Tag Archives: Transparency Report

Mega Now Stores 63.8 Billion Files, Has Suspended 78,000 Users For Copyright Infringement

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mega-now-stores-63-8-billion-files-has-suspended-78000-users-for-copyright-infringement-191219/

From a standing start in January 2013, file-hosting platform Mega has gone from strength to strength.

Founded by Kim Dotcom in response to the Megaupload takedown of 2012, Mega has since parted ways with the entrepreneur but its growth has continued in his wake.

According to figures published by Mega, at the end of the final quarter of 2013 the cloud storage company was hosting around 0.6 billion files. In 2014, that had leaped to 3.6 billion files, a figure that almost doubled to 11.9 billion by the end of 2015. The latest published data reveals that at the end of September 2019, Mega was storing an impressive 63.8 billion files.

Early 2015 the company published its first transparency report, a common practice for large technology companies including Google, Twitter and Reddit. The latest installment published today by Mega strives to underline the platform’s compliance with local and international law and has a clear emphasis on how it deals with copyright infringement.

With an obvious eye on the fate of Kim Dotcom and the ongoing Megaupload saga, Mega stresses that it enjoys safe harbor protections under New Zealand’s Copyright Act in respect of content uploaded by its users. Additionally, while there is no technical need for it to do so, the company says that it also respects the standards required to achieve safe harbor under the DMCA and the EU Copyright Directive.

As a result, Mega reports that when it receives a takedown notice it aims to disable access to content within four hours, with takedowns “usually being actioned” well within that self-imposed limit. However, with files reportedly being uploaded at the rate of 500 per second, there are bound to be some that breach copyright law.

For the first nine months of 2019, Mega reports that it processed around 317,500 takedown requests. As the table below shows, that is a relatively small number when viewed alongside the total number of files stored by the company.

Data provided by Mega shows that the number of links taken down peaked in 2014 at around 150,000, with a downward trend following until late 2015. Since then, takedowns have varied from a low of around 50,000 in the third quarter of 2018 to a high of 120,000 in the second quarter of 2019.

However, as the table below shows, the relatively steep rises seen this year had very little impact on the trend of reducing takedowns when compared to the percentage of files stored overall.

In light of the ongoing lawsuits in the United States, particularly involving ISP Cox Communications, the manner in which technology companies handle the issue of so-called “repeat infringers” is now a key battleground when questions are raised over liability for infringement. In this regard, it’s clear that Mega doesn’t want to be seen falling short.

After initially operating a “five strikes” policy, in 2015 Mega introduced a “three strikes” regime that remains in place today. Related account suspensions peaked in the third quarter of 2017 at just over 8,000 but then suddenly tailed off to a relatively steady 2,000 to 2,500 suspensions per quarter thereafter.

Since its inception, Mega says it has suspended around 78,000 accounts for hitting the limits of its repeat infringer policy, which is a significant number but relatively small when compared to the number of user accounts overall.

Mega launched as “The Privacy Company” with file encryption a key selling point. The cloud storage platform says that it cannot decrypt any files without the appropriate key but “does have access to registration information and IP addresses used to access our services.”

The company adds that it holds personal data relating to users for extended periods, including email and IP addresses, plus “limited activity detail” relating to account access, file uploads, shares, and chats.

“Personal data is retained indefinitely while the user’s account is open. After account closure, Mega will retain all account information as long as there is any law enforcement request pending but otherwise for 12 months after account closure as users sometimes request that an account be re-activated,” Mega states.

“After 12 months, identifying information such as email and IP addresses will be anonymized (except that email address records will be retained for reference by the user’s contacts or where the user has participated in chats with other Mega users) but other related database records may be retained.”

This information will only be handed over when Mega is required to do so by New Zealand law, a New Zealand court, or law enforcement authority “with appropriate jurisdiction”. However, the company notes that it may “consider” requests from overseas law enforcement and civil claimants.

“During the 2018-2019 year, Mega was served 7 legal orders from NZ authorities and then disclosed account information for 540 user accounts which are alleged to be involved in serious criminal activity overseas,” the company concludes.

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

Twitter Copyright Notices Have Doubled in Half a Year

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/twitter-copyright-notices-have-double-in-half-a-year-191101/

In common with many other online services, copyright holders regularly ask Twitter to remove tweets that link to pirated material.

Whether it’s a tweet from the U.S. President or some random pirate site, the social media platform investigates the claims and takes action, if needed.

A few hours ago Twitter published a new update to its transparency report, highlighting the latest takedown trends. This reveals that the number of copyright notices received during the first half of the year skyrocketed compared to the previous six months.

“We received a 101% increase in DMCA takedown notices since our last report,” Twitter reports, noting that this includes a high volume of fraudulent DMCA notices from Turkey and Japan.

From January to June of this year a total of 106,951 DMCA notices were received, compared to 53,094 during the last half of 2018. This is a notable increase. However, it doesn’t directly translate to an equal change in removed tweets or withheld content.

The number of tweets that were removed increased by 46% to 113,015. At the same time, there was a 4% decrease in withheld media in the same period, 266,699 files in total.

This suggests that the average notice today includes fewer tweets and media files.

The percentage of notices for which Twitter took action also dropped significantly. On average, less than half of the notices (45%) resulted in material being removed, down from 62% last period.

The above applies to notices that were sent to Twitter, but the company also owns and operates Periscope. The number of copyright notices received by the streaming platform increased by roughly ten percent to 26,331 over the past six months.

Taken together, more than a third of the Twitter and Periscope copyright notices were sent in by a handful of reporters. Music industry group IFPI is the most prolific sender, followed by Netresult, LeakID, Athletia Sports and LaLiga.

The most spectacular increase we see in the report is the number of counternotices that were submitted by people who disputed a copyright claim. This number jumped 285% to 3,966.

This uptick is in part linked to an increase in fraudulent DMCA notices, which Twitter also highlights in its report. The company says that it will continue to keep a close eye on this trend and has put safeguards in place to help protect people on Twitter and Periscope.

Earlier this year TorrentFreak was also hit by inaccurate DMCA takedown complaints, targeting our news coverage. American entertainment giant Starz removed ours and several other tweets, pointing to an article about leaked TV-shows.

While Twitter accepted these takedowns, the reporting organization lifted the claim after we and many others complained.

Twitter’s complete transparency report, which also addresses trademark notices, information requests, rules enforcement, and other removal requests, is available here.

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

Developer Accidentally Makes Available 390,000 ‘Pirated’ eBooks

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/developer-accidentally-makes-available-390000-pirated-ebooks-180509/

Considering the effort it takes to set one up, pirate sites are clearly always intentional. One doesn’t make available hundreds of thousands of potentially infringing works accidentally.

Unless you’re developer Nick Janetakis, that is.

“About 2 years ago I was recording a video course that dealt with setting up HTTPS on a domain name. In all of my courses, I make sure to ‘really’ do it on video so that you can see the entire process from end to end,” Nick wrote this week.

“Back then I used nickjanetakis.com for all of my courses, so I didn’t have a dedicated domain name for the course I was working on.”

So instead, Nick set up an A record to point ssl.nickjanetakis.com to a DigitalOcean droplet (a cloud server) so anyone accessing the sub-domain could access the droplet (and his content) via his sub-domain.

That was all very straightforward and all Nick needed to do was delete the A record after he was done to ensure that he wasn’t pointing to someone else’s IP address when the droplet was eventually allocated to someone else. But he forgot, with some interesting side effects that didn’t come to light until years later.

“I have Google Alerts set up so I get emailed when people link to my site. A few months ago I started to receive an absurd amount of notifications, but I ignored them. I chalked it up to ‘Google is probably on drugs’,” Nick explains.

However, the developer paid more attention when he received an email from a subscriber to his courses who warned that Nick’s site might have been compromised. A Google search revealed a worrying amount of apparently unauthorized eBook content being made available via Nick’s domain.

350,000 items? Whoops! (credit: Nick Janetakis)

Of course, Nick wasn’t distributing any content himself, but as far as Google was concerned, his domain was completely responsible. For confirmation, TorrentFreak looked up Nick’s domain on Google’s Transparency report and found at least nine copyright holders and two reporting organizations complaining of copyright infringement.

“No one from Google contacted me and none of the copyright infringement people reached out to me. I wish they would have,” Nick told us.

The earliest complaint was filed with Google on April 22, 2018, suggesting that the IP address/domain name collision causing the supposed infringement took place fairly recently. From there came a steady flow of reports, but not the tidal wave one might have expected given the volume of results.

Complaints courtesy of LumenDatabase.org

A little puzzled, TorrentFreak asked Nick if he’d managed to find out from DigitalOcean which pirates had been inadvertently using his domain. He said he’d asked, but the company wouldn’t assist.

“I asked DigitalOcean to get the email contact of the person who owned the IP address but they denied me. I just wanted to know for my own sanity,” he says.

With results now dropping off Google very quickly, TF carried out some tests using Google’s cache. None of the tests led us to any recognizable pirate site but something was definitely amiss.

The ‘pirate’ links (which can be found using a ‘site:ssl.nickjanetakis.com’ search in Google) open documents (sample) which contain links to the domain BookFreeNow.com, which looks very much like a pirate site but suggests it will only hand over PDF files after the user joins up, ostensibly for free.

However, experience with this kind of platform tells us that eventually, there would probably be some kind of cost involved, if indirect.



So, after clicking the registration link (or automatically, if you wait a few seconds) we weren’t entirely shocked when we were redirected briefly to an affiliate site that pays generously. From there we were sent to an advert server which caused a MalwareBytes alert, which was enough for us to back right out of there.

While something amazing might have sat behind the doors of BookFreeNow, we suspect that rather than being a regular pirate site, it’s actually set up to give the impression of being one, in order to generate business in other ways.

Certainly, copyright holders are suspicious of it, and have sent numerous complaints to Google.

In any event, Nick Janetakis should be very grateful that his domain is no longer connected to the platform since a basic pirate site, while troublesome, would be much more straightforward to explain. In the meantime, Nick has some helpful tips on how to avoid such a situation in the future.

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

ISRG Legal Transparency Report, January 2016 – June 2016

Post Syndicated from Let's Encrypt - Free SSL/TLS Certificates original https://letsencrypt.org//2016/10/01/legal-transparency-report.html

The trust of our users is ISRG’s most critical asset. Transparency regarding legal requests is an important part of making sure our users can trust us, and to that end we will be publishing reports twice annually. Reports will be published three months after the period covered in order to allow us time to research all requests and orders received during the period.

Download Legal Transparency Report, January 2016 – June 2016