Tag Archives: news

Now Available – EC2 Instances (G4) with NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/now-available-ec2-instances-g4-with-nvidia-t4-tensor-core-gpus/

The NVIDIA-powered G4 instances that I promised you earlier this year are available now and you can start using them today in eight AWS regions in six sizes! You can use them for machine learning training & inferencing, video transcoding, game streaming, and remote graphics workstations applications.

The instances are equipped with up to four NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs, each with 320 Turing Tensor cores, 2,560 CUDA cores, and 16 GB of memory. The T4 GPUs are ideal for machine learning inferencing, computer vision, video processing, and real-time speech & natural language processing. The T4 GPUs also offer RT cores for efficient, hardware-powered ray tracing. The NVIDIA Quadro Virtual Workstation (Quadro vWS) is available in AWS Marketplace. It supports real-time ray-traced rendering and can speed creative workflows often found in media & entertainment, architecture, and oil & gas applications.

G4 instances are powered by AWS-custom Second Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable (Cascade Lake) processors with up to 64 vCPUs, and are built on the AWS Nitro system. Nitro’s local NVMe storage building block provides direct access to up to 1.8 TB of fast, local NVMe storage. Nitro’s network building block delivers high-speed ENA networking. The Intel AVX512-Deep Learning Boost feature extends AVX-512 with a new set of Vector Neural Network Instructions (VNNI for short). These instructions accelerate the low-precision multiply & add operations that reside in the inner loop of many inferencing algorithms.

Here are the instance sizes:

Instance Name
NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUsvCPUsRAMLocal StorageEBS BandwidthNetwork Bandwidth
g4dn.xlarge1416 GiB1 x 125 GBUp to 3.5 GbpsUp to 25 Gbps
g4dn.2xlarge1832 GiB1 x 225 GBUp to 3.5 GbpsUp to 25 Gbps
g4dn.4xlarge11664 GiB1 x 225 GBUp to 3.5 GbpsUp to 25 Gbps
g4dn.8xlarge132128 GiB1 x 900 GB7 Gbps50 Gbps
g4dn.12xlarge448192 GiB1 x 900 GB7 Gbps50 Gbps
g4dn.16xlarge164256 GiB1 x 900 GB7 Gbps50 Gbps

We are also working on a bare metal instance that will be available in the coming months:

Instance Name
NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUsvCPUsRAMLocal StorageEBS BandwidthNetwork Bandwidth
g4dn.metal896384 GiB2 x 900 GB14 Gbps100 Gbps

If you want to run graphics workloads on G4 instances, be sure to use the latest version of the NVIDIA AMIs (available in AWS Marketplace) so that you have access to the requisite GRID and Graphics drivers, along with an NVIDIA Quadro Workstation image that contains the latest optimizations and patches. Here’s where you can find them:

  • NVIDIA Gaming – Windows Server 2016
  • NVIDIA Gaming – Windows Server 2019
  • NVIDIA Gaming – Ubuntu 18.04

The newest AWS Deep Learning AMIs include support for G4 instances. The team that produces the AMIs benchmarked a g3.16xlarge instance against a g4dn.12xlarge instance and shared the results with me. Here are some highlights:

  • MxNet Inference (resnet50v2, forward pass without MMS) – 2.03 times faster.
  • MxNet Inference (with MMS) – 1.45 times faster.
  • MxNet Training (resnet50_v1b, 1 GPU) – 2.19 times faster.
  • Tensorflow Inference (resnet50v1.5, forward pass) – 2.00 times faster.
  • Tensorflow Inference with Tensorflow Service (resnet50v2) – 1.72 times faster.
  • Tensorflow Training (resnet50_v1.5) – 2.00 times faster.

The benchmarks used FP32 numeric precision; you can expect an even larger boost if you use mixed precision (FP16) or low precision (INT8).

You can launch G4 instances today in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), US West (N. California), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (Ireland), Europe (London), Asia Pacific (Seoul), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Regions. We are also working to make them accessible in Amazon SageMaker and in Amazon EKS clusters.

Jeff;

Piracy Boosts Sales of Some Manga Comics, Research Shows

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/piracy-boosts-sales-of-some-manga-comics-research-shows-190920/

Manga piracy has been in the news quite a bit this month.

The popular manga comic scanlation platform Manga Rock announced that it will shut down and a few days later Japanese publishers sued the pirate site Hoshinoromi in a U.S. court.

By now, it’s commonly known that you are not supposed to republish copyrighted works without permission. However, people have different views on what the effect of manga piracy is on the revenues of publishers.

Rightsholders often stress that the industry is endangered by people who ‘steal’ their content, while manga consumers can see it as a form of promotion. Free sampling can satisfy the reading needs that are beyond their budget, expanding their horizons.

Newly published research by Professor Tatsuo Tanaka of the Faculty of Economics at Keio University suggests that both sides have a point.

The findings come from a natural experiment that uses a massive takedown campaign conducted by anti-piracy group CODA in 2015. This campaign reduced the availability of pirated comics on various download sites, which allowed Professor Tanaka to analyze how this affected sales of 3,360 comic book volumes.

The results, recently published in the article titled “The Effects of Internet Book Piracy: Case of Comics,” show that the effect of piracy differs between ongoing and completed series. In other words, the effect of piracy is heterogeneous.

“Piracy decreased the legitimate sales of ongoing comics but stimulated legitimate sales of completed comics,” Professor Tanaka writes.

The overall effect of piracy could not be measured with this methodology but the findings clearly show that piracy does have some positive effects. In this case, it shows the number of sales of completed comic book series increase.

This heterogeneous piracy effect on sales is not unique. Previously, research has shown that the Megaupload shutdown increased box office revenues for bigger films, but hurt smaller releases.

The manga piracy findings are particularly relevant for the Manga Rock situation. Following discussions with publishers, the site plans to remove all its pirated titles at the end of this month and return with a completely legal platform in a few months’ time.

Interestingly, that goes against the recommendation of Professor Tanaka, who writes the following in his paper:

“If the effect of piracy is heterogeneous, it is not the best solution to shut down the piracy sites uniformly but to delete harmful piracy files selectively if possible. In this case, deleting piracy files of ongoing comics only is the first best strategy for publishers regardless of whether the total effect is positive or negative, because the availability of piracy files of completed comics is beneficial to both publishers and consumers.”

The paper was published in August and is based on older, previously-released data. So, one should be careful when applying it to the Manga Rock case, which is newer and deals with fan-made scanlation copies. That said, it could give the publishers some food for thought.

Manga Rock is massively popular and has millions of engaged Mmanga fans in its user base. Keeping some of these on board, even with a smaller library, could be smarter than simply driving them towards the next pirate site.

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

MPAA Unifies Global Brand and Becomes MPA America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MPA logos

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

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

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

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

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

Millennium Films Goes After Verystream, Streamango, and Others

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/millennium-films-goes-after-verystream-streamango-and-others-190918/

Millennium Films and its daughter companies have been rather active with their anti-piracy efforts in recent months.

The movie companies have targeted some of the largest piracy apps and websites in court with the ultimate goal of shutting them down.

Last week this resulted in a major success when the popular app CotoMovies decided to shut down. This was a direct result of legal pressure from Millennium Films which, in the process, brokered an unusual deal.

In addition to shutting down and issuing a public apology, CotoMovies confirmed that it will share user data with the movie companies. According to the movie company’s attorney, Kerry S. Culpepper, this data can “more than likely” be used to go after users of the streaming piracy app.

While no further details have emerged since, the CotoMovies aftermath continues. A few days ago Millennium Films obtained a subpoena which requires Cloudflare to hand over the personal details of people connected to several file-hosting and streaming sites.

These targets include Verystream and Streamango, two very popular hosting services with millions of users each, which were reportedly used by CotoMovies to serve videos. The other sites, Fembed, VShare, Vidlox, Flix555, Streamplay, and 0123movies, all have a CotoMovies connection as well.

“The above web domains have been identified as streaming copies of Owner’s motion picture(s) and supplying said streams to the piracy app ‘CotoMovies’,” Culpepper informed the Hawaii Federal Court.

Culpepper requests the name, address, telephone, email, payment records, and IP address log history for each associated customer. This will likely be used to conduct follow-up investigations.

The services and sites are informally accused of making Millennium’s copyrighted content available without permission. That said, it’s not clear whether the operators of these domains can be held directly liable. After all, most sites rely on user-uploaded content.

Millennium, however, seems determined to keep digging for more information, perhaps hoping that more apps and services will fold.

“Millennium greatly values their and other’s intellectual property.  Millennium cannot keep making new movies if people steal Millennium’s movies through apps like these,” Millennium Media co-president Jonathan Yunger informed TorrentFreak last week, following the CotoMovies shutdown.

A copy of the subpoena directed at Cloudflare 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.

EasyDNS Threatened With Criminal Complaint over ‘Pirating’ Customer

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/easydns-threatened-with-criminal-complaint-over-pirating-customer-190917/

Over the past several years, the Canadian company easyDNS has come up in several piracy-related news articles.

The company’s domain registrar activities, in particular, have been a topic of discussion. Not least because it serves high-profile customers, including The Pirate Bay.

EasyDNS CEO Mark Jeftovic has always made it very clear that he doesn’t want his company to be a refuge for pirate sites. However, at the same time he is committed to protecting due process. 

This became clear a few years ago when the company refused to suspend domain names based on allegations from the City of London Police. This stance was repeated later when the RIAA asked easyDNS to suspend The Pirate Bay’s domain, which it refused to do without a court order. 

These examples show that easyDNS is no stranger to legal pressure, but a recent request from a German law firm was a bit over the top, even by easyDNS’ standards.

The company recently received a copyright notice from the German law firm Fechner Legal, ordering easyDNS to take down a URL of one of its clients who allegedly posted a copyright-infringing image. In addition, the notice came with a settlement offer, urging the registrar to pay €1,481 in damages and fees.

The letter, which was initially sent to the wrong email address years ago, came through the postal mail. EasyDNS has no plans to pay up or expose its customer, as the law firm requested. However, it did send a reply asking for a digital copy so it could be forwarded to its customer, as is standard practice.

Instead of sending over the requested digital copy, the law firm replied with a threat. Citing German jurisprudence, attorney Robert Fechner urged easyDNS to hand over the name and email address of the allegedly-infringing customer, or else.

The” or else,” in this case, would come in the form of a criminal complaint.

“If you fail to comply with the law, further proceedings will be to file a criminal complaint against you in order to acquire this information on the basis of § 14 II TMG. In this case, additional damages due to your uncooperative and unlawful behavior will be claimed.” Fechner wrote.

Despite the threat of a criminal complaint, easyDNS still doesn’t plan to hand over the name and email address of its customer. The company’s CEO stresses that it only complies with the law of the country where it’s incorporated, which is Canada.

Simply handing over personal information might violate Canadian privacy law, easyDNS stresses. This means that, if Fechner Legal wants the personal information of the customer in question, it has to obtain a valid court order, subpoena or warrant in the Province of Ontario.

“It’s almost as if Herr Fechner doesn’t understand that Canada is a completely different country than Germany, and thus businesses operating here are subject to Canadian, not German law,” Jeftovic notes.

“We have further advised Herr Fechner that both easyDNS and our lawyers take a dim view of being threatened with a criminal complaint over something like this and we wonder out loud if the German bar association would have anything to say about one of their own abusing their position and misrepresenting the law in this manner,” he adds.

In any case, it’s clear that as a third-party registrar, easyDNS isn’t going to take any action without a proper court order. This means that the allegedly infringing URL remains online for now, just like The Pirate Bay.

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

NoSQL Workbench for Amazon DynamoDB – Available in Preview

Post Syndicated from Danilo Poccia original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/nosql-workbench-for-amazon-dynamodb-available-in-preview/

I am always impressed by the flexibility of Amazon DynamoDB, providing our customers a fully-managed key-value and document database that can easily scale from a few requests per month to millions of requests per second.

The DynamoDB team released so many great features recently, from on-demand capacity, to support for native ACID transactions. Here’s a great recap of other recent DynamoDB announcements such as global tables, point-in-time recovery, and instant adaptive capacity. DynamoDB now encrypts all customer data at rest by default.

However, switching mindset from a relational database to NoSQL is not that easy. Last year we had two amazing talks at re:Invent that can help you understand how DynamoDB works, and how you can use it for your use cases:

To help you even further, we are introducing today in preview NoSQL Workbench for Amazon DynamoDB, a free, client-side application available for Windows and macOS to help you design and visualize your data model, run queries on your data, and generate the code for your application!

The three main capabilities provided by the NoSQL Workbench are:

  • Data modeler — to build new data models, adding tables and indexes, or to import, modify, and export existing data models.
  • Visualizer — to visualize data models based on their applications access patterns, with sample data that you can add manually or import via a SQL query.
  • Operation builder — to define and execute data-plane operations or generate ready-to-use sample code for them.

To see how this new tool can simplify working with DynamoDB, let’s build an application to retrieve information on customers and their orders.

Using the NoSQL Workbench
In the Data modeler, I start by creating a CustomerOrders data model, and I add a table, CustomerAndOrders, to hold my customer data and the information on their orders. You can use this tool to create a simple data model where customers and orders are in two distinct tables, each one with their own primary keys. There would be nothing wrong with that. Here I’d like to show how this tool can also help you use more advanced design patterns. By having the customer and order data in a single table, I can construct queries that return all the data I need with a single interaction with DynamoDB, speeding up the performance of my application.

As partition key, I use the customerId. This choice provides an even distribution of data across multiple partitions. The sort key in my data model will be an overloaded attribute, in the sense that it can hold different data depending on the item:

  • A fixed string, for example customer, for the items containing the customer data.
  • The order date, written using ISO 8601 strings such as 20190823, for the items containing orders.

By overloading the sort key with these two possible values, I am able to run a single query that returns the customer data and the most recent orders. For this reason, I use a generic name for the sort key. In this case, I use sk.

Apart from the partition key and the optional sort key, DynamoDB has a flexible schema, and the other attributes can be different for each item in a table. However, with this tool I have the option to describe in the data model all the possible attributes I am going to use for a table. In this way, I can check later that all the access patterns I need for my application work well with this data model.

For this table, I add the following attributes:

  • customerName and customerAddress, for the items in the table containing customer data.
  • orderId and deliveryAddress, for the items in the table containing order data.

I am not adding a orderDate attribute, because for this data model the value will be stored in the sk sort key. For a real production use case, you would probably have much more attributes to describe your customers and orders, but I am trying to keep things simple enough here to show what you can do, without getting lost in details.

Another access pattern for my application is to be able to get a specific order by ID. For that, I add a global secondary index to my table, with orderId as partition key and no sort key.

I add the table definition to the data model, and move on to the Visualizer. There, I update the table by adding some sample data. I add data manually, but I could import a few rows from a table in a MySQL database, for example to simplify a NoSQL migration from a relational database.

Now, I visualize my data model with the sample data to have a better understanding of what to expect from this table. For example, if I select a customerId, and I query for all the orders greater than a specific date, I also get the customer data at the end, because the string customer, stored in the sk sort key, is always greater that any date written in ISO 8601 syntax.

In the Visualizer, I can also see how the global secondary index on the orderId works. Interestingly, items without an orderId are not part of this index, so I get only 4 of the 6 items that are part of my sample data. This happens because DynamoDB writes a corresponding index entry only if the index sort key value is present in the item. If the sort key doesn’t appear in every table item, the index is said to be sparseSparse indexes are useful for queries over a subsection of a table.

I now commit my data model to DynamoDB. This step creates server-side resources such as tables and global secondary indexes for the selected data model, and loads the sample data. To do so, I need AWS credentials for an AWS account. I have the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) installed and configured in the environment where I am using this tool, so I can just select one of my named profiles.

I move to the Operation builder, where I see all the tables in the selected AWS Region. I select the newly created CustomerAndOrders table to browse the data and build the code for the operations I need in my application.

In this case, I want to run a query that, for a specific customer, selects all orders more recent that a date I provide. As we saw previously, the overloaded sort key would also return the customer data as last item. The Operation builder can help you use the full syntax of DynamoDB operations, for example adding conditions and child expressions. In this case, I add the condition to only return orders where the deliveryAddress contains Seattle.

I have the option to execute the operation on the DynamoDB table, but this time I want to use the query in my application. To generate the code, I select between Python, JavaScript (Node.js), or Java.

You can use the Operation builder to generate the code for all the access patterns that you plan to use with your application, using all the advanced features that DynamoDB provides, including ACID transactions.

Available Now
You can find how to set up NoSQL Workbench for Amazon DynamoDB (Preview) for Windows and macOS here.

We welcome your suggestions in the DynamoDB discussion forum. Let us know what you build with this new tool and how we can help you more!

Swiss Copyright Law: Downloading Stays Legal, No Site Blocking

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/swiss-copyright-law-downloading-stays-legal-no-site-blocking/

Sitting in the heart of Europe geographically but outside the European Union politically, Switzerland is largely free to make its own legislation.

On the copyright front, this has brought the country out of line with standards adopted by its neighbors, something that has drawn criticism from entertainment industry companies, particularly those in the United States.

In 2017, proposals to amend the country’s copyright laws were drafted but they failed to fully address key complaints from the United States Trade Representative (USTR) made on behalf of rightsholders.

A major complaint is that the country’s private copying exception shouldn’t apply to content obtained from illegal sources, i.e pirate copies of movies circulating on peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent. The USTR also had issues with the current liability framework for sites and hosting services that facilitate and profit from piracy.

After a long trip through the corridors of power, Switzerland’s National Council adopted amendments to copyright law Monday but at first view, there seems little to please the United States.

First up, regular citizens who download copyrighted content from illegal sources will not be criminalized. This means that those who obtain copies of the latest movies from the Internet, for example, will be able to continue doing so without fear of reprisals. Uploading has always been outlawed and that aspect has not changed.

Second, the drive to have pirate site-blocking introduced into Swiss law has been rejected. Unlike elsewhere in Europe, where the practice is widespread and supported by EU law, ISPs will not be required to block ‘pirate’ platforms as some copyright holders had demanded.

On the hosting and liability front, there will be changes, but at this early stage, it’s unclear how that will play out on the ground.

SwissInfo reports that the reforms will force local hosting providers to remove illegal content from their servers but adds that parliament rejected rules that would compel online platforms to check whether uploaded content is copyrighted.

A “take-down-stay-down” system had been championed (which would presumably require content to be checked against previous takedowns) but elsewhere it’s claimed that the new legal framework “favors self-regulation” to fight piracy at the hosting level.

While an extension from 50 to 70 years copyright protection for musical and photographic works will be welcomed by copyright holders, the failure to outlaw downloading of pirated content for personal use will be absolutely unacceptable to the United States and the MPAA in particular.

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

TekSavvy Protests Push for Pirate Site Blocking in Court

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/teksavvy-protests-push-for-pirate-site-blocking-in-court-190916/

Pirate site blockades are gradually spreading across the globe. Thus far, Canada hasn’t joined the movement but that’s something Bell, Rogers, and Groupe TVA hope to change.

In June, the three companies filed a lawsuit against the operators of a ‘pirate’ IPTV service operating from the domain names GoldTV.ca and GoldTV.biz. The companies argued that the service provides access to their TV content without licenses or authorization.

Among other things, the rightsholders requested an interim injunction to stop the operators, who remain unidentified, from continuing to offer the allegedly-infringing IPTV service. This was granted last month, but despite the order, some of the infrastructures remained available.

This resulted in a new request from the media giants, which could potentially lead to the first-ever pirate site blocking order in Canada. Specifically, the companies are calling for an interlocutory injunction order that would require several Canadian ISPs to block GoldTV domain names and IP-addresses.

The request was discussed in Federal Court last Thursday and Friday. Since Rogers and Bell are also ISPs, the companies are also listed as respondents. Obviously, they didn’t object to their own demands. Similarly, there are no objections from Shaw, Eastlink, Fido, SaskTel, Telus, and Videotron either.

With input from some of the Internet providers, the rightsholders drafted a blocking order that they hope to have approved by the Federal Court. It lists several domain names and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service and allows for more to be added.

Domains and IP-addresses to be blocked

The blocking technology that’s described in the order is fairly straightforward. Domain names would have to be targeted through DNS blocking or re-routing, and non-shared IP-addresses would have to be blocked or re-routed as well. All ISPs would be permitted to establish their preferred methods, as long as they are effective.

Thus far there hasn’t been much opposition from ISPs. The only company that substantially objects to the proposed site-blocking scheme is TekSavvy.

In written comments to the Court, the ISP points out that the request comes at a curious time as Canadian lawmakers are reviewing the appropriateness of such measures, as part of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review. Issuing a precedential injunction before this review is complete would be inappropriate, TekSavvy argues.

Aside from leap-frogging the ongoing legislative process, the ISP also points out that the site-blocking measures violate net neutrality.

“The plaintiffs seek this Court’s assistance to implement a draconian remedy that runs directly counter to the legislatively established principle of net neutrality,” TekSavvy notes in its written comments.

The ISP doesn’t believe that the blocking measures will be very effective either. There are plenty of workarounds available, for example. The company further notes that it’s unclear whether GoldTV causes any harm and adds that the rightsholders have plenty of other options to go after the service.

For example, they could target the sites through less invasive measures. By contacting its payment provider or hosting company, for example, or going after the Canadian domain name registry.

“[The plaintiffs] ask this Court to deputize TekSavvy and other ISPs to protect the plaintiffs’ profits against some hypothetical (and unknowable) erosion from GoldTV’s services, yet they have not taken some of the most basic self-help steps open to them,” TekSavvy notes.

Overall, the ISP sees website blocking as a draconian measure. While it seems fairly small and directed at a small service that’s no longer widely available, Teksavvy fears that granting the order will open the floodgates to much broader blocking requests.

“If the plaintiffs were successful in obtaining a site-blocking order in this case, there is no question that they would use it as a precedent to obtain other site-blocking orders, whether in respect of copyright infringement or otherwise.”

“TekSavvy could be faced with hundreds and even thousands of websites to block and monitor, exponentially increasing the costs of operating and maintaining a site-blocking system and overwhelming TekSavvy’s capacity,” the company adds.

As such, Teksavvy asks the Federal Court to dismiss the motion. It’s the only third-party company that has done so. Fellow ISP Distributel also objected to the proposed language in the motion, but its complaint only deals with how ISPs are compensated for their efforts.

The Wire Report notes that the Federal Court gave all parties until Wednesday to come to an agreement on the language of the proposed order. It’s clear, however, that TekSavvy is not coming aboard.

After the hearings, the Federal Court will eventually have to decide whether to grant the blocking order or not. That’s expected to take a few more weeks.

A copy of the proposed blocking order, which may be changed going forward, is available here (pdf). TekSavvy’s written responses are available here (pdf) and a copy of the affidavit of Paul Stewart, TekSavvy’s VP of Technology, can be found here (pdf).

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

Lawsuit Targets Best Buy & Staples For Selling “Pirate Devices” & Giving “Piracy Advice”

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/lawsuit-targets-best-buy-staples-for-selling-pirate-devices-giving-piracy-advice-190916/

Thousands of retailers around the world sell Android-based set-top devices that are able to stream Netflix and other services to customers’ homes.

However, an intriguing lawsuit filed in Canada last week alleges that employees at some companies went too far with their sales promotion pitches by pushing the products for infringing purposes while advising potential buyers on how to pirate content with them.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal Court September 11 by Super Channel owner Allarco Entertainment, targets Staples Canada, Best Buy Canada, London Drugs, Canada Computers, several related companies and up to 50,000 ‘John Doe’ customers.

Allarco Entertainment alleges that one or more of the retailers and their staff (collectively described as “4Stores”) promoted, encouraged, or instructed prospective buyers of Internet streaming devices on how to use and/or modify them to obtain copyright-infringing content. As a result, the devices are described as “Pirate Devices” throughout the lawsuit.

On a website promoting the case, Allarco has published a video as part of its 19-month-long “4 Stores Investigation” which claims to show employees at the defendant companies selling “pirate devices” in a way that contravenes several aspects of local law.

The company says it has 100 hours of undercover recordings to back up its claims. The short video currently available has recordings of alleged staff members advising users to install Kodi, use Google to find Kodi “setup videos”, or even visit other sellers operating elsewhere that will configure the devices for piracy.

Still from the video (Credit: Allarco)

Super Channel CEO Don McDonald told CBC that his company showed the video to the four retailers in the spring but that didn’t bring the alleged behavior to an end.

“I wanted them to be step up and be a champion in changing the culture. They didn’t see the light,” he said. “We want the stores to stop. We want the stores to say, ‘Hey this is wrong’.”

While the lawsuit continually describes the set-top boxes as “Piracy Devices” – some of which had Kodi pre-installed – there’s no information in the lawsuit or accompanying video that specifically states that any had dedicated piracy software or services embedded at the point of sale.

That important point will probably become evident as the lawsuit progresses but the complaint does note that “one or more” defendants breached the Copyright Act by “showing pirated programming to customers in their stores.”

The lawsuit itself goes straight for the jugular, reading not dissimilar to many others that have previously targeted sellers of unambiguous dedicated ‘pirate’ devices or services.

“The devices which are the subject of this action have been programmed to steal programming i.e. view the Plaintiffs Programming without authorization and without paying for it,” the complaint reads.

“The 4Stores Defendants or one or more of them have offered for sale, sold, leased and continue to sell or lease Pirate Devices to John Doe Customers and advised, educated, counseled, encouraged, directed, induced, enabled and authorized John Doe Customers to achieve, download, install and operate services that result in the operation of the Pirate Devices and/or that enable and allow the John Doe Customers to access the Infringing Content.”

The complaint, which also references up to 50,000 ‘John Doe’ customers as defendants, states that the 4Stores know their identities and as such, they will “be identified and added as identified parties following disclosure.” Allarco is seeking an order to have these customers served by mail.

The TV company states that the alleged actions of 4Stores detailed above were designed to “encourage and increase” the sale of ‘Pirate Devices’, which would not have been sold had it not been for the “education” provided by the 4Stores staff. When combined, this created or contributed to a culture of “widespread copyright infringement” causing damage to the plaintiff.

The complaint states that the customers of 4Stores who bought such devices and accessed infringing content breached the Copyright Act. At this stage, however, there’s no information that any evidence has been gathered to prove that happened. Nevertheless, the complaint alleges Contributory Infringement by 4Stores as a result of the companies inducing customers to infringe.

Allarco further claims that the 4Stores defendants sold devices that are “designed or produced primarily for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure”, and/or “the uses or purposes of which are not commercially significant other than when used for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure.”

Finally, there are additional claims that the defendants breached the Radiocommunication Act, Trademark Act (also with damage to goodwill), engaged in intentional interference with business, unjust enrichment, and counseling to commit an offense.

In summary, Allarco is demanding interim, interlocutory, and permanent injunctions including, but not limited to, preventing the defendants from “communicating or facilitating the communication” of its works without permission, including by “configuring, advertising, offering for sale or selling Pirate Devices.”

It also wants the Court to issue a ban on the 4Stores from “teaching, inducing, coaching or demonstrating to others including their own staff, friends and families how to steal or pirate the Plaintiff’s Works.”

The Allarco Entertainment / Super Channel complaint can be found here (pdf)

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Platform Exclusives Could Boost Piracy, UK Govt Report Notes

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/platform-exclusives-could-boost-piracy-uk-govt-report-notes/

Last week the UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office published its annual IP Crime and Enforcement Report.

The report provides an overview of the latest anti-piracy achievements of copyright holders and also signals some emerging threats. It seems to be written mostly based on input from large rightsholders, which can make it a bit one-sided.

The overall theme is that piracy and counterfeiting remain a major problem and that, as a “world class IP enforcement regime,” the UK takes a leading role in the world to tackle it going forward.

A few days ago we reported on an exemplary section from the report where the Premier League highlighted its key successes. The full document is filled with similar examples and is worth a read, but there is one issue that stood out which we would like to highlight separately.

In the section where the results of PRS for Music, the UK’s leading collection society, are summarized there is a hint of self-reflection. As reported in the past, there were signs that BitTorrent piracy is increasing again, and according to the UK Government’s report, the industry may be to blame.

Apparently, piracy traffic may be rising again because the content that’s being offered on legal platforms is becoming more and more fragmented.

In other words, as more legal services have exclusive releases, it’s harder for people to get everything they want in one place. Instead of signing up for paid subscriptions at a handful of services, these people could then turn back to piracy.

Or as the Annual IP crime and enforcement report puts it:

“There also appears to be a resurgence in torrent traffic, notwithstanding the apparent demise of peer-to-peer file sharing a few years ago. A likely reason for this is the fact that more legitimate platforms are hosting exclusive content and subscribers may not necessarily have access to all the content they want to consume.”

The paragraph above is listed in the PRS section of the report which leads us to believe that it comes directly from the music group. We reached out to PRS to find out more but the organization said that it couldn’t comment on it. A subsequent request to clarify whether this is PRS’s position returned a “no comment” as well.

Again, we should stress that the fragmentation comment is just a tiny quote from a 132-page report. It doesn’t reflect the general theme that piracy needs to be addressed through comprehensive and multi-faceted enforcement strategies. However, at least there appears to be some room for self-reflection.

This isn’t the first time that increased fragmentation has been mentioned as a potential problem, but these type of comments generally don’t originate from governments or rightsholders.

Exclusive releases are particularly prevalent in the video industry today, where there’s a myriad of exclusive streaming services. How this will affect overall piracy rates in the years to come remains to be seen, but it’s certainly not something that can be easily ignored.

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Judge Recommends to Deny Summary Judgment Against Tor Exit Node Operator in Piracy Case

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/judge-recommends-to-deny-summary-judgment-against-tor-exit-node-operator-in-piracy-case-190907/

Tor is an anonymity tool used by millions of people. Dubbed the “Onion Router”, it operates by sending traffic through various nodes, after which it enters the public Internet again.

This setup makes the source of the traffic pretty much impossible to trace. However, it also means that people who operate a Tor exit node have their IP-address associated with a lot of traffic they’re not the source of.

When pirates use Tor, for example, it will appear as if the copyright-infringing activity comes from the exit node address. While the operators are generally aware of this, recent history has shown that his can lead to serious liability issues.

This is what Oregon resident John Huszar found out the hard way.

Back in 2015, the company behind the movie Dallas Buyers Club filed a federal lawsuit against the IP-address 173.11.1.241. A few months later, this complaint was amended to list “Integrity Computer Services” as the defendant, and in 2016, it was eventually replaced with the company’s owner, John Huszar.

While Huszar denied that he personally downloaded the film, there was a problem. Early on in the case, the filmmakers served a request for admissions, asking the defendant to respond to several statements. This request remained unanswered, which was a mistake, as it typically means that the court can then assume the statements are true.

Dallas Buyers Club used this to its advantage. Among other things, the admissions stated that Huszar unlawfully distributed a copy of the Dallas Buyers Club movie, which seemed to open the door to a substantial financial claim.

That would be true in most cases, but Huszar is not the only one who made a crucial error – Dallas Buyers Club did the same. As noted by US District Judge Michael Simon, earlier this year, Huszar wasn’t yet a named defendant when the filmmakers issued their request for admissions.

Following this conclusion, Judge Simon sent the case back to Magistrate Judge John Acosta, who this week issued his report and recommendations on the motions for summary judgment from both the plaintiff and the defendant.

First up is the film company, which requested a summary judgment finding that Huszar is guilty of copyright infringement. This request relied pretty much exclusively on the admissions which are no longer valid. As such, the motion was denied.

“It is evident Dallas’s motion was reliant on Huszar’s admissions. Judge Simon’s withdrawal of the deemed admissions based on Huszar’s failure to respond to Dallas’s requests for admissions was fatal to Dallas’s motion,” Magistrate Judge Acosta writes in his recommendation.

While this is great news for the defendant, there was a disappointment as well. Huszar also requested summary judgment, ruling that he is not liable. After a careful review, Judge Acosta denied this too.

Among other things, Huszar claimed that he was shielded by the DMCA because he was acting as an ISP. However, Judge Acosta notes that to benefit from such protections, he has to show that he’s eligible for such immunity. This includes having a repeat infringer policy, of which the court found no evidence.

Huszar further argued that the monitoring software used by the filmmakers
was unreliable. While the defense provided an expert report to back this up, Dallas Buyers Club submitted an opposing report, which leads Judge Acosta to the conclusion that summary judgment based on the reliability of the evidence is not appropriate.

This means that after a battle of almost five years in court, the case can still go either way. Judge Acosta’s recommendations are not the final judgments. They will be referred to a District Judge who has the final say.

After that, the case will likely move to trial. If that the case, it will be up to a Jury to decide whether the Tor exit node operator is guilty or not.

A copy of Magistrate Judge John Acosta’s findings and recommendations is available here (pdf).

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Manga Publishers Sue Pirate Site “Hoshinoromi” in New York Court

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/manga-publishers-sue-pirate-site-hoshinoromi-in-new-york-court/

The popularity of pirated comics represents a thorn in the side to many publishers. Manga publishers, in particular, are faced with a constant stream of infringing copies.

Over the past year, we have seen some enforcement actions on this front.

For example, the Japanese Government jumped in and created a special task force to investigate the pirate site Mangamura, which shut down last year. Since then, several operators and uploaders have been prosecuted.

However, when Mangamura went offline, many other sites were more than happy to take its place. This includes Hoshinoromi.org, which is particularly popular in Japan but does well outside its borders too.

Hoshinoromi positioned itself as a successor to Mangamura and managed to build a rather impressive library of content in just a few months. According to its own stats from late July, it has 93,000 volumes or books in its archive, good for millions of pages.

Faced with the rapid rise of the site, a group of some of Japan’s largest manga publishers is now taking legal action. In a complaint filed at a federal court in New York, Shueisha, Kadowaka, Kodansha, and Shogakukan, accuse the site of blatant copyright infringement.

“This case is about willful and massive infringement of the Publishers’ manga,” they write. “Hoshinoromi is a pirate website operating at www.hoshinoromi.org, which organizes, promotes, and distributes unauthorized copies of the Publishers’ manga on a massive scale.”

New York seems an odd choice as publishers are all from Japan and the website is also in Japanese. However, the companies note that Hoshinoromi uses a variety of US-based companies to conduct its business and hide the operators’ identities.

“Cloudflare caches infringing content from both Hoshinoromi.org and the backend server, zakayloader.org (previously, worldjobproject.org). Cloudflare provides a reverse proxy to mask the server locations and operators,” the publishers write.

Other US-based outfits used by the site are Twitter and Gab, the publishers explain, adding that the site itself is freely available to American visitors as well.

Hoshinoromi.org

Hoshinoromi allegedly used Twitter to advertise the site, making it clear that it was aware of the potential negative impact it has on legitimate sales.

“When the old Manga Village closed, sales of manga went up, so the new Manga Village was revived, and profits will lower again!!!! What countermeasures are you going to take this time??,” the site previously wrote (translated) on its now-suspended Twitter account.

The publishers add that, while the site is open about its pirating activities, it apparently doesn’t want other people to ‘steal’ from them. According to the complaint, it is actively blocking outsiders from ‘exploiting’ the site’s collection of pirated files.

“Hoshinoromi has gone to great lengths to block competitor pirates and investigators from copying images in bulk. The operators of the site have no problem stealing and profiting from the Publishers’ manga, but they implement countermeasures to ensure that others do not do the same to them,” the publishers complain.

With the lawsuit, the publishers hope to unveil the site’s operators and be compensated for the damages they have suffered. They list a total of 41 works, which means that the theoretical statutory damages amount runs in the millions.

While it’s not specifically mentioned, another goal of the lawsuit may be to urge or compel third-party intermediaries to take action. Cloudflare is specifically mentioned as a caching service, and the publishers make it clear that they would like to see all copies of their works removed from the company’s servers.

A copy of the complaint filed by Shueisha, Kadowaka, Kodansha, and Shogakukan is available here (pdf).

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Rojadirecta Puts Up Defense But Can’t Escape ISP Blockade

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/rojadirecta-puts-up-defense-but-cant-escape-isp-blockade-190913/

As one of the oldest and most prominent sports live-streaming portals, Rojadirecta is a thorn in the side of many international sports organizations.

The linking site is operated by a Spanish company and initially had a good track record when it came to legal battles.

Rojadirecta famously had its domain name returned after it was seized by the US Government years ago, and it has successfully fought off copyright holders in court.

More recently, however, the tide began to turn. This year alone, Internet providers in several countries, including Ecuador and Peru, have been ordered to block the site. Last Friday, a court in Denmark did the same.

The Danish case was handled by the local anti-piracy group RettighedsAlliancen, which worked in tandem with the Spanish Football League ‘La Liga‘. Earlier this year, they already managed to get blocking orders against nine other websites, but the court postponed a ruling on Rojadirecta.

The reason for the delay was unusual. Contrary to pretty much every other website, Rojadirecta put up a defense. Among other things, the site argued that it’s not actively involved in selecting streaming links, as this happens automatically, and that many links actually point to authorized content.

La Liga, however, countered that some of its content was definitely linked without permission, adding that Rojadirecta profits from facilitating copyright infringement. As such, it requested an injunction ordering local ISP Telenor to block the site.

Telenor, which is the actual defendant, in this case, didn’t present any arguments.

After reviewing the positions of La Liga and Rojadirecta, the court sided with the former. In its ruling late last week, the Court of Frederiksberg ordered Telenor to block the site. As is common in Denmark, this means that other ISPs will voluntarily follow suit.

RettighedsAlliancen CEO Maria Fredenslund is happy with the outcome. It confirms that the blocking process is effective, she says, even when a targeted site puts up a defense.

“Rojadirecta appeared in court and presented a defense but was convicted and blocked nonetheless – just like other illegal services. It stands to confirm that the blocking system works even if it is challenged, and of course we are very pleased with this,” Fredenslund says.

Rojadirecta, on the other hand, is disappointed. A spokesperson informs TorrentFreak that it respects the outcome of the court proceeding. However, it is not happy with how RettighedsAlliancen and La Liga are selling it to the public.

The site stresses that there is no ‘conviction’ of Rojadirecta. The case was a matter between the rightsholders and an ISP. The burden of proof in these cases is relatively low as the claimant only has to show that it’s likely that an infringement occurred, the site’s spokesperson notes.

“The court has thus in the case merely made the assessment that RettighedsAlliancen has proven it likely that there have been illegal links at Rojadirecta and that the formal requirements for issuing a blocking injunction against the ISP were considered fulfilled,” Rojadirecta tells us.

Rojadirecta further notes that it didn’t get much advance notice – Rettighedsalliancen informed the site little over a week before the hearing was scheduled.

While the streaming link site managed to have a postponement put in place, it never had the chance to participate in an oral hearing. Instead, Rojadirecta was directed to submit its defense on paper.

It’s clear that Rojadirecta is not pleased with the blockade and the site is still deliberating whether it will file an appeal.

Aside from facing yet another ISP blockade, the damage for Rojadirecta as a business is minimal. The site has a relatively small userbase in Denmark, and since it wasn’t a defendant in the lawsuit, there are no damages that have to be paid.

That could change if RettighedsAlliancen and La Liga file a case against the site directly, to decide whether it’s indeed operating illegally or not. We asked RettighedsAlliancen whether this was an option, but the group informed us that it has no comment on that for now.

Rojadirecta is clear though. If RettighedsAlliancen and La Liga want the conviction they already claim they have, they need to fight the case on its merits.

For now, however, the court found that there is enough ground to have Rojadirecta blocked in Denmark. According to local regulations the preliminary ruling will have to be followed up by a case of the merits. However, the targeted ISP may waive this, after which the order becomes permanent.

A copy of the order from the Court of Frederiksberg, obtained by TorrentFreak, is available here (pdf).

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Learn From Your VPC Flow Logs With Additional Meta-Data

Post Syndicated from Sébastien Stormacq original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/learn-from-your-vpc-flow-logs-with-additional-meta-data/

Flow Logs for Amazon Virtual Private Cloud enables you to capture information about the IP traffic going to and from network interfaces in your VPC. Flow Logs data can be published to Amazon CloudWatch Logs or Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).

Since we launched VPC Flow Logs in 2015, you have been using it for variety of use-cases like troubleshooting connectivity issues across your VPCs, intrusion detection, anomaly detection, or archival for compliance purposes. Until today, VPC Flow Logs provided information that included source IP, source port, destination IP, destination port, action (accept, reject) and status. Once enabled, a VPC Flow Log entry looks like the one below.

While this information was sufficient to understand most flows, it required additional computation and lookup to match IP addresses to instance IDs or to guess the directionality of the flow to come to meaningful conclusions.

Today we are announcing the availability of additional meta data to include in your Flow Logs records to better understand network flows. The enriched Flow Logs will allow you to simplify your scripts or remove the need for postprocessing altogether, by reducing the number of computations or lookups required to extract meaningful information from the log data.

When you create a new VPC Flow Log, in addition to existing fields, you can now choose to add the following meta-data:

  • vpc-id : the ID of the VPC containing the source Elastic Network Interface (ENI).
  • subnet-id : the ID of the subnet containing the source ENI.
  • instance-id : the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance ID of the instance associated with the source interface. When the ENI is placed by AWS services (for example, AWS PrivateLink, NAT Gateway, Network Load Balancer etc) this field will be “-
  • tcp-flags : the bitmask for TCP Flags observed within the aggregation period. For example, FIN is 0x01 (1), SYN is 0x02 (2), ACK is 0x10 (16), SYN + ACK is 0x12 (18), etc. (the bits are specified in “Control Bits” section of RFC793 “Transmission Control Protocol Specification”).
    This allows to understand who initiated or terminated the connection. TCP uses a three way handshake to establish a connection. The connecting machine sends a SYN packet to the destination, the destination replies with a SYN + ACK and, finally, the connecting machine sends an ACK. In the Flow Logs, the handshake is shown as two lines, with tcp-flags values of 2 (SYN), 18 (SYN + ACK).  ACK is reported only when it is accompanied with SYN (otherwise it would be too much noise for you to filter out).
  • type : the type of traffic : IPV4, IPV6 or Elastic Fabric Adapter.
  • pkt-srcaddr : the packet-level IP address of the source. You typically use this field in conjunction with srcaddr to distinguish between the IP address of an intermediate layer through which traffic flows, such as a NAT gateway.
  • pkt-dstaddr : the packet-level destination IP address, similar to the previous one, but for destination IP addresses.

To create a VPC Flow Log, you can use the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) or the CreateFlowLogs API and select which additional information and the order you want to consume the fields, for example:

Or using the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) as below:

$ aws ec2 create-flow-logs --resource-type VPC \
                            --region eu-west-1 \
                            --resource-ids vpc-12345678 \
                            --traffic-type ALL  \
                            --log-destination-type s3 \
                            --log-destination arn:aws:s3:::sst-vpc-demo \
                            --log-format '${version} ${vpc-id} ${subnet-id} ${instance-id} ${interface-id} ${account-id} ${type} ${srcaddr} ${dstaddr} ${srcport} ${dstport} ${pkt-srcaddr} ${pkt-dstaddr} ${protocol} ${bytes} ${packets} ${start} ${end} ${action} ${tcp-flags} ${log-status}'

# be sure to replace the bucket name and VPC ID !

{
    "ClientToken": "1A....HoP=",
    "FlowLogIds": [
        "fl-12345678123456789"
    ],
    "Unsuccessful": [] 
}

Enriched VPC Flow Logs are delivered to S3. We will automatically add the required S3 Bucket Policy to authorize VPC Flow Logs to write to your S3 bucket. VPC Flow Logs does not capture real-time log streams for your network interface, it might take several minutes to begin collecting and publishing data to the chosen destinations. Your logs will eventually be available on S3 at s3://<bucket name>/AWSLogs/<account id>/vpcflowlogs/<region>/<year>/<month>/<day>/

An SSH connection from my laptop with IP address 90.90.0.200 to an EC2 instance would appear like this :

3 vpc-exxxxxx2 subnet-8xxxxf3 i-0bfxxxxxxaf eni-08xxxxxxa5 48xxxxxx93 IPv4 172.31.22.145 90.90.0.200 22 62897 172.31.22.145 90.90.0.200 6 5225 24 1566328660 1566328672 ACCEPT 18 OK
3 vpc-exxxxxx2 subnet-8xxxxf3 i-0bfxxxxxxaf eni-08xxxxxxa5 48xxxxxx93 IPv4 90.90.0.200 172.31.22.145 62897 22 90.90.0.200 172.31.22.145 6 4877 29 1566328660 1566328672 ACCEPT 2 OK

172.31.22.145 is the private IP address of the EC2 instance, the one you see when you type ifconfig on the instance.  All flags are “OR”ed during aggregation period. When connection is short, probably both SYN and FIN (3), as well as SYN+ACK and FIN (19) will be set for the same lines.

Once a Flow Log is created, you can not add additional fields or modify the structure of the log to ensure you will not accidently break scripts consuming this data. Any modification will require you to delete and recreate the VPC Flow Logs. There is no additional cost to capture the extra information in the VPC Flow Logs, normal VPC Flow Log pricing applies, remember that Enriched VPC Flow Log records might consume more storage when selecting all fields.  We do recommend to select only the fields relevant to your use-cases.

Enriched VPC Flow Logs is available in all regions where VPC Flow logs is available, you can start to use it today.

— seb

PS: I heard from the team they are working on adding additional meta-data to the logs, stay tuned for updates.

Nintendo Sues RomUniverse for Mass Copyright Infringement

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/nintendo-sues-romuniverse-for-mass-copyright-infringement/

Last year Nintendo made headlines worldwide when it filed a lawsuit against the popular ROM sites LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co.

The legal action effectively shut the sites down with many other platorms voluntarily following suit.

Not all game pirate sites were shaken up by the legal action though. RomUniverse, a site that’s been around for a decade, saw its visitor numbers rise and announced that it would continue to offer Nintendo ROMs.

Fast forward a year and Nintendo is now taking RomUniverse to court. In a complaint filed at a federal court in California, the Japanese gaming giant accuses the site’s alleged operator, Matthew Storman, of “brazen” and “mass-scale” copyright and trademark infringement.

“The Website is among the most visited and notorious online hubs for pirated Nintendo video games. Through the Website, Defendants reproduce, distribute, monetize, and offer for download thousands of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games,” the complaint reads.

Nintendo states that the site, which has 375,000 members, offers downloads for nearly every video game system it has ever produced.

The complaint specifically notes that “hundreds of thousands of copies” have been illegally downloaded through RomUniverse, including nearly 300,000 copies of pirated Nintendo Switch games and more than 500,000 copies of pirated Nintendo 3DS games.

Users of the site can download one file per week for free. Those who want more have to sign up for a paid membership. After an “upgrade” of $30, members are allowed to download as many files as they want. This includes games, but also ebooks and the latest Hollywood movies.

As said before, RomUniverse wasn’t impressed by the legal threats Nintendo issued against other sites last year. This didn’t go unnoticed to the game publisher, which specifically mentions the operator’s defiance in its complaint.

“In 2018, around the time that Nintendo successfully enforced its intellectual property rights against other infringing ROM websites, defendant Storman bragged that his Website would continue to offer Nintendo ROMs,” Nintendo writes.

Through the lawsuit, which also lists a count of unfair competition, Nintendo hopes to shut RomUniverse down. The company also requests statutory damages of $150,000 per infringing Nintendo game and up to $2,000,000 for each trademark infringement.

This means that, with dozens of copyrighted titles and trademarks on the record, theoretical damages are well over $100 million.

Finally, Nintendo further asks for a permanent injunction ordering the site and its operator(s) to stop their infringing activities while handing over their domain names to the game publisher.

Update: RomAdmin from RomUniverse informed us that he hasn’t received anything from Nintendo, no recent takedown notices either. The site does respond to takedown notices.

“We’ve always immediately taken down questionable material, per their take down notices,” RomAdmin told TorrentFreak.

A copy of Nintendo’s complaint against Matthew Storman and any “John Doe” accomplices, is available here (pdf).

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Popular Torrent Site MKVCage Faces Lawsuit and Goes Offline

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/popular-torrent-site-mkvcage-faces-lawsuit-and-goes-offline/

A group of movie companies has been very active in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii over the past several months.

Various copyright infringement lawsuits and DMCA subpoenas were filed against prominent players in the piracy ecosystem, ranging from Popcorn Time through YTS and Showbox.

Today, we can add another target to the growing list, the popular torrent uploader/group MKVCage.

MKVCage uploads its encodes across various torrent sites and has gathered a dedicated following over the past few years. The group also operates its own site at MKVCage.com, where the latest releases are also shared. However. over the past few days, this site has become unresponsive.

The downtime started soon after the makers of the movie “Hellboy” filed a complaint at a Hawaii federal court. The movie company believes that the site is run by a person named Muhammad Faizan, who stands accused of promoting and distributing pirated copies of their movie.

“Defendant Faizan operates an interactive website mkvcage.com and
previously mkvcage.fun which includes a library of torrent files for copyright protected motion pictures, including Plaintiff’s. The torrent files can be used by a BitTorrent client application to download and reproduce motion pictures for free and without license,” the complaint reads.

The filmmakers add that the defendant creates the torrent files that are made available on the website, including “Hellboy.2019.720p.HC.HDRip.x264-MkvCage.Com.mkv,” which are then distributed to the site’s users. The name of the site is often included in the title, to boost the site’s profile.

“Defendant Faizan sometimes includes words such as’MkvCage.com’ in the titles of the torrent files he creates in order to enhance his reputation for the quality of his torrent files and attract users to his interactive MKVCAGE website,” the complaint notes.

The movie company obtained the name of the site’s alleged operator from Namecheap, in response to a DMCA notice. The same person is also listed as the registrant for the domains mkvcage.com, mkvcage.ws, mkvcage.cc and mkvcage.me, and used PayPal to pay for at least one of those.

MKVcage in better times

At this point, it is unclear whether the current downtime is a direct result of the complaint that was filed. MKVCage’s latest upload at external websites, such as 1337x, was two days ago. We will update this article if more information becomes available.

In addition to MKVCage, the same lawsuit also targets the smaller torrent site iBit.uno and its unnamed operator. TorrentFreak reached out to iBit, but a representative of the site didn’t want to comment on the allegations.

The people behind both sites stand accused of contributory copyright infringement among other things, and Faizan also faces a count of direct copyright infringement.

The movie company requests compensation for the damage it suffered. It also request an injunction, so it can request third-party services such as hosting providers, ISPs, search engines, and domain registrars, to stop facilitating access to the sites.

The injunction request is quite broad and could affect a wide range of companies. At this point, however, it hasn’t been granted yet, so that can’t explain the current downtime.

A copy of the complaint from HB Productions (Hellboy) is available here (pdf)

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Nintendo Wins Blocking Injunction Against Four Piracy-Enabling Sites

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/nintendo-wins-blocking-injunction-against-four-piracy-enabling-sites-190911/

Every manufacturer of mass-market video gaming consoles has faced the possibility of piracy on their platforms.

The tools to prevent piracy usually come as a two-man team of hardware and software trickery (technological protection measures) but these are often defeated, later if not sooner.

Nintendo, in particular, has been struggling with piracy on its Switch console, facilitated by circumvention tools (particularly SX Pro and SX OS) promoted and made available to users via various websites.

In an effort to tame the threat, Nintendo went to the High Court of England and Wales, requesting an injunction that would prevent subscribers of several major ISPs from gaining access to the sites in question.

As is common in such cases, the ISPs themselves – Sky, BT, EE, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media – were the named defendants in the case. Nintendo (NCL) asked the Court to compel them to block team-xecutor.com, sx-xecutor.com (both operated by Team Xecutor) plus sxflashcart.com and xecuteros.com (previously stargate3ds.org).

Most ISP blocking in the UK is the result of copyright infringement proceedings but Nintendo’s opening drive against the above sites is that they use the company’s trademarks without permission.

Justice Arnold said that in his opinion it is “beyond dispute” that the sites use Nintendo’s marks in order to promote circumvention devices. He also agreed that the devices were made available to the public on the basis they would be used to provide access to infringing content, since they all mention piracy in promotional material.

“The injunction sought is necessary to prevent, or at least reduce, substantial damage to NCL. It appears that substantial sales of the circumvention devices have been made in the UK, that substantial quantities of pirated games have been downloaded in the UK and installed on Switches using the circumvention devices and that NCL has sustained significant losses as a result,” Justice Arnold writes.

“No alternative measures are realistically available to NCL since NCL has been unable to identity the operators of the Target Websites, who may well be abroad.”

The Judge further notes that cease and desist notices sent by Nintendo’s lawyers were ignored by the target sites while hosting providers, “to the extent they could be identified”, also took no action.

While noting that blocking can be easily circumvented, the Judge said that blocking can be effective in reducing traffic to the sites in question, acts as a deterrent, won’t be detrimental to the ISPs’ business, and is therefore a proportionate response to infringement.

The order handed down by Justice Arnold on Tuesday can be obtained here

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

Cox Attacks ‘Proof’ in Piracy Liability Case, Requests Summary Judgment

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cox-attacks-proof-in-piracy-liability-case-requests-summary-judgment-190910/

Last year Cox settled its piracy liability lawsuit with music rights company BMG.

The ink on this agreement was barely dry when the ISP faced a similar and additional complaint. This time, it was up against 53 music companies, including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music.

The rightsholders complained that Cox categorically failed to terminate repeat copyright infringers and that it substantially profited from this ongoing ‘piracy’ activity. All at the expense of the record labels and other rightsholders.

A year later, thousands of pages of legal paperwork have been processed and the case is gearing up to a trial. However, if it’s up to Cox, there is little left to discuss there because the music companies’ evidence is fatally flawed.

A few days ago, the ISP submitted a motion for summary judgment, requesting summary judgment on several key elements. Among other things, Cox argues that it’s not vicariously liable or directly liable for any copyright-infringing activity carried out by its users.

Cox’s arguments are in large part directed at the proof the music companies have. Or to be more specific, the lack thereof. The company points out that the infringement notices, which were sent on behalf of the RIAA, are far from solid. In addition, the ISP says it never received any proper notices for more of the allegedly-infringed works.

“Plaintiffs’ claims suffer from a fundamental and fatal flaw: a distinct paucity of proof. They simply cannot prove their case,” Cox writes.

“In short, Plaintiffs seek damages for works they cannot prove were infringed, based on notices that did not identify fully 80% of those works. Moreover, they have no evidence that Cox knew about the infringement, obtained any direct financial benefit from it, or had the practical ability to prevent it, such that it could be secondarily liable.”

Cox’s arguments can be quite technical at times, and some pages are completely redacted, but there are some interesting observations.

For example, the company argues that the file-sharing evidence from BitTorrent users can’t prove that any subscriber actually distributed the infringing files. The evidence, provided by BitTorrent tracking outfit MarkMonitor, only ‘shows’ the metadata of a file in possession of a subscriber, matches that of a copyrighted track.

“Here, Plaintiffs cannot prove ‘actual dissemination’ of any work to anyone—including their agent, MarkMonitor,” Cox notes.

Another issue Cox raises is that for many of the claimed infringements in the suit, Cox never received a single notice.

“Although Plaintiffs seek damages for alleged direct infringements of 7,057 sound recordings and 3,421 compositions, the RIAA Notices for recordings sent during the Claims Period contain only 1,998 unique Title and Artist combinations.”

Based on these and a variety of other arguments, the ISP requests summary judgment. This means that, if granted, these will no longer be contested at trial.

However, the pendulum, in this case, can swing the other way as well. The 53 music companies also filed a request for summary judgment. They ask the court to rule that Cox is contributory and vicariously liable for its pirating subscribers.

The companies wave away any concerns and say that Cox willingly kept pirates on board to increase its profits.

“[T]he record is clear that Cox had knowledge of its subscribers’ blatant infringement of Plaintiffs’ works and nonetheless assisted them with it. By consciously continuing to provide Internet service to known infringers, while ignoring its own copyright policies as written, Cox materially contributed to that infringing activity, and reaped substantial financial benefits as a result,” their request reads.

“Accordingly, summary judgment should be granted holding Cox liable for contributory infringement and vicarious infringement, and the Court should reject its frivolous defenses.”

Both sides’ arguments directly oppose each other and it will be up to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to determine if it grants any of the motions. If the Court grants neither motion, it will be up to a jury to decide during trial.

A copy of Cox’s motion for summary judgment is available here (pdf) and the music companies’ motion can be found here (pdf).

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

Now Available – Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB)

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/now-available-amazon-quantum-ledger-database-qldb/

Given the wide range of data types, query models, indexing options, scaling expectations, and performance requirements, databases are definitely not one size fits all products. That’s why there are many different AWS database offerings, each one purpose-built to meet the needs of a different type of application.

Introducing QLDB
Today I would like to tell you about Amazon QLDB, the newest member of the AWS database family. First announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 and made available in preview form, it is now available in production form in five AWS regions.

As a ledger database, QLDB is designed to provide an authoritative data source (often known as a system of record) for stored data. It maintains a complete, immutable history of all committed changes to the data that cannot be updated, altered, or deleted. QLDB supports PartiQL SQL queries to the historical data, and also provides an API that allows you to cryptographically verify that the history is accurate and legitimate. These features make QLDB a great fit for banking & finance, ecommerce, transportation & logistics, HR & payroll, manufacturing, and government applications and many other use cases that need to maintain the integrity and history of stored data.

Important QLDB Concepts
Let’s review the most important QLDB concepts before diving in:

Ledger – A QLDB ledger consists of a set of QLDB tables and a journal that maintains the complete, immutable history of changes to the tables. Ledgers are named and can be tagged.

Journal – A journal consists of a sequence of blocks, each cryptographically chained to the previous block so that changes can be verified. Blocks, in turn, contain the actual changes that were made to the tables, indexed for efficient retrieval. This append-only model ensures that previous data cannot be edited or deleted, and makes the ledgers immutable. QLDB allows you to export all or part of a journal to S3.

Table – Tables exist within a ledger, and contain a collection of document revisions. Tables support optional indexes on document fields; the indexes can improve performance for queries that make use of the equality (=) predicate.

Documents – Documents exist within tables, and must be in Amazon Ion form. Ion is a superset of JSON that adds additional data types, type annotations, and comments. QLDB supports documents that contain nested JSON elements, and gives you the ability to write queries that reference and include these elements. Documents need not conform to any particular schema, giving you the flexibility to build applications that can easily adapt to changes.

PartiQLPartiQL is a new open standard query language that supports SQL-compatible access to relational, semi-structured, and nested data while remaining independent of any particular data source. To learn more, read Announcing PartiQL: One Query Languge for All Your Data.

Serverless – You don’t have to worry about provisioning capacity or configuring read & write throughput. You create a ledger, define your tables, and QLDB will automatically scale to meet the needs of your application.

Using QLDB
You can create QLDB ledgers and tables from the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), a CloudFormation template, or by making calls to the QLDB API. I’ll use the QLDB Console and I will follow the steps in Getting Started with Amazon QLDB. I open the console and click Start tutorial to get started:

The Getting Started page outlines the first three steps; I click Create ledger to proceed (this opens in a fresh browser tab):

I enter a name for my ledger (vehicle-registration), tag it, and (again) click Create ledger to proceed:

My ledger starts out in Creating status, and transitions to Active within a minute or two:

I return to the Getting Started page, refresh the list of ledgers, choose my new ledger, and click Load sample data:

This takes a second or so, and creates four tables & six indexes:

I could also use PartiQL statements such as CREATE TABLE, CREATE INDEX, and INSERT INTO to accomplish the same task.

With my tables, indexes, and sample data loaded, I click on Editor and run my first query (a single-table SELECT):

This returns a single row, and also benefits from the index on the VIN field. I can also run a more complex query that joins two tables:

I can obtain the ID of a document (using a query from here), and then update the document:

I can query the modification history of a table or a specific document in a table, with the ability to find modifications within a certain range and on a particular document (read Querying Revision History to learn more). Here’s a simple query that returns the history of modifications to all of the documents in the VehicleRegistration table that were made on the day that I wrote this post:

As you can see, each row is a structured JSON object. I can select any desired rows and click View JSON for further inspection:

Earlier, I mentioned that PartiQL can deal with nested data. The VehicleRegistration table contains ownership information that looks like this:

{
   "Owners":{
      "PrimaryOwner":{
         "PersonId":"6bs0SQs1QFx7qN1gL2SE5G"
      },
      "SecondaryOwners":[

      ]
  }

PartiQL lets me reference the nested data using “.” notation:

I can also verify the integrity of a document that is stored within my ledger’s journal. This is fully described in Verify a Document in a Ledger, and is a great example of the power (and value) of cryptographic verification. Each QLDB ledger has an associated digest. The digest is a 256-bit hash value that uniquely represents the ledger’s entire history of document revisions as of a point in time. To access the digest, I select a ledger and click Get digest:

When I click Save, the console provides me with a short file that contains all of the information needed to verify the ledger. I save this file in a safe place, for use when I want to verify a document in the ledger. When that time comes, I get the file, click on Verification in the left-navigation, and enter the values needed to perform the verification. This includes the block address of a document revision, and the ID of the document. I also choose the digest that I saved earlier, and click Verify:

QLDB recomputes the hashes to ensure that the document has not been surreptitiously changed, and displays the verification:

In a production environment, you would use the QLDB APIs to periodically download digests and to verify the integrity of your documents.

Building Applications with QLDB
You can use the Amazon QLDB Driver for Java to write code that accesses and manipulates your ledger database. This is a Java driver that allows you to create sessions, execute PartiQL commands within the scope of a transaction, and retrieve results. Drivers for other languages are in the works; stay tuned for more information.

Available Now
Amazon QLDB is available now in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Regions. Pricing is based on the following factors, and is detailed on the Amazon QLDB Pricing page, including some real-world examples:

  • Write operations
  • Read operations
  • Journal storage
  • Indexed storage
  • Data transfer

Jeff;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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