Tag Archives: Rights Alliance

Denmark Blocks Sci-Hub Plus Streaming, Torrent & YouTube-Ripping Sites

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/denmark-blocks-sci-hub-plus-streaming-torrent-youtube-ripping-sites-190926/

While many countries around Europe have frameworks in place to block ‘pirate’ sites on copyright grounds, Denmark can take credit for being a pioneer.

As long ago as 2006, music industry group IFPI began targeting Russian MP3 download site AllofMP3 and in 2008, the country became the first in the region to compel an ISP to block The Pirate Bay.

Since then, rightsholders – under the leadership of anti-piracy group RettighedsAlliancen (Rights Alliance) – have taken selective action to target further sites for blocking, specifically those that have proven themselves most popular with local audiences.

Last week, Rights Alliance indicated that it had won a new blocking order following a process at a court in Holbæk. The group said that it had targeted 11 sites in various sectors, including streaming, torrent, file-hosting and ripping sites but few other details were made available.

Information provided by Rights Alliance to TorrentFreak can now put more meat on those bones.

The action was taken on behalf of many content-related companies covering music, movies, TV shows and publishing. They include IFPI, Sony Music, Elsevier, the Danish Producers’​ Association, film company Zentropa Productions, Nimbus Film, Nordisk Film, and Scanbox Entertainment, to name a few.

The single torrent site targeted was the popular platform TorrentFunk followed by six streaming platforms – Filme3d, Filmi2k, GoMovies, HDfilmcehennemi2, PopcornTime-online, and Watch32.

Given the participation of IFPI and Sony in the process, it’s no surprise that stream-ripping platforms also make an appearance. The two sites targeted in this sector are named as YouTube converter sites Converto and MP3-YouTube. In 2018, Denmark became the first country in the world to compel an ISP to block a YouTube-ripping site.

That publisher Elsevier is involved naturally points to the blocking of Sci-Hub and Library Genesis (Libgen). These ‘pirate’ libraries of scientific papers have been blocked in a number of regions already, including France, Germany, and Russia. Neither are strangers to direct legal action either, but both sites continue their stated mission regardless.

In common with many similar procedures, the action was targeted at a local ISP, in this case Fibia. The Court ultimately determined that all of the sites infringe the plaintiffs’ copyrights and that Fibia enables its customers to access the sites in question.

As a result, Fibia was directed to block subscriber access to the sites within seven days of receiving the court order. In line with a code of conduct agreed among ISPs in Denmark, other ISPs will also block the above-named sites, despite not being named in the complaint.

Rights Alliance Director Maria Fredenslund informs TorrentFreak that this latest action represents “blocking wave 14” in Denmark and more sites will be targeted in the future.

“We file about 5-6 cases per year targeting the most popular infringing sites,” Fredenslund concludes.

Users attempting to visit the newly-blocked sites (and the hundreds blocked following previous actions) will be directed to the Share With Care campaign portal which contains advice supported by a dedicated film search engine, pointing visitors to legal sources.

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

Streaming Piracy Remains Constant in Sweden, Despite Boost in Legal Consumption

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/streaming-piracy-remains-constant-in-sweden-despite-boost-in-legal-consumption-190902/

When there were few, if any, legal services available to stream movies and TV shows via the Internet, pirate sites had a virtual stranglehold on the entire market.

The obvious theory was that when entertainment industry groups came together to actually make their content both accessible and at a reasonable price (build it and they will come), visits to pirate sites would naturally decrease.

In Sweden, where The Pirate Bay and similar platforms have stamped their mark on the pirate landscape for at least 15 years, the market was crying out for legal options. Now there are a few to choose from, including Netflix and HBO Nordic, for example.

However, according to anti-piracy group Rights Alliance, the availability of legal services and indeed increased uptake of them among the public hasn’t had a negative effect on the numbers of people using ‘pirate’ services.

“Unfortunately, we do not see a reduction in illegal use,” Rights Alliance lawyer Sara Lindbäck informs Sveriges Radio.

“[Piracy rates] in Sweden are much higher than they are in the neighboring Nordic countries. We are at about 20%, so every fifth Swede uses an illegal service.”

The claim that the volume of people using piracy sites isn’t reducing in line with increased uptake of legal services will be a disappointment to the movies and TV industries. However, the big question is why this is the case. Lindbäck notes that pirate streaming sites are essentially free to use, which is a big attraction but there are other issues too.

Particularly in the case of movies, pirate sites are able to exploit weaknesses in the legal market. Theatrical and other windowing (such as the often extended wait for titles to appear on streaming services) means that pirate sites are the only option for early viewing of the latest content, something that keeps them relevant, even while people also subscribe to services like Netflix.

As reported last week, a very high percentage of pirates in Europe are also consumers of legal content, which means that improved legal options should mean that people turn to piracy less. In Sweden, there also appears to be a situation where people are happy to buy and pirate at the same time, with piracy supplementing legal consumption.

This inevitably leads Rights Alliance back down the enforcement route, calling for stricter penalties against pirate site operators and greater help from those supplying Internet connections to the public.

“[T]here is a proposal that awaits the government to [make piracy a] serious crime so that the sanctions will be greater and the police will have better tools to work against it,” Lindbäck explains, adding that improved collaboration with ISPs might help to reduce piracy rates too.

Finally, education about piracy issues is often touted as a means to keep people away from pirate sites. Lindbäck believes that progress is being made in this area, with people noting that the money being made by pirate site operators via advertising, for example, is associated with crime and money laundering.

“I think there is a maturity that continues, surprisingly, about the use of the Internet,” Lindbäck concludes.

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

LaLiga & Rights Alliance Win Dynamic Football Piracy Blocking Order

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/la-liga-rights-alliance-win-dynamic-sports-piracy-blocking-order-190426/

Movies, TV shows, and music have all proven popular with online pirates for years but with fast Internet connections now widespread, streaming live television is on the increase.

This presents a unique problem for football leagues hoping to generate large revenues from fans keen to catch the big game on TV.

There are dozens of pirate sites available today willing to provide that content for free, a point not lost on Danish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance (RettighedsAlliancen). Figures provided by the group indicate that between February 2018 and February 2019, locals made 18 million visits to the most popular illegal live sports services.

To help counter this threat, Rights Alliance teamed up with Spanish top-tier football league LaLiga in legal action designed to prevent local Internet users from accessing the sites.

In a case filed on February 8, 2019, LaLiga demanded that local ISP Telenor should prevent its subscribers from accessing 10 sites (list below) that infringe its copyrights by showing live matches. LaLiga suggested DNS blocking as a possible method but Telenor asked for the whole injunction to be denied.

LaLiga stated that that previous rulings from the European Court of Justice found that the English Premier League owned copyright in its broadcasts, which included videos, music, highlights of previous matches and graphics.

When these are made available to the public, it is only the rightsholder that holds an exclusive license to do so. The same holds true when such broadcasts are made available to a “new audience” – i.e one that the rightsholder hadn’t initially taken into account, such as unauthorized streaming over the Internet of an otherwise terrestrial broadcast.

As is becoming typical in similar cases, the local court referenced other important rulings from the EU Court, including GS Media, BREIN v Ziggo and BREIN v Filmspeler, to determine if the protected works were being made available to the public in contravention of EU law.

Nine of the ‘pirate’ services listed in the complaint were ultimately deemed to be infringing due to them offering copyrighted works and generating revenue via advertising. The tenth, Spain-based RojaDirecta, requested more time to respond to LaLiga’s complaint, so the site will be dealt with at a later date.

On April 15, 2019, the Court of Frederiksberg handed down its order, which requires Telenor to block the listed sites using a “technical solution” such as DNS blocking. The provider is also required to block other domains that appear in future which facilitate access to the same sites. These will be advised by Rights Alliance under strict rules laid down by the Court.

Under the Danish ISP Code of Conduct, other major ISPs in Denmark will also implement the blocks against the sites in the complaint.

This is an important case in Denmark for both LaLiga and Rights Alliance, one that paves the way for blocking of unlicensed live sports and general TV portals in general.

LaLiga’s Audiovisual Director Melcior Soler welcomed the decision.

“Audiovisual Piracy is illegal and has great consequences, not only for us, but for the league and the future of the game, so we are very happy that RettighedsAlliancen has joined us in the fight. We know that Denmark is at the forefront of the development of digital tools to fight online piracy, and this is a big issue for us,” Soler said.

“We are now looking forward to seeing the effects of the blockings and hope that they can serve as an example for other countries, so that we can stand together in the fight against online piracy.”

The full order (supplied to TF by Rights Alliance) can be found here (pdf).

The site names, which are partially redacted in the order, are as follows:

  • livetv*****
  • tvron*****
  • ronaldo7****
  • kora-star****
  • live.harleyquinnwidget****
  • myfeed2all****
  • stream2watch****
  • jokerlivestream****
  • kora-online****

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

ISPs Win Landmark Case to Protect Privacy of Alleged Pirates

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/isps-win-landmark-case-protect-privacy-alleged-pirates-180508/

With waves of piracy settlement letters being sent out across the world, the last line of defense for many accused Internet users has been their ISPs.

In a number of regions, notably the United States, Europe, and the UK, most ISPs have given up the fight, handing subscriber details over to copyright trolls with a minimum of resistance. However, there are companies out there prepared to stand up for their customers’ rights, if eventually.

Over in Denmark, Telenor grew tired of tens of thousands of requests for subscriber details filed by a local law firm on behalf of international copyright troll groups. It previously complied with demands to hand over the details of individuals behind 22,000 IP addresses, around 11% of the 200,000 total handled by ISPs in Denmark. But with no end in sight, the ISP dug in its heels.

“We think there is a fundamental legal problem because the courts do not really decide what is most important: the legal security of the public or the law firms’ commercial interests,” Telenor’s Legal Director Mette Eistrøm Krüger said last year.

Assisted by rival ISP Telia, Telenor subsequently began preparing a case to protect the interests of their customers, refusing in the meantime to comply with disclosure requests in copyright cases. But last October, the District Court ruled against the telecoms companies, ordering them to provide identities to the copyright trolls.

Undeterred, the companies took their case to the Østre Landsret, one of Denmark’s two High Courts. Yesterday their determination paid off with a resounding victory for the ISPs and security for the individuals behind approximately 4,000 IP addresses targeted by Copyright Collection Ltd via law firm Njord Law.

“In its order based on telecommunications legislation, the Court has weighed subscribers’ rights to confidentiality of information regarding their use of the Internet against the interests of rightsholders to obtain information for the purpose of prosecuting claims against the subscribers,” the Court said in a statement.

Noting that the case raised important questions of European Union law and the European Convention on Human Rights, the High Court said that after due consideration it would overrule the decision of the District Court. The rights of the copyright holders do not trump the individuals right to privacy, it said.

“The telecommunications companies are therefore not required to disclose the names and addresses of their subscribers,” the Court ruled.

Telenor welcomed the decision, noting that it had received countless requests from law firms to disclose the identities of thousands of subscribers but had declined to hand them over, a decision that has now been endorsed by the High Court.

“This is an important victory for our right to protect our customers’ data,” said Telenor Denmark’s Legal Director, Mette Eistrøm Krüger.

“At Telenor we protect our customers’ data and trust – therefore it has been our conviction that we cannot be forced into almost automatically submitting personal data on our customers simply to support some private actors who are driven by commercial interests.”

Noting that it’s been putting up a fight since 2016 against handing over customers’ data for purposes other than investigating serious crime, Telenor said that the clarity provided by the decision is most welcome.

“We and other Danish telecom companies are required to log customer data for the police to fight serious crime and terrorism – but the legislation has just been insufficient in relation to the use of logged data,” Krüger said.

“Therefore I am pleased that with this judgment the High Court has stated that customers’ legal certainty is most important in these cases.”

The decision was also welcomed by Telia Denmark, with Legal Director Lasse Andersen describing the company as being “really really happy” with “a big win.”

“It is a victory for our customers and for all telecom companies’ customers,” Andersen said.

“They can now feel confident that the data that we collect about them cannot be disclosed for purposes other than the terms under which they are collected as determined by the jurisdiction.

“Therefore, anyone and everybody cannot claim our data. We are pleased that throughout the process we have determined that we will not hand over our data to anyone other than the police with a court order,” Andersen added.

But as the ISPs celebrate, the opposite is true for Njord Law and its copyright troll partners.

“It is a sad message to the Danish film and television industry that the possibilities for self-investigating illegal file sharing are complicated and that the work must be left to the police’s scarce resources,” said Jeppe Brogaard Clausen of Njord Law.

While the ISPs finally stood up for users in these cases, Telenor in particular wishes to emphasize that supporting the activities of pirates is not its aim. The company says it does not support illegal file-sharing “in any way” and is actively working with anti-piracy outfit Rights Alliance to prevent unauthorized downloading of movies and other content.

The full decision of the Østre Landsret can be found here (Danish, pdf)

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

Danish Traffic to Pirate Sites Increases 67% in Just a Year

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/danish-traffic-to-pirate-sites-increases-67-in-just-a-year-180501/

For close to 20 years, rightsholders have tried to stem the tide of mainstream Internet piracy. Yet despite increasingly powerful enforcement tools, infringement continues on a grand scale.

While the problem is global, rightsholder groups often zoom in on their home turf, to see how the fight is progressing locally. Covering Denmark, the Rights Alliance Data Report 2017 paints a fairly pessimistic picture.

Published this week, the industry study – which uses SimilarWeb and MarkMonitor data – finds that Danes visited 2,000 leading pirate sites 596 million times in 2017. That represents a 67% increase over the 356 million visits to unlicensed platforms made by citizens during 2016.

The report notes that, at least in part, this explosive growth can be attributed to mobile-compatible sites and services, which make it easier than ever to consume illicit content on the move, as well as at home.

In a sea of unauthorized streaming sites, Rights Alliance highlights one platform above all the others as a particularly bad influence in 2017 – 123movies (also known as GoMovies and GoStream, among others).

“The popularity of this service rose sharply in 2017 from 40 million visits in 2016 to 175 million visits in 2017 – an increase of 337 percent, of which most of the traffic originates from mobile devices,” the report notes.

123movies recently announced its closure but before that the platform was subjected to web-blocking in several jurisdictions.

Rights Alliance says that Denmark has one of the most effective blocking systems in the world but that still doesn’t stop huge numbers of people from consuming pirate content from sites that aren’t yet blocked.

“Traffic to infringing sites is overwhelming, and therefore blocking a few sites merely takes the top of the illegal activities,” Rights Alliance chief Maria Fredenslund informs TorrentFreak.

“Blocking is effective by stopping 75% of traffic to blocked sites but certainly, an upscaled effort is necessary.”

Rights Alliance also views the promotion of legal services as crucial to its anti-piracy strategy so when people visit a blocked site, they’re also directed towards legitimate platforms.

“That is why we are working at the moment with Denmark’s Ministry of Culture and ISPs on a campaign ‘Share With Care 2′ which promotes legal services e.g. by offering a search function for legal services which will be placed in combination with the signs that are put on blocked websites,” the anti-piracy group notes.

But even with such measures in place, the thirst for unlicensed content is great. In 2017 alone, 500 of the most popular films and TV shows were downloaded from P2P networks like BitTorrent more than 15 million times from Danish IP addresses, that’s up from 11.9 million in 2016.

Given the dramatic rise in visits to pirate sites overall, the suggestion is that plenty of consumers are still getting through. Rights Alliance says that the number of people being restricted is also hampered by people who don’t use their ISP’s DNS service, which is the method used to block sites in Denmark.

Additionally, interest in VPNs and similar anonymization and bypass-capable technologies is on the increase. Between 3.5% and 5% of Danish Internet users currently use a VPN, a number that’s expected to go up. Furthermore, Rights Alliance reports greater interest in “closed” pirate communities.

“The data is based on closed [BitTorrent] networks. We also address the challenges with private communities on Facebook and other [social media] platforms,” Fredenslund explains.

“Due to the closed doors of these platforms it is not possible for us to say anything precisely about the amount of infringing activities there. However, we receive an increasing number of notices from our members who discover that their products are distributed illegally and also we do an increased monitoring of these platforms.”

But while more established technologies such as torrents and regular web-streaming continue in considerable volumes, newer IPTV-style services accessible via apps and dedicated platforms are also gaining traction.

“The volume of visitors to these services’ websites has been sharply rising in 2017 – an increase of 84 percent from January to December,” Rights Alliance notes.

“Even though the number of visitors does not say anything about actual consumption, as users usually only visit pages one time to download the program, the number gives an indication that the interest in IPTV is increasing.”

To combat this growth market, Rights Alliance says it wants to establish web-blockades against sites hosting the software applications.

Also on the up are visits to platforms offering live sports illegally. In 2017, Danish IP addresses made 2.96 million visits to these services, corresponding to almost 250,000 visits per month and representing an annual increase of 28%.

Rights Alliance informs TF that in future a ‘live’ blocking mechanism similar to the one used by the Premier League in the UK could be deployed in Denmark.

“We already have a dynamic blocking system, and we see an increasing demand for illegal TV products, so this could be a natural next step,” Fredenslund explains.

Another small but perhaps significant detail is how users are accessing pirate sites. According to the report, large volumes of people are now visiting platforms directly, with more than 50% doing so in preference to referrals from search engines such as Google.

In terms of deterrence, the Rights Alliance report sticks to the tried-and-tested approaches seen so often in the anti-piracy arena.

Firstly, the group notes that it’s increasingly encountering people who are paying for legal services such as Netflix and Spotify so believe that allows them to grab something extra from a pirate site. However, in common with similar organizations globally, the group counters that pirate sites can serve malware or have other nefarious business interests behind the scenes, so people should stay away.

Whether significant volumes will heed this advice will remain to be seen but if a 67% increase last year is any predictor of the future, piracy is here to stay – and then some. Rights Alliance says it is ready for the challenge but will need some assistance to achieve its goals.

“As it is evident from the traffic data, criminal activities are not something that we, private companies (right holders in cooperation with ISPs), can handle alone,” Fredenslund says.

“Therefore, we are very pleased that DK Government recently announced that the IP taskforce which was set down as a trial period has now been made permanent. In that regard it is important and necessary that the police will also obtain the authority to handle blocking of massively infringing websites. Police do not have the authority to carry out blocking as it is today.”

The full report is available here (Danish, pdf)

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