Tag Archives: tv

Kodi-Addon Developer Gives Up Piracy Defense Due to Lack of Funds

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/kodi-addon-developer-gives-up-piracy-defense-due-to-lack-of-funds-180521/

Last year, American satellite and broadcast provider Dish Network targeted two well-known players in the third-party Kodi add-on ecosystem.

In a complaint filed in a federal court in Texas, add-on ZemTV and the TVAddons library were accused of copyright infringement, with both facing up to $150,000 for each offense.

While TVAddons operator Adam Lackman responded to the allegations last week, ZemTV’s developer ‘Shani’ decided not to reply.

Shahjahan Durrani, Shani for short, never denied that he was the driving force behind the Kodi-addons ZemTV, LiveStreamsPro, and F4MProxy. While the London-based developer had never set foot in Texas, he initially planned to put up a defense. Financially, however, this was a problem.

ZemTV’s developer launched a fundraiser last fall to crowdsource the legal battle. While he was able to raise close to £1,000, the legal costs already exceeded that the case even got fully underway.

Without the ability to pay the legal costs Shani is unable to put up a proper defense. But speaking with TorrentFreak, he explains that after the motion to dismiss was denied, he didn’t have much hope for a fair trial anyway.

“I was shocked and disappointed, not only by reading that the court dismissed my jurisdiction appeal, they did so with just one sentence. It seems unfair and doesn’t give any confidence to me that the court/judge would be fair,” Shani tells us.

This left the developer with two options. Find a way to fund the legal battle, money which may never be recovered, or give up the fight and face a default judgment. Shani chose the latter option.

Shani told his attorney Erin Russel to cease all activity on the case and to take no further steps on his behalf.

“I don’t have enough resources to fight this case completely with four kids that I am raising and anything more I do will be seem to be submitting to the US Courts which I am not going to do unless I have enough money to fight the case,” the developer wrote in an email to Russel.

The attorney informed the court of this decision late last week and withdrew from the case.

This means that the lawsuit is steering towards a default judgment, and indeed, Dish has already moved for an entry of default.

“To date, Durrani has not filed an answer or other responsive pleading or requested additional time to do so,” Dish’s motion reads. “Accordingly, the Clerk should enter a default against Durrani.”

Shani still hopes that Dish will not push through. The developer stresses that he never operated any of the servers that provided copyright-infringing streams, nor has he ever made money from his addons.

“I hope they would let the matter go as the addon code has been taken down for more than a year now. Plus, they already know by the return of the subpoena to the servers that none of them were handled or paid by me,” Shani says.

“This was an open source addon and no one would pay hundreds of pounds to host the servers/streams in the hope that people would donate. I actually never ever asked for any donation and never ever earned a single penny from Kodi addons.”

ZemTV, like many other addons, merely offered the interface that makes it possible to watch third-party streams on the Kodi platform. While that may be infringement or not, the developer notes that despite the lawsuit, these third-party streams are still online.

“The irony of all this mess is that those servers and apps are still functional and working while I am dealing with this illogical case,” Shani concludes.

If the Texas District Court enters the default, Dish will demand a judgment which likely includes thousands of dollars in damages. However, since Durrani lives in the UK and has no assets in the US, these damages may be hard to recoup.

Dish’s request for an entry of default 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.

ISP Telenor Will Block The Pirate Bay in Sweden Without a Shot Fired

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/isp-telenor-will-block-the-pirate-bay-in-sweden-without-a-shot-fired-180520/

Back in 2014, Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry filed a lawsuit against Bredbandsbolaget, one of Sweden’s largest ISPs.

The copyright holders asked the Stockholm District Court to order the ISP to block The Pirate Bay and streaming site Swefilmer, claiming that the provider knowingly facilitated access to the pirate platforms and assisted their pirating users.

Soon after the ISP fought back, refusing to block the sites in a determined response to the Court.

“Bredbandsbolaget’s role is to provide its subscribers with access to the Internet, thereby contributing to the free flow of information and the ability for people to reach each other and communicate,” the company said in a statement.

“Bredbandsbolaget does not block content or services based on individual organizations’ requests. There is no legal obligation for operators to block either The Pirate Bay or Swefilmer.”

In February 2015 the parties met in court, with Bredbandsbolaget arguing in favor of the “important principle” that ISPs should not be held responsible for content exchanged over the Internet, in the same way the postal service isn’t responsible for the contents of an envelope.

But with TV companies SVT, TV4 Group, MTG TV, SBS Discovery and C More teaming up with the IFPI alongside Paramount, Disney, Warner and Sony in the case, Bredbandsbolaget would need to pull out all the stops to obtain victory. The company worked hard and initially the news was good.

In November 2015, the Stockholm District Court decided that the copyright holders could not force Bredbandsbolaget to block the pirate sites, ruling that the ISP’s operations did not amount to participation in the copyright infringement offenses carried out by some of its ‘pirate’ subscribers.

However, the case subsequently went to appeal, with the brand new Patent and Market Court of Appeal hearing arguments. In February 2017 it handed down its decision, which overruled the earlier ruling of the District Court and ordered Bredbandsbolaget to implement “technical measures” to prevent its customers accessing the ‘pirate’ sites through a number of domain names and URLs.

With nowhere left to go, Bredbandsbolaget and owner Telenor were left hanging onto their original statement which vehemently opposed site-blocking.

“It is a dangerous path to go down, which forces Internet providers to monitor and evaluate content on the Internet and block websites with illegal content in order to avoid becoming accomplices,” they said.

In March 2017, Bredbandsbolaget blocked The Pirate Bay but said it would not give up the fight.

“We are now forced to contest any future blocking demands. It is the only way for us and other Internet operators to ensure that private players should not have the last word regarding the content that should be accessible on the Internet,” Bredbandsbolaget said.

While it’s not clear whether any additional blocking demands have been filed with the ISP, this week an announcement by Bredbandsbolaget parent company Telenor revealed an unexpected knock-on effect. Seemingly without a single shot being fired, The Pirate Bay will now be blocked by Telenor too.

The background lies in Telenor’s acquisition of Bredbandsbolaget back in 2005. Until this week the companies operated under separate brands but will now merge into one entity.

“Telenor Sweden and Bredbandsbolaget today take the final step on their joint trip and become the same company with the same name. As a result, Telenor becomes a comprehensive provider of broadband, TV and mobile communications,” the company said in a statement this week.

“Telenor Sweden and Bredbandsbolaget have shared both logo and organization for the last 13 years. Today, we take the last step in the relationship and consolidate the companies under the same name.”

Up until this final merger, 600,000 Bredbandsbolaget broadband customers were denied access to The Pirate Bay. Now it appears that Telenor’s 700,000 fiber and broadband customers will be affected too. The new single-brand company says it has decided to block the notorious torrent site across its entire network.

“We have not discontinued Bredbandsbolaget, but we have merged Telenor and Bredbandsbolaget and become one,” the company said.

“When we share the same network, The Pirate Bay is blocked by both Telenor and Bredbandsbolaget and there is nothing we plan to change in the future.”

TorrentFreak contacted the PR departments of both Telenor and Bredbandsbolaget requesting information on why a court order aimed at only the latter’s customers would now affect those of the former too, more than doubling the blockade’s reach. Neither company responded which leaves only speculation as to its motives.

On the one hand, the decision to voluntarily implement an expanded blockade could perhaps be viewed as a little unusual given how much time, effort and money has been invested in fighting web-blockades in Sweden.

On the other, the merger of the companies may present legal difficulties as far as the court order goes and it could certainly cause friction among the customer base of Telenor if some customers could access TPB, and others could not.

In any event, the legal basis for web-blocking on copyright infringement grounds was firmly established last year at the EU level, which means that Telenor would lose any future legal battle, should it decide to dig in its heels. On that basis alone, the decision to block all customers probably makes perfect commercial sense.

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

Police Forces Around Europe Hit Pirate IPTV Operation

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/police-forces-around-europe-hit-pirate-iptv-operation-180519/

Once upon a time, torrent and web streaming sites were regularly in the headlines while being targeted by the authorities. With the rise of set-top box streaming, actions against pirate IPTV operations are more regularly making the news.

In an operation coordinated by the public prosecutor’s office in Rome, 150 officers of the Provincial Command of the Guardia di Finanza (GdF) this week targeted what appears to be a fairly large unauthorized IPTV provider.

Under the banner Operation Spinoff, in Italy, more than 50 searches were carried out in 20 provinces of 11 regions. Five people were arrested. Elsewhere in Europe – in Switzerland, Germany and Spain – the Polizei Basel-Landschaft, the Kriminal Polizei and the Policia Nacional coordinated to execute warrants.

A small selection of the service on offer

“Through technical and ‘in-the-field’ investigations and the meticulous reconstruction of financial flows, carried out mainly through prepaid credit cards or payment web platforms, investigators have reconstructed the activity of a pyramid-like criminal structure dedicated to the illegal decryption and diffusion of pay-per-view television content through the Internet,” the GdF said in a statement.

Italian authorities report that the core of the IPTV operation were its sources of original content and channels. These were located in a range of diverse locations such as companies, commercial premises, garages and even private homes. Inside each location was equipment to receive, decrypt and capture signals from broadcasters including Sky TV.

Italian police examine hardware

These signals were collected together to form a package of channels which were then transmitted via the Internet and sold to the public in the form of an IPTV subscription. Packages were reportedly priced between 15 and 20 euros per month.

It’s estimated that between the 49 individuals said to be involved in the operation, around one million euros was generated. All are suspected of copyright infringement and money laundering offenses. Of the five Italian citizens reported to be at the core of the operations, four were taken into custody and one placed under house arrest.

Reports identify the suspects as: ‘AS’, born 1979 and residing in Lorrach, Germany. ‘RM’, born 1987 and living in Sarno, Italy. ‘LD’, born 1996 and also living in Sarno, Italy. ‘GP’, born 1990, living in Pordenone, Italy. And ‘SM’, born 1981 and living in Zagarolo, Italy.

More hardware

Players at all levels of the business are under investigation, from the sources who decrypted the signals to the sellers and re-sellers of the content to end users. Also under the microscope are people said to have laundered the operation’s money through credit cards and payment platforms.

The GdF describes the pirate IPTV operation in serious terms, noting that it aimed to set up a “parallel distribution company able to provide services that are entirely analogous to lawful companies, from checks on the feasibility of installing the service to maintaining adequate standards and technical assistance to customers.”

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

TVAddons Denies Copyright Infringement Claims in Court

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/tvaddons-denies-copyright-infringement-claims-in-court-180518/

Last year, American satellite and broadcast provider Dish Network targeted two well-known players in the third-party Kodi add-on ecosystem.

In a complaint filed in a federal court in Texas, add-on ZemTV and the TVAddons library were accused of copyright infringement. As a result, both are facing up to $150,000 in damages for each offense.

The owner and operator of TVAddons, Adam Lackman, and ZemTV developer, Shahjahan Durrani, previously asked the court to dismiss the case, because neither reside in the United States.

The request was recently denied and the case continues. This means that the defendants must respond to the allegations at the Texas District Court. Yesterday, TVAddons’ lawyer Jason Sweet submitted the answers of defendant Adam Lackman, who denies many of the claims put forward by Dish.

TVAddons’ operator denies that he had the “ability to supervise and control” the alleged infringing activity of ZemTV, as Dish stated, and also refutes the claims that he received a “direct financial benefit” and “refused to take any action” to stop the infringement.

Lackman does confirm that ZemTV was available for download through TVAddons and that Dish sent a takedown notice to have it removed. TVAddons received this notice and forwarded it to the developer of the addon.

The answers are very minimal and mostly deny the complaint’s claims. However, the filing also includes several affirmative defenses, which provide some more insight and detail.

In the complaint, TVAddons’ operator stands accused of “contributory / inducing copyright infringement,” but his lawyer points out that these are two different claims with separate thresholds which can’t be combined.

One requires knowledge of and a material contribution to the infringement, for example, while the other deals with the distribution of a device or product through which the infringing use is promoted.

“Contributory infringement and inducing infringement are two distinct causes of action and cannot be combined when pled. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(b) requires separate counts for separate claims,” Sweet writes.

And there are other points of confusion highlighted by the defense. Dish has stated that the copyrighted works at issue have not been registered, as that is no longer required to file a lawsuit under the Copyright Act.

While that is correct, TVAddons’ lawyer points out that it prevents Dish from seeking statutory damages and attorneys fees or costs, because that does require copyright registration.

“Plaintiff is not entitled to statutory damages, including attorney’s fees and costs because registration is required for foreign works to gain the procedural benefits of a prima facie presumption of the validity of a copyright, statutory damages, and attorney’s fees..,” the defense writes.

Adding to that, TVAddons’ operator denies that he engaged in or contributed to any of the alleged infringements. And if there was any wrongdoing, this was certainly not intended.

“Defendant was not aware and had no reason to believe that any of his acts constituted an infringement of copyright. Any infringement by Defendant was innocent and not willful.”

The response is just the start of the case and both sides are expected to conduct further discovery to back up their respective positions. ZemTV’s operator, whose alleged infringements are central to the TVAddons case, has yet to file his answers.

TVAddons, meanwhile, remains operational through TVAddons.co with a reduced library of addons. After it was decimated last year, the site has started to regain its user base, in the hope that they will support the legal battle.

“If you are tired of seeing big companies act like they own the law, please consider making a donation to help us pay our lawyers. This lawsuit is about more than just us, it’s about the expansion of copyright law and a big bad corporation trying to bully us into submission,” TVAddons wrote last week.

A copy of TVAddons answer to the amended complaint 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.

ExtraTorrent Replacement Displays Warning On Predecessor’s Shutdown Anniversary

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/extratorrent-replacement-displays-warning-on-predecessors-shutdown-anniversary-180518/

Exactly one year ago, millions of users in the BitTorrent community went into mourning with the shock depature of one of its major players.

ExtraTorrent was founded in back in November 2006, at a time when classic platforms such as TorrentSpy and Mininova were dominating the torrent site landscape. But with dedication and determination, the site amassed millions of daily visitors, outperforming every other torrent site apart from the mighty Pirate Bay.

Then, on May 17, 2017, everything came crashing down.

“ExtraTorrent has shut down permanently,” a note in the site read. “ExtraTorrent with all mirrors goes offline. We permanently erase all data. Stay away from fake ExtraTorrent websites and clones. Thx to all ET supporters and torrent community. ET was a place to be….”

While ExtraTorrent staff couldn’t be more clear in advising people to stay away from clones, few people listened to their warnings. Within hours, new sites appeared claiming to be official replacements for the much-loved torrent site and people flocked to them in their millions.

One of those was ExtraTorrent.ag, a torrent site connected to the operators of EZTV.ag, which appeared as a replacement in the wake of the official EZTV’s demise. Graphically very similar to the original ExtraTorrent, the .ag ‘replacement’ had none of its namesake’s community or unique content. But that didn’t dent its popularity.

ExtraTorrent.ag

At the start of this week, ExtraTorrent.ag was one of the most popular torrent sites on the Internet. With an Alexa rank of around 2,200, it would’ve clinched ninth position in our Top 10 Torrent Sites report earlier this year. However, after registering the site’s domain a year ago, something seems to have gone wrong.

Yesterday, on the anniversary of ExtraTorrent’s shutdown and exactly a year after the ExtraTorrent.ag domain was registered, ExtraTorrent.ag disappeared only to be replaced by a generic landing page, as shown below.

ExtraTorrent.ag landing page

This morning, however, there appear to be additional complications. Accessing with Firefox produces the page above but attempting to do so with Chrome produces an ominous security warning.

Chrome warning

Indeed, those protected by MalwareBytes won’t be able to access the page at all, since ExtraTorrent.ag redirects to the domain FindBetterResults.com, which the anti-malware app flags as malicious.

The change was reported to TF by the operator of domain unblocking site Unblocked.lol, which offers torrent site proxies as well as access to live TV and sports.

“I noticed when I started receiving emails saying ExtraTorrent was redirecting to some parked domain. When I jumped on the PC and checked myself it was just redirecting to a blank page,” he informs us.

“First I thought they’d blocked our IP address so I used some different ones. But I soon discovered the domain was in fact parked.”

So what has happened to this previously-functioning domain?

Whois records show that ExtraTorrent.ag was created on May 17, 2017 and appears to have been registered for a year. Yesterday, on May 17, 2018, the domain was updated to list what could potentially be a new owner, with an expiry date of May 17, 2019.

Once domains have expired, they usually enter an ‘Auto-Renew Grace Period’ for up to 45 days. This is followed by a 30-day ‘Redemption Grace Period’. At the end of this second period, domains cannot be renewed and are released for third-parties to register. That doesn’t appear to have been the case here.

So, to find out more about the sudden changes we reached out to the email address listed in the WHOIS report but received no response. Should we hear more we’ll update this report but in the meantime the Internet has lost one of its largest torrent sites and gained a rather pointless landing page with potential security risks.

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

Медийна свобода и плурализъм

Post Syndicated from nellyo original https://nellyo.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/sofia_16052018/

В София се проведе международна  конференция “Медийна свобода и плурализъм: Как да рестартираме основния стълб на ЕС“.

Записи от   конференцията могат да се видят тук:  сесия  I and   сесия II) или тук.

Пълният текст на заключителната декларация, в края са  препоръките:

Свобода на медиите в Европа: Код червено

През 1997 г. Софийската декларация на ЮНЕСКО за свободни и плуралистични медии бе ревностен призив за напредък в контекста, в който появата на нови информационни и комуникационни технологии се считаше за нова възможност за плурализъм, икономическо и социално развитие, демокрация и мир. Сега, 21 години по-късно, независимите медии в Европа претърпяха безпрецедентен натиск. Комбинацията от различни фактори, като убийствата на журналисти и физическите заплахи срещу тях, нарастващия политически и институционален натиск, репресивното законодателство, насочено към медиите, разрушителните технологии и финансовата криза, поставят съществуването на свободните медии в редица европейски страни в риск.

Свободният достъп до разнообразна информация и мнение е не само основно право на човека, но е от съществено значение за гражданите да участват в демократичното общество. Това е основната рамка, позволяваща на хората да държат отговорни представителите на властта, за да се ограничат престъпността и корупцията, което е ключов фактор за осигуряване на функционираща демокрация.

Създаването на контролирани медии е първата стъпка към моделите на публично управление, известни като “меки диктатури” или “завладяна държава”, което създава сериозни заплахи за нормалното функциониране на демокрацията не само за съответните държави, но и за целия Европейски съюз.

Неотдавнашните събития в някои от държавите-членки на ЕС очевидно нарушават националното и международното право, когато става въпрос за защита на медийната свобода, а именно Всеобщата декларация за правата на човека, Международния пакт за граждански и политически права, Европейската конвенция за правата на човека и Хартата на основните права на Европейския съюз (ЕС). ЕС и Съветът на Европа създадоха правни процедури за защита на свободата на изразяване в Съда на Европейския съюз и Европейския съд по правата на човека. Въпреки това тези структури понякога не са достатъчни, за да поддържат и наложат основните европейски ценности и конституционните си традиции.

Бюджет на ЕС и върховенство на закона

На 2 май 2018 г. Европейската комисия предложи бюджет за периода 2021-2027 г. и изготви стратегически план за наказване на страни, за които твърди, че са нарушили основните ценности на ЕС. Планът обвързва финансирането от Европейския съюз с принципите на правовата държава, но е твърде ограничен и не споменава свободата на медиите.

Комисията предлага нов механизъм за защита на бюджета на ЕС от финансовите рискове, свързани с общите недостатъци на правовата държава в държавите-членки. Новите инструменти биха позволили на Съюза да преустанови, намали или ограничи достъпа до финансиране от ЕС по начин, който е в съответствие с вида, тежестта и обхвата на недостатъците на правовия ред. Такова решение ще бъде предложено от Комисията и ще бъде прието от Съвета чрез гласуване с квалифицирано мнозинство, което ще направи невъзможно една или две държави да блокират наказателните мерки.

Предложението се очакваше и беше направено в отговор на Полша, първата и единствена страна, която досега е обект на механизма на върховенството на закона, тъй като ЕК установи системно поведение, поставящо демокрацията в опасност. Унгария също е на радара на Комисията, където демократичните условия се влошиха, след като продължителни усилия за институционализиране на “нелибералната демокрация” в страната. Полша и България, председателстваща Съвета на ЕС, бяха сред първите държави, които реагираха отрицателно на предложения нов регламент.

Убийства и физически заплахи

Ерозията на европейския демократичен модел, тенденция, наблюдавана през последните години, продължава и става все по-тревожна. Регионът е разтърсен от две убийства и от заплахи към разследващи репортери, както и безпрецедентни вербални атаки срещу медиите. Традиционно безопасната среда за журналисти в Европа започна да се влошава. Две убийства за пет месеца, първото в Малта и второто в Словакия, показват тревожен спад за демокрациите на континента. В Малта, смъртта на журналистката и блогър Дафне Каруана Галиция, в следствие на умишлено поставена бомба в колата ѝ, повдигна завесата на съдебния тормоз и заплахи, на които постоянно са подложени журналисти от островната държава.

Каруана Галиция е била заплашвана от години и е била обект на 42 граждански и пет наказателни дела. Словакия все още е разтърсена от убийството на 27-годишния репортер, разследващ корупцията и мафията. През април италианските правоохранителни органи осуетиха подготвяното от мафията убийство на журналиста Паоло Боромети.

Икономическа устойчивост

Независимостта на медиите и свободната журналистика е възможна само ако медийните компании са икономически независими и финансово устойчиви. През 21 век издателите на печатни медии остават основните инвеститори в журналистическо съдържание и са увеличили усилия и инвестиции, за да предложат най-новите иновативни дигитални услуги за читателите в Европа и в останалата част на света. Тези постижения се оказват плодотворни, тъй като вестникарските публикации достигат до безпрецедентно висок брой читатели. Този успех само потвърждава, че бъдещето на пресата е не само дигитално, но и пълно с възможности за разширяване на читателския интерес към публикациите на вестници и списания.

За съжаление, през последното десетилетие значителна част от икономическата база на независимите медии е ерозирала. Медийните компании изпитаха двоен шок от кризата в бизнес цикъла и бизнес модела си.

Възстановяването от глобалната финансова криза в Европа беше твърде бавно и твърде скъпо и съвпадна с кризата в медийния бизнес модел. Също така, появата на дигитални платформи и глобални дигитални гиганти като Google и Facebook засили неравнопоставеността между посредниците и инвеститорите и създателите на съдържание, а именно издателите. Въпреки нарастващото търсене на новини и коментари, осигуряването на приходи от такова съдържание се оказва предизвикателство, тъй като авторското право и законите за ДДС от периода преди въвеждането на дигиталните технологии не могат да защитят инвестициите и пазарния дял, както и широкият достъп до онлайн съдържание предоставят на основните платформи лъвския дял от рекламните приходи.

Данните на Бюрото за интерактивна реклама от 2016 г. показват, че 89% от разходите за онлайн реклама са отишли за Google и Facebook, като останалите 11% са за всички останали дигитални играчи.
Много предложения на ЕС, свързани с дигиталната сфера, заплашват с тежки и несправедливи съдебни и административни процедури. Като например предложения за електронна конфиденциалност, които биха дали преимущество на най-силните технологични играчи и биха въпрепятствали по-малките играчи, които са зависими от «бисквитки» и от сложно сътрудничество с трети страни, за да бъдат част от икономиката на данни.

В много страни от ЕС икономическите трудности, които медийните компании са преживели, доведоха директно до концентрация на политически контрол над медиите и засилена зависимост от правителственото финансиране. В някои случаи управляващите политически елити използват средства на правителството и ЕС, за да подкрепят лоялните медии и да манипулират общественото мнение. В тези страни обществената телевизия и радио също са загубили независимост или са под нарастващ политически натиск. На практика тези процеси доведоха до това, че големи части от медийния пазар минаха под контрола на управляващите политици и техните поддръжници за целите на пропагандата, като същевременно предприеха тежки атаки срещу малкото останали независими медии. Близо сме до карйната «цел» за безотчетна власт в някои от страните в ЕС.

Код червено за медийната свобода в държави в Европейския съюз

Полша

Изглежда нищо не е в състояние да спре “Право и справедливост”, национално-консервативната партия, спечелила изборите през октомври 2015 г., която се стреми към радикално реформиране на Полша, както сметне за подходящо, без да зачита онези, които мислят по различен начин. Свободата на медиите е една от основните жертви на техния проект. Обществените медии официално са преименувани на “национални медии” и са преобразувани в говорители на правителствената пропаганда. Техните нови ръководители не търпят нито опозиция, нито неутралност от страна на служителите и отстраняват онези, които отказват да се съобразят.

Разследващият журналист Томаш Пиатек беше заплашен с лишаване от свобода заради критиките, отправени към министъра на отбраната относно връзките му с руските разузнавателни служби и трябваше да изчака много месеци преди обвиненията да бъдат окончателно оттеглени. Съветът за радио и телевизия, който сега е под контрола на правителството, се опита да наложи глоба на частния телевизионен канал TVN за излъчване на антиправителствени послания при отразяването на вълна от протести през декември 2016 г. Впоследствие глобата беше отменена под международен натиск. На всички призиви за умереност правителството отговаря с познатите аргументи, нетърпящи несъгласие.

Унгария

Бизнесмените, които са в тесни връзки с партия «Фидес» на премиера Виктор Орбан, не само успяха да придобият нови медии през 2017 г., но и да заместят чуждестранните медийни компании, инвестирали в унгарски медии. Най-големият им успех бе поемането на контрол над последните три регионални ежедневника. Независимо от това, унгарският медиен пейзаж все още е разнообразен и печатни и онлайн издания не се колебаят да публикуват разследвания за предполагаема корупция, включваща най-влиятелните личности от Фидес и държавни служители. В Унгария съжителстват два типа медии. Единият се състои от проправителствени и про-Фидес медии, обсебени от темата за миграцията, “защитата на Унгария и нейните граници” и очернящата кампания срещу унгарско-американския милиардер филантроп Джордж Сорос.

Другият тип медии са насочени към разкриване на корупционни скандали. Оцеляването на медиите, критикуващи правителството, се дължи до голяма степен на бившия съратник на Орбан Лайош Симичка, който през февруари 2015 г. се разграничи публично от премиера и продължава да финансира медийна империя, създадена първоначално за подкрепа на Фидес. Правителството и неговите бизнес съюзници вече са се наточили на две медии – най-големият търговски канал RTL Klub и водещият политически информационен сайт Index.hu. И двете критикуват правителството.

България

През изминалите години свободата на медиите в България се влошава с тревожни темпове. Според световния индекс за свободата на медиите на Репортери без граници, България се е смъкнала със 75 позиции през последните 12 години – от 36-та през 2006 г. до 111-то през 2018 г. Налице е нарастващ политически натиск и нарастващ брой физически заплахи срещу разследващи журналисти, издатели и независими медии. Основният инструмент за упражняване на натиск е концентрацията на собственост върху медиите, икономическите зависимости и други форми на политически контрол върху по-голямата част от медийното пространство и монопол върху каналите за разпространение на медийно съдържание. Моделът включва също така силно влияние върху правителството, прокуратурата и съдебната власт, както и контрол над повечето независими регулатори. Всичко това представлява огромен политически и бизнес конгломерат, ръководен от действащия политик, бивш магистрат, бизснесмен и медиен собственик Делян Славчев Пеевски.

От 2009 г., с кратки прекъсвания, България е управлявана от ГЕРБ и техния лидер и премиер с три мандата – Бойко Борисов, който се радва на комфорт от страна на контролираните от Пеевски медии. Премиерът Борисов не само постоянно отказва да признае, че съществува заплаха за свободата на медиите, но играе ключова роля за увеличаване на достъпа на г-н Пеевски до публични ресурси, като същевременно му предоставя допълнителни институционални инструменти за репресия, включително законодателни решения, използвани срещу независимите медии.

Малта

2017-та бе белязана от бомбения атентат срещу Дафне Каруана Галиция, разследваща журналистка, която бе разкрила “мръсните тайни” на местната политика и косвено предизвика предсрочни общи избори през юни 2017 г. Години наред тя е била под нарастващ натиск заради популярността на нейния блог и работата ѝ по разплитане на местните връзки от т.нар. Досиета Панама и т.н. Към момента на убийството ѝ срещу нея вече са били заведени 42 граждански иска и пет наказателни дела за клевета. Тя също бе постоянен обект на заплахи и други форми на тормоз. Съдебният тормоз имаше за цел да я отстрани от обществения живот. Нейният случай беше класически пример за съдебни дела, в които влиятелни ищци се опитват да използват страха от огромни разходи за правна защита, за да затворят устата на критиците си. Под заплаха от страна на известни личности или бизнес групи, независимите медии са принуждавани да отстъпят и да премахнат публикации от своите сайтове.

Словакия

Убийството на разследващия репортер Ян Куцяк през февруари 2018 г. предизвика безпрецедентен политически трус в Словакия и стресна международната общност. Куцяк провеждаше разследване за уебсайта Aktuality.sk относно предполагаеми връзки между италианската мафия и Smer-SD (ляво-популистката партия, която оглавява управляващата коалиция) и предполагаемото присвояване на средства от ЕС. В недовършена статия, публикувана след смъртта му, той обвинява премиера Роберт Фицо в пряко участие.

Министрите на културата и вътрешните работи бяха принудени да подадат оставка и след големи улични протести, самият Фицо трябваше да последва примера им. Подобно на други словашки политици, Фицо бе подложен на засилени атаки в медиите. През ноември 2016 г. той описва журналистите като “мръсни антисловашки проститутки” и ги обвинява, че се опитват да възпрепятстват европейското председателство на Словакия. Така той реагира в отговор на въпрос за предполагаеми нередности в обществените поръчки, свързани с председателството. При липсата на силни институции, които биха могли да ги защитят, журналистите в Словакия все повече са изложени на всякакъв вид тормоз, сплашване и оскърбления.

Убийството на Куцяк възобнови въпросите за необяснимото изчезване на двама журналисти, единият през 2008 г., а другият през 2015 г. и отново постави въпроса за безопасността на журналистите. През последните години словашки медии, които преди това бяха собственост на водещи международни медийни компании, бяха придобити от местни олигарси, чиито основни бизнес интереси са извън журналистиката. В момента е запллашен общественият радио и телевизионен оператор RTVS, който през последните години стана символ на журналистически интегритет.

През август 2017 г. неговият генерален директор закри единствената разследваща телевизионна програма в страната, след излъчването на критичен репортаж за по-малката партия в управляващата коалиция. Правото на отговор на критично медийното отразяване, което политиците получиха от медийния закон от 2007 г., бе ограничено в изменение от 2011 г., но клеветата все още се наказва със затвор до 8 години затвор, съгласно разпоредба на Наказателния кодекс, която политиците продължават да използват за подаване на жалби срещу индивидуални журналисти и медии.

Чехия

Трудно е да си представим президент да извади огнестрелно оръжие пред журналисти, но това направи президентът на Чешката република Милош Земан на пресконференция през октомври 2017 г., размахвайки «Калашников» с надпис “за журналисти”. Преизбран през януари 2018 г., Земан има слабост към този вид провокации и многократно е описвал журналистите като “оборска тор” и “хиени”. Президентът и няколко други политически лидери наскоро засилиха вербалните си атаки срещу независимостта на обществените медии, особено на Чешката телевизия. Също така има няколко нови законопроекти, които биха увеличили обхвата на наказателните санкции за клевета, особено клеветата срещу президента. Нивото на концентрация на собственост върху медиите стана критично, тъй като новите олигарси започнаха да използват своето богатство през 2008 г., за да купуват вестници и да засилят влиянието си. Един от тези олигарси, премиерът Андрей Бабиш, притежава един от най-влиятелните ежедневници в Чехия.

Препоръки за провеждане на бъдещи политики:

1. Журналистите, издателите, НПО и други ключови заинтересовани страни трябва да обединят усилията си за подобряване на ефективността при използването на механизми за правна защита в Съда на Европейския съюз и Европейския съд по правата на човека. Една практическа идея би могла да бъде създаването на експертно юридическо лице “Фонд за защита на свободата на медиите”, който да подпомага гражданите, независимите журналисти, издателите и медийните компании при прилагането на международните закони срещу злоупотребата с власт на местните правителства. Такъв фонд би могъл също да инициира и подкрепи независими международни разследвания на случаи на медиен натиск от високопоставени личности в държавите-членки на ЕС;

2. Европейската комисия следва да разшири новопредложената разпоредба, като обвърже отпускането на средства от ЕС не само с правовата държава и върховенството на закона, но и със свободата на медиите в държавите-членки и кандидатите. Освен върховенството на закона, комисията следва също изрично да следи за спазването на местното и европейското законодателство за нарушаване на правата на човека, свободата на изразяване, гражданското общество и функционирането на демокрацията. В страни като България, Унгария и Полша репресиите срещу свободата на медиите се правят през повечето време с правни институционални инструменти, създадени от извънредно законодателство на национално ниво.

На 3 май 2018 г. Европейският парламент гласува резолюция, споед която Комисията трябва да работи за създаването на механизъм на ЕС за демокрация, върховенство на закона и основните права, придружен от независими механизми за наблюдение, които да оценят състоянието на свободата и плурализма на медиите и всички нарушения, свързани с това.

3. Медийният бизнес модел е в преход. Икономическото оцеляване на медийните компании и независимата журналистика на по-малките пазари е много трудно. Свободните медии обаче са крайъгълният камък на гражданското общество и функционирането на демокрацията. ЕС разглежда свободната преса и свободата на изразяване като “обществено благо” и трябва да разработи обществени механизми за устойчивото си финансиране, за да гарантира своята независимост. Това би могло да включва финансиране от ЕС, насочено пряко към журналисти и медийни компании в държавите-членки, като се избягва посредничеството на местното правителство;

4. Насърчаване на иновациите и подпомагане на дигиталната трансформация на медиите в ЕС. ЕС трябва да разработи по-разнообразен инструментариум, който да помогне за преодоляване на технологичните различия между европейските медийни компании и глобалните платформи. Също така, да се насърчи предприемачеството в областта на медиите и новосъздадените компании в търсене на нови, устойчиви бизнес модели и иновативни начини за осигуряване на приходи;

5. Заинтересованите страни от ЕС и държавите членкитрябва да подкрепят категорично правото на издателите във връзка с прегледа на Директивата за авторското право, за да могат издателите да прилагат по-добре своите вече съществуващи права и да спомогнат за преговорите с основните платформи. В допълнение, трябва да се оеднаквят ставките на ДДС за печатни и онлайн издания. Освен това трябва да се гарантира, че дигиталната сфера е място, където всички участници могат да успяват, като осигурят равнопоставеност и повече баланс с технологичните гиганти и платформи. Подкрепата на професионалните медии е от съществено значение за демократичния живот и просветеността на европейските граждани и единственото дългосрочно решение за противодействие на дезинформацията.

Roku Displays FBI Anti-Piracy Warning to Legitimate YouTube & Netflix Users

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/roku-displays-fbi-anti-piracy-warning-to-legitimate-youtube-netflix-users-180516/

In 2018, dealing with copyright infringement claims is a daily issue for many content platforms. The law in many regions demands swift attention and in order to appease copyright holders, most platforms are happy to oblige.

While it’s not unusual for ‘pirate’ content and services to suddenly disappear in response to a DMCA or similar notice, the same is rarely true for entire legitimate services.

But that’s what appeared to happen on the Roku platform during the night, when YouTube, Netflix and other channels disappeared only to be replaced with an ominous anti-piracy warning.

As the embedded tweet shows, the message caused confusion among Roku users who were only using their devices to access legal content. Messages replacing Netflix and YouTube seemed to have caused the greatest number of complaints but many other services were affected.

FoxSportsGo, FandangoNow, and India-focused YuppTV and Hotstar were also blacked out. As were the yoga and transformational videos specialists over at Gaia, the horror buffs at ChillerFlix, and UK TV service BritBox.

But while users scratched their heads, with some misguidedly blaming Roku for not being diligent enough against piracy, Roku took to Twitter to reveal that rather than anti-piracy complaints against the channels in question, a technical hitch was to blame.

However, a subsequent statement to CNET suggested that while blacking out Netflix and YouTube might have been accidental, Roku appears to have been taking anti-piracy action against another channel or channels at the time, with the measures inadvertently spilling over to innocent parties.

“We use that warning when we detect content that has violated copyright,” Roku said in a statement.

“Some channels in our Channel Store displayed that message and became inaccessible after Roku implemented a targeted anti-piracy measure on the platform.”

The precise nature of the action taken by Roku is unknown but it’s clear that copyright infringement is currently a hot topic for the platform.

Roku is currently fighting legal action in Mexico which ordered its products off the shelves following complaints that its platform is used by pirates. That led to an FBI warning being shown for what was believed to be the first time against the XTV and other channels last year.

This March, Roku took action against the popular USTVNow channel following what was described as a “third party” copyright infringement complaint. Just a couple of weeks later, Roku followed up by removing the controversial cCloud channel.

With Roku currently fighting to have sales reinstated in Mexico against a backdrop of claims that up to 40% of its users are pirates, it’s unlikely that Roku is suddenly going to go soft on piracy, so more channel outages can be expected in the future.

In the meantime, the scary FBI warnings of last evening are beginning to fade away (for legitimate channels at least) after the company issued advice on how to fix the problem.

“The recent outage which affected some channels has been resolved. Go to Settings > System > System update > Check now for a software update. Some channels may require you to log in again. Thank you for your patience,” the company wrote in an update.

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

Metallica Was Right About Suing Napster, Guitarist Says

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/metallica-was-right-about-suing-napster-guitarist-says-180515/

When Metallica sued the revolutionary file-sharing platform Napster in 2000, the band was both criticized and praised.

Music industry insiders and several other musicians backed the move, but the public wasn’t happy to see their new sharing tool being destroyed.

What followed was a heated legal battle from which Metallica emerged as the clear winner, but not without scars. The defense painted the band as greedy rock stars and Luddites who had no clue about technology, as drummer Lars Ulrich later recalled.

Today, nearly two decades later, the world has moved on. Napster is long dead and gone, but online piracy is still very much alive. Perhaps even more so than in the early 2000s.

In an interview with Swedish TV show Nyhetsmorgon picked up by Rolling Stone, Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett now says that going after Napster was the right thing to do. While the lawsuit also brought in negative elements, the Napster threat was real.

“The whole Napster thing definitely didn’t do us any favors whatsoever,” Hammett says. “But you know what? We’re still in the right on that. We’re still right about Napster. No matter who’s out there saying, ‘Metallica was wrong’.

“All you have to do is look at the state of the music industry, and that kind of explains the whole situation right there,” Hammett adds.

Metallica’s guitarists appear to suggest that the music industry is still collapsing due to the burden of piracy. Interestingly, however, the music industry’s own figures are rather uplifting.

In 2017, the recorded music market grew by 8.1% worldwide. This was the third growth year in a row, and the highest growth rate since the music industry body IFPI started tracking these numbers in 1997.

This doesn’t mean that piracy has no effect at all, of course. Still, there is still plenty of room to grow, despite this disappearance of the highly profitable CD format. Times have changed, but people are still willing to pay for music.

It’s worth noting that a lot of growth is coming from streaming services, which are good for more than half of all recorded music revenues in the US today. This also happens to be the platform that Metallica has ignored for years.

It took until the release of the 2016 album “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” until the band embraced streaming more broadly.

Metallica now wants to make sure that their work is accessible legally, even though the outlet is not ideal in their view. This, ironically, means that their work is available on Napster again, as it’s a legal streaming service now.

“We want to be accessible, and you need to have a mixture that you’re accessible on all the modern fronts,” Hammett says in the interview. And indeed, that’s a wise strategy if you want to prevent people from pirating.

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

Pirate IPTV Service Gave Customer Details to Premier League, But What’s the Risk?

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-iptv-service-gave-customer-details-to-premier-league-but-whats-the-risk-180515/

In a report last weekend, we documented what appear to be the final days of pirate IPTV provider Ace Hosting.

From information provided by several sources including official liquidation documents, it became clear that a previously successful and profitable Ace had succumbed to pressure from the Premier League, which accused the service of copyright infringement.

The company had considerable funds in the bank – £255,472.00 to be exact – but it also had debts of £717,278.84, including £260,000 owed to HMRC and £100,000 to the Premier League as part of a settlement agreement.

Information received by TF late Sunday suggested that £100K was the tip of the iceberg as far as the Premier League was concerned and in a statement yesterday, the football outfit confirmed that was the case.

“A renowned pirate of Premier League content to consumers has been forced to liquidate after agreeing to pay £600,000 for breaching the League’s copyright,” the Premier League announced.

“Ace IPTV, run by Craig Driscoll and Ian Isaac, was selling subscriptions to illegal Premier League streams directly to consumers which allowed viewing on a range of devices, including notorious Kodi-type boxes, as well as to smaller resellers in the UK and abroad.”

Sources familiar with the case suggest that while Ace Hosting Limited didn’t have the funds to pay the Premier League the full £600K, Ace’s operators agreed to pay (and have already paid, to some extent at least) what were essentially their own funds to cover amounts above the final £100K, which is due to be paid next year.

But that’s not the only thing that’s been handed over to the Premier League.

“Ace voluntarily disclosed the personal details of their customers, which the League will now review in compliance with data protection legislation. Further investigations will be conducted, and action taken where appropriate,” the Premier League added.

So, the big question now is how exposed Ace’s former subscribers are.

The truth is that only the Premier League knows for sure but TF has been able to obtain information from several sources which indicate that former subscribers probably aren’t the Premier League’s key interest and even if they were, information obtained on them would be of limited use.

According to a source with knowledge of how a system like Ace’s works, there is a separation of data which appears to help (at least to some degree) with the subscriber’s privacy.

“The system used to manage accounts and take payment is actually completely separate from the software used to manage streams and the lines themselves. They are never usually even on the same server so are two very different databases,” he told TF.

“So at best the only information that has voluntarily been provided to the [Premier League], is just your email, name and address (assuming you even used real details) and what hosting package or credits you bought.”

While this information is bad enough, the action against Ace is targeted, in that it focuses on the Premier League’s content and how Ace (and therefore its users) infringed on the football outfit’s copyrights. So, proving that subscribers actually watched any Premier League content would be an ideal position but it’s not straightforward, despite the potential for detailed logging.

“The management system contains no history of what you watched, when you watched it, when you signed in and so on. That is all contained in a different database on a different server.

“Because every connection is recorded [on the second server], it can create some two million entries a day and as such most providers either turn off this feature or delete the logs daily as having so many entries slows down the system down used for actual streams,” he explains.

Our source says that this data would likely to have been the first to be deleted and is probably “long gone” by now. However, even if the Premier League had obtained it, it’s unlikely they would be able to do much with it due to data protection laws.

“The information was passed to the [Premier League] voluntarily by ACE which means this information has been given from one entity to another without the end users’ consent, not part of the [creditors’ voluntary liquidation] and without a court order to support it. Data Protection right now is taken very seriously in the EU,” he notes.

At this point, it’s probably worth noting that while the word “voluntarily” has been used several times to explain the manner in which Ace handed over its subscribers’ details to the Premier League, the same word can be used to describe the manner in which the £600K settlement amount will be paid.

No one forces someone to pay or hand something over, that’s what the courts are for, and the aim here was to avoid that eventuality.

Other pieces of information culled from various sources suggest that PayPal payment information, limited to amounts only, was also handed over to the Premier League. And, perhaps most importantly (and perhaps predictably) as far as former subscribers are concerned, the football group was more interested in Ace’s upwards supplier chain (the ‘wholesale’ stream suppliers used, for example) than those buying the service.

Finally, while the Premier League is now seeking to send a message to customers that these services are risky to use, it’s difficult to argue with the assertion that it’s unsafe to hand over personal details to an illegal service.

“Ace IPTV’s collapse also highlighted the risk consumers take with their personal data when they sign up to illegal streaming services,” Premier League notes.

TF spoke with three IPTV providers who all confirmed that they don’t care what names and addresses people use to sign up with and that no checks are carried out to make sure they’re correct. However, one concedes that in order to run as a business, this information has to be requested and once a customer types it in, it’s possible that it could be handed over as part of a settlement.

“I’m not going to tell people to put in dummy details, how can I? It’s up to people to use their common sense. If they’re still worried they should give Sky their money because if our backs are against the wall, what do you think is going to happen?” he concludes.

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

Австрия: регулаторът не разрешава собствен канал на ORF в YouTube и нова филмова услуга на ORF

Post Syndicated from nellyo original https://nellyo.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/orf-3/

Информация от Австрия за начина, по който обществената телевизия е под надзора на местния регулатор за изпълнение на обществената мисия.

Регулаторът не е одобрил две предложения на ORF –  за собствен канал в YouTube и за нова услуга – предавания/филми от програмите на ORF срещу абонамент.

Видимо в Австрия  регулаторът има роля ex ante в  по-широк обхват – което е в защита на аудиторията.   БНТ е в YouYube  – или поне в интернет се вижда “Официален канал на БНТ” в YouTube. Но това не е единствената илюстрация за ограничената роля на българския регулатор – не е ясно например какво става с политематичната БНТ2, нито може да се прочете мониторингов доклад как БНТ изпълнява лицензиите си.

*

Eто какво става в Австрия:

Според прессъобщение от днес, австрийският медиен орган KommAustria е отхвърлил плановете на обществения телевизионен оператор ORF да създаде собствен канал в YouTube .

ORF кандидатства за разрешение да добави канал в YouTube към своите медийни дейности. Този канал трябваше да предложи главно предавания на ORF, които поради правни ограничения понастоящем не могат да бъдат предоставени за повече от 7 дни чрез catch-up услугата ORF TVthek.

KommAustria   твърди, че изключителното сътрудничество между ORF и YouTube би дискриминирало други, сравними компании.

Регулаторът също така  взема предвид съществуващите услуги, когато одобрява нови услуги на ORF. KommAustria предполага намаляване на интереса към ORF TVthek, ако се създаде  канал на ORF в YouTube. Освен това регулаторът твърди, че е възможно да се удължи общият период за предоставяне на програми на ORF TVthek (повече от 7 дни) чрез преразглеждане на правната рамка.

Не е одобрено и искането на ORF да превърне Flimmit в австрийска услуга тип Netflix, предлагайки предавания, които вече са били излъчвани по телевизионните канали или са предназначени за излъчване. ORF притежава Filmmit чрез дъщерно дружество.

Според KommAustria   по принцип не е забранено на ORF да предлага абонаментна услуга. В конкретния случай обаче нито икономически, нито правно искането не е обосновано, напр. остава “напълно неясно” колко голям ще бъде делът от таксата за тази услуга – доколкото разбирам, не е изяснена  пропорцията между абонамент и обществено финансиране.

ORF може да обжалва.

 

Съвместима ли е таксата за радио и телевизия с правото на ЕС

Post Syndicated from nellyo original https://nellyo.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/fee_psm/

През март  2018 г. Oberverwaltungsgericht Rheinland-Pfalz (Върховен административен съд на Рейнланд-Пфалц – OVG Rheinland-Pfalz) решава, че таксата за радио и телевизия в Германия е съвместима с правото на ЕС (дело № 7 A 11938/17) . Съдът отхвърля тезата, че таксата е несъвместима с правото на ЕС, тъй като предоставя на обществените радио- и телевизионни доставчици на медийни услуги несправедливо предимство пред техните частни конкуренти.

Съдът посочва, че през 2016 г. Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Федерален административен съд – BVerwG) вече е установил съответствието на таксата  – в новата й форма, въведена през 2013 г. – с правото на ЕС (решение от 18 март 2016 г., BVerwG 6 С 6.15). Съгласно това решение въвеждането на таксата  не изисква съгласието на Европейската комисия и е с съвместимо с Директивата за аудиовизуалните медийни услуги.  Обществените и частните радио- и телевизионни оператори  неизбежно ще бъдат финансирани по различни начини. Това обаче не означава непременно, че обществените радио- и телевизионни оператори са получили несправедливо предимство, тъй като за разлика от частните радио- и телевизионни оператори те са подложени на много по-ограничителни правила за рекламиране и следователно са финансово зависими от таксата.

Междувременно Landgericht Tübingen (Районен съд в Тюбинген, решение от 3 август 2017 г., дело № 5 T 246/17 и др.) е постановил, че таксата  нарушава правото на ЕС  – и в резултат има подадено преюдициално запитване до Съда на ЕС –  дело  С-492/17.

 

Преюдициални въпроси:

1)

Несъвместим ли е с правото на Съюза националният Gesetz vom 18.10.2011 zur Geltung des Rundfunkbeitragsstaatsvertrags (RdFunkBeitrStVtrBW) vom 17 Dezember 2010 (Закон от 18 октомври 2011 г. за прилагане на Държавния договор за вноската за радио- и телевизионно разпространение от 17 декември 2010 г., наричан по-нататък „RdFunkBeitrStVtrBW“) на провинция Баден-Вюртемберг, последно изменен с член 4 от Neunzehnter Rundfunkänderungsstaatsvertrag (Деветнадесети държавен договор за изменение на Държавните договори за радио- и телевизионно разпространение) от 3 декември 2015 г. (Закон от 23 февруари 2016 г., GBl. стр. 126, 129), поради това че вноската, събирана от 1 януари 2013 г. съгласно този закон безусловно по принцип от всяко живеещо в германската федерална провинция Баден-Вюртемберг пълнолетно лице в полза на радио- и телевизионните оператори SWR и ZDF, представлява помощ, която противоречи на правото на Съюза и предоставя по-благоприятно третиране само в полза на тези обществени радио- и телевизионни оператори спрямо частни радио- и телевизионни оператори? Трябва ли членове 107 и 108 ДФЕС да се тълкуват в смисъл, че за Закона за вноската за радио- и телевизионно разпространение е трябвало да се получи разрешението на Комисията и поради липсата на разрешение той е невалиден?

2)

Трябва ли член 107 ДФЕС, съответно член 108 ДФЕС да се тълкува в смисъл, че в обхвата му попада правна уредба, установена в националния закон „RdFunkBeitrStVtrBW“, която предвижда, че по принцип от всяко живеещо в Баден-Вюртемберг пълнолетно лице безусловно се събира вноска в полза само на държавни/обществени радио- и телевизионни оператори, поради това че тази вноска съдържа противоречаща на правото на Съюза и предоставяща по-благоприятно третиране помощ с цел изключването по технически причини на оператори от държави от Европейския съюз, доколкото вноските са предназначени да се използват за създаването на конкурентен начин на пренос (монопол върху DVB-T2), без да е предвидено той да се използва от чуждестранни оператори? Трябва ли член 107 ДФЕС, съответно член 108 ДФЕС да се тълкува в смисъл, че в обхвата му попадат не само преки субсидии, но и други релевантни от икономическа гледна точка привилегии (право на издаване на изпълнителен лист, правомощия за предприемане на действия както в качеството на стопанско предприятие, така и в качеството на орган, поставяне в по-благоприятно положение при изчисляването на дълговете)?

3)

Съвместимо ли е с принципа на равно третиране и със забраната за предоставящи привилегии помощи положение, при което на основание национален закон на провинция Баден-Вюртемберг германски телевизионен оператор, който се урежда от нормите на публичното право и има предоставени правомощия на орган, но същевременно се конкурира с частни радио- и телевизионни оператори на рекламния пазар, е привилегирован в сравнение с тези оператори поради това че не трябва като частните конкуренти да иска по общия съдебен ред да му бъде издаден изпълнителен лист за вземанията му срещу зрителите, преди да може да пристъпи към принудително изпълнение, а самият той има право, без участието на съд, да издаде титул, който същевременно му дава право на принудително изпълнение?

4)

Съвместимо ли е с член 10 от ЕКПЧ /член [11] от Хартата на основните права (свобода на информация) положение, при което държава членка предвижда в национален закон на провинция Баден-Вюртемберг, че телевизионен оператор, на който са предоставени правомощия на орган, има право да изисква плащането на вноска от всяко живеещо в зоната на радио- и телевизионното излъчване пълнолетно лице за целите на финансирането на точно този оператор, при неплащането на която е предвидена глоба, независимо дали това лице въобще разполага с приемник или само използва услугите на други, а именно чуждестранни или други, частни оператори?

5)

Съвместим ли е националният закон „RdFunkBeitrStVtrBW“, и по-специално членове 2 и 3, с установените в правото на Съюза принципи на равно третиране и на недопускане на дискриминация в положение, при което вноската, която следва да се плаща безусловно от всеки жител за целите на финансирането на обществен телевизионен оператор, налага на всяко лице, което само отглежда детето си, тежест в размер, многократно по-висок от сумата, дължима от лице, което живее в общо жилище с други хора? Следва ли Директива 2004/113/ЕО (1) да се тълкува в смисъл, че спорната вноска също попада в обхвата ѝ и че e достатъчно да е налице косвено поставяне в по-неблагоприятно положение, след като с оглед на реалните дадености 90 % от жените понасят по-голяма тежест?

6)

Съвместим ли националният закон „RdFunkBeitrStVtrBW“, и по-специално членове 2 и 3, с установените в правото на Съюза принципи на равно третиране и на недопускане на дискриминация в положение, при което вноската, която следва да се плаща безусловно от всеки жител за целите на финансирането на обществен телевизионен оператор, за нуждаещите се от второ жилище лица по свързана с работата причина е двойно по-голяма, отколкото за други работници?

7)

Съвместим ли е националният закон „RdFunkBeitrStVtrBW“, и по-специално членове 2 и 3, с установените в правото на Съюза принципи на равно третиране и на недопускане на дискриминация и със свободата на установяване, ако вноската, която следва да се плаща безусловно от всеки жител за целите на финансирането на обществен телевизионен оператор, е уредена по такъв начин, че при еднаква възможност за приемане на радио- и телевизионно разпространение непосредствено преди границата със съседна държава от ЕС германски гражданин дължи вноската само поради мястото си на пребиваване, докато германският гражданин, живущ непосредствено от другата страна на границата, не дължи вноската, също както гражданинът на друга държава — членка на ЕС, който по свързани с работата причини трябва да се установи непосредствено от другата страна на вътрешна граница на ЕС, понася тежестта на вноската, но не и гражданинът на ЕС, живущ непосредствено преди границата, дори и никой от двамата да не се интересува от приемането на излъчванията на германския оператор?

Коментар по въпрос №4:  допуснат е въпрос за съвместимост с чл.10 от Конвенцията за правата на човека. Съдът за правата на човека вече се е произнасял, има съображения за недопустимост по сходно дело отпреди десетина години –  ето тук съм писала – вж Faccio v Italy – но нека да се произнесе и Съдът на ЕС.

И – отново за характера на таксата: ако  плащат и хората без приемник, това очевидно не е такса в смисъл цена за услуга, а данъчно вземане, по мое мнение това е тенденцията.

Чакаме решението на Съда на ЕС. Нека да се развива и множи практиката.

Pirate IPTV Service Goes Bust After Premier League Deal, Exposing Users

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-iptv-service-goes-bust-after-premier-league-deal-exposing-users-180913/

For those out of the loop, unauthorized IPTV services offering many thousands of unlicensed channels have been gaining in popularity in recent years. They’re relatively cheap, fairly reliable, and offer acceptable levels of service.

They are, however, a huge thorn in the side of rightsholders who are desperate to bring them to their knees. One such organization is the UK’s Premier League, which has been disrupting IPTV services over the past year, hoping they’ll shut down.

Most have simply ridden the wave of blocks but one provider, Ace Hosting in the UK, showed signs of stress last year, revealing that it would no longer sell new subscriptions. There was little doubt in most people’s minds that the Premier League had gotten uncomfortably close to the IPTV provider.

Now, many months later, the amazing story can be told. It’s both incredible and shocking and will leave many shaking their heads in disbelief. First up, some background.

Doing things ‘properly’ – incorporation of a pirate service…

Considering how most operators of questionable services like to stay in the shade, it may come as a surprise to learn that Ace Hosting Limited is a proper company. Incorporated and registered at Companies House on January 3, 2017, Ace has two registered directors – family team Ian and Judith Isaac.

In common with several other IPTV operators in the UK who are also officially registered with the authorities, Ace Hosting has never filed any meaningful accounts. There’s a theory that the corporate structure is basically one of convenience, one that allows for the handling of large volumes of cash while limiting liability. The downside, of course, is that people are often more easily identified, in part due to the comprehensive paper trail.

Thanks to what can only be described as a slow-motion train wreck, the Ace Hosting debacle is revealing a bewildering set of circumstances. Last December, when Ace said it would stop signing up new members due to legal pressure, a serious copyright threat had already been filed against it.

Premier League v Ace Hosting

Documents seen by TorrentFreak reveal that the Premier League sent legal threats to Ace Hosting on December 15, 2017, just days before the subscription closure announcement. Somewhat surprisingly, Ace apparently felt it could pay the Premier League a damages amount and keep on trading.

But early March 2018, with the Premier League threatening Ace with all kinds of bad things, the company made a strange announcement.

“The ISPs in the UK and across Europe have recently become much more aggressive in blocking our service while football games are in progress,” Ace said in a statement.

“In order to get ourselves off of the ISP blacklist we are going to black out the EPL games for all users (including VPN users) starting on Monday. We believe that this will enable us to rebuild the bypass process and successfully provide you with all EPL games.”

It seems doubtful that Ace really intended to thumb its nose at the Premier League but it had continued to sell subscriptions since receiving threats in December, so all things seemed possible. But on March 24 that all changed, when Ace effectively announced its closure.

Premier League 1, Ace Hosting 0

“It is with sorrow that we announce that we are no longer accepting renewals, upgrades to existing subscriptions or the purchase of new credits. We plan to support existing subscriptions until they expire,” the team wrote.

“EPL games including highlights continue to be blocked and are not expected to be reinstated before the end of the season.”

Indeed, just days later the Premier League demanded a six-figure settlement sum from Ace Hosting, presumably to make a lawsuit disappear. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“When the proposed damages amount was received it was clear that the Company would not be able to cover the cost and that there was a very high probability that even with a negotiated settlement that the Company was insolvent,” documents relating to Ace’s liquidation read.

At this point, Ace says it immediately ceased trading but while torrent sites usually shut down and disappear into the night, Ace’s demise is now a matter of record.

Creditors – the good, the bad, and the ugly

On April 11, 2018, Ace’s directors contacted business recovery and insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP to obtain advice on the company’s financial position. Begbies Traynor was instructed by Ace on April 23 and on May 8, Ace Hosting director Ian Isaac determined that his company could not pay its debts.

First the good news. According to an official report, Ace Hosting has considerable cash in the bank – £255,472.00 to be exact. Now the bad news – Ace has debts of £717,278.84. – the details of which are intriguing to say the least.

First up, Ace has ‘trade creditors’ to whom it owes £104,356. The vast majority of this sum is a settlement Ace agreed to pay to the Premier League.

“The directors entered into a settlement agreement with the Football Association Premier League Limited prior to placing the Company into liquidation as a result of a purported copyright infringement. However, there is a residual claim from the Football Association Premier League Limited which is included within trade creditors totaling £100,000,” Ace’s statement of affairs reads.

Bizarrely (given the nature of the business, at least) Ace also owes £260,000 to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in unpaid VAT and corporation tax, which is effectively the government’s cut of the pirate IPTV business’s labors.

Former Ace Hosting subscriber? Your cash is as good as gone

Finally – and this is where things get a bit sweaty for Joe Public – there are 15,768 “consumer creditors”, split between ‘retail’ and ‘business’ customers of the service. Together they are owed a staggering £353,000.

Although the documentation isn’t explicit, retail customers appear to be people who have purchased an Ace IPTV subscription that still had time to run when the service closed down. Business customers seem likely to be resellers of the service, who purchased ‘credits’ and didn’t get time to sell them before Ace disappeared.

The poison chalice here is that those who are owed money by Ace can actually apply to get some of it back, but that could be extremely risky.

“Creditor claims have not yet been adjudicated but we estimate that the majority of customers who paid for subscription services will receive less than £3 if there is a distribution to unsecured creditors. Furthermore, customer details will be passed to the relevant authorities if there is any suggestion of unlawful conduct,” documentation reads.

We spoke with a former Ace customer who had this to say about the situation.

“It was generally a good service notwithstanding their half-arsed attempts to evade the EPL block. At its heart there were people who seemed to know how to operate a decent service, although the customer-facing side of things was not the greatest,” he said.

“And no, I won’t be claiming a refund. I went into it with my eyes fully open so I don’t hold anyone responsible, except myself. In any case, anyone who wants a refund has to complete a claim form and provide proof of ID (LOL).”

The bad news for former subscribers continues…potentially

While it’s likely that most people will forgo their £3, the bad news isn’t over for subscribers. Begbies Traynor is warning that the liquidators will decide whether to hand over subscribers’ personal details to the Premier League and/or the authorities.

In any event, sometime in the next couple of weeks the names and addresses of all subscribers will be made “available for inspection” at an address in Wiltshire for two days, meaning that any interested parties could potentially gain access to sensitive information.

The bottom line is that Ace Hosting is in the red to the tune of £461,907 and will eventually disappear into the bowels of history. Whether its operators will have to answer for their conduct will remain to be seen but it seems unimaginable at this stage that things will end well.

Subscribers probably won’t get sucked in but in a story as bizarre as this one, anything could yet happen.

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

Court Orders Pirate IPTV Linker to Shut Down or Face Penalties Up to €1.25m

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-pirate-iptv-linker-to-shut-down-or-face-penalties-up-to-e1-25m-180911/

There are few things guaranteed in life. Death, taxes, and lawsuits filed regularly by Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN.

One of its most recent targets was Netherlands-based company Leaper Beheer BV, which also traded under the names Flickstore, Dump Die Deal and Live TV Store. BREIN filed a complaint at the Limburg District Court in Maastricht, claiming that Leaper provides access to unlicensed live TV streams and on-demand movies.

The anti-piracy outfit claimed that around 4,000 live channels were on offer, including Fox Sports, movie channels, commercial and public channels. These could be accessed after the customer made a payment which granted access to a unique activation code which could be entered into a set-top box.

BREIN told the court that the code returned an .M3U playlist, which was effectively a hyperlink to IPTV channels and more than 1,000 movies being made available without permission from their respective copyright holders. As such, this amounted to a communication to the public in contravention of the EU Copyright Directive, BREIN argued.

In its defense, Leaper said that it effectively provided a convenient link-shortening service for content that could already be found online in other ways. The company argued that it is not a distributor of content itself and did not make available anything that wasn’t already public. The company added that it was completely down to the consumer whether illegal content was viewed or not.

The key question for the Court was whether Leaper did indeed make a new “communication to the public” under the EU Copyright Directive, a standard the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) says should be interpreted in a manner that provides a high level of protection for rightsholders.

The Court took a three-point approach in arriving at its decision.

  • Did Leaper act in a deliberate manner when providing access to copyright content, especially when its intervention provided access to consumers who would not ordinarily have access to that content?
  • Did Leaper communicate the works via a new method to a new audience?
  • Did Leaper have a profit motive when it communicated works to the public?
  • The Court found that Leaper did communicate works to the public and intervened “with full knowledge of the consequences of its conduct” when it gave its customers access to protected works.

    “Access to [the content] in a different way would be difficult for those customers, if Leaper were not to provide its services in question,” the Court’s decision reads.

    “Leaper reaches an indeterminate number of potential recipients who can take cognizance of the protected works and form a new audience. The purchasers who register with Leaper are to be regarded as recipients who were not taken into account by the rightful claimants when they gave permission for the original communication of their work to the public.”

    With that, the Court ordered Leaper to cease-and-desist facilitating access to unlicensed streams within 48 hours of the judgment, with non-compliance penalties of 5,000 euros per IPTV subscription sold, link offered, or days exceeded, to a maximum of one million euros.

    But the Court didn’t stop there.

    “Leaper must submit a statement audited by an accountant, supported by (clear, readable copies of) all relevant documents, within 12 days of notification of this judgment of all the relevant (contact) details of the (person or legal persons) with whom the company has had contact regarding the provision of IPTV subscriptions and/or the provision of hyperlinks to sources where films and (live) broadcasts are evidently offered without the permission of the entitled parties,” the Court ruled.

    Failure to comply with this aspect of the ruling will lead to more penalties of 5,000 euros per day up to a maximum of 250,000 euros. Leaper was also ordered to pay BREIN’s costs of 20,700 euros.

    Describing the people behind Leaper as “crooks” who previously sold media boxes with infringing addons (as previously determined to be illegal in the Filmspeler case), BREIN chief Tim Kuik says that a switch of strategy didn’t help them evade the law.

    “[Leaper] sold a link to consumers that gave access to unauthorized content, i.e. pay-TV channels as well as video-on-demand films and series,” BREIN chief Tim Kuik informs TorrentFreak.

    “They did it for profit and should have checked whether the content was authorized. They did not and in fact were aware the content was unauthorized. Which means they are clearly infringing copyright.

    “This is evident from the CJEU case law in GS Media as well as Filmspeler and The Pirate Bay, aka the Dutch trilogy because the three cases came from the Netherlands, but these rulings are applicable throughout the EU.

    “They just keep at it knowing they’re cheating and we’ll take them to the cleaners,” Kuik concludes.

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

    Securing Your Cryptocurrency

    Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backing-up-your-cryptocurrency/

    Securing Your Cryptocurrency

    In our blog post on Tuesday, Cryptocurrency Security Challenges, we wrote about the two primary challenges faced by anyone interested in safely and profitably participating in the cryptocurrency economy: 1) make sure you’re dealing with reputable and ethical companies and services, and, 2) keep your cryptocurrency holdings safe and secure.

    In this post, we’re going to focus on how to make sure you don’t lose any of your cryptocurrency holdings through accident, theft, or carelessness. You do that by backing up the keys needed to sell or trade your currencies.

    $34 Billion in Lost Value

    Of the 16.4 million bitcoins said to be in circulation in the middle of 2017, close to 3.8 million may have been lost because their owners no longer are able to claim their holdings. Based on today’s valuation, that could total as much as $34 billion dollars in lost value. And that’s just bitcoins. There are now over 1,500 different cryptocurrencies, and we don’t know how many of those have been misplaced or lost.



    Now that some cryptocurrencies have reached (at least for now) staggering heights in value, it’s likely that owners will be more careful in keeping track of the keys needed to use their cryptocurrencies. For the ones already lost, however, the owners have been separated from their currencies just as surely as if they had thrown Benjamin Franklins and Grover Clevelands over the railing of a ship.

    The Basics of Securing Your Cryptocurrencies

    In our previous post, we reviewed how cryptocurrency keys work, and the common ways owners can keep track of them. A cryptocurrency owner needs two keys to use their currencies: a public key that can be shared with others is used to receive currency, and a private key that must be kept secure is used to spend or trade currency.

    Many wallets and applications allow the user to require extra security to access them, such as a password, or iris, face, or thumb print scan. If one of these options is available in your wallets, take advantage of it. Beyond that, it’s essential to back up your wallet, either using the backup feature built into some applications and wallets, or manually backing up the data used by the wallet. When backing up, it’s a good idea to back up the entire wallet, as some wallets require additional private data to operate that might not be apparent.

    No matter which backup method you use, it is important to back up often and have multiple backups, preferable in different locations. As with any valuable data, a 3-2-1 backup strategy is good to follow, which ensures that you’ll have a good backup copy if anything goes wrong with one or more copies of your data.

    One more caveat, don’t reuse passwords. This applies to all of your accounts, but is especially important for something as critical as your finances. Don’t ever use the same password for more than one account. If security is breached on one of your accounts, someone could connect your name or ID with other accounts, and will attempt to use the password there, as well. Consider using a password manager such as LastPass or 1Password, which make creating and using complex and unique passwords easy no matter where you’re trying to sign in.

    Approaches to Backing Up Your Cryptocurrency Keys

    There are numerous ways to be sure your keys are backed up. Let’s take them one by one.

    1. Automatic backups using a backup program

    If you’re using a wallet program on your computer, for example, Bitcoin Core, it will store your keys, along with other information, in a file. For Bitcoin Core, that file is wallet.dat. Other currencies will use the same or a different file name and some give you the option to select a name for the wallet file.

    To back up the wallet.dat or other wallet file, you might need to tell your backup program to explicitly back up that file. Users of Backblaze Backup don’t have to worry about configuring this, since by default, Backblaze Backup will back up all data files. You should determine where your particular cryptocurrency, wallet, or application stores your keys, and make sure the necessary file(s) are backed up if your backup program requires you to select which files are included in the backup.

    Backblaze B2 is an option for those interested in low-cost and high security cloud storage of their cryptocurrency keys. Backblaze B2 supports 2-factor verification for account access, works with a number of apps that support automatic backups with encryption, error-recovery, and versioning, and offers an API and command-line interface (CLI), as well. The first 10GB of storage is free, which could be all one needs to store encrypted cryptocurrency keys.

    2. Backing up by exporting keys to a file

    Apps and wallets will let you export your keys from your app or wallet to a file. Once exported, your keys can be stored on a local drive, USB thumb drive, DAS, NAS, or in the cloud with any cloud storage or sync service you wish. Encrypting the file is strongly encouraged — more on that later. If you use 1Password or LastPass, or other secure notes program, you also could store your keys there.

    3. Backing up by saving a mnemonic recovery seed

    A mnemonic phrase, mnemonic recovery phrase, or mnemonic seed is a list of words that stores all the information needed to recover a cryptocurrency wallet. Many wallets will have the option to generate a mnemonic backup phrase, which can be written down on paper. If the user’s computer no longer works or their hard drive becomes corrupted, they can download the same wallet software again and use the mnemonic recovery phrase to restore their keys.

    The phrase can be used by anyone to recover the keys, so it must be kept safe. Mnemonic phrases are an excellent way of backing up and storing cryptocurrency and so they are used by almost all wallets.

    A mnemonic recovery seed is represented by a group of easy to remember words. For example:

    eye female unfair moon genius pipe nuclear width dizzy forum cricket know expire purse laptop scale identify cube pause crucial day cigar noise receive

    The above words represent the following seed:

    0a5b25e1dab6039d22cd57469744499863962daba9d2844243fec 9c0313c1448d1a0b2cd9e230a78775556f9b514a8be45802c2808e fd449a20234e9262dfa69

    These words have certain properties:

    • The first four letters are enough to unambiguously identify the word.
    • Similar words are avoided (such as: build and built).

    Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, and others use mnemonic seeds that are 12 to 24 words long. Other currencies might use different length seeds.

    4. Physical backups — Paper, Metal

    Some cryptocurrency holders believe that their backup, or even all their cryptocurrency account information, should be stored entirely separately from the internet to avoid any risk of their information being compromised through hacks, exploits, or leaks. This type of storage is called “cold storage.” One method of cold storage involves printing out the keys to a piece of paper and then erasing any record of the keys from all computer systems. The keys can be entered into a program from the paper when needed, or scanned from a QR code printed on the paper.

    Printed public and private keys

    Printed public and private keys

    Some who go to extremes suggest separating the mnemonic needed to access an account into individual pieces of paper and storing those pieces in different locations in the home or office, or even different geographical locations. Some say this is a bad idea since it could be possible to reconstruct the mnemonic from one or more pieces. How diligent you wish to be in protecting these codes is up to you.

    Mnemonic recovery phrase booklet

    Mnemonic recovery phrase booklet

    There’s another option that could make you the envy of your friends. That’s the CryptoSteel wallet, which is a stainless steel metal case that comes with more than 250 stainless steel letter tiles engraved on each side. Codes and passwords are assembled manually from the supplied part-randomized set of tiles. Users are able to store up to 96 characters worth of confidential information. Cryptosteel claims to be fireproof, waterproof, and shock-proof.

    image of a Cryptosteel cold storage device

    Cryptosteel cold wallet

    Of course, if you leave your Cryptosteel wallet in the pocket of a pair of ripped jeans that gets thrown out by the housekeeper, as happened to the character Russ Hanneman on the TV show Silicon Valley in last Sunday’s episode, then you’re out of luck. That fictional billionaire investor lost a USB drive with $300 million in cryptocoins. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to you.

    Encryption & Security

    Whether you store your keys on your computer, an external disk, a USB drive, DAS, NAS, or in the cloud, you want to make sure that no one else can use those keys. The best way to handle that is to encrypt the backup.

    With Backblaze Backup for Windows and Macintosh, your backups are encrypted in transmission to the cloud and on the backup server. Users have the option to add an additional level of security by adding a Personal Encryption Key (PEK), which secures their private key. Your cryptocurrency backup files are secure in the cloud. Using our web or mobile interface, previous versions of files can be accessed, as well.

    Our object storage cloud offering, Backblaze B2, can be used with a variety of applications for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. With B2, cryptocurrency users can choose whichever method of encryption they wish to use on their local computers and then upload their encrypted currency keys to the cloud. Depending on the client used, versioning and life-cycle rules can be applied to the stored files.

    Other backup programs and systems provide some or all of these capabilities, as well. If you are backing up to a local drive, it is a good idea to encrypt the local backup, which is an option in some backup programs.

    Address Security

    Some experts recommend using a different address for each cryptocurrency transaction. Since the address is not the same as your wallet, this means that you are not creating a new wallet, but simply using a new identifier for people sending you cryptocurrency. Creating a new address is usually as easy as clicking a button in the wallet.

    One of the chief advantages of using a different address for each transaction is anonymity. Each time you use an address, you put more information into the public ledger (blockchain) about where the currency came from or where it went. That means that over time, using the same address repeatedly could mean that someone could map your relationships, transactions, and incoming funds. The more you use that address, the more information someone can learn about you. For more on this topic, refer to Address reuse.

    Note that a downside of using a paper wallet with a single key pair (type-0 non-deterministic wallet) is that it has the vulnerabilities listed above. Each transaction using that paper wallet will add to the public record of transactions associated with that address. Newer wallets, i.e. “deterministic” or those using mnemonic code words support multiple addresses and are now recommended.

    There are other approaches to keeping your cryptocurrency transaction secure. Here are a couple of them.

    Multi-signature

    Multi-signature refers to requiring more than one key to authorize a transaction, much like requiring more than one key to open a safe. It is generally used to divide up responsibility for possession of cryptocurrency. Standard transactions could be called “single-signature transactions” because transfers require only one signature — from the owner of the private key associated with the currency address (public key). Some wallets and apps can be configured to require more than one signature, which means that a group of people, businesses, or other entities all must agree to trade in the cryptocurrencies.

    Deep Cold Storage

    Deep cold storage ensures the entire transaction process happens in an offline environment. There are typically three elements to deep cold storage.

    First, the wallet and private key are generated offline, and the signing of transactions happens on a system not connected to the internet in any manner. This ensures it’s never exposed to a potentially compromised system or connection.

    Second, details are secured with encryption to ensure that even if the wallet file ends up in the wrong hands, the information is protected.

    Third, storage of the encrypted wallet file or paper wallet is generally at a location or facility that has restricted access, such as a safety deposit box at a bank.

    Deep cold storage is used to safeguard a large individual cryptocurrency portfolio held for the long term, or for trustees holding cryptocurrency on behalf of others, and is possibly the safest method to ensure a crypto investment remains secure.

    Keep Your Software Up to Date

    You should always make sure that you are using the latest version of your app or wallet software, which includes important stability and security fixes. Installing updates for all other software on your computer or mobile device is also important to keep your wallet environment safer.

    One Last Thing: Think About Your Testament

    Your cryptocurrency funds can be lost forever if you don’t have a backup plan for your peers and family. If the location of your wallets or your passwords is not known by anyone when you are gone, there is no hope that your funds will ever be recovered. Taking a bit of time on these matters can make a huge difference.

    To the Moon*

    Are you comfortable with how you’re managing and backing up your cryptocurrency wallets and keys? Do you have a suggestion for keeping your cryptocurrencies safe that we missed above? Please let us know in the comments.


    *To the Moon — Crypto slang for a currency that reaches an optimistic price projection.

    The post Securing Your Cryptocurrency appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

    Augmented-reality projection lamp with Raspberry Pi and Android Things

    Post Syndicated from Helen Lynn original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/augmented-reality-projector/

    If your day has been a little fraught so far, watch this video. It opens with a tableau of methodically laid-out components and then shows them soldered, screwed, and slotted neatly into place. Everything fits perfectly; nothing needs percussive adjustment. Then it shows us glimpses of an AR future just like the one promised in the less dystopian comics and TV programmes of my 1980s childhood. It is all very soothing, and exactly what I needed.

    Android Things – Lantern

    Transform any surface into mixed-reality using Raspberry Pi, a laser projector, and Android Things. Android Experiments – http://experiments.withgoogle.com/android/lantern Lantern project site – http://nordprojects.co/lantern check below to make your own ↓↓↓ Get the code – https://github.com/nordprojects/lantern Build the lamp – https://www.hackster.io/nord-projects/lantern-9f0c28

    Creating augmented reality with projection

    We’ve seen plenty of Raspberry Pi IoT builds that are smart devices for the home; they add computing power to things like lights, door locks, or toasters to make these objects interact with humans and with their environment in new ways. Nord ProjectsLantern takes a different approach. In their words, it:

    imagines a future where projections are used to present ambient information, and relevant UI within everyday objects. Point it at a clock to show your appointments, or point to speaker to display the currently playing song. Unlike a screen, when Lantern’s projections are no longer needed, they simply fade away.

    Lantern is set up so that you can connect your wireless device to it using Google Nearby. This means there’s no need to create an account before you can dive into augmented reality.

    Lantern Raspberry Pi powered projector lamp

    Your own open-source AR lamp

    Nord Projects collaborated on Lantern with Google’s Android Things team. They’ve made it fully open-source, so you can find the code on GitHub and also download their parts list, which includes a Pi, an IKEA lamp, an accelerometer, and a laser projector. Build instructions are at hackster.io and on GitHub.

    This is a particularly clear tutorial, very well illustrated with photos and GIFs, and once you’ve sourced and 3D-printed all of the components, you shouldn’t need a whole lot of experience to put everything together successfully. Since everything is open-source, though, if you want to adapt it — for example, if you’d like to source a less costly projector than the snazzy one used here — you can do that too.

    components of Lantern Raspberry Pi powered augmented reality projector lamp

    The instructions walk you through the mechanical build and the wiring, as well as installing Android Things and Nord Projects’ custom software on the Raspberry Pi. Once you’ve set everything up, an accelerometer connected to the Pi’s GPIO pins lets the lamp know which surface it is pointing at. A companion app on your mobile device lets you choose from the mini apps that work on that surface to select the projection you want.

    The designers are making several mini apps available for Lantern, including the charmingly named Space Porthole: this uses Processing and your local longitude and latitude to project onto your ceiling the stars you’d see if you punched a hole through to the sky, if it were night time, and clear weather. Wouldn’t you rather look at that than deal with the ant problem in your kitchen or tackle your GitHub notifications?

    What would you like to project onto your living environment? Let us know in the comments!

    The post Augmented-reality projection lamp with Raspberry Pi and Android Things appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

    ABS-CBN Targets ‘Pirate’ Streaming Box Vendor in Canada

    Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/abs-cbn-targets-pirate-streaming-box-vendor-in-canada-180510/

    ABS-CBN, the largest media and entertainment company in the Philippines, is continuing its legal campaign against piracy.

    Over the past several years, the company has singled out dozens of streaming sites that offer access to ‘Pinoy’ content without permission, both in the US and abroad.

    This week it filed a new case in Canada, that’s different from the ones we’ve seen before. Instead of going after site operators, ABS-CBN is suing a ‘bricks-and-mortar’ store located at the Kennedy Square Mall in Brampton, Ontario.

    The company announced that it has filed a lawsuit at the Canadian Federal Court seeking CAD$2.5 million in damages for alleged copyright and infringement, and another CAD$2.5 million for trademark infringement.

    The vendor, incorporated as Dazcon Inc, reportedly sold streaming boxes that allowed users to access movies and TV-shows. The devices in question are BuzzTV boxes pre-configured with a pirate add-on.

    Dazcon appears to be a small vendor, also known as “Manila Center,” that offers a variety of products and services oriented at Philipino customers in Ontario. It’s also an agent for LBC Express, for example, which offers money and mail services to the Philipines.

    Manila Center

    A copy of the complaint, obtained by TorrentFreak, shows that the vendor is accused of selling devices pre-loaded with copyrighted works. In addition, it also offered devices that were able to circumvent ABS-CBN’s technical protection measures.

    “In furtherance of this scheme, the Defendants, individually and/or collectively, sold set-top boxes for the primary purpose of circumventing the Plaintiffs’ TPMS and permitting unauthorized access to the ABS-CBN Copyrighted Works,” the complaint reads.

    “As a consequence of the actions of the Defendants, the public is enabled to receive the ABS-CBN Copyrighted Works via circumvention of the Plaintiffs’ encryption, all without the authority, license or permission of any of the Plaintiffs,” it adds.

    ABS-CBN alleges that Dazcon manually installed an add-on to the set-top boxes which made the infringements possible. The name of this offending add-on is not mentioned in the complaint.

    From the complaint

    In addition to the CAD$5 million in damages, the media company also requests an injunction preventing the vendor from engaging in any copyright infringement of its works in the future, as well as an order granting it custody of the set-top boxes.

    Interestingly, the vendor in question was outed by ABS-CBN’s own customers, the company reports while warning others to remain vigilant.

    “Beware of these operations that are not licensed or affiliated in any way with ABS-CBN,” says Elisha Lawrence the company’s Head of Global Anti-Piracy.

    “If you have any suspicions of other boxes being sold that are not affiliated with ABS-CBN, please call the ABS-CBN office in the U.S. or Canada to verify. We will continue to protect customers by shutting these operations down.”

    While the requested amount of damages may appear quite high, history has shown that this is not unusual for the media giant.

    In the US, the company won $1 million judgments against 19 pirate sites last years, and earlier it won a $10 million judgment against the operator of another small streaming site. Whether any of these damages were actually paid is unknown.

    A copy of ABS-CBN’s complaint against Dazcon Inc 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.

    Bell/TSN Letter to University Connects Site-Blocking Support to Students’ Futures

    Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/bell-tsn-letter-to-university-connects-site-blocking-support-to-students-futures-180510/

    In January, a coalition of Canadian companies called on local telecoms regulator CRTC to implement a website-blocking regime in Canada.

    The coalition, Fairplay Canada, is a collection of organizations and companies with ties to the entertainment industries and includes Bell, Cineplex, Directors Guild of Canada, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Movie Theatre Association of Canada, and Rogers Media. Its stated aim is to address Canada’s online piracy problems.

    While CTRC reviews FairPlay Canada’s plans, the coalition has been seeking to drum up support for the blocking regime, encouraging a diverse range of supporters to send submissions endorsing the project. Of course, building a united front among like-minded groups is nothing out of the ordinary but a situation just uncovered by Canadian law Professor Micheal Geist, one of the most vocal opponents of the proposed scheme, is bound to raise eyebrows.

    Geist discovered a submission by Brian Hutchings, who works as Vice-President, Administration at Brock University in Ontario. Dated March 22, 2018, it notes that one of the university’s most sought-after programs is Sports Management, which helps Brock’s students to become “the lifeblood” of Canada’s sport and entertainment industries.

    “Our University is deeply alarmed at how piracy is eroding an industry that employs so many of our co-op students and graduates. Piracy is a serious, pervasive threat that steals creativity, undermines investment in content development and threatens the survival of an industry that is also part of our national identity,” the submission reads.

    “Brock ardently supports the FairPlay Canada coalition of more than 25 organizations involved in every aspect of Canada’s film, TV, radio, sports entertainment and music industries. Specifically, we support the coalition’s request that the CRTC introduce rules that would disable access in Canada to the most egregious piracy sites, similar to measures that have been taken in the UK, France and Australia. We are committed to assist the members of the coalition and the CRTC in eliminating the theft of digital content.”

    The letter leaves no doubt that Brock University as a whole stands side-by-side with Fairplay Canada but according to a subsequent submission signed by Michelle Webber, President, Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA), nothing could be further from the truth.

    Noting that BUFA unanimously supports the position of the Canadian Association of University Teachers which opposes the FairPlay proposal, Webber adds that BUFA stands in opposition to the submission by Brian Hutchings on behalf of Brock University.

    “Vice President Hutching’s intervention was undertaken without consultation with the wider Brock University community, including faculty, librarians, and Senate; therefore, his submission should not be seen as indicative of the views of Brock University as a whole.”

    BUFA goes on to stress the importance of an open Internet to researchers and educators while raising concerns that the blocking proposals could threaten the principles of net neutrality in Canada.

    While the undermining of Hutching’s position is embarrassing enough, via access to information laws Geist has also been able to reveal the chain of events that prompted the Vice-President to write a letter of support on behalf of the whole university.

    It began with an email sent by former Brock professor Cheri Bradish to Mark Milliere, TSN’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, with Hutchings copied in. The idea was to connect the pair, with the suggestion that supporting the site-blocking plan would help to mitigate the threat to “future work options” for students.

    What followed was a direct email from Mark Milliere to Brian Hutchings, in which the former laid out the contributions his company makes to the university, while again suggesting that support for site-blocking would be in the long-term interests of students seeking employment in the industry.

    On March 23, Milliere wrote to Hutchings again, thanking him for “a terrific letter” and stating that “If you need anything from TSN, just ask.”

    This isn’t the first time that Bell has asked those beholden to the company to support its site-blocking plans.

    Back in February it was revealed that the company had asked its own employees to participate in the site-blocking submission process, without necessarily revealing their affiliations with the company.

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

    YouTube Won’t Put Up With Blatant Piracy Tutorials Forever

    Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-wont-put-up-with-blatant-piracy-tutorials-forever-180506/

    Once upon a time, Internet users’ voices would be heard in limited circles, on platforms such as Usenet or other niche platforms.

    Then, with the rise of forum platforms such as phpBB in 2000 and Invision Power Board in 2002, thriving communities could gather in public to discuss endless specialist topics, including file-sharing of course.

    When dedicated piracy forums began to gain traction, it was pretty much a free-for-all. People discussed obtaining free content absolutely openly. Nothing was taboo and no one considered that there would be any repercussions. As such, moderation was limited to keeping troublemakers in check.

    As the years progressed and lawsuits against both sites and services became more commonplace, most sites that weren’t actually serving illegal content began to consider their positions. Run by hobbyists, most didn’t want the hassle of a multi-million dollar lawsuit, so links to pirate content began to diminish and the more overt piracy tutorials began to disappear underground.

    Those that remained in plain sight became much more considered. Tutorials on how to pirate specific Hollywood blockbusters were no longer needed, a plain general tutorial would suffice. And, as communities matured and took time to understand the implications of their actions, those without political motivations realized that drawing attention to potential criminality was neither required nor necessary.

    Then YouTube and social media happened and almost overnight, no one was in charge and anyone could say whatever they liked.

    In this new reality, there were no irritating moderator-type figures removing links to this and that, and nobody warning people against breaking rules that suddenly didn’t exist anymore. In essence, previously tight-knit and street-wise file-sharing and piracy communities not only became fragmented, but also chaotic.

    This meant that anyone could become a leader and in some cases, this was the utopia that many had hoped for. Not only couldn’t the record labels or Hollywood tell people what to do anymore, discussion site operators couldn’t either. For those who didn’t abuse the power and for those who knew no better, this was a much-needed breath of fresh air. But, like all good things, it was unlikely to last forever.

    Where most file-sharing of yesterday was carried out by hobbyist enthusiasts, many of today’s pirates are far more casual. They’re just as thirsty for content, but they don’t want to spend hours hunting for it. They want it all on a plate, at the flick of a switch, delivered to their TV with a minimum of hassle.

    With online discussions increasingly seen as laborious and old-fashioned, many mainstream pirates have turned to easy-to-consume videos. In support of their Kodi media player habits, YouTube has become the educational platform of choice for millions.

    As a result, there is now a long line of self-declared Kodi piracy specialists scooping up millions of views on YouTube. Their videos – which in many cases are thinly veiled advertisements for third party addons, Kodi ‘builds’, illegal IPTV services, and obscure Android APKs – are now the main way for a new generation to obtain direct advice on pirating.

    Many of the videos are incredibly blatant, like the past 15 years of litigation never happened. All the lessons learned by the phpBB board operators of yesteryear, of how to achieve their goals of sharing information without getting shut down, have been long forgotten. In their place, a barrage of daily videos designed to generate clicks and affiliate revenue, no matter what the cost, no matter what the risk.

    It’s pretty clear that these videos are at least partly responsible for the phenomenal uptick in Kodi and Android-based piracy over the past few years. In that respect, many lovers of free content will be eternally grateful for the service they’ve provided. But like many piracy movements over the years, people shouldn’t get too attached to them, at least in their current form.

    Thanks to the devil-may-care approach of many influential YouTubers, it won’t be long before a whole new set of moderators begin flexing their muscles. While your average phpBB moderator could be reasoned with in order to get a second chance, a determined and largely faceless YouTube will eject offenders without so much as a clear explanation.

    When this happens (and it’s only a question of time given the growing blatancy of many tutorials) YouTubers will not only lose their voices but their revenue streams too. While YouTube’s partner programs bring in some welcome cash, the profitable affiliate schemes touted on these channels for external products will also be under threat.

    Perhaps the most surprising thing in this drama-waiting-to-happen is that many of the most popular YouTubers can hardly be considered young and naive. While some are of more tender years, most – with their undoubted skill, knowledge and work ethic – should know better for their 30 or 40 years on this planet. Yet not only do they make their names public, they feature their faces heavily in their videos too.

    Still, it’s likely that it will take some big YouTube accounts to fall before YouTubers respond by shaving the sharp edges off their blatant promotion of illegal activity. And there’s little doubt that those advertising products (which is most of them) will have to do so sooner rather than later.

    Just this week, YouTube made it clear that it won’t tolerate people making money from the promotion of illegal activities.

    “YouTube creators may include paid endorsements as part of their content only if the product or service they are endorsing complies with our advertising policies,” YouTube told the BBC.

    “We will be working with creators going forward so they better understand that in video promotions [they] must not promote dishonest activity.”

    That being said, like many other players in the piracy and file-sharing space over the past 18 years, YouTubers will eventually begin to learn that not only can the smart survive, they can flourish too.

    Sure, there will be people out there who’ll protest that free speech allows citizens to express themselves in a manner of their choosing. But try PM’ing that to YouTube in response to a strike, and see how that fares.

    When they say you’re done, the road back is a long one.

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

    Raspberry Pi in your favourite films and TV shows

    Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-films-tv/

    If, like us, you’ve been bingeflixing your way through Netflix’s new show, Lost in Space, you may have noticed a Raspberry Pi being used as futuristic space tech.

    Raspberry Pi Netflix Lost in Space

    Danger, Will Robinson, that probably won’t work

    This isn’t the first time a Pi has been used as a film or television prop. From Mr. Robot and Disney Pixar’s Big Hero 6 to Mr. Robot, Sense8, and Mr. Robot, our humble little computer has become quite the celeb.

    Raspberry Pi Charlie Brooker Election Wipe
    Raspberry Pi Big Hero 6
    Raspberry Pi Netflix

    Raspberry Pi Spy has been working hard to locate and document the appearance of the Raspberry Pi in some of our favourite shows and movies. He’s created this video covering 2010-2017:

    Raspberry Pi TV and Film Appearances 2012-2017

    Since 2012 the Raspberry Pi single board computer has appeared in a number of movies and TV shows. This video is a run through of those appearances where the Pi has been used as a prop.

    For 2018 appearances and beyond, you can find a full list on the Raspberry Pi Spy website. If you’ve spotted an appearance that’s not on the list, tell us in the comments!

    The post Raspberry Pi in your favourite films and TV shows appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

    Sci-Hub ‘Pirate Bay For Science’ Security Certs Revoked by Comodo

    Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/sci-hub-pirate-bay-for-science-security-certs-revoked-by-comodo-ca-180503/

    Sci-Hub is often referred to as the “Pirate Bay of Science”. Like its namesake, it offers masses of unlicensed content for free, mostly against the wishes of copyright holders.

    While The Pirate Bay will index almost anything, Sci-Hub is dedicated to distributing tens of millions of academic papers and articles, something which has turned itself into a target for publishing giants like Elsevier.

    Sci-Hub and its Kazakhstan-born founder Alexandra Elbakyan have been under sustained attack for several years but more recently have been fending off an unprecedented barrage of legal action initiated by the American Chemical Society (ACS), a leading source of academic publications in the field of chemistry.

    After winning a default judgment for $4.8 million in copyright infringement damages last year, ACS was further granted a broad injunction.

    It required various third-party services (including domain registries, hosting companies and search engines) to stop facilitating access to the site. This plunged Sci-Hub into a game of domain whac-a-mole, one that continues to this day.

    Determined to head Sci-Hub off at the pass, ACS obtained additional authority to tackle the evasive site and any new domains it may register in the future.

    While Sci-Hub has been hopping around domains for a while, this week a new development appeared on the horizon. Visitors to some of the site’s domains were greeted with errors indicating that the domains’ security certificates had been revoked.

    Tests conducted by TorrentFreak revealed clear revocations on Sci-Hub.hk and Sci-Hub.nz, both of which returned the error ‘NET::ERR_CERT_REVOKED’.

    Certificate revoked

    These certificates were first issued and then revoked by Comodo CA, the world’s largest certification authority. TF contacted the company who confirmed that it had been forced to take action against Sci-Hub.

    “In response to a court order against Sci-Hub, Comodo CA has revoked four certificates for the site,” Jonathan Skinner, Director, Global Channel Programs at Comodo CA informed TorrentFreak.

    “By policy Comodo CA obeys court orders and the law to the full extent of its ability.”

    Comodo refused to confirm any additional details, including whether these revocations were anything to do with the current ACS injunction. However, Susan R. Morrissey, Director of Communications at ACS, told TorrentFreak that the revocations were indeed part of ACS’ legal action against Sci-Hub.

    “[T]he action is related to our continuing efforts to protect ACS’ intellectual property,” Morrissey confirmed.

    Sci-Hub operates multiple domains (an up-to-date list is usually available on Wikipedia) that can be switched at any time. At the time of writing the domain sci-hub.ga currently returns ‘ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH’ while .CN and .GS variants both have Comodo certificates that expired last year.

    When TF first approached Comodo earlier this week, Sci-Hub’s certificates with the company hadn’t been completely wiped out. For example, the domain https://sci-hub.tw operated perfectly, with an active and non-revoked Comodo certificate.

    Still in the game…but not for long

    By Wednesday, however, the domain was returning the now-familiar “revoked” message.

    These domain issues are the latest technical problems to hit Sci-Hub as a result of the ACS injunction. In February, Cloudflare terminated service to several of the site’s domains.

    “Cloudflare will terminate your service for the following domains sci-hub.la, sci-hub.tv, and sci-hub.tw by disabling our authoritative DNS in 24 hours,” Cloudflare told Sci-Hub.

    While ACS has certainly caused problems for Sci-Hub, the platform is extremely resilient and remains online.

    The domains https://sci-hub.is and https://sci-hub.nu are fully operational with certificates issued by Let’s Encrypt, a free and open certificate authority supported by the likes of Mozilla, EFF, Chrome, Private Internet Access, and other prominent tech companies.

    It’s unclear whether these certificates will be targeted in the future but Sci-Hub doesn’t appear to be in the mood to back down.

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