Tag Archives: news

New – Opt-in to Default Encryption for New EBS Volumes

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-opt-in-to-default-encryption-for-new-ebs-volumes/

My colleagues on the AWS team are always looking for ways to make it easier and simpler for you to protect your data from unauthorized access. This work is visible in many different ways, and includes the AWS Cloud Security page, the AWS Security Blog, a rich collection of AWS security white papers, an equally rich set of AWS security, identity, and compliance services, and a wide range of security features within individual services. As you might recall from reading this blog, many AWS services support encryption at rest & in transit, logging, IAM roles & policies, and so forth.

Default Encryption
Today I would like to tell you about a new feature that makes the use of encrypted Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Store) volumes even easier. This launch builds on some earlier EBS security launches including:

You can now specify that you want all newly created EBS volumes to be created in encrypted form, with the option to use the default key provided by AWS, or a key that you create. Because keys and EC2 settings are specific to individual AWS regions, you must opt-in on a region-by-region basis.

This new feature will let you reach your protection and compliance goals by making it simpler and easier for you to ensure that newly created volumes are created in encrypted form. It will not affect existing unencrypted volumes.

If you use IAM policies that require the use of encrypted volumes, you can use this feature to avoid launch failures that would occur if unencrypted volumes were inadvertently referenced when an instance is launched. Your security team can enable encryption by default without having to coordinate with your development team, and with no other code or operational changes.

Encrypted EBS volumes deliver the specified instance throughput, volume performance, and latency, at no extra charge. I open the EC2 Console, make sure that I am in the region of interest, and click Settings to get started:

Then I select Always encrypt new EBS volumes:

I can click Change the default key and choose one of my keys as the default:

Either way, I click Update to proceed. One thing to note here: This setting applies to a single AWS region; I will need to repeat the steps above for each region of interest, checking the option and choosing the key.

Going forward, all EBS volumes that I create in this region will be encrypted, with no additional effort on my part. When I create a volume, I can use the key that I selected in the EC2 Settings, or I can select a different one:

Any snapshots that I create are encrypted with the key that was used to encrypt the volume:

If I use the volume to create a snapshot, I can use the original key or I can choose another one:

Things to Know
Here are some important things that you should know about this important new AWS feature:

Older Instance Types – After you enable this feature, you will not be able to launch any more C1, M1, M2, or T1 instances or attach newly encrypted EBS volumes to existing instances of these types. We recommend that you migrate to newer instance types.

AMI Sharing – As I noted above, we recently gave you the ability to share encrypted AMIs with other AWS accounts. However, you cannot share them publicly, and you should use a separate account to create community AMIs, Marketplace AMIs, and public snapshots. To learn more, read How to Share Encrypted AMIs Across Accounts to Launch Encrypted EC2 Instances.

Other AWS Services – AWS services such as Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) and Amazon WorkSpaces that use EBS for storage perform their own encryption and key management and are not affected by this launch. Services such as Amazon EMR that create volumes within your account will automatically respect the encryption setting, and will use encrypted volumes if the always-encrypt feature is enabled.

API / CLI Access – You can also access this feature from the EC2 CLI and the API.

No Charge – There is no charge to enable or use encryption. If you are using encrypted AMIs and create a separate one for each AWS account, you can now share the AMI with other accounts, leading to a reduction in storage utilization and charges.

Per-Region – As noted above, you can opt-in to default encryption on a region-by-region basis.

Available Now
This feature is available now and you can start using it today in all public AWS regions and in GovCloud. It is not available in the AWS regions in China.



AWS Ground Station – Ready to Ingest & Process Satellite Data

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-ground-station-ready-to-ingest-process-satellite-data/

Last fall I told you about AWS Ground Station and gave you a sneak preview of the steps that you would take to downlink data from a satellite. I am happy to report that the first two ground stations are now in operation, and that you can start using AWS Ground Station today.

Using AWS Ground Station
As I noted at the time, the first step is to Add satellites to your AWS account by sharing the satellite’s NORAD ID and other information with us:

The on-boarding process generally takes a couple of days. For testing purposes, the Ground Station team added three satellites to my account:

  • Terra (NORAD ID 25994) – This satellite was launched in 1989 and orbits at an altitude of 705 km. It carries five sensors that are designed to study the Earth’s surface.
  • Aqua (NORAD ID 27424) – This satellite was launched in 2002 and also orbits at an altitude of 705 km. It carries six sensors that are designed to study surface water.
  • NOAA-20 (NORAD ID 43013) – This satellite was launched in 2017 and orbits at an altitude of 825 km. It carries five sensors that observe both land and water.

While the on-boarding process is under way, the next step is to choose the ground station that you will use to receive your data. This is dependent on the path your satellite takes as it orbits the Earth and the time at which you want to receive data. Our first two ground stations are located in Oregon and Ohio, with other locations under construction. Each ground station is associated with an adjacent AWS region and you need to set up your AWS infrastructure in that region ahead of time.

I’m going to use the US East (Ohio) Region for this blog post. Following the directions in the AWS Ground Station User Guide, I use a CloudFormation template to set up my infrastructure within my VPC:

The stack includes an EC2 instance, three Elastic Network Interfaces (ENIs), and the necessary IAM roles, EC2 security groups, and so forth:

The EC2 instance hosts Kratos DataDefender (a lossless UDP transport mechanism). I can also use the instance to host the code that processes the incoming data stream. DataDefender makes the incoming data stream available on a Unix domain socket at port 55892. My code is responsible for reading the raw data, splitting it in to packets, and then processing each packet.

You can also create one or more Mission Profiles. Each profile outlines the timing requirements for a contact, lists the resources needed for the contact, and defines how data flows during the contact. You can use the same Mission Profile for multiple satellites, and you can also use different profiles (as part of distinct contacts) for the same satellite.

Scheduling a Contact
With my satellite configured and my AWS infrastructure in place, I am ready to schedule a contact! I open the Ground Station Console, make sure that I am in the AWS Region that corresponds to the ground station that I want to use, and click Contacts. I review the list of upcoming contacts, select the desired one (If you are not accustomed to thinking in Zulu time, a World Clock / Converter is helpful), and click Reserve contact:

Then I confirm my intent by clicking Reserve:

The status of the connection goes to SCHEDULING and then to SCHEDULED, all within a minute or so:

The next step is to wait for the satellite to come within range of the chosen ground station. During this time, I can connect to the EC2 instance in two ways:

SSH – I can SSH to the instance’s IP address, verify that my code is in place and ready to run, and confirm that DataDefender is running:

WEB – I can open up a web browser and see the DataDefender web interface:

One thing to note: you may need to edit the security group attached to the instance in order to allow it to be accessed from outside of the VPC:

3-2-1 Contact!
Ok, now I need to wait for Terra to come within range of the ground station that I selected. While not necessary, it can be fun (and educational) to use a real-time satellite tracker such as the one at n2yo.com:

When my satellite comes in to range, DataDefender shows me that the data transfer is under way (at an impressive 781 Mbps), as indicated by the increased WAN Data Rate:

As I noted earlier, the incoming data stream is available within the instance in real time on a Unix domain socket. After my code takes care of all immediate, low-level processing, it can route the data to Amazon Kinesis Data Streams for real-time processing, store it in Amazon S3 for safe-keeping or further analysis, and so forth.

Customer Perspective – Spire
While I was writing this blog post I spoke with Robert Sproles, a Program Manager with AWS customer Spire to learn about their adoption of Ground Station. Spire provides data & analytics from orbit, and runs the space program behind it. They design and build their own cubesats in-house, and currently have about 70 in orbit. Collectively, the satellites have more sensors than any of Spire’s competitors, and collect maritime, aviation, and weather data.

Although Spire already operates a network of 30 ground stations, they were among the first to see the value of (and to start using) AWS Ground Station. In addition to being able to shift from a CapEx (capital expense) to OpEx (operating expense) model, Ground Station gives them the ability to collect fresh data more quickly, with the goal of making it available to their customers even more rapidly. Spire’s customers are wide-ranging and global, but can all benefit from rapid access to high-quality data. Their LEMUR (Low Earth Multi-Use Repeater) satellites go around the globe every 90 minutes, but this is a relatively long time when the data is related to aviation or weather. Robert told me that they can counter this by adding additional satellites in the same orbit or by making use of additional ground stations, all with the goal of reducing latency and delivering the freshest possible data.

Spire applies machine learning to the raw data, with the goal of going from a “lump of data” to actionable insights. For example, they use ML to make predictions about the future positions of cargo ships, using a combination of weather and historical data. The predicted ship positions can be used to schedule dock slots and other scarce resources ahead of time.

Now Available
You can get started with AWS Ground Station today. We have two ground stations in operation, with ten more in the works and planned for later this year.



There Were 140 Piracy ‘Incidents’ in UK Cinemas Last Year

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/there-were-140-piracy-incidents-in-uk-cinemas-last-year/

The earlier a film ends up on pirate sites, the more filmmakers, cinemas, and other players in the movie industry stand to lose.

This is the main reason why movie theaters keep a very close eye on their visitors.

Employees are specifically trained and instructed to recognize potentially suspicious behavior so they take action in response. Those who help to catch a pirate, are eligible for hard cash bounties.

In the UK, the Film Content Protection Agency (FCPA) is in charge of these rewards as well as educating cinema personnel.  This is much needed, it appears, as there are piracy ‘incidents’ in UK movie theaters on a weekly basis. 

According to the latest annual report from the UK Cinema Association, 2018 saw a record number of ‘film theft’ related incidents, wrapped in a positive sauce.

“Despite ongoing attempts by individuals to record films in cinema theaters there were 140 separate incidents in UK cinemas in 2018, a new record – much of the year saw the continuation of a period of unprecedented success in this regard,” the report reads.

While people are frequently caught trying to record movies, leaks from UK cinemas are rare, the association notes. In fact, no leaked films could be tracked to the UK for a period of three consecutive years. However, that also changed in 2018.

In October, a pirated copy of a newly-released film was traced back to a Birmingham cinema and this was followed by two more, but unrelated, leaks from Cornwall.

This is obviously a setback, but the Cinema Association notes that the FCPA is investigating the cases with the authorities, hoping to bring the perpetrators to justice, as it did with a 21-year old man from Sunderland last summer.

“As the year closed, the FCPA was collaborating on investigating these three
cases with the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), based at the City of London Police,” the annual report notes.

As for the increase in reported incidents, it is not clear whether this reflects an actual uptick in piracy attempts. Last year, more than 2,200 cinema staff from 68 UK cinemas attended the FCPA’s anti-piracy briefings, so it’s possible that elevated awareness is playing a role too.

Increased vigilance is also a reason to keep the bounty program in place. Theater employees are eligible for a reward of up to £1,000 for spotting pirates.

“Encouraging and incentivising such vigilance and awareness is vital – so the FCPA has continued to acknowledge cinema staff for their efforts in tackling film piracy through its reward programme,” the report reads.

“Across the year, a record 52 cinema staff were formally recognised for successfully disrupting attempts to illegally record films and presented with cash rewards at presentations in March and September,” the Cinema Association adds.

On its website, the FCPA provides further guidance on how to spot pirates. Among other things, it recommends using night-vision goggles.

“Modern, lightweight, silent night vision devices may be available at your cinema. Their use during screen checks is warmly encouraged, especially for new releases most vulnerable to theft,” the advice reads.

With these and other measures, the UK movie industry hopes to keep piracy incidents under control. Sharper surveillance may initially lead to more reported incidents, but if it pays off, the number of actual leaks should drop to zero again.

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

Popular Streaming Site Pelispedia Shuts Down, Operators Arrested

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/popular-streaming-site-pelispedia-shuts-down-operators-arrested-190522/

With over a million visitors per day, Pelispedia.tv was one of the most popular streaming sites in Latin America. 

Just a few weeks ago, it was highlighted by the US Trade Representative as a notorious pirate site, following a referral from Hollywood’s MPAA. 

By then, rightsholders and enforcement authorities already had their eyes focused on the site’s alleged operators, a couple from Uruguay. Following collaborative efforts from Interpol, rightsholders, and Uruguayan authorities, this culminated in two arrests last week.

According to Uruguayan prosecutor Mónica Ferrero, the alleged operators are charged with “a continuing offense of making available a digital broadcast for profit without the written authorization of their respective holders or successors, and a crime of money laundering.”

The two, who are referred to in local media by their initials JAGR and MJHG, will remain in custody for  30 days. Their case is being handled by a court specialized in organized crime, which will take a closer look at the allegations. 

Initially, Pelispedia.tv remained online following the arrests, but since yesterday it is no longer available. The sister site Pelisplus is still accessible but is also expected to shut down.


The pair reportedly have no other employment and made roughly $5,000 per month from the business. In addition to the arrests, several assets were seized including hardware, a 2008 Peugeot, a 2014 Volkswagon, $1,257 in cash, and two Payoneer cards. 

The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment collaborated with the authorities and is pleased with the outcome thus far.

“We thank Interpol, the Uruguayan police, and prosecutors for their leadership in this important action against a major illegal streaming service operator,” ACE spokesperson Richard VanOrnum said, commenting on the news.

MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin agrees and sees the shutdown of Pelispedia.tv as another example of ACE’s successful and ongoing global effort to reduce piracy.

“Each time we collaborate with law enforcement authorities to disrupt major piracy operations like Pelispedia.tv, we support the millions of people around the world working in the film and television industry and the dynamic legal marketplace for creative content,” Rivkin notes.

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

New – Updated Pay-Per-Use Pricing Model for AWS Config Rules

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-updated-pay-per-use-pricing-model-for-aws-config-rules/

AWS Config rules give you the power to perform Dynamic Compliance Checking on your Cloud Resources. Building on the AWS Resource Configuration Tracking provided by AWS Config, you can use a combination of predefined and custom rules to continuously and dynamically check that all changes made to your AWS resources are compliant with the conditions specified in the rules, and to take action (either automatic or manual) to remediate non-compliant resources.

You can currently select from 84 different predefined rules, with more in the works. These are managed rules that are refined and updated from time to time. Here are the rules that match my search for EC2:

Custom rules are built upon AWS Lambda functions, and can be run periodically or triggered by a configuration change. Rules can optionally be configured to execute a remediation action when a noncompliant resource is discovered. There are many built-in actions, and the option to write your own action using AWS Systems Manager documents as well:

New Pay-Per-Use Pricing
Today I am happy to announce that we are switching to a new, pay-per-use pricing model for AWS Config rules. Effective August 1st, 2019 you will be charged based on the number of rule evaluations that you run each month. Here is the new pricing for AWS Public Regions:

Rule Evaluations Per MonthPrice Per Evaluation
500,001 and above$0.0005

You will no longer pay for active config rules, which can grow costly when used across multiple accounts and regions. You will continue to pay for configuration items recorded, and any additional costs such as use of S3 storage, SNS messaging, and the invocation of Lambda functions.

The pricing works in conjunction with AWS Consolidated Billing, and is designed to provide almost all AWS customers with a significant reduction in their Config Rules bill. The new model will let you expand globally and cost-effectively, and will probably encourage you to make even more use of AWS Config rules!



How Game of Thrones Made Piracy History

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/how-game-of-thrones-made-piracy-history-190521/

Traditionally, the Game of Thrones season finale is among the most viewed episodes, also on pirate sites.

When the entire series comes to an end, interest is only heightened.

This is what happened indeed. While many people have been rather critical about the story-line of the final season, millions of people ‘tuned’ in, both through authorized and unofficial channels.

The official ratings shot through the roof, with 13.6 million US viewers during the official airing, which is also a new all-time record for an HBO show. On pirate sites, there was plenty of interest as well.

Millions of people pirated a copy. At the height, yesterday afternoon, more than 200,000 people were actively sharing the three most popular torrents, with the most popular one being good for 130,000 sharers alone.

While this is a massive number, it’s nowhere near the all-time record. That dates back to 2015, when over a quarter million people were simultaneously sharing a single file. This drop is in part because the piracy ecosystem has evolved.

Torrent sites used to be the main distribution platforms for pirated TV shows, but unauthorized streaming sites are much more popular today. These sites don’t make any viewing numbers public but are good for millions of ‘pirate’ views as well.

With this in mind, it is likely that the record of the largest BitTorrent swarm in history will never be broken.

The end of Game of Thrones wraps up one of the biggest continuing stories in file-sharing history. The HBO show was as crowned the “most pirated” TV-series for several years, and is likely to scoop up this title again in 2019, to secure its place in history.

Aside from the impressive numbers, Game of Thrones was also at the center of other piracy-related news and discussions, much of which we have discussed in detail here.

One key theme that reappeared year after year were the numerous leaks. The most prominent one dates back to 2015 when the first four episodes leaked from a promotional screener.

In 2017 a Game of Thrones episode leaked with a “Star India” watermark. This eventually led to the arrests of four people. Keeping up with this trend, several episodes came out early this year as well, and even before the final, the plot was already out.

The fact that pirates were often able to see GoT episodes before regular viewers only increased the piracy figures. This was also confirmed by academic research which found that these leaks bred pirates while hurting official viewing numbers.

Other major factors that played a role in the high piracy rates are ‘availability’ and pricing.

During the early seasons, Game of Thrones wasn’t as widely available as it is today. And even if it was, there were often significant release delays, up to several weeks. That drove many people, especially the bigger fans, to pirate sites.

Over the years the availability problem was addressed in many countries, but for many a pricing hurdle remained. Watching Game of Thrones legally, could in many cases cost hundreds of dollars per season, while the pirate alternative was free.

Ironically, even those who had eventually signed up for a legal subscription would sometimes continue to pirate, just out of habit. In Australia,  for example, 20% of the Foxtel subscribers who had already paid for Game of Thrones still chose to pirate the show instead.

In Australia, Game of Thrones piracy has been a hot topic for years. Due to early release delays and relatively high pricing, many chose the piracy route. This frustrated rightsholders and even the U.S. Ambassador, with the latter stating that there is no excuse for ‘stealing.’

Amidst all the controversy, HBO remained fairly calm. Yes, the company issued thousands of takedown notices and even warned some individual file-sharers, but that was about it. Some people did receive settlement demands in 2016, but that was the work of scammers.

Some people connected more directly to Game of Thrones also recognized the upside of piracy.  Director David Petrarca, for example, previously admitted that piracy generated much-needed “cultural buzz” around the series.

Similarly, Jeff Bewkes, in 2013 the CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner, noted that piracy resulted in more subscriptions for his company and that receiving the title of “most-pirated” TV-show was actually “better than an Emmy.

That’s a worthy statement to end with.

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

Italian Version of Article 17 Requires LEGAL Content to Be Filtered Out

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/italian-version-of-article-17-requires-legal-content-to-be-filtered-out/

After years of work, on March 26, 2019 the new EU Copyright Directive was adopted, with 348 Members of Parliament in favor, 274 against, and 36 abstentions.

A little under a month later, the EU Council of Ministers waved the legislation through, despite opposition from Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, and Sweden. Belgium, Estonia, and Slovenia abstained.

EU member states were then granted two years to implement the law, which includes the controversial Article 17 (formerly 13). That requires platforms like YouTube to sign licensing agreements with creators. If that proves impossible, they will have to ensure that infringing content uploaded by users is taken down and not re-uploaded to their services.

Or, if one takes on face value a recently published official translation of the Directive, something much more outrageous.

As revealed by Eleonara Rosati over at IPKitten, someone has made a small but monumental mistake when transposing the Directive into Italian.

First, the relevant section in English;

7. The cooperation between online content-sharing service providers and rightholders shall not result in the prevention of the availability of works or other subject matter uploaded by users, which do not infringe copyright and related rights, including where such works or other subject matter are covered by an exception or limitation.

Now, the same section in the Italian version (translated back to English);

7. Cooperation between online content sharing service providers and rights holders must prevent the availability of works or other materials uploaded by users that do not infringe copyright or related rights, even in cases where such works or other materials are subject to an exception or limitation.

So, according to this translation, sites like YouTube must work with rightsholders to ensure that non-infringing works are never made available on their platforms, even when the use of such works is allowed under relevant exceptions, presumably including…..erm….fair use. Or is that unfair use? Difficult to say.

Rosati suggests on Twitter that people might like to run through the now fully-published Directive on the Official Journal of the EU to see if there are any other errors in other countries’ translations.

Considering Italy didn’t want this law to pass, it’s lucky this error got spotted early or the much-heralded “meme ban” might’ve been just the tip of the iceberg.

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

Torrent Site MagnetDL Shuts Down

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/torrent-site-magnetdl-shuts-down-190520/

Founded in 2012, MagnetDL offered a clean and easy-to-use torrent search portal, which gained a substantial userbase over the years.

The site relied on magnet links instead of regular torrent files, as the name suggests, and was most popular in the UK where it was one of the few popular torrent sites not blocked by ISPs. 

MagnetDL flew mostly under the radar but hundreds of thousands of people have it marked as their favorite search engine. Many of these were taken by surprise yesterday when the site suddenly announced that it had closed shop.

“MagnetDL has closed. It has been a great seven years and it’s sad to have it come to an end. Thanks to everyone who has visited over the years especially our regular visitors,” a message on the site reads.

TorrentFreak reached out to the operator to get more details on the reason for this decision, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back. This means that we can only guess about the exact reason for the shutdown.

We are not aware of any legal issues being faced by the site. It could be that the operator simply lost the motivation to keep the site going. Perhaps in combination with a loss in revenue, which other torrent sites have previously cited as a reason to throw in the towel.

The torrent site hadn’t changed much since it was first launched seven years ago. The informative ‘help’ section, which was one of the most elaborate we’d ever seen at a public torrent site, expanded a bit, but the homepage still looked exactly the same a few days ago. 

The magnet search engine never made it into the top 10 of most popular torrent sites, but it came very close. In some regions, such as the UK, it definitely had a solid spot among the most-visited ‘pirate’ portals.

MagnetDL didn’t allow users to upload files and grabbed links from other torrent sites, which means that no content has been lost. However, based on comments posts on various social media sites, the site itself will be dearly missed. 


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

Movie Piracy Giant Egy.best Shuts Down

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-piracy-giant-egy-best-shuts-down-190518/

To most people in the West, Egy.best may not ring a bell, but in Arabic speaking countries, it’s been a piracy beacon for years.

The site, which proudly boasted a “Made in Egypt” tagline, offered access to pirated copies of movies and TV-shows. These could be downloaded and streamed for free, often with subtitles.

Egy.best was most popular in Egypt where it was among the ten most visited sites in the country. In addition, it was also the number one pirate site in many neighboring countries, including Algeria, Kuwait, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

This week, however, the site’s operators decided to throw in the towel, without prior warning. Those who access Egy.best today only see the site’s logo, with النهاية. underneath it, which means “the end.”

It’s unclear why the site, dubbed by some as the Netflix for the poor, took this drastic decision.

In a message on the site’s official Facebook account, which has since been removed, the site mentioned that several Egyptian ISPs has started to block the site. Shortly after, the site shut down, but whether there’s a connection remains uncertain.

ISP blockades were indeed put in place recently. They didn’t just target Egy.best, but also other sites including Arab Lions, Akoam, Movies land, Arab Seed, Mazzika Today, Shahid4u, and Cima4up. Some of these switched to new domain names subsequently, but Egy didn’t.


Some people assumed that the blockades triggered the shutdown, but that would be a rather unusual response. This is also what a follow-up message in the Facebook comment section suggests. There, a site operator noted that it’s bigger than just the blocking efforts in Egypt.

Without an official statement on the reason for the shutdown, people can only speculate. The most likely explanation, perhaps, is some kind of legal pressure, but until the operators share more details, that remains a guess.

Whatever the real reason might be, for millions of people the site’s closure is a big blow. Twitter is littered with messages from people mourning the site’s demise. Not just from Egypt, but from many other Arabic speaking countries as well.

“Whoever did it & was reason of closing it [sic], you take some good prayers from many of us in this Ramadan..,” one commenter noted, with someone else adding that “Summer without #egybest will be a sad summer.”

Others expressed their state of mind through memes.

Egy.best’s gone

Considering the massive size of the site, there’s a huge void to be filled and several ‘copycats’ and competitors are eager to jump in. We’ve already seen several people hijacking the #egybest hashtag on Twitter to promote alternative streaming sites and piracy portals.

There’s little doubt that many of Egy.best’s users will ultimately find a new home, but considering the massive response on social media, the original will be missed.

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

YouTuber Sends Lawyer After UFC to Stop ‘Unfair’ Takedown Notices

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/youtuber-sends-lawyer-after-ufc-to-stop-unfair-takedown-notices-190517/

Copyright enforcement on YouTube is a growing source of frustration,  particularly the overbroad takedown efforts.

Many channel operators and users have complained about apparent abuse, but most don’t go any further than that. 

John MacKay, owner of the popular channel  “Boxing Now” is an exception. On his channel, MacKay releases videos with post-fight commentary of popular fights. With hundreds of thousands of subscribers, he’s amassed a sizeable audience over the years.

The channel also comments on matches from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Since MacKay hasn’t cleared the rights to these broadcasts, he doesn’t use video footage from these fights. Instead, he shows a few still images, commenting on these. 

Nonetheless, the UFC is not happy with his coverage, as the organization has sent five takedown notices targeting Boxing Now’s videos. These are not automated Content-ID flags, but actual takedown notices, which resulted in the videos being removed from YouTube. 

MacKay believes that his work is a clear case of fair use so in response sent counternotices for each takedown. The UFC hasn’t responded to any of these, which meant that YouTube restored the videos. However, at that point, most harm was already done. 

“My videos are most often viewed in the days immediately after a fight, and when UFC has them taken down for a few days with these unfair copyright claims, I lose a lot of viewers and a significant amount of money,” MacKay says, commenting on the issue.

Frustrated by the continued takedowns, MacKay decided to take a stand. He reached out to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to help him address the matter. The EFF was happy to oblige and this week attorney Alex Moss sent a letter to the UFC, demanding that it stops sending unwarranted notices.

Boxing Now

In the letter, Moss goes over the four factors of fair use, concluding that all weigh in the channel operator’s favor.  For example, the videos are transformative, only use a few frames of the copyrighted content, and do not compete with the original broadcast.

“Mr. MacKay’s post-fight commentary could not and did not affect the market for a live broadcast or recording of the entire fight. If anything, Mr. MacKay’s use of still images for commentary purposes would likely increase demand for the original,” Moss writes.

The EFF’s attorney points out that the UFC has an obligation to consider fair use before sending a takedown request, as was determined in the Lenz vs. Universal case. The repeated notices targeting Boxing Now’s videos indicate that the UFC has failed to meet this obligation, which harms the channel’s business. 

When the videos are taken down shortly after being posted, MacKay is missing a lot of views and therefore ad revenue. Added to that, the takedown notices also put his channel at risk, as YouTube may terminate accounts after repeat infringements. 

What the UFC’s precise motivation is for the requests is unknown. The EFF’s attorney points out, however, that the UFC also has its own post commentary videos on YouTube and that it’s reducing the competition with its takedown notices.

“We note that UFC also produces YouTube videos containing post-fight commentary, and that Mr. McKay’s videos and UFC’s videos may compete for viewership and advertising revenue. This further suggests that UFC’s takedowns of Mr. McKay’s videos were done in bad faith,” Moss writes.

The channel operator, therefore, demands that the UFC stops issuing unwarranted takedown requests. The EFF requests that the organization confirms this intention before the end of the month. 

“Accordingly, we demand that you cease sending takedown notices for Mr. McKay’s videos that make fair use of still images from UFC fights. Please confirm your agreement to do so by May 28, 2019, ” Moss concludes.

It’s not clear whether the EFF and MacKay plan any legal action should the UFC fail to meet their demand. However, as highlighted a few days ago, the likelihood of a lawsuit over unwarranted takedown notices becomes ever more likely, whether that happens in this case or not.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, Moss says she can’t go into detail about any potential follow-up steps. The EFF’s attorney hopes that the letter has some effect and that the UFC stops sending wrongful takedown notices. 

“It’s not too much to expect copyright owners to consider whether something actually infringes before cutting off people’s access,” Moss tells us.

A copy of EFF’s letter, sent to UFC on behalf of Boxing Now’s John MacKay, is available here (pdf).

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

How AWS helps our Customers to go Global – Report from Korea

Post Syndicated from Channy Yun original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/how-aws-helps-our-customers-to-go-global-report-from-korea/

Amazon Web Services Korea LLC (AWS Korea) opened an office in Seoul, South Korea in 2012. This office has educated and supported many customers from startups to large enterprises. Owing to high customer demand, we launched our Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region with 2 Availability Zones and two edge locations in January 2016. This Region has given AWS customers in Korea low-latency access to our suite of AWS infrastructure services.

Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services announced to launch Seoul Region in AWS Cloud 2016.

Following this launch, Amazon CloudFront announced two new Edge locations and one Edge cache: the third in May 2016, and the fourth in Feb 2018. CloudFront’s expansion across Korea further improves the availability and performance of content delivery to users in the region.

Today I am happy to announce that AWS added a third Availability Zone (AZ) to the AWS Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region to support the high demand of our growing Korean customer base. This third AZ provides customers with additional flexibility to architect scalable, fault-tolerant, and highly available applications in AWS Asia Pacific (Seoul), and will support additional AWS services in Korea. This launch brings AWS’s global AZ total to 66 AZs within 21 geographic Regions around the world. AZs located in AWS Regions consist of one or more discrete data centers, each with redundant power, networking, and connectivity, and each housed in separate facilities.

Now AWS serves tens of thousands of active customers in Korea, ranging from startups and enterprises to educational institutions. One of the examples that reflects this demand is AWS Summit Seoul 2019, a part of our commitment to investing in education. More than 16,000 builders attended, a greater than tenfold increase from the 1,500 attendees of our first Summit in 2015.

AWS Summit 2018 – a photo of keynote by Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon.com

So, how have Korean customers migrated to the AWS Cloud and what has motivated them? They have learned that the AWS Cloud is the new normal in the IT industry and quick adoption to their business has allowed them to regain global competitiveness.

Let us look at some examples of how our customers are utilizing the benefit of the broad and deep AWS Cloud platform in the global market by replicating their services in Korea.

Do you know Korean Wave?
The Korean Wave represents the increase in global popularity of South Korean culture such as Korean Pop and Drama. The top three broadcasting companies in Korea (KBS, MBC, and SBS) use AWS. They co-invested to found Content Alliance Platform (CAP) that launched POOQ, which offers real-time OTT broadcasting to 600,000+ subscribers for TV programs including popular K-Dramas and has been able to reduce the buffer times on its streaming services by 20 percents. CAP also used AWS’s video processing and delivery services to stream Korea’s largest sports event, the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

KCON Concert 2016 in France - Wikimedia

Lots of K-Pop fans from KCON Concert 2016 in France – Wikipedia

SM Entertainment, a South Korean entertainment company to lead K-Pop influences with NCT 127, EXO, Super Junior, and Girls’ Generation. The company uses AWS to deliver its websites and mobile applications. By using AWS, the company was able to scale to support more than 3 million new users of EXO-L mobile app in three weeks. The company also developed its mobile karaoke app, Everysing, on AWS, saving more than 50 percent in development costs. The scalability, flexibility, and pay-as-you-go pricing of AWS encouraged them to develop more mobile apps.

Global Enterprises on the Cloud
Korean Enterprises rapidly adopted AWS cloud to offer scalable global scale services as well as focus on their own business needs.

Samsung Electronics uses the breadth of AWS services to save infrastructure costs and achieve rapid deployments, which provides high availability to customers and allows them to scale their services globally to support Galaxy customers worldwide. For example, Samsung Electronics increased reliability and reduced costs by 40 percent within a year after migrating its 860TB Samsung Cloud database to AWS. Samsung chose Amazon DynamoDB for its stability, scalability, and low latency to maintain the database used by 300 million Galaxy smartphone users worldwide.

LG Electronics has selected AWS to run its mission-critical services for more than 35 million LG Smart TVs across the globe to handle the dramatic instant traffic peaks that come with broadcasting live sports events such as the World Cup and Olympic Games. Also, it built a new home appliance IoT platform called ThinQ. LG Electronics uses a serverless architecture and secure provisioning on AWS to reduce the development costs for this platform by 80 percent through increased efficiency in managing its developer and maintenance resources.

Recently Korean Air decided to move its entire infrastructure to AWS over the next three years – including its website, loyalty program, flight operations, and other mission-critical operations — and will shut down its data centers after this migration. “This will enable us to bring new services to market faster and more efficiently, so that customer satisfaction continues to increase.” said Kenny Chang, CIO of Korean Air.

AWS Customers in Korea – From Startups to Enterprises in each industries

AI/ML on Traditional Manufacturers
AWS is helping Korean manufacturing companies realize the benefits of digitalization and regain global competitiveness by leveraging over collective experience gained from working with customers and partners around the world.

Kia Motors produces three million vehicles a year to customers worldwide. It uses Amazon Rekognition and Amazon Polly to develop a car log-in feature using face analysis and voice services. Introduced in CES 2018, this system welcomes drivers and adjusts settings such as seating, mirrors and in-vehicle infotainment based on individual preferences to create a personalized driving experience.

Coway, a Korean home appliance company uses AWS for IoCare, its IoT service for tens of thousands of air & water purifiers. It migrated IoCare from on-premises to AWS for speed and efficiency to handle increasing traffic as their business grew. Coway uses AWS managed services such as AWS IoT, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon DynamoDB, AWS Lambda, Amazon RDS, and Amazon ElastiCache, which also integrated Alexa Skills with AWS Lambda with their high-end air purifier Airmega for the global market.

Play Amazing Games
AWS has transformed the nature of Korean gaming companies, allowing them to autonomously launch and expand their businesses globally without help from local publishers. As a result, the top 15 gaming companies in Korea are currently using AWS, including Nexon, NC Soft, Krafton, Netmarble, and KaKao Games.

Krafton is the developer of the hit video game Player Unknown’s Battle Grounds (PUBG), which was developed on AWS in less than 18 months. The game uses AWS Lambda, Amazon SQS, and AWS CodeDeploy for its core backend service, Amazon DynamoDB as its primary game database, and Amazon Redshift as its data analytics platform. PUBG broke records upon release, with more than 3 million concurrent players connected to the game.

Nexon, a top Korean gaming company to produce top mobile games such as Heroes of Incredible Tales (HIT). They achieved cost savings of more than 30 percent for global infrastructure management and can now launch new games quicker by using AWS. Nexon uses Amazon DynamoDB for its game database and first started using AWS to respond to unpredictable spikes in user demand.

Startups to go Global
Lots of hot startups in Korea are using AWS to grow the local market, but here are great examples to go global although they are based on Korea.

Azar is Hyperconnect’s video-based social discovery mobile app recorded 300 million downloads and now widely accessible in over 200 countries around the world with 20 billion cumulative matches in last year. Overcoming complex matching issues for reliable video chats between users, Hyperconnect utilizes various AWS services efficiently, which uses Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, and Amazon SES to save cost managing global infra, and Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront to store and deliver service data to global users faster. They also use Amazon EMR to manage the vast amount of data generated by 40 million matches per day.

SendBird provides chat APIs and messaging SDK in more than 10 thousand apps globally processing about 700 million messages per month. It uses AWS global regions to provide a top-class customer experience by keeping low latency under 100 ms everywhere in the world. Amazon ElastiCache is currently used to handle large volumes of chat data, and all the data are stored in the encrypted Amazon Aurora for integrity and reliability. Server log data are analyzed and processed using the Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose as well as Amazon Athena.

Freedom to Local Financial Industry
We also see Korean enterprises in the financial services industry leverage AWS to digitally transform their businesses by using data analytics, fintech, and digital banking initiatives. Financial services companies in Korea are leveraging AWS to deliver an enhanced customer experience, and examples of these customers include Shinhan Financial Group, KB Kookmin Bank, Kakao Pay, Mirae Asset, and Yuanta Securities.

Shinhan Financial Group achieved a 50 percent cost reduction and a 20 percent response-time reduction after migrating its North American and Japanese online banking services to AWS. Shinhan’s new Digital Platform unit now uses Amazon ECS, Amazon CloudFront, and other services to reduce development time for new applications by 50 percent. Shinhan is currently pursuing an all-in migration to AWS including moving more than 150 workloads.

Hyundai Card, a top Korean credit card company and a financial subsidiary of the Hyundai Kia Motor Group, built a dev/test platform called Playground on AWS to prototype new software and services by the development team. The customer uses Amazon EMR, AWS Glue, and Amazon Kinesis for cost and architecture optimization. It allowed quick testing of new projects without waiting for resource allocation from on-premises infrastructure, reducing the development period by 3-4 months

Security and Compliance
At AWS, the security, privacy, and protection of customer data always come first, which AWS provides local needs as well as global security and compliances. Our most recent example of this commitment is that AWS became the first global cloud service provider to achieve the Korea-Information Security Management System certification (K-ISMS) in December 2017. With this certification, enterprises and organizations across Korea are able to meet its compliance requirements more effectively and accelerate business transformation by using best-in-class technology delivered from the highly secure and reliable AWS Cloud. AWS also completed its first annual surveillance audit for the K-ISMS certification in 2018.

In April 2019, AWS achieved the Multi-Tier Cloud Security Standard (MTCS) Level-3 certification for Seoul region. AWS is also the first cloud service provider in Korea to do so. With the MTCS, FSI customers in Korea can accelerate cloud adoption by no longer having to validate 109 controls, as required in the relevant regulations (Financial Security Institute’s Guideline on Use of Cloud Computing Services in Financial Industry and the Regulation on Supervision on Electronic Financial Transactions (RSEFT). AWS also published a workbook for Korean FSI customer, covering those and 32 additional controls from the RSEFT.

What to support and enable Korean customers
AWS Korea has made significant investments in education and training in Korea. Tens of thousands of people including IT professionals, developers, and students have been trained in AWS cloud skills over the last two years. AWS Korea also supports community-driven activities to enhance the developer ecosystem of cloud computing in Korea. To date, the AWS Korean User Group has tens of thousands of members, who hold hundreds of meetups across Korea annually.

AWS Educate program is expected to accelerate Korean students’ capabilities in cloud computing skills, helping them acquire cloud expertise that is becoming increasingly relevant for their future employment. Tens of universities including Sogang University, Yonsei University, and Seoul National University have joined this program with thousands of students participating in AWS-related classes and non-profit e-learning programs such as Like a Lion, a non-profit organization that teaches coding to students.

AWS is building a vibrant cloud ecosystem with hundreds of partners ― Systems Integrator (SI) partners include LG CNS, Samsung SDS, Youngwoo Digital, Saltware, NDS, and many others. Among them, Megazone, GS Neotek, and Bespin Global are AWS Premier Consulting Partners. Independent Software Vendor (ISV) partners include AhnLab, Hancom, SK Infosec, SendBird, and IGAWorks. They help our customers to enable AWS services in their workloads to migrate from on-premise or launch new services.

The customer’s celebration whiteboard for 5th anniversary of AWS Summit Seoul

Finally, I want to introduce lots of customer’s feedback in our whiteboard of AWS Summit 2019 although they were written in Korean. Here is one voice from them ― “It made me decide to become an AWS customer voluntary to climb on the shoulders of the giant to see the world.” We always will hear customer’s voices and build the broadest and deepest cloud platform for them to leverage ours and be successful in both Korea and global market.

– Channy Yun;

This article was translated into Korean(한국어) in AWS Korea Blog.

Canadian Parliamentary Report Proposes Tough Copyright Measures

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/canadian-parliamentary-report-proposes-tough-copyright-measures-190516/

The Canadian Government is currently exploring if and how the current Copyright Act should be amended to better fit the present landscape.

To this end, Canada’s Heritage Committee organized several hearings on remuneration models for artists, where it received input from various stakeholders.

The outcome provides input for the Committee on Industry, Science and Technology’s broader review, which will determine the future course for Canada’s copyright policy.  The Heritage Committee hopes that its findings will be included. 

The report, titled “Shifting Paradigms,” leads to a set of 22 recommendations. These cover a variety of issues ranging from addressing the value gap and holding ISPs accountable, through limiting fair dealing, to extending the copyright term.

These themes are in large part meant to further support creators and copyright holders. Much like the EU’s copyright reform, there is a lot of emphasis on the so-called value gap, i.e the notion that artists don’t currently receive fair compensation for their work.

This is also reflected in the report. For example, the payouts at streaming services such as Spotify are often seen as too low. Similarly, services such as YouTube can distribute music and profit from it, while only paying a small fee to copyright holders.

“The inability of policy to evolve with technology has prevented artists from receiving fair market value for their work. According to witnesses, these outdated rules have diverted wealth from creators to large digital intermediaries on which artistic content is consumed,” the committee writes. 

There are also rightsholders who have highlighted the possible aspects of technology on their industries. Content creators have many new distribution platforms, for example, which can bring in extra revenue. However, it’s clear that creators can use some guidance, which results in the first recommendation.

Recommendation 1: That the Government of Canada increase its support for creators and creative industries in adapting to new digital markets.

Online piracy in general is another major theme. Torrent sites and streaming sites remain a significant problem which is hard to address, for example. In addition, ISPs currently have little incentive to help combat piracy. 

One issue that the Government will look into is whether safe harbor exceptions for ISPs should change, to make these companies accountable for pirating users under certain circumstances. 

Recommendation 5: That the Government of Canada review the safe harbor exceptions and laws to ensure that Internet service providers are accountable for their role in the distribution of content.

More generally, the report also suggests that Canada should do more to tackle online piracy overall. One of the options, as suggested during the consultation, is to criminalize online streaming.

Recommendation 6: That the Government of Canada increase its efforts to combat piracy and enforce copyright.

Not dumb pipes

The recommendations are mostly meant to strengthen the position of rightsholders. This also includes an extension of the copyright term from 50 to 70 years after the creator’s death. This follows requests from several copyright groups and is in line with the new trade agreement with the US and Mexico.

According to the committee, no witnesses expressed outright opposition to extending of the copyright term, which leads to the following recommendation.

Recommendation 7: That the Government of Canada pursue its commitment to implement the extension of copyright from 50 to 70 years after the author’s death.

Large copyright intermediaries are also presented with a setback, which appears to have been largely initiated by Canadian singer Bryan Adams. During a hearing last year, Adams suggested changing the text of the Copyright Act to made it easier for artists to regain their copyrights.

At the moment, Canadian copyright reverts to a creator’s heirs 25 years after “death.” By changing the word “death” to “assignment”, creators will be able to terminate a copyright assignment while they’re still alive. 

This is helpful to artists who sign away their rights to labels early in their career, which they may regret later. The Heritage Committee sides with Adams and includes the following recommendation.

Recommendation 14: That the Government of Canada amend subsection 14(1) of the Copyright Act so that it reads “from 25 years after assignment.

Following more music- and movie-related recommendations, many of which deal with licensing and remuneration, the committee shifts its focus to the publishing industry. 

Specifically, it addresses a commonly heard complaint from publishers that Canada’s fair dealing exemptions are too broad. Currently, schools are allowed to copy texts for educational use, but this should change, the committee argues.

Recommendation 18: That Government of Canada amend the Act to clarify that fair dealing should not apply to educational institutions when the work is commercially available.

All in all its clear that the recommendations made in the report are favorable to copyright holders, who will welcome it with open arms. However, not everyone is positive.

University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, who has followed the developments closely, describes the report as the most one-sided Canadian copyright report issued in the past 15 years.

“Representing little more than stenography of lobbying positions from Canadian cultural groups, the report simply adopts as recommendations a wide range of contentious proposals: copyright term extension, restricted fair dealing, increased damages, as well as several new rights and payments,” Geist writes.

“There is no attempt to engage with a broad range of stakeholders, much less grapple with contrary evidence or positions.”

While the Heritage committee did hear several witnesses from people with contrasting views, such as Professor Jeremy de Beer, lawyer Howard Knopf, and author Cory Doctorow, these positions were not reflected in the final report.

The Heritage Committee’s recommendations will now be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, which is tasked the broader copyright review. That report is expected to come out later this year.

As such, there’s still a long way to go before any of these proposals are acted upon, if that’s the case at all.

A copy of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage ‘s “Shifting Paradigms” report 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.

Aussie Music Industry Wins First Ever Stream-Ripping Site Blocks

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/aussie-music-industry-wins-first-ever-stream-ripping-site-blocks-190516/

The worldwide music industry is making no secret of its disdain for so-called stream-ripping sites.

Utilizing content culled mainly from YouTube but also other streaming platforms, these services convert streams into downloads, allowing users to permanently store content – usually music – on a local machine.

Earlier this year the fight to curtail the growth of such platforms landed in Australia. Music labels Sony, Universal, and Warner, with assistance from Music Rights Australia and the Australasian Performing Right Association, eventually appeared in Federal Court during April, asking for action against four key players.

2conv, Flv2mp3, FLVto, and Convert2mp3 (full list of domains below) are considered some of the most significant stream-ripping sites. The music industry asked the Court to prevent users of local ISPs from accessing them. None are located in Australia but that’s convenient from a blocking perspective – Australian law requires them to be based overseas.

Lawyers for the music entities argued that the services are all unlicensed and that while some of the platforms indicate that users themselves should obtain licensing to rip content, that was a “meaningless warranty.”

This morning, ComputerWorld reported what observers believed to be the inevitable outcome. Justice Perram of the Federal Court has sided with the record companies and ordered local ISPs to block access to the sites. The order covers Telstra, Foxtel, Optus, TPG and Vodafone, plus subsidiaries, the publication reports.

Before last year’s amendments to Australia’s Copyright Act, obtaining an order to have these sites blocked would have been more difficult.

Previously, in order for a platform to be rendered inaccessible by ISPs, it would need to have a “primary purpose of infringing”. Last November’s changes lowered the bar so that sites “with the primary effect” of infringing or facilitating infringement can also be blocked.

Another element that would’ve helped the Court side with the music companies is the fact that all of the targeted platforms have been involved in legal action in other countries.

Convert2mp3 is Germany-based and was previously declared illegal and blocked in a first-of-its-kind case in Denmark. The other three services are all based in Russia, with FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com embroiled in legal action with labels in the United States.

In that action, the platforms have thus far come out on top but from the labels’ perspective (1,2) this is unacceptable. Tofig Kurbanov, the Russian operator of the stream-ripping sites, says that if the record labels want a legal battle, they should have that fight in Russia.

In a reply brief filed at the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit earlier this month, Universal, Warner Bros, and Sony argued that the confrontation should take place in the United States. Previously, US District Court Judge Claude M. Hilton dismissed the case due to a lack of jurisdiction.

It’s clear that the labels in the US and elsewhere are determined to stamp out the stream-ripping threat, wherever it may appear.

As reported here on TF yesterday, the RIAA recently obtained a DMCA subpoena to unmask the operator of stream-ripping site YouTubNow, a platform with an estimated 15 million monthly visits.

The domains to be blocked by ISPs in Australia are as follows:


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Supreme Court Refuses Eminem Publisher’s Case Over Copyright Damages

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/supreme-court-refuses-eminem-publishers-case-over-copyright-damages-190515/

While Kim Dotcom remains embroiled in the largest copyright battle New Zealand has ever seen, the country’s National Party has been facing ‘infringement’ problems of its own.

In 2014 Eminem’s publisher took the National Party to court over alleged copyright infringement of the rapper’s track ‘Lose Yourself’ in an election campaign video.

At the time, the party was led by then Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key, who’s seen as Dotcom’s nemesis. In common with the Megaupload case, the dispute between the National Party and Eminem’s publisher continued to drag on.

The National Party didn’t simply use the track without paying for it. They actually sought professional advice before starting the campaign and licensed a track called Eminem Esque, which is the one they used in the ad.

The party hoped to avoid more expensive licensing fees by using the knock-off song, but the High Court previously ruled that the similarities between Lose Yourself and Eminem Esque are so significant that it breached copyright.

In 2017 the Court ordered the National Party to pay $600,000 for the copyright infringement, an amount neither side was satisfied with. In a subsequent ruling a year later, the Court of Appeal sided with the National Party, reducing the damages to $225,000.

Eminem’s publisher, Eight Mile Style, wasn’t pleased with the outcome and asked the Supreme Court to take it on.

During a hearing two weeks ago the publisher’s lawyer, Gary Williams, told the Court that the damages amount was too low. The rightsholders would have demanded a premium for the song, especially since it was used for political advertising, he argued before the court.

This week the New Zealand Supreme Court decided that it will not allow the appeal, Stuff reports. There is no doubt that the National Party’s use of the track was not permitted, but the Court doesn’t believe an extended legal fight over the damages amount is warranted.

“Given the concurrent findings of fact in the courts below rejecting the contention that the National Party turned a blind eye to the risk of infringement or was reckless, we do not see sufficient prospect of success in an argument that additional damages should have been awarded in this case to justify the grant of leave for a further appeal,” the Court wrote.

This effectively ends the legal battle after five years. The National Party will be happy to move on from this copyright infringement row. For Kim Dotcom, however, the battle continues.

For those wondering if the music used in the National Party’s ad campaign is indeed similar to the original Eminem track, a copy is available below.

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

Namecheap Must Identify Nofile.io Registrant Following Piracy Complaint

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/namecheap-must-identify-nofile-io-registrant-following-piracy-complaint-190514/

There are hundreds of file-hosting services on the Internet, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. 

Nofile is generally known as a no-nonsense service that’s free to everyone. The site launched two years ago and has been building a steady userbase ever since.

Recently, however, the site suddenly stopped working (it came back just hours ago). Checking the domain records revealed that the NS records had been removed, which made it impossible to access the site. The question was, why?

A search through U.S. court records provided some possibly relevant context. It revealed that the music industry group RIAA targeted the site through a DMCA subpoena, directed at Nofile’s domain name registrar Namecheap.

The RIAA requested the subpoena at a federal court in Columbia, which was swiftly signed off by a clerk. The paperwork includes a letter addressed to Namecheap, in which the music group demands detailed information on the customer associated with the file-hosting service’s domain.

“We have determined that a user of your system or network has infringed our member record companies’ copyrighted sound recordings,” the RIAA’s letter reads.

“The website associated with this domain name offers files containing sound recordings which are owned by one or more of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use, including without limitation those referenced at the URL below.”

The URL in question is not just some random piece of music. It points to the upload of a leaked track by rapper ‘Tyler, the Creator,’ titled ‘Earfquake.’

The track has been circulating online for roughly a week. It was uploaded to hosting services such as Nofile.io and shared online through Leakth.is, 4Chan, Reddit, and other platforms. Whether Nofile.io played a significant role in the distribution is unknown, but it could be the site where it first appeared.

In any case, the RIAA would like to find out who’s running the site. The music group requests all electronic information that may help to identify the account holder, including IP-addresses, email, and payment information.

“As is stated in the attached subpoena, you are required to disclose to the RIAA information sufficient to identify the infringer. This would include the individual’s name, physical address, IP address, telephone number, e-mail address, payment information, account updates and account history,” the RIAA writes.

The DMCA subpoena

Shortly after the subpoena was granted Nofile.io became unreachable. When we started writing this article it was still offline but just before publication, it returned. The leaked file the RIAA referenced is still hosted there as well.


Interestingly, this is the second DMCA subpoena the RIAA has obtained in a short period of time. Little over a week ago we reported that the group is also going after several ‘pirate’ sites that use Cloudflare.

Both requests use boilerplate language and only require a clerk’s signature to become enforceable. This makes it a rather cheap and effective option to find out more about site owners so it would be no surprise if we see these more often going forward.

Whether it’s the RIAA’s main goal to shut down the site is questionable though. In this case, the music group will likely be more interested in finding out who uploaded the leaked file, if that’s the source.

A copy of the RIAA’s letter to Namecheap 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.

Judge: Number of ‘Unprovable’ Piracy Cases is Alarmingly High

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/judge-number-of-unprovable-piracy-cases-is-alarmingly-high-190513/

By filing thousands of lawsuits over the past two years, Strike 3 Holdings swiftly became one of the most active copyright litigants in the U.S.

These cases target people whose Internet connections were allegedly used to download and share copyright infringing content via BitTorrent. In the case of Strike 3, that’s adult content. 

As is common in these lawsuits, Strike 3 only knows the defendant by an IP-address. It then asks the courts to grant a subpoena, allowing it to ask Internet providers for the personal details of the alleged offenders so it can send a settlement request.

There has been some pushback against these requests in certain courts. In the Eastern District of New York, for example, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein slammed on the brakes recently 

Judge Orenstein denied motions for expedited discovery in thirteen cases. This means that the adult video company can’t get a subpoena to identify the alleged pirates. While we have incidentally seen similar decisions, the motivation, in this case, is worth highlighting.

The thirteen cases

In his order, the Judge writes that allowing Strike 3 to obtain the identities of the account holders creates a risk.

Specifically, it will put Strike 3 “in a position to effectively coerce the identified subscribers into paying thousands of dollars to settle claims that may or may not have merit, so as to avoid either the cost of litigation or the embarrassment of being sued for using unlawful means to view adult material.”

Strike 3 was willing to give the Court assurances by accepting procedural safeguards on how the subpoenaed information can be used. However, considering the company’s history of avoiding judicial oversight, Judge Orenstein prefers not to issue any subpoenas at all. 

And there are more factors at play here. The order mentions that, if subpoenas are issued, it’s likely that Strike 3 will not use the account holders’ details to litigate these cases in court. That’s also backed up by the information the rightsholder shared with the Court. 

Since 2017, Strike 3 has filed 276 cases in the district, but zero have gone to trial.

Of the 143 cases that were resolved in the district, 49 resulted in a settlement and 94 were voluntarily dismissed. The latter number includes 50 cases where Strike 3 wasn’t confident that the defendant is the infringer. In other words, people who are likely wrongfully accused.

From the order

This means that in one-third of the resolved cases, Strike 3 has likely targeted the wrong person. This number is “alarmingly high,” according to the Magistrate Judge. 

“Strike 3 acknowledges that in many cases, the ‘Doe’ it has sued – that is, the subscriber – will prove to be someone other than the person who engaged in the allegedly unlawful conduct the Complaint describes,” the order reads.

“And as it has now revealed in response to my inquiry, the proportion of such unprovable cases is alarmingly high,” Judge Orenstein adds.

This means that Strike 3 is listing many people as Doe defendants, while it knows that quite a few of these are not the actual infringers.

“It is thus apparent that Strike 3 is deliberately asserting claims in a scattershot fashion against a broad array of individuals simply because it is confident that many of them will be liable – even if almost as many of them are not,” the order reads.

This seems to contradict the requirement that copyright holders should have good faith belief in the merit of their claim. While that’s not a violation of the federal rules per se, the Judge sees it as a reason not to issue the subpoenas. 

After all, it is clear that these type of lawsuits are also targeting innocent subscribers.

“While I do not suggest that suing three people because two of them probably committed a provable copyright violation is a technical violation of Rule 11, the certainty that such an approach will impose needless burdens on innocent individuals counsels against a finding of good cause to permit expedited discovery,” the order reads.

Strike 3 also argued that these type of lawsuits are needed to deter others from engaging in copyright infringement. However, the court waved away this argument as well.

Similarly, Judge Orenstein disagrees with Strike 3’s argument that it will be unable to enforce its copyrights if a subpoena is not granted. While this concern is valid, the Judge believes that these types of cases are not the answer, as they are plainly inefficient.

With the latter comment, the order references the work of Idaho Law Professor Annemarie Bridy, who previously published a paper explaining that litigation is not a scalable mechanism to deal with this type of copyright infringement.

In summary, the order delivers a devastating blow to Strike 3 and adds to the recent criticism of these types of lawsuits. If all judges ruled the same way, so-called copyright trolling practice would be finished. However, that’s not the case just yet.

A copy of the order, which dates back a few weeks and has mostly been flying under the radar, 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.

Google “De-Indexes 832 Pirate Sites” From Australia Search Results

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/google-de-indexes-832-pirate-sites-from-australia-search-results-190513/

Section 115a of Australia’s Copyright Act allows copyright holders to apply for court injunctions that compel local ISPs to block subscribers from accessing ‘pirate’ sites.

Since it became active in 2015, the legislation has been used a number of times to block large numbers of mainly torrent and streaming platforms. However, such sites are often quick to adapt, deploying alternative domains, mirrors and proxies to undermine the blockades.

While Google has nothing to do with these actions, it has been regularly criticized for allowing users to carry out searches which enable them to find these workarounds. That has provoked harsh criticism from rightsholders, in particular Village Roadshow chief Graham Burke.

To tackle this and other loopholes, in November 2018 Australia passed new legislation that allows rightsholders to expand blocks without having to go to court. It also compels search providers to remove links to sites detailed in court orders from their search results.

While this framework is easily understood, this morning a report appeared in SMH declaring that peace has effectively broken out between rightsholders and Google.

The latter has reportedly entered into a “voluntary agreement” to remove 832 “sites” currently blocked by ISPs from its search results, despite the court orders covering these locations not necessarily applying to Google.

“This means we, as content owners, will be able to avoid the expense, effort, time and uncertainty of going to court,” Roadshow’s Burke said.

“We’ve gone from being enemies to being allies … because I believe Google is doing the right thing by Australians,” he added.

“[The] pirates’ business model is robbing and scamming people, they have sophisticated ways to take your information. Google has come down on the side that is right.”

Burke’s praise for Google is somewhat of a surprise and the turnaround in his tone quite remarkable. Equally, Google entering into a voluntary agreement over a process it slammed last year also raises eyebrows.

In particular, Google opposed any process that didn’t have the “direct oversight of the Federal Court” while noting that “there is no utility in extending site blocking schemes beyond ISPs to other online service providers.”

TorrentFreak contacted Google for additional detail last evening and it provided the following statement.

“Google supports effective industry led measures to fight piracy, and we invest significantly in the technology, tools and resources that prevent copyright infringement on our platforms,” a spokesperson said.

Google is clearly reluctant to put any additional meat on the bones of this “voluntary agreement” but TorrentFreak has learned that this scheme only affects Australia and is directly linked to the new legislation passed last year.

It seems possible then that this mass de-indexing of pirate resources represents a game of catch-up.

A large proportion of existing pirate sites are already blocked under existing court orders that were granted under earlier legislation that didn’t require search engine de-indexing. It therefore seems likely that in order to have Google remove the sites from its results, copyright holders would have to return to court.

For 832 sites (832 domains seems more realistic) this would be a time-consuming exercise and one with a guaranteed outcome. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that the parties agreed to save time and money by cutting out the middle man and conceding to the inevitable.

Burke suggests the de-indexing has already taken place so TF carried out some tests using various sites, including the most obvious blocking and de-indexing target (ThePirateBay.org) to see the effects.

First, we used two Australian IP addresses (one in Melbourne, the other in Sydney) to access Google.com. We then searched for The Pirate Bay, which appeared as the top result each time.

We then switched to Google.com.au and tested again with same IP addresses but ThePirateBay.org appeared as the top result again.

TPB search on Google.com.au, with Australian IP addresses

We presented Google with these results and asked if it could explain the precise parameters of its de-indexing so we could report more accurately.

The company declined to comment but it’s possible that not all de-indexing operations have been carried out yet. It’s also possible that only users of the ISPs specifically listed in the original court orders are affected, such as those using Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG, and Vodafone, plus subsidiaries.

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

Tor Exit Node Operator Dodges Bullet in Piracy Lawsuit

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/tor-exit-node-operator-dodges-bullet-in-piracy-lawsuit/

Tor is an anonymity tool and operating a relay or exit point basically means that the traffic of hundreds or thousands of users hit the Internet from your IP-address.

When pirates use Tor, it will then appear as if the traffic comes from this connection. This can lead to liability issues as Oregon resident John Huszar found out the hard way.

Back in 2015, the company behind the movie Dallas Buyers Club, which is known for its vigorous pursuit of online pirates, filed a federal lawsuit against the IP-address

A few months later, this complaint was amended to list “Integrity Computer Services” as the defendant. As part of the proceedings, the filmmakers served a request for admissions, asking the defendant to respond to several statements.

This request remained unanswered, which turned out to be a crucial mistake. Not responding typically means that the court can assume the statements are true. In this case, it included an admission that Huszar unlawfully distributed a copy of Dallas Buyers Club, which seemingly opened the door to a substantial financial claim.

That John Huszar later repeatedly denied that he personally downloaded a pirated copy of the film in follow-up proceedings was irrelevant, according to the filmmakers.








Backed by the admission, Dallas Buyers Club proceeded to file a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to confirm that Huszar did indeed willfully commit copyright infringement.

This issue went to U.S. Magistrate Judge John Acosta earlier this year who, in his report and recommendation, sided with the movie company.

“The court finds the admissions resulting from Huszar’s failure to deny allegations in the operative complaint or respond to requests for admissions clearly establish Huszar willfully infringed on Dallas’s copyrighted material in violation of the Act,” Acosta wrote.

In most cases, these recommendations are accepted by the district court judge. That was bad news for Huszar, as it would make him liable for thousands of dollars in potential damages.

However, the order that came out this week shows that a previously overlooked issue turned the tables in favor of Huszar.

United States District Judge Michael Simon reviewed the objections that were pointed out by the defense, which highlight a crucial issue. When the request for admissions was served back in 2016, Huszar was not named as a defendant. 

At the time the complaint listed his company Integrity Computer Services as the defendant. This was replaced by Huszar in an amended complaint a few months later. However, that meant that the request for admission (RFA) wasn’t directed at Huszar personally.

“The only defendant in the case at that time was simply “Integrity Computer Services,” (no ‘a/k/a’) and that is the only defendant named in the First Amended Complaint,” Judge Simon writes in his order.

“Huszar, therefore, was not the party served with the April 12, 2016 RFAs. The facts sought in those requests thus cannot be deemed admitted by Huszar for failure to respond, and the Court’s order finding such admission is withdrawn.”

As such, the court decided not to adopt the report and recommendation. 

The order

The procedural issue was missed by the defense initially, likely because Huszar was defending himself at the time, but the oversight has saved him for now.

“It is a technical issue that no ‘pro-se’ would likely catch. But RFA’s can affect a case significantly as was clear from the Magistrate’s decision.  This is the error we brought up to the District Court’s attention that led to the ruling in our favor,” Huszar’s attorney J. Curtis Edmondson informs TorrentFreak.

While Huszar escapes a ruling of willful copyright infringement based on the admissions, the case is not over yet. The motion for summary judgment is now reverted back to Judge Acosta for consideration on the merits. 

Huszar’s cross-motion of non-infringement is still on the table. Among other things, Huszar has argued that the evidence gathering software used in this case is flawed and unreliable.

Both sides are now allowed to submit supplement pleadings. Huszar ultimately hopes to prove that he is not guilty and have his legal bills paid. The filmmakers, on the other hand, plan to prove that the Tor exit node operator is guilty and demand damages.

A copy of United States District Judge Michael Simon’s order is available here (pdf).

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

Fancy a Job in Covert Anti-Piracy? Only Experts Need Apply

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/fancy-a-job-in-anti-piracy-only-experts-need-apply-190509/

With a huge emphasis placed on the unlicensed distribution of music through platforms like YouTube, one might think that enforcement against other sources has taken a bit of a back seat.

However, traditional anti-piracy investigations are alive and well, carried out mostly in the shadows by teams of professionals. It’s relatively rare to hear about these roles in public but a new listing posted by the British Phonographic Industry gives a flavor of the kinds of skills one would need to hold such a job.

Titled ‘Evidence, Intelligence & Investigations Executive (Digital)’, the position currently waiting to be filled at the company is an important one. The BPI represents the interests of Sony, Universal and Warner in the UK, along with more than 400 independent labels.

“Collectively, all those members account for approximately 99 per cent of recorded music consumed legally within the UK each year,” the BPI notes.

The new addition to the BPI’s Content Protection team will have several key responsibilities, such as ensuring the industry group is in compliance with laws and regulations when evidence is collected in the pursuit of pirates.

He or she will also be responsible for investigating online infringement, and as such, will have previous experience of digital investigations and be fluent in the use of case management and forensic tools.

Given the nature of the work, candidates also require a good understanding of piracy and the tools used to carry it out. The same goes for web-hosting, Internet registries (domains etc), content delivery networks (Cloudflare etc) and advertising intermediaries, all of which can be leveraged to disrupt infringement.

Since it’s a primary tool to reduce infringement, enforcing content removal “across a variety of online platforms” will also be a key task. As detailed in our report last year, the BPI is a prolific DMCA notice sender but unlike many outfits operating with huge volumes, also appears to be one of the most accurate. This certainly fits the requirement for the lucky applicant to be “meticulous in work output.”

Another novel aspect is that the successful candidate will be required to manage test purchases, which could conceivably range from subscribing to an online pirate service through to buying a bunch of pirate karaoke DVDs from eBay. Interestingly, this will also entail managing “covert credit cards” and “covert drop addresses”.

But the undercover action doesn’t stop there. Also in the job description is the managing of “covert social media accounts”, which suggests a level of penetration into piracy circles that many believed existed but hadn’t yet seen written down in black and white.

At this point, there are probably quite a few readers thinking that not only does the job sound quite interesting, but they’re also qualified for the position. That might indeed be the case if one can also show expert use of Excel and PowerPoint and “good working knowledge” of IBM i2 and SQL databases. But from there the requirements go on and on.

Preferred candidates will have a background in law enforcement, criminal law, or cyber investigations. They will also be experienced in computer forensics and writing witness statements, utilizing their knowledge of copyright law, of course.

The reasons for this are made fairly clear in the listing. In addition to preparing intelligence and evidence that might be used in the prosecution of pirates, the lucky applicant will also spend one day a week working at PIPCU, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

There’s little doubt that the BPI will find the right person for the job, but ticking all of the boxes in the listing will be a big ask. Especially when assisting the BPI with its lobbying activities with ISPs and other service providers is also one of the job’s requirements.

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

Judge: IP-Address Doesn’t Locate or Identify a BitTorrent Pirate

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/judge-ip-address-doesnt-locate-or-identify-a-bittorrent-pirate-190509/

Since the start of this decade, hundreds of thousands of alleged BitTorrent pirates have been sued by so-called ‘copyright trolls’ in the United States.

The select group of rightsholders that file these cases generally rely on an IP address as evidence. They then ask the courts to grant a subpoena, ordering Internet providers to hand over the personal details of the associated account holder.

While some judges have refused to do so in the past, many District Courts still issue these subpoenas. However, over the years judges have grown more skeptical about the provided evidence. This includes Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro.

In February, Judge Ungaro was assigned a case filed by the adult entertainment company “Strike 3 Holdings,” which has filed hundreds of lawsuits over the past several months.

The company accused IP-address “” of sharing its content through BitTorrent without permission. The Judge, however, was reluctant to issue a subpoena. She asked the company how the use of geolocation and other technologies could reasonably pinpoint the identity and location of the alleged infringer.

Responding to this order to show cause, Strike 3 explained that it used Maxmind’s database to link the IP-address to Internet provider Cogeco and a location in Southern Florida.  According to Maxmind, its IP address tracing service is roughly 95% accurate in the US, so the rightsholder is confident that it filed the case in the right court.

Strike 3 further admitted that, at this point, it doesn’t know whether the account holder is the actual copyright infringer. However, the company believes that this is the most plausible target and says it will try to find out more once the identity of the person in question is revealed.

That was not good enough for Judge Ungaro. In an order released this week she writes that, other than stating that it’s “plausible” that the infringer can be identified through the IP-address, Strike 3 failed to explain how the geolocation software can properly identify or locate the actual infringer.

“There is nothing that links the IP address location to the identity of the person actually downloading and viewing Plaintiff’s videos, and establishing whether that person lives in this district,” Judge Ungaro writes.

The order points out that an IP-address alone can’t identify someone. As such, it can’t accurately pinpoint the person who allegedly downloaded the copyright infringing content.

“For example, it is entirely possible that the IP address belongs to a coffee shop or open Wi-Fi network, which the alleged infringer briefly used on a visit to Miami,” Judge Ungaro notes.

“Even if the IP address were located within a residence in this district, the geolocation software cannot identify who has access to that residence’s computer and who actually used it to infringe Plaintiff’s copyright,” she adds.

Strike 3 stressed that many courts have issued subpoenas based on the exact same evidence. While that is true, the Judge counters that other courts, which also doubted the strength of an IP-address as evidence, have refused to do so.

In this instance, the Court finds that Strike 3 hasn’t provided sufficient evidence to argue that it can reasonably rely on the usage of geolocation to establish the identity of the accused downloader. Nor does it prove that the person lives in the Court’s jurisdiction.

As a result, the Court refused to issue a subpoena and dismissed the case against IP-address for improper venue. The case is closed and Strike 3 won’t get the opportunity to refile.

While not all judges may come to the same conclusion, the order is a setback for Strike 3 and other rightsholders. They clearly have to come up with other arguments or evidence if their case is handled by this Judge.

But that shouldn’t really come as a complete surprise, as Judge Ungaro has issued similar orders in the past.

A copy of Judge Ursula Ungaro’s order, pointed out to us by SJD, 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.