Tag Archives: youtube

Crisis Looms as YouTube Faces Permanent Blocking by Russian ISPs

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/crisis-looms-as-youtube-faces-permanent-blocking-by-russian-isps-191224/

As the most popular video hosting platform on the Internet, YouTube is awash with both legal and unlicensed content. However, since the company is responsive to copyright complaints, it is largely protected by the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.

The system is far from perfect and is nowhere near comprehensive. False positives, abusive copyright claims and the sheer volume of uploads make it almost impossible to police the platform to a standard acceptable to everyone. The same can be said of the Internet has a whole but with automated and manual takedown tools, YouTube does what it can.

One copyright holder that isn’t happy with YouTube’s efforts is Russian publishing giant Eksmo and its anti-piracy partner AZAPI, the Association for the Protection of Copyright in the Internet. It says the YouTube system “does not always work” so has decided to step up its efforts to protects its clients’ rights.

As a result, Eksmo recently filed a court case against YouTube and the video platform of local search giant Yandex, claiming that the sites offer pirated audio copies of the sci-fi novel ‘The Three-Body Problem’ by the Chinese author Liu Cixin.

The December complaint was initially rejected due to lack of evidence but on appeal, the Moscow City Court has now ruled that YouTube and Yandex.video must remove the content or face having it blocked by local ISPs. According to a report by local news outlet Vedomosti, the content in question still exists on both platforms.

According to a statement from the Moscow City Court published by TASS on Monday, it has now taken preliminary measures against both sites.

“The court ordered Yandex.video and YouTube to remove the link to the Cixin audiobook. As a security measure, the court imposed a block on this material on both hosting sites,” the press service said.

The Court spokesperson had no comment on the potential for YouTube or Yandex.video to be permanently blocked in Russia but it appears that AZAPI has plans for just that.

“We are ready to go to court using other books. If the complaints are satisfied, we can insist on the eternal blocking of Yandex.Video and YouTube in Russia,” AZAPI chief Maxim Ryabyko informs Vedomosti.

AZAPI represents the interests of Russia’s biggest publishers so the possibility for additional complaints is substantial. What remains unclear is the standard to which YouTube is being held. If the site receives a valid copyright complaint against a specific URL, it usually removes the content in a timely manner. However, that doesn’t necessarily prevent the same content from being uploaded again. At least from AZAPI’s perspective, this appears to be a case of repeat infringement.

“There were situations even when, after making a court ruling, we continued to find controversial copies on this platform,” Ryabyko says.

From the limited comments available, AZAPI seems to be demanding a “takedown, staydown” arrangement in response to its complaints, something which goes beyond Google’s responsibilities under the DMCA.

Whether AZAPI’s threats are ultimately designed to bring YouTube to the negotiating table is unclear but having the site blocked in Russia seems like the nuclear option, particularly when YouTube offers a number of special tools that may help to prevent further infringement.

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

Documentary Detailing How “Geniuses Steal” Hit With Blurred Lines Copyright Complaint

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/documentary-detailing-how-geniuses-steal-hit-with-blurred-lines-copyright-complaint-191218/

The phrase declaring that there is “nothing new under the sun” is well known.

At least in part, it suggests that everything we say, do, or create is copied from the people or material we learn from, after being processed through the intricacies of our own experiences.

This ‘human remix’ theory is the premise of a new documentary series produced by Copy-Me.org, a group that was featured on the main page of The Pirate Bay back in 2013. Titled the Creativity Delusion, the latest installment in the series declares that “Geniuses Steal.”

“We know geniuses are not real and minds don’t have Eureka moments. But we still cling to the idea of an original artist. That romantic notion of someone who creates something out of nothing, with their mind alone,” the introduction reads.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, Copy-Me’s Alex Lungu further explains that the episode focuses on the rarity of originality in history, art, and inventions.

“From Morse to Beethoven, from Shakespeare to Orwell, from Lynch to Tarkovsky, everything is a constant remix,” Lungu says.

“It makes us feel good to believe in a somewhat supernatural idea of a creator. But I think it’s much more liberating for anyone who makes anything to not put so much pressure on themselves, as it’s too much already. And yeah, one of the biggest downsides is that we lock our culture up believing that this will somehow lead to more creativity, not less.”


In common with any good documentary, The Creativity Delusion: Geniuses Steal goes into detail, providing clear examples of well-known quotes, pieces of art, film scenes, musical compositions and more, that were either copied from pre-existing works or provided inspiration for new creations.

Unfortunately, uploading such a documentary to YouTube is a risky endeavor, since the platform’s automatic ContentID system has no way to determine whether a piece of content had been truly pirated or should be subject to fair use exemptions.

As a result, after the documentary was uploaded on December 8, 2019, it was immediately targeted by YouTube’s bots. They determined that highlighting the similarities between well-known tracks, such as the Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams track Blurred Lines and Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give it Up, with appropriate short samples, are an infringement of the labels’ copyrights.

This resulted in the documentary being subjected to not just one but four separate ContentID matches.

Copy-Me disputed all of the claims but fast forward ten days and the hits against the video remain in place and look to remain so for another three weeks. The disputes are reportedly “under review” but in the meantime, the entities behind these tracks get the benefit of the doubt that their content is being used illegally.

While the documentary highlights many clear instances of artists copying or basing their work on those of others, the fact that the section focusing on Blurred Lines seems to have caused the most issues is ironic, to say the least.

After a long legal battle that finally came to a close in 2018, a judge ruled that Thicke and Pharrell must pay $5m to the family of Marvin Gaye for copyright infringement because Blurred Lines bore too many similarities to Got to Give it Up.

Interestingly, just after that case went to an unsuccessful appeal, more than 200 musicians filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Thicke and Williams which warned that the verdict in the case “threatens to punish songwriters for creating new music that is inspired by prior works.”

This, of course, is the entire point of the Copy-Me documentary, that all artists and creators in various niches rely on those who went before to provide ideas and artistic inspiration. There truly is nothing new under the sun, but sadly that also includes highly questionable copyright hits on YouTube, pointing out that very thing.

“We used samples [from the songs] to make the point that the biggest copyright lawsuit of the decade ($5m) is a travesty that can have serious repercussions on inspiration and creativity,” Lungu says.

“The two songs are similar in the way any two funk songs are similar, and we play other samples from other songs to make that point. There’s no other way to show that… other than to actually play them. This is clearly covered by fair use: to use a fragment of a song in an educational material, for non-commercial purposes to make a point about that very song.”

It remains to be seen whether this problem will be resolved quickly, or indeed resolved at all. However, Lungu firmly believes that if a platform like YouTube uses automated detection systems, there must be a clear and simple way to dispute false positives.

“[The platform] should explain what you can do in the easiest way possible. It should explain how copyright actually works and how using someone else’s work can be completely legal, even without anyone’s permission,” he says.

“Copyright isn’t property, but not that many people know that. And we should have a strict way of taxing those who claim works that aren’t theirs. Why should repeat infringers have a three-strike policy, but repeat abusers shouldn’t?”

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 capacitive-touch musical Christmas tree

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/capacitive-touch-musical-christmas-tree/

What, your Christmas tree ISN’T touch-enabled?

Capacitive Touch Christmas Tree How To | Raspberry Pi | Bare Conductive Pi Cap

Turn your Christmas tree into a capacitive touch-interactive musical instrument using a Raspberry Pi and a Bare Conductive Pi Cap. You’ll be rocking around the Christmas tree in no time! /* Bare Conductive */ Pi Cap: https://www.bareconductive.com/shop/pi-cap/ Touch Board: https://www.bareconductive.com/shop/touch-board/ Code: https://github.com/BareConductive/picap-touch-mp3-py #RasberryPi #BareConductive #Christmas

Using the Bare Conductive Pi Cap, Davy Wybiral hooked up his fairy lights and baubles to a Raspberry Pi. The result? Musical baubles that allow the user to play their favourite festive classics at the touch of a finger. These baubles are fantastic, and it’s easy to make your own. Just watch the video for Davy’s how-to.

The code for Bare Conductive’s Pi Cap polyphonic touch MP3 utility can be found in this GitHub repo, and you can pick up a Pi Cap on the Bare Conductive website. Then all you need to do is hook up your favourite tree decorations to the Pi Cap via insulated wires, and you’re good to go. It’s OK if your decorations aren’t conductive: you’ll actually be touching the wires and not the ornaments themselves.

And don’t worry about touching the wires, it’s perfectly safe. But just in this instance. Please don’t make a habit of touching wires.

Make sure to subscribe to Davy on YouTube (we did) and give him a like for the baubles video. Also, leave a comment to tell him how great it is, because nice comments are lovely, and we should all be leaving as many of them as we can on the videos for our favourite creators.

The post Raspberry Pi capacitive-touch musical Christmas tree appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Filmmaker Wins Piracy Lawsuit Against YouTube and Google India

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/filmmaker-wins-piracy-lawsuit-against-youtube-and-google-india-191209/

Every week, YouTube’s users upload millions of hours of videos. As with any user-generated content site, this also includes copyright-infringing content.

YouTube tackles this problem by processing takedown notices and using its Content-ID system to automatically remove allegedly infringing content.

However, according to copyright holders, this is not good enough. That includes Bollywood filmmaker Suneel Darshan, who filed a lawsuit against YouTube and Google India in 2011. Now, eight years later, a local court has ruled in his favor.

A few days ago, the District Court of Gurgaon held that the video platform did indeed infringe on the rights of the filmmaker. The Court issued an injunction preventing YouTube from violating his copyrights going forward and awarded roughly $700 in compensation.

The ‘damages’ amount is relatively low, especially after a prolonged legal battle, but Darshan says that he is planning to file a separate case to claim his full losses. A copy of the verdict has not been published online, as far as we know.

According to local media reports, YouTube and Google’s lawyers argued that the video platform was merely an intermediary, which should not be held directly liable.

In addition, the companies pointed out that they have a functional DMCA takedown policy that allows any copyright holder to request the removal in infringing content by pointing out specific URLs. This is something the filmmaker failed to do.

Darshan and his legal team held that YouTube and Google profited from the “unauthorized exploitation” of copyrighted works by sharing ad-revenue with the user who uploaded the content. As a result, the filmmaker lost part of his income.

The Court eventually sided with the copyright holder ruling that if Google and YouTube were aware of the content, they could have located the URLs to remove the infringing videos.

While the ruling is a setback for the video platform, the case is likely to be appealed. For now, however, the filmmaker is happy with the victory which he describes as an “encouraging judgment.”

That said, the journey towards this victory has been prolonged and difficult. YouTube and Google pushed back hard, Darshan says, quoted by the Free Press Journal.

“We faced many challenges while fighting this case. They made so many claims that it is not their jurisdiction and then they told me that I don’t hold the right to this content. So I had to prove my ownership, it is like parents proving that it is their child,” Darshan says.

YouTube hasn’t commented publicly on the case yet. The company is currently involved in several copyright infringement cases, including two that are with the European Court of Justice, which are expected to have a broad impact.

Similar to the Indian case, the top EU court will have to decide whether YouTube can be expected to go beyond responding to takedown notices that detail specific URLs.

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

‘Royalty-Free’ Music Supplied By YouTube Results in Mass Video Demonetization

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/royalty-free-music-supplied-by-youtube-results-in-mass-video-demonetization-191118/

Matt Lowne is a very popular YouTuber with a passion for the simulation game Kerbal Space Program. Since 2013 he’s amassed close to 56 million views but late last week, his video world was turned upside down.

In common with many YouTubers, Matt didn’t want any copyright issues on his channel. So, to play things safely, he obtained the track ‘Dreams‘ by Joakim Karud from YouTube’s very own audio library for use in his intro. Unfortunately, this strategy of obtaining supposedly risk-free music from a legitimate source still managed to backfire.

Very early last Friday, Matt says he received a “massive barrage” of emails from YouTube, targeting “pretty much all” of his KSP videos. The emails said that Matt’s videos “may have content owned or licensed by SonyATV, PeerMusic, Warner Chappell, Audiam and LatinAutor.”

Some of the YouTube demonetization emails

A clearly exasperated Matt took to YouTube, noting that any ads that now show up on his videos “split up the revenue between all the companies listed” in the emails, with Matt himself “allowed to keep what’s left of that.” He doesn’t know what that amount might be, because he says there’s just no way of knowing.

After highlighting the vague use of the word “may” in YouTube’s emails to him, Matt then went on to describe the real “kick in the gut”, which revolves around the track itself.

‘Dreams’ composer Joakim Karud allows anyone to use his music on YouTube, even commercially, for free. And the fact that Matt downloaded the track from YouTube’s own library was the icing on this particularly bitter cake.

“So I guess this library can’t be trusted at all,” says Matt. “YouTube might just remove songs from it after the fact and then shrug off any consequences for videos that use that music as you know, shit happens.”

Matt said he had to time out to manually protest the automated claims against his account but he says his overtures were immediately rejected, “almost like it’s an automated bot or something.” But things get worse from there.

After contesting each claim and having all of those rejected, Matt says the only option left is to appeal every single one. However, if an appeal is lost, the video in question will be removed completely and a strike will be placed against his account.

It’s three strikes and you’re out on YouTube, so this is not an attractive option for Matt if the music companies somehow win the fight. So, instead, Matt is appealing against just one of the complaints in the hope that he can make some progress without putting his entire account at risk.

Matt says he won’t be able to risk putting any music in his videos in future, because even with the best intentions, a “billion-dollar corporation” can simply decide that they “would like to start benefiting off your blood, sweat and tears.”

Worryingly, searches online show that not only are other people affected by similar mass complaints, but there may — may — be an explanation for what is going on here.

“SonyATV & Warner Chappell have claimed 24 of my videos because the royalty free song Dreams by Joakim Karud (from the OFFICIAL YOUTUBE AUDIO LIBRARY BTW) uses a sample from Kenny Burrell Quartet’s ‘Weaver of Dream’,” a Twitter user wrote on Saturday.

Sure enough, if one turns to the WhoSampled archive, Dreams is listed as having sampled Weaver of Dreams, a track from 1956 to which Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. own the copyrights.

If the trend of claims against ‘Dreams’ continues, there is potential for huge upheaval on YouTube and elsewhere. Countless thousands of videos use the track and as a result it has become very well-known. Sadly, people trying to claim it as their own is nothing new but fingers crossed, common sense will sort out the present issues.

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

RIAA Delists YouTube Rippers From Google Using Rare Anti-Circumvention Notices

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-delists-youtube-rippers-from-google-using-rare-anti-circumvention-notices-191108/

While music piracy has reduced in recent years due to the popularity of platforms such as Spotify, the major labels remain highly concerned over so-called steam-ripping services.

These sites allow users to enter a YouTube URL, for example, and then download audio from the corresponding video, mostly in MP3 format. This means that users can download music and store it on their own machines, negating the need to revisit YouTube for the same content. This, the major labels say, deprives content creators of streaming revenue.

Tackling this issue has become one of the industry’s highest anti-piracy priorities. Previously, YouTube-MP3 – the largest ripping site at the time – was shut down following legal action by the major labels. Since then, lawsuits have been filed against other platforms but the battle is far from over and recently a new strategy appears to have been deployed.

A pair of DMCA notices appeared on the Lumen Database late October, having been filed there by Google. The sender of both notices is listed as the RIAA, acting on behalf of its members including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group.

They are worded slightly differently but each target the homepages of five major YouTube-ripping sites – 2conv.com, flvto.biz, y2mate.com, yout.com, and youtubeconverter.io. Both contain the following key claim:

“To our knowledge, the URLs provide access to a service (and/or software) that circumvents YouTube’s rolling cipher, a technical protection measure, that protects our members’ works on YouTube from unauthorized copying/downloading,” the notices read.

Unlike regular DMCA takedown notices filed with Google, these notices do not appear in Google’s Transparency report. However, Google has acted on them by delisting the homepages of all five platforms from its search results. Other URLs for the platforms still appear, but their homepages are all gone.

The notices are listed on the Lumen Database in the anti-circumvention section, meaning that the RIAA-labeled complaints demand action from Google under the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, rather than demanding the takedown of URLs based on the claim they carry infringing music titles.

The ‘technical measures’ allegedly being circumvented (such as the “rolling cypher” referenced in the complaints) are those put in place by YouTube, which in turn protect the copyrighted content of the labels.

TorrentFreak contacted the RIAA yesterday, requesting comment and seeking additional information on the basis for the notices. Unfortunately, the industry group declined to make any further comment on any aspect of the complaints.

Nevertheless, the RIAA and its members are no strangers to the claim that by circumventing YouTube’s ‘technological measures’, so-called ‘ripping’ sites infringe their rights too. Two of the sites targeted in the recent notices – 2conv.com and flvto.biz – were sued by the labels in 2018. The original complaint contains the following text:

From the complaint

That circumvention (at least in respect of the labels’ works when users select them for download) may also amount to an infringement of the labels’ rights seems to be supported by comments made in the Disney vs VidAngel case.

An opinion from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that “[n]o person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a [copyrighted] work. Circumvention means ‘to decrypt an encrypted work.. without the authority of the copyright owner’.”

Nevertheless, it was previously argued by the EFF that stream-ripping sites are not by definition illegal since on top of the usual fair use exemptions, some creators who upload their content to online platforms grant permission for people to freely download and modify their work.

“There exists a vast and growing volume of online video that is licensed for free downloading and modification, or contains audio tracks that are not subject to copyright,” the EFF stresses.

“Moreover, many audio extractions qualify as non-infringing fair uses under copyright. Providing a service that is capable of extracting audio tracks for these lawful purposes is itself lawful, even if some users infringe.”

The anti-circumvention notices detailed above are not only relatively rare but also have an additional interesting property – they are harder to dispute than regular DMCA takedown notices.

As detailed here last year, Google told the target of a similar complaint requesting URL delisting that “There is no formal counter notification process available under US law for circumvention, so we have not reinstated these URLs.”

The pair of DMCA anti-circumvention notices can be found here 1,2 (pdf)

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

Have Pirate IPTV Sellers on YouTube Lost Their Minds?

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/have-pirate-iptv-sellers-on-youtube-lost-their-minds-191103/

Anyone who has followed piracy and copyright infringement issues for years or even decades, few developments fall into the ‘WOW’ category anymore.

That torrent and streaming services are still getting sued or raided is frankly daily fodder and after the military-style raid on Kim Dotcom hit the headlines, pretty much anything is possible.

Over the past couple of years, however, something so bizarre – so ridiculous – has been developing on sites like YouTube to make even the most outspoken of pirates raise an eyebrow or two. We’re talking about the rise of the IPTV seller and reseller ‘celebrities’ who are openly promoting their businesses like a regular company might.

As reported this week, IPTV reseller company Boom Media LLC is getting sued by DISH Networks and NagraStar in the United States. That another one of these outfits is being targeted isn’t a shock. However, when promotional YouTube videos are produced in court evidence, with the alleged owner of the company personally appearing in them stating that “it’s pirated f**cking streams. It’s no different than buying f**king knockoff shoes. It’s black market shit,” one has to wonder what the hell is going on.

So, just one person has allegedly done something reckless or ill-considered, right? Wrong. This type of behavior is neither isolated or rare.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sitting through hours of YouTube videos produced by people selling or reselling ‘pirate’ IPTV packages. In a worrying number, particularly given the popularity of their services, owners, founders, or ’employees’ of these outfits appear in person.

Their names are publicly known and in some cases, even their addresses. These are not small players, not by any stretch. In some cases, we’re talking huge numbers of followers and many hundreds of thousands of views, selling well-recognized services.

While in some cases hyperbole is clearly part of the pitch, it’s child’s play to find operators of these companies bragging about how much money they’ve made or are making, and how many customers they have. They speak to their subscribers, in person via live-streams, conduct detailed Q&A sessions, while ‘confirming’ the supposed legality of what they’re doing.

In a surprising number of cases, negative comments by users concerning legality are passed off as ridiculous, with sellers describing the sale of pirate IPTV subscriptions as residing in a gray area with the law powerless to do anything about it. While we could have a detailed argument here about the intricacies of any number of laws, both criminal and civil, and any potential defenses to them, these people appear to be missing the point.

Just this week, Openload – a true Internet giant with considerable resources – was pummeled into submission by dozens of the world’s largest content companies after agreeing to pay substantial damages. This was a file-hosting goliath being beaten up dozens of bigger goliaths. No face on YouTube required.

Another example can be found in Kim Dotcom, who says he has spent upwards of $40m in legal fees, even though, on the surface, many argue he has a solid legal basis for mounting a successful defense in the United States. But that’s $40,000,0000 already, before trial, an amount that will no doubt skyrocket in the event he ever gets sent there.

But here’s the thing. The majority of these IPTV ‘celebrities’, for want of a better term, are actually living in the United States already. It’s not necessary to name any of them, they do enough of that themselves. But in addition to their self-declared IPTV empires, some have significant and legitimate additional business interests too, which could all be put in jeopardy, one way or another, should the proverbial hit the fan.

In a piracy world where many are discussing anonymity, encryption, proxies, cryptocurrency payments, to name just a few, these people are deliberately making their identities known. They are not hiding away and as a result, they are known by anti-piracy groups who probably can’t believe their luck.

They not only have their real names and their own faces splashed across their own IPTV-based YouTube channels, but also channels that cover other aspects of their sometimes flamboyant lives. Anti-piracy groups don’t need investigators to find out who they are anymore, it’s common knowledge. An alias? Not parading yourself on the modern equivalent of TV? That’s soooo 1999, apparently.

The big question is whether these people really have lost their minds, or do they actually know something that most other people don’t? When did putting your own face in multiple videos, selling access to an admittedly pirated product via a company in your own name, become part of a solid business plan? It’s truly bizarre and cannot end well.

Welcome to 2019, it’s a truly strange place to be.

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

YouTube Settles Lawsuit With Alleged DMCA Extortion Scammer for $25,000

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-settles-lawsuit-with-alleged-dmca-extortion-scammer-for-25000-191016/

YouTube’s copyright takedown policy poses one of the biggest threats to the streaming platform’s content creators.

YouTubers who receive three copyright infringement strikes can easily lose their channel, which for some equates to their livelihood.

This looming threat also provides an opportunity for scammers. As we reported a few months ago, YouTube’s copyright takedown process was being abused to extort YouTubers, including ‘ObbyRaidz’ and ‘Kenzo.’ Both repeatedly received ‘strikes’ against their channels.

The scammer in question pretended that he was the legitimate owner of the videos uploaded by the users and requested money to retract the false claims.

“We striked you. Our request is $150 PayPal, or $75 btc. You may send the money via goods/ services if you do not think we will cancel or hold up our end of the deal,” the scammer wrote.

This abuse didn’t go unnoticed by YouTube, which tracked down the alleged offender and took action.

Last month the video streaming service sued Nebraska-resident Christopher Brady, accusing him of violating the DMCA by falsely claiming the content of other YouTubers as his own.

According to YouTube, Brady repeatedly attempted to harass and extort money from content creators through his bogus copyright infringement claims.

The company believes Brady went as far as using the address of YouTube user Cxlvxn, which is shared with a rightsholder for the purpose of filing a lawsuit, in an attempt to dispatch a large number of police officers to his home.

In the complaint, YouTube demanded a jury trial but it didn’t get that far. A few hours ago they submitted an agreed judgment and permanent injunction to the Nebraska federal court, which settles the matter without any further bloodshed.

Under the proposed injunction (pdf), Brady is prevented from filing any bogus copyright claims going forward. In addition, he separately agreed to pay $25,000 for his misconduct, offering a public apology to all the people who were hurt by his actions.

“I, Christopher L. Brady, admit that I sent dozens of notices to YouTube falsely claiming that material uploaded by YouTube users infringed my copyrights,” reads the apology, which YouTube shared with The Verge.

“I apologize to the YouTube users that I directly impacted by my actions, to the YouTube community, and to YouTube itself,” Brady adds.

The proposed judgment and injunction have yet to be signed off by the court, but this is expected to happen later this week. It’s not clear whether any of the affected users will receive compensation, but YouTube says that it’s happy with this outcome.

“This settlement highlights the very real consequences for those that misuse our copyright system. We’ll continue our work to prevent abuse of our systems,” a YouTube spokesperson said.

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

Epic Games and ‘Cheating’ Fortnite Kid Settle Copyright Lawsuit

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/epic-games-settles-copyright-lawsuit-with-cheating-fortnite-kid-191007/

Frustrated by thousands of cheaters who wreak havoc in Fortnite’s “Battle Royale,” game publisher Epic Games has taken several to court.

The game developer isn’t trying to bankrupt these people financially. The main goal appears to be to stop the cheaters and prevent them from encouraging and facilitating others to do the same.

In most instances, the alleged cheaters are eager to settle the cases. However, a YouTuber called CBV, who was sued by Epic Games this summer, started out by returning fire. Despite his relatively young age of 14 years old, he showed no sign of backing off.

The alleged cheater lawyered up and responded by filing a motion to dismiss at a North Carolina federal court. Among other things, his attorneys pointed out that the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over this client and that requiring a minor to defend himself in another state would be unreasonable.

The games company, which hit the minor (referred to as C.B. in the complaint) with several claims, including copyright infringement and breaches of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision, wasn’t planning on letting CBV get away with it though.

Epic Games countered that it had a solid case, noting that the defendant’s cheating activity continued despite the lawsuit.

With both sides choosing not to back off, the lawsuit seemed destined for a drawn-out fight. But it didn’t get to that. Behind the scenes, the parties came together to settle their differences without court intervention. This has now resulted in a settlement that’s formalized through an order of approval by the court.

With help from pro bono attorneys and his mother Kari as a General Guardian, C.B. reached a confidential settlement with Epic Games. It’s unclear whether there is a damages amount involved, but both sides have dropped their (counter)claims, effectively ending the dispute.

“Defendant’s General Guardian and Defendant agree and are satisfied that the Settlement Agreement that is the subject of this Order is fair and reasonable. In particular, Defendant’s General Guardian and Defendant believe that the terms of the Settlement Agreement properly account for C.B.’s status as a minor,” the order reads.

As part of the settlement, the defendant likely agreed not to engage in any cheating activities. This includes uploading cheat videos on YouTube, which he initially continued to do on a new YouTube channel.

The defendant also continued to develop and sell cheat software, Epic Games previously said. After the lawsuit was filed he created a new website, NexusCheats.us, which was advertised through his YouTube videos. At the time of writing, this website is no longer online.

When the lawsuit was first announced (C.B.) CBV responded with some quite aggressive language on his YouTube channel, but since then the channel has gone quiet. The last upload dates back three months and, given the settlement, it’s unlikely that any new Fortnite cheat videos will appear there going forward.

For Epic Games, these lawsuits are the only way to remove some cheat videos from YouTube. If a YouTuber continues to dispute a DMCA takedown request, as happened in this case, YouTube will restore the video unless a lawsuit is filed.

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

Members of Congress Question Google CEO about YouTube’s Content-ID System

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/members-of-congress-question-google-ceo-about-youtubes-content-id-system-190906/

To protect copyright holders, YouTube uses an advanced piracy recognition system that flags and disables videos that are used without permission.

This system, known as Content ID, works well most of the time, but it’s not perfect. In recent years it’s been heavily criticized by YouTube users and rightsholders alike.

YouTubers, for example, have repeatedly complained that their content has been inaccurately claimed. On the other side, there are tens of thousands of copyright holders who would love to join the Content ID program but are not allowed to.

For now, YouTube’s Content ID system is limited to a few thousand participants. These are claimants which own the exclusive rights to a “substantial body of material” that is “frequently uploaded” by YouTube users. In other words, not the average indie creator.

This exclusivity is a thorn in the side of smaller artists, who instead have to manually go through YouTube to find infringing content. While that’s no different from any other site on the Internet, they feel left out and disadvantaged by the video streaming site.

This issue hasn’t gone unnoticed by US lawmakers. This week, a group of eight members of Congress, including Sen. Marcha Blackburn, Sen. Christopher Coons, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and Rep. Adam Schiff, invited Google CEO Sundar Pichai to a roundtable discussion specifically about Content ID.

The members explain that they are quite content with Google’s copyright enforcement efforts, but they are also concerned that smaller content creators are being left out.

“We are concerned that copyright holders with smaller catalogs of works cannot utilize Content ID, making it more difficult or impossible for them to effectively protect their copyrighted works from infringement and, ultimately, impacting their livelihoods,” they write.

The lawmakers stress that many copyright holders have been denied access to Content ID. While they are still able to take infringing content down manually, they have to do more work than some larger competitors and with fewer resources.

“We have heard from copyright holders who have been denied access to Content ID tools, and as a result, are at a significant disadvantage to prevent the repeated uploading of content that they have previously identified as infringing,” the letter explains.

“They are left with the choice of spending hours each week seeking out and sending notices about the same copyrighted works, or allowing their intellectual property to be misappropriated,” they add.

The Congress members hope to obtain more insight into the matter during a roundtable, where representatives of the creative community will also be present. They’ve prepared a set of questions for Google’s CEO, which they hope to have answered.

Among other things, the members want to know how the Content ID system works, what type of rightsholders are able to join now, whether Google plans to open it up to more rightsholders, and if it will be expanded to other Google services, such as Blogger.

The entire roundtable appears to be limited to the perspective of external rightsholders. There is no mention of the many inaccurate claiming requests YouTubers (who are also content creators) complain about, nor is Content ID abuse on the agenda.

The goal of the roundtable is clear. The Congress members want YouTube’s Content ID system to be available to a wider range of rightsholders, as clearly indicated in their closing words.

“Again, we appreciate the efforts that you have made to combat distribution of infringing content on YouTube. Given its apparent benefits to rights holders, we hope that you will consider making Content ID and the benefits it provides available to a larger category of content creators.”

A copy of the letter the Members of Congress sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai is available here (pdf), via IPWatchdog.

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YouTube Sued For $720K Over Alleged Copyright Strike “Retaliation”

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-sued-for-720k-over-alleged-copyright-strike-retaliation-190829/

While most YouTube users are simply visitors to the site, a minority produce their own content and upload it to the platform for others to enjoy.

Some can make a decent living when they enter a revenue-sharing agreement with YouTube but when things go wrong, those earnings can stop in an instant. According to popular YouTuber DJ Short-E (real name Erik Mishiyev), this happened to him – and he’s blaming the whole thing on YouTube using copyright-strikes as “retaliation” to his threats of a lawsuit.

In a complaint filed in a California federal court Wednesday, Mishiyev describes himself as a “well-known Journalist and DJ, known as ‘Short-E’, who publishes original music, DJ mixes, and celebrity interviews in videos on YouTube.”

Since 2007, Mishiyev says he’s run two YouTube channels – ‘djshortehot4eva’ and ‘theshorteshow’. These channels were monetized following an agreement with YouTube and after developing a subscriber base of 250,000 users, his channels generated more than 110 million views. For this, YouTube paid him $310,000 over a five-year period.

In March 2016, Mishiyev claims he began receiving copyright claims on his “highest advertisement revenue videos”. He says he responded with counter-claims to avoid YouTube’s “three strikes” process which would’ve disabled his channel. However, he reports that all claims were won and his channel was re-instated for monetization.

A year later, Mishiyev says YouTube recognized him as a successful contributor by handing him a “Silver Creator Award” for reaching 100,000 subscribers. However, despite growing his audience at a rate of around 4,000 subscribers per month, views remained low when compared to similar channels.

“Plaintiff was concerned about this suspicious activity and sought confirmation numerous times from YOUTUBE that they were truly distributing his new videos to his fans and subscribers, but YOUTUBE failed to provide such confirmation, stating ‘They could not share this information’ with him,” the complaint notes.

Mishiyev includes an email from one of his subscribers to back up his claims that YouTube failed to promote his content as per his agreement with the company.

“I subscribed to both of your channels and turned my notifications on for you so I would know when you uploaded new videos,” it reads.

“I subscribed about 2 weeks ago and haven’t got a single notification from youtube but I noticed you have uploaded many new videos since I subscribed [to your channels]. Please fix this problem, i’m sure there are many other people who haven’t been notified either and that’s why I noticed your views are very low compared to other similar channels.”

According to Mishiyev, YouTube’s failure to promote his content would cause him to lose $125,000 in revenue over a three-year period but after losing faith in YouTube’s support team, he told the company he would be filing a lawsuit if its conduct persisted.

In response, on December 18, 2018, YouTube reportedly sent a notice saying that they would be terminating Mishiyev’s accounts and removing his content. The very next day, serious copyright problems began.

“On December 15, 2018 through January 15, 2019, Plaintiff was abruptly bombarded with copyright claims like he never had been before the entire time he had been managing and growing his channels,” the complaint notes.

A sample of the copyright notices received

On January 22, 2018, YouTube reportedly blocked access to all of Mishiyev’s videos, replacing them with a notice that they had been removed due “to a copyright claim.” YouTube then placed “strikes” on his account but Mishiyev says that YouTube’s actions were actually in response to his threat of a lawsuit.

“Although YOUTUBE stated they removed his channels and videos for copyright claims, the removals appeared to Plaintiff to be in retaliation for his placing them on notice that he would be filing a lawsuit,” Mishiyev’s lawyers write.

According to the YouTuber, he followed the company’s rules by submitting counter-notices as required by the DMCA, noting that every time he had done that in the past he had prevailed since no one ever filed a lawsuit against him.

Generally, when a counter-notification is filed and there is no lawsuit notification from a complainant, content goes back up. But YouTube apparently wrote back saying that at least some of Mishiyev’s counter-notices were “ineligible.”

The complaint adds that YouTube later retracted its statement that the videos were ineligible for counter-notification and promised to process them. It’s not clear what happened next but it didn’t help Mishiyev’s predicament.

“To date, Plaintiff’s strikes have not been removed, his counter claims have
not been processed, and his videos and channels have been permanently removed, though no claimants presented evidence that they filed any lawsuits. Thus, evidencing that YOUTUBE did not simply remove his content because of copyright claims, but instead in retaliation for placing them on notice that he was filing a lawsuit against them,” the complaint asserts.

As a result, the now-former YouTuber says he lost $90,000 in revenue between January 2019 and July 2019, adding that when lost subscribers, views, future views, performance bookings, and lost advertising and sponsorship deals are taken into account, YouTube’s actions have caused him damages of $720,000, for which he demands compensation in full.

Mishiyev is suing YouTube for breach of contract, interference with contractual relations, interference and negligent interference with economic advantage, and negligence. He also demands an injunction preventing YouTube from “banning Plaintiff from the full use of the internet and YOUTUBE’s services.”

The complaint plus supporting documents can be found here 1,2,3,4,5 (pdf)

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Keynote speeches from Scratch Conference Europe 2019

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/keynote-speeches-scratch-conference-europe-2019/

This weekend, the Raspberry Pi Foundation hosted Scratch Conference Europe 2019 at Churchill College in Cambridge, UK.

Framing the busy weekend’s schedule were presentations from:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab’s Mitchel Resnick, co-inventor of Scratch himself
  • Science presenter Neil Monterio
  • Raspberry Pi favourite, the fire-loving Fran Scott

Since not everyone was able to travel to Cambridge to attend the conference, we wanted to make sure you’re not missing out, so we filmed their presentations, for you to watch at your leisure.

For the full Scratch Conference experience, we suggest gathering together a group of like-minded people to watch the videos and discuss your thoughts. Alternatively, use #ScratchEurope on Twitter to join in the conversation with the conference attendees online.

Enjoy!

Mitch Resnick presents at Scratch Conference Europe 2019

Mitch Resnick addresses the attendees of Scratch Conference Europe, hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK on 24 August 2019.

Neil Monteiro presents at Scratch Conference Europe 2019

Neil Monteiro closes the show on day two of Scratch Conference Europe, hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK on 24 August 2019. In this show, Neil takes the audience on a journey into a dangerous labyrinth…in code!

Fran Scott presents at Scratch Conference Europe 2019

Fran Scott closes the show on day three of Scratch Conference Europe, hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK on 25 August 2019.

 

The post Keynote speeches from Scratch Conference Europe 2019 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Can YouTube Be Liable For Copyright Infringing Videos? EU Court to Decide

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/can-youtube-be-liable-for-copyright-infringing-videos-eu-court-to-decide-190822/

Week in and week out YouTube’s users upload millions of hours of videos. As with any user-generated content site, this also includes copyright-infringing content.

YouTube tackles this by processing takedown notices and using its Content-ID system to automatically remove allegedly infringing content. However, according to some prominent copyright holders, this is not good enough.

In Austria, this complaint is at the center of a lawsuit between the local television channel Puls 4 and YouTube. In an initial order last summer, the court ruled that the video platform can be held directly liable for users’ copyright infringements. YouTube was not seen as a neutral intermediary and should do more to prevent infringing uploads.

The court noted that YouTube takes several motivated actions to actively organize and optimize how videos are displayed. By doing so, it becomes more than a neutral hosting provider. Therefore, it can’t rely on a safe harbor defense.

This ruling was overturned by the Higher Regional Court of Vienna earlier this year. According to the appeal court, YouTube doesn’t have an “active role” as its search, categorization, and advertising service are seen as part of the normal business models of hosting platforms, which do not make the company liable.

Puls4 was disappointed with this ruling and immediately decided to take the case to the Supreme Court. This case is still pending but before it rules on the matter, the highest Austrian court is seeking input from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on several crucial questions.

The questions haven’t been published publicly on CJEU’s website yet, but TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the Portuguese versions and IP KAT did the same with the German questions. These questions reveal, as expected, that the EU’s highest court will have to decide the boundaries of Europe’s safe harbors.

The first question, for example, asks if a video host, under Article 14 of the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive 2000, takes on an “active role” that can make it liable for copyright infringements when it categorizes videos, makes suggestions by topic, and uses targeted advertising, among other things. 

The EU Court is further asked to clarify whether Articles 12 to 14 of the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive mean that providers are shielded from liability, even when their activity is seen as a communication to the public.

In addition, the Austrian Supreme Court wants to know if a court-ordered injunction only applicable if a service provider has actual knowledge of infringements which have been confirmed by a court?

The latter appears to deal with the question of whether sites such as YouTube have to remove content merely based on metadata (to prevent repeated uploads), as opposed to pointing out specific infringing content. That’s important because, in the Puls4 case, YouTube was not aware of any the contested infringements.

The CJEU’s decision will be a crucial one in the ongoing legal debate about the potential liability of third-party intermediaries such as video hosting providers.

Puls4 previously stressed that it believes that EU law is on its side. Among other things, the company pointed out other relevant CJEU decisions, including the case regarding the infringing nature of The Pirate Bay. In addition, it believes that recent developments regarding liability under the proposed Article 17 of the new EU copyright directive will help its cause.

Interestingly, this isn’t the only YouTube-related case on CJEU’s agenda. A German court also referred various copyright infringement-related questions last year. The Austrian Supreme Court was aware of this referral but believes that its questions deserve to be handled separately.

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

YouTube Sues Alleged Scammer Over DMCA Extortion Scheme

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-sues-alleged-scammer-over-dmca-extortion-scheme-190920/

Obtaining multiple unresolved copyright complaints on a YouTube account can prove fatal to those who rely on the platform to make a living.

For those obtaining “three strikes”, it can mean the closure of an entire channel and along with it, access to potentially hundreds of otherwise revenue-generating videos.

Back in January, it was reported that a YouTuber known as ‘Obbyraidz’, who focuses on Minecraft content, was having this system turned against him.

After receiving two bogus strikes against his account, he took to Twitter to complain that he was being extorted by a scammer identifying as ‘Vengeful Flame’, who threatened a third and debilitating strike unless money was paid via PayPal or bitcoin.

A second YouTuber, known online as ‘Kenzo’ was also given similar treatment, with the scammer demanding money not to file complaints that could terminate his account.

Now, however, the tables are being turned after YouTube itself filed a complaint in federal court against Nebraska-resident Christopher Brady, the person who allegedly attempted to defraud both Obbyraidz and Kenzo.

“Defendant, Christopher L. Brady (‘Brady’), has repeatedly attempted to harass and extort money from YouTube content creators through bogus allegations of copyright infringement,” the complaint filed Monday begins.

“This lawsuit seeks to hold him accountable for that misconduct, and for the damage he has caused to YouTube.”

Detailing the DMCA takedown process in general and noting that notices can be used “maliciously to secure the removal of content that was not legitimately claimed to be infringing”, YouTube states it’s in a position to bring an action against a sender of bogus notices for damages.

“This is such an action,” the complaint reads.

According to YouTube, Brady sent the video platform dozens of DMCA notices falsely claiming that content posted by YouTube users infringed his supposed copyrights. He did this as part of a scheme to “harass and extort” innocent users, YouTube continues, in order to pressure them into payment and the avoidance of account closures.

Citing the work of three YouTubers – Obbyraidz, Kenzo and Cxlvxn – YouTube notes that between them they have uploaded around 1,000 videos related to video gaming. All are members of the YouTube Partner program, earning revenue from their work.

Brady allegedly targeted Kenzo and Obbyraidz “among others” by sending false DMCA notices to YouTube, claiming that he was the original creator of their videos, certifying as much “under penalty of perjury.” YouTube said it acted on these false claims, removing the videos.

However, when Kenzo and Obbyraidz went public with the extortion attempts, YouTube launched an investigation, restored the videos, and removed the strikes against their accounts.

The complaint alleges that in June and July 2019, Brady sent four more fraudulent notices, this time targeting Cxlvxn. However, this appears to have been an attempt to have Cxlvxn file a DMCA counter-notification, something that exposed his home address to Brady.

On July 10, 2019, six days after the counter-notification was filed, Cxlvxn reported he’d been ‘swatted’, something which YouTube describes as “the act of making a bogus call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.” YouTube believes Brady was responsible.

As a result of the above actions, YouTube states that Brady is responsible for violations of 17 U.S.C. § 512(f). The company says it successfully traced back at least 15 online identities to the man, an investigation which caused it to expend “substantial sums” in an effort to bring the behavior to a halt.

The company is demanding preliminary and permanent injunctions against Brady, compensation to be decided at trial, costs, attorneys fees, and any further relief the court deems proper.

The YouTube complaint filed in Nebraska can be downloaded here (pdf)

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YouTube Forbids Monetizing Short Music Clips Through Manual Content-ID Claims

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-forbids-monetizing-short-music-clips-through-manual-content-id-claims-100816/

Millions of people use YouTube to share their creations with the world, as commentary, entertainment, education, or for any other purpose they see fit.

In most cases, these videos remain online without any issues. However, for some creators, YouTube’s copyright enforcement is causing a mess, one that severely affects their day-to-day activities.

We’ve repeatedly covered problems with YouTube’s Content-ID system dating as far back as eight years ago. Most of these issues are the result of overbroad filters, often when YouTube finds a copyright match where it shouldn’t.

However, the problems go much deeper than random ‘bot’ mistakes. YouTube allows certain copyright holders to make “manual” Content-ID claims as well. This allows them to flag content that’s not caught by Content-ID. However, despite the fact that these claims are reviewed by a person, some are rather frivolous.

In some instances, it appears that just mentioning the title of an artist or song can result in a manual copyright claim, even though the audio itself isn’t used in the video.

After many YouTube creators bitterly complained about these types of abuse, which deprives them of revenue, YouTube is beginning to change its policies.

“One concerning trend we’ve seen is aggressive manual claiming of very short music clips used in monetized videos. These claims can feel particularly unfair, as they transfer all revenue from the creator to the claimant, regardless of the amount of music claimed,” the YouTube team explains.

Last month the video service took the first step by requiring copyright holders to provide timestamps for all manual claims, precisely identifying what they see as infringing. This week, the company goes a step further.

In an effort to create a fairer creator ecosystem, YouTube will soon forbid copyright holders from using the manual claiming process to monetize videos that feature short or unintentional music fragments.

This means, for example, that a three-second music clip in a longer video can no longer be claimed this way. The same would likely be true for a song that unintentionally plays in the background on a TV or radio.

The YouTube team notes that these additional changes are intended to improve fairness in the creator ecosystem. The company hopes that it will ultimately lead to fewer unfair and aggressive practices by some rightsholders.

In addition, the policy update also copes with a stick for rightsholders, which is relatively rare for YouTube. Those rightsholders who repeatedly violate the new policy can lose their manual Content-ID claiming rights.

“Once we start enforcement, copyright owners who repeatedly fail to adhere to these policies will have their access to Manual Claiming suspended,” YouTube writes.

While this change is a big step, it only impacts a relatively small number of claims. Automated Content-ID claims, which represent the vast majority, are not affected by the policy update.

In addition, copyright holders can still manually claim short or unintentional uses of their work. However, instead of taking the monetization option, they can choose to prevent any type of monetization of the video, or block it altogether.

It remains to be seen how happy video creators will be with this new policy once it goes into effect mid-September. In theory, the result could see more videos get blocked, as YouTube recognizes.

“We acknowledge that these changes may result in more blocked content in the near-term, but we feel this is an important step toward striking the right balance over the long-term. Our goal is to unlock new value for everyone by powering creative reuse and content mashups, while fairly compensating all rightsholders,” the YouTube team concludes. 

Time will tell whether the changes have the intended effect, or if the current problems will persist.

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

‘Cheating’ Fortnite Kid Wants Copyright Lawsuit Dismissed

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/cheating-fortnite-kid-wants-copyright-lawsuit-dismissed-190807/

Frustrated by thousands of cheaters who wreak havoc in Fortnite’s “Battle Royale,” game publisher Epic Games has taken several to court.

The game developer isn’t trying to bankrupt these people financially. It is mainly interested in preventing them from cheating in the future.

The main strategy thus far has been to ‘settle’ the cases. Several accused cheaters have signed consent judgments, promising not to cheat or engage in any copyright-infringing activity going forward. This includes the popular YouTuber Golden Modz, who settled his case earlier this year.

Despite these widely publicized lawsuits, cheaters will be cheaters. The problem persists and some still openly sell cheats online while posting YouTube videos to promote their work.

This includes a YouTuber called CBV, who was sued by Epic Games a few weeks ago. The games company is pursuing the minor (referred to as C.B. in the complaint) with several claims, including copyright infringement and breaches of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.

While plenty of kids would be terrified facing a lawsuit like this, CBV didn’t appear to be impressed. In a YouTube video discussing his troubles, the 14-year-old states that he won’t make Fortnite videos anymore. But his tone is far from apologetic.

“Fuck epic games. I mean, at least they can’t come after my channel anymore. I’m never gonna make another video. But if they really want to come at my neck for 100 Mil then they can just fuck their brand on their own,” CBV notes.

“They’re going to attempt to bankrupt my family just because I made Fortnite cheats. Just cause I allegedly made Fortnite tonight cheats and played this game while making YouTube videos,” he adds.

In its complaint, Epic Games indeed seeks damages. However, the statutory maximum in this case, where one work is at stake, wouldn’t exceed $150,000, which is far from $100 million.

CBV is trying to make the point that it would look bad if Epic Games pursues massive damages from a relatively small cheater, who’s not even an adult. While that may be, arguments like that don’t win a lawsuit.

The YouTuber’s attorneys, however, have more arguments why the case should be dismissed. This week they filed a motion to dismiss the case. Among other things, they point out that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over their client and that requiring a minor to defend himself in another state would be unreasonable.

“Defendant C.B. is a child who lives in Illinois with absolutely no connection to North Carolina. Nonetheless, Plaintiff Epic Games, Inc., a multibillion company, wants to drag him into court here,” they write.

“Exercising jurisdiction over C.B. would be unfair and unreasonable, as well as forbidden by the United States Constitution,” the attorneys add.

One of the additional issues highlighted is that the TOS and EULA are not enforceable, because a minor can not enter into a legally binding contract. In fact, both Epic’s TOS and EULA specifically state that the signee has to be an adult.

In the YouTube video, CBV notes that the case is “kind of a joke,” adding that Epic Games surely doesn’t need the little money that he has, as they just hosted a 100 million dollar tournament.

However, reading through the paperwork it becomes clear that this lawsuit, which is similar to the ones that have been filed in the past, isn’t really about money. The main issue Epic Games appears to be concerned with is to stop CBV from promoting and selling hacks.

Epic has previously asked YouTube to remove several videos where this activity is promoted. Since CBV submitted DMCA counternotices to reinstate a video, Epic has to file a lawsuit, otherwise the video will automatically become available again after 14 days.

In other words, the lawsuits may not be about bankrupting and defendants, as we have suggested before, but mostly an indirect effort to ensure that certain hacking-related YouTube videos remain offline. Or as Epic Games puts it in the original complaint.

“Defendant’s submission of a DMCA counter notification, which requires YouTube to restore the infringing content unless Epic files an action seeking a court order to restrain Defendant from engaging in infringing activity, creates a continuing risk of copyright infringement.”

It will be up to the court to decide whether it has jurisdiction over the 14-year-old and if Epic’s claims hold up or not.

A copy of the motion to dismiss, filed on behalf of the alleged cheater, is available here (pdf).

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Free Spotify and YouTube Users Are Now a Bigger Challenge Than Music Pirates

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/free-spotify-and-youtube-users-are-now-a-bigger-challenge-than-music-pirates-190721/

Pirate site blocking has proven to be a rather effective copyright enforcement tool in many countries.

Italy, one of the European frontrunners, has taken a particularly active approach. In recent years, thousands of domain names have been added to the nation’s pirate blocklist, following complaints from a wide range of copyright holders.

It is not just the numbers that set Italy apart, the blocking mechanism itself is unique as well. To have a website blocked, rightsholders can ask the local telecoms watchdog Agcom to issue an order, without need for a trial.

Instead of dealing with blockades in court, Agcom has the power to grant injunctions without judicial overview, which it does on a regular basis. Over the past year alone, 385 blocking orders were issued by the telecoms watchdog.

The site blocking efforts have obviously decreased traffic to the targeted sites, but according to data released by Agcom, the number of visits to all pirate sites combined has dropped too. As shown below, the number of mobile and desktop visits to pirate sites decreased more than a third (35%) between 2018 and 2019. 

The downward traffic trend is visible across all types of piracy sites but, logically, the traffic drop for the blocked sites is most pronounced. The graph below shows that the number of visitors to blocked sites tank swiftly after a new blocking order is issued. 

For example, in January 2019 2conv.com (blue line) and flv2mp3.by (green line) were blocked, and soon after, the visitor numbers went down. 

Agcom and various entertainment industry groups are happy with the overall impact. They believe that, after many years, they finally managed to get a grip on piracy.

TorrentFreak spoke to Enzo Mazza, chief at Italian music industry group FIMI, who believes that a combination of site blocking and educational campaigns has paid off.

“The first major blockade targeted the Pirate Bay in 2008 and the case was confirmed by the Supreme Court. In terms of market impact, site blocking has proven to be effective in conjunction with the increase of the legal offer,” Mazza says.

“The Agcom regulation played a great role, also in terms of education and awareness. Most of the blocked sites have a landing page, created by Agcom and shown by the ISPs, which explains visitors how to reach legal sites.”

While this is positive news for the Italian music industry, it doesn’t mean that all is well. Mazza informs us that there are bigger problems than piracy. Ironically, these problems are linked to the legal alternatives many pirates have switched to. 

“The main issue here is not piracy. It’s how to convert people from free YouTube and Spotify accounts to premium services,” Mazza says.”Italy is a country where the ‘culture of free’ is radicated and it’s not easy to drag people into a subscription model.”

Nearly 90% of Italian music consumers use YouTube to stream music, which is a problem for the industry. While these people are enjoying music legally, record labels would like to see these people converted into paying customers.

“Conversion rates are still below the global average and this is a major challenge for the industry. We are urging in particular Spotify to do more in terms of promotional campaigns in order to engage new premium customers,” Mazza says. 

So, while the website blocking efforts have helped to bring piracy rates down, this isn’t immedially resulting in much more revenue.

The next step is to convert these same people into paying subscribers. However, this should be done witch caution, as cutting the free options could simply drive people back to pirate sites. 

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

Stream-Rippers Successfully Counter YouTube’s Blocking Efforts

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/stream-rippers-successfully-counter-youtubes-blocking-efforts-190719/

After the music industry complained about YouTube stream-rippers for many years, the streaming service took a drastic measure last week.

As first reported here, YouTube began blocking several popular stream-ripping tools, which resulted in these sites becoming unusable.

YouTube didn’t repond to our request for comment, but it appeared to be a concerted efforts to prevent outsiders from downloading music from the platform. A big move, which generated widespread attention, all the way up to the US Congress.

House Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, reportedly reached out to Google in response. Nadler is a driving force behind many copyright reform proposals and known as a staunch advocate of a more aggresive anti-piracy approach by tech companies.

According to CNET, Nadler was interested in hearing more about the blocking measures, and he’s not alone. Several music industry insiders have shown a keen interest in the developments as well, and the RIAA is cautiously optimistic following the news.

“While we do not yet know how effective these new measures are, we applaud YouTube for taking affirmative steps towards shutting down the fastest growing form of music piracy,” RIAA boss Mitch Glazier said.

YouTube, meanwhile, has yet to respond to our request for more details. CNET was more lucky, and quotes the video platform stating that “some MP3 stream ripping sites” were blocked after the platform made some changes recently.

“It’s our desire to be good partners to our content licensors as our interests are aligned on thwarting violative downloads and downloader site,” YouTube added in a statement.

While YouTube is happy to side with the music industry and the music industry is pleased with the enforcement efforts, the blocked sites are not sitting still. As is often the case when something becomes blocked online, people quickly find ways to thwart or circumvent the efforts.

And indeed, little over a week after the blocking efforts started, many of the targeted sites are able to rip MP3s from YouTube again.

Mp3-youtube.download almost instantly announced that it was working on a fix and today the site is working just fine. The same is true for Dlnowsoft.com, which was also blocked last week, as well as the massively popular Onlinevideoconverter.com, which is among the top 200 most-visited sites on the Internet.

Ripping again…

TorrentFreak spoke to the operator of a stream-ripping site who prefers to remain anonymous. He confirmed that bypassing YouTube’s block wasn’t that complicated. Simply moving the site to new IP-addresses did the trick.

“To fix the problem, we simply used other servers that are not in the range of IP-addresses blocked by YouTube,” the operator of the stream-ripping site informed us.

If YouTube is indeed serious about its efforts to take out ‘voliative’ stream-ripping sites, it will likely block the new IP-addresses as well, eventually. This will then trigger a proverbial cat and mouse game, one we know all too well from other pirate site blocking efforts.

Although it’s unlikely that YouTube can completely ban stream-ripping sites from its platform, continued blocking efforts may eventually prompt some site operators and users to give up. Whether these users will switch to legal services or other ”free’ resources, remains a question, of course.

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YouTube ‘Blocks’ Popular MP3 Stream-Ripping Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-blocks-popular-mp3-stream-ripping-sites-190710/

Free music is easy to find nowadays. Just head over to YouTube and you can find millions of tracks, including many of the most recent releases.

While some artists happily share their work, the major record labels don’t want tracks to leak outside YouTube’s ecosystem. For this reason, they see YouTube-to-MP3-rippers as a major threat.

Several prominent music companies have already taken legal action against key players in recent years. They managed to shut down sites such as YouTube-MP3, blocked others, and are currently involved in a civil lawsuit against FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com in the US.

At the same time, music companies have repeatedly asked YouTube to step up as well. While the streaming site threatened several stream-ripping sites with tough language in the past, it hasn’t taken any strong countermeasures. 

However, it appears that this position may have changed. Several operators of YouTube-to-MP3 rippers have confirmed that the streaming service is actively blocking requests from their sites. 

“All my servers are blocked with error ‘HTTP Error 429: Too Many Requests’,” the operator of Dlnowsoft.com informs TorrentFreak. As a result, the stream-ripping site currently displays a “service temporarily unavailable, we will come back soon” error message. 

The site in question is not alone. Mp3-youtube.download, another stream-ripper, is facing a similar issue. According to its operator, something changed yesterday evening and users now see a ‘this URL does not exist’ error message when they try to convert a YouTube clip. 

The massively popular Onlinevideoconverter.com, which is among the top 200 most-visited sites on the Internet, appears to be affected as well. While videos from sites such as Vimeo can still be converted, YouTube links now return the following error message. 

None of the site operators we heard from was warned by YouTube in advance.

We also reached out to the video streaming service for a comment and further details, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

While YouTube’s efforts, intentional or not, are effective, they will likely trigger a cat-and-mouse game. The operator of a popular stream-ripper, who prefers to remain anonymous, managed to get around the blockade by deploying several proxy servers. 

Many other stream-rippers and YouTube converters such as FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com are still working fine as well, but it’s not clear whether they were actively targeted by YouTube. 

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RIAA Targets 14 New Sites in Campaign Against YouTube-Rippers & Piracy

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-targets-14-new-sites-in-campaign-against-youtube-rippers-piracy-190606/

For some time, the world’s leading record labels have complained that YouTube doesn’t pay the going rate for musical content streamed to its users.

However, when consumers use so-called YouTube-ripping sites to obtain content, it’s claimed that the position worsens. By obtaining music in this fashion, users are able to keep local libraries which further deplete YouTube hits and by extension, revenue generated by the labels.

To plug this hole, the RIAA is working to identify the operators of leading YouTube-ripping platforms. Via DMCA subpoenas, the industry group has been forcing CDN service Cloudflare and domain registries such as NameCheap to hand over the personal details of the people behind these tools.

Two new DMCA subpoenas, obtained by the RIAA in recent days, reveal an apparent escalation in this activity. Mainly targeting Cloudflare but in one instance also NameCheap, the RIAA demands private information relating to several sites.

10Convert.com

With around two million visitors per month (SimilarWeb stats), this platform has a prime focus on YouTube-ripping. The majority of its traffic comes from Brazil (69%), with the United States accounting for a little over 2% of its users.

Amoyshare.com

Enjoying around 4.6m visits per month with most of its visitors coming from the United States (15%), this platform’s focus is offering downloadable tools that enable users to grab videos and music from a wide range of platforms.

However, Amoyshare also offers “AnyUTube”, an online converter which is the element the RIAA is complaining about.

Anything2MP3.cc

This site, which enjoys a relatively low 300,000 visits per month, appears to be dual-use. While it is possible to download content from YouTube, Anything2MP3 also offers users the ability to convert their own audio files in the browser.

IMP3Juices.com

With around six million visits per month, this platform is one of the more popular ones targeted by the RIAA. Around 12.5% of the site’s traffic comes from Italy, with the US following behind with just under 10%.

The site functions like a ‘pirate’ download portal, with users able to search for artists and download tracks. However, the RIAA provides a URL which reveals that the site also has a YouTube to MP4 conversion feature. Indeed, it seems possible that much of the site’s content is obtained from YouTube.

BigConverter.com

Down at the time of writing, possibly as a result of the subpoena, this site offered downloading functionality for a range of sites, from YouTube and Facebook through to Twitter, Vimeo, Vevo, Instagram, Dailymotion, Metacafe, VK, AOL, GoogleDrive and Soundcloud.

YouTubeMP4.to

Enjoying around 7.7 million visits per month, YouTubeMP4.to is a straightforward YouTube video downloader. Almost 23% of its traffic comes from the United States with the UK just behind at close to 11%.

QDownloader.net

This platform has perhaps the most comprehensive offering of those targeted. It claims to be able to download content from 800 sites, of which YouTube is just one. With more than 12 million visits per month, it’s not difficult to see why QDownloader has made it onto the RIAA’s hit list.

GenYouTube.net

Another big one, this multi-site downloader platform attracts around seven million visits per month. The majority of its traffic comes from India (14%), with the United States following behind with around 12%.

Break.TV

For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, YouTube and SoundCloud downloader Break.TV has lost a lot of its monthly traffic since late 2018. From a high edging towards three million visits per month, it now enjoys just over 1.6 million. Interestingly the site says it must only be used to obtain Creative Commons licensed material.

MP3XD.com

In common with IMP3Juices.com, MP3XD.com appears to be focused on offering pirate MP3 downloads rather than straightforward ripping services. However, its content does appear to have been culled from YouTube.

Given that it defaults to Spanish, it seems to target Latin America. Indeed, with close to 10 million visits per month, almost a third hail from Mexico, with Venezuela and Argentina following behind.

DL-YouTube-MP3.net

This platform is a straightforward YouTube-ripping site, offering downloads of both video and audio content. It is one of the lower-trafficked sites on the list, with around 870,000 visits per month with most of its traffic (38%) coming from France.

ConvertBox.net

With around 150,000 visits, ConvertBox is the smallest platform targeted by the RIAA in this batch. It offers conversion features for YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and SoundCloud via its website and mobile apps. Around a fifth of its traffic comes from France.

Downloaders.io

Another multi-downloader, Downloaders.io offers tools to rip content from a number of platforms, YouTube included. It’s traffic has been up and down since the start of the year but has averaged around 200K visits per month. Close to 30% of traffic hails from the United States.

Hexupload.net

A relative newcomer, this site doesn’t appear to fit into the ripping or general pirate site niche. Down at the time of writing, this 270,000 visit per month platform appears to have acted as a file upload site, from which users could generate revenue per download.

Cloudflare and NameCheap will now be required to hand over the personal details they have on the users behind all of these sites. As usual, that will include names, addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and more.

It isn’t clear what the RIAA has planned for these platforms but since the request was made by the group’s Vice-President Online Piracy, it doesn’t take much imagination to come up with a few ideas.

This latest move by the RIAA follows similar action against several other sites detailed in our earlier reports (1,2,3).

The RIAA’s letters to Cloudflare and NameCheap can be found here and here.

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