Charles Rivkin submitted to the Energy and Commerce Committee during your recent Zuckerberg hearing,” Beckerman writes.

“The hearing had nothing to do with the Motion Picture industry, but Mr. Rivkin demonstrated shameless rent-seeking by calling for regulation on internet companies simply in an effort to protect his clients’ business interest.”

These rent-seeking efforts are part of the “crony politics” used by “pre-internet” companies to protect their old business models, the Internet Association’s CEO adds.

“This blatant display of crony politics is not unique to the big Hollywood studios, but rather emblematic of a broader anti-consumer lobbying campaign. Many other pre-internet industries —telcos, legacy tech firms, hotels, and others — are looking to defend old business models by regulating a rising competitor to the clear detriment of consumers.”

These harsh words show that the rift between Silicon Valley and Hollywood is still wide open.

It’s clear that the MPAA and other copyright industry groups are still hoping for stricter regulation to ensure that Internet companies are held accountable. Privacy is generally not their main focus though.

They mostly want companies such as Google and Facebook to prevent piracy and compensate rightsholders. Whether using the Facebook privacy scandal was a good way to bring this message to the forefront is a matter of which camp one’s in.

While the Internet Association bashes the MPAA’s efforts, they don’t discount the idea that more can be done to prevent and stop abuse.

“As technology and services evolve to better meet user needs, bad actors will find ways to take advantage. Our members are ever vigilant and work hard to stop them. The task is never done, and we pledge to work harder and do even better,” Beckerman notes.

The Internet Association’s full letter, spotted by Variety, is available here (pdf).

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

The Pirating Elephant in Uncle Sam’s Room

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/the-pirating-elephant-in-uncle-sams-room-180413/

It’s not a secret that, in sheer numbers, America is the country that harbors most online pirates.

Perhaps no surprise, since it has a large and well-connected population, but it’s important to note considering what we’re about to write today.

Over the past decade, online piracy has presented itself as a massive problem for the US and its entertainment industries. It’s a global issue that’s hard to contain, but Hollywood and the major record labels are doing what they can.

Two of the key strategies they’ve employed in recent years are website blocking and domain seizures. US companies have traveled to courts all over the world to have ISP blockades put in place, with quite a bit of success.

At the same time, US rightsholders also push foreign domain registrars and registries to suspend or seize domains. The US Government is even jumping in, applying pressure against pirate domains as well.

Previously, the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica threatened to have the country’s domain name registry shut down, unless it suspended ThePirateBay.cr. This hasn’t happened, yet, but it was a clear signal.

What’s odd, though, is that ThePirateBay.cr is a relatively meaningless proxy site. The real Pirate Bay operates from an .org domain name, which happens to be managed by the US-based Public Interest Registry (PIR).

So, if the US authorities threaten to shut down Costa Rica’s domain registry over a proxy, why is the US-based PIR registry still in action? After all, it’s the registry that ‘manages’ the domain name of the largest pirate site on the entire web, and has done for nearly 15 years.

Also of note is that the entertainment industries previously launched an overseas lawsuit to seize The Pirate Bay’s .se and .is domains, but never attempted to do the same with the US-based .org domain.

There are more of these strange observations. Let’s move back to website blocking, for example.

In a detailed overview, the Motion Picture Association recently reported that ISP blocking measures, which are in place in more than two dozen countries, help to reduce piracy significantly. This is further backed up by industry-supported reports and independent academic research.

In an ideal world, the US entertainment industries would like ISPs in every country to block pirate sites. While this is all fine and understandable from the perspective of these companies, there’s also an elephant in the room.

Over the past decade, US companies have worked hard to spread their blocking message around the world, while they yet have to attempt the same on their home turf. And this happens to be the country with the most pirates of all, which could make a massive impact.

Sure, it was a major success when a court in Iceland ordered local ISPs to block The Pirate Bay. But with roughly 130,000 Internet subscriptions in the entire country, that’s peanuts compared to the US.

So why is the US, the largest “pirate nation,” ignored?

From what we’ve heard, the entertainment industries are not pushing for ISP blockades in US courts because they fear a SOPA-like backlash. This likely applies to domain suspensions as well, which aren’t all that hard to accomplish in the US.

Instead, the major entertainment companies are focusing their efforts elsewhere.

While these entertainment companies are well within their rights to lobby for these measures, there’s an elephant in the room that is hard to ignore. Personally, I can’t help but cringe every time Hollywood pushes the blocking agenda to a new country or demands domain seizures abroad.

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

YouTube Won’t Put Up With Blatant Piracy Tutorials Forever

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-wont-put-up-with-blatant-piracy-tutorials-forever-180506/

Once upon a time, Internet users’ voices would be heard in limited circles, on platforms such as Usenet or other niche platforms.

Then, with the rise of forum platforms such as phpBB in 2000 and Invision Power Board in 2002, thriving communities could gather in public to discuss endless specialist topics, including file-sharing of course.

When dedicated piracy forums began to gain traction, it was pretty much a free-for-all. People discussed obtaining free content absolutely openly. Nothing was taboo and no one considered that there would be any repercussions. As such, moderation was limited to keeping troublemakers in check.

As the years progressed and lawsuits against both sites and services became more commonplace, most sites that weren’t actually serving illegal content began to consider their positions. Run by hobbyists, most didn’t want the hassle of a multi-million dollar lawsuit, so links to pirate content began to diminish and the more overt piracy tutorials began to disappear underground.

Those that remained in plain sight became much more considered. Tutorials on how to pirate specific Hollywood blockbusters were no longer needed, a plain general tutorial would suffice. And, as communities matured and took time to understand the implications of their actions, those without political motivations realized that drawing attention to potential criminality was neither required nor necessary.

Then YouTube and social media happened and almost overnight, no one was in charge and anyone could say whatever they liked.

In this new reality, there were no irritating moderator-type figures removing links to this and that, and nobody warning people against breaking rules that suddenly didn’t exist anymore. In essence, previously tight-knit and street-wise file-sharing and piracy communities not only became fragmented, but also chaotic.

This meant that anyone could become a leader and in some cases, this was the utopia that many had hoped for. Not only couldn’t the record labels or Hollywood tell people what to do anymore, discussion site operators couldn’t either. For those who didn’t abuse the power and for those who knew no better, this was a much-needed breath of fresh air. But, like all good things, it was unlikely to last forever.

Where most file-sharing of yesterday was carried out by hobbyist enthusiasts, many of today’s pirates are far more casual. They’re just as thirsty for content, but they don’t want to spend hours hunting for it. They want it all on a plate, at the flick of a switch, delivered to their TV with a minimum of hassle.

With online discussions increasingly seen as laborious and old-fashioned, many mainstream pirates have turned to easy-to-consume videos. In support of their Kodi media player habits, YouTube has become the educational platform of choice for millions.

As a result, there is now a long line of self-declared Kodi piracy specialists scooping up millions of views on YouTube. Their videos – which in many cases are thinly veiled advertisements for third party addons, Kodi ‘builds’, illegal IPTV services, and obscure Android APKs – are now the main way for a new generation to obtain direct advice on pirating.

Many of the videos are incredibly blatant, like the past 15 years of litigation never happened. All the lessons learned by the phpBB board operators of yesteryear, of how to achieve their goals of sharing information without getting shut down, have been long forgotten. In their place, a barrage of daily videos designed to generate clicks and affiliate revenue, no matter what the cost, no matter what the risk.

It’s pretty clear that these videos are at least partly responsible for the phenomenal uptick in Kodi and Android-based piracy over the past few years. In that respect, many lovers of free content will be eternally grateful for the service they’ve provided. But like many piracy movements over the years, people shouldn’t get too attached to them, at least in their current form.

Thanks to the devil-may-care approach of many influential YouTubers, it won’t be long before a whole new set of moderators begin flexing their muscles. While your average phpBB moderator could be reasoned with in order to get a second chance, a determined and largely faceless YouTube will eject offenders without so much as a clear explanation.

When this happens (and it’s only a question of time given the growing blatancy of many tutorials) YouTubers will not only lose their voices but their revenue streams too. While YouTube’s partner programs bring in some welcome cash, the profitable affiliate schemes touted on these channels for external products will also be under threat.

Perhaps the most surprising thing in this drama-waiting-to-happen is that many of the most popular YouTubers can hardly be considered young and naive. While some are of more tender years, most – with their undoubted skill, knowledge and work ethic – should know better for their 30 or 40 years on this planet. Yet not only do they make their names public, they feature their faces heavily in their videos too.

Still, it’s likely that it will take some big YouTube accounts to fall before YouTubers respond by shaving the sharp edges off their blatant promotion of illegal activity. And there’s little doubt that those advertising products (which is most of them) will have to do so sooner rather than later.

Just this week, YouTube made it clear that it won’t tolerate people making money from the promotion of illegal activities.

“YouTube creators may include paid endorsements as part of their content only if the product or service they are endorsing complies with our advertising policies,” YouTube told the BBC.

“We will be working with creators going forward so they better understand that in video promotions [they] must not promote dishonest activity.”

That being said, like many other players in the piracy and file-sharing space over the past 18 years, YouTubers will eventually begin to learn that not only can the smart survive, they can flourish too.

Sure, there will be people out there who’ll protest that free speech allows citizens to express themselves in a manner of their choosing. But try PM’ing that to YouTube in response to a strike, and see how that fares.

When they say you’re done, the road back is a long one.

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

MPAA-Seized Popcorn Time Domain Now Redirects to Pirate Site

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-seized-popcorn-time-domain-now-redirects-to-pirate-site-180503/

Four years ago Popcorn Time took the Internet by storm.

The software amassed millions of users by offering BitTorrent-powered streaming in an easy-to-use Netflix-style interface.

While the original developers shut down their project after a few months, following pressure from Hollywood, others forked the application and took over.

PopcornTime.io swiftly became the main Popcorn Time fork. The spin-off soon had millions of users and updates were pushed out on a regular basis. At the end of 2015, however, this fork also disappeared from the web.

The MPAA took credit for the fall announcing that it had filed a lawsuit against several people in Canada. In response to these legal threats, several key developers backed out.

Soon after, the MPAA also assumed control of the main domain name, ensuring that it could not fall into the wrong hands.

This worked well, initially, but this week we noticed that PopcornTime.io is active again. The domain now links to the pirate streaming site Stream.cr, which welcomes its new visitors with a special message.

Redirection landing page

“Notice: If you’re looking for Popcorn Time(App) for it’s P2P torrent streaming, it’s over at popcorntime.sh. Otherwise, if you’re looking for streaming. Welcome to StreamCR!” a message on the site reads.

This is odd, considering that the PopcornTime.io domain name is still registered to the MPAA.

Popcorntime.io Whois

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the PopcornTime.io domain registrar is listed as MarkMonitor, which is a well-known brand protection company, often used to prevent domain troubles.

“Protect your critical assets by partnering with a corporate-only domain registrar who has a strong security culture and is committed to providing the most secure and reliable solution in the industry,” MarkMonitor writes

However, since PopcornTime.io now links to a pirate site, something clearly went wrong.

It’s hard to say with certainty what happened. A likely option is that the domain’s nameservers, which point to DNS Made Easy, were not configured properly and that the people behind Stream.cr used that oversight to redirect the domain to their own site.

TorrentFreak spoke to a source unrelated to this case who says he was previously able to redirect traffic from a domain that was seized by the MPAA, simply by adding it to his own DNS Made Easy account. That worked, until the nameservers were updated to MarkMonitor’s DNS servers.

Whether the fault, in this instance, lies with the MPAA, MarkMonitor, or another party is hard to say without further details.

In any case, the MPAA is not going to be happy with the end result, and neither is MarkMonitor. The Stream.cr operators, meanwhile, are probably celebrating and they can enjoy the free traffic while it lasts.

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

Pirate IPTV Blocking Case is No Slam Dunk Says Federal Court Judge

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-iptv-blocking-case-is-no-slam-dunk-says-federal-court-judge-180502/

Last year, Hong Kong-based broadcaster Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) applied for a blocking injunction against several unauthorized IPTV services.

Under the Copyright Act, the broadcaster asked the Federal Court to order ISPs including Telstra, Optus, Vocus, and TPG plus their subsidiaries to block access to seven Android-based services named as A1, BlueTV, EVPAD, FunTV, MoonBox, Unblock, and hTV5.

Unlike torrent site and streaming portal blocks granted earlier, it soon became clear that this case would present unique difficulties. TVB not only wants Internet locations (URLs, domains, IP addresses) related to the technical operation of the services blocked, but also hosting services akin to Google Play and Apple’s App Store that host the app.

Furthermore, it is far from clear whether China-focused live programming is eligible for copyright protection in Australia. If China had been a party to the 1961 Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations, it would receive protection. As it stands, it does not.

That causes complications in respect of Section 115a of the Copyright Act which allows rightsholders to apply for an injunction to have “overseas online locations” blocked if they facilitate access to copyrighted content. Furthermore, the section requires that the “primary purpose” of the location is to infringe copyrights recognized in Australia. If it does not, then there’s no blocking option available.

“If most of what is occurring here is a reproduction of broadcasts that are not protected by copyright, then the primary purpose is not to facilitate copyright infringement,” Justice Nicholas said in April.

This morning TVB returned to Federal Court for a scheduled hearing. The ISPs were a no-show again, leaving the broadcaster’s legal team to battle it out with Justice Nicholas alone. According to details published by ComputerWorld, he isn’t making it easy for the overseas company.

The Judge put it to TVB that “the purpose of this system [the set-top boxes] is to make available a broadcast that’s not copyright protected in this country, in this country,” he said.

“If 10 per cent of the content was infringing content, how could you say the primary purpose is infringing copyright?” the Judge asked.

But despite the Judge’s reservations, TVB believes that the pirate IPTV services clearly infringe its rights, since alongside live programming, the devices also reproduce TVB movies which do receive protection in Australia. However, the company is also getting creative in an effort to sidestep the ‘live TV’ conundrum.

TVB counsel Julian Cooke told the Court that live TVB broadcasts are first reproduced on foreign servers from where they are communicated to set-top devices in Australia with a delay of between one and four minutes. This is a common feature of all pirate IPTV services which potentially calls into question the nature of the ‘live’ broadcasts. The same servers also carry recorded content too, he argued.

“Because the way the system is set up, it compounds itself … in a number of instances, a particular domain name, which we refer to as the portal target domain name, allows a communication path not just to live TV, but it’s also the communication path to other applications such as replay and video on demand,” Cooke said, as quoted by ZDNet.

Cooke told the Court that he wasn’t sure whether the threshold for “primary purpose” was set at 50% of infringing content but noted that the majority of the content available through the boxes is infringing and the nature of the servers is even more pronounced.

“It compounds the submission that the primary purpose of the online location which is the facilitating server is to facilitate the infringement of copyright using that communication path,” he said.

As TF predicted in our earlier coverage, TVB today got creative by highlighting other content that it does receive copyright protection for in Australia. Previously in the UK, the Premier League successfully stated that it owns copyright in the logos presented in a live broadcast.

This morning, Cooke told the court that TVB “literary works” – scripts used on news shows and subtitling services – receive copyright protection in Australia so urged the Court to consider the full package.

“If one had concerns about live TV, one shouldn’t based on the analysis we’ve done … if one adds that live TV infringements together with video on demand together with replay, there could be no doubt that the primary purpose of the online locations is to infringe copyright,” he said.

Due to the apparent complexity of the case, Justice Nicholas reserved his decision, telling TVB that his ruling could take a couple of months after receiving his “close attention.”

Last week, Village Roadshow and several major Hollywood studios won a blocking injunction against a different pirate IPTV service. HD Subs Plus delivers around 600 live premium channels plus hundreds of movies on demand, but the service will now be blocked by ISPs across Australia.

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

The Pirate Bay’s Rebellious History… in Doodles

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/the-pirate-bays-rebellious-history-in-doodles-180429/

Later this year, The Pirate Bay will celebrate its 15th anniversary.

That’s quite an achievement for any website, but for a pirate site in particular, considering the mounting legal pressures.

The Pirate Bay is not an ordinary torrent site though. It has a long and rich history that, unfortunately, appears to be fading.

Up until a few years ago TPB frequently replaced its iconic pirate ship logo to send a message. These ‘doodles’ were pieces of art in their own right and have long been documented on a dedicated page.

However, when we checked this page a few days ago we noticed that the doodles only go back to 2014. This means that dozens of earlier pieces are missing, which is a crying shame. So, for the sake of history, we tracked down whatever we could and have published our findings here.

Below is our overview of TPB’s doodles in chronological order. Many of the titles are the ones TPB used. The list doesn’t include ‘ads’ or artist promos, which sometimes were just videos, but otherwise, it should be relatively complete.

The Grand Theft Bay – 24 October, 2004

The first doodle we’re aware of, celebrating the pirated release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The Pear Bay – 20 August, 2005

The Pirate Bay renamed itself to The Pear Bay when Apple x86 OS leaked. The logo linked to a search which led visitors directly to it.

Merry Christmas! – 24 December, 2005

The Pirate Bay wished all its visitors a Merry Christmas. As far as we know, this doodle hasn’t been reused in recent years.

Nice game got released – 24 October, 2005

Another pirate game release, Quake 4 this time. It’s clear what some of the TPB people were up to in their spare time.

The Pirat eBay – 21 January, 2006

The Pirate Bay crew auctioned a night of partying to the highest bidder on eBay. “Since we have a lot of bandwidth usage and low salaries for working on our site, we’ve decided to go prostitutes on you and sell ourselves for money,” they wrote.

The Police Bay – 3 June, 2006

Three days after The Pirate Bay was raided for the first time, the site returned with their cannons aimed at Hollywood.

The Phoenix Bay – 18 June, 2006


With The Pirate Bay raid still dominating the news and political agenda, the site’s operator added another message. “Like the phoenix bird, The Pirate Bay will always rise again.”

Ladonia Invasion – 25 July, 2006

The Piratebay openly supported the ‘war’ against Ladonia, a micronation located in the south of Sweden. Yet another political statement.

Steal This Film – 21 August, 2006

Pirate Bay promoting the release of the documentary Steal This Film featuring its co-founders Brokep and Anakata, directed by Jamie King.

Party Aftermath – 8 October, 2006

The Pirate Bay crew had a party but didn’t bother to clean up. Instead, they put a photo of the aftermath on the frontpage.

Pirate Bay + WESC = <3 - 11 October, 2006

A pirate site teaming up with the street fashion company “WeSC”? While brands shun these links nowadays, it was all possible ten years ago.

Talk Like a Pirate Day – 19 September, 2006

Good pirates talk like pirates. The Pirate Bay honored the yearly Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Pirates of Sealand – 12 January, 2007

Perhaps one of the most ambitious plans. The Pirate Bay raised money to buy Sealand and form their own state. That never happened, the money was reportedly spent on trees instead.

OscarTorrents – 12 February, 2007

TPB promoting the OscarTorrents.com website where archivists were collecting pirated links to the latest Oscar-nominated movies.

North Korea – 01 April, 2007

Pirate Bay moves to North Korea on April 1st, causing a lot of confusion as well as some outrage.

Eurovisiontorrents.com – 08 May, 2007

Following the success of Oscartorrents, the Swedes from The Pirate Bay now promote a similar initiative for the Eurovision song contest.

Kopimi Klothing – 25 May, 2007

Every self-respecting website has its own merchandise store. The Pirate Bay had Kopimi clothing..

Pirates of the internets – 27 May, 2007


When the Hollywood blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End leaked online, TPB made a fitting doodle linking to pirated copies.

The Torrent of Fire – 19 July, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows leaked online, and Pirate Bay’s logo leaked as well.

The Evergreen Terrace Bay – 27 July, 2007

The Pirate Bay celebrates the release of the first illegal CAM version of “The Simpsons Movie” with a new logo and t-shirt design.

Walk the plank – 21 September, 2007

The internal emails of anti-piracy outfit MediaDefender went public, revealing that they were indeed behind the video site MiiVi, and more…

The Global Icon Bay – 20 November, 2007

TPB praising its own achievement of becoming a global icon. “We won the ‘global icon’ award from the copy lobby!”

We need help! – 17 January, 2008

The Pirate Bay posted its version of a job application.

We wouldn’t steal – 19 January, 2008

When the European Parliament coalition Greens EFA launched a pro-filesharing campaign named “I Wouldn’t Steal,” Pirate Bay showed their support.

Jubilee – 31 January, 2008


“10 million peers. 1 million torrents. 2.5 million registered users. 100 blog entries. Jubilee!”

Valentines day – 14 February, 2008

The Pirate Bay shows off its romantic side.

Manifesta7 – 22 February, 2008

The Pirate Bay and the Bureau of Piracy start their journey throughout Europe, that will reach its climax at the art festival Manifesta.

Sinai – 01 April, 2008

The Pirate Bay keeps its arch-nemesis IFPI updated on the site’s whereabouts.

All your cops – 18 April, 2008

Hollywood buys police officers, according to The Pirate Bay, which is embroiled in a legal battle in Sweden.

Liberty Bay – 25 April, 2008

The Pirate Bay celebrates the release of Grand Theft Auto IV.

Tiamo Dirty Thirty – 27 April, 2008

Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij turned thirty. “All your NES are belong to him…”

Pirate Independence Day – 31 May, 2008

Two years after the Pirate Bay raid, the notorious torrent site declares May 31 “Pirate Independence Day.” “Today we celebrate that we’re united in our efforts. Keep on seeding!”

The Pirate Bat – 25 July, 2008

The Pirate Bay renamed the site into “The Pirate Bat“ and put up a new logo that links to a search for “The Dark Knight”.

The Beijing Bay – 17 August, 2008


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) asked the Swedish Minister of Justice for “assistance” to remove Olympic torrents from TPB. The site was not impressed.

The Beatrice Bay – 20 August, 2008

A few days later TPB asks its users to send their love to Beatrice Ask, the Swedish Minister of Justice at the time.

International Anti Piracy Day – 21 October, 2008

When Microsoft announced Global Anti-Piracy Day, The Pirate Bay blamed Bill Gates.

25 Million Peers – 15 November, 2008


Pirate Bay’s tracker served 25 million concurrent peers, which is more than the entire populations of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark combined.

Our fifth birthday! – 25 November, 2008


While the TPB-crew wasn’t certain that it was the right date (the tenth anniversary was in August), they celebrated anyway.

Happy new 1984! – 31 December, 2008


Ending 2008 with a call to action. “2009 turns out to be the year of surveillance. We need to fight that!”

Wasted can’t be wrong – 09 January, 2009

Leading up to the TPB-trial, the site reminds people that MPAA lawyer Monique Wadsted previously represented the Church of Scientology in a copyright case.

King Kong downloads – 18 February, 2009


The legendary King Kong defense.

Warner Brothers buys The Pirate Bay – 01 April, 2009

Pirate Bay announced that they settled their differences with Warner Bros. The largest BitTorrent tracker sold out to Hollywood, on April 1st.

Embassy of Piracy – 07 May, 2009

An important art institution is born, according to TPB. The Embassy of Piracy.

We are all The Pirate Bay – 15 May, 2009

Swedish artist Montt Mardié thought that The Pirate Bay and its following could use an anthem, so he decided to write one.

EU Election – 27 May, 2009


TPB reminded its visitors to vote in the EU election.

The Persian Bay – 17 June, 2009


TPB transformed into The Persian Bay and asked users to help out Iran. “Get your tunnelz goin!”

Hack the system – 07 December, 2010

Inspired by the French football legend Cantona, TPB calls in its users to ban Paypal after it kicked out Wikileaks.



Pirate Bay’s sysop decided to put his Christmas wishlist on the frontpage. “Freedom for all information!”

Blackout 4 hungary – 05 January, 2011


At a time where several new laws were being drafted to restrict people’s freedoms, TPB joined the Blackout for Hungary.

Protest time – 13 January, 2011

More protest.

TPB wins auction site – 01 April, 2011

The Pirate Bay reuses an old doodle on April first. “TPB will use the tools from eBay to make a better rating system for torrents. Then TPB will divide eBay up into smaller companies and sell to the highest bidders. We see no use for an auction site since most stuff is available for free.”

The Research Bay – 18 April, 2011

The Pirate Bay launched a new survey in collaboration with the Cybernorms research group at Sweden’s Lund University. As part of a sociology study, they hoped to find out more about people’s motivations to share.

You do not recieve freedom, you take it. – 09 May, 2011

In a slightly edited version of Winston Churchill’s “this was their finest hour” speech, replacing Nazi-Germany with MAFIAA, The Pirate Bay team declares war on Internet censorship advocates.

Happy birthday! – 15 September, 2011


The Pirate Bay turns eight years old. This time it’s in September. “One world one love!””

Belgian Beer, Belgian Blue, Belgian Block Belgian Bay – 04 October, 2011

The Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation succeeds in their quest to force two ISPs to block the famous torrent site. The next day TPB adds a new domain to bypass the blockade.

A new tool to avoid censorship! – 05 December, 2011

The Pirate Bay promotes Mafiaafire, an unblocking too that helps users to access blocked sites.

The Promo Bay! – 15 January, 2012


TPB launched The Promo Bay, an initiative to help artists expose their work to the world through the site’s frontpage. We won’t publish all promo’s here, just the first one below.

The Promo Bay proudly presents Paulo Coelho – 28 January, 2012

The first promo is none other than best selling author Paulo Coelho, who’s a file-sharing enthusiast and a supporter of The Pirate Bay.

Fight! – 01 February, 2012

Sweden’s Supreme Court announced that it would not grant an appeal in the Pirate Bay case. This means that the prison sentences and millions of dollars in fines previously handed out to the four defendants remained in place.

The Magnet Bay! – 28 February, 2012

TPB removed all popular torrent files and made the switch to magnet links. This was needed to make the site future proof, the team announced.

Suprbay! – 06 March, 2012

The Pirate Bay runs a promo for its own forum, Suprbay.

Greece sells airspace to TPB – 01 April, 2012

TPB memo on April 1st: “Political power in Athens, Greece, today signed an agreement with representatives for The Pirate Bay (TPB) about exclusive usage of the Greek airspace at 8000-9000ft.”

The Pirate Bay proudly promotes Dan Bull! – 23 April, 2012

With the track “Sharing is Caring”, Dan Bull tried to break into the UK and international singles charts with the help of a free Internet and BitTorrent. Not without success.

ACT NOW! – 03 May, 2012

The censorship button doodle was reused when The Pirate Bay was blocked in the UK.

The Hydra Bay! – 07 May, 2012


The Pirate Bay renamed itself The Hydra Bay today, linking it to PirateReverse.info, an information site that was dedicated to helping ‘blocked people’ to access TPB. The operator of this site was later arrested.

Act against Acta! – 07 June, 2012

TPB joins the widespread demonstrations against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

ACTA IS DEAD – 04 July, 2012


In a 478 to 39 vote, the European Parliament decided to reject ACTA.

Sign for Peter! – 14 July, 2012

Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde submitted an emotional pardon plea to the Swedish authorities, hoping to avoid his prison sentence.

The Olympic Bay – 27 July, 2012


The TPB crew created another doodle for their friends at the International Olympic Committee, promoting their bi-annual gathering.

9th birthday – 14 September, 2012

Time flies. But at least it’s September again.

The Pirate Bay Party! – 09 October, 2012


The Pirate Bay is already looking forward to its tenth anniversary, which they will celebrate in August…

The Pirate Bay moves to the cloud – 17 October, 2012


From this day, The Pirate Bay will serve its users from several cloud hosting providers scattered around the world.

Support Richard from being extradited to the US! – 25 October, 2012

TPB backs efforts to prevent UK student Richard O’Dwyer from being extradited to the United States. Whether it helped or not, the extradition was stopped.

Merry a’rr a’rr! – 24 December, 2012

TPB encouraged its users to sent cards, letters, and gifts to co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm, who was in prison at the time.

TPB AFK – 08 February, 2013


TPB-AFK, the documentary about The Pirate Bay and its founders, was released. The film follows the lives of the three Pirate Bay founders during their trials in Sweden.

The Hydra Bay – 25 February, 2013

New Provider For TPB – 04 March, 2013

The Pirate Bay moves the site to North Korea. For real. Or?

Fuck yeah! – 01 April, 2013


After its failed experiment in North Korea, The Pirate Bay has set course to the land of the free, the United States of America.

Take a look at what these guys are doing! – 08 July, 2013

The Pirate Bay promotes a charity project.

PARTY PARTY PARTY! – 18 July, 2013


The 10 year anniversary is coming, and TPB is hosting a massive party!

Happy birthday! – 10 August, 2013


The Pirate Bay celebrates its 10th anniversary, in August.

ThePirateBay.PE – 13 December, 2013


Facing legal uncertainty, The Pirate Bay moves to a .PE domain name, the fifth domain is 2013.

Let him at least read some books for fucks sake! – 07 January, 2014

No books? More than 100,000 signatures on a petition to improve the prison circumstances of Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm, appear to have had an effect.

Free the pirates! – 10 July, 2014

TPB encouraged its users to write to the site’s imprisoned co-founders. This doodle reappeared several times.

The Pirate Bay rises again – 29 January, 2015


The Pirate Bay reappears after more than a month of downtime, following a raid on the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof datacenter built into a mountain complex.

New domain names – 19 May, 2015

The Pirate Bay adds several new domain names. A new and improved hydra was born, although it didn’t last very long.

Raid? – 21 September, 2015

Raid? What raid? The Pirate Bay denies that they were critically hit by the police raid a few months earlier.

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

BitTorrent Piracy Lawuit Morphs into Attack on Dragon Box and Resellers

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-piracy-lawuit-morphs-into-attack-on-dragon-box-and-resellers-180428/

In recent years the movie industry’s enforcement efforts have switched from torrent sites to streaming devices, which are now seen as the main culprit.

While not entirely intentional, this shift is also visible in a federal lawsuit filed in a federal court in Hawai.

In the initial complaint, rightsholders of the films “Mechanic: Resurrection” (ME2) and “Once Upon a Time in Venice” (Venice) sued twenty unknown defendants who allegedly shared pirated copies via BitTorrent.

These cases are quite common in the US and are regularly referred to as “copyright trolling,” but in recent months this particular case took a drastic turn.

It all started when the sister of one of the defendants indicated that her brother used a streaming box to watch movies. This turned out to be a Dragon Box which was allegedly used to stream pirated films.

Typically these type of streaming boxes rely on external video hosting sites, but they can be configured to use torrents. It is not clear if that was the case here, but it was enough for the copyright holder to take a closer look at the device.

As the case progressed, all the original BitTorrent defendants were dismissed, and the filmmakers focused their efforts on Dragon Box and two local resellers instead. In fact, the latest version of the complaint doesn’t even mention BitTorrent anymore.

The case now targets Dragon Box and its owner Paul Christoforo, as well as the resellers Naino Bettencourt and Jason Barnhart, who run “The Dragon Box Hawaii” and “JB Dragon Box-Hawaii Kai” respectively. All are accused of contributory copyright infringement.

The complaint describes how the Dragon Box can be used to access copyrighted material, including the works of ME2 and Venice. The defendants were well aware of this, it’s argued, adding that the defendants promoted the box with terms hinting at infringing uses.

In addition, Dragon Box’s Paul Christoforo reportedly made statements such as “It is legal to stream content on the internet,” and “We can’t be held liable for the movies and TV channels online that people are watching, because all the software is doing is accessing content that is readily available online.”

“Particularly, the Dragon Box Defendants have brazenly marketed the Dragon Box as giving ‘you every movie, every tv show, every sports game and payperview all in HD with no monthly fee’, and falsely stating to the public that streaming copyright protected motion pictures such as Plaintiffs’ is legal,” the plaintiffs write.

With the lawsuit, the copyright holders hope to recoup some of the damages they claim to have suffered. To prevent any further harm, they have moved for a preliminary injunction this week, to halt Dragon Box sales as soon as possible.

“Simply put, Dragon Box is intentionally inducing infringement. Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court enter a preliminary injunction that requires the Dragon Box Defendants to halt their flagrantly illegal conduct immediately,” ME2 and Venice write.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first lawsuit Dragon Box has been dragged into this year. The company was previously sued by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), which represents several Hollywood studios, Netflix, and Amazon. This case is still ongoing.

Dragon Box has yet to respond to the allegations made by ME2 and Venice. The company initially opposed the latest complaint because the original BitTorrent claims were no longer part of it, but the court denied this request.

A copy of the request for a preliminary injunction against Dragon Box is available here (pdf).

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Aussie Federal Court Orders ISPs to Block Pirate IPTV Service

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/aussie-federal-court-orders-isps-to-block-pirate-iptv-service-180427/

After successful applying for ISP blocks against dozens of traditional torrent and streaming portals, Village Roadshow and a coalition of movie studios switched tack last year.

With the threat of pirate subscription IPTV services looming large, Roadshow, Disney, Universal, Warner Bros, Twentieth Century Fox, and Paramount targeted HDSubs+ (also known as PressPlayPlus), a fairly well-known service that provides hundreds of otherwise premium live channels, movies, and sports for a relatively small monthly fee.

The injunction, which was filed last October, targets Australia’s largest ISPs including Telstra, Optus, TPG, and Vocus, plus subsidiaries.

Unlike blocking injunctions targeting regular sites, the studios sought to have several elements of HD Subs+ infrastructure rendered inaccessible, so that its sales platform, EPG (electronic program guide), software (such as an Android and set-top box app), updates, and sundry other services would fail to operate in Australia.

After a six month wait, the Federal Court granted the application earlier today, compelling Australia’s ISPs to block “16 online locations” associated with the HD Subs+ service, rendering its TV services inaccessible Down Under.

“Each respondent must, within 15 business days of service of these orders, take reasonable steps to disable access to the target online locations,” said Justice Nicholas, as quoted by ZDNet.

A small selection of channels in the HDSubs+ package

The ISPs were given flexibility in how to implement the ban, with the Judge noting that DNS blocking, IP address blocking or rerouting, URL blocking, or “any alternative technical means for disabling access”, would be acceptable.

The rightsholders are required to pay a fee of AU$50 fee for each domain they want to block but Village Roadshow says it doesn’t mind doing so, since blocking is in “public interest”. Continuing a pattern established last year, none of the ISPs showed up to the judgment.

A similar IPTV blocking application was filed by Hong Kong-based broadcaster Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) last year.

TVB wants ISPs including Telstra, Optus, Vocus, and TPG plus their subsidiaries to block access to seven Android-based services named as A1, BlueTV, EVPAD, FunTV, MoonBox, Unblock, and hTV5.

The application was previously heard alongside the HD Subs+ case but will now be handled separately following complications. In April it was revealed that TVB not only wants to block Internet locations related to the technical operation of the service, but also hosting sites that fulfill a role similar to that of Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

TVB wants to have these app marketplaces blocked by Australian ISPs, which would not only render the illicit apps inaccessible to the public but all of the non-infringing ones too.

Justice Nicholas will now have to decide whether the “primary purpose” of these marketplaces is to infringe or facilitate the infringement of TVB’s copyrights. However, there is also a question of whether China-focused live programming has copyright status in Australia. An additional hearing is scheduled for May 2 for these matters to be addressed.

Also on Friday, Foxtel filed yet another blocking application targeting “15 online locations” involving 27 domain names connected to traditional BitTorrent and streaming services.

According to ComputerWorld the injunction targets the same set of ISPs but this time around, Foxtel is trying to save on costs.

The company doesn’t want to have expert witnesses present in court, doesn’t want to stage live demos of websites, and would like to rely on videos and screenshots instead. Foxtel also says that if the ISPs agree, it won’t serve its evidence on them as it has done previously.

The company asked Justice Nicholas to deal with the injunction application “on paper” but he declined, setting a hearing for June 18 but accepting screenshots and videos as evidence.

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VK: A ‘Notorious Pirate Site’ Praised by The Music Industry

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/vk-a-notorious-pirate-site-praised-by-the-music-industry-180425/

For several years vKontakte, or VK, has been marked as a notorious piracy facilitator by copyright holders and even the US Government.

Like many other user-generated content sites, Russia’s largest social media network allows its millions of users to upload anything, from movies and TV shows to their entire music collections.

However, copyright holders have often claimed that, unlike its competitors, the site lacks proper anti-piracy measures.

“vKontakte’s ongoing facilitation of piracy causes very substantial damage,” the RIAA complained two years ago, and more recently the IIPA labeled the site as a “major infringement hub for illegal film materials.”

As a result of the ongoing critique, particularly from the movie industry, the US Trade Representative included VK in its most recent list of notorious pirate sites. While this isn’t the first time that VK has ended up there, it’s an intriguing position considering the praise the social network received from the music business this week.

After several major labels reached licensing agreements with VK in 2016, it has transformed from one of the music industry’s largest foes to a rather helpful friend. This milestone was clearly marked in IFPI’s most recent Global Music Report, which was just released.

“[Russia has] become an interesting market. The local services are meaningful now, and VKontakte has gone from being the number one most notorious copyright infringer to being a positive contributor,” says Dennis Kooker, Sony Music’s President Global Digital Business.

Moving from a site that does substantial damage to being a positive contributor is quite a feat, something that’s also highlighted by Warner Music’s Head of Digital Strategy, John Rees.

“We’re starting to see encouraging growth in a number of markets which historically have been completely overwhelmed by piracy,” Rees says.

“We work with VKontakte, which last year launched a licensed music service that’s helping unlock the Russian market alongside our other paid streaming partners such as Apple Music, Yandex and Zvooq. There’s huge potential in Russia, and, considering the population size, we’ve only recently begun to scratch the surface,” he adds.

This means that the same platform that helps the music industry to grow in Russia is seen as a notorious pirate site by Hollywood and the US Government, which mention it in the same breath as The Pirate Bay.

The music industry’s positive signals haven’t gone completely unnoticed by the US Trade Representative. However, it believes that the social media platform should help to protect all copyright holders.

“VK continues to be listed pending the institutionalization of appropriate measures to promote respect on its platform for IPR of all right holders, not just those with whom it has contracts, which are comparable to those measures used by other social media sites,” USTR wrote a few weeks ago.

In recent years VK has implemented a wide variety of anti-piracy measures including fingerprinting techniques but, apparently, more is needed to appease the movie industry.

While the music industry can scrap VK from the piracy agenda, it still has plenty of other worries. IFPI’s Global Music Report highlights the “value gap” as a major issue and stresses that stream-ripping is the fastest growing form of music copyright infringement.

The shutdown of YouTube-MP3.org in 2016 is highlighted as a major success, but there’s still a long way to go before piracy is a problem of the past, if it ever will be.

“The actions taken by the industry are having a positive impact and reducing stream ripping across major music markets. However, the problem is far from solved and we will continue to take on these illegal sites wherever they are operating around the world,” IFPI’s Frances Moore says.

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MPAA Chief Says Fighting Piracy Remains “Top Priority”

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-chief-says-fighting-piracy-remains-top-priority-180425/

After several high-profile years at the helm of the movie industry’s most powerful lobbying group, last year saw the departure of Chris Dodd from the role of Chairman and CEO at the MPAA.

The former Senator, who earned more than $3.5m a year championing the causes of the major Hollywood studios since 2011, was immediately replaced by another political heavyweight.

Charles Rivkin, who took up his new role September 5, 2017, previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs in the Obama administration. With an underperforming domestic box office year behind him fortunately overshadowed by massive successes globally, this week he spoke before US movie exhibitors for the first time at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

“Globally, we hit a record high of $40.6 billion at the box office. Domestically, our $11.1 billion box office was slightly down from the 2016 record. But it exactly matched the previous high from 2015. And it was the second highest total in the past decade,” Rivkin said.

“But it exactly matched the previous high from 2015. And it was the second highest total in the past decade.”

Rivkin, who spent time as President and CEO of The Jim Henson Company, told those in attendance that he shares a deep passion for the movie industry and looks forward optimistically to the future, a future in which content is secured from those who intend on sharing it for free.

“Making sure our creative works are valued and protected is one of the most important things we can do to keep that industry heartbeat strong. At the Henson Company, and WildBrain, I learned just how much intellectual property affects everyone. Our entire business model depended on our ability to license Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and the Muppets and distribute them across the globe,” Rivkin said.

“I understand, on a visceral level, how important copyright is to any creative business and in particular our country’s small and medium enterprises – which are the backbone of the American economy. As Chairman and CEO of the MPAA, I guarantee you that fighting piracy in all forms remains our top priority.”

That tackling piracy is high on the MPAA’s agenda won’t comes as a surprise but at least in terms of the numbers of headlines plastered over the media, high-profile anti-piracy action has been somewhat lacking in recent years.

With lawsuits against torrent sites seemingly a thing of the past and a faltering Megaupload case that will conclude who-knows-when, the MPAA has taken a broader view, seeking partnerships with sometimes rival content creators and distributors, each with a shared desire to curtail illicit media.

“One of the ways that we’re already doing that is through the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment – or ACE as we call it,” Rivkin said.

“This is a coalition of 30 leading global content creators, including the MPAA’s six member studios as well as Netflix, and Amazon. We work together as a powerful team to ensure our stories are seen as they were intended to be, and that their creators are rewarded for their hard work.”

Announced in June 2017, ACE has become a united anti-piracy powerhouse for a huge range of entertainment industry groups, encompassing the likes of CBS, HBO, BBC, Sky, Bell Canada, CBS, Hulu, Lionsgate, Foxtel and Village Roadshow, to name a few.

The coalition was announced by former MPAA Chief Chris Dodd and now, with serious financial input from all companies involved, appears to be picking its fights carefully, focusing on the growing problem of streaming piracy centered around misuse of Kodi and similar platforms.

From threatening relatively small-time producers and distributors of third-party addons and builds (1,2,3), ACE is also attempting to make its mark among the profiteers.

The group now has several lawsuits underway in the United States against people selling piracy-enabled IPTV boxes including Tickbox, Dragon Box, and during the last week, Set TV.

With these important cases pending, Rivkin offered assurances that his organization remains committed to anti-piracy enforcement and he thanked exhibitors for their efforts to prevent people quickly running away with copies of the latest releases.

“I am grateful to all of you for recognizing what is at stake, and for working with us to protect creativity, such as fighting the use of illegal camcorders in theaters,” he said.

“Protecting our creativity isn’t only a fundamental right. It’s an economic necessity, for us and all creative economies. Film and television are among the most valuable – and most impactful – exports we have.

Thus far at least, Rivkin has a noticeably less aggressive tone on piracy than his predecessor Chris Dodd but it’s unlikely that will be mistaken for weakness among pirates, nor should it. The MPAA isn’t known for going soft on pirates and it certainly won’t be changing course anytime soon.

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Court Denies TVAddons’ Request to Dismiss U.S. Piracy Lawsuit

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/court-denies-tvaddons-request-to-dismiss-u-s-piracy-lawsuit-180423/

Last year, American satellite and broadcast provider Dish Network targeted two well-known players in the third-party Kodi add-on ecosystem.

In a complaint filed in a federal court in Texas, add-on ZemTV and the TVAddons library were accused of copyright infringement. As a result, both are facing up to $150,000 in damages for each offense.

While the case was filed in Texas, neither of the defendants live there, or even in the United States. The owner and operator of TVAddons is Adam Lackman, who resides in Montreal, Canada. ZemTV’s developer Shahjahan Durrani is even further away in London, UK.

According to the legal team of the two defendants, this limited connection to Texas is reason for the case to be dismissed. They filed a motion to dismiss in January, asking the court to drop the case.

“Lackman and Durrani have never been residents or citizens of Texas; they have never owned property in Texas; they have never voted in Texas; they have never personally visited Texas; they have never directed any business activity of any kind to anyone in Texas […] and they have never earned income in Texas,” the motion reads.

Dish saw things differently, however. The broadcast provider replied to the motion, submitting hundreds of pages of evidence documenting TVAddons and ZemTV’s ties to the United States.

Among other things, Dish pointed the court towards TVAddons own data, which showed that most of its users came from the United States. More than one-third of the total user base were American, it argued.

“The United States was Defendants’ largest market with approximately 34% of all TV Addons traffic coming from users located in the United States, which was three times the traffic from the second largest market.”

Late last week District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore ruled on the motion to dismiss from both defendants, which is denied.

Denied

At the time of writing, there is no additional information available as to how Judge Gilmore reached her decision. However, it is clear that the case will now move forward.

This lawsuit is one of several related to Kodi-powered pirate steaming boxes. While TVAddons and ZemTV didn’t sell any fully loaded boxes directly, Dish argues that they both played a significant role in making copyright-infringing content available.

Earlier this year, the manufacturer of the streaming device DragonBox was sued in a separate case by Netflix, Amazon and several major Hollywood studios.

A few days ago Dragon Media denied all piracy allegations in the complaint, but the lawsuit remains ongoing. The same is true for a related case against Tickbox, another Kodi-powered box manufacturer.

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Netflix, Amazon and Hollywood Sue “SET TV” Over IPTV Piracy

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-amazon-and-hollywood-sue-set-tv-over-iptv-piracy-180422/

In recent years, piracy streaming tools and services have become a prime target for copyright enforcers.

This is particularly true for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), an anti-piracy partnership forged between Hollywood studios, Netflix, Amazon, and more than two dozen other companies.

After taking action against Kodi-powered devices Tickbox and Dragonbox, key ACE members have now filed a similar lawsuit against the Florida-based company Set Broadcast, LLC, which sells the popular IPTV service SET TV.

The complaint, filed at a California federal court on Friday, further lists company owner Jason Labbosiere and employee Nelson Johnson among the defendants.

According to the movie companies, the Set TV software is little more than a pirate tool, allowing buyers to stream copyright infringing content.

“Defendants market and sell subscriptions to ‘Setvnow,’ a software application that Defendants urge their customers to use as a tool for the mass infringement of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted motion pictures and television shows,” the complaint reads.

In addition to the software, the company also offers a preloaded box. Both allow users to connect to live streams of TV channels and ‘on demand’ content. The latter includes movies that are still in theaters, which SET TV allegedly streams through third-party sources.

“For its on-demand options, Setvnow relies on third-party sources that illicitly reproduce copyrighted works and then provide streams of popular content such as movies still exclusively in theaters and television shows.”

From the complaint

The intended use of SET TV is clear, according to the movie companies. They frame it as a pirate service and believe that this is the main draw for consumers.

“Defendants promote the use of Setvnow for overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, infringing purposes, and that is how their customers use Setvnow,” the complaint reads.

Interestingly, the complaint also states that SET TV pays for sponsored reviews to reach a broader audience. The videos, posted by popular YouTubers such as Solo Man, who is quoted in the complaint, advertise the IPTV service.

“[The] sponsored reviewer promotes Setvnow as a quick and easy way to access on demand movies: ‘You have new releases right there and you simply click on the movie … you click it and click on play again and here you have the movie just like that in 1 2 3 in beautiful HD quality’.”

The lawsuit aims to bring an end to this. The movie companies ask the California District for an injunction to shut down the infringing service and impound all pre-loaded devices. In addition, they’re requesting statutory damages which could go up to several million dollars.

At the time of writing the SET TV website is still in the air, selling subscriptions. The company itself has yet to comment on the allegations.

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

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Facebook Privacy Fiasco Sees Congress Urged on Anti-Piracy Action

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/facebook-privacy-fiasco-sees-congress-urged-on-anti-piracy-action-180420/

It has been a tumultuous few weeks for Facebook, and some would say quite rightly so. The company is a notorious harvester of personal information but last month’s Cambridge Analytica scandal really brought things to a head.

With Facebook co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg in the midst of a PR nightmare, last Tuesday the entrepreneur appeared before the Senate. A day later he faced a grilling from lawmakers, answering questions concerning the social networking giant’s problems with user privacy and how it responds to breaches.

What practical measures Zuckerberg and his team will take to calm the storm are yet to unfold but the opportunity to broaden the attack on both Facebook and others in the user-generated content field is now being seized upon. Yes, privacy is the number one controversy at the moment but Facebook and others of its ilk need to step up and take responsibility for everything posted on their platforms.

That’s the argument presented by the American Federation of Musicians, the Content Creators Coalition, CreativeFuture, and the Independent Film & Television Alliance, who together represent more than 650 entertainment industry companies and 240,000 members. CreativeFuture alone represents more than 500 companies, including all the big Hollywood studios and major players in the music industry.

In letters sent to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary; the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the coalitions urge Congress to not only ensure that Facebook gets its house in order, but that Google, Twitter, and similar platforms do so too.

The letters begin with calls to protect user data and tackle the menace of fake news but given the nature of the coalitions and their entertainment industry members, it’s no surprise to see where this is heading.

“In last week’s hearing, Mr. Zuckerberg stressed several times that Facebook must ‘take a broader view of our responsibility,’ acknowledging that it is ‘responsible for the content’ that appears on its service and must ‘take a more active view in policing the ecosystem’ it created,” the letter reads.

“While most content on Facebook is not produced by Facebook, they are the publisher and distributor of immense amounts of content to billions around the world. It is worth noting that a lot of that content is posted without the consent of the people who created it, including those in the creative industries we represent.”

The letter recalls Zuckerberg as characterizing Facebook’s failure to take a broader view of its responsibilities as a “big mistake” while noting he’s also promised change.

However, the entertainment groups contend that the way the company has conducted itself – and the manner in which many Silicon Valley companies conduct themselves – is supported and encouraged by safe harbors and legal immunities that absolve internet platforms of accountability.

“We agree that change needs to happen – but we must ask ourselves whether we can expect to see real change as long as these companies are allowed to continue to operate in a policy framework that prioritizes the growth of the internet over accountability and protects those that fail to act responsibly. We believe this question must be at the center of any action Congress takes in response to the recent failures,” the groups write.

But while the Facebook fiasco has provided the opportunity for criticism, CreativeFuture and its colleagues see the problem from a much broader perspective. They suck in companies like Google, which is also criticized for shirking its responsibilities, largely because the law doesn’t compel it to act any differently.

“Google, another major global platform that has long resisted meaningful accountability, also needs to step forward and endorse the broader view of responsibility expressed by Mr. Zuckerberg – as do many others,” they continue.

“The real problem is not Facebook, or Mark Zuckerberg, regardless of how sincerely he seeks to own the ‘mistakes’ that led to the hearing last week. The problem is endemic in a system that applies a different set of rules to the internet and fails to impose ordinary norms of accountability on businesses that are built around monetizing other people’s personal information and content.”

Noting that Congress has encouraged technology companies to prosper by using a “light hand” for the past several decades, the groups say their level of success now calls for a fresh approach and a heavier touch.

“Facebook and Google are grown-ups – and it is time they behaved that way. If they will not act, then it is up to you and your colleagues in the House to take action and not let these platforms’ abuses continue to pile up,” they conclude.

But with all that said, there is an interesting conflict that develops when presenting the solution to piracy in the context of a user privacy fiasco.

In the EU, many of the companies involved in the coalitions above are calling for pre-emptive filters to prevent allegedly infringing content being uploaded to Facebook and YouTube. That means that all user uploads to such platforms will have to be opened and scanned to see what they contain before they’re allowed online.

So, user privacy or pro-active anti-piracy filters? It might not be easy or even legal to achieve both.

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

IsoHunt Founder Returns With New Search Tool

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/isohunt-founder-returns-with-new-search-tool-180419/

Of all the major torrent sites that dominated the Internet at the beginning of this decade, only a few remain.

One of the sites that fell prey to ever-increasing pressure from the entertainment industry was isoHunt.

Founded by the Canadian entrepreneur Gary Fung, the site was one of the early pioneers in the world of torrents, paving the way for many others. However, this spotlight also caught the attention of the major movie studios.

After a lengthy legal battle isoHunt’s founder eventually shut down the site late 2013. This happened after Fung signed a settlement agreement with Hollywood for no less than $110 million, on paper at least.

Launching a new torrent search engine was never really an option, but Fung decided not to let his expertise go to waste. He focused his time and efforts on a new search project instead, which was unveiled to the public this week.

The new app called “WonderSwipe” has just been added to Apple’s iOS store. It’s a mobile search app that ties into Google’s backend, but with a different user interface. While it has nothing to do with file-sharing, we decided to reach out to isoHunt’s founder to find out more.

Fung tells us that he got the idea for the app because he was frustrated with Google’s default search options on the mobile platform.

“I find myself barely do any search on the smartphone, most of the time waiting until I get to my desktop. I ask why?” Fung tells us.

One of the main issues he identified is the fact that swiping is not an option. Instead, people end up browsing through dozens of mobile browser tabs. So, Fung took Google’s infrastructure and search power, making it swipeable.

“From a UI design perspective, I find swiping through photos on the first iPhone one of the most extraordinary advances in computing. It’s so easy that babies would be doing it before they even learn how to flip open a book!

“Bringing that ease of use to the central way of conducting mobile search and research is the initial eureka I had in starting work on WonderSwipe,” Fung adds.

That was roughly three years ago, and a few hours ago WonderSwipe finally made its way into the App store. Android users will have to wait for now, but the application will eventually be available on that platform as well.

In addition to swiping through search results, the app also promises faster article loading and browsing, a reader mode with condensed search results, and a hands-free mode with automated browsing where summaries are read out loud.

WonderwSwipe


Of course, WonderSwipe is nothing like isoHunt ever was, apart from the fact that Google is a search engine that also links to torrents, indirectly.

This similarity was also brought up during the lawsuit with the MPAA, when Fung’s legal team likened isoHunt to Google in court. However, the Canadian entrepreneur doesn’t expect that Hollywood will have an issue with WonderSwipe in particular.

“isoHunt was similar to Google in how it worked as a search engine, but not in scope. Torrents are a small subset of all the webpages Google indexes,” Fung says.

“WonderSwipe’s aim is to find answers in all webpages, powered by Google search results. It presents results in extracted text and summaries with no connection to BitTorrent clients. As such, WonderSwipe can be bigger than isoHunt has ever been.”

Ironically, in recent years Hollywood has often criticized Google for linking to pirated content in its search results. These results will also be available through WonderSwipe.

However, Fung says that any copyright issues with WonderSwipe will have to be dealt with on the search engine level, by Google.

“If there are links to pirated content, tell search engines so they can take them down!” he says.

WonderSwipe is totally free and Fung tells us that he plans to monetize it with in-app purchases for pro features, and non-intrusive advertising that won’t slow down swiping or search results. More details on the future plans for the app are available here.

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

Hollywood Studios Get ISP Blocking Order Against Rarbg in India

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hollywood-studios-score-blocking-order-against-rarbg-in-india-180417/

While the major Hollywood studios are very reluctant to bring a pirate site blocking case to their home turf, they are very active abroad.

The companies are the driving force behind lawsuits in Europe, Australia, and are also active in India, where they booked a new success last week.

Website blocking is by no means a new phenomenon in India. The country is known for so-called John Doe orders, where a flurry of websites are temporarily blocked to protect the release of a specific title.

The major Hollywood studios are taking a different approach. Disney Enterprises, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros. are requesting blockades, accusing sites of being structural copyright infringers.

One of the most recent targets is the popular torrent site Rarbg. The Hollywood studios describe Rarbg as a ‘habitual’ copyright infringer and demand that several Internet providers block access to the site.

“It is submitted that the Defendant Website aids and facilitates the accessibility and availability of infringing material, and induce third parties, intentionally and/or knowingly, to infringe through their websites by various means,’ the movie studios allege.

The complaint filed at the High Court of Delhi lists more than 20 Internet providers as co-defendants, and also includes India’s Department of Telecommunications and Department of Electronics and Information Technology in the mix.

The two Government departments are added because they have the power to enforce blocking orders. Specifically, the Hollywood studios note that the Department of Technology’s license agreement with ISPs requires these companies to ensure that copyright infringing content is not carried on their networks.

“It is submitted that the DoT itself acknowledges the fact that service providers have an obligation to ensure that no violation of third party intellectual property rights takes place through their networks and that effective protection is provided to right holders of such intellectual property,” the studios write.

Last week the court granted an injunction that requires local Internet providers including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Telenor, You Broadband, and Vodafone to block Rarbg.

Blocking order

As requested, the Department of Telecommunications and Department of Electronics and Information Technology are directed to notify all local internet and telecom service providers that they must block the torrent site as well.

The order is preliminary and can still be contested in court. However, given the history of similar blocking efforts around the world, it is likely that it will be upheld.

While there’s not much coverage on the matter, this isn’t the first blocking request the companies have filed in India. Last October, a similar case was filed against another popular torrent site, 1337x.to, with success.

TorrentFreak reached out to the law firm representing the Hollywood studios to get a broader overview of the blocking plans in India. At the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

A copy of the order obtained by Disney Enterprises, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal, Warner Bros and the local Disney owned media conglomerate UTV Software, is available here (pdf).

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MPAA Quietly Shut Down Its ‘Legal’ Movie Search Engine

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-quietly-shut-down-its-legal-movie-search-engine-180411/

During the fall of 2014, Hollywood launched WhereToWatch, its very own search engine for movies and TV-shows.

The site enabled people to check if and where the latest entertainment was available, hoping to steer U.S. visitors away from pirate sites.

Aside from the usual critics, the launch received a ton of favorable press. This was soon followed up by another release highlighting some of the positive responses and praise from the press.

“The initiative marks a further attempt by the MPAA to combat rampant online piracy by reminding consumers of legal means to watch movies and TV shows,” the LA Times wrote, for example.

Over the past several years, the site hasn’t appeared in the news much, but it did help thousands of people find legal sources for the latest entertainment. However, those who try to access it today will notice that WhereToWatch has been abandoned, quietly.

The MPAA pulled the plug on the service a few months ago. And where the mainstream media covered its launch in detail, the shutdown received zero mentions. So why did the site fold?

According to MPAA Vice President of Corporate Communications, Chris Ortman, it was no longer needed as there are many similar search engines out there.

“Given the many search options commercially available today, which can be found on the MPAA website, WheretoWatch.com was discontinued at the conclusion of 2017,” Ortman informs TF.

“There are more than 140 lawful online platforms in the United States for accessing film and television content, and more than 460 around the world,” he adds.

The MPAA lists several of these alternative search engines on its new website. The old WhereToWatch domain now forwards to the MPAA’s online magazine ‘The Credits,’ which features behind-the-scenes stories and industry profiles.

While the MPAA is right that there are alternative search engines, many of these were already available when WhereToWatch launched. In fact, the site used the services of the competing service GoWatchIt for its search results.

Perhaps the lack of interest from the U.S. public played a role as well. The site never really took off and according to traffic estimates from SimilarWeb and Alexa, most of the visitors came from Iran, where the site was unusable due to a geo-block.

After searching long and hard we were able to track down a former WhereToWatch user on Reddit. This person just started to get into the service and was disappointed to see it go.

“So, does anyone know of better places or simply other places where this information lives in an easily accessible place?” he or she asked.

One person responded by recommending Icefilms.info, a pirate site. This is a response the MPAA would cringe at, but luckily, most people mentioned justwatch.com as the best alternative.

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MPA Reveals Scale of Worldwide Pirate Site Blocking

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mpa-reveals-scale-of-worldwide-pirate-site-blocking-180410/

Few people following the controversial topic of Internet piracy will be unaware of the site-blocking phenomenon. It’s now one of the main weapons in the entertainment industries’ arsenal and it’s affecting dozens of countries.

While general figures can be culled from the hundreds of news reports covering the issue, the manner in which blocking is handled in several regions means that updates aren’t always provided. New sites are regularly added to blocklists without fanfare, meaning that the public is kept largely in the dark.

Now, however, a submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) by Motion Picture Association Canada provides a more detailed overview. It was presented in support of the proposed blocking regime in Canada, so while the key figures are no doubt accurate, some of the supporting rhetoric should be viewed in context.

“Over the last decade, at least 42 countries have either adopted and implemented, or are legally obligated to adopt and implement, measures to ensure that ISPs take steps to disable access to copyright infringing websites, including throughout the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Korea,” the submission reads.

The 42 blocking-capable countries referenced by the Hollywood group include the members of the European Union plus the following: Argentina, Australia, Iceland, India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.

While all countries have their own unique sets of legislation, countries within the EU are covered by the requirements of Article 8.3 of the INFOSEC Directive which provides that; “Member States shall ensure that rightholders are in a position to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe a copyright or related right.”

That doesn’t mean that all countries are actively blocking, however. While Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia have the legal basis to block infringing sites, none have yet done so.

In a significant number of other EU countries, however, blocking activity is prolific.

“To date, in at least 17 European countries, over 1,800 infringing sites and over 5,300 domains utilized by such sites have been blocked, including in the following four countries where the positive impact of site-blocking over time has been demonstrated,” MPA Canada notes.

Major blocking nations in the EU

At this point, it’s worth pointing out that authority to block sites is currently being obtained in two key ways, either through the courts or via an administrative process.

In the examples above, the UK and Denmark are dealt with via the former, with Italy and Portugal handled via the latter. At least as far as the volume of sites is concerned, court processes – which can be expensive – tend to yield lower site blocking levels than those carried out through an administrative process. Indeed, the MPAA has praised Portugal’s super-streamlined efforts as something to aspire to.

Outside Europe, the same two processes are also in use. For example, Australia, Argentina, and Singapore utilize the judicial route while South Korea, Mexico, Malaysia and Indonesia have opted for administrative remedies.

“Across 10 of these countries, over 1,100 infringing sites and over 1,500 domains utilized by such sites have been blocked,” MPA Canada reveals.

To date, South Korea has blocked 460 sites and 547 domains, while Australia has blocked 91 sites and 355 domains. In the case of the latter, “research has confirmed the increasingly positive impact that site-blocking has, as a greater number of sites are blocked over time,” the Hollywood group notes.

Although by no means comprehensive, MPA Canada lists the following “Notorious Sites” as subject to blocking in multiple countries via both judicial and administrative means. Most will be familiar, with the truly notorious The Pirate Bay heading the pile. Several no longer exist in their original form but in many cases, clones are blocked as if they still represent the original target.


The methods used to block the sites vary from country to country, dependent on what courts deem fit and in consideration of ISPs’ technical capabilities. Three main tools are in use including DNS blocking, IP address blocking, and URL blocking, which can also include Deep Packet Inspection.

The MPA submission (pdf) is strongly in favor of adding Canada to the list of site-blocking countries detailed above. The Hollywood group believes that the measures are both effective and proportionate, citing reduced usage of blocked sites, reduced traffic to pirate sites in general, and increased visits to legitimate platforms.

“There is every reason to believe that the website blocking measures [presented to the CRTC] will lead to the same beneficial results in Canada,” MPA Canada states.

While plenty of content creators and distributors are in favor of proposals, all signs suggest they will have a battle on their hands, with even some ISPs coming out in opposition.

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