Continuing our series of articles on the most pivotal BitTorrent sites of the last decade, our focus turns to the most dramatic site shutdowns. Without doubt, 2005 proved a momentous year, marked by the introduction to the war of a new anti-piracy force to be reckoned with – the FBI.
As the year moves toward its conclusion, we have been listing the most pirated entertainment titles of 2009. Following our Top 10 games and movies charts, we now turn to the most downloaded TV-shows. Despite declining viewership offline, Heroes is the most downloaded show, with over 6 million downloads for a single episode.
We are about to end the decade that brought us BitTorrent, and all the good and bad that came with it. In a series of articles during the coming days, we will review some of the most pivotal torrent sites that emerged over the years, each of which left their mark and brought us to where we are today.
Conduit, the leading provider of community toolbars for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and the Safari web browsers, has decided to ban the use of P2P-related words on their services. Toolbars using the words ‘torrent’ or ‘p2p’ are banned as they apparently violate the the terms and conditions of Conduit’s publisher agreement.
This decade witnessed the meteoric rise of BitTorrent, but during the last five years associated sites have endured some of the most aggressive anti-piracy legal action ever seen. The top three BitTorrent sites, after fending off threats for years, all lost in a big way during 2009. But the show ain’t over yet.
The FrostWire P2P client promotes music of starting and independent artists through its FrostClick service. The service has been running for over a year and is a great success. To celebrate the first million downloads of 2009, a compilation album has been released, featuring free Creative Commons-licensed tracks from 21 artists.
This decade has not only brought us the file-sharing technology BitTorrent, but also social networks and social news sites that have really flourished in recent years. This Christmas, users of Reddit, one of the largest social news sites, decided to start their own BitTorrent tracker.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Avatar’ tops the chart again this week followed by ‘The Invention of Lying’. ’2012′ completes the top three.
Earlier, ISP BT predicted that operating an anti-filesharing scheme in the UK would cost £365m a year. Now the government has admitted that not only will broadband customers have to foot a £500m bill, but that burden will prove too great for 40,000 households – who will have no choice but to give up their Internet connections.
As 2009 is slowly moving toward its end, we follow up our most pirated movies chart by taking a look at the most pirated games of the year. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the absolute winner on the PC and Xbox 360, while New Super Mario Bros. scoops the title of most pirated Wii game of 2009.
The Italian Supreme Court has ruled that ISPs can be forced to block BitTorrent sites, even if they are not hosted in Italy or operated by Italian citizens. According to the decision by the Supreme Court, sites offering torrent files that link to copyrighted material are engaging in criminal activity.
Lawyers who told thousands of individuals that they held proof of their illicit file-sharing, have made a surprise announcement. ACS:Law, who help companies generate revenue from porn movie copyrights, say they are dropping many cases because litigation is neither viable nor beneficial to their clients.
uTorrent – the preferred Bittorrent client for many BitTorrent users – has been doing really well in 2009. Contrary to reports claiming that BitTorrent and P2P usage has been declining, in the last year uTorrent nearly doubled its userbase to 52 million unique users a month.
Following a 2006 complaint by several Hollywood studios, a US federal court in California has ruled that isoHunt is guilty of inducing copyright infringement. Due to the similarities between this case and earlier ones involving Napster and Grokster, the judge decided there is no need to proceed to a full trial. Summary judgment was granted.
The Pirate Bay is one of the longest-standing BitTorrent sites. The former BitTorrent tracker recently celebrated its 6th birthday, and this Christmas they bring back the good old days by reverting to their old layout. The frontpage now has a classic look and is Swedish only.
In 2005, Mongo56 was a household name in the BitTorrent community. Much to the disappointment of hundreds and thousands of users, the site collapsed under its own success and the DDoS attacks that accompanied it. But now, nearly 4 years later, the brand name has resurfaced.
English singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum has admitted that, like many of his fellow Brits, he is an avid music pirate. While noting that as many copies of his album have been downloaded illicitly as bought officially, Cullum says that punishing file-sharers is out of the question. Only cutting-edge legal services have the solution.
Comcast has decided to settle one of the lawsuits brought about over their use of the Sandvine BitTorrent throttling hardware to ‘manage’ their network. For those who were affected, there is the possibility of receiving a payment from a $16 million fund set up by the Internet service provider.
After taking legal action, IFPI has now reached a settlement with the operators of several cyberlocker hosting sites. Under the agreement, the owners of the sites will pay IFPI around $50,000 in compensation. They will also hand over their domain names to the music industry group so they cannot be used for infringement in future.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘This Is It’ tops the chart again this week followed by ‘Avatar’. ’2012′ completes the top three.
Avatar is doing great at the box office so it will come as no surprise that it is also very popular on BitTorrent. However, rather than the usual overreaction to piracy, Fox is playing down the leak and saying it will have a much smaller effect on profits. In the meantime, a lesser-known release blog is thrust into the spotlight.
Defending the rights of The Village People, the legendary Web Sheriff threatened The Pirate Bay’s operators with legal action in an attempt to get compensation for the losses the six had suffered. The threats didn’t lead to much unfortunately, so The Village People and the infamous Sheriff are now pointing the gun at Jamie Oliver instead.
With 2009 nearing its end, we take a look at the most-pirated movie titles across various categories. Aside from the usual suspects such as Star Trek and Transformers, the list also includes a few surprising entries, and some notable absentees.
Promoted by The Pirate Bay, isoHunt and many other file-sharing sites, the novel film distribution platform VODO presents its latest release, The Lionshare. The film centers around a fictitious BitTorrent site called The Lionshare, so distributing it through BitTorrent is only natural.
As BitTorrent sites have developed over the years, many have added a plethora of features to enhance the user experience. A brand new torrent site called Nerrot, which officially launches its beta today, takes completely the opposite approach.
The Spanish Government is working on new legislation under which hundreds of file-sharing sites that are currently perfectly legal, could be shut off. In a response to these plans, a group of hacktivists have launched a clever campaign to prove that the proposal is useless, and that the Government might as well close down the whole Internet.
A new survey carried out on behalf of the BPI in the UK indicates that despite best efforts, P2P use is not in decline. As the industry continues to drag its feet when it comes to competing against other suppliers of music online, many consumers are branching out and turning to several alternative methods for acquiring their sounds.
Avatar, the long-awaited science fiction epic from James Cameron will launch this week, but already some lucky individuals have seen the movie. The same cannot be said of attendees at a 3D preview showing in Germany yesterday though. The movie’s DRM ‘protection’ system failed and the video could not be decoded.
uTorrent – the client of choice for most western BitTorrent users – has added the option to stream video files while downloading. With this new functionality, BitTorrent Inc. hopes to provide the ‘point-click-watch’ experience people have grown used to from their usage of streaming sites such as YouTube.
Acting on a music industry tipoff, Swedish police conducted a raid yesterday which led to the arrest of a man on suspicion of copyright infringement. The 25 year-old is said to have made 12,000 tracks available on the Internet. After questioning the man admitted the charge and was later released.
Following massive protests from the public, New Zealand’s proposed ‘guilty upon accusation’ anti-piracy law was scrapped earlier this year, although not for long. A revamped version of the law, that was initially characterized as unfair and unworkable, has been revealed today.
The past decade has brought about a major shift in income streams for the music business. Musicians have seen a spectacular rise in income from live performances which contributed to a significant increase in their overall revenue. The labels on the other hand are struggling, mostly due to the decreased revenue from recorded music.
US Vice President Joe Biden today hosted a roundtable looking at the so-called ‘Piracy Problem’. The summit was not as ‘open’ as promised a year ago in the presidential campaign though. Only copyright industry representatives were present, further reinforcing the belief that Biden sits firmly in the pocket of Big Copyright.
Recently it became clear that Chinese authorities were going ahead with their planned video site purge. Many BitTorrent sites fell including some of the country’s largest, but of course none of this changes the demand for free or near-free media. So will the crackdown force those seeking cheap movies back onto the streets?
The Delhi High Court has fined Microsoft for harassing alleged software pirates by taking them to court in the national capitol, instead of the cities where the crimes had supposedly occurred. According to the ruling, using money as a power tool is not condoned without repercussions.
Every week, more and more BitTorrent trackers come online, the vast majority being so-called private trackers where an invite is required to gain access. However, around 50% of these aren’t making it to their first birthday, and many of them are causing their own death. The culprit? Rising costs.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘2012′ tops the chart again this week followed by ‘Planet 51’. ‘The Bad Lieutenant’ completes the top three.
Just a few weeks remain in 2009, so it’s time to publish the list of the top 25 BitTorrent sites that pulled in the most traffic this year. The Pirate Bay leads by a wide margin, followed up by Torrentz and isoHunt. KickassTorrents is the highest ranked newcomer in 11th place.
Another brand new episode of TorrentFreak TV. This week’s episode covers the latest Pirate Bay news, Mininova’s Content Distribution Service, isoHunt’s ongoing lawsuit, OpenBitTorrent, BCC’s BitTorrent trial, RSS for torrents and much more.
As millions of people wait for the arrival of Christmas in just a couple of weeks time, the festivities have come early for BitTorrent fans. A few hours ago the mighty Demonoid fully returned and the good news is that there appears to be little data loss. Users are feverishly uploading fresh torrents right now.
Audio DRM has all but dissapeared from MP3s. Apple said earlier this year that there would be no more DRM on music available via the ITunes music store. However, as prolific writer and blogger Cory Doctorow has found out, they still require DRM on their Audiobooks.
Downloading copyrighted movies and music for personal has been legal in The Netherlands for years, but Dutch lawmakers are considering changing this in the future. In a response, the local consumer rights organization has launched a pro-filesharing campaign which emphasizes that downloaders are not criminals.
When a woman who filmed her sister’s birthday party and minutes of a movie was arrested recently, it showed how far MPAA brainwashing had spread. Theater managers, knowing full well that the lady faced three years in jail, insisted on pressing charges. Today, prosecutors threw out the case against her.
Claims by the MPAA that illegal downloads are killing the industry and causing billions in losses are once again being shredded. In 2009, the leading Hollywood studios made more films and generated more revenue than ever before, and for the first time in history the domestic box office grosses will surpass $10 billion.
Members of the House of Lords recently voiced concerns over the UK government’s Digital Economy Bill, stating that the problems facing the entertainment industry are largely of their own creation. There was also criticism of companies who demand cash from file-sharers in the UK, and ideas were put forward to end their scheme.
The first rule of Usenet is, you don’t talk about Usenet. This rule kept Usenet providers and users out of sight from anti-piracy organizations for years. Ironically, the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN are now the first ones trying to enforce this rule in court.
In early November, the IFPI backed by several movie studios lost its case to force ISP Telenor to block The Pirate Bay. Unsatisfied with this decision, the copyright holders are insisting that since the ISP is contributing to piracy, the court has ruled incorrectly. They will now take their case to the High Court.
The Pirate Party’s Christian Engstrom is already making waves in the European Parliament. After his hard work on the Telecoms Package amendment he’s now working to set up an Internet Bill of Rights, attempting to codify some of the core beliefs of the Pirate Party. To achieve this he wants your help.
Ever since the guilty verdict was handed down against the defendants in the Pirate Bay trial, what would happen next had been surrounded by uncertainty. Accusations of bias were leveled at both the original trial judge, and two of the judges set to handle the appeal. Today the Supreme Court handed down its decision – there will be no retrial.
Put.io is a brand new service that allows users to download torrent files at blazing speeds to a remote server. Once finished, users can download the files to their home computers or stream video files directly to their Internet browser or media player. Two hundred lucky TorrentFreak readers can get invites to the beta.
Last month a judge ruled that similar to Mininova, The Pirate Bay has to remove a list of ‘infringing’ torrents from their website and block access to Dutch users. Lawyers for the founders said the trio were considering filing an appeal, but according to anti-piracy outfit BREIN, that did not happen. The site now has until March 1st 2010 to comply.
During the last two years the Chinese government has taken an aggressive stance against video sites they claim damage children’s health or undermine national security. In the last month they have taken further action, this time taking down several BitTorrent sites for operating without an appropriate government license.
While the major record labels were dragging file-sharers and BitTorrent sites to court for copyright infringement, they were themselves being sued by a conglomerate of artists for exactly the same offenses. Warner, Sony BMG, EMI and Universal face up to $6 billion in damages for pirating a massive 300,000 tracks.
Music industry group IFPI has today submitted a request to the Stockholm District Court to force an ISP to hand over the personal details of an alleged file-sharer. The action marks the first time a request has been made by the organization under the IPRED legislation introduced in April.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘2012′ tops the chart this week followed by ‘Law Abiding Citizen’. ‘Funny People’ completes the top three.
RSS and BitTorrent are a great match, but despite the good fit between the two technologies there is no standardized format for BitTorrent feeds. Much to the surprise of many torrent site owners, RSS inventor Dave Winer has offered a helping hand to fix this problem.
DigiProtect, the anti-piracy company that makes money from threatening alleged file-sharers with court unless they pay up a ‘fine’, has a worrying new tactic. Hoping to scare letter recipients even more than they already do, the company is now sending more threats via a debt collection agency.
Roughly a week ago, Mininova was still the largest torrent site on the Internet, but this quickly changed after the site’s founders removed of millions of torrents to avoid having to pay millions of dollars in fines. In the days that followed, traffic to the site dropped 66%, while the number of daily downloads are less than 4% of what they used to be.
Contrary to what previous reports have shown, the popular uTorrent application may very well not be the most used BitTorrent client. According to data collected from more than 357 million unique peers IDs, the Chinese BitTorrent client ‘Thunder’ is actually the most used BitTorrent client.
Today a Swedish court has ruled that the ISP TeliaSonera must hand over the identity of the Swetorrents BitTorrent tracker operator to anti-piracy group, Antipiratbyrån, which is working on behalf of four movie studios. The case is the second brought under the controversial IPRED legislation.
In October the Stockholm District Court banned two of The Pirate Bay’s founders from operating the site. If they continue to work on The Pirate Bay, both will have to pay fines of $71,000. The two founders immediately decided to challenge the verdict and the Appeal Court has now announced that it will grant the appeal.
Earier this week the Spanish Government announced plans to reform its copyright legislation so it can shut down file-sharing sites more easily. In a response to this announcement, hackers have now defaced the website of the country’s leading anti-piracy outfit, Promusicae, replacing it with a manifesto on the rights of Internet users.
A consumer who reported himself to an anti-piracy group to try to force a change in copyright law has finally received a response. Denmark’s Antipiratgruppen acknowledges that the man broke the law when he circumvented DRM, but have told him that since it was for personal use with no further distribution, there is no desire to sue him.
The BBC has made a high definition video available for a BitTorrent streaming trial launched in partnership with the EU-funded P2P-Next project. With this technology the project takes another step in the direction of BitTorrent-powered Internet TV.
Over the next few days, a public authority protecting citizens’ data privacy will carry out checks on the offices of music industry group IFPI and anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån. Lawyers and a security specialist will conduct an audit to ensure they are handling information they hold on suspected file-sharers in the correct manner.
Last month, the Swedish ISP Portlane was sued by several Hollywood movie studios for hosting OpenBitTorrent, claiming that the tracker is a re-branded copy of one previously operated by The Pirate Bay. Now the Stockholm District Court has rejected calls to order the shutdown of the tracker.
While there is less will to penalize file-sharers in Spain, the same cannot be said about the sites that facilitate their downloading. Under current law, file-sharing sites of all types have flourished in recent years, but new legislation being mulled could close loopholes and allow them to be disconnected, without the need for a court order.
In its interim report for the third quarter of 2009, Global Gaming Factory, the company that tried to buy The Pirate Bay earlier this year, reports that its turnover has increased by 270%. While it refers to the decision to close the site’s tracker as a lost opportunity, it is not ruling out buying the world’s most resilient BitTorrent site.
In order to force a change in the law, last month a man reported himself for breaching copyright more than a hundred times, hoping an anti-piracy group would take him to court. The group’s lawyer said they would respond by today – they haven’t – so the Danish copyfighter is now reporting himself to the police.
This year, Pirate Parties have emerged all around the world, putting copyright, censorship and privacy issues on the political agenda. Down under the Australian Pirate Party is eager to join in. They are currently seeking 500 founding members in order to become registered as an official political party.
After the usual delay TorrentFreak TV returns with two brand new episodes combined into one. This week’s episode covers the continuing Pirate Bay soap, Google’s Onebox, Hulu’s subscriptions, DHT, PEX and a lot more.
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