Tag Archives: MPA

MPA & Roadshow-Led Coalition File Major Pirate Site-Blocking Application

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mpa-roadshow-led-coalition-file-major-pirate-site-blocking-application-191125/

Despite a clear decrease in momentum in the UK in recent times, site-blocking remains a favored anti-piracy tool in many countries around the world.

Companies exploiting the Australian market seem convinced that the practice is good for business, as a brand new blocking application filed at the Federal Court shows. First reported by ComputerWorld, it features a broad coalition of movie, TV show, and anime companies, all of whom have previous blocking experience in Australia.

To keep the ‘feel’ of the application as local as possible, it’s no surprise that Roadshow Films is the lead applicant, despite having just one movie (The Lego Movie) listed in court documents. The remaining 11 include Disney, Paramount, Columbia, Universal, Warner and Netflix, plus Hong Kong-based broadcaster Television Broadcasts Limited and anime distributor Madman Anime.

With the companies involved having trod the blocking injunction path many times before, the application itself now takes a very familiar form. It demands that 50 local ISPs including Telstra, Optus, TPG and Vodafone block a wide range of ‘pirate’ sites. In terms of content, however, this is one of the broadest applications yet.

In Australia legal-speak, pirate sites of all kinds are referred to as “Target Online Locations” (TOL), of which there are 87 (identified by their domains) in the current application.

There are several categories of ‘TOL’ – streaming platforms, download platforms, linking sites (including torrent sites), sites that offer software that allows streaming or downloads, those that provide subtitles for copyright works, plus sites that offer proxy access to pirate sites.

Some notable inclusions are the community-resurrected KickassTorrents site operating from Katcr.co, plus some less than authentic Kickass clones operating from around half a dozen additional URLs.

The same goes for a range of domains trading on the SolarMovie, YIFY and YTS brands, without being connected to the original sites. In fact, many domains listed in the application follow this copycat theme, including those featuring 123movies, Primewire, CouchTuner, Putlocker, WatchFree, ProjectFreeTV, and YesMovies-style wording.

An interesting addition is that of getpopcorntime.is. This isn’t the original Popcorn Time app download site but does offer a variant of the software that can be used to gain access to movies and TV shows. However, the domain itself doesn’t offer any infringing content, or any links to the same.

Subtitle download sites, including TVSubtitles.net and MSubs.net, are included in the application. These types of platforms were previously the topic of debate in a previous application but the court eventually conceded they can indeed be blocked.

In a sign of how far the net is now being cast (most of the major pirate sites are already blocked in Australia), this application also features Russian torrent giant Rutor.info and China-focused btbtdy.me. Both of these sites have plenty of alternative domains so blocking just these two is unlikely to achieve much.

Finally, no blocking application would be complete without an effort to block all the ‘proxy’ sites that have the sole purpose of facilitating access to sites blocked as a result of previous injunctions. The problem in respect of these proxies seems to be considerable, with at least 13 of the 87 domains in this application falling into that category.

The full list of domains requested for blocking is as follows:

Proxyportal.org, proxyportal.ws, mrunlock.space, nocensor.casa, nocensor.fun, unblockproject.icu, unblockproject.info, 123unblock.fun, 123unblock.icu, prox4you.pro, prox4you.info, unblocked.to, prostylex.org, torrents.io, katcr.co, katcr.to, kikass.to, kat.sx, kickass.sx, kickass1.to, kat.ag, ibit.to, onionplay.eu, onionplaynetwork.xyz, onionplay.co, p30download.com, torrentquest.com, rutor.info, btbtdy.me, lookmovie.ag, 037hdd.com, cuevana3.co, exsite24.pl, downduck.com, downloadha.com, emotionvideo-tv.com, movieon21.xyz, modufree.net, j20.hitjjal.com, phim33.com, tfp.is, tvsubtitles.net, msubs.net, dytt8.net, ttdytt.net, fast-torrent.ru, heroturko.net, imovies.cc, imovies.ge, getpopcorntime.is, toxicwap.com, english-films.com, topeuropix.net, topeuropix.com, poseidonhd.co, anakbnet.com, moviesjoy.net, filmlicious.net, proxybit.pro, 123movies.love, 1primewire.com, movies.cab, putlocker.digital, solarmoviefree.net, solarmovie.net, yifyddl.movie, yify.yt, yify-films.net, yifytorrentz.net, yifymovietorrent.com, ytsdownload.com, movie4k.ag, fmovies.org, 5movies.cloud, couchtuner2.com, couchtuner123.com, couchtuner.watch, couchtuner0.com, 1watchfree.me, putlockerstoworld2.com, putlocker.actor, zmz2019.com, m4ufree.tv, them4ufree.info, projectfreetv.xyz, yesmovies.gg, yesmovies.ai, yesmovies.cloud, 99kubo.tv, cayphim.net, dramacool.video, gimy.tv, kenh88.com, yeuphimmoi.com, Anime-sharing.com, Tokyotosho.info, animetosho.org, animebam.net, animebam.se, animelon.com, animejolt.com, project-gxs.com, eyeonanime.tv, animehd47.com, animereborn.io

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

Hollywood Praises Australia’s Anti-Piracy Laws, But More Can Be Done

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hollywood-praises-australias-anti-piracy-laws-but-more-can-be-done-191111/

For years on end, entertainment industry insiders have regularly portrayed Australia as a piracy-ridden country.

However, after several legislative updates, the tide appears to have turned. This is the conclusion reached by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in a recent report.

The industry group, which is largely made up of Hollywood studios, along with the recently added Netflix, continuously monitors Australia’s anti-piracy efforts. In recent years, things have been going in the right direction.

A short summary of its findings was recently reported to the US Government as part of the annual trade barriers consultation.

The MPA’s overview is generally a summary of copyright challenges and shortcomings around the world. However, Australia is one of the few exceptions when it comes to anti-piracy enforcement. In fact, the industry group is rather positive about the progress the country has made.

“Australia has developed excellent tools to fight online piracy, including effective laws allowing for no-fault injunctive relief against ISPs and ‘search engine service providers’,” the MPA writes in its report.

The report points out that in recent years piracy rates have declined significantly Down Under. Pirate site blocking and other measures have helped to boost interest in legal subscription services, including Netflix, it suggests.

The MPA is also positive about recent developments regarding takedown notices. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is currently considering the introduction of a mandatory takedown notice scheme, one that would be stricter than the DMCA-style standard which is common today.

“This would include procedures for urgent take downs (extending to pre-release or new-release films and TV shows as well as live entertainment content), as well as ‘stay down’ obligations to ensure that content already identified as infringing does not quickly re-appear,” the MPA notes.

The Hollywood-backed group supports this initiative and adds that companies who breach the new takedown standard should face “meaningful” penalties.

Aside from the positive remarks in Australia, the MPA informs the US Government that there is room for improvement as well. For example, the police could offer more help with piracy-related investigations, something that’s lacking today.

In addition, the MPA is worried about an ongoing Copyright Modernization consultation where further exceptions to copyright are being considered. This includes new definitions of fair dealing or fair use, which are seen as a threat by the industry group.

“This consultation risks undermining the current balance of IP protection in Australia that has fueled the country’s creative industries, and could create significant market uncertainty and effectively weaken Australia’s infrastructure for intellectual property protection,” the MPA states.

Closing out the list is a recommendation to propose tough anti-camcording piracy laws. While fewer illegal recordings are sourced from Australia today, the current penalties for this activity are simply not enough to act as a proper deterrent, the group says.

The last request is far from new. The same demands have appeared in previous reports, as is the case with many of the recommendations throughout the MPA’s report, which are often copied verbatim year after year.

The full overview of the MPA’s trade barrier comments to the US Trade Representative 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.

Police Shut Down Thailand’s Most Popular Pirate Site Following Hollywood Request

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/police-shut-down-thailands-most-popular-pirate-site-following-hollywood-request-191108/

With millions of views per day, Movie2Free.com was one of the largest pirate sites on the Internet, particularly popular in south-east Asia.

In the west, the site doesn’t ring a bell with most people. In Thailand, however, it was listed among the top 15 most visited websites in the country, only beaten by Google, YouTube, and a few others.

The site’s popularity didn’t go unnoticed by Hollywood. Earlier this year the MPA listed the site in its yearly overview of notorious pirate sites, which it submitted to the US Trade Representative.

“The site provides access to an array of movie and TV content and comes replete with high-risk ads with malware,” the group wrote.

The MPA also informed local authorities about the site’s activities. This triggered a high-profile investigation by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) which led to the site’s shutdown this week, the Bangkok Post reports.

Movie2Free.com, which was founded in 2014, is reportedly owned by a 30-year-old Thai man who lives abroad. He hired an operator, a 22-year-old man from the north of Thailand, who was arrested at his house a few days ago.

“The DSI has found that the Thai man who was running the pirated movie website… was living abroad,” DSI director-general Paisit Wongmuang said, commenting on the news.

According to the DSI director “the site had used sophisticated equipment that made it hard for authorities to track it down, and had set up a server abroad.”

Interestingly, the site’s domain name is still active, now linking to what appears to a page promoting local charities.

A few days ago, however, the site was still offering access to thousands of movies. The owner generated revenue from various advertisements and reportedly earned more than $160,000 (5 million baht) per month. Whether that’s an estimate or a confirmed figure is unknown.

While no charges have been announced yet, authorities plan to hold the operator liable for copyright infringement. Potential tax violations are being investigated too, as well as a violation of the local gambling ban since the site had several gambling-related ads.

The Thai examiner further notes that Movie2fFree.com was used extensively by retailers who sell pirated DVDs. Whether the shutdown will have any effect on these sales has yet to be seen, as there are plenty of alternatives still online.

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

Japan Pirate Site Traffic Collapsed 50% in Four Months, With a Little Help From Cloudflare

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/japan-pirate-site-traffic-collapsed-50-in-four-months-with-a-little-help-from-cloudflare-191108/

During April 2018, the government in Japan introduced emergency websites blocking measures, seeking assistance from ISPs to block three pirate sites – Mangamura, AniTube! and MioMio.

Just four days later, one of the sites – giant manga platform Mangamura – suddenly called it quits, shutting itself down and creating a massive gap in the piracy market.

It transpired that a criminal investigation was underway into the activities of Mangamura, which eventually led to the arrest of the site’s alleged operator in Manilla, his deportation to Japan, and subsequent arrest by authorities there.

The gigantic scale of Mangamura has never been in question. However, a report published by the Motion Picture Association now reveals its importance not only on the pirate manga market, but also on the pirate market overall in Japan.

Starting with a list of 2,600 sites, the report – covering the period July 2017 to July 2019 – homes in on the most frequently accessed piracy sites/apps targeting Japan that offer movies, TV shows, anime, and manga content. Sites focusing exclusively on music, games, and porn were ruled out, leaving a balance of 1,447 ‘pirate’ sites.

The top 10 most highly-visited sites accounted for around 50% of visits to the 1,447, with the top 100 accounting for more than 90%. All sites with more than 100,000 visits per month (624 in total) were the main focus of the report.

In respect of Mangamura, the report classifies that now-defunct platform as an ‘online reading’ site, meaning that people viewed its content using a browser. The chart below shows the dramatic rise and fall of the niche the platform operated in, plotted against other forms of ‘pirate’ consumption.

The rise and fall of Mangamura

As the image shows, in addition to ‘online reading’ sites, all other types of ‘pirate’ consumption took a big hit around the same time that Mangamura shut down.

The report notes that the government’s urging of ISP blockades against Mangamura, Anitube, and MioMio “greatly affected the number of visits to other piracy sites”, resulting in an overall decrease in traffic. However, it appears that all three shut down before they could be blocked.

Nevertheless, the overall effect on the pirate markets detailed in the study appears to be significant, due to the shutdown of those major manga platforms and the government’s anti-piracy stance.

According to the report, in March 2018 the total number of monthly visits to the sample 624 sites was measured at 640 million. A month later, monthly visits had collapsed to just over 400 million. By June 2018, traffic had reduced further still, to a low of 320 million visits per month.

Since June 2018, there has only been a modest increase in traffic to the sample sites. Noting that overall levels of infringement are “still large”, the report states that current visits have increased by just 20 million, to an estimated 340 million per month.

Finally, no piracy report seems complete these days without Cloudflare getting a mention, and this one is no different.

While those who carried out the study were able to identify the ultimate hosting locations of 39% of the 624 pirate sites (top three hosting countries were the United States 9%, Japan 6%, and Netherlands 5%), 61% couldn’t be geolocated. Of these, 86% were ‘hidden’ behind Cloudflare’s services.

The interesting twist, however, is that in response to a request from Japanese publishers, it was Cloudflare that handed over information which allowed investigators to identify the operator of Mangamura, which ultimately led to his arrest and previously, the shutdown of the site.

The full report, ‘Study Benchmarking and Tracking Online Film & TV Piracy in Japan’, is available here (pdf)

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MPA Wants Pirated Content Removed Proactively, Just Like Hate Speech

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpa-wants-pirated-content-removed-proactively-just-like-hate-speech-191104/

The entertainment industries are becoming increasingly frustrated by major Internet platforms that are, in their view, not doing enough to tackle online piracy.

While legitimate user-generated content platforms respond to takedown requests, which they are legally required to, most don’t go any further. This, despite repeated calls from industry groups for help.

Over the past several years, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) has made some progress, partnering with several intermediaries, including payment providers and advertising companies. However, it has struggled to persuade major user-generated platforms and social media sites to be more proactive.

This frustration is fueled by more recent developments which have seen these same platforms take voluntary action against hate speech, fake news, violence, and other offensive content that populates social media timelines.

Twitter, for example, took action against more than half a million accounts over “hateful content” during the first half of the year, helped by ‘artificial intelligence’. YouTube and Facebook also report that they are doing more to proactively detect hate speech, while other online services are taking voluntary action as well.

The MPA has followed this trend. The group recently brought the topic up during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on “Fostering a Healthier Internet to Protect Consumers.” The hearing dealt with an ongoing examination of Section 230 of the Communications Act.

Section 230 shields online services from liability. However, Congress also intended it to encourage these platforms to take reasonable steps to deter undesirable behavior. While Section 230 doesn’t apply to copyright, the MPA’s SVP and Senior Counsel, Neil Fried, chimed in with a written testimony for the record.

Fried notes that the liability protections are similar to those of the DMCA, where copyright is at the center. Also, the complaint that Internet services are not doing enough to prevent harmful content from spreading, is similar to the MPA’s complaint that they do too little to prevent copyright infringement.

The MPA’s General Senior Vice President highlights these hate-speech enforcement efforts and acknowledges there are complex issues to address – especially with subjects that are not by definition illegal in law, since free speech is a great good.

“A few companies have recently developed systems to proactively identify posts promoting hate and violence, and have invoked their terms of service to terminate accounts of those engaged in such activity, although not before wrestling with concerns over the impact on expression,” Fried writes.

However, that’s not much of a problem when it comes to copyright, the MPA believes.

“If online intermediaries and user-generated content platforms can proactively identify such content and terminate service in these cases, surely they can terminate service and take other effective action in cases of clearly illegal conduct, which present brighter lines and don’t raise the same speech concerns,” Fried adds.

Fried suggests that online services should use the same tools they employ to detect hate speech and other harmful content to proactively remove pirated content too. Copyright infringement is prohibited in the terms of services of these companies, so they would have room to do so.

While Fried is right that copyright infringement is more clearly defined than harmful content, dealing with it proactively is not without challenges. Unlike harmful content, some people may have the right to post some copyrighted content, while others do not. And fair use is hard to capture by an algorithm as well.

The MPA nonetheless hopes that online platforms will cooperate. In addition, it wants to see if current liability exemptions can be overhauled, using legislation to motivate Internet companies to do more.

This was also made clear to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. And while possible legal fixes are being considered, the US should not include such liability provisions into new trade agreements, the MPA’s SVP notes.

“In the meantime, as Congress reexamines online liability limitations, the United States should refrain from including such limitations in future trade agreements, which runs the risk of freezing the current framework in place,” Fried writes.

This follows an earlier recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee. Last month the Committee urged lawmakers not to include DMCA-style safe harbors in trade agreements while alternatives are being discussed.

A copy of Neil Fried’s statement before the House Committee on Energy & Commerce is available here (pdf).

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More ‘Pirate’ CDNs Shut Down Following BREIN, MPA, ACE Legal Action

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/more-pirate-cdns-shut-down-following-brein-mpa-ace-legal-action-191025/

Last Friday, Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN teamed up with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment to take action against a massive supplier of pirate movies and TV shows.

Moonwalk, as the Content Delivery Network was known, supplied an estimated 80% of known Russian streaming portals. These sites were able to embed a video player which presented not only movies and TV shows from Moonwalk, but advertising too. For this service, Moonwalk reportedly paid the sites $0.60 per 1000 views.

After bailiffs acting on BREIN’s behalf served ex parte court orders on five Netherlands-based hosting providers, which required them to disconnect and preserve evidence on Moonwalk’s operations, the CDN shut down, stating it would “NEVER be up again“.

This week TorrentFreak spoke with cybersecurity company Group-IB. The Singapore-based firm, which is a partner of both INTERPOL and Europol, had previously supplied us with information detailing the activities of Moonwalk. It has now provided an interesting update on the fallout from last week’s legal action.

Group-IB says that at the time of its shutdown, Moonwalk was even bigger than the conservative figures published by BREIN last week suggest. While BREIN claimed more than 26,000 movies and 10,000 TV shows were stored, Group-IB says that 28,258 movies were being distributed alongside 14,549 TV shows at the time of the shutdown.

However, it’s the knock-on effect and the state of the market after the takedown that raises the most interest.

Group-IB informs us that another big “pirate-powered” CDN known as HDGO has also shut down following the action by BREIN and its partners. The cybersecurity firm believes that the closures are connected because HDGO used some of the same infrastructure as Moonwalk.

“Compared with other CDNs HDGO provided new content faster and guaranteed a higher income for pirate websites’ owners,” says Dmitry Tyunkin, Deputy Director of Anti-Piracy and Brand Protection at Group-IB.

A second “pirate-powered” CDN, known online as Kodik, has also shut down as a result of the Moonwalk action. Again, Kodik is believed to have used the same infrastructure as Moonwalk and HDGO, suggesting that the BREIN court orders may have had an even wider effect.

“The Kodik CDN used some of Moonwalk’s servers, especially the ones where TV show content was stored. According to our estimates, Kodik could have lost 8,000 out of 17,000 TV shows. It’s known that there was a pirated content ‘exchange agreement’ between Moonwalk and Kodik,” Tyunkin adds.

It’s estimated that Moonwalk’s CDN player could have been built-in into thousands of websites so the removal of the players could have an even more profound effect.

“In the short-term perspective, the shutdown of Moonwalk, HDGO and Kodik could mean a big blow to online piracy in Russia and can potentially contain pirated video content distribution for some time.”

But Moonwalk, HDGO, and Kodik weren’t the only players in the ‘pirate CDN’ market. Group-IB says that despite the magnitude of the recent efforts and initial fallout, in the long-term the “many competitors” of Moonwalk are likely to step in to facilitate supply.

The company believes there are 10 “pirate-powered” CDNs still supplying the market, including major players HDVB, VideoCDN, and Collaps.

“According to Group-IB’s data, 80% of pirated movies in Russia are now streamed, a figure that increases to 90% for TV shows,” the company says.

“The majority of Russian online pirates use CDNs because they store hundreds of thousands of files containing films and TV series, and offer a technical service that allows to automatically place this content on pirate websites.

“Some of these technical CDN providers also offer web modules that autofill sites with film posters and descriptions, and in some cases even supply unique reviews.”

Finally, in terms of impact on the global market, Group-IB believes the shutdowns have the potential to affect between 5 and 10 percent of worldwide supply but cautions that this is “definitely a temporary change.”

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

RapidVideo Shuts Down Following Legal Pressure from Warner Bros and Netflix

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/rapidvideo-shuts-down-following-legal-pressure-from-warner-bros-and-netflix-191021/

RapidVideo is a popular file-hosting service that specializes in hosting videos.

Similar to other file-hosting services, it can be used for good and bad. The bad, in this case, is people uploading pirated videos. 

Whether the site’s operators want it or not, that’s what many of RapidVideo’s users are indeed doing. Two weeks ago this resulted in yet another scathing report from movie industry group MPA, which branded the site as a “notorious” piracy haven. 

Behind the scenes, the website’s operator faces mounting pressure as well. RapidVideo has been targeted by lawyers from the MPA and ACE, two of the most powerful anti-piracy forces, which are demanding far-reaching copyright enforcement measures from the site.

To back up their pressure, two MPA/ACE members, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Netflix, filed a lawsuit in Germany to stop the alleged copyright infringements the site enables. While this case remains ongoing, the site’s operator decided not to await the verdict and has shut the site down effective immediately.

The millions of users who regularly visit the site currently see nothing more than a 404 error.

RapidVideo not accessible

TorrentFreak spoke to “Alex Bytes,” the operator of RapidVideo, who informed us that the shutdown is permanent. The site’s operator already considered throwing the towel after the adoption of the new EU Copyright Directive earlier this year, which may make upload filters semi-mandatory for some sites.

“It was high time to quit, because of the upcoming law changes within the EU, due to Article 13/17, where it is a more challenging situation for service providers,” RapidVideo’s Alex tells us.

By shutting the service down, RapidVideo also hopes to get the lawsuit from Warner Bros. and Netflix off its back. In addition, Alex points out that advertising revenues were dropping significantly, so it was hardly worth continuing anyway.

According to RapidVideo’s operator, ACE and the MPA previously demanded far-reaching measures to prevent piracy. The rightsholders requested a thorough “take down, stay down” policy, that would go further than hash or filename filtering.

Instead, rightsholders wanted the site to implement a system similar to YouTube’s Content-ID where more advanced fingerprinting techniques are used to match file uploads to potentially infringing content.

This wasn’t an option for RapidVideo, likely because it would require substantial investments. The other option, shutting the entire site down, became more and more attractive instead, especially in light of the pending lawsuit.

“By shutting down, the lawyers have no more reason to fight in the court against me,” Alex tells us.

For now, however, the court case remains ongoing. TorrentFreak reached out to the lawyer of Warner Bros. and Netflix for a comment on RapidVideo’s decision and the future of their legal claims, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

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

Cloudflare Refutes MPA and RIAA’s Piracy Concerns

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-refutes-mpa-and-riaas-piracy-concerns-191018/

Earlier this month several copyright holder groups sent their annual “Notorious Markets” complaints to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

The recommendations are meant to call out well-known piracy sites, apps, and services, but Cloudflare is frequently mentioned as well.

The American CDN provider can’t be officially listed since it’s not a foreign company. However, rightsholders have seizes the opportunity to point out that the CDN service helps pirate sites with their infringing activities.

The MPA and RIAA, for example, wrote that Cloudflare frustrates enforcement efforts by helping pirate sites to “hide” their hosting locations. In addition, the Hollywood-affiliated Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) pointed out that the company helps pirate sites to deliver malware.

This week Cloudflare responded to these allegations. In a rebuttal, sent to the USTR’s Director for Innovation and Intellectual Property, General Counsel Doug Kramer writes that these reports are not an accurate representation of how the company operates.

“My colleagues and I were frustrated to find continued misrepresentations of our business and efforts to malign our services,” Kramer writes.

“We again feel called on to clarify that Cloudflare does not host the referenced websites, cannot block websites, and is not in the business of hiding companies that host illegal content–all facts well known to the industry groups based on our ongoing work with them.”

Kramer points out that the copyright holder groups “rehash” previous complaints, which Cloudflare previously rebutted. In fact, some parts of the CDN provider’s own reply are rehashed too, but there are several new highlights as well.

For example, the USTR’s latest review specifically focuses on malware issues. According to Cloudflare, its services are specifically aimed at mitigating such threats.

“Our system uses the collective intelligence from all the properties on our network to support and immediately update our web application firewall, which can block malware at the edge and prevent it from reaching a site’s origin server. This protects the many content creators who use our services for their websites as well as the users of their websites, from malware,” Kramer writes.

The DCA’s submission, which included a 2016 report from the group, is out of date and inaccurate, Cloudflare says. Several of the mentioned domains are no longer Cloudflare customers, for example. In addition, the DCA never sent any malware complaints to the CDN service.

Cloudflare did previously reach out to the DCA following its malware report, but this effort proved fruitless, the company writes.

“Despite our repeated attempts to get additional information by either
phone or email, DCA cancelled at least three scheduled calls and declined to provide any specific information that would have allowed us to verify the existence of the malware and protect users from malicious activity online,” Kramer notes.

Malware aside, the allegations that Cloudflare helps pirate sites to ‘hide’ their hosting locations are not entirely true either.

Kramer points out that the company has a “Trusted Reporter” program which complainants, including the RIAA, use frequently. This program helps rightsholders to easily obtain the actual hosting locations of Cloudflare customers that engage in widespread copyright infringement.

Although Cloudflare admits that it can’t stop all bad actors online, it will continue to work with the RIAA, MPA, and others to provide them with all the information they need for their enforcement efforts.

None of this is new though. Year after year the same complaints come in and Cloudflare suggests that copyright holders are actually looking for something else. They would like the company to terminate accounts of suspected pirate sites. However, the CDN provider has no intention to do so.

“Their submissions to the Notorious Markets process seem intended to pressure Cloudflare to take over efforts to identify and close down infringing websites for them, but that is something that we are not obligated to do,” Kramer says.

While it would be technically possible, it would require the company to allocate considerable resources to the task. These resources are currently needed to pursue its primary goal, which is to keep the Internet secure and protect users from malware and other risks.

It’s clear that Cloudflare doesn’t want to take any action against customers without a court order. While it has occasionally deviated from this stance by kicking out Daily Stormer and 8Chan, pirate sites are on a different level.

A copy of the letter Cloudflare’s General Counsel Doug Kramer sent to the USTR’s Director for Innovation and Intellectual Property, Jacob Ewerdt, is available here (pdf).

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

Comcast Becomes First ISP to Join ACE Global Anti-Piracy Coalition

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/comcast-becomes-first-isp-to-join-ace-global-anti-piracy-coalition-191016/

In the summer of 2017, one of the most important anti-piracy initiatives of recent years was born.

After years of protecting their own content from unlicensed reproduction and distribution, 30 of the world’s most powerful media companies came together to form the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).

Led by the MPAA (now MPA), the companies declared a pooling of resources to tackle piracy more efficiently and on a global scale. Since then, ACE has added several new members to bolster the ranks and this week added two more, one of which is particularly notable.

“We are excited to have Comcast and Viacom join ACE – our leading global content protection organization,” says Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association.

“As the parent companies of two of our original members, they have been supporters of our efforts and numerous successes, but now as members, they will strengthen the legal and operational work we’re able to do to reduce the threat of piracy and support creators.”

Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures, which in turn is a current member of both the MPA and ACE. It also owns UK-based Channel 5, which joined ACE in March 2019.

Comcast owns ACE members NBCUniversal, Sky, and Telemundo, all of which have been with the alliance from its inception. Comcast also operates telecoms giant Comcast Cable, which under the Xfinity brand is one of the largest telecoms companies in the United States.

The addition of Comcast to the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment is intriguing. Among almost three dozen other current members, it is the first Internet service provider to commit to the global anti-piracy initiative. How that will play out on the ground is currently unclear.

Given that three of its subsidiaries are already members, the addition of Comcast seems a logical move. ACE, however, seems to be placing emphasis on Comcast’s position as a major ISP which, with imagination, could have all kinds of implications when it comes to anti-piracy enforcement.

ACE plays its cards very close to its chest and we know it only publicizes a small percentage of its actions. As previously reported, many others are kept deliberately quiet. What we know thus far though, is that ACE tends to focus on the provision and distribution of infringing content, rather than targeting end-users – customers of ISPs for example.

Nevertheless, that Comcast and by extension Xfinity are now part of the world’s largest anti-piracy coalition should give pause for thought. If nothing else it shows clear intent by an ISP to positively participate in the global fight against movie and TV show piracy, in all its forms. ACE will no doubt consider this a major achievement.

The full list of members of the ACE anti-piracy coalition now reads as follows: Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Channel 5, Comcast, Constantin Film, Discovery, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telefe, Telemundo, Televisa, Univision Communications Inc., Viacom, Village Roadshow, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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

MPA Adds 1XBET and Baidu to Latest Piracy Threat Report

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpa-adds-1xbet-and-baidu-to-latest-piracy-threat-report/

Alongside other entertainment industry groups, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) sends a yearly overview of notorious foreign piracy markets to the US Trade Representative.

These annual submissions help to guide the U.S. Government’s position toward foreign countries when it comes to copyright enforcement.

We previously covered the submissions from the RIAA and ESA, which both listed a wide variety of pirate sites including torrent, streaming, MP3-downloaders, and ROM archives.

The MPA’s submission was published later than the others but is worth highlighting nonetheless. In recent years it has solely focused on online threats with familiar names such as The Pirate Bay, Openload, and Fmovies reappearing time and again.

This year is no different. Many of the threats the MPA highlights are identical to last year. Aside from traditional pirate sites, this includes mobile apps, unauthorized IPTV services, and hosting companies. While not a foreign company, CDN provider Cloudflare is repeatedly mentioned as well, as it has many piracy sites as customers.

“The Pirate Bay, and other notorious pirate sites, remain Cloudflare customers despite repeated notices of infringement to Cloudflare,” the MPA notes.

A complete list of all the identified notorious markets is listed below, but we will zoom in on two entities added as new entries this year.

The first one is 1XBET, a gambling company known for its advertising appearing in ‘cam’ copies of movies. The casino, whose ads appear on more than a thousand pirate sites, is well known among people who frequent these platforms. Now, it’s on the MPA’s radar as well.

“1XBET is a Russian gambling site that has started to support some of the
earliest releases of infringing theatrical camcords and infringing streams of live television broadcasts. It has become the third most active online advertiser in Russia,” the MPA informs the USTR.

The MPA’s report cites research from Mediascope which found that only Google and PepsiCo ads are more prevalent online in Russia. While that covers all publications, the movie industry group draws specific attention to the embedded ads that appear in popular pirate movie releases as well as their titles.

“Reportedly, the online casino pays to insert visual and audio advertisements into new piracy content sources incentivizing camcord and livestreaming piracy. 1XBET’s watermark with promotion codes is ‘burned’ into the video files of infringing camcord recordings. Thus, piracy is used as a vehicle to support this online gambling giant,” the MPA notes.

What’s not mentioned by the MPA is that 1XBET also sponsored several major UK football clubs and Italian football league Serie A. Responding to some earlier controversy, a 1XBET spokesperson said that it takes the piracy advertising allegations very seriously.

Another newcomer in the MPA’s list of notorious markets is Baidu Pan, the file-hosting service operated by the largest search engine in China. According to the movie industry group, it’s often used to share copyright-infringing material.

“Large quantities of infringing content are stored on Baidu Pan with
links disseminated through popular Chinese social media platforms and piracy linking sites,” the MPA writes in its submission.

The MPA points out that Baidu has a market share of over 75 percent in China, which makes it the second-largest search engine in the world. As such, it is vitally important that the company has rigorous content protection standards and that it cooperates with rightsholders, the group notes.

Baidu has made some progress in recent years when it comes to its takedown tools, but takedown rates and timeframes remain inconsistent or too long, the MPA says.

“Baidu should be encouraged to do more, including improve implementation of its takedown tools, apply rigorous filtering technology to identify infringing content, and take more effective action to suspend or terminate repeat infringers to ensure all rights holders are treated equally and infringing content and links are removed expeditiously,” the submission reads.

The MPA hopes that its recommendations will be helpful to the US Government, but whether adding 1XBET and Baidu Pan will have any effect has yet to be seen.

The MPA’s full report is available here (pdf). The USTR will use this input to make up its own list of notorious markets. This will help to identify current threats and call on foreign governments to take appropriate action.



List of all the sites and services the MPAA identified as notorious markets.

Linking / Streaming

  • B9good.com
  • CB01
  • Cda.pl
  • Cimaclub.com & cima4u.tv
  • Cinecalidad.to
  • Dytt8.net and Dy2018.com
  • Fmovies.is/.to (formerly .se)
  • “Indo 21” (Indoxxi) and many related domains
  • Movie2free.com
  • MrPiracy.site and .xyz
  • Phimmoi.net
  • Seasonvar.ru

Cyberlockers / video hosting

  • 1fichier.com
  • Baidu Pan
  • Clipwatching.com
  • Gounlimited.to
  • Netu.tv
  • Openload.co/oload.tv
  • Rapidgator.net
  • Rapidvideo.com
  • Streamango.com
  • Uploaded.net
  • Uptobox.com
  • Verystream.com
  • VK.com

Illegal IPTV

  • BestBuyIPTV.com
  • Buy-IPTV.com
  • GenIPTV
  • ThePK.tv
  • TVMucho.com

Apps

  • RenRen Shi Pin
  • ShowBox
  • Unblock Tech (unblocktech.com)

P2P sites

  • 1337x.to
  • Rarbg.to
  • Rutracker.org
  • Tamilrockers.ws
  • ThePirateBay.org
  • Torrentz2.eu
  • Zooqle.com

Hosting services

  • Fishnet Communications LLC
  • M247
  • Network Dedicated SAS
  • Private Layer

Advertising

  • 1XBET

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

MPAA Unifies Global Brand and Becomes MPA America

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-unifies-global-brand-and-becomes-mpa-america-190919/

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is known as one of the world’s leading anti-piracy organizations.

The trade association has been around for nearly a century. After its inception, the group mostly operated from California but in today’s world that’s no longer the case.

Today the organization has tentacles in nearly every corner of the world and its offices stretch from Brazil, through Belgium, to Singapore. These overseas branches have been operating under the Motion Picture Association (MPA) brand, which the MPAA has now decided to adopt as well.

This means that going forward, all operations will take place under the MPA name, with an optional indicator of the relevant region. The head ‘branch’ formerly known as the MPAA is now MPA America.

“In the nearly 100 years since our founding, the film and television industry has rapidly grown and evolved, and the stories we tell now reach every corner of the world,” MPA Chairman and CEO Charles H. Rivkin comments on the change.

“This new, unified global brand better reflects today’s dynamic content creation industry, the multi-platform distribution models of our companies, and the worldwide audiences we all serve,” Rivkin adds.

The change comes with several new and unified logos, which can be downloaded without repercussions. The organization’s website has also changed from MPAA.org to Motionpictures.org, dropping the America mention.

MPA logos

While the changes to the logo and name appear minimal, the unified branding will certainly be more clear to outsiders. Previously, the MPAA and MPA names were used in tandem, even though they were operating under the same parent organization.

The name change comes at a time of change for the MPA. The organization recently added Netflix as a new member, breaking from its long tradition of backing only major Hollywood studios.

At the same time, the group has taken the lead at a new international anti-piracy outfit, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), which is comprised of many international rightsholders. The new MPA branding will follow this international trend.

For TorrentFreak, the departure of the MPAA ‘name’ is significant as well. If we look through our archive we see 1,621 articles where the MPAA is referenced, making it one of the most common topics at the site. As such, we may need a few weeks to properly adjust to the new name.

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

Influencing Younger Pirates is a Key Aim of ‘Get it Right’ Campaign

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/influencing-younger-pirates-is-a-key-aim-of-get-it-right-campaign-190910/

Last month Creative Content UK (CCUK) switched up a gear with its Get it Right (From a Genuine Site) anti-piracy campaign.

After declaring that copyright-infringement notices sent to mainly BitTorrent users via ISPs had “served their purpose“, the BPI and MPA-led initiative turned to ‘social influencers‘ to send the message that content should be consumed via official channels, in order to support creators.

Popular YouTuber Caspar Lee featured in the first video, a move that was clearly aimed at younger consumers. That led us to consider whether future videos in the series, which are yet to be planned, would target a broader range of pirates – particularly older ones with whom Lee may not immediately resonate.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, CCUK confirms that its own research has looked at pirates aged between 16 and 50 years old. However, those who fall into the lower age bracket appear to be a prime target, since they are the most prolific consumers of content, on both sides of the legality fence.

“Our own research continues to show that 16 to 24-year-olds both consume and enjoy the most content of all types (film, TV, music, games, books, sport etc) – and that they also use unauthorized sources more than any other group – i.e. they use both genuine and dodgy sources,” the spokesperson notes.

That’s not to say older consumers aren’t a problem, however.

Those in the 25 to 34-year-old bracket still do their fair of pirating, as do those between 35 and 44. Even those crumbling away in the twilight years of 45+ pose infringement issues. However, these groups present sequentially diminishing patterns of infringing behavior, an indicator of why CCUK are looking to target those at the younger end of the scale.

“Looking across all of the data, in addition to the key 16-24-year-olds, we think that it is particularly important to address young males (16-35 years of age), ABC1’s and parents/other influencers of children (especially in the 25-34 year old group) as all are more likely to use unauthorised sources and services than other groups,” CCUK adds.

Targeting these age groups makes perfect sense for CCUK. Not only do they reach the most prolific infringers and consumers of legal content at the same time, those in the 25 to 34-year-old bracket – according to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics – are the most likely to have children, meaning any educational effect can be passed down.

“Other industry research shows that the problematic behavior often begins when children are between 11 and 15 years of age,” CCUK notes.

Given the scope of the campaign, the likes of Paul McCartney and Robert De Niro probably won’t feature in future videos, because despite being superstars in their own right, they are much less likely to resonate with younger people. Instead, CCUK seem likely to encourage more popular YouTubers and Instagram stars to take part, people to whom those of less advanced years can relate.

“So, as we continue this phase of the Get it Right initiative, we will be working hard to use voices and messages around the content that they love – that will reach and speak directly to those groups,” CCUK adds.

“Our work so far has shown clearly that this approach can get people’s attention and drive both behavior change and changes in attitude towards infringement. This is why we have such strong support from Government and industry to continue the work.”

While CCUK and its backers BPI and MPA will have their own thoughts about using more aggressive tactics to deter piracy, campaigns like these tend to be much less offensive to the general public than “You Wouldn’t Download…” type messages.

Time will tell if this one will prove any more effective in terms of legitimate content consumption but there doesn’t currently seem to be many voices in opposition, which on the Internet today is a great start.

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

Is Innovation Making Casual Pirates Less Knowledgable?

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/is-innovation-making-casual-pirates-less-knowledgable-190721/

Anyone with a technically-minded older relative happy to reminisce over their particular ‘golden age’ of motoring is likely to dwell for a moment on a particular train of thought.

Cars today are oversized computers, ones that are designed to be mechanically inaccessible to the regular Joe. Unlike their predecessors, elders argue, they often require specialist tools for repairs, adding that today’s vehicles are not made like they used to be.

Whether one agrees with these points is an individual matter, but it’s difficult to argue that in the face of rising technology, regular motorists are now less likely than ever to tackle even a basic oil change, previously the most simple of maintenance tasks.

In many respects, the same can be said of today’s consumer computing environments.

Enthusiasts of yesteryear had to be well-versed in languages like MS-DOS or BASIC simply to get by, which helped them to understand a great deal more about how their machines actually worked. Today’s graphical interfaces have all but demolished those barriers to entry, meaning there are now millions of people who class clicking icons as the height of ‘programming’ expertise.

For today’s casual pirates, this could be a ticking timebomb.

This week, Stan McCoy, President and Managing Director of the MPA in Europe, published an interesting piece titled “Piracy Went from Geeky to Easy. What’s Next?”

“[W]hile the makers innovate, so do the takers,” McCoy wrote.

“In the last 15 years, piracy went from geeky to easy. Transmission technologies improved with the advent of streaming, and delivery via new apps and devices bridged the divide between the PC and the living room.

“Today’s piracy has become a very different type of organized crime: more sophisticated, tech intensive, very elusive, and massive in scale. Where will it go next? Increasingly, industry antipiracy efforts are bending the trajectory from geeky, to easy, to … broken.”

McCoy’s argument goes as follows;

Piracy was once the realm of the technically minded but as technologies developed – pirate streaming sites, Kodi add-ons, dedicated apps, IPTV – it became very easy and more accessible to the masses. However, with numerous anti-piracy initiatives underway, piracy is more easily broken.

Add-ons suddenly fail, app creators and their tools ‘mysteriously’ disappear, IPTV platforms become less reliable. In this new and somewhat dumbed-down piracy world, access can be switched off in an instant, sometimes by hitting just one component in a system.

At this point, the more seasoned pirate will argue that none of these things present a problem for them. Add-ons can be reconfigured, new sites pop up to replace the last, new app makers fill in the gaps, and so on and so forth. Which, generally speaking, is correct. However, for the less well informed, these things are much more of a headache.

Casual pirates – the friend or colleague who bought a “loaded Firestick” off Craigslist or eBay – make up a huge proportion of today’s pirating masses. And the vast majority haven’t a clue how anything really works. To cite McCoy, “95 percent of TV piracy is driven by purpose-built set-top boxes.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that 100% of these boxes are owned by tech-illiterates, far from it. However, it seems very likely that the screaming majority have little to no idea how their device works, or what to do when it all goes wrong. The ‘blame’ for this can be placed squarely at the feet of technology and plug-and-play culture.

As piracy has grown more sophisticated, partly due to evolution and partly due to anti-piracy measures, much of the brainpower has become entrenched behind the scenes. Like the people who fix modern cars using a laptop and a ‘black magic’ cable, many pirates rely completely on the wizardry of a tiny minority to get them out of a jam.

To put it another way, Joe Public’s ability to carry out the equivalent of a simple oil change is being lost, largely due to pirated content being presented to them as a sophisticated pre-cooked meal on a plate, made using a recipe that few know about or even care to understand.

To an extent, piracy has always been like this. In general terms, the brains have always been at the top while those at the bottom take what’s available. That said, today’s prevalence of “click-and-get” apps and services means that few have the motivation to learn anything technical while those that do can run into trouble.

Thanks to pirate sites and apps being downranking and removed from search results (sometimes after a lawsuit), combined with the opportunism of the malicious-minded, it’s now harder than ever for the novice to separate the wheat from the chaff.

“Try looking for alternatives on a search engine and you’re more likely than ever to get malware and clickbait sites posing as pirates. Are you feeling lucky?” McCoy asked this week.

While the more technically advanced will dismiss the above paragraph as scare tactics, McCoy’s comments can hold true for the casual user. It’s becoming a minefield out there for novices and unless people take the time to study and do their own research, bad things always have the potential to happen.

It will probably take many more years for the piracy ‘brain drain’ to show its full effects but the popularity and ease of today’s ultra-simple and feature-rich pirate apps and services could potentially end up as a positive for entertainment companies.

Will the casual pirating masses spend days, months or years learning how to do piracy the ‘old school’ way when things go pear-shaped, or dump a few dollars a month into a couple of legal services and get the headaches over and done with?

As usual, time will tell.

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

Flight Sim Company Threatens Reddit Mods Over “Libelous” DRM Posts

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/flight-sim-company-threatens-reddit-mods-over-libellous-drm-posts-180604/

Earlier this year, in an effort to deal with piracy of their products, flight simulator company FlightSimLabs took drastic action by installing malware on customers’ machines.

The story began when a Reddit user reported something unusual in his download of FlightSimLabs’ A320X module. A file – test.exe – was being flagged up as a ‘Chrome Password Dump’ tool, something which rang alarm bells among flight sim fans.

As additional information was made available, the story became even more sensational. After first dodging the issue with carefully worded statements, FlightSimLabs admitted that it had installed a password dumper onto ALL users’ machines – whether they were pirates or not – in an effort to catch a particular software cracker and launch legal action.

It was an incredible story that no doubt did damage to FlightSimLabs’ reputation. But the now the company is at the center of a new storm, again centered around anti-piracy measures and again focused on Reddit.

Just before the weekend, Reddit user /u/walkday reported finding something unusual in his A320X module, the same module that caused the earlier controversy.

“The latest installer of FSLabs’ A320X puts two cmdhost.exe files under ‘system32\’ and ‘SysWOW64\’ of my Windows directory. Despite the name, they don’t open a command-line window,” he reported.

“They’re a part of the authentication because, if you remove them, the A320X won’t get loaded. Does someone here know more about cmdhost.exe? Why does FSLabs give them such a deceptive name and put them in the system folders? I hate them for polluting my system folder unless, of course, it is a dll used by different applications.”

Needless to say, the news that FSLabs were putting files into system folders named to make them look like system files was not well received.

“Hiding something named to resemble Window’s “Console Window Host” process in system folders is a huge red flag,” one user wrote.

“It’s a malware tactic used to deceive users into thinking the executable is a part of the OS, thus being trusted and not deleted. Really dodgy tactic, don’t trust it and don’t trust them,” opined another.

With a disenchanted Reddit userbase simmering away in the background, FSLabs took to Facebook with a statement to quieten down the masses.

“Over the past few hours we have become aware of rumors circulating on social media about the cmdhost file installed by the A320-X and wanted to clear up any confusion or misunderstanding,” the company wrote.

“cmdhost is part of our eSellerate infrastructure – which communicates between the eSellerate server and our product activation interface. It was designed to reduce the number of product activation issues people were having after the FSX release – which have since been resolved.”

The company noted that the file had been checked by all major anti-virus companies and everything had come back clean, which does indeed appear to be the case. Nevertheless, the critical Reddit thread remained, bemoaning the actions of a company which probably should have known better than to irritate fans after February’s debacle. In response, however, FSLabs did just that once again.

In private messages to the moderators of the /r/flightsim sub-Reddit, FSLabs’ Marketing and PR Manager Simon Kelsey suggested that the mods should do something about the thread in question or face possible legal action.

“Just a gentle reminder of Reddit’s obligations as a publisher in order to ensure that any libelous content is taken down as soon as you become aware of it,” Kelsey wrote.

Noting that FSLabs welcomes “robust fair comment and opinion”, Kelsey gave the following advice.

“The ‘cmdhost.exe’ file in question is an entirely above board part of our anti-piracy protection and has been submitted to numerous anti-virus providers in order to verify that it poses no threat. Therefore, ANY suggestion that current or future products pose any threat to users is absolutely false and libelous,” he wrote, adding:

“As we have already outlined in the past, ANY suggestion that any user’s data was compromised during the events of February is entirely false and therefore libelous.”

Noting that FSLabs would “hate for lawyers to have to get involved in this”, Kelsey advised the /r/flightsim mods to ensure that no such claims were allowed to remain on the sub-Reddit.

But after not receiving the response he would’ve liked, Kelsey wrote once again to the mods. He noted that “a number of unsubstantiated and highly defamatory comments” remained online and warned that if something wasn’t done to clean them up, he would have “no option” than to pass the matter to FSLabs’ legal team.

Like the first message, this second effort also failed to have the desired effect. In fact, the moderators’ response was to post an open letter to Kelsey and FSLabs instead.

“We sincerely disagree that you ‘welcome robust fair comment and opinion’, demonstrated by the censorship on your forums and the attempted censorship on our subreddit,” the mods wrote.

“While what you do on your forum is certainly your prerogative, your rules do not extend to Reddit nor the r/flightsim subreddit. Removing content you disagree with is simply not within our purview.”

The letter, which is worth reading in full, refutes Kelsey’s claims and also suggests that critics of FSLabs may have been subjected to Reddit vote manipulation and coordinated efforts to discredit them.

What will happen next is unclear but the matter has now been placed in the hands of Reddit’s administrators who have agreed to deal with Kelsey and FSLabs’ personally.

It’s a little early to say for sure but it seems unlikely that this will end in a net positive for FSLabs, no matter what decision Reddit’s admins take.

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

When Joe Public Becomes a Commercial Pirate, a Little Knowledge is Dangerous

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/joe-public-becomes-commercial-pirate-little-knowledge-dangerous-180603/

Back in March and just a few hours before the Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker fight, I got chatting with some fellow fans in the local pub. While some were intending to pay for the fight, others were going down the Kodi route.

Soon after the conversation switched to IPTV. One of the guys had a subscription and he said that his supplier would be along shortly if anyone wanted a package to watch the fight at home. Of course, I was curious to hear what he had to say since it’s not often this kind of thing is offered ‘offline’.

The guy revealed that he sold more or less exclusively on eBay and called up the page on his phone to show me. The listing made interesting reading.

In common with hundreds of similar IPTV subscription offers easily findable on eBay, the listing offered “All the sports and films you need plus VOD and main UK channels” for the sum of just under £60 per year, which is fairly cheap in the current market. With a non-committal “hmmm” I asked a bit more about the guy’s business and surprisingly he was happy to provide some details.

Like many people offering such packages, the guy was a reseller of someone else’s product. He also insisted that selling access to copyrighted content is OK because it sits in a “gray area”. It’s also easy to keep listings up on eBay, he assured me, as long as a few simple rules are adhered to. Right, this should be interesting.

First of all, sellers shouldn’t be “too obvious” he advised, noting that individual channels or channel lists shouldn’t be listed on the site. Fair enough, but then he said the most important thing of all is to have a disclaimer like his in any listing, written as follows:

“PLEASE NOTE EBAY: THIS IS NOT A DE SCRAMBLER SERVICE, I AM NOT SELLING ANY ILLEGAL CHANNELS OR CHANNEL LISTS NOR DO I REPRESENT ANY MEDIA COMPANY NOR HAVE ACCESS TO ANY OF THEIR CONTENTS. NO TRADEMARK HAS BEEN INFRINGED. DO NOT REMOVE LISTING AS IT IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH EBAY POLICIES.”

Apparently, this paragraph is crucial to keeping listings up on eBay and is the equivalent of kryptonite when it comes to deflecting copyright holders, police, and Trading Standards. Sure enough, a few seconds with Google reveals the same wording on dozens of eBay listings and those offering IPTV subscriptions on external platforms.

It is, of course, absolutely worthless but the IPTV seller insisted otherwise, noting he’d sold “thousands” of subscriptions through eBay without any problems. While a similar logic can be applied to garlic and vampires, a second disclaimer found on many other illicit IPTV subscription listings treads an even more bizarre path.

“THE PRODUCTS OFFERED CAN NOT BE USED TO DESCRAMBLE OR OTHERWISE ENABLE ACCESS TO CABLE OR SATELLITE TELEVISION PROGRAMS THAT BYPASSES PAYMENT TO THE SERVICE PROVIDER. RECEIVING SUBSCRIPTION/BASED TV AIRTIME IS ILLEGAL WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT.”

This disclaimer (which apparently no sellers displaying it have ever read) seems to be have been culled from the Zgemma site, which advertises a receiving device which can technically receive pirate IPTV services but wasn’t designed for the purpose. In that context, the disclaimer makes sense but when applied to dedicated pirate IPTV subscriptions, it’s absolutely ridiculous.

It’s unclear why so many sellers on eBay, Gumtree, Craigslist and other platforms think that these disclaimers are useful. It leads one to the likely conclusion that these aren’t hardcore pirates at all but regular people simply out to make a bit of extra cash who have received bad advice.

What is clear, however, is that selling access to thousands of otherwise subscription channels without permission from copyright owners is definitely illegal in the EU. The European Court of Justice says so (1,2) and it’s been backed up by subsequent cases in the Netherlands.

While the odds of getting criminally prosecuted or sued for reselling such a service are relatively slim, it’s worrying that in 2018 people still believe that doing so is made legal by the inclusion of a paragraph of text. It’s even more worrying that these individuals apparently have no idea of the serious consequences should they become singled out for legal action.

Even more surprisingly, TorrentFreak spoke with a handful of IPTV suppliers higher up the chain who also told us that what they are doing is legal. A couple claimed to be protected by communication intermediary laws, others didn’t want to go into details. Most stopped responding to emails on the topic. Perhaps most tellingly, none wanted to go on the record.

The big take-home here is that following some important EU rulings, knowingly linking to copyrighted content for profit is nearly always illegal in Europe and leaves people open for targeting by copyright holders and the authorities. People really should be aware of that, especially the little guy making a little extra pocket money on eBay.

Of course, people are perfectly entitled to carry on regardless and test the limits of the law when things go wrong. At this point, however, it’s probably worth noting that IPTV provider Ace Hosting recently handed over £600,000 rather than fight the Premier League (1,2) when they clearly had the money to put up a defense.

Given their effectiveness, perhaps they should’ve put up a disclaimer instead?

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

Storing Encrypted Credentials In Git

Post Syndicated from Bozho original https://techblog.bozho.net/storing-encrypted-credentials-in-git/

We all know that we should not commit any passwords or keys to the repo with our code (no matter if public or private). Yet, thousands of production passwords can be found on GitHub (and probably thousands more in internal company repositories). Some have tried to fix that by removing the passwords (once they learned it’s not a good idea to store them publicly), but passwords have remained in the git history.

Knowing what not to do is the first and very important step. But how do we store production credentials. Database credentials, system secrets (e.g. for HMACs), access keys for 3rd party services like payment providers or social networks. There doesn’t seem to be an agreed upon solution.

I’ve previously argued with the 12-factor app recommendation to use environment variables – if you have a few that might be okay, but when the number of variables grow (as in any real application), it becomes impractical. And you can set environment variables via a bash script, but you’d have to store it somewhere. And in fact, even separate environment variables should be stored somewhere.

This somewhere could be a local directory (risky), a shared storage, e.g. FTP or S3 bucket with limited access, or a separate git repository. I think I prefer the git repository as it allows versioning (Note: S3 also does, but is provider-specific). So you can store all your environment-specific properties files with all their credentials and environment-specific configurations in a git repo with limited access (only Ops people). And that’s not bad, as long as it’s not the same repo as the source code.

Such a repo would look like this:

project
└─── production
|   |   application.properites
|   |   keystore.jks
└─── staging
|   |   application.properites
|   |   keystore.jks
└─── on-premise-client1
|   |   application.properites
|   |   keystore.jks
└─── on-premise-client2
|   |   application.properites
|   |   keystore.jks

Since many companies are using GitHub or BitBucket for their repositories, storing production credentials on a public provider may still be risky. That’s why it’s a good idea to encrypt the files in the repository. A good way to do it is via git-crypt. It is “transparent” encryption because it supports diff and encryption and decryption on the fly. Once you set it up, you continue working with the repo as if it’s not encrypted. There’s even a fork that works on Windows.

You simply run git-crypt init (after you’ve put the git-crypt binary on your OS Path), which generates a key. Then you specify your .gitattributes, e.g. like that:

secretfile filter=git-crypt diff=git-crypt
*.key filter=git-crypt diff=git-crypt
*.properties filter=git-crypt diff=git-crypt
*.jks filter=git-crypt diff=git-crypt

And you’re done. Well, almost. If this is a fresh repo, everything is good. If it is an existing repo, you’d have to clean up your history which contains the unencrypted files. Following these steps will get you there, with one addition – before calling git commit, you should call git-crypt status -f so that the existing files are actually encrypted.

You’re almost done. We should somehow share and backup the keys. For the sharing part, it’s not a big issue to have a team of 2-3 Ops people share the same key, but you could also use the GPG option of git-crypt (as documented in the README). What’s left is to backup your secret key (that’s generated in the .git/git-crypt directory). You can store it (password-protected) in some other storage, be it a company shared folder, Dropbox/Google Drive, or even your email. Just make sure your computer is not the only place where it’s present and that it’s protected. I don’t think key rotation is necessary, but you can devise some rotation procedure.

git-crypt authors claim to shine when it comes to encrypting just a few files in an otherwise public repo. And recommend looking at git-remote-gcrypt. But as often there are non-sensitive parts of environment-specific configurations, you may not want to encrypt everything. And I think it’s perfectly fine to use git-crypt even in a separate repo scenario. And even though encryption is an okay approach to protect credentials in your source code repo, it’s still not necessarily a good idea to have the environment configurations in the same repo. Especially given that different people/teams manage these credentials. Even in small companies, maybe not all members have production access.

The outstanding questions in this case is – how do you sync the properties with code changes. Sometimes the code adds new properties that should be reflected in the environment configurations. There are two scenarios here – first, properties that could vary across environments, but can have default values (e.g. scheduled job periods), and second, properties that require explicit configuration (e.g. database credentials). The former can have the default values bundled in the code repo and therefore in the release artifact, allowing external files to override them. The latter should be announced to the people who do the deployment so that they can set the proper values.

The whole process of having versioned environment-speific configurations is actually quite simple and logical, even with the encryption added to the picture. And I think it’s a good security practice we should try to follow.

The post Storing Encrypted Credentials In Git appeared first on Bozho's tech blog.

ISP Questions Impartiality of Judges in Copyright Troll Cases

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/isp-questions-impartiality-of-judges-in-copyright-troll-cases-180602/

Following in the footsteps of similar operations around the world, two years ago the copyright trolling movement landed on Swedish shores.

The pattern was a familiar one, with trolls harvesting IP addresses from BitTorrent swarms and tracing them back to Internet service providers. Then, after presenting evidence to a judge, the trolls obtained orders that compelled ISPs to hand over their customers’ details. From there, the trolls demanded cash payments to make supposed lawsuits disappear.

It’s a controversial business model that rarely receives outside praise. Many ISPs have tried to slow down the flood but most eventually grow tired of battling to protect their customers. The same cannot be said of Swedish ISP Bahnhof.

The ISP, which is also a strong defender of privacy, has become known for fighting back against copyright trolls. Indeed, to thwart them at the very first step, the company deletes IP address logs after just 24 hours, which prevents its customers from being targeted.

Bahnhof says that the copyright business appeared “dirty and corrupt” right from the get go, so it now operates Utpressningskollen.se, a web portal where the ISP publishes data on Swedish legal cases in which copyright owners demand customer data from ISPs through the Patent and Market Courts.

Over the past two years, Bahnhof says it has documented 76 cases of which six are still ongoing, 11 have been waived and a majority 59 have been decided in favor of mainly movie companies. Bahnhof says that when it discovered that 59 out of the 76 cases benefited one party, it felt a need to investigate.

In a detailed report compiled by Bahnhof Communicator Carolina Lindahl and sent to TF, the ISP reveals that it examined the individual decision-makers in the cases before the Courts and found five judges with “questionable impartiality.”

“One of the judges, we can call them Judge 1, has closed 12 of the cases, of which two have been waived and the other 10 have benefitted the copyright owner, mostly movie companies,” Lindahl notes.

“Judge 1 apparently has written several articles in the magazine NIR – Nordiskt Immateriellt Rättsskydd (Nordic Intellectual Property Protection) – which is mainly supported by Svenska Föreningen för Upphovsrätt, the Swedish Association for Copyright (SFU).

“SFU is a member-financed group centered around copyright that publishes articles, hands out scholarships, arranges symposiums, etc. On their website they have a public calendar where Judge 1 appears regularly.”

Bahnhof says that the financiers of the SFU are Sveriges Television AB (Sweden’s national public TV broadcaster), Filmproducenternas Rättsförening (a legally-oriented association for filmproducers), BMG Chrysalis Scandinavia (a media giant) and Fackförbundet för Film och Mediabranschen (a union for the movie and media industry).

“This means that Judge 1 is involved in a copyright association sponsored by the film and media industry, while also judging in copyright cases with the film industry as one of the parties,” the ISP says.

Bahnhof’s also has criticism for Judge 2, who participated as an event speaker for the Swedish Association for Copyright, and Judge 3 who has written for the SFU-supported magazine NIR. According to Lindahl, Judge 4 worked for a bureau that is partly owned by a board member of SFU, who also defended media companies in a “high-profile” Swedish piracy case.

That leaves Judge 5, who handled 10 of the copyright troll cases documented by Bahnhof, waiving one and deciding the remaining nine in favor of a movie company plaintiff.

“Judge 5 has been questioned before and even been accused of bias while judging a high-profile piracy case almost ten years ago. The accusations of bias were motivated by the judge’s membership of SFU and the Swedish Association for Intellectual Property Rights (SFIR), an association with several important individuals of the Swedish copyright community as members, who all defend, represent, or sympathize with the media industry,” Lindahl says.

Bahnhof hasn’t named any of the judges nor has it provided additional details on the “high-profile” case. However, anyone who remembers the infamous trial of ‘The Pirate Bay Four’ a decade ago might recall complaints from the defense (1,2,3) that several judges involved in the case were members of pro-copyright groups.

While there were plenty of calls to consider them biased, in May 2010 the Supreme Court ruled otherwise, a fact Bahnhof recognizes.

“Judge 5 was never sentenced for bias by the court, but regardless of the court’s decision this is still a judge who shares values and has personal connections with [the media industry], and as if that weren’t enough, the judge has induced an additional financial aspect by participating in events paid for by said party,” Lindahl writes.

“The judge has parties and interest holders in their personal network, a private engagement in the subject and a financial connection to one party – textbook characteristics of bias which would make anyone suspicious.”

The decision-makers of the Patent and Market Court and their relations.

The ISP notes that all five judges have connections to the media industry in the cases they judge, which isn’t a great starting point for returning “objective and impartial” results. In its summary, however, the ISP is scathing of the overall system, one in which court cases “almost looked rigged” and appear to be decided in favor of the movie company even before reaching court.

In general, however, Bahnhof says that the processes show a lack of individual attention, such as the court blindly accepting questionable IP address evidence supplied by infamous anti-piracy outfit MaverickEye.

“The court never bothers to control the media company’s only evidence (lists generated by MaverickMonitor, which has proven to be an unreliable software), the court documents contain several typos of varying severity, and the same standard texts are reused in several different cases,” the ISP says.

“The court documents show a lack of care and control, something that can easily be taken advantage of by individuals with shady motives. The findings and discoveries of this investigation are strengthened by the pure numbers mentioned in the beginning which clearly show how one party almost always wins.

“If this is caused by bias, cheating, partiality, bribes, political agenda, conspiracy or pure coincidence we can’t say for sure, but the fact that this process has mainly generated money for the film industry, while citizens have been robbed of their personal integrity and legal certainty, indicates what forces lie behind this machinery,” Bahnhof’s Lindahl concludes.

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

Some quick thoughts on the public discussion regarding facial recognition and Amazon Rekognition this past week

Post Syndicated from Dr. Matt Wood original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/some-quick-thoughts-on-the-public-discussion-regarding-facial-recognition-and-amazon-rekognition-this-past-week/

We have seen a lot of discussion this past week about the role of Amazon Rekognition in facial recognition, surveillance, and civil liberties, and we wanted to share some thoughts.

Amazon Rekognition is a service we announced in 2016. It makes use of new technologies – such as deep learning – and puts them in the hands of developers in an easy-to-use, low-cost way. Since then, we have seen customers use the image and video analysis capabilities of Amazon Rekognition in ways that materially benefit both society (e.g. preventing human trafficking, inhibiting child exploitation, reuniting missing children with their families, and building educational apps for children), and organizations (enhancing security through multi-factor authentication, finding images more easily, or preventing package theft). Amazon Web Services (AWS) is not the only provider of services like these, and we remain excited about how image and video analysis can be a driver for good in the world, including in the public sector and law enforcement.

There have always been and will always be risks with new technology capabilities. Each organization choosing to employ technology must act responsibly or risk legal penalties and public condemnation. AWS takes its responsibilities seriously. But we believe it is the wrong approach to impose a ban on promising new technologies because they might be used by bad actors for nefarious purposes in the future. The world would be a very different place if we had restricted people from buying computers because it was possible to use that computer to do harm. The same can be said of thousands of technologies upon which we all rely each day. Through responsible use, the benefits have far outweighed the risks.

Customers are off to a great start with Amazon Rekognition; the evidence of the positive impact this new technology can provide is strong (and growing by the week), and we’re excited to continue to support our customers in its responsible use.

-Dr. Matt Wood, general manager of artificial intelligence at AWS

GoDaddy to Suspend ‘Pirate’ Domain Following Music Industry Complaints

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/godaddy-to-suspend-pirate-domain-following-music-industry-complaints-180601/

Most piracy-focused sites online conduct their business with minimal interference from outside parties. In many cases, a heap of DMCA notices filed with Google represents the most visible irritant.

Others, particularly those with large audiences, can find themselves on the end of a web blockade. Mostly court-ordered, blocking measures restrict the ability of Internet users to visit a site due to ISPs restricting traffic.

In some regions, where copyright holders have the means to do so, they choose to tackle a site’s infrastructure instead, which could mean complaints to webhosts or other service providers. At times, this has included domain registries, who are asked to disable domains on copyright grounds.

This is exactly what has happened to Fox-MusicaGratis.com, a Spanish-language music piracy site that incurred the wrath of IFPI member UNIMPRO – the Peruvian Union of Phonographic Producers.

Pirate music, suspended domain

In a process that’s becoming more common in the region, UNIMPRO initially filed a complaint with the Copyright Commission (Comisión de Derecho de Autor (CDA)) which conducted an investigation into the platform’s activities.

“The CDA considered, among other things, the irreparable damage that would have been caused to the legitimate rights owners, taking into account the large number of users who could potentially have visited said website, which was making available endless musical recordings for commercial purposes, without authorization of the holders of rights,” a statement from CDA reads.

The administrative process was carried out locally with the involvement of the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi), an autonomous public body tasked with handling anti-competitive behavior, unfair competition, and intellectual property matters.

Indecopi HQ

The matter was decided in favor of the rightsholders and a subsequent ruling included an instruction for US-based domain name registry GoDaddy to suspend Fox-MusicaGratis.com. According to the copyright protection entity, GoDaddy agreed to comply, to prevent further infringement.

This latest action involving a music piracy site registered with GoDaddy follows on the heels of a similar enforcement process back in March.

Mp3Juices-Download-Free.com, Melodiavip.net, Foxmusica.site and Fulltono.me were all music sites offering MP3 content without copyright holders’ permission. They too were the subject of an UNIMPRO complaint which resulted in orders for GoDaddy to suspend their domains.

In the cases of all five websites, GoDaddy was given the chance to appeal but there is no indication that the company has done so. GoDaddy did not respond to a request for comment.

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

Protecting coral reefs with Nemo-Pi, the underwater monitor

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coral-reefs-nemo-pi/

The German charity Save Nemo works to protect coral reefs, and they are developing Nemo-Pi, an underwater “weather station” that monitors ocean conditions. Right now, you can vote for Save Nemo in the Google.org Impact Challenge.

Nemo-Pi — Save Nemo

Save Nemo

The organisation says there are two major threats to coral reefs: divers, and climate change. To make diving saver for reefs, Save Nemo installs buoy anchor points where diving tour boats can anchor without damaging corals in the process.

reef damaged by anchor
boat anchored at buoy

In addition, they provide dos and don’ts for how to behave on a reef dive.

The Nemo-Pi

To monitor the effects of climate change, and to help divers decide whether conditions are right at a reef while they’re still on shore, Save Nemo is also in the process of perfecting Nemo-Pi.

Nemo-Pi schematic — Nemo-Pi — Save Nemo

This Raspberry Pi-powered device is made up of a buoy, a solar panel, a GPS device, a Pi, and an array of sensors. Nemo-Pi measures water conditions such as current, visibility, temperature, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide concentrations, and pH. It also uploads its readings live to a public webserver.

Inside the Nemo-Pi device — Save Nemo
Inside the Nemo-Pi device — Save Nemo
Inside the Nemo-Pi device — Save Nemo

The Save Nemo team is currently doing long-term tests of Nemo-Pi off the coast of Thailand and Indonesia. They are also working on improving the device’s power consumption and durability, and testing prototypes with the Raspberry Pi Zero W.

web dashboard — Nemo-Pi — Save Nemo

The web dashboard showing live Nemo-Pi data

Long-term goals

Save Nemo aims to install a network of Nemo-Pis at shallow reefs (up to 60 metres deep) in South East Asia. Then diving tour companies can check the live data online and decide day-to-day whether tours are feasible. This will lower the impact of humans on reefs and help the local flora and fauna survive.

Coral reefs with fishes

A healthy coral reef

Nemo-Pi data may also be useful for groups lobbying for reef conservation, and for scientists and activists who want to shine a spotlight on the awful effects of climate change on sea life, such as coral bleaching caused by rising water temperatures.

Bleached coral

A bleached coral reef

Vote now for Save Nemo

If you want to help Save Nemo in their mission today, vote for them to win the Google.org Impact Challenge:

  1. Head to the voting web page
  2. Click “Abstimmen” in the footer of the page to vote
  3. Click “JA” in the footer to confirm

Voting is open until 6 June. You can also follow Save Nemo on Facebook or Twitter. We think this organisation is doing valuable work, and that their projects could be expanded to reefs across the globe. It’s fantastic to see the Raspberry Pi being used to help protect ocean life.

The post Protecting coral reefs with Nemo-Pi, the underwater monitor appeared first on Raspberry Pi.