Tag Archives: streaming

Windows Users Stream More Pirated Video than Others

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/windows-users-stream-more-pirated-video-than-others-200312/

Piracy is a complicated and multi-faceted phenomenon. People who stream content illegally are seen as a direct threat by the entertainment industries, but many of these pirates have paid subscriptions as well.

Against this backdrop, Sarah Oh and fellow researchers from the Technology Policy Institute looked at the interplay between legal and illegal video consumption online. The main question they asked is whether pirate video consumption directly competes with legal viewing time.

The results, published in a paper titled “Do Pirated Video Streams Crowd Out Non-Pirated Video Streams?” show that this is indeed the case.

The findings are based on a massive dataset that includes 5.25 terabytes of online activity data from 19,764 American households who together own more than 468,612. This data, including raw Internet traffic from 2016 to 2017, was then used to create an economic analysis.

The sheer volume of the information is a goldmine that provides some unique insights. For example, it includes the time spent on viewing legal and pirated video per operating system. While it’s merely used as an instrumental variable by the researchers, it’s worth highlighting separately.

The data shows that Windows users watch the most pirated content of all, more than 2 minutes per hour on average. This is more than Mac and Android OS users, which are both still well above the average.

“Windows PC devices show higher proportions of time spent on pirate sites than devices with other types of operating systems,” the researchers write, adding that “most devices used for piracy are represented by a few top operating systems.”

The graph above shows that Linux users view significantly less pirated video. They fall below the average, with slightly more than half a minute of pirated streaming per hour. The viewing time goes down even further for other operating systems, including iOS, Xbox, Roku and others.

When looking at the time spent on legal video consumption platforms, other operating systems come out on top. The Linux-based Tizen OS is in the lead, followed by WebOS and Roku.

Although these are intriguing statistics, the main purpose of the research is to look at the link between time spent on legal and illegal video streaming. Specifically, if one competes with the other.

The article answers this question with a resounding ‘yes’. On average, the researchers found that more minutes spent on pirate streaming decreases the time spent on legal video sites including Amazon and Netflix.

While the overall effect is strong enough to hold up across all legal services, the effect is actually the opposite for YouTube. Watching more pirated video streams is linked to watching more content on YouTube.

One of the explanations for this finding, according to the researchers, could be that both are free forms of entertainment, which may appeal to a similar audience.

The overarching conclusion, however, is that time spent watching pirated videos directly competes with time spent on legal alternatives.

“Pirate sites compete with non-pirated streaming services for a growing share of time that American households spend each day watching online video,” the researchers conclude.

The raw data, based on the volume of files, suggests that for every extra minute on a pirate site people spend 3.5 fewer minutes on a legal streaming service. However, since pirate files generally are more compressed, a one-on-one tradeoff is seen as more likely.

“Because pirated video files are more compressed than non-pirated video files, often by a factor of four, and because pirated video is frequently downloaded in full and non-pirated video is streamed, we conclude that time spent watching pirated video displaces nearly the same amount of time spent watching over-the-top streaming apps,” the research concludes.

The full article titled “Do Pirated Video Streams Crowd Out Non-Pirated Video Streams? Evidence from Online Activity,” written by Sarah Oh, Scott Wallsten and Nathaniel Lovin, is available here.

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

ApolloTV Streaming App Shuts Down Following ACE Cease-and-Desist Notice

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/apollotv-streaming-app-shuts-down-following-ace-cease-and-desist-notice-200304/

While third-party Kodi addons remain popular with those seeking free access to premium video, standalone apps for Android and iOS have gained traction in recent years.

Easy to install and use on set-top boxes, tablets and phones, these tools often provide a Popcorn-Time or Showbox-like experience, offering the latest movies and TV shows in a familiar Netflix-style interface. On the one hand, they’re popular with users but Hollywood studios and other content creators consider them a risk to their business that needs to be countered.

ApolloTV is a relatively recent addition to the growing market. Available for iOS and Android, the application gained a reasonable following and is featured in dozens of tutorials and YouTube video installation guides. At the time of writing, however, it seems highly unlikely that the project will continue.

Over the past several days, rumors began to circulate that ApolloTV would be shutting down. The whispers suggested that the application’s developer had been targeted by copyright holders and as a result, the app would be discontinued. Counter-rumors suggested that the developer simply wanted a way out so TorrentFreak approached ‘Sam’ directly to find out.

“I received a cease and desist from the Alliance 4 Creativity – the same people who took down Openload and Streamango – citing ApolloTV making available copyrighted works copied and hosted by unaffiliated third parties without permission from the copyright holder,” Sam informs us.

The claim seems reasonable given the circumstances. ApolloTV didn’t host any content of its own but did provide access to content hosted on third-party file-hosting platforms, a common feature among similar ‘scraper’-type applications.

As TF discovered, Sam made little to no effort to hide his identity so it appears that ACE had few difficulties tracking him down. However, while we reached him easily via email, ACE managed to discover his home address which enabled them to serve the cease-and-desist notice by hand.

“I was surprised that I actually received the cease and desist physically, in person (it was delivered by a court officer), at my home address,” he explains.

Sam says that he doesn’t have the time or the resources to fight a lawsuit and since ACE were very reasonable, he’ll be complying with their requests immediately. He doesn’t want to go into too many additional details but says that as part of the settlement, he will need to shut down the project’s Github page and hand over the Apollo domain to ACE.

At the time of writing, the official ApolloTV repository on Github has been taken down. ACE nor the MPA appear to have filed any official DMCA takedown requests with the developer platform so at this point things seem to be progressing quickly on a voluntary basis.

TorrentFreak sought comment from ACE on the reported action but, at the time of publishing, we were yet to receive a response.

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

Zero Online Pirates Criminally Charged in 2019, Lowest Since 2010, Swedish Authorities Say

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/zero-online-pirates-criminally-charged-in-2019-lowest-level-since-2010-swedish-authorities-say-200218/

While there are many hundreds of pirate sites and hundreds of millions of pirates around the globe today, for many years it was Sweden that generated a disproportionate number of news headlines covering the phenomenon.

With a population that had become exceptionally comfortable with file-sharing technologies and a general lack of enforcement, sites like The Pirate Bay flourished alongside significant numbers of private torrent sites, so-called Direct Connect hubs, and streaming sites. Eventually, however, legislation and law enforcement began to catch up, targeting sites both large and small, as well as individuals viewed as significant players by the entertainment industries.

After reporting what felt like dozens of cases over the years, some involving torrent and streaming site operators, others involved with DCC sharing, the last couple of years felt strangely devoid of criminal prosecutions. With the mainstream entertainment companies appearing to focus more on ISP blocking processes, criminal legal cases dropped off the radar.

Now, there is official confirmation from the authorities that for the first time since 2010, when a new criminal code was introduced, not a single person was criminally charged with a piracy-related offense during the whole of 2019.

Information obtained by SVT from the Prosecutor’s Office reveals that just 23 crimes were reported to the authorities last year, the lowest figure for nine years.

That revelation lies in stark contrast to the position in 2016, when Sweden’s national police announced that three-quarters of intellectual property complaints filed in the country related to file-sharing, with a new complaint being filed with authorities every three days.

File-sharing and similar cases are currently handled by the National Unit against Organized Crime but for a case to get underway, it must receive a referral from copyright holder groups and their representatives.

However, according to Rights Alliance, the most prominent anti-piracy group in Sweden, sizeable targets are now thin on the ground.

“All Swedish illegal film services, whether streaming or file sharing via BitTorrent, are notified and under investigation. There will, of course, be new ones all the time, but every one of size is already registered,” Rights Alliance lawyer Sara Lindbäck told SVT.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that file-sharing, web-streaming, IPTV and other forms of piracy have been defeated but there does seem to be a perception that local targets have either shut down or moved overseas, placing them outside Swedish jurisdiction. There’s also the matter of investigations that are already underway but haven’t yet got to the charging stage.

“This type of case can take a long time as evidence is often found in another country and legal assistance is needed to get the information out,” says Brita Wallström, head of the police unit dealing with intellectual property crimes.

While there may be a level of optimism at the lack of criminal prosecutions in 2019, the battleground against piracy appears to have shifted in Sweden. Pirated content is still readily accessible in the country, no matter who administers it or where it is being served from. As a result, there are now companies who, rather than attack the suppliers of that material, now prefer to go after regular Internet users in civil actions.

As reported last week, there has been an explosion of so-called copyright-trolling cases in Sweden during recent years.

Beginning around four years ago, in 2019 more than 60,000 IP addresses were targeted in civil actions, with around 144,000 IP-addresses targeted over the past three years.

So, while anti-piracy groups and the authorities may be running out of higher-level pirate site operators to bring to trial in Sweden, there is currently no shortage of downloaders to pursue for cash settlements. The rest, who prefer to utilize streaming platforms and ever-popular IPTV services, will remain mostly under the radar – for now.

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

A Disk-Backed ArrayList

Post Syndicated from Bozho original https://techblog.bozho.net/a-disk-backed-arraylist/

It sometimes happens that your list can become too big to fit in memory and you have to do something in order to avoid running out of memory.

The proper way to do that is streaming – instead of fitting everything in memory, you should stream data from the source and discard the entries that are already processed.

However, there are cases when code that’s outside of your control requires a List and you can’t use streaming. These cases are rather rare but in case you hit them, you have to find a workaround. One is to re-implement the code to work with streaming, but depending on the way the library is written, it may not be possible. So the other option is to use a disk-backed list – one that works as a list, but underneath stores and loads elements from disk.

Searching for existing solutions results in several 3+ years old repos like this one and this one and this one.

And then there’s MapDB, which is great and supported. It’s mostly about maps, but it does support a List as well, as shown here.

And finally, you have the option to implement something simpler yourself, in case you need just iteration and almost nothing else. I’ve done it here – DiskBackedArrayList.java. It doesn’t support many things (not all methods are overridden to throw an exception, but they should). But most importantly, it doesn’t support random adding and random getting, and also toArray(). It’s purely “fill the collection” and then “iterate the collection”. It relies on ObjectOutputStream which is not terribly efficient, but is simple to use. Note that I’ve allowed a short in-memory prependList in case small amounts of data need to be prepended to the list.

The list gets filled in memory until a specified threshold and then gets flushed to disk, clearing the memory which starts getting filled again. This too can be more efficient – with background flushing in another thread that doesn’t interfere with adding elements to the list, but optimizations complicate things and in this case the total running time was not an issue. Most importantly, the iterator() method is overridden to return a custom iterator that first streams the prepended list, then reads everything from disk and finally iterates over the latest batch which is still in memory. And finally, the clear() method should be called in the end in order to close the underlying stream. An output stream could be opened and closed on each flush, but ObjectOutputStream can’t be used in append mode due to some implementation specific about writing headers first.

So basically we hide the streaming approach underneath a List interface – it’s still streaming elements and discarding them when not needed. Ideally this should be done at the source of the data (e.g. a database, message queue, etc.) rather than using the disk as overflow space, but there are cases where using the disk is fine. This implementation is a starting point, as it’s not tested in production, but illustrates that you can adapt existing classes to use different data access patterns if needed.

The post A Disk-Backed ArrayList appeared first on Bozho's tech blog.

Premier League Piracy Case Ends In ‘Record Damages’, Suspended Sentences

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/premier-league-piracy-case-ends-in-record-damages-suspended-sentences-191202/

With the rise of convenient web-based live streaming, in recent years the Premier League has found itself on the front lines of anti-piracy enforcement.

While a significant proportion of its actions are targeted at illicit offerings available in the UK, the Premier League doesn’t shy away from tackling those who offer live games in other areas of the world too.

The group, which operates top-tier football in England, says it launched an investigation which was taken on by Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation in 2015. That developed into a covert investigation in Hong Kong during 2017 targeting individuals behind various websites operating under the banner Expat.tv.

The trail eventually led back to an operation in Thailand which offered pirate streams and preloaded set-top boxes across southeast Asia including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Raids were subsequently carried out by Thailand’s DSI at five locations including a residential address in Bangkok on May 11, 2017. Two British men were arrested and a Thai woman was detained at a later date.

One of the men subsequently skipped bail but the remaining pair faced charges, including copyright infringement, relating to the unlicensed distribution of Premier League content and running a major ‘piracy network’ across Asia. Both pleaded guilty and have now been sentenced.

The Premier League reports the pair have paid damages to them totaling THB 15 million (around £385,000) which, according to the League, is one of the highest damages awards for copyright infringement ever paid in Thailand.

This is an addition to funds of almost THB 7 million (£180,000) that were seized by the state, THB 3 million (£76,800) in fines, plus suspended prison sentences totaling 3.5 years.

“This is one of the most substantial compensations for piracy-related crimes in Thailand and is a stark warning to anyone involved in the illegal supply of Premier League streams,” says Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb. 

“Attitudes towards, and acceptance of, these types of operators in Asia is changing, which is good news for fans who watch Premier League content through legitimate channels.”

This latest success for the Premier League can be added to the growing list of anti-piracy victories reported by the football group in recent times which include dynamic blocking injunctions and dealing with the sprawling problem of premium IPTV services.

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

UK Man Admits to Selling £400,000 in Pirate Streaming Subscriptions

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/uk-man-admits-to-selling-400000-in-pirate-streaming-subscriptions-191121/

Pirate streaming services remain widely appealing to a broad audience. At a fraction of the cost of regular subscriptions, they open the door to all sorts of entertainment.

This practice is a thorn in the side of rights holders, who are increasingly cracking down on this business. In the UK, anti-piracy group FACT has been leading the charge.

The group’s referrals have resulted in several successful convictions, which often include prison sentences. This morning, Steven Underwood, another FACT target, faced justice before the Truro Magistrates Court.

FACT suspected the man of selling pirate subscriptions and in January, the Police Regional Organised Crime Unit entered his home with a search warrant. They seized his phone and laptop, among other things, which later confirmed his involvement.

A follow-up investigation revealed that Underwood sold roughly £400,000 worth of subscriptions. That’s a substantial amount, but the yearly profits are likely much lower. The service may have been running for years already and the man likely had to pay a supplier as well.

The subscriptions provided access to a wide variety of content, including that of  Sky, BT, and the Premier League.

While these types of cases can be drawn out, the seller admitted both copyright and fraud charges, FACT informs TorrentFreak. Following this guilty plea, the court’s main decision is to determine the appropriate conviction.

As is common with these announcements, details are scarce. The name of the streaming service or what it offered exactly is unknown. FACT CEO Kieron Sharp is, however, using the opportunity to warn other vendors.

“We are constantly working to remove sellers of illegal streaming subscriptions from the market and bring them to justice. The message is clear – if you are tempted to sell access to content that is not licensed or owned by you, you risk facing a criminal conviction,” Sharp says.

The sentencing of Underwood is scheduled to take place next month. He faces a maximum prison sentence of up to two years for the copyright offense, and ten years for fraud.

That said, history has shown that actual sentences depend on a variety of factors which can vary quite a bit.

This summer, FACT boasted that the mastermind behind the Dreambox service was sentenced to seven years and four months of jail time. A few weeks later, however, a seller of pirate streaming devices was handed a sentence of 300 hours unpaid community service.

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

USDOJ Highlights Threat of Increasingly Sophisticated Pirate Services

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/usdoj-highlights-threat-of-increasingly-sophisticated-pirate-services/

From its relatively basic and humble roots back in the 1990s, Internet-based distribution of copyright-infringing content underwent a renaissance at the turn of the century.

Peer-to-peer technologies, including the now omnipresent BitTorrent protocol, brought file-sharing to the masses and with it a huge problem for the content industries.

Twenty years on – a lifetime in technology – BitTorrent still attracts hundreds of millions of users but the immediacy of streaming, including movies, TV series, live TV and sports, is now considered one of the greatest threats facing copyright holders and distribution platforms.

This week, in remarks made at the Thirteenth Law Enforcement and Industry Meeting on Intellectual Property Enforcement in Washington, DC, the Department of Justice weighed in on these dramatic changes in the piracy landscape over the past decade.

“Copyright pirates have moved from peddling individual copies of movies, music, and software on street corners or offering individual downloads online, to operating technologically advanced, multi-national streaming services that generate millions of dollars in illicit profits,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski.

While online streaming of pirated content is nothing new, in more recent years there has been a noticeable shift in the professionalism of those providing and distributing content, with highly organized unlicensed IPTV providers and ‘pirate’ CDN operations presenting new challenges to entertainment companies and law enforcement alike.

Piracy-enabled set-top boxes, which in many cases draw their content from the type of services referenced by Benczkowski, remain high on the agenda. The Assistant Attorney General also referenced the recent charges against eight Las Vegas residents who allegedly ran two of the largest platforms in the country.

“One of the services – known as Jetflicks – allegedly obtained infringing television programs by using sophisticated computer scripts to scour pirate websites around the world and collect the television shows,” Benczkowski said.

“It then made the programming available for paying Jetflicks subscribers to stream and download, often just one day after the original episodes aired. The scheme, as charged, resulted in the loss of millions of dollars by television program and motion picture copyright owners.” 

This leveraging of technology to provide content quickly and at scale is a concern for the USDOJ, which indicates it will continue to pursue “high-impact cases” to deter IP crime. However, Benczkowski noted that changes to the law or creative legal strategies may be required to reel in the more elusive offenders.

“Existing laws do not always address the conduct that IP criminals are engaging in today. Or, put differently, smart criminals may seek to avoid serious repercussions by developing new technologies or security measures to skirt legal authorities,” he said.

“We need to be creative and cooperative in thinking about possible solutions, whether through looking at additional charging strategies, or considering legislative amendments.”

What those strategies might be is open to question but Benczkowski believes law enforcement will “never” be in a position to solve the IP crime problem through prosecution alone.

Nevertheless, through cooperation and the enhancement of relationships with overseas law enforcement entities to target the “worst actors”, he believes that it’s possible to significantly reduce the profits available to those engaged in criminal copyright infringement.

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

Millions of UK Football Fans Seem Confused About Piracy

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/millions-of-uk-football-fans-seem-confused-about-piracy/

Football, or soccer as it’s more commonly known in the US, is the most popular spectator sport in the UK. As a result, millions watch matches every week, both legally and illegally.

The latter method of consumption is a big thorn in the side of organizations such as the Premier League, which has been working hard to stamp out piracy in all its forms, often via aggressive enforcement. However, a new survey published today suggests more education is also needed.

Commissioned by betting tips service OLBG and carried out by market research company OnePoll in September, the survey looks at some of the habits of 1,000 football fan respondents.

The survey begins by noting that 16.6% of respondents usually attend live games, closely followed by 14.3% who “usually” watch in the pub. However, the largest audience (46.9%) are those who regularly watch matches live at home.

This, of course, opens up the opportunity for piracy. The report states that 22.4% of football fans surveyed admitted to knowingly using “unofficial streams” at some time in the past, a figure that is extrapolated in the report to “over five million UK football fans” admitting to illegal streaming.

Asking whether fans had watched a pirated stream in the past 12 months (or even “usually”) would have arguably been a little more useful, in order not to inflate the figures beyond current consumption habits. There will be fans in those millions who, in varying combinations, attend matches, watch legally in the pub, and on occasion, illegally at home too.

Nevertheless, the report provides some interesting data on the knowledge of those surveyed when it comes to illegal and legal consumption.

For example, just over 61% of respondents acknowledged that accessing streams from unofficial providers is illegal, meaning that almost 40% believe that watching matches from third-party sources is absolutely fine. That’s a pretty big problem for the Premier League and other broadcasters when four out of ten fans can’t tell the difference between a legal and illegal provider.

Strangely, the figure drops slightly when respondents were asked about “Kodi-style” devices. Just 49% said that these boxes provide content illegally, meaning around half believe they offer football matches legally. Given the drive to stamp out the illegal use of these devices globally, this is also an eye-opener.

Moving to other methods of access, the figures are a little bit more predictable. Just under 29% felt that social media streams (Facebook Live etc) are illegal, so that may raise the possibility that respondents associated the perceived legitimacy of the platform with legality.

Password sharing is also tackled in the survey, with 32.5% of respondents stating that they believe that using someone else’s login to access football matches is illegal. If that happens outside the subscriber’s household it might constitute a terms-of-service breach but actual illegality is open to question, account stealing aside.

All that being said, according to the survey, just 11% have actually used a family member’s login to watch football during the past 12 months, a figure that drops to 9.8% when borrowing from a friend.

In common with the debate around password sharing on Netflix and other platforms, this issue is likely to receive greater attention in the future but how it will be tackled by providers is far from clear. At least at the moment, the problem seems limited.

Finally, and just returning to the headline “five million football pirates in the UK”, it’s worth noting that this refers to people who have “EVER” used an unofficial stream to watch football, so it’s not necessarily five million fans who don’t ever part with a penny.

As far as we could see, no question in the report tried to determine what percentage of fans currently freeload all of the time, which is undoubtedly the biggest problem for the Premier League.

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.

Foxtel Obtains First ‘Dynamic’ Injunction Against Torrent, Streaming & Proxy Sites

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/foxtel-obtains-first-dynamic-injunction-against-torrent-streaming-proxy-sites-190827/

Section 115a of Australia’s Copyright Act, which provides a mechanism for rightsholders to have ‘pirate’ sites blocked by ISPs, was long campaigned for as an essential tool to fight online infringement.

Since it came into force it has been used on a number of occasions, with the Federal Court handing down orders to restrict access to hundreds of sites said to provide access to entertainment content without permission from the rightsholders.

Back in June, media giant Foxtel filed a new statement of claim, the details of which were obtained by TorrentFreak from a third-party source. It revealed that the company was targeting 35 torrent, streaming and related proxy site domains for blocking by dozens of ISPs (full site list below).

This was the first time that a rightsholder had targeted proxy sites in Australia. A change in the law during 2018 allowed sites that have a “primary effect” of facilitating access to infringing content to be blocked, along with more direct sources such as regular pirate sites.

Following a case management hearing that took place in July, a hearing this morning resulted in Justice Nicholas handing down an injunction ordering 52 ISPs including TPG, Telstra, Optus, Vocus, Vodafone, plus their subsidiaries, to take “reasonable steps” to block the “online locations”.

A unique aspect of this application was that Foxtel had asked permission to add new domains and URLs to its orders, ones that in future might facilitate access to already-blocked sites, without having to return to court to detail them specifically.

Under legislative amendments put in place last year (Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018)), these kinds of “dynamic orders” are permissible, but only when the Internet service providers listed in the application don’t file an objection.

According to ComputerWorld, the hearing this morning had Foxtel counsel stating that it wasn’t seeking to block fresh additional “online locations”, but only proxy and mirror-type sites those that spring up to facilitate access to already blocked sites.

However, Foxtel acknowledged that getting all of the respondent ISPs to agree to such supplementary blocking raised issues since TPG tends not to respond to any of the blocking injunctions it’s named in. That meant that formal agreement between all ISPs might be difficult to obtain.

With Justice Nicholas’ permission, Foxtel said it would amend its proposed orders to include a provision allowing an ISP to positively deny that a proxy, mirror, or similar facilitating site, provides access to a blocked site. This would likely overcome that particular stumbling block, the Judge agreed.

The associated court documents can be found here and here (pdf)

The list of domains to be blocked by ISPs in 15 days are as follows:

Sharemovies.net, seriesonline8.co, seriesonline8.com, movie4u.live, movie4u.cc, movie4u.co, seehd.uno, seehd.biz, streamdreams.org, streamdreams.me, streamdreams.co, streamdreams.online, streamdreams.video, stream-dreams.com, moviesonline.mx, wsmmirror.info, watchsomuch.info, watchsomuch.com, seventorrentsmirror.info, seventorrentsproxy.com, 7tmirror.info, torrentken.site, skytorrents.lol, unblocked.lol, unblocked.is, unblocked.ms, unblocked.win, unblocked.gdn, unblocked.vet, unblocked,sh, unblocked.mx, unblockall.org, unblocker.cc, unblock.win, myunblock.com

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

Bulgaria CyberCrime Unit Arrests Man For Running Dozens of Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/bulgaria-cybercrime-unit-arrests-man-for-running-dozens-of-pirate-sites-190810/

Like many countries in Europe, Bulgaria is home to large numbers of pirate sites operating in multiple niches, from torrent and streaming platforms, to dedicated IPTV services.

In recent times authorities there have indicated that they are taking a tougher line to combat infringement in the country and yesterday announced results on that front.

According to an announcement from the Ministry of the Interior, a “special operation” was carried out this week to take down dozens of streaming platforms said to be involved in the unlicensed distribution of copyright works.

Carried out under the direction of the Sofia District Prosecutor’s office, the Cybercrime Specialized Unit at the State Security Service detained a 40-year-old man said to be the owner/operator of dozens of pirate sites, which appear to have focused on the streaming sector.

The authorities claimed that the man ran more than 40 websites which distributed movies online without obtaining permission from copyright holders. He allegedly got one site off the ground and then used the content from that to fuel the others, which were then supported financially by adverts provided by Google.

“He originally published the films on one of the sites he controlled. After reaching a certain number of visitors and the traffic generated – for which he was paid for by Google respectively – he downloaded the works and shared them again, but on some other domains,” the statement from the Ministry reads.

“The procedure was repeated 4-5 times until the resource was exhausted from the sites he controlled. Thus, for the same copyright sites, the capitalist received multiple payments from Google.”

According to the statement, most of the sites were “hosted” on the Internet by one of the largest cloud service providers in the United States. This, the authorities claimed, led the man to believe he was anonymous. However, international investigations carried out by Bulgaria’s General Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime (GDBOP) uncovered his identity.

The full list of sites attributed to the man by the authorities reads as follows:

x-movies-8.com, new123movies.com, phim-3s.com, phim-14.com, xxxmovies8.com, ww1.serialitebg.com, xmovies8- tv.com, onlinemovies2017.com, xmovies-8.com, onlinemovies2016.com, newcinema2016.info, movies-16.com, onlinemovies-gold.com , megashare-movies.com, newmovies-2016.com, onlinemovies-is.com, big-top-40.com, movie-8k.com, tv-1000.net, online-movies-pro.info, moviesonline-pro.com, filmi-bg-audio.com, terminator-genesys-online.info, starwars7download.info, resident-evil-7-online.info, mision-impossible-5-online.info, james-bond-24-online.info, onlain-filmi-bg.com, filmi-fen.com, filmi-2015.com, kinofilme-2014.com, movies-2017.com, hulu-movies.com, onlain-filmi.info, movies-2015.com, movies-16.com, movie-32.com, new123movies.stream

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

Police Arrest Two in Football Piracy Crackdown

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/police-arrest-two-in-football-piracy-crackdown-190809/

Piracy of football (or soccer for those in the US) is currently one of the hottest copyright infringement related topics.

The major leagues – the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, and Serie A, to name just four – see piracy as an existential threat, with millions of fans favoring unlicensed platforms over their expensive official offerings.

But while Europe is currently the key battleground, broadcasters and their anti-piracy partners are cracking down elsewhere too. South America, where football is followed by some of the most passionate fans in the world, is now seeing action after the police targeted two men this week.

Following an investigation launched in 2017, officers of the Intellectual Property Brigade (BRIDEPI) of the Chilean Investigative Police arrested one man in the port city of Valparaíso while the other was detained in the
Santiago Province commune Maipú.

Aged between 20 and 30-years-old, they are the alleged administrators of FutbolChile.net and VeoPartidos.com, sites which aired live matches to fans without permission from rightsholders.

Head of BRIDEPI Marco León told Chile’s 24horas that the men operated independently but generated money from advertising placed on their respective sites. According to the police unit, losses to local cable broadcasters run to several million dollars.

The original signals were allegedly obtained from companies including Fox Sports via a subscription but were then captured in the suspects’ homes and transmitted to the sites via the Internet. One of the men is believed to have been operating for around five years.

“We are talking about 100,000 or 200,000 monthly visits [to the websites], where all the content was offered absolutely for free,” León said.

BRIDEPI added that it was “technically very difficult” to determine where the original signals were coming from. It was the first case of its type in the country and as a result, the police had to call in expert support from Brazil and Argentina.

The police unit warns that piracy is a moving target and today’s techniques may not work as well in the future. Technology is moving so quickly that in a year’s time, something else will come along to complicate investigations.

“[T]echnological progress is faster than us,” BRIDEPI concludes.

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

Premier League & UEFA Obtain Court Orders to Block Piracy in 2019/20

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/premier-league-uefa-obtain-court-orders-to-block-piracy-in-2019-20-190729/

While rightsholders and anti-piracy groups often deploy multiple strategies for dealing with online copyright infringement, blocking websites, streams, and servers is now one of the most common.

The Premier League broke new ground on this front in 2017, after it obtained a pioneering injunction which enabled it to track live ‘pirate’ streams and have them blocked by leading ISPs BT, Virgin Media, EE, Sky Broadband and TalkTalk in real-time.

With backing from the High Court, the Premier League deployed its system during the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. We can now confirm that the Court recently granted permission for the efforts to continue during the 2019/20 campaign.

A High Court order signed off July 15, 2019, by Justice Arnold, but as yet unannounced by the Premier League or the Court, will be the basis for the blocking mechanism during the upcoming season. Thus far, one ISP has confirmed the existence of the order.

“A number of unidentified servers associated with infringing Premier League match footage will be blocked until the end of the 2019/20 Premier League season,” Sky notes.

Unlike other blocking orders targeting torrent sites or streaming platforms with a fixed domain, the servers streaming Premier League content are “unidentified” until its anti-piracy partners are able to locate them a few minutes before matches begin. The relevant IP addresses are then forwarded to the ISPs who block them under the authority of the Court.

TorrentFreak has been able to confirm that other ISPs are aware of the new Premier League order but are yet to make a public statement.

Late 2017, UEFA followed in the footsteps of the Premier League by obtaining a similar order covering the period February 13, 2018, to May 26, 2018, in an effort to protect European matches. A month later in July 2018, UEFA was given permission by the High Court to expand and extend its campaign until July 12, 2019.

Earlier this month, UEFA obtained permission from the High Court to continue. As yet, no associated documents have been published by the Court but both Sky and Virgin have confirmed they will be blocking ‘pirate’ servers again, with the Court’s authorization, until 2021.

“A number of unidentified servers associated with infringing UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Nations League, UEFA European Qualifiers and UEFA Friendlies match footage will be blocked until the end of the 2020/21 Champions League or Europa League competitions,” Sky notes.

Virgin states that it will block “Various Target Servers notified to Virgin Media by UEFA or its appointed agent for the duration of the UEFA 2019/2020 & 2020/2021 competition seasons.”

The technical details of the blocking systems deployed by both the Premier League and UEFA (TF understands they’re managed by different anti-piracy companies) are largely secret although some insiders have recently been prepared to talk more about what happens behind the scenes.

As the new season progresses, we expect to report more on how this digital game of cat-and-mouse is playing out.

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

Senators and Copyright Office Want Streaming Piracy Loophole Fixed

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/senators-and-copyright-office-want-streaming-piracy-loophole-fixed-190726/

Under US law, streaming and downloading piracy are seen as two different offenses. Not just from a technical point of view, but also in the way they are punished.

Unauthorized streaming is categorized as a public performance instead of distribution, which is punishable as a misdemeanor, not a felony.

Lawmakers tried to change this with the Commercial Felony Streaming Act in 2011, and later with the SOPA and PIPA bills. These bills were met with public outrage and didn’t pass.

As a result, the gap between streaming and traditional file-sharing still remains today. This frustrates major copyright holder groups and recently caught the eye of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well.

Last month, the Committee’s Chairman Senator Thom Tillis, and Ranking Member Senator Christopher Coons, requested clarification from the US Government’s Copyright Office on several streaming-related issues.

The letter was sent after a hearing, where the NBA and the UFC both requested to increase the criminal penalty for streaming. The senators warn that streaming piracy poses important risks to copyright owners. The fact that this is seen as a lesser offense is problematic and creates a loophole for prospective copyright infringers, they argue.

“Based on the testimony we received regarding the apparent ‘streaming loophole’ enabling illicit streamers to avoid felony criminal liability, we would appreciate the U.S. Copyright Office providing clear guidance regarding if and when unauthorized streaming infringes the right to control distribution of a work.

“Allowing this to remain unanswered will only benefit infringers and harm America’s economy,” the senators add in their letter to the Copyright Office.

The senators asked several questions, starting with whether streaming piracy violates the copyright holder’s right to public performance. In a reply letter published this week, Copyright Office director Karyn Temple answered this with an unequivocal “yes,” which wasn’t a surprise.

From the Copyright office’s letter (pdf)

The senators next wanted to know whether streaming piracy violates rightsholders’ right to control reproduction and distribution, as downloading does. This one was less straightforward with the Copyright Office noting that, depending upon the technology at issue, there may be instances in where this is the case.

These two questions are at the crux of the “loophole” debate as public performance infringements are seen as misdemeanors while reproduction and distribution offenses are felonies. Streaming is generally seen as a public performance.

However, in the response, the Copyright Office director stresses that it would like this to be changed. Responding to a question about its position, the Office is very clear.

“The Copyright Office supports the same level of felony penalties for violation of the public performance right as for the reproduction and distribution rights, a position reinforced by the combination of the growing importance of streaming to the U.S. economy and the failure of the current law to effectively address unauthorized streaming,” the Office’s response reads.

Finally, the senators asked whether the Copyright Office has any other suggestions to deal with the streaming piracy problem. The Office didn’t go into much detail on this issue but said that a small claims tribunal, which is currently being considered, could provide an additional tool for rightsholders.

The answers and the questions show that there is quite a bit of concern about streaming piracy. As such, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this issue being addressed in future legislation. Whether that will pass is yet another question, but the Copyright Office is all for it.

“The Office has long supported a legislative fix for the ‘streaming loophole,’ although we do not endorse any particular method of addressing the problem at this time,” Temple writes.

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

Is Innovation Making Casual Pirates Less Knowledgable?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCoy’s argument goes as follows;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As usual, time will tell.

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

Police: Scam Streaming Sites Are Exploiting Internet Users

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/police-scam-streaming-sites-are-exploiting-internet-users-190707/

It is fairly common for anti-piracy outfits to describe pirate sites and devices as “scams” but despite being mostly illegal, they deliver what they promise and rarely attempt to defraud the public.

Over in Germany, a much more sinister operation is being reported, one that involves more than a couple of hundred sites that claim to be legal but are actually a huge money-making scheme for fraudsters.

In the example shown below, AsoFlix looks like a regular pirate streaming platform. However, the site claims to be legitimate, despite the fact that the irregular capitalization of its various movie categories suggests an unprofessional offer.

No content can be accessed before registering and when users try to sign up, they are asked to enter all of their personal details. This is where the trouble starts.

In return for handing over their names, addresses, credit card and cellphone numbers, users are given a five-day free trial but according to police, this amounts to a so-called “subscription trap”. Buried away in the terms and conditions is a note that if “users do not unsubscribe during the free trial, your account will automatically be upgraded to a one-year premium account.”

In the case of Asoflix, that’s the princely sum of € 395.88 per year, charged in one transaction. Worst still, local news outlet Tarnkappe reports that the sites actually have “little to no works” on offer, which means a huge bill and no return for those unfortunate enough to sign up. Police add that they cannot say whether any content offered is licensed, although that seems unlikely.

The scam was first uncovered in 2018 but according to police, it is very much ongoing. They have published a list of the domains involved in the fraud which number around 220 (TF tests reveal that a number are now inactive), alongside warnings not to pay up.

The problem is that many victims are receiving pressure from the sites to do just that via bogus debt collection letters threatening to seize property, pensions, bank deposits, and even unemployment benefits. And in a sign of how sophisticated the scam is, police say that videos have been posted to YouTube supposedly featuring lawyers who advise that the demands for cash are legitimate.

Video advising that the scam on GadaFlix.de is legal (credit: German police)

It’s worth noting that AsoFlix and GadaFlix (the site referenced in the YouTube screenshot above) are identical, yet they claim to be owned by different companies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a report from Germany connects this scam with an earlier one involving bogus copyright infringement notices.

Since we highlighted AsoFlix above, we took a closer look at who might be behind the service. Strangely, given the heat this and similar platforms are under in Germany, the AsoFlix site actually lists its owning company as FOXRUSH FILMS LTD, England.

Whether this is actually the owning company is unknown, but a company by that name does exist in the UK having been incorporated in 2013. It is currently listed as dormant and since its inception has never reported any trading. Google Maps shows the address as a small mid-terrace house in a residential area of Coventry. According to EU databases, the VAT number provided by AsoFlix doesn’t exist.

TorrentFreak checked a number of the companies listed on these scam sites as their owners and many are incorporated entities in the UK. While it’s possible the scammers trawled Companies House in search of random companies to blame, further investigation by the authorities is needed to draw a definitive conclusion.

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

Premier League Seeks Live Sports Blocking Order in Ireland

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/premier-league-seeks-live-football-blocking-order-in-ireland-180705/

Blocking of pirate websites and services is now a global phenomenon. Mostly carried out by movie and music companies, around 4,000 sites are blocked by ISPs in more than 30 countries.

In the UK, the Premier League has pioneered the blocking of illegal live streams. Using various technologies and under the supervision of the courts, the football league is now able to track streams in real-time and have local ISPs such as Sky and Virgin Media block them in an effort to reduce piracy.

The Premier League clearly believes that this mechanism, which has been sanctioned by the courts twice, is having success. According to a report from Irish Times, the league is now seeking to expand its blocking program to Ireland.

An application filed at the High Court demands that several ISPs including Eircom, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone, begin preventing their customers from accessing illicit services. At this stage details are scarce, but it seems probable that this will be a direct expansion of the program previously established in the UK.

The targeted ISPs have yet to comment but given the cooperation they’ve offered the Premier League in the UK, it seems unlikely they will put up a serious fight. As suppliers of TV content themselves, some have a vested interest in bringing piracy under control since it could make a difference to their own bottom lines.

Interestingly, Irish Times cites an anonymous source who says that the Premier League, in conjunction with Ireland’s national police, is already investigating people involved in the supply of pirate streams.

Who these people are is currently unknown but Ireland-sourced streams of TV content are easy to spot on pirate IPTV services due to the advertising in between shows being clearly targeted at Irish customers.

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

New Foxtel Blocking Application Targets Streaming, Torrent & Proxy Sites

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/new-foxtel-blocking-application-targets-streaming-torrent-proxy-sites-190701/

Following the introduction of amendments to copyright law in 2018, it is now easier than ever to have ‘pirate’ sites blocked by ISPs in Australia.

The new rules mean that regular ‘pirate’ sites such as streaming and torrent platforms, as well as any service that has the primary purpose and/or primary effect of facilitating access to infringing content, can be targeted.

On June 18, 2019, Foxtel returned to the Federal Court in Sydney with a new blocking application. The court has yet to make the associated documents public but TorrentFreak was able to obtain them via a third-party source.

They reveal Foxtel writing to ISPs – TPG, Telstra, Optus, Vocus, Vodafone, plus their subsidiaries (52 in total) – at the end of May, indicating its intention to file an application to have a total of 35 torrent, streaming and proxy site domains blocked via court order.

Streaming ‘Target Online Locations’

The sites in this category are described as providing Internet users “with a browsable and/or searchable index or directory of digital (including audiovisual) content from which they can select content of their choice”.

Transmission of this content from the sites either takes place directly or through a “frame” which presents the content from another location. Or, alternatively, the sites provide lists of hyperlinks that allow users to access content after being redirected to another platform.

The sites targeted are ShareMovies, SeriesOnline8, Movie4U, SeeHD, StreamDreams and MoviesOnline.

Torrent ‘Target Online Locations’

Sites under this heading are described as having a browsable or searchable index of digital content or facilitating access to the same on other ‘online locations’. They provide users with access to .torrent files (or links to the same) which provide access to content without charge.

The sites targeted are WatchSoMuch, TorrentKen and SkyTorrents.

Proxy “Target Online Locations”

Given the changes to the law last year, proxy sites – which often exist to enable access to sites that are blocked by court order – can now be subject to blocking requests since they have the “primary effect” of facilitating access to infringing content.

The sites in the Foxtel application are described as providing Internet users with a browsable/searchable index of proxies providing access to streaming and torrent sites, including those sites listed above.

“[E]ach of the Proxy TOLs provides, or facilitates, free access for Internet users to content which it is not licensed to provide” the application reads, adding that none have “legitimate functions”.

The sites targeted are Unblocked.lol, Unblocked.win, Unblockall, Unblocker, and MyUnblock.

A case management hearing is booked for July 11, 2019.

The full list of URLs requested for blocking is as follows: sharemovies.net, seriesonline8.co, seriesonline8.com, movie4u.live, movie4u.cc, movie4u.co, seehd.uno, seehd.biz, streamdreams.org, streamdreams.me, streamdreams.co, streamdreams.online, streamdreams.video, stream-dreams.com, moviesonline.mx, wsmmirror.info, watchsomuch.info, watchsomuch.com, seventorrentsmirror.info, seventorrentsproxy.com, 7tmirror.info, torrentken.site, skytorrents.lol, unblocked.lol, unblocked.is, unblocked.ms, unblocked.win, unblocked.gdn, unblocked.vet, unblocked,sh, unblocked.mx, unblockall.org, unblocker.cc, unblock.win, myunblock.com

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

UFC: Online Platforms Should Proactively Prevent Streaming Piracy

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/ufc-online-platforms-should-proactively-prevent-piracy-190625/

With millions of dedicated fans around the world, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events are extremely popular.

They are also relatively expensive and as a result, unauthorized broadcasts are thriving.

For most popular fight cards, dozens of dedicated pirate streams are queued up via unauthorized IPTV services, streaming torrents, and streaming sites, in the latter case often masked with an overlay of ads. At the same time, unauthorized rebroadcasts also appear on more traditional Internet platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

This is a thorn in the size of rightsholders, including the UFC, which dominates the MMA fighting scene. To tackle the problem the UFC has employed various anti-piracy strategies. Most recently, it contracted Stream Enforcement, a company that specializes in taking down pirated broadcasts.

In addition, the MMA promoter also involves itself in the lawmaking process. Just a few weeks ago, UFC General Counsel Riché McKnight, shared his anti-piracy vision with the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

One of the main goals for the UFC is to criminalize unauthorized streaming. Unlike downloading, streaming is currently categorized as a public performance instead of distribution, which is punishable as a misdemeanor, instead of a felony.

The Senators made note of this call, which was shared by another major sports outfit, the NBA. They also had some additional questions, however, which McKnight could answer on paper later, so it could be added to the record.

These answers, which were just published, show that the UFC is not satisfied with how some social media companies and other online services address the pirate streaming issue.

McKnight explains that the UFC has takedown tool arrangements with several social media companies, but adds that online platforms have neglected its requests to combat illegal streaming more effectively.

“We believe communication, coordination, and cooperation could be greatly improved. Our general experience is that those subject to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) use it as a floor and do the minimum required to be in compliance,” McKnight notes.

The UFC notes that Facebook recently bettered its communication and ‘slightly’ improved its takedown response but overall, more could be done. However, most online services appear to be reluctant to voluntarily do more than the law requires, which means that in order to trigger change, the law should change.

“Private, voluntary partnerships [with online platforms] are not sufficient to combat online piracy. Addressing this problem requires a new approach that includes a strong legal framework, a combination of private and public enforcement, and enhanced cooperation with our international partners,” McKnight writes.

Criminalizing streaming is a step forward, according to the UFC. However, that doesn’t affect the platforms that host these streams, as these are protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions.

According to the UFC’s General Counsel, Congress should consider other options as well. In particular, changes to the legal framework that will motivate social media companies and other online platforms to proactively prevent piracy.

“Congress should examine how best to properly incentivize platform providers to protect copyrighted online streaming content,” McKnight writes.

“Transitioning from a reactive ‘take down’ regime to a proactive ‘prevention’ regime would better protect and enhance a vibrant online ecosystem,” he adds.

McKnight specifically mentions policies to effectively ban repeat infringers, which is already part of the DMCA, but not always properly implemented.

While not specifically mentioned, the words “proactive” and “prevention” are reminiscent of the EU’s Article 17, which could potentially lead to upload filters.  The UFC doesn’t reference filters here, but other rightsholders have in the past.

Later this year, the US Copyright Office is expected to issue a report on the effectiveness of the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions. This will be based on input from a variety of stakeholders, some of which discussed filtering requirements.

The UFC hopes that the Copyright Office report will further help Congress to shape a more effective legal framework to tackle online streaming.

A copy of the written responses to the questions from the Senate Committee on the Judiciary 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.

Fragmented Streaming Landscape Keeps Piracy Relevant, Research Suggests

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/fragmented-streaming-landscape-keeps-piracy-relevant-research-suggests-190613/

There is little doubt that, for many people, streaming services have become the standard for watching movies and TV-shows.

This is no surprise, since subscription-based streaming services are among the best and most convenient alternatives to piracy at this point.

There is a problem though. The whole appeal of the streaming model becomes diluted when there are too many ‘Netflixes.’

More choice wouldn’t be a bad thing if all these services offered a broad library of content. The problem, however, is that all have different ‘libraries’ and exclusive productions are becoming more and more common.

Since most households have a limited budget for online entertainment, consumers have to choose which services they want. This is a problem that keeps getting worse, especially now that Apple and Disney are planning to release their own streaming platforms soon.

The irony of this situation is that the platforms, which are supposed to make piracy obsolete, are in fact keeping it relevant. This has been argued anecdotally in the past, but research by piracy research firm MUSO among 1,000 UK adults, shows that this is indeed happening.

The vast majority of all surveyed consumers, 80.4%,  feel that they’re already paying too much for content streaming. At the same time, 64.2% of the people who took part in the survey are not willing to pay for any more streaming services this year.

Even more worrying is that more than half of all respondents, 50.8%, said they were likely or very likely to use unlicensed platforms to search for content that’s not available to them. In other words, they are considering to pirate video in order to get what they want.

“This research shows that people will inevitably seek it elsewhere via unlicensed platforms, but this does, however, create further opportunities for content owners to understand this audience with meaningful and valuable insights,” MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley notes.

“With most people only subscribing to only a couple of services, it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens with the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+. Will consumers ditch an existing service for one of the new ones? Or will Apple struggle to crack the TV market again?”

While it’s easy to blame rightsholders and streaming platforms, this puzzle isn’t easy to solve.

Ideally, there would be a single platform where people can access everything they want, similar to pirate sites and services. The problem is, however, that this won’t bring in enough revenue, at least not at the subscription rates we have now.

That said, there has to be a better option than to keep adding more and more services and fragmenting the steaming landscape?

In any case, the flawed argument that people have no ‘excuse’ to pirate because there are plenty of legal alternatives is weakening every year. Yes, pretty much everything can be accessed legally, but people need deep pockets to do so.

It appears that the people who benefit the most from increased fragmentation are the operators of pirate sites and services. That’s probably not what Hollywood intended.

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