Tag Archives: Village Roadshow

Movie & TV Companies Tackle Pirate IPTV in Australia Federal Court

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-tv-companies-tackle-pirate-iptv-in-australia-federal-court-171207/

As movie and TV show piracy has migrated from the desktop towards mobile and living room-based devices, copyright holders have found the need to adapt to a new enemy.

Dealing with streaming services is now high on the agenda, with third-party Kodi addons and various Android apps posing the biggest challenge. Alongside is the much less prevalent but rapidly growing pay IPTV market, in which thousands of premium channels are delivered to homes for a relatively small fee.

In Australia, copyright holders are treating these services in much the same way as torrent sites. They feel that if they can force ISPs to block them, the problem can be mitigated. Most recently, movie and TV show giants Village Roadshow, Disney, Universal, Warner Bros, Twentieth Century Fox, and Paramount filed an application targeting HDSubs+, a pirate IPTV operation servicing thousands of Australians.

Filed in October, the application for the injunction targets Australia’s largest ISPs including Telstra, Optus, TPG, and Vocus, plus their subsidiaries. The movie and TV show companies want them to quickly block HDSubs+, to prevent it from reaching its audience.

HDSubs+ IPTV package
However, blocking isn’t particularly straightforward. Due to the way IPTV services are setup a number of domains need to be blocked, including their sales platforms, EPG (electronic program guide), software (such as an Android app), updates, and sundry other services. In HDSubs+ case around ten domains need to be restricted but in court today, Village Roadshow revealed that probably won’t deal with the problem.

HDSubs+ appears to be undergoing some kind of transformation, possibly to mitigate efforts to block it in Australia. ComputerWorld reports that it is now directing subscribers to update to a new version that works in a more evasive manner.

If they agree, HDSubs+ customers are being migrated over to a service called PressPlayPlus. It works in the same way as the old system but no longer uses the domain names cited in Village Roadshow’s injunction application. This means that DNS blocks, the usual weapon of choice for local ISPs, will prove futile.

Village Roadshow says that with this in mind it may be forced to seek enhanced IP address blocking, unless it is granted a speedy hearing for its application. This, in turn, may result in the normally cooperative ISPs returning to court to argue their case.

“If that’s what you want to do, then you’ll have to amend the orders and let the parties know,” Judge John Nicholas said.

“It’s only the former [DNS blocking] that carriage service providers have agreed to in the past.”

As things stand, Village Roadshow will return to court on December 15 for a case management hearing but in the meantime, the Federal Court must deal with another IPTV-related blocking request.

In common with its Australian and US-based counterparts, Hong Kong-based broadcaster Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) has launched a similar case asking local ISPs to block another IPTV service.

“Television Broadcasts Limited can confirm that we have commenced legal action in Australia to protect our copyright,” a TVB spokesperson told Computerworld.

TVB wants ISPs including Telstra, Optus, Vocus, and TPG plus their subsidiaries to block access to seven Android-based services named as A1, BlueTV, EVPAD, FunTV, MoonBox, Unblock, and hTV5.

Court documents list 21 URLs maintaining the services. They will all need to be blocked by DNS or other means, if the former proves futile. Online reports suggest that there are similarities among the IPTV products listed above. A demo for the FunTV IPTV service is shown below.

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

ACE and CAP Shut Down Aussie Pirate IPTV Operation

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/ace-and-cap-shut-down-aussie-pirate-iptv-operation-171128/

Instead of companies like the MPAA, Amazon, Netflix, CBS, HBO, BBC, Sky, CBS, Foxtel, and Village Roadshow tackling piracy completely solo, this year they teamed up to form the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).

This massive collaboration of 30 companies represents a new front in the fight against piracy, with global players publicly cooperating to tackle the phenomenon in all its forms.

The same is true of CASBAA‘s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), a separate anti-piracy collective which to some extent shares the same members as ACE but with a sharp of focus on Asia.

This morning the groups announced the results of a joint investigation in Australia which targeted a large supplier of illicit IPTV devices. These small set-top boxes, which come in several forms, are often configured to receive programming from unauthorized sources. In this particular case, they came pre-loaded to play pirated movies, television shows, sports programming, plus other content.

The Melbourne-based company targeted by ACE and CAP allegedly sold these devices in Asia for many years. The company demanded AUS$400 (US$305) per IPTV unit and bundled each with a year’s subscription to pirated TV channels and on-demand movies from the US, EU, India and South East Asia markets.

In the past, companies operating in these areas have often been met with overwhelming force including criminal action, but ACE and CAP appear to have reached an agreement with the company and its owner, even going as far as keeping their names out of the press.

In return, the company has agreed to measures which will prevent people who have already invested in these boxes being able to access ACE and CAP content going forward. That is likely to result in a whole bunch of irritated customers.

“The film and television industry has made significant investments to provide audiences with access to creative content how, where, and when they want it,” says ACE spokesperson Zoe Thorogood.

“ACE and CAP members initiated this investigation as part of a comprehensive global approach to protect the legal marketplace for creative content, reduce online piracy, and bolster a creative economy that supports millions of workers. This latest action was part of a series of global actions to address the growth of illegal and unsafe piracy devices and apps.”

Neil Gane, General Manager of the CASBAA Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), also weighed in with what are now becoming industry-standard warnings of losses to content makers and supposed risks to consumers.

“These little black boxes are now beginning to dominate the piracy ecosystem, causing significant damage to all sectors of the content industry, from producers to telecommunication platforms,” Gane said.

“They also pose a risk to consumers who face a well-documented increase in exposure to malware. The surge in availability of these illicit streaming devices is an international issue that requires a coordinated effort between industry and government. This will be the first of many disruption and enforcement initiatives on which CAP, ACE, and other industry associations will be collaborating together.”

In September, TF revealed the secret agreement behind the ACE initiative, noting how the group’s founding members are required to commit $5m each annually to the project. The remaining 21 companies on the coalition’s Executive Committee put in $200,000 each.

While today’s IPTV announcement was very public, ACE has already been flexing its muscles behind the scenes. Earlier this month we reported on several cases where UK-based Kodi addon developers were approached by the anti-piracy group and warned to shut down – or else.

While all complied, each was warned not to reveal the terms of their agreement with ACE. This means that the legal basis for its threats remains shrouded in mystery. That being said, it’s likely that several European Court of Justice decisions earlier in the year played a key role.

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

Aussie ‘Pirate’ Blocking Efforts Switch to Premium IPTV

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/aussie-pirate-blocking-efforts-switch-to-premium-iptv-171106/

Website blocking has become one of the leading anti-piracy mechanisms in recent years and is particularly prevalent across Europe, where thousands of sites are now off-limits by regular means.

More recently the practice spread to Australia, where movie and music industry bodies have filed several applications at the Federal Court. This has rendered dozens of major torrent and streaming inaccessible in the region, after local ISPs complied with orders compelling them to prevent subscriber access.

While such blocking is now commonplace, Village Roadshow and a coalition of movie studios have now switched tack, targeting an operation offering subscription-based IPTV services.

The action targets HDSubs+, a fairly well-known service that provides hundreds of otherwise premium live channels, movies, and sports for a relatively small monthly fee, at least versus the real deal.

A small selection of channels in the HDSubs+ package

ComputerWorld reports that the application for the injunction was filed last month. In common with earlier requests, it targets Australia’s largest ISPs including Telstra, Optus, TPG, and Vocus, plus the subsidiaries.

Access to HDSubs.com appears to be limited, possibly by the platform’s operators, so that visitors from desktop machines are redirected back to Google. However, access to the platform is available by other means and that reveals a fairly pricey IPTV offering.

As seen in the image below, the top package (HD Subs+), which includes all the TV anyone could need plus movies and TV shows on demand, weighs in at US$239.99 per year, around double the price of similar packages available elsewhere.

Broad selection of channels but quite pricey

If the court chooses to grant the injunction, ISPs will not only have to block the service’s main domain (HDSubs.com) but also a range of others which provide the infrastructure for the platform.

Unlike torrent and streaming sites which tend to be in one place (if we discount proxies and mirrors), IPTV services like HD Subs often rely on a number of domains to provide a sales platform, EPG (electronic program guide), software (such as an Android app), updates, and sundry other services.

As per CW, in the HD Subs case they are: ois001wfr.update-apk.com, ois005yfs.update-apk.com, ois003slp.update-apk.com, update002zmt.hiddeniptv.com, apk.hiddeniptv.com, crossepg003uix.hiddeniptv.com, crossepg002gwj.hiddeniptv.com, mpbs001utb.hiddeniptv.com, soft001rqv.update-apk.com and hdsubs.com.

This switch in tactics by Village Roadshow and the other studios involved is subtle but significant. While torrent and streaming sites provide a largely free but fragmented experience, premium IPTV services are direct commercial competitors, often providing a more comprehensive range of channels and services than the broadcasters themselves.

While quality may not always be comparable with their licensed counterparts, presentation is often first class, giving the impression of an official product which is comfortably accessed via a living room TV. This is clearly a concern to commercial broadcasters.

As reported last week, global IPTV traffic is both huge and growing, so expect more of these requests Down Under.

Previous efforts to block IPTV services include those in the UK, where the Premier League takes targeted action against providers who provide live soccer. These measures only target live streams when matches are underway and as far as we’re aware, there are no broader measures in place against any provider.

This could mean that the action in Australia, to permanently block a provider in its entirety, is the first of its kind anywhere.

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

Inside the MPAA, Netflix & Amazon Global Anti-Piracy Alliance

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/inside-the-mpaa-netflix-amazon-global-anti-piracy-alliance-170918/

The idea of collaboration in the anti-piracy arena isn’t new but an announcement this summer heralded what is destined to become the largest project the entertainment industry has ever seen.

The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) is a coalition of 30 companies that reads like a who’s who of the global entertainment market. In alphabetical order its members are:

Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Constantin Film, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telemundo, Televisa, Twentieth Century Fox, Univision Communications Inc., Village Roadshow, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The aim of the project is clear. Instead of each company considering its anti-piracy operations as a distinct island, ACE will bring them all together while presenting a united front to decision and lawmakers. At the core of the Alliance will be the MPAA.

“ACE, with its broad coalition of creators from around the world, is designed, specifically, to leverage the best possible resources to reduce piracy,”
outgoing MPAA chief Chris Dodd said in June.

“For decades, the MPAA has been the gold standard for antipiracy enforcement. We are proud to provide the MPAA’s worldwide antipiracy resources and the deep expertise of our antipiracy unit to support ACE and all its initiatives.”

Since then, ACE and its members have been silent on the project. Today, however, TorrentFreak can pull back the curtain, revealing how the agreement between the companies will play out, who will be in control, and how much the scheme will cost.

Power structure: Founding Members & Executive Committee Members

Netflix, Inc., Amazon Studios LLC, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios LLC, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, are the ‘Founding Members’ (Governing Board) of ACE.

These companies are granted full voting rights on ACE business, including the approval of initiatives and public policy, anti-piracy strategy, budget-related matters, plus approval of legal action. Not least, they’ll have the power to admit or expel ACE members.

All actions taken by the Governing Board (never to exceed nine members) need to be approved by consensus, with each Founding Member able to vote for or against decisions. Members are also allowed to abstain but one persistent objection will be enough to stop any matter being approved.

The second tier – ‘Executive Committee Members’ – is comprised of all the other companies in the ACE project (as listed above, minus the Governing Board). These companies will not be allowed to vote on ACE initiatives but can present ideas and strategies. They’ll also be allowed to suggest targets for law enforcement action while utilizing the MPAA’s anti-piracy resources.

Rights of all members

While all members of ACE can utilize the alliance’s resources, none are barred from simultaneously ‘going it alone’ on separate anti-piracy initiatives. None of these strategies and actions need approval from the Founding Members, provided they’re carried out in a company’s own name and at its own expense.

Information obtained by TorrentFreak indicates that the MPAA also reserves the right to carry out anti-piracy actions in its own name or on behalf of its member studios. The pattern here is different, since the MPAA’s global anti-piracy resources are the same resources being made available to the ACE alliance and for which members have paid to share.

Expansion of ACE

While ACE membership is already broad, the alliance is prepared to take on additional members, providing certain criteria are met. Crucially, any prospective additions must be owners or producers of movies and/or TV shows. The Governing Board will then vet applicants to ensure that they meet the criteria for acceptance as a new Executive Committee Members.

ACE Operations

The nine Governing Board members will meet at least four times a year, with each nominating a senior executive to serve as its representative. The MPAA’s General Counsel will take up the position of non-voting member of the Governing Board and will chair its meetings.

Matters to be discussed include formulating and developing the alliance’s ‘Global Anti-Piracy Action Plan’ and approving and developing the budget. ACE will also form an Anti-Piracy Working Group, which is scheduled to meet at least once a month.

On a daily basis, the MPAA and its staff will attend to the business of the ACE alliance. The MPAA will carry out its own work too but when presenting to outside third parties, it will clearly state which “hat” it is currently wearing.

Much deliberation has taken place over who should be the official spokesperson for ACE. Documents obtained by TF suggest that the MPAA planned to hire a consulting firm to find a person for the role, seeking a professional with international experience who had never been previously been connected with the MPAA.

They appear to have settled on Zoe Thorogood, who previously worked for British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Money, money, money

Of course, the ACE program isn’t going to fund itself, so all members are required to contribute to the operation. The MPAA has opened a dedicated bank account under its control specifically for the purpose, with members contributing depending on status.

Founding/Governing Board Members will be required to commit $5m each annually. However, none of the studios that are MPAA members will have to hand over any cash, since they already fund the MPAA, whose anti-piracy resources ACE is built.

“Each Governing Board Member will contribute annual dues in an amount equal to $5 million USD. Payment of dues shall be made bi-annually in equal shares, payable at
the beginning of each six (6) month period,” the ACE agreement reads.

“The contribution of MPAA personnel, assets and resources…will constitute and be considered as full payment of each MPAA Member Studio’s Governing Board dues.”

That leaves just Netflix and Amazon paying the full amount of $5m in cash each.

From each company’s contribution, $1m will be paid into legal trust accounts allocated to each Governing Board member. If ACE-agreed litigation and legal expenses exceed that amount for the year, members will be required to top up their accounts to cover their share of the costs.

For the remaining 21 companies on the Executive Committee, annual dues are $200,000 each, to be paid in one installment at the start of the financial year – $4.2m all in. Of all dues paid by all members from both tiers, half will be used to boost anti-piracy resources, over and above what the MPAA will spend on the same during 2017.

“Fifty percent (50%) of all dues received from Global Alliance Members other than
the MPAA Member Studios…shall, as agreed by the Governing Board, be used (a) to increase the resources spent on online antipiracy over and above….the amount of MPAA’s 2017 Content Protection Department budget for online antipiracy initiatives/operations,” an internal ACE document reads.

Intellectual property

As the project moves forward, the Alliance expects to gain certain knowledge and experience. On the back of that, the MPAA hopes to grow its intellectual property portfolio.

“Absent written agreement providing otherwise, any and all data, intellectual property, copyrights, trademarks, or know-how owned and/or contributed to the Global Alliance by MPAA, or developed or created by the MPAA or the Global Alliance during the Term of this Charter, shall remain and/or become the exclusive property of the MPAA,” the ACE agreement reads.

That being said, all Governing Board Members will also be granted “perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive licenses” to use the same under certain rules, even in the event they leave the ACE initiative.

Terms and extensions

Any member may withdraw from the Alliance at any point, but there will be no refunds. Additionally, any financial commitment previously made to litigation will have to be honored by the member.

The ACE agreement has an initial term of two years but Governing Board Members will meet not less than three months before it is due to expire to vote on any extension.

To be continued……

With the internal structure of ACE now revealed, all that remains is to discover the contents of the initiative’s ‘Global Anti-Piracy Action Plan’. To date, that document has proven elusive but with an operation of such magnitude, future leaks are a distinct possibility.

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

Healthy Aussie Pirates Set To Face Cash ‘Fines’, Poor & Sick Should Be OK

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/healthy-aussie-pirates-set-to-face-cash-fines-poor-sick-should-be-ok-170821/

One of the oldest methods of trying to get people to stop downloading and sharing pirated material is by hitting them with ‘fines’.

The RIAA began the practice in September 2003, tracking people sharing music on early peer-to-peer networks, finding out their identities via ISPs, and sending them cease-and-desist orders with a request to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Many thousands of people were fined and the campaign raised awareness, but it did nothing to stop millions of file-sharers who continue to this day.

That’s something that Village Roadshow co-chief Graham Burke now wants to do something about. He says his company will effectively mimic the RIAA’s campaign of 14 years ago and begin suing Internet pirates Down Under. He told AFR that his company is already setting things up, ready to begin suing later in the year.

Few details have been made available at this stage but it’s almost certain that Village Roadshow’s targets will be BitTorrent users. It’s possible that users of other peer-to-peer networks could be affected but due to their inefficiency and relative obscurity, it’s very unlikely.

That leaves users of The Pirate Bay and any other torrent site vulnerable to the company, which will jump into torrent swarms masquerading as regular users, track IP addresses, and trace them back to Internet service providers. What happens next will depend on the responses of those ISPs.

If the ISPs refuse to cooperate, they will have to be taken to court to force them to hand over the personal details of their subscribers to Village Roadshow. It’s extremely unlikely they’ll hand them over voluntarily, so it could be some time before any ISP customer hears anything from the film distributor.

The bottom line is that Village Roadshow will want money to go away and Burke is already being open over the kind of sums his company will ask for.

“We will be looking for damages commensurate with what they’ve done. We’ll be saying ‘You’ve downloaded our Mad Max: Fury Road, our Red Dog, and we want $40 for the four movies plus $200 in costs’,” he says.

While no one will relish any kind of ‘bill’ dropping through a mail box, in the scheme of things a AUS$240 settlement demand isn’t huge, especially when compared to the sums demanded by companies such as Voltage Pictures, who tried and failed to start piracy litigation in Australia two years ago.

However, there’s even better news for some, who have already been given a heads-up that they won’t have to pay anything.

“We will identify people who are stealing our product, we will ask them do they have ill health or dire circumstances, and if they do and undertake to stop, we’ll drop the case,” Burke says.

While being upfront about such a policy has its pros and cons, Burke is also reducing his range of targets, particularly if likes to be seen as a man of his word, whenever those words were delivered. In March 2016, when he restated his intention to begin suing pirates, he also excluded some other groups from legal action.

“We don’t want to sue 16-year-olds or mums and dads,” Burke said. “It takes 18 months to go through the courts and all that does is make lawyers rich and clog the court system. It’s not effective.”

It will remain to be seen what criteria Village Roadshow ultimately employs but it’s likely the company will be asked to explain its intentions to the court, when it embarks on the process to discover alleged pirates’ identities. When it’s decided who is eligible, Burke says the gloves will come off, with pirates being “pursued vigorously” and “sued for damages.”

While Village Roadshow’s list of films is considerable, any with a specifically Australian slant seem the most likely to feature in any legal action. Burke tends to push the narrative that he’s looking after local industry so something like Mad Max: Fury Road would be perfect. It would also provide easy pickings for any anti-piracy company seeking to harvest Aussie IP addresses since it’s still very popular.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Australians who use pirate streaming services will be completely immune to the company’s planned lawsuit campaign. However, Burke appears to be tackling that threat using a couple of popular tactics currently being deployed elsewhere by the movie industry.

“Google are not doing enough and could do a lot more,” he told The Australian (subscription)

Burke said that he was “shocked” at how easy it was to find streaming content using Google’s search so decided to carry out some research of his own at home. He said he found Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk with no difficulty but that came with a sting in the tail.

According to the movie boss, his computer was immediately infected with malware and began asking for his credit card details. He doesn’t say whether he put them in.

As clearly the world’s most unlucky would-be movie pirate, Burke deserves much sympathy. It’s also completely coincidental that Hollywood is now pushing a “danger” narrative to keep people away from pirate sites.

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

Court Orders Aussie ISPs to Block Dozens of Pirate Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-aussie-isps-to-block-dozens-of-pirate-sites-170818/

Rather than taking site operators to court, copyright holders increasingly demand that Internet providers should block access to ‘pirate’ domains.

As a result, courts all around the world have ordered ISPs to block subscriber access to various pirate sites.

This is also happening in Australia where the first blockades were issued late last year. In December, the Federal Court ordered ISPs to block The Pirate Bay and several other sites, which happened soon after.

However, as is often the case with website blocking, one order is not enough as there are still plenty of pirate sites and proxies readily available. So, several rightsholders including movie studio Village Roadshow and local broadcaster Foxtel went back to court.

Today the Federal Court ruled on two applications that cover 59 pirate sites in total, including many popular torrent and streaming portals.

The first order was issued by Justice John Nicholas, who directed several Internet providers including IINet, Telstra, and TPG to block access to several pirate sites. The request came from Village Roadshow, which was backed by several major Hollywood studios.

The order directs the ISPs to stop passing on traffic to 41 torrent and streaming platforms including Demonoid, RARBG, EZTV, YTS, Gomovies, and Fmovies. The full list of blocked domains is even longer, as it also covers several proxies.

“The infringement or facilitation of infringement by the Online Locations is flagrant and reflect a blatant disregard for the rights of copyright owners,” the order reads.

“By way of illustration, one of the Online Locations is accessible via the domain name ‘istole.it’ and it and many others include notices encouraging users to implement technology to frustrate any legal action that might be taken by copyright owners.”

In a separate order handed down by Federal Court Judge Stephen Burley, another 17 sites are ordered blocked following a request from Foxtel. This includes popular pirate sites such as 1337x, Torlock, Putlocker, YesMovies, Vumoo, and LosMovies.

The second order also includes a wide variety of alternative locations, including proxies, which brings the total number of targeted domain names to more than 160.

As highlighted by SHM, the orders coincide with the launch of a new anti-piracy campaign dubbed “The Price of Piracy,” which is organized by Creative Content Australia. Lori Flekser, Executive director of the non-profit organization, believes that the blockades will help to significantly deter piracy.

“Not only is there decreasing traffic to pirate sites but there is a subsequent increase in traffic to legal sites,” she said.

At the same time, she warns people not to visit proxy and mirror sites, as these could be dangerous. This message is also repeated by her organization’s campaign, which warns that pirate sites can be filled with ransomware, spyware, trojans, viruses, bots, rootkits and worms.

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

Village Roadshow Invests $1.5m in Anti-Piracy Technology Company

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/village-roadshow-invests-1-5m-in-anti-piracy-technology-company-170717/

Aussie entertainment giant Village Roadshow is front-and-center of Australia’s fight against Intenet piracy.

Co-Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer Graham Burke can often be found bemoaning rampant piracy Down Under, but today it’s his equal at Village Roadshow making the headlines.

Robert G Kirby’s presence at Village Roadshow dates back to the 1980s, but now both he and the company are making a significant outside investment in patented streaming technology. It aims to help in the fight against piracy while offering benefits in other areas of innovation.

The deal centers around the Linius Video Virtualisation Engine, an intriguing system patented by Australia-based Linius Technologies that allows the content of a video stream to be heavily modified live and on-the-fly, between its source and destination.

Linius explains that in the current marketplace, video files are static and not so different from an “old can of film”. People who want to watch online content press play on their devices and a message is sent to the datacenter holding the video. It’s then streamed to the user as-is and very little can be done with it on the way.

With its system, Linius says it places a “ghost” file on the user’s device which calls the data and recompiles it on the fly on the device itself. Instead of being a complete file at all times during transit, it only becomes a video when it’s on the device.

This means that the data is “manageable and malleable,” making it possible to add, delete and splice parts to make custom content, even going as far as “inserting new business rules” and other tech innovations, including payment gateways and security features.

One of the obvious applications is granting broadcasters the ability to personalize advertising on a per-user basis, but Linius says there is also the potential to enhance search engine monetization.

The attractive part for Village Roadshow, however, appears to center around the claim that since the physical video file never appears on the device, it cannot be saved, transferred or broadcast, only watched by the person who purchased the rights to the virtual video.

The company offers few further details publicly, but Village Roadshow is clearly keen to invest, since “there’s no file to steal.”

This morning, Linius announced a $1 million private placement of ordinary shares to Village Roadshow Ltd, accompanied by a $500,000 private placement to Kirby family interests.

“We have followed the Linius story closely and are delighted to back the business with direct investment. We can see many applications for the technology across the video industry,” Robert Kirby said in a statement.

“Village Roadshow has long been a leading voice in tackling global piracy. We are particularly interested in the anti-piracy solutions that Linius is developing and are actively working together with Linius to introduce its technology to industry leaders in the hope of reducing global piracy.”

In May, Linius announced a collaboration with IBM to promote the Video Virtualisation Engine, including building onto the IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform, to IBM’s network of corporate clients.

“I feel Linius could be a game changer in the world of video, from personalized advertising to search and security,” said Anthone Withers, Head of Software as a Service, IBM.

“We’re now actively working with Linius to identify and market the technology to target customers.”

Linius Overview from Linius Technologies on Vimeo.

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

Pirates Cost Australia’s Ten Network “Hundreds of Millions of Dollars”

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/pirates-cost-australias-ten-network-hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-170616/

In 2016, Australia’s Ten Network posted losses of AUS$157 million. This April, the broadcaster showed signs of continuing distress when it posted a half-year loss of AUS$232 million.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Ten said it was trying to secure new terms for a AUS$200 million debt financing guarantee. According to ABC, the company had lost more than 60% of its value in the preceding 12 months and almost 98% over the previous five years.

More bad news arrived this week when Ten’s board decided to put the company into voluntary administration after failing to secure a guarantee for a AUS$250 million loan that could’ve kept the ship afloat into the new year. As moves get underway to secure the company’s future, fingers of blame are being raised.

According to Village Roadshow co-chief executive Graham Burke, Internet pirates cost Ten “hundreds of millions of dollars” in advertising revenue due to their tendency to obtain movies and TV shows from the web rather than via legitimate means.

Burke told The Australian (paywall) that movies supplied to Ten by 21st Century Fox (including The Revenant and The Peanuts Movie which were both leaked) had received lower broadcast ratings due to people viewing them online in advance.

“Piracy is a much bigger channel and an illicit economy than the three main commercial networks combined,” Burke told the publication.

“Movies from Fox arrive with several million people having seen them through piracy. If it wasn’t for piracy, the ratings would be stronger and the product would not be arriving clapped out.”

But leaked or not, content doesn’t come cheap. As part of efforts to remain afloat, Ten Network recently tried to re-negotiate content supply deals with Fox and CBS. Together they reportedly cost the broadcaster more than AUS$900 million over the previous six years.

Despite this massive price tag and numerous other problems engulfing the troubled company, Burke suggests it is pirates that are to blame for Ten’s demise.

“A large part of Ten’s expenditure is on movies and they are being seen by millions of people ­illegitimately on websites supported by rogue ­advertising for drugs, prostitution and even legitimate advertising. The cumulative effect of all the ­pirated product out there has brought down Ten,” Burke said.

While piracy has certainly been blamed for a lot of things over the years, it is extremely rare for a senior industry figure to link it so closely with the potential demise of a major broadcaster.

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

Global Entertainment Giants Form Massive Anti-Piracy Coalition

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/global-entertainment-giants-form-massive-anti-piracy-coalition-170613/

It’s not unusual for companies within the same area of business to collaborate in order to combat piracy. The studios and labels that form the MPAA and RIAA, for example, have doing just that for decades.

Today, however, an unprecedented number of global content creators and distribution platforms have announced the formation of a brand new coalition to collaboratively fight Internet piracy on a global scale.

The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) is a coalition of 30 companies that reads like a who’s who of the global entertainment market. In alphabetical order the members are:

Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Constantin Film, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telemundo, Televisa, Twentieth Century Fox, Univision Communications Inc., Village Roadshow, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

In a joint announcement today, ACE notes that there are now more than 480 services available for consumers to watch films and TV programs online. However, despite that abundance of content, piracy continues to pose a threat to creators and the economy.

“Films and television shows can often be found on pirate sites within days – and in many cases hours – of release,” ACE said in a statement.

“Last year, there were an estimated 5.4 billion downloads of pirated wide release films and primetime television and VOD shows using peer-to-peer protocols worldwide. There were also an estimated 21.4 billion total visits to streaming piracy sites worldwide across both desktops and mobile devices in 2016.”

Rather than the somewhat fragmented anti-piracy approach currently employed by ACE members separately, the coalition will present a united front of all major content creators and distributors, with a mission to cooperate and expand in order to minimize the threat.

At the center of the alliance appears to be the MPAA. ACE reports that the anti-piracy resources of the Hollywood group will be used “in concert” with the existing anti-piracy departments of the member companies.

Unprecedented scale aside, ACE’s modus operandi will be a familiar one.

The coalition says it will work closely with law enforcement to shut down pirate sites and services, file civil litigation, and forge new relationships with other content protection groups. It will also strive to reach voluntary anti-piracy agreements with other interested parties across the Internet.

MPAA chief Chris Dodd, whose group will play a major role in ACE, welcomed the birth of the alliance.

“ACE, with its broad coalition of creators from around the world, is designed, specifically, to leverage the best possible resources to reduce piracy,” Dodd said.

“For decades, the MPAA has been the gold standard for antipiracy enforcement. We are proud to provide the MPAA’s worldwide antipiracy resources and the deep expertise of our antipiracy unit to support ACE and all its initiatives.”

The traditionally non-aggressive BBC described ACE as “hugely important” in the fight against “theft and illegal distribution”, with Netflix noting that even its creative strategies for dealing with piracy are in need of assistance.

“While we’re focused on providing a great consumer experience that ultimately discourages piracy, there are still bad players around the world trying to profit off the hard work of others,” said Netflix General Counsel, David Hyman.

“By joining ACE, we will work together, share knowledge, and leverage the group’s combined anti-piracy resources to address the global online piracy problem.”

It’s likely that the creation of ACE will go down as a landmark moment in the fight against piracy. Never before has such a broad coalition promised to pool resources on such a grand and global scale. That being said, with great diversity comes the potential for greatly diverging opinions, so only time will tell if this coalition can really hold together.

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

Movie Company Lawyers Warn Pirate Sites About Looming Blockades

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-company-lawyers-warn-pirate-sites-looming-blockades-170304/

Following a case brought by Roadshow Films, Foxtel, Disney, Paramount, Columbia, and 20th Century Fox, last December more than fifty Australia ISPs were ordered to start barring subscriber access to ‘pirate’ sites.

The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt, streaming service SolarMovie and a wide range of proxy and mirror sites were all included in the action but rightsholders still hadn’t finished. In February it was reported that a second round of blocking litigation had got underway, this time targeting ExtraTorrent, RARBG, Demonoid, LimeTorrents and dozens more.

While copyright holders will have little difficulty in obtaining a new injunction against this fresh batch of sites, they still have to follow procedure. A framework is laid out in the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015, the legislation which authorized site-blocking in Australia.

There are three sets of parties to any action – the owner of the copyrights being infringed, the Internet service providers being asked to block the sites, and the person who operates the site or service which is allegedly infringing copyright.

While the first two sets of parties are always involved, it’s recognized that torrent and streaming site operators probably won’t turn up to argue their case in Australia. Nevertheless, they are given a chance to appear, but for that to happen they first have to be notified of proceedings.

Such notification is the responsibility of copyright holders who must make “reasonable efforts” to determine the identity or address of the person who operates the “online location” in order to deliver a notice. If that is not possible, then the Court can waive the requirement.

TorrentFreak has learned that during the past several days, lawyers acting for copyright holders have indeed been trying to reach the operators of sites. RARBG, one of the torrent platforms listed in the latest complaint, informs us that they’ve received correspondence from Sydney lawfirm Baker & McKenzie, advising that a blocking application is underway.

The letter, headed ‘Application under s115a of the Australian Copyright Act 1968’ notes that the lawfirm is acting on behalf of content owners who claim that RARBG is either reproducing motion picture and television programs and making them available to the public, or authorizing other users to do so without permission.

“The Website’s flagrant infringement, or authorization of infringement, of copyright is occurring on an enormous scale and has caused and continues to cause loss and damage to the Content Owners. It is clear that the intention of the Website is to draw traffic to the Website in order to profit, and away from sources of content authorized by the Content Owners or licensees,” it reads.

The letter sent to RARBG

Additional documents were included in the package, such as a statement of facts and a “genuine steps” statement. This is a requirement under the Civil Dispute Resolution Act 2011 and details steps that we taken to try and solve the dispute before taking it to court.

In the main, the document references pre-application discussion with four broad ISP groups. There are almost 50 respondents in all including Pacnet, Optus, Virgin, M2, Primus, Dodo, Eftel, Vocus, Amcom, Amnet, Nextgen, TPG, iiNet, Internode, Vividwireless, Chariot, PIPE, TransACT and many more.

In basic terms, all providers indicated that they won’t contest the application for an injunction but did raise objections over the issue of costs, a common but not insurmountable issue in most copyright-related cases. There will be a case management hearing March 23, 2017, so expect more developments after that date.

Finally, the documents list all of the sites, alternative domains and IP addresses requested to be blocked. The domains are as follows;

– KissCartoon (kisscartoon.se, .me and .com)
– WatchFree (watchfree.to)
– PrimeWire (primewire.ag and gxiso.com)
– Movie4k (movie4k.to)
– WatchSeries (watchseries.cr, watch-series-online.eu, watchserieshd.eu)
– Alluc (allue.ee, .com, .to, .org, and oneclickmoviez.com
– Phimmoi (phimmoi.net)
– 123movies (12movies.is and .to)
– Couchtuner (couch-tuner.ag, couchtuner.com and .ag)
– Fmovies (fmovies.se and .to)
– Xmovies8 (xmovies8.tv and .org)
– Putlocker (putlockers.vip, putlock.watch, putlocker.plus)
– EYNY (28.eyny.com)
– Megashare (megashare.at, .sc, .info)
– GenVideos (genvideos.org)
– Spacemov (spacemov.net and .com)
– Kinogo (kinogo.club and .co)
– Viooz (viooz.ac)
– HDMoviesWatch (hdmovieswatch.org and .net)
– Xemphimso (xemphimso.com)
– Shush (shush.se)
– ExtraTorrent (ExtraTorrent.cc, .com, Extra.to)
– EZTV (eztv.ag, .ch, istole.it, zoink.it, ezrss.it)
– RARBG (rarbg.to and .com)
– YTS (yts.ag)
– YIFY (yify-torrent.org)
– TorrentDownloads (torrentdownloads.me)
– BitSnoop (bitsnoop.com)
– Demonoid (demonoid.tv)
– LimeTorrents (limetorrents.cc and .com)
– TehParadox (tehparadox.com)
– TorrentProject (TorrentProject.se)
– Icefilms (Icefilms.info)
– PirateBay (piratebay.to)
– Putlocker (putlockers.ch, putlocker.is, putlocker.biz)
– Softarchive (sanet.cd, softarchive.la, softarchive.net)
– RLSBB (rlsbb.com)
– Putlocker (putlocker.run and .live)

Note: Some ‘brands’ appear multiple times but are referenced separately in the application

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

Dozens of Pirate Sites Targeted in New Aussie Crackdown

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dozens-of-pirate-sites-targeted-in-new-aussie-crackdown-170224/

Following a case brought by Roadshow Films, Foxtel, Disney, Paramount, Columbia, and 20th Century Fox, last December more than fifty Internet service providers Down Under were ordered to start barring subscriber access to ‘pirate’ sites.

At the Federal Court, Justice John Nicholas ruled that The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt and streaming service SolarMovie would all have to be rendered inaccessible to consumers in Australia. Included in the order were dozens of proxy and mirror sites.

After working so hard to have site-blocking legislation passed, it was only a matter of time before rightsholders returned to have more sites blocked. It was therefore no surprise to hear that a new process was launched earlier today.

Backed by six movie studios, Village Roadshow is again in the driving seat, this time seeking to block dozens of ‘pirate’ sites. ComputerWorld reports that there are 41 sites targeted although a couple of domains in the list relate to the same core site.

Many popular torrent sites are in the spotlight including ExtraTorrent, RarBG, Demonoid, LimeTorrents, Torrent Downloads, TorrentProject, YTS and EZTV.

Streaming portals 123Movies, CouchTuner, Icefilms, Movie4K, PrimeWire, Viooz, Putlocker, WatchFree and WatchSeries are also listed alongside direct download sites RlsBB and TehParadox. The complaint also targets several proxy and mirror sites.

In its application, Roadshow requests that ISPs Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG, (and their subsidiaries) block the sites using the template established in the earlier Pirate Bay case. If the movie company wants additional proxy and mirror sites blocked in future, it will need to file an affidavit with the court.

The full list of sites, courtesy of Computerworld, reads as follows:

• 123Movies
• Alluc
• Bitsnoop
• Couchtuner
• Demonoid
• Extra.to
• ExtraTorrent.cc
• EYNY
• EZTV
• FMovies
• GenVideos
• Hdmovieswatch
• Icefilms
• Kinogo
• KissCartoon
• Limetorrents
• MegaShare
• Movie4k
• Phimmoi
• Piratebay.to
• PrimeWire
• Putlocker.ch
• Putlocker.plus
• Putlocker.run
• Putlockers.vip
• Rarbg
• RIsbb
• Shush
• Softarchive
• Spacemov
• Tehparadox
• Torrent Downloads
• TorrentProject
• Viooz
• WatchFree
• WatchSeries
• Xemphimso
• Xmovies8.org
• XMovies8.tv
• Yify Torrent
• YTS

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

Movie Studios Prepare New “Big Time” Wave of Aussie Site Blocks

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-studios-prepare-new-big-time-wave-of-aussie-site-blocks-170112/

Given that Australia is often credited with giving its consumers products that have been available in other regions for some time, it perhaps fits that the country has often been behind the times when it comes to anti-piracy measures.

Still, it’s doing its best to catch up now.

From having almost no way of dealing with unauthorized content consumption (besides giving consumers what they want in a timely fashion at a fair price), Australia is now blazing trails on the site-blocking front. Mid-December marked the beginning of the practice Down Under, when the Federal Court ordered ISPs to block The Pirate Bay and several other sites.

Days later and the first blocks were in place but defeated in seconds by anyone with a basic knowledge of Windows settings. Nevertheless, the content industries feel this is the way forward and are now doubling down.

Speaking with Mashable, Graham Burke, co-chief of Village Roadshow, is warning that a new wave of blocks is already on the horizon, informing the publication that his company is determined to go after pirate sites “big time.”

Burke, who is Australia’s most out-spoken individual on piracy issues, says that pirate site users won’t have long to wait to find out which domains will be targeted. When the court resumes in February, it will be all systems go, he said.

“There’s a list as long as my arm,” he said.

Of course, this revelation comes as no surprise. Over in the UK, where a similar model is in place, site blocking is now a regular occurrence. Often happening by stealth, site blocks are mainly put in place by rightsholders that have been granted permission to amend existing court orders. There’s now zero fanfare when another dozen or a hundred sites get added to the nation’s unofficial blocklist.

Things will be slightly more public in Australia though, and new injunctions will be required for sites not already covered by earlier orders. That said, the process is now fairly well understood and having dozens of new sites blocked shouldn’t prove too difficult, once they are determined to be both infringing and based overseas.

But while site-blocking is certainly part of the puzzle, Burke has once again reiterated his intention to pursue one of the most unpopular anti-piracy strategies. Despite the practice failing to have much positive effect in any other region in the past 15 years, the studio boss says his company will stick to its plan of suing file-sharers.

“We have the legal ability and the right to do,” Burke told Mashable. “Unlike previous areas where that’s been explored, if anyone is of dire circumstances or poor health and they undertake to stop doing it, we will accept that.”

While suing the sick and disadvantaged has never ended well for copyright holders, Burke’s insistence that his strategy aims to “win people’s hearts and minds” is optimistic, to say the least.

Suing end-users is extremely messy and equally expensive unless large ‘fines’ are handed out to supposed infringers to cover costs. When that’s the case, suing starts to look more like a profit center than a deterrent, at which point the moral high-ground is lost and hearts and minds disappear forever.

That being said, the vow to sue members of the public is hardly a new one. Burke made the same comments almost a year ago and the studio seems no closer to actually carrying out its threats. That’s not to say the company won’t try though.

While the copyright trolls behind the movie Dallas Buyers Club failed in their quest to ‘fine’ pirates Down Under, a company like Village Roadshow that already has respect in the region would likely face fewer obstacles. It’s certainly possible, but still ill-advised.

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

Anti-Piracy Movie Competition Entries Are Terrifying

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-movie-competition-entries-are-terrifying-161113/

scary-pirateWhen it comes to delivering tough anti-piracy action and rhetoric Down Under, few can match the efforts of movie company Village Roadshow.

In addition to holding ISPs responsible for piracy and having sites blocked at the provider level, the company is also threatening to track down and fine regular Australian file-sharers.

Village Roadshow co-chief Graham Burke is well known for his outspoken views on piracy, and now he’s encouraging aspiring filmmakers to express theirs via the ‘Unscene‘ short film competition.

First aired during the summer, the competition is now nearing its end-November deadline. Filmmakers of all abilities are invited to participate by expressing their views on how piracy will impact their future in the industry.

The competition is open to anyone over 18 and films are limited to five minutes duration. For the winner, there’s a cash prize of AUS$10,000 and film equipment up for grabs, plus a chance for their entry to be played before movies in Village Cinemas.

After submissions close on November 30, online voting via Facebook begins on December 1 and continues for the rest of the month. Finalists are announced January 15 and the winner will be revealed during a gala event on January 30.

Entrants are invited to “impress, inspire or upset” the judges (who include Graham Burke) but thus far all entries are towing the “piracy is evil” line, so the latter category will probably go unfulfilled.

Many of the filmmakers have been uploading their films to Vimeo without protection, so they can already be viewed. As can be seen from the handful embedded below, many follow a horror theme depicting a bleak future.

‘Echoes’ by Alessandro Frosali is particularly creative, but they all have something to offer in their own way. Thus far, no one has dared to put forward an entry that challenges the notion that piracy is not destructive, but there are still three weeks left to go, so anything could happen.

Turn off the lights, close the curtains. Piracy has never been this scary (NSFW).

Echoes | Unscene Short Film Competition Entry from Alessandro Frosali on Vimeo.

You've Been Warned from Natalie Carbone on Vimeo.

CINEMA. from Zoe Leslie on Vimeo.

Blackspot from Troy Blackman on Vimeo.

DEMONS OF THE FILM INDUSTRY from jesse wakelin on Vimeo.

The Pirates from Andy Burkitt on Vimeo.

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

Pirate Site Operators Are Like Heroin Dealers, Movie Boss Says

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-site-operators-like-heroin-dealers-movie-boss-says-161010/

shadowGraham Burke can be accused of many things but moderating his words is certainly not one of them.

The outspoken co-chief of media company Village Roadshow has been front and center of many of Australia’s movie piracy battles and has authored some of their most controversial comments.

Speaking at the 71st Australian International Movie Convention today, Burke continued the trend. He launched a fresh attack on Internet piracy, accusing pirate site operators of terrible crimes and site users of undermining the livelihoods of creators.

“Nothing is more important or urgent, as every day that passes tens of thousands of our movies are stolen and it is a devastating contagious plague,” a copy of Burke’s speech obtained by The Australian (subscription) reads.

According to the Village Roadshow chief, the main problem is the sites that facilitate this “theft”, which are not only extremely dangerous places to visit but are run by equally dangerous people.

“We are sending our kids to very dangerous online neighborhoods — the pirates are not good guys,” Burke said.

“These aren’t roguish, basement-dwelling computer geeks — these are the same type of people that sell heroin.”

Describing pirate site operators as often having connections to “organised, international crime syndicates”, Burke warned that they only care about revenue, making “tens of millions blitzing our kids with [high-risk] advertising.”

Interestingly, Burke said that nearly three-quarters of people acknowledge that piracy is theft but noted that many downloaders are unaware that what they are doing is “wrong” because government inaction means that “dangerous” pirate sites are still open for business.

“In our research we repeatedly come across people who have not been told [piracy is wrong and is theft], and assume from continued practice, that it is socially and legally acceptable, and that it does no harm or that their individual activity won’t make any difference,” he said.

“People wouldn’t go into a 7-Eleven and swipe a Mars bar. People are fundamentally honest and fundamentally decent.”

But with site-blocking and making more content legally available only part of the solution, the Village Roadshow chief says his company has decided that taking action against the public is now required. Repeat infringers, Burke says, will now be subjected to legal action.

“We are planning to pursue our legal rights to protect our copyright by suing repeat infringers — not for a king’s ransom but akin to the penalty for parking a car in a loading zone,” ABC reports.

“If the price of an act of thievery is set at say AUS$300 (US$228), we believe most people will think twice.”

While it’s too early to estimate exactly how many Aussie pirates might be caught up in the dragnet, it’s fair to say the numbers could be considerable. Mad Max: Fury Road, a Village Roadshow produced movie, is said to have been illegally downloaded 3.5 million times. Australia has a population of around 23.5 million.

However, the age group of people said to be carrying out much of the pirating presents a problem. Burke says that piracy among adults has dropped in the past year due to the availability of services such as Netflix. However, the growing threat appears to come from a much younger age group.

“There has been some decline in piracy amongst Australian adults in the last year and part of this is due to new streaming services … which demonstrates that when product is legally available, this is a critical factor,” Burke said.

“However, before we get too comfortable by this decline in total piracy, the emphasis on movies is worse and illegal online activity of 12 to 17-year-old Australians has almost doubled since last year — with a whopping 31 per cent pirating movies.”

And there lies the dilemma. While Burke thinks that fines might be the answer to further reducing piracy among the adult population, he’s going to have a crisis on his hands if he starts targeting his big problem group – children. Kids can be sued in Australia but that sounds like a horrible proposition that will only undermine the campaign’s goals.

Whoever his company ‘fines’ or goes on to sue, Burke says the money accrued will go back into education campaigns to further reduce piracy. It’s a model previously employed by the RIAA, who eventually abandoned the strategy.

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

Studios & ISPs Clash Over Aussie Pirate Bay Blockade

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/studios-isps-clash-over-aussie-pirate-bay-blockade-160624/

ausAfter new legislation was passed last year, the first site-blocking cases were filed in Federal Court during the early part of 2016.

Two major industry players are putting the legislation to the test, with Roadshow Films (the movie division of Village Roadshow) and TV giant Foxtel both seeking to have several pirate sites blocked at the ISP level.

Foxtel wants to render The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, isoHunt and TorrentHound inaccessible in Australia. Roadshow is targeting streaming portal Solarmovie.

After a hearing in March, entertainment companies and local ISPs appeared in court again this week to thrash out the details. The ISPs aren’t putting up a fight against blocking per se, but there are still many practical issues to be agreed.

Section 115a of the Copyright Act states that ISPs can be forced to block an overseas “online location” if its purpose is to infringe copyright. To future-proof the law against new technologies, the term “online location” is intentionally broad. No surprise then that rightsholders argued this week that it encompasses blocking more than just IP addresses and URLs.

“[It’s] a broader shorthand reference for the idea that those responsible for the publication of the digital content at the website accessible by various URLs and IP addresses are within the broader definition of online location,” said Foxtel and Roadshow counsel Richard Lancaster.

What rightsholders are striving for is a situation similar to the one in the UK, where sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents are blocked but proxies and other workarounds can be easily added to existing injunctions. To date, rightsholders and ISPs have been unable to reach agreement on how such a mechanism can be implemented in Australia.

Today, there was further legal argument, and not unexpectedly the ISPs are at odds with several of the studios’ demands.

To cut down on costs, rightsholders want the ability to swiftly add mirrors and proxies to existing blocking orders after formally advising ISPs. They say this will streamline the process and ensure that new blocks are put in place within 15 days.

However, ISPs Telstra, Optus, TPG and M2 say that rightsholders should have to obtain new court orders for each “workaround” site that appears.

Counsel for Telstra said that taking the official route would not entail much more work than informally filing a request with ISPs. According to an ITNews report, the rightsholders disagreed.

“This is a known problem in the real world. It will be a problem that arises in the implementation of your honor’s orders,” Richard Lancaster said.

“And we’re concerned – given this is the first [blocking] case – that a procedure be adopted that will not create a real administrative burden for the future in having to do something unnecessary and elaborate such as the [ISPs] suggest.”

Arguing the case for a simplified process, Lancaster said that in the unlikely event of a problem while executing an informal website block, any issues could be quickly be presented to the court for resolution.

“It’s not a proportionate response to the likelihood that these secondary [proxy and mirror] sites will be popping up for the copyright owners to be required to brief lawyers, pay them to prepare an affidavit, file it and serve it and so on. An out of court notification is sufficient by way of technical notice and practical operation.”

While the sides continue to butt heads over the mechanics of blocking, the not insignificant matter of who will pay also persists. Predictably, rightsholders feel that ISPs should foot the bill. ISPs think otherwise.

Arguing that ISPs are “successful and wealthy organizations,” Lancaster said that the costs of blocking are both minimal and “comfortable” for them to bear. And if ISPs are paying, that will provide them with an incentive to keep costs down.

“In England the rights holders don’t have to pay for implementation because it’s regarded as being part of the business of carrying out the business of an ISP,” Lancaster said.

“The [rights holders] can’t control the cost of implementation. If the [ISPs] bear the cost, that will encourage the most efficient and cost effective way of blocking. It’s appropriate that if the law requires that illegal or infringing content be blocked or stopped, and that requires some action on the part of [ISPs], they should bear those costs.”

And the rightsholders aren’t stopping there. Not only do they want ISPs to cover the costs of blocking, they want them to foot all of the legal bills too.

“They’re the ones that turned it into a contested hearing, putting on evidence and rounds of hearings,” Lancaster told the court.

The hearings continue.

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

Australia Officially Abandons Three Strikes Anti-Piracy Scheme

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/australia-officially-abandons-three-strikes-anti-piracy-scheme-160524/

For many years Australia has been labeled a hotbed of Internet piracy. Faced with high prices, a dearth of choice, and legal products arriving months after their debut elsewhere, millions of Aussies have turned unofficial sources.

As a result, Australia has found itself in the spotlight of both local and international rightsholders who claim that their industry is hemorrhaging millions due to people downloading via torrent, streaming and other file-sharing services.

While the latter mechanisms are more difficult to police, those obtaining media via torrents are relatively easy to track so with this in mind, rightsholders have been placing local Internet service providers under pressure to cooperate in a so-called three-strikes anti-piracy scheme.

In the early days cooperation was not forthcoming so in order to force compliance, movie companies decided to sue ISP iiNet. That action failed in 2012, leaving entertainment companies to re-build bridges and deal with matters on a friendly basis. Years of on/off negotiations ensued, more recently with government involvement.

Late last year it looked almost certain that a “three strikes” style scheme would be implemented, with pirates being monitored by copyright holders and notified of their behavior via escalating ISP warning notices, with legal action being the final step. But earlier this year it was revealed the whole project was in peril, entirely on the issue of costs.

Now it’s been officially confirmed that the project has been shelved. In a joint letter to the Australian Media and Communications Authority, the Communications Alliance and Foxtel (on behalf of rightsholders) state that it had “not proved possible to reach agreement on how to apportion all of the costs” for the scheme.

In all the years of intermittent discussion on “three strikes” costs have always been an issue. Agreement has been reached in other regions, the US for example, but Australia appears to have a unique set of problems.

According to a CNET report, Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton says that while agreement had been reached on who would foot the bill in the majority of areas, “the sticking point was processing costs.”

These costs are reportedly associated with preparing the notices, contacting alleged pirates and dealing with the inevitable flood of telephone calls from unhappy customers. These type of costs are entirely associated with actions the ISPs would be required to carry out themselves, which suggests that the providers have continued to stand their ground, much as they have for many years.

Earlier this year Village Roadshow co-chief Graham Burke bemoaned the manual warning system under discussion, complaining that the labor-intense mechanism would churn out notices at a cost of $16 to $20 each. “You might as well give people a DVD,” he said. But even with automation the ISPs are predicting extremely high costs.

“It is possible to largely automate it, but that’s quite an expensive undertaking,” says John Stanton. “We’ve had ISPs run a ruler over how much it would cost…and it was in the multiple millions.”

So what now for the Aussie downloading problem? Well, it appears that for at least a year not much will happen. With copyright trolls seemingly running for the hills it will be up to legal alternatives to try and persuade consumers they’re a more attractive proposition. They won’t have to go that alone, however.

“We are going to be mounting a massive campaign to reinforce the fact (to the public) that piracy is not a victimless crime and we have to continue to provide content in a timely way and at affordable prices,” Graham Burke said.

And of course the specter of site blocking is still on the horizon and possibly just months away. The music industry may have temporarily suspended its case against KickassTorrents but other cases involving The Pirate Bay are running full steam ahead and will almost certainly conclude before the end of the year. The Kickass case will conclude shortly after.

As for three-strikes, that will be subject to a review in April 2017 but given that agreement over costs hasn’t been reached in close to a decade, another year seems unlikely to make much of a difference.

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

KickassTorrents Blocking Case Suspended By Music Industry

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/kickasstorrents-blocking-case-suspended-by-music-industry-160519/

kickassLast month, members of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Australasian collecting society APRA AMCOS teamed up to file the music industry’s first ‘pirate’ site blocking application Down Under.

Filed at the Federal Court under section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968, member labels Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music and J Albert & Son demanded that leading torrent site KickassTorrents (KAT) should be blocked by the country’s ISPs.

“Online infringement continues to be a major threat to the sustainability of the Australian music industry. Illegal offshore sites like Kickass Torrents show a complete disrespect for music creators and the value of music,” said Jenny Morris OAM, Chair of the APRA Board.

But now, exactly one month later, the case has been temporarily suspended in an effort to cut down on costs. The problem lies with two other key cases already underway in Australia, both of which involve similar requests to block ‘pirate’ sites. All three are likely to become bogged down with the same problems.

The first involves a case brought by TV giant Foxtel which targets The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, isoHunt and TorrentHound. The second features the movie division of Village Roadshow, Roadshow Films, taking on streaming portal Solarmovie.

In those cases ISPs including TPG (including subsidiary iiNet), Optus, Telstra and M2 say they don’t intend to oppose the studios’ requests for a blockade. However, there is a dispute over who will pay for the blocks to be put in place. The ISPs feel they are innocent parties and shouldn’t be forced to finance the operation, the studios disagree. There is also a dispute over how the blocks will be carried out from a technical perspective.

With these problems in mind, the record labels appeared in court yesterday with a request for their case against KickassTorrents to be suspended until after the other cases have been settled. The labels see little point in going over the same ground in parallel and feel that agreement in the other cases will provide a template for theirs.

“Given that the form of relief is a major component of the dispute between Roadshow and Foxtel and the ISPs, and there’s been a considerable amount of time spent between the applicants and respondents negotiating forms of orders and final relief in an attempt to standardize the forms of order sought by the applications,” counsel for the music industry said.

“We propose deferral of consideration of the relief elements for this proceeding until after determination of the Foxtel and Roadshow applications.”

A delay, which would save time and money, was also endorsed by the Internet service providers.

“We want to minimize the costs that are expended. In that light it’s certainly prudent to come back after that other hearing,” Optus counsel said.

Justice Katzmann agreed to the delay and ordered a case management hearing for July 11 to take place after the film studios’ hearing next month. A final hearing will take place in October following a judgment in the film studios’ cases.

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

Australian ISPs Refuse to Pay For Pirate Site Blocking

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/australian-isps-refuse-to-pay-for-pirate-site-blocking-160506/

stop-blockedWebsite blocking applications are active in many countries around the world and they are often complex beasts, with negotiations drawn out over months and in some cases years.

Legislation passed last year in Australia aimed to formalize the process but that doesn’t appear to have detracted from the complexity of getting sites blocked under Section 115A of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015.

Two cases are currently testing the legal machine at the Federal Court. Roadshow Films (the movie division of Village Roadshow) and TV giant Foxtel are both seeking to have several pirate sites blocked at the ISP level. The latter wants to render The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, isoHunt and TorrentHound inaccessible while the former is targeting streaming portal Solarmovie.

The Internet service providers involved – TPG (including subsidiary iiNet), Optus, Telstra and M2 – have today confirmed that while they don’t intend to accept the blocking applications made by Roadshow and Foxtel they don’t intend to oppose them either, a move which leaves the matter in the hands of the Court.

But even with opposition out of the way, things aren’t necessarily progressing smoothly. Just as the issue of costs made a mess of Australia’s three-strikes regime and eventually shelved it, the ISPs are now insisting that they shouldn’t be forced to pay for the entertainment industries’ blocking efforts either.

While talks have been underway between the parties since last year, the ISPs feel that as innocent parties they shouldn’t be the ones picking up the bills. Quite how much those costs will rise to is also a matter for debate.

In Court today TPB/iiNet said it could carry out DNS blocking relatively cheaply at just AUS$50 (US37) per domain. M2, on the other hand, said its costs would be AUS$400 (US$295) per domain in the best case scenario and could climb to AUS$800 (US$590) in the worst.

While other ISPs have yet to put in their estimates (they will do so in the coming weeks), the sheer amount of blocking that will eventually take place in Australia must be a point of concern. After several years there are now around a 1,000 domains on the UK’s unofficial blocklist and that number is increasing every month. Deciding who pays at this early stage is definitely an important exercise.

As a result all parties will return to Court for an additional hearing on the blocking application on June 23. In the meantime, however, further discussion on site-blocking will continue in a parallel case brought by the music industry.

Last month members of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Australasian collecting society APRA AMCOS teamed up to file their first site-blocking application at the Federal Court. Record labels Universal, Warner, Sony, and Albert & Son targeted KickassTorrents.

After describing KickassTorrents as the “worst of the worst”, they too demanded
a close to nationwide ISP blockade of the famous torrent site and its associated proxy sites. A case management hearing in that case will take place on June 6.

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