Tag Archives: sweden

Court Rejects Massive Torrent Damages Claim, Admin Avoids Jail

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/court-rejects-massive-torrent-damages-claim-admin-avoids-jail-161011/

Founded a decade ago in 2006, SwePiracy grew to become one of the most famous private torrent sites on the Swedish scene. As such, it became a target for anti-piracy outfits.

In February 2012 following an investigation by anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån (now Rights Alliance), police in Sweden and the Netherlands took coordinated action to shut down the site.

Earlier this year its now 25-year-old operator appeared in court to answer charges relating to the unlawful distribution of a sample 27 movies between March 2011 and February 2012. The prosecution demanded several years in prison and nearly $3 million (25k kronor) in damages.

During the trial last month, SwePiracy defense lawyer Per E. Samuelsson, who also represents Julian Assange and previously took part in The Pirate Bay trial, said the claims against his client were the most unreasonable he’d seen in his 35 years as a lawyer.

After deliberating for three weeks, the Norrköping District Court handed down its decision today. SwePiracy’s former operator was found guilty of copyright infringement but it appears the prosecution’s demands for extremely harsh punishment were largely dismissed.

The torrent site operator avoided a lengthy jail sentence and was sentenced to probation and 100 hours community service instead. The prosecution’s claim for damages was dramatically reduced from millions to ‘just’ $148,000, payable to movie outfit Nordisk Film. On top, the state confiscated $45,600 said to have been generated by SwePiracy.

While the sentence certainly could’ve been worse, it appears that the 25-year-old will still mount an appeal.

“I have been in contact with my client and we will appeal both the conviction and the issue of damages. He thinks that the court went high with the damages,” Per E. Samuelsson told IDG.

And it appears the prosecution aren’t happy with the outcome either. Henrik Pontén from Rights Alliance says that Nordisk Film may also appeal since the District Court failed to apply principles previously applied in the trial of The Pirate Bay.

The parties have until November 1 to file an appeal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Torrent Sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full list of reported torrent sites is as follows:

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

Direct Download and Streaming Cyberlockers

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

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

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

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

Linking Websites

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

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

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

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

MPAA’s full submission is available here.

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

No, Trump’s losses doesn’t allow tax avoidance

Post Syndicated from Robert Graham original http://blog.erratasec.com/2016/10/no-trumps-losses-doesnt-allow-tax.html

The New York Times is reporting that Tump lost nearly a billion dollars in 1995, and this would enable tax avoidance for 18 years. No, it doesn’t allow “avoidance”. This is not how taxes work.

Let’s do a little story problem:

  • You invest in a broad basket of stocks for $100,000
  • You later sell them for $110,000
  • Capital gains rate on this is 20%
  • How much taxes do you owe?

Obviously, since you gained $10,000 net, and tax rate is 20%, you then owe $2,000 in taxes.

But this is only because losses offset gains. All the stocks in your basket didn’t go up 10%. Some went up more, some actually lost money. It’s not unusual that the losing stocks might go down $50,000, while the gainers go up $60,000, thus giving you the 10% net return, if you are investing in high-risk/high-reward stocks.

What if instead we change the tax code to only count the winners, ignoring the losing stocks. Now, instead of owing taxes on $10,000, you owe taxes on $60,000. At 20% tax rate, this comes out to $12,000 in taxes — which is actually more than you earned on your investments.

Taxing only investments that win, while ignoring losers, is bad tax policy. It would mean, essentially, taxing investments at greater than 100% rate. This would mean people would stop investing, because it would only lose money. It’s a stupid tax policy, which is why no country does it. All countries tax the net gain on investments, gains minus losses.

In the above story problem, we bought and sold the stock all at once. In the real world, people buy and sell a little bit at time over the years. It doesn’t change the basic math. For that reason, losses in one year can be carried forward to offset gains in later years. You can’t (easily) do the reverse, offset previous years, because you’ve already paid the taxes. You don’t want the government giving Trump a $200-million tax refund check when he loses $1-billion.

Thus, there’s nothing wrong with offsetting $1 billion gains in later years with $1 billion in losses. He’s not avoiding taxes on the gains for 18 years — it instead means that he has no gains over that 18 year period (assuming after the loss, he fails to earn $1 billion to catch back up). That he might have been earning no money, net, for 20 years is the big story — not that he’s taking advantage of some loophole in the tax law.

Offsetting future gains with past losses is not a loophole. Everybody who invests, and hence sometimes has losses, does it. Every country’s tax code, like France, Sweden, or any socialist paradise you care to name, works the same way.

That’s why Trump is going to win this election. The press knows how taxes work, but they intentionally twist the story to make Trump look bad. The real story with these returns is that Trump is, in fact, a shitty investor, not that he’s a tax cheat.

By the way, I am a tax cheat. I had losses in the 2009 crash. Instead of immediately using those losses to offset gains in 2010 and 2011, I waited until Obamacare came into effect, which raised my tax rates. Only then did I claim the losses against gains, saving an extra few percent on my tax bill, and screwing the government out of a few thousand dollars (in a totally legal way).

There’s a few bad tax loopholes in the system, like the ones hedge fund managers use, but overall, you really can’t avoid paying taxes. You can shift things around a bit to change which taxes you pay, such as the above example, but that the rich use tax loopholes to avoid taxes is a myth. Indeed, in terms of taxes payments received by the government, most of them come from the rich — at a higher rate than they come from the poor — minus the odd hedge fund manager.

Research: Movie Piracy Hurts Sales, But Not Always

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/research-movie-piracy-hurts-sales-but-not-always-160929/

europe-flagResearch into online piracy comes in all shapes and sizes, often with equally mixed results. The main question is often whether piracy is hurting sales.

New research conducted by economists from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, tries to find answers for the movie industry.

For a new paper titled “Movie Piracy and Displaced Sales in Europe,” the researchers conducted a large-scale survey among 30,000 respondents from six countries, documenting their movie consumption patterns.

Using statistical models and longitudinal data, they were able to estimate how piracy affects legal sales and if this differs from country to country.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the findings show that not every pirated movie is a lost sale. Instead, for every hundred films that are first viewed from a pirated source, 37 viewings from paid movies are ‘lost’.

This results in a displacement rate of 0.37, which is still a high number of course, also compared to previous research.

It’s worth noting that in some cases piracy actually has a beneficial effect. This is true for movies that people have seen more than twice.

“Interestingly, we found evidence of a sampling effect: for movies that are seen more than twice, first unpaid consumption slightly increases paid second consumption,” the researchers write.

However, the sampling effect doesn’t outweigh the loss in sales. Overall the researchers estimate that online piracy leads to a significant loss in revenue for the movie industry.

“Using a back-of-the-envelope calculation, we show that this implies that unpaid movie viewings reduced movie sales in Europe by about 4.4% during the sample period,” they write.

This negative effect is driven by a relatively small group of consumers. Roughly 20% of the respondents with the highest movie consumption are responsible for 94% of lost movie sales. Or put differently, the most avid film fans pirate the most.

Interestingly, there are large between-country differences too. In Germany online movie piracy results in ‘only’ a 1.65% loss, this figure is 10.41% for Spain. The UK (2.89%), France (5.73%), Poland (7.21%) and Sweden (7.65%) rank somewhere in between.

According to the researchers, their findings can help policymakers to decide what the best anti-piracy enforcement strategies are. In addition, changes between countries could help to evaluate existing and future measures and inspire future research.

“The estimates that we provide can help policy makers to asses the efficient use of public resources to be spent on copyright enforcement of movies.”

“In particular, since we find that virtually all the lost sales of movies are due to a very small group of individuals, most damages of movie piracy could therefore potentially be prevented with well targeted policies,” the researchers conclude.

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

ISP Trolls Copyright Troll With A Taste of Its Own Medicine

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/bahnhof-trolls-copyright-trolls-160922/

bahnhofIn recent years file-sharers around the world have been ordered to pay significant settlement fees, or face legal repercussions.

These so-called “copyright trolling” efforts have been a common occurrence in several countries, with Sweden one of the latest hunting grounds.

One of the organizations leading the way is Spridningskollen (Distribution Check). Using data gathered by German anti-piracy outfit Excipio, they plan to start by targeting around 1,000 alleged pirates, offering them settlements of around $233 (2,000 kronor).

While many Internet providers don’t put up a real fight to protect their subscribers, privacy conscious Bahnhof is. Not only does Bahnhof delete all logs that could link IP-addresses to alleged infringements, the company is also pushing back in other creative ways.

Previously they accused Spridningskollen of trademark infringement and this week they followed up this threat with a more concrete warning.

Giving the “trolls” a taste of their own medicine, Bahnhof sent them an invoice for the exact amount they also ask from accused pirates, to settle the alleged trademark infringement.

“You’re infringing our trademark ‘Spridningskollen.’ Bahnhof filed for the trademark on 2016-08-31, with the launch of the website Spridningskollen.org,” the settlement invoice reads.

The anti-piracy outfit uses Spridningskollen.se for their website and Bahnhof urges the company to pay up and take it down, or else.


“Choose to pay 2,000 kronor and switch off your site Spridningskollen.se as soon as possible, or face legal action when the trademark application has been processed,” they write.

“You can say that this letter is a settlement offer. If the infringer of the trademark does not pay the rightsholder the case can proceed to trial, which is far more costly for all involved.”

It’s unlikely that the anti-piracy coalition is going to comply voluntarily, as the trademark application can be disputed. Nevertheless, Bahnhof’s provocative approach is refreshing to say the least.

When asked, most ISPs will say that they have the best interests of their subscribers at heart, but very few companies are willing to go above and beyond and highlight possible abuse.

And adding some irony in the mix makes it all the better.

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

Torrent Site Founder Faces Outrageous Damages Claim, Lawyer Says

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/torrent-site-founder-faces-outrageous-damages-claim-lawyer-says-160917/

Founded back in 2006, SwePiracy grew to become one of the most famous private torrent sites on the Swedish scene. With that reputation came attention from anti-piracy groups and local authorities

In the wake of the “guilty” verdict in the Pirate Bay trial during April 2009, SwePiracy disappeared offline. It reappeared just a few weeks later.

Anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån (now Rights Alliance) said that during this downtime, the operators of the site took measures to improve their security. However, three years later those efforts proved futile.

In February 2012, police in Sweden and the Netherlands took coordinated action to shut down the site and earlier this year its 24-year-old operator appeared in court for the first time facing several years in prison.

Despite the prosecution admitting that the site had likely been created for fun, it’s alleged SwePiracy raised $100,000 from donations. As a result, the pursuit of damages against its operator was to be made “according to The Pirate Bay model”, i.e extremely aggressively.

This week the now 25-year-old appeared in court again, facing charges that he assisted in the unlawful distribution of a large number of movies. As is customary in such cases, the prosecution has homed in on a smaller sample of 27 movies in its evidence.

“They earned a lot of money, they spread huge amounts of pirated content and this [man] is one of the key players. Therefore, it is important that those involved are sentenced to severe punishment,” said Henrik Pontén of Rights Alliance, who represent Nordisk Film, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

One of five companies acting against SwePiracy, Nordisk is reportedly being the most aggressive. The film distributor is demanding more than $3m (20m kronor) in damages for a single low-budget movie.

SwePiracy defense lawyer Per E. Samuelsson, who also represents Julian Assange and previously took part in The Pirate Bay trial, says the claims are the most unreasonable he’s ever witnessed in his 35 years as a lawyer.

“I think this is the most unreasonable claim for damages I have been through. The idea that [this type of film] could cause 20-25 million kronor in damages on an illegal file-sharing site is totally absurd from every point of view,” he said.

Swedish news outlet SVT reported an exchange in court between Samuelsson and Pontén, in which the former argued that his client had started the site as a child, for fun.

“My client started [SwePiracy] when he was 14 years old. It was purely a prank,” Samuelsson said.

“That’s not true,” Pontén objected. “He was not fourteen years old when he committed these acts. At some point, he has certainly been fourteen, but when he did this he was criminally responsible and earned lots of money.”

The verdict will be handed down at a later date.

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

Organizational Doxing and Disinformation

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/09/organizational_1.html

In the past few years, the devastating effects of hackers breaking into an organization’s network, stealing confidential data, and publishing everything have been made clear. It happened to the Democratic National Committee, to Sony, to the National Security Agency, to the cyber-arms weapons manufacturer Hacking Team, to the online adultery site Ashley Madison, and to the Panamanian tax-evasion law firm Mossack Fonseca.

This style of attack is known as organizational doxing. The hackers, in some cases individuals and in others nation-states, are out to make political points by revealing proprietary, secret, and sometimes incriminating information. And the documents they leak do that, airing the organizations’ embarrassments for everyone to see.

In all of these instances, the documents were real: the email conversations, still-secret product details, strategy documents, salary information, and everything else. But what if hackers were to alter documents before releasing them? This is the next step in organizational doxing­ — and the effects can be much worse.

It’s one thing to have all of your dirty laundry aired in public for everyone to see. It’s another thing entirely for someone to throw in a few choice items that aren’t real.

Recently, Russia has started using forged documents as part of broader disinformation campaigns, particularly in relation to Sweden’s entering of a military partnership with NATO, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Forging thousands — or more — documents is difficult to pull off, but slipping a single forgery in an actual cache is much easier. The attack could be something subtle. Maybe a country that anonymously publishes another country’s diplomatic cables wants to influence yet a third country, so adds some particularly egregious conversations about that third country. Or the next hacker who steals and publishes email from climate change researchers invents a bunch of over-the-top messages to make his political point even stronger. Or it could be personal: someone dumping email from thousands of users making changes in those by a friend, relative, or lover.

Imagine trying to explain to the press, eager to publish the worst of the details in the documents, that everything is accurate except this particular email. Or that particular memo. That the salary document is correct except that one entry. Or that the secret customer list posted up on WikiLeaks is correct except that there’s one inaccurate addition. It would be impossible. Who would believe you? No one. And you couldn’t prove it.

It has long been easy to forge documents on the Internet. It’s easy to create new ones, and modify old ones. It’s easy to change things like a document’s creation date, or a photograph’s location information. With a little more work, pdf files and images can be altered. These changes will be undetectable. In many ways, it’s surprising that this kind of manipulation hasn’t been seen before. My guess is that hackers who leak documents don’t have the secondary motives to make the data dumps worse than they already are, and nation-states have just gotten into the document leaking business.

Major newspapers do their best to verify the authenticity of leaked documents they receive from sources. They only publish the ones they know are authentic. The newspapers consult experts, and pay attention to forensics. They have tense conversations with governments, trying to get them to verify secret documents they’re not actually allowed to admit even exist. This is only possible because the news outlets have ongoing relationships with the governments, and they care that they get it right. There are lots of instances where neither of these two things are true, and lots of ways to leak documents without any independent verification at all.

No one is talking about this, but everyone needs to be alert to the possibility. Sooner or later, the hackers who steal an organization’s data are going to make changes in them before they release them. If these forgeries aren’t questioned, the situations of those being hacked could be made worse, or erroneous conclusions could be drawn from the documents. When someone says that a document they have been accused of writing is forged, their arguments at least should be heard.

This essay previously appeared on TheAtlantic.com.

EU Court: Not-For-Profit Hyperlinking Usually Not Copyright Infringement

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/eu-court-not-for-profit-hyperlinking-usually-not-infringement-160908/

http-link-hyperlinkIn 2011, Dutch blog GeenStijl.nl published an article linking to leaked Playboy photos which were stored on file-hosting site FileFactory.

After filing a request with Filefactory, Playboy publisher Sanoma managed to have the photos removed from the platform. However, GeenStijl continued to find other sources for the photographs and linked to them instead. Sanoma said that this was an infringing act.

The case went to trial and was later referred to the European Court of Justice. The ECJ was asked to rule on whether the links posted by GeenStijl amounted to a ‘communication to the public’ under Article 3(1) of the EU Copyright Directive and therefore infringement.

After deliberating for months, the ECJ has just handed down its decision and it’s bad news for GeenStijl operator GS Media and others operating in a commercial environment. On the other hand, it may give a little more flexibility to the general public.

“In accordance with the directive concerned, Member States are to provide authors with the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit any communication to the public of their works,” a statement from the Court reads.

“At the same time, that directive seeks to maintain a fair balance between, on the one hand, the interests of copyright holders and related rights and, on the other, the protection of the interests and fundamental rights of users of protected objects, in particular their freedom of expression and of information, as well as the general interest.”

The Court says that when determining a ‘communication to the public’ several criteria need to be addressed, including any deliberate posting of links to protected works and whether the communication had any profit-making component.

In its ruling, the Court recognizes the importance of freedom of expression and notes the importance of hyperlinks when exchanging both opinions and information. It also accepts that determining whether a linked work is infringing could be a troublesome task.

Given the above, the Court found that knowledge of the potentially infringing status of a work plus commercial motivation play a pivotal role in determining whether a ‘communication to the public’ has taken place.

“For the purposes of the individualised assessment of the existence of a ‘communication to the public’, it is necessary, when the posting of a hyperlink to a work freely available on another website is carried out by a person who, in so doing, does not pursue a profit, to take account of the fact that that person does not know and cannot reasonably know that that work had been published on the internet without the consent of the copyright holder,” the Court’s statement reads.

“Indeed, such a person, does not, as a general rule, intervene in full knowledge of the consequences of his conduct in order to give customers access to a work illegally posted on the internet.”

The situation changes entirely when a person already has knowledge of potential infringement and is motivated by profit.

“In contrast, where it is established that such a person knew or ought to have known that the hyperlink he posted provides access to a work illegally published, for example owing to the fact that he was notified thereof by the copyright holders, the provision of that link constitutes a ‘communication to the public’,” the Court said.

When posting links for profit, the ECJ said that it expects people to carry out the “checks necessary” to ensure that work concerned has not been illegally published.

“When hyperlinks are posted for profit, it may be expected that the person who posted such a link should carry out the checks necessary to ensure that the work concerned is not illegally published. Therefore, it must be presumed that that posting has been done with the full knowledge of the protected nature of the work and of the possible lack of the copyright holder’s consent to publication on the internet.

“In such circumstances, and in so far as that presumption is not rebutted, the act of posting a clickable link to a work illegally published on the internet constitutes a ‘communication to the public’.”

The ruling is bad news for GS Media, who posted the links in the course of business even after being informed by Playboy that the content in question was infringing. The company says the decision is bad for the freedom of the press.

“The struggle for the survival of the free Internet including hyperlinks has today received a hefty blow,” a statement on Geenstijl reads.

“When commercial media companies – like GeenStijl – are no longer free and fearless to hyperlink, it becomes difficult to report on newsworthy new questions about leaking information, internal struggles, and unsecured networks within large companies.

“But we will not give up: for that press freedom we will fight on, in this case and beyond. Until then: careful when hyperlinking people, as today a minefield has been laid on the free internet.”

A landmark piracy trial in Sweden against the operators of streaming portal Swefilmer was suspended in June pending the ECJ’s decision. It appears that much will now hinge on whether the operators knew the content they linked was illegal and if a profit motive was involved.

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

ISP Deletes IP-address Logs to Fend Off Piracy “Extortion Letters”

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/isp-deletes-ip-address-logs-fend-off-piracy-extortion-letters-160908/

deleteIn recent years file-sharers around the world have been threatened with lawsuits, if they don’t pay a significant settlement fee.

These so-called “copyright trolling” efforts have been a common occurrence in countries such as Germany and the United States, and last week they started in Sweden as well.

Rightsholders are targeting thousands of alleged pirates. First, they ask the court for a subpoena to expose the personal details of account holders connected to certain IP-addresses, which they then present to the associated ISPs.

Some Internet providers have been cooperating with these requests, but not all. Most notably, the privacy-oriented ISP Bahnhof is doing everything in its power to prevent its customers from being exposed.

This week the ISP explained how its logging policies are tailored to only allow only requests that are made in criminal cases, not civil claims against BitTorrent users or other alleged file-sharers.

In Sweden, ISPs are required to keep IP-address logs for six months under the Electronic Communications Act (LEK). This legislation allows the authorities to demand this type of data in criminal cases, such as those involving murder and terrorism.

To comply with this requirement, Bahnhof has setup a database of logs which are stored for the minimal required period and can be accessed for these cases only. The regular logs are purged immediately.

Bahnhof, illustrating its logging policy


When copyright holders request IP-address details, which they do under the contested IPRED legislation, the ISP simply has nothing to hand over. This is very similar to the non-logging policies of many VPN services.

“We store logs for six months to fight crime, absolutely. But we save everything in a separate system, which is only used for LEK,” Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung says.

“My impression is that some other operators have their clients’ IP addresses stored in several different places. They then also become more vulnerable to having to disclose data IPRED rules.”

Bahnhof itself has operated like this for years, but now that mass file-sharing cases have landed in Sweden the value of this policy is becoming apparent.

Rightly so, according to the ISP, which says it has found a good way to fend off copyright trolls.

“If all operators stored data the way we do, we would avoid the extortion letters altogether. Because we have the motto ‘Internet privacy’ we are very careful with personal data,” Karlung says.

Bahnhof’s CEO adds that other companies should think more carefully about where data is stored. The more databases there are, the more likely it is that they can be compelled to share subscriber data.

“The more different databases there are, the greater the risk that privacy is compromised,” Karlung adds.

Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, applauds Bahnhof’s logging policy. He discussed the issue in a recent article and informs TorrentFreak that data retention laws which are supposed to help catch terrorists shouldn’t be used against file-sharers.

“The damage these copyright trolls are doing to society is immeasurable. They were able to get shameless mail-order legislation justified by the war on terror, and are now turning those anti-terrorism laws against defenseless single mothers in order to protect a crumbling entertainment monopoly.

“There is absolutely no reason to tolerate, nor to forgive, this kind of behavior,” he adds

It will be interesting to see whether any of the ISPs currently handing over personal detailed connected to IP-addresses will follow suit and change their policies in the future.

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

Swedish ISP Attacks Copyright Trolls, Over Trademark Infringement

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/swedish-isp-attacks-copyright-trolls-over-trademark-infringement-160905/

trollsignIn recent years, file-sharers all across the world have been threatened with lawsuits, if they don’t pay a significant settlement fee.

The process was pioneered in Germany where it turned into an industry by itself, but copyright holders have also targeted alleged pirates in the UK, United States, Canada and elsewhere.

Earlier this year, rightsholders began targeting Sweden, with more details appearing in public last week.

One of the organizations leading the way is Spridningskollen (Distribution Check). Using data gathered by German anti-piracy outfit Excipio, they plan to start by targeting around 1,000 alleged pirates, offering them settlements of around $233 (2,000 kronor).

Spridningskollen spokesman Gordon Odenbark compared the process with speeding cameras, where torrent users risk a ‘fine’ if they get caught. This will generate revenue, but could also act as a deterrent, preventing other people from violating rightsholders’ rights.

Interestingly, however, shortly after Spridningskollen announced its plans the group itself faced allegations of intellectual property rights violations. Swedish ISP Bahnhof is accusing the group of trademark infringement, noting that they have a claim on the “spridningskollen” mark.

“Bahnhof was the first to apply for the Spridningskollen trademark rights at the Swedish Patent and Registration Office,” the ISP announced.

Earlier this year Bahnhof was the first ISP to warn the public about the looming flood of settlement requests. To help the public understand the severity of the issue the ISP launched the site Spridningskollen.org, which they say maps the “spread of extortion letters” from copyright holders.

Bahnhof’s Spridningskollen.org


Now that the anti-piracy group has ‘stolen’ their name, Bahnhof plans to take action over the apparent trademark infringement.

“It is surprising that those who claim to defend intellectual property rights don’t track it better themselves. It says a lot about the quality level of their so-called initiative,” Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung says.

The ISP is demanding that the website of the anti-piracy group, Spridningskollen.se, is shut down.

“Our lawyers are looking into it. We see the many different ways that interfere with their operation. Extortion letters are unethical, anachronistic and counter-productive,” Karlung says.

In addition, Bahnhof is calling on the Government to reform copyright law in order to prevent excessive and overbroad enforcement tactics.

Until then, the ISP vows to protect its subscribers from the copyright trolling practice as best as they can. This means that if copyright holders demand IP-address info and user details from Bahnhof, they will fight this in court.

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

Attention Swedish Pirate Bay Users, Copyright Trolls Have Arrived

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/attention-swedish-pirate-bay-users-copyright-trolls-have-arrived-160902/

tpbEvery day, millions of people around the globe use file-sharing networks. Much of that sharing involves the unauthorized downloading and/or distribution of copyright material.

In response, some companies have decided to monetize the activity by tracking alleged infringers back to their Internet service providers and by a variety of methods, getting them to pay a fine.

Commonly known as copyright trolling, this business model has been deployed in the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere. To date, Sweden has escaped its clutches, despite being home to The Pirate Bay and a large number of file-sharers. That is now about to change.

In a new announcement, an organization calling itself Spridningskollen (Distribution Check) says it is about to launch a new initiative to punish those who file-share. The aim: to save the industry and educate the masses.

Distribution Check says that since the start of the year, German anti-piracy outfit Excipio has been monitoring the activities of Swedish file-sharers. That data will be used to track alleged file-sharers back to their ISPs.

“One can compare it to a speed camera. In the same way that a speed camera only records those who drive too fast, only those Internet users who share copyrighted material without permission are logged,” says spokesman Gordon Odenbark.

Initially, the group says it will target between 500 and 1,000 file-sharers and each will be asked to settle for around $233 (2,000 kronor).

“At this moment, we have said that we are only asking for [$233] per film, but that amount will be increased. I can almost guarantee that we will raise the damages in the fall,” OdenBark says.

These “cheap now, expensive later” claims are classic copyright troll tactics which are designed to encourage prompt payments from alleged file-sharers. But of course, some will refuse to pay, and for those individuals the threat of legal action via local firm Gothia Law are already being dangled.

“The amount [being demanded] is lower than the Swedish courts have sentenced file-sharers to pay historically, so you can consider it as a kind of settlement,” the company says on its website. “If you pay the sum, rights holders will stop their demands and both parties can avoid a costly and time-consuming trial.”

In common with similar schemes in operation in the UK, Distribution Check are trying to promote their project as an educational exercise. They say that in the first instance there will be a YouTube piracy awareness campaign. That will be followed by the settlement demands.

“Sure, it may seem hard to tackle individual file-sharers in this way, but to get a behavioral change, it’s probably necessary. A similar initiative has been operated in Germany and Finland, and it has been proven to work,” the company says.

“Ultimately, it is about the film and television industry’s survival. Illegal file sharing of copyrighted material costs the cultural sector several million in lost revenues annually. With Distribution Check, we want to ensure that television and movie companies get paid for their work, so that they can continue to run their business.”

Users concerned about the titles involved in this dragnet should look to content offered by Scanbox Entertainment, Noble Entertainment, Atlantic and Crystalis Entertainment, who are all Distribution Check partners.

More often than not, copyright trolls have more bark than bite, so their threats should be taken seriously but with a decent pinch of salt. In the meantime, customers of ISP Bahnhof can probably sleep more soundly than most. The ISP certainly won’t be handing over identities to trolls without a fight.

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

Running a Torrent Tracker For Fun Can Be a Headache

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/running-a-torrent-tracker-for-fun-can-be-a-headache-160828/

zerodayWhile torrents will work without them, trackers are very handy for quickly finding other BitTorrent peers with the same content. They’re also essential for those who have DHT and PEX disabled in their clients.

Often run by people with an interest in the technology, public trackers are incapable of generating funds in their own right. This means that from a financial perspective there’s almost no incentive to run one.

The important thing to remember about trackers is that they carry no infringing content whatsoever, they merely direct torrent client traffic to a particular torrent hash. Nevertheless, this doesn’t stop tracker operators from getting copyright-related headaches.

In early 2016, a new stand-alone tracker was born. Operating from zer0day.ch, the tracker grew quite quickly in the first few days of life after ETRG (ExtraTorrent’s release group) added the tracker to its releases.

But with its first 10,000 torrents tracked, the problems began. The tracker was hosted in Germany and soon its host ran out of patience with mounting copyright infringement claims. After moving to Romania, history repeated itself when the tracker’s host suspended its server.

“They didn’t want to hear that running a tracker is not illegal,” zer0day’s admin informs TF.

Late April, the tracker moved again, this time to a Latvia/Sweden setup. From there the tracker’s popularity went through the roof after an important development. Unknown to the tracker’s admin, The Pirate Bay began adding zer0day as one of the default trackers in its magnet links.

Now coordinating millions of peers, zer0day became an important player but in August the site had yet more trouble. The tracker’s server went offline again, this time without any prior notice and despite the fact that in eight months of operation not a single DMCA notice had ever been directly filed with the tracker.

With a fourth server secured elsewhere, zer0day continued with its business but more aggravation was on the horizon. Early this month, Swiss domain registry Switch told the site’s operator that his .CH domain was in trouble.

According to Switch, someone had tried to send some documents to the domain owner by snail mail and the documents had not reached the address mentioned in the WHOIS. Zer0day’s admin was given 30 days to prove his identity (with residency papers, for example) or face his domain being deleted.

While keeping the .CH domain would have been preferable, Switch didn’t make anything easy. They blocked the domain from being transferred to a third party and refused to say which agency had tried to contact the tracker’s operator.

Frustrated, the tracker’s admin decided to jump ship after a friend donated a server and a new .to (Tonga) based domain. At the time of writing the tracker is doing well, reporting 1.21m torrents and 4.44m peers (3.04 M seeders + 1.40 M leechers) on its main page.

Speaking with TF, the tracker owner says that while the ride has been a bumpy one, things got much worse after Pirate Bay began adding his tracker URL by default, something he had no control over.

“Things went from bad to worse after TPB added the tracker to their magnet links. [That knowledge] might help ease someone’s efforts to run a torrent tracker in the future,” he concludes.

As mentioned earlier, trackers aren’t absolutely essential for the functioning of BitTorrent transfers. However, their existence certainly improves matters and sites like zer0day are happy to contribute, even if their work mainly flies under the radar.

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

Pirate Bay is The King of Torrents Once Again

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-king-torrents-160814/

thepirateHollywood hoped that it would never happen, but this week The Pirate Bay quietly turned thirteen years old.

The site was founded in 2003 by Swedish pro-culture organization Piratbyrån (Piracy Bureau). The idea was to create the first public file-sharing network in Sweden, but the site soon turned into the global file-sharing icon it is today.

Over the years there have been numerous attempts to shut the site down. Following pressure from the United States, Swedish authorities raided the site in 2006, only to see it come back stronger.

The criminal convictions of the site’s founders didn’t kill the site either, nor did any of the subsequent attempts to take it offline.

The Pirate Bay is still very much ‘alive’ today.

That’s quite an achievement by itself, looking at all the other sites that have fallen over the years. Just last month KickassTorrents shut down, followed by Torrentz a few days ago.

Many KickassTorrents and Torrentz users are now turning to TPB to get their daily dose of torrents. As a result, The Pirate Bay is now the most visited torrent site, once again.

TorrentFreak spoke to several members of the TPB-crew. While they are not happy with the circumstances, they do say that the site has an important role to fulfil in the torrent community.

“TPB is as important today as it was yesterday, and its role in being the galaxy’s most resilient torrent site will continue for the foreseeable future,” Spud17 says.

“Sure, TPB has its flaws and glitches but it’s still the go-to site for all our media needs, and I can see TPB still being around in 20 or 30 years time, even if the technology changes,” she adds.

Veteran TPB-crew member Xe agrees that TPB isn’t perfect but points to the site’s resilience as a crucial factor that’s particularly important today.

“TPB ain’t perfect. There are plenty of things wrong with it, but it is simple, steadfast and true,” Xe tells TorrentFreak.

“So it’s no real surprise that it is once more the destination of choice or that it has survived for so long in spite of the inevitable turnover of crew.”

And resilient it is. Thirteen years after the site came online, The Pirate Bay is the “King of Torrents” once again.

Finally, we close with a yearly overview of the top five torrent sites of the last decade. Notably, the Pirate Bay is the only site that appears in the list every year, which is perhaps the best illustration of the impact it had, and still has today.


1. TorrentSpy
2. Mininova
3. The Pirate Bay
4. isoHunt
5. Demonoid


1. Mininova
2. isoHunt
3. The Pirate Bay
4. Torrentz
5. BTJunkie


1. The Pirate Bay
2. Mininova
3. isoHunt
4. Torrentz
5. Torrentreactor


1. The Pirate Bay
2. Torrentz
3. isoHunt
4. Mininova
5. BTJunkie


1. The Pirate Bay
2. Torrentz
3. isoHunt
4. KickassTorrents
5. BTJunkie


1. The Pirate Bay
2. Torrentz.com
3. KickassTorrents
4. isoHunt
5. BTJunkie


1. The Pirate Bay
2. KickassTorrents
3. Torrentz
4. ExtraTorrent
5. 1337X


1. The Pirate Bay
2. KickassTorrents
3. Torrentz
4. ExtraTorrent
5. YIFY-Torrents


1. KickassTorrents
2. Torrentz.com
3. ExtraTorrent
4. The Pirate Bay
5. YTS


1. KickassTorrents
2. The Pirate Bay
3. ExtraTorrent
4. Torrentz


1. The Pirate Bay
2. ExtraTorrent
5. 1337X

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

Report: Operating Systems Should Actively Block Pirated Downloads

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/rightsholders-want-microsoft-ban-pirated-software-windows-160803/

microsoft-pirateWhen Windows 10 was launched last year, rumors spread that the operating system was equipped with a built-in piracy kill switch.

According to some reports, this would allow Microsoft to nuke all torrents downloaded from The Pirate Bay, and more. A scary outlook, but also a massive exaggeration, for now.

The controversy originated from a single line in Microsoft’s Service Agreement which allows the company to download software updates and configuration changes that may prevent people from “playing counterfeit games.”

Technically this allows Microsoft to block people from playing pirated games across Windows 10 and other services, but thus far there is no indication that this is happening.

However, this week the issue was highlighted again in a report published by Black Market Watch and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, which made several recommendations on how online piracy could be tackled in Sweden.

While most of the media attention focused on the role of ISPs, there is an even more controversial proposal that has been largely overlooked. According to the report, pirated content should be banned on the operating system level.

“Other players that possess the potential ability to limit piracy are the companies that own the major operating systems which control computers and mobile devices such as Apple, Google and Microsoft,” one of the main conclusions reads.

“The producers of operating systems should be encouraged, or regulated, for example, to block downloads of copyright infringing material,” the report adds.

The report references last year’s Windows 10 controversy, noting that these concerns were great enough for some torrent sites to block users with the new operating system.

While Sweden doesn’t have enough influence to make an impact on these global software manufacturers, applying pressure through the international community and trade groups may have some effect.

“Sweden’s ability to influence this as a single state is small, but it can take action through the EU and the international community. Copyright holders can also play a role in promoting this through international industry associations,” the report notes.

For now, it’s unlikely that the plan will become reality in the near future.

Yesterday, Swedish ISP Bahnhof responded to the report by saying that it doesn’t want to act as piracy police, and Apple, Google and Microsoft are not going to be happy with this role either.

However, it’s clear that anti-piracy proposals are getting more extreme year after year.

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

ISP: We’re Not The Internet Piracy Police

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/isp-were-not-the-internet-piracy-police-160802/

piratkeybAround the world copyright holder groups are lobbying for increased efforts to combat online piracy.

The situation is no different in Sweden, where the Black Market Watch group just published a report calling for increased cooperation from stakeholders such as advertisers and ISPs.

In an opinion piece for DN, Internet providers are accused of handsomely profiting from their inaction, generating an estimated 2.5 billion Swedish krona ($230 million) from piracy.

“According to our calculations, revenue for Swedish Internet providers potentially exceeds two-and-a-half billion kronor a year, much more than the pirate sites earn,” Black Market Watch co-founder Karl Lallerstedt writes, together with the report’s co-author Waldemar Ingdahl.

They argue that Internet providers are in a unique position to prevent copyright infringement, as they can see what their users do online and have the means to block websites.

Speaking with IDG, Jon Karlung, CEO of Internet provider Bahnhof, refutes these calls and discredits the profit claims as lobbyist nonsense.

“It is pure nonsense, there is no truth in it. This is the work of their business lobbyists who want to put more responsibility on us. Our task is to ensure an internet with free movement, not playing cops,” he says.

Ideally, rightholders would like to see a series of measures being introduced to combat copyright infringement. This includes easier domain name seizures, increased anti-piracy efforts from law enforcement and ISPs, plus better education about the risks of piracy.

According to Karlung, Bahnhof already does enough to alert subscribers about unsafe sites. It is also happy to assist law enforcement but the company doesn’t see itself proactively policing its network to catch pirates.

“We inform users about unsafe sites today, and we will continue to do so without copyright holders instructing us what to do,” Karlung says.

“If there is merit to the Swedish legislation, we will help the police if they can show in a documented manner that the servers are being used for illegal activities. But it is not our job to act, they themselves must identify the type of activities.”

The copyright holder requests go directly against one of the core goals of the company – protecting the privacy of its subscribers. In recent years the Internet provider has fought hard to guarantee this right.

Bahnhof has been a major opponent of extensive data retention requirements, launched a free VPN to its users, and recently vowed to protect subscribers from a looming copyright troll invasion.

Given the above, it’s unlikely that rightsholders can expect much voluntary cooperation from Bahnhof.

This stance doesn’t come as a surprise, and the report suggests that rightsholders should demand new legislation from Swedish lawmakers to force ISPs and other stakeholders into action.

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

Europe Has The Highest Online Piracy Rates, By Far

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/europe-has-the-highest-online-piracy-rates-by-far-160801/

europe-flagDespite the growing availability of legal options, online piracy remains rampant. Every day pirate sites are visited hundreds of millions of times.

Piracy tracking outfit MUSO has documented the piracy landscape with data from 14,000 of the largest global piracy sites. In total, the company recorded 141 billion visits to pirate sites last year alone.

But where are these pirates coming from?

In absolute numbers the United States clearly comes out on top. With nearly 10 billion visits to streaming portals and over 3 billion to torrent sites, the U.S. beats all other countries.

Perhaps not a surprise, as the U.S. is one of the largest countries in the world with a high Internet penetration. Things get more interesting, however, when we look at the piracy rate based on the number of Internet users around the world.

Data MUSO exclusively shared with TorrentFreak, shows that different countries float to the top when the Internet population is taken into account.

A comparison of the top 50 countries with the most piracy traffic shows that Europe in particular has a persistent piracy problem. In fact, all of the 10 countries with the highest online piracy rates are in Europe.

Latvia comes out on top with a massive 46% of the Internet users visiting pirate sites, followed by Bulgaria, Lithuania, Croatia, Spain and Greece. The top 10 piracy havens is completed by Serbia, Ireland, Romania and Sweden.

The first non-European country in the list is Australia, with a piracy rate of 16%, followed by Israel. Canada is the first North American country, located in the middle of the bunch, with a piracy rate of 11%.

When taking the size of the Internet population into account, the United States is actually one of the countries with the lowest piracy rates, just under 5%. The UK also has a modest piracy rate with nearly 8%.

Most surprising, perhaps, is the low piracy rate in Germany, where less than 2% of the Internet population are considered to be “pirates.” Vietnam closes the list with just over 1%.

The dataset includes visits to both international and local pirate sites, and MUSO believes that it’s an accurate overview of the global piracy landscape. The current list is based on data from 2015 and it will be interesting to see if these rankings will change over time.

Below is the top 50 in reverse order. China, Japan and Korea were excluded as MUSO didn’t have sufficient sites representing these countries to accurately include them.

Top 50 pirate countries by relative piracy rank.






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

Pirate Bay Founder: The ‘Piracy’ Scene Needs Innovation

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-founder-piracy-scene-needs-innovation-160726/

peter-sundeLast week the alleged owner of KickassTorrents (KAT) was arrested in Poland, where he faces an extradition request from the United States.

The news came as a shock to many of the site’s users and also had a profound impact on the torrent ecosystem at large, particularly in the short term.

TorrentFreak discusses the events and repercussions with several experts on a special episode of Steal This Show. Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde is one of the guests, and he finds it quite odd that the long arm of the United States can reach deep into Europe.

“For me, it’s weird that Poland is arresting someone on the orders of the United States where the person has not been,” Sunde says.

“I have an issue with a country having that much power. I don’t care if it’s the United States, Russia or whatever, but one country shouldn’t be able to just grab people from anywhere in the world just because they do something on the Internet. That’s insanity.”

Sunde and the other Pirate Bay founders had their own criminal prosecution in Sweden several years ago, for which they all served jail time. Their case was also spurred on by U.S. influence, he believes, but it was prosecuted on their home turf instead.

Legalities aside, Peter Sunde believes that the shutdown of KAT shows how vulnerable the torrent ecosystem is. The majority of users rely on a very small group of torrent sites, which are all major targets for law enforcement.

A more distributed system would be much better, according to Pirate Bay’s founder.

“I think maybe people now understand that we shouldn’t just have a few sites. Because everything depends on these sites. That’s the thing I always wanted, a large hybrid of lots of smaller sites instead of one big target like KickassTorrents or Pirate Bay.”

Just setting up basic mirrors isn’t going to cut it in this case. At the moment there are still dozens of KAT copies online, but since they don’t have access to the backend of the original site, uploaders can’t use their accounts.

Also, many smaller torrent sites were relying on KAT’s database of torrents, and these have been faced with a similar problem since last week. A lack of new content.

“If one of the big sites goes down a lot of smaller sites are hit as well because they are just a copy of the original database. We need lots of sites that federate all the data instead of having to depend on the higher-ups,” Sunde notes.

So what’s the alternative? According to Pirate Bay’s founder, more innovation and decentralization is required.


There are already plenty of new technologies that could make torrent sites more decentralized. Zeronet and IPFS, for example. However, according to Sunde the large torrent sites such as TPB don’t really have the urge to innovate.

“IPFS is really good and if everyone started using that instead it would be great. It would be working perfectly with less centralization. The problem is that the big sites like TPB and KAT are not really good at using new technology.”

Without a userbase these new technologies don’t catch on, so that keeps the current status quo intact. The only way to change this is by bringing in something fresh, Sunde says.

“If you look at the big sites, name one of them that has an up-to-date user experience or uses new technology at all. It’s the same shit that’s been around for 10, 15 years. There is no innovation whatsoever that’s visible on these sites.

“We need new voices, new people, new activists and new ideologies in the piracy scene,” Sunde adds.

Millions of people now rely on TPB and KAT to just be there for them. However, that makes the ecosystem very vulnerable without any incentive to innovate. This is why Sunde and others who were involved early, wanted to shut down the site on its 10th anniversary. To make room for something better.

“I’ve been saying for years that I want The Pirate Bay to shut down, and now with KickassTorrents being shut down I hope this will actually inspire people to do something fresh, innovative and something new.”

“To be honest, it’s not really hard to run a torrent site, or set one up,” Sunde says.


You can hear more from Peter Sunde in the latest episode of Steal This Show (not all comments cited here appear in the episode), which was published earlier today. The episode also features isoHunt founder Gary Fung and U.S. Pirate Party founder Andrew Norton.

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

Landmark Piracy Trial Suspended Pending EU Ruling

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/landmark-piracy-trial-suspended-pending-eu-ruling-160630/

pirate-cardFollowing successful prosecutions of torrent site operators such as those behind The Pirate Bay, Sweden has turned to the increasing problem of online streaming.

Cases involving streaming sites are relatively rare and as a result, case law is thin on the ground. Nevertheless, last year Swedish authorities felt confident enough to close down the country’s most popular streaming site.

Founded half a decade ago, Swefilmer took advantage of increasing trends towards browser-based viewing of pirate content. In addition to convenience and a non-existent learning curve, advanced users were also attracted to the perceived security benefits of streaming platforms.

Swefilmer gained significant traction but that came to an end last summer when one of the site’s operators was arrested and detained for 90 hours.

That was followed this year by the detention of the site’s main operator in Germany, following the execution of a secret European arrest warrant.

As reported last week, the men – aged 22 and 25 – were recently prosecuted. Together they face charges of facilitating copyright infringement of more than 1,400 movies alongside penalties of $1.7m.

Swefilmer’s primary operator also stands accused of aggravated money laundering offenses related to his handling of the site’s finances.

The Swefilmer case is one of the most important prosecutions in Sweden’s piracy crackdown history and this week the trial began as planned. Entertainment giants including Disney, Sony, Warner, Universal and Fox lined up Tuesday to take down their adversaries, but things didn’t go to plan.

Rather than the relatively open-and-shut case anticipated by the prosecution, after just a few hours a decision was made to suspend the case.

“We asked the court to seek a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice, and we got what we wanted,” says Claes Kennedy, the lawyer representing the 22-year-old.

While Kennedy’s client admits to having been involved in the operation of Swefilmer, all along he has maintained that his actions did not amount to a crime. Why that might indeed be true lies in a case currently in the hands of the ECJ.

The case deals with a dispute between Dutch blog GeenStijl.nl and Playboy. In 2011, GeenStijl published a post linking to leaked Playboy photos, which were stored on file-hosting platform FileFactory.

Although Playboy publisher Sanoma successfully requested the removal of the photos from FileFactory, GeenStijl continued to link to other public sources where the images were still available. This, Sanoma argued, amounted to infringement.

A Dutch Court subsequently asked the EU Court of Justice to rule whether those links could be seen as a ‘communication to the public’ under Article 3(1) of the Copyright Directive of the Copyright Directive, and whether they facilitated copyright infringement.

Earlier this year, Advocate General Melchior Wathelet delivered his advice to the ECJ, noting that in his opinion “linking” is not the same as “making available” – that would only apply to the original uploader. That means that GeenStijl’s acts of linking would not amount to infringement, the ECJ summarized.

“Hyperlinks which lead, even directly, to protected works are not ‘making them available’ to the public when they are already freely accessible on another website, and only serve to facilitate their discovery,” the EU Court of Justice wrote.

The Advocate General’s advice is not binding, but the ECJ often gives significant weight to this kind of expert opinion. The final verdict is expected to be released later this year and Claes Kennedy is hoping for a positive outcome for his client.

“What we know so far, is that linking to another website is not to be considered the same as making available to the public. But we are waiting for a decision from the EU Court,” Kennedy says.

So for now the Swefilmer trial is on hold, initially until September but potentially later depending on when the ECJ hands down its ruling. Whenever it arrives the decision will have implications way beyond this case and right across Europe.

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

Streaming Site Operators Face Jail & $1.7m Forfeiture

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/streaming-site-operators-face-jail-1-7m-forfeiture-160626/

Founded half a decade ago, Swefilmer was Sweden’s most popular unauthorized streaming site.

Offering all the latest movies and TV shows, Swefilmer (and another, Dreamfilm) captured up to 25% of all web TV viewing in Sweden according to a 2015 report.

Last summer, however, the noose began to tighten. In July local man Ola Johansson revealed that he’d been raided by the police under suspicion of being involved in running the site.

Meanwhile, police continued the hunt for the site’s primary operator and in March 2016 it was revealed that a Turkish national had been arrested in Germany on a secret European arrest warrant. The 25-year-old is said to be the person who received donations from users and set up Swefilmer’s deals with advertisers.

Both men have now been prosecuted by Swedish authorities. In an indictment filed in the Varberg District Court, both men are accused of copyright infringement connected to the unlawful distribution of more than 1,400 movies.

Additionally, the 25-year-old stands accused of aggravated money laundering offenses related to his handling of Swefilmer’s finances.

The prosecution says that the site generated more than $1.7m between November 2013 and June 2015. More than $1.5m of that amount came from advertising with user donations contributing around $110,000. The state wants the 25-year-old to forfeit the full amount. A $77,000 car and properties worth $233,000 have already been seized.

While both could be sent to prison, the 22-year-old faces less serious charges and will be expected to pay back around $3,600.

The trial, which is expected to go ahead in just over a week, will be the most significant case against a streaming portal in Sweden to date.

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

Pirate Bay Domain Dispute Appealed to Supreme Court

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-domain-dispute-appealed-to-supreme-court-160618/

In 2013, anti-piracy prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad filed a motion targeting two of The Pirate Bay’s oldest domains, ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se.

Ingblad filed a complaint against Punkt SE (IIS), the organization responsible for Sweden’s top-level .SE domain, arguing that since The Pirate Bay is an illegal site the domains are tools used to infringe copyright. On this basis they should be suspended, Ingblad said.

The case was heard in April 2015 and a month later the Stockholm District Court ruled that The Pirate Bay should forfeit both ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se.

The case went to the Court of Appeal and last month the ruling of the District Court was upheld.

But as is so often the case with Pirate Bay legal action, the show isn’t over yet. Following the ruling, site co-founder Fredrik Neij indicated he would take an appeal to the Supreme Court. That has now been filed.

“Fredrik Neij moves that the Supreme Court, by the modification and elimination of the District Court and Court of Appeal’s decision, should reject the prosecutor’s request for Fredrik Neij’s forfeiture to the right of the domain names piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se,” Neij’s lawyer Jonas Nilsson writes in a translation sent to TF.

The situation is somewhat complex. In 2012, Neij transferred the domains to a person named Supavadee Trakunroek. However, the Court of Appeal found that transaction to be mere ‘paperwork’ and that in real terms Neij had retained control of the domains.

With that in mind the question remained – should the domains be ‘seized’ from Neij or from IIS, the organization responsible for Sweden’s top-level .SE domain?

The Court found that domain names should be considered a type of intellectual property, property that is owned by the person or organization that purchased the domain. Therefore, in this case IIS is not the owner of the Pirate Bay domains, Neij is.

It is this aspect of the ruling that Fredrik Neij is now appealing to the Supreme Court.

“Fredrik Neij argues that the District Court and the Court of Appeal wrongly concluded that a domain name is a type of intellectual property that can be confiscated in accordance with copyright law,” his appeal reads.

With the appeal now filed it is up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to take the case. Domains used for illegal activity have been seized in Sweden before, but none have been fought as actively as this one.

Meanwhile, The Pirate Bay is operating from the .org domain it began with, all those years ago.

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