Tag Archives: Portugal

Italy Blocks 290 ‘Pirate’ Movie & TV Show Domains in 4 Months

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/italy-blocks-290-pirate-movie-tv-show-domains-in-4-months-170222-170222/

For so many years, Italy developed a reputation for doing little to stop the spread of infringing content online. As a result, pirate sites flourished and millions of citizens decided that paying for content was a thing of the past.

In recent times, things have changed. Italy now has one of the toughest anti-piracy regimes in Europe and regularly launches new actions, often targeting multiple sites in coordinated operations.

This week marks the start of another, with the Special Command Units of the Guardia di Finanza (GdF), a militarized police force under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance, acting on the orders of the Public Prosecutor of Rome.

Following the signing of a special decree issued by the Court of Rome, the GdF targeted the domains of 41 websites alleged to be involved in the distribution of first-run movies such as The Magnificent 7, Suicide Squad, and Legend of Tarzan.

Within the batch were many sites streaming live sporting events, such as soccer matches broadcasted by The Premier League, La Ligue 1, Bundesliga, La Liga and Champions League. Those who transmitted motor racing events were also in the frame, after drawing fire from Formula 1 and Moto GP broadcasters.

All domain names will be blocked by local ISPs or potentially seized, if within reach of local authorities.

Authorities report that in common with an operation carried out earlier this month, two anti-piracy strategies were employed, the so-called “follow-the-money” approach (whereby site owners are identified via payments made by advertisers and similar business partners) and the reportedly newer “follow-the-hosting” angle.

Investigating site hosts has been a core anti-piracy strategy for many years so precisely what’s new about this recent effort isn’t clear. However, much is being made of the ability to discover the true location of sites that attempt to hide behind various anonymization techniques available via the cloud.

Whether a true breakthrough has been made is hard to decipher since local authorities have a tendency to be a little dramatic. Nevertheless, there can be no doubts over their commitment.

According to Fulvia Sarzana, a lawyer with the Sarzana and Partners law firm which specializes in Internet and copyright disputes, a total of 290 sites have been targeted by court injunctions in the past four months alone.

Back in November, a landmark action to block more than 150 sites involved in the unauthorized streaming of movies and sports took place following the signing of a mass injunction by a judge in Rome. It was the biggest single blocking action in Italy since measures began in 2008.

Then, in early February, authorities widened their net further still, with a somewhat unusual campaign targeting sites that offered unauthorized digital versions of dozens of national newspapers and magazines including Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair.

With the latest blockades, Italy is now a true front-runner among European site-blocking nations. With many hundreds of domains now the subject of an injunction, the country is now firmly among the top three blocking countries, alongside the UK and Portugal.

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

Music, Movie & Gaming Industries Seek Piracy Blockades in Belgium

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/music-movie-gaming-industries-seek-piracy-blockades-170206/

blocked-censorBack in 2011, Belgium was one of the first countries to implement a court-ordered Pirate Bay blockade. The action was the result of a lawsuit between the Belgian Anti-Piracy Foundation (BAF) and ISPs Belgacom and Telenet.

After being tested in many countries around Europe, especially the UK where thousands of domains are now inaccessible, the site-blocking train has returned to Belgium.

The Belgian Entertainment Association was formed nine years ago following a local merger of International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI, music industry), the Belgian Video Federation (BVF, videos), and the Belgian Luxembourg Interactive Software Association (BLISA, videogames).

On Wednesday, the organization filed a lawsuit at the French commercial court in Brussels. Belgian news outlet De Tijd reports that it wants local Internet service providers to block subscriber access to several ‘pirate’ sites.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, BEA director Olivier Maeterlinck says that several popular streaming sites are being targeted initially.

“Our action aims to block nine of the most popular streaming sites which offer copyright-protected content on a massive scale and without authorisation,” Maeterlinck says.

“In accordance with the principles established by the CJEU (UPC Telekabel and GS Media), BEA seeks a court order confirming the infringement and imposing site blocking measures on the ISPs, who are content providers as well.”

In common with earlier blocking cases elsewhere in Europe, the ISPs named in the case (Brutélé, Nethys, Proximus, Telenet) first want confirmation that the sites they’re being asked to block are acting illegally. That is the stated purpose of the BEA lawsuit.

“Site blocking is nothing new in Belgium. The Pirate Bay and Popcorn Time – which are not involved in the current action – have been blocked for a long time,” Maeterlinck continues.

“Studies and figures from abroad (e.g. UK, Portugal) have shown that site blocking has a positive impact on the legal offer while the visits to the blocked sites drop massively (approximately a 90% drop in Belgium with The Pirate Bay) and the overall piracy level decreases as well.

“Site blocking actions are effective and if we want to support the continuing development of the legal offer and increase consumer confidence in the online economy, these enforcement initiatives need to be continued,” Maeterlinck concludes.

In the UK, well over a thousand domains are blocked on copyright grounds and in Portugal, where a voluntary mechanism is in place, the current tally is more than 900.

Next door to Belgium in the Netherlands, the blocking process has been much more drawn out. Rather than being largely compliant, ISPs have dug in their heels and objected at every turn after being asked to block The Pirate Bay. That case was referred to the European Court of Justice and it will eventually fall to the Dutch Supreme Court to make a decision.

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

MPAA Reports Pirate Sites and Hosting Providers to U.S. Government

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-reports-pirate-sites-and-hosting-providers-to-u-s-government-161010/

mpaa-logoResponding to a request from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), the MPAA has sent in its annual list of notorious markets.

In its latest submission the Hollywood group targets a wide variety of “rogue” sites and services which they claim are promoting the illegal distribution of movies and TV-shows, with declining incomes and lost jobs in the movie industry as a result.

“The criminals who profit from the most notorious markets throughout the world threaten the very heart of our industry and in so doing they threaten the livelihoods of the people who give it life,” the MPAA writes.

What’s new this year is that the MPAA calls out several hosting providers. These companies refuse to take pirate sites offline following complaints, even when the MPAA views them as blatantly violating the law.

“Hosting companies provide the essential infrastructure required to operate a website,” MPAA writes. “Given the central role of hosting providers in the online ecosystem, it is very concerning that many refuse to take action upon being notified.”

The Hollywood group specifically mentions Private Layer, Altushost and Netbrella, which are linked to various countries including the Netherlands, Panama, Sweden and Switzerland.

CDN provider CloudFlare is also named. As a US-based company it can’t be included in the list. However, MPAA explains that it is often used as an anonymization tool by sites and services that are mentioned in the report.

“An example of a CDN frequently exploited by notorious markets to avoid detection and enforcement is Cloudflare. CloudFlare is a CDN that also provides reverse proxy functionality. Reverse proxy functionality hides the real IP address of a web server.”

Stressing the importance of third-party services, the MPAA notes that domain name registrars can also be seen as possible “notorious markets.” As an example, the report mentions the Indian Public Domain Registry (PDR) which has repeatedly refused to take action against pirate sites.

At the heart of the MPAA’s report are as always the pirate sites themselves. This year they list 23 sites in separate categories, each with a suspected location, as defined by the movie industry group.

Torrent Sites

According to the MPAA, BitTorrent remains the most popular source of P2P piracy, despite the shutdowns of large sites such as KAT, Torrentz and YTS.

The Pirate Bay has traditionally been one of the main targets. Based on data from Alexa and SimilarWeb, the MPAA says that TPB has about 47 million unique visitors per month.

The MPAA writes that the site was hit by various enforcement actions in recent years. They also mistakenly suggest that the site is no longer the number one pirate site, but add that it gained traction after KAT and Torrentz were taken down.

“While it has never returned to its number one position, it has had a significant comeback after kat.cr and torrentz.eu went offline in 2016,” the MPAA writes.

ExtraTorrent is another prime target. The site offers millions of torrents and is affiliated with the Trust.Zone VPN, which they advertise on their site.

“Extratorrent.cc claims astonishing piracy statistics: offering almost three million free files with sharing optimized through over 64 million seeders and more than 39 million leechers.

“The homepage currently displays a message warning users to use a VPN when downloading torrents. Extratorrent.cc is affiliated with Trust.Zone,” MPAA adds.

The full list of reported torrent sites is as follows:

-1337x.to (Switzerland)
-Extratorrent.cc (Latvia)
-Rarbg.to (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
-Rutracker.org (Russia)
-ThePirateBay.org (Unknown)

Direct Download and Streaming Cyberlockers

The second category of pirate sites reported by the MPAA are cyberlockers. The movie industry group points out that these sites generate millions of dollars in revenue, citing a report from Netnames.

The “Movshare Group,” which allegedly operates Nowvideo.sx, Movshare.net, Novamov.com, Videoweed.es, Nowdownload.ch, Divxstage.to and several other pirate sites is a particularly large threat, they say.

As in previous submissions VKontakte, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook, is also listed as a notorious market.

-Allmyvideos.net (Netherlands)
-Nowvideo.sx and the “Movshare Group” (several locations)
-Openload.co (Netherlands)
-Rapidgator.net (Russia)
-Uploaded.net (Netherlands/Switzerland)
-VK.com (Russia)

Linking Websites

Finally, there are various linking websites, many of which focus on a foreign audience. These sites don’t host the infringing material, but only link to it. The full list of linking sites is as follows.

123movies.to (Unknown)
-Filmesonlinegratis.net (Brazil/Portugal)
-Kinogo.club (Netherlands)
-Movie4k.to (Russia)
-Newmovie-hd.com (Thailand)
-Pelis24.com (Spain/Mexico/Argentina/Venezuela/Peru/Chile)
-Primewire.ag (Switzerland)
-Projectfreetv.at (Romania)
-Putlocker.is (Switzerland/Vietnam)
-Repelis.tv (Mexico/Argentina/Spain/Peru/Venezuela)
-Watchseries.ac (France)

In its closing comments the Hollywood industry group calls on USTR and the U.S. government at large to help combat these threats, either directly or by encouraging foreign nations to take action.

“We strongly support efforts by the U.S. government to work with trading partners to protect and enforce intellectual property rights and, in so doing, protect U.S. jobs,” the MPAA concludes.

MPAA’s full submission is available here.

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

MPAA Says Portugal’s Pirate Site-Blocking System is World Leader

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-says-portugals-pirate-site-blocking-system-is-world-leader-161007/

The concept of whole-site blocking has been on the entertainment industries’ agenda for a decade now, after Russia’s AllofMP3 and then The Pirate Bay were blocked in Denmark. Since then, momentum has been building.

Blocking is now underway in multiple countries around the world, especially in Europe where the practice is widespread. The music and movie industries say blocking is effective but they also know that pushing blockades through the courts can be expensive and controversial.

In Portugal, however, things are much more streamlined. Thanks to an agreement forged between rightsholders, ISPs and the government in 2015, it is now a formality to have sites blocked in the country. If the parties agree that a site is operating illegally it can be blocked, all without stepping into a courtroom.

No surprise then that copyright holders have been taking full advantage of the system. After blocking The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent, Isohunt, RARBG, and dozens of others in October 2015, another 40 sites were added the month after. By April 2016 at least 330 sites had been blocked and every month the same process repeats.

The smoothness of the non-adversarial system appears to have impressed the MPAA. According to a SapoTek report, the Hollywood group has been presenting the Portuguese model to the Spanish Senate and is now planning to do the same before the French Senate.

FEVIP, the Portuguese Association of Audiovisual Works Defense, said in a statement that an MPAA-sponsored study between September 2015 and February 2016 found that out of 250 unauthorized sites, 22 had already been voluntarily blocked by the program.

Paulo Santos, executive director of FEVIP, said that Portugal’s program is now receiving international recognition for its streamlined processes. Noting a “special efficiency” in relation to results versus costs of litigation, Santos said that the program has resulted in a decrease in visits to pirate sites of “at least 60%”.

FEVIP say that the reductions are similar to those achieved by blocking in the UK, where the group claims pirate sites typically lose 75% of their local users within three months of a blockade being put in place.

To date, hundreds of sites and thousands of URLs have been blocked in both countries, yet piracy somehow persists. Clearly, a 60% or even 75% reduction in traffic to domains is not translating to a similar drop in piracy rates or indeed, increases in sales.

However, it seems likely that the MPAA and others will continue their blocking efforts regardless. Voluntary solutions are clearly in favor, since they receive less judicial scrutiny after implementation and cost far less to run on an ongoing basis. Spain and France next? Only time will tell.

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

Portugal Blocks 330 Pirate Sites in Just Six Months

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/portugal-blocks-330-pirate-sites-in-just-six-months-160430/

One of copyright holders’ most-favored anti-piracy mechanisms in place today involves site-blocking. Censoring sites at the ISP level is effective, rightsholders insist, not to mention cheaper than direct legal action against pirate sites.

In most countries where site-blocking is already in place, authorities have previously determined that the legal system must be involved. In the UK, for example, existing legislation was deemed to offer rightsholders the tools they need. Australia, on the other hand, decided to introduce legal amendments to keep things on the straight and narrow.

Portugal decided to take a different approach, one that simply involved an agreement between rightsholders, ISPs and the government. Now, if a site is considered to be illegal by these parties, it can be blocked without stepping into a courtroom.

For copyright holders it’s the Holy Grail and they’re taking full advantage of the new system. This week during a conference in the capital, Lisbon, the Portuguese Association for the Protection of Audiovisual Works revealed the extent of the program and it’s as critics feared.

Executive Director Antonio Paulo Santos reported that Portugal is now blocking a vast range of file-sharing and related sites, offering movies, TV, shows and music to streaming sports and books. In total more than 330 sites are now being blocked by local Internet service providers.

The rate of blocking is unprecedented. In October 2015 more than 50 sites were blocked by ISPs, including KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent, Isohunt and RARBG. The following month another 40 were added, including BitSnoop, YourBitorrent, SeedPeer, Torlock and Torrentfunk.

Since then another 240 sites have been quietly added to the list. This rapid growth means that along with the United Kingdom and Italy, Portugal is already a world leader in pirate site blockades. All this has been achieved without ever going near a court room.

It is this kind of voluntary agreement that Hollywood and the major record labels are pushing for internationally, whether they’re with Internet service providers, domain registries or companies such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard. The process in Portugal ticks all the right boxes for the entertainment companies so expect it to be championed elsewhere.

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