Following high level talks with the IFPI and very public declarations on national TV, it recently became clear that Bulgarian authorities would start taking down torrent sites and other file-sharing services. This week the Ministry of Affairs has been busy targeting what it describes as a “criminal network” of file-hosting services which allegedly generated more than $3 million.
The U.S. Copyright Group (USCG) has been all over the news in recent months. The lawyer group sued thousands of BitTorrent users who allegedly file-shared motion pictures belonging to their clients, including the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker. However, it turns out that USCG are not copyright purists either, as they have blatantly copied the website of a competitor without permission.
After adding support for the iPhone last month, BitTorrent Inc. has now made the remote access ‘Web’ feature of its uTorrent Falcon client compatible with the iPad and Android devices. uTorrent users can now remotely control their downloads from wherever they are on their favorite mobile device.
For many years movies have been released onto the Internet, trickling down the so-called ‘piracy pyramid’ from elitist and private sites. Now a new breed of release groups are starting to make waves, bringing media directly to the masses. Today we take a closer look at this scene and speak to groups on the frontline to see what makes them tick.
Following in the footsteps of the UK, Finland is preparing a new piece of legislation that will make it mandatory for Internet providers to warn customers who download music and movies without consent from copyright holders. The proposal is meant to cut down piracy in Finland but both pro and anti-piracy outfits have their doubts abouts its potential effectiveness.
This week Wikileaks released more than 90,000 government documents related to the war in Afghanistan. When added to the perceived damage caused by its earlier leaking of the ‘Collateral Murder’ video, Wikileaks is now undoubtedly a serious target for U.S. authorities. After becoming The Pirate Bay’s ISP, The Pirate Party now says that if needed, they will supply servers and hosting to Wikileaks.
uMap is a new App that allows uTorrent users to display all the peers they are connected to on Google Maps. While the App provides a good visualization of global BitTorrent swarms, it also demonstrates that anonymity is hard to find for the regular torrenter.
Online movie piracy has largely enjoyed a fairly predictable structure during the last decade. New releases have generally hit the Internet on high-security ‘topsites’ first and then trickled down to become widely available on peer-to-peer networks. TorrentFreak now takes a look at a new wave of release groups who operate with a fresh and BitTorrent-powered philosophy.
Earlier this year The Pirate Bay’s co-founders Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij were banned from operating the site by a Swedish court. Today, The Pirate Bay’s former spokesperson Peter Sunde was added to this list, and now faces a fine of nearly $70,000 if he does not comply with the decision.
Following threats in recent months that it would begin targeting those who obtain or deliver their content without permission, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced they are targeting two popular streaming hangouts. UFC have subpoenaed Justin.tv and Ustream.tv to force them to reveal the identity of a single user who uploaded two UFC events earlier this year.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Ghost Writer’ tops the chart for the second week in row, followed by ‘Operation Endgame’. ‘Inception’ completes the top three.
Mass lawsuits against alleged file-sharers, such as those from the US Copyright Group and lawyers ACS:Law and Gallant MacMillan in the UK, are generally accepted to have been generated from evidence gathered from big public BitTorrent sites. Now it appears that at least one other firm has jumped on the bandwagon, this time targeting a large private tracker.
A new study has been making the rounds, concluding that only 0.3% of all files available on BitTorrent are confirmed to be ‘legal’. The results of the study were promoted by anti-piracy outfit AFACT and have been picked up by several news outlets, including Ars Technica and ZDNet, who all failed to see that the report is bogus.
The Yes Men are a culture jamming activist duo who expose the lies and social problems caused by governments and corporations. In their much awarded films they impersonate people in power to bring out the truth. Because the US Chamber of Commerce is suing their asses, they have now turned to BitTorrent to get their message out.
At the end of June this year, nine sites connected to movie streaming were targeted by the U.S. Government. The operator of one of those sites, NinjaVideo, has now issued a plea for funds to fight back against what is undoubtedly a formidable force. “We are looking at six to seven digits and it’s going to be pure hell,” she explains. “We have nothing. Nothing at all. They took… everything.”
RapidShare takes all reasonable measures to prevent movies from being distributed through its web-service, a German court ruled yesterday. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf overturned the earlier decision of a local district court in a second case brought by movie outfit Capelight Pictures.
Anyone familiar with file-sharing operations and those who seek to disrupt them will be aware that there are many techniques used by both sides to thwart the other. While tracking solutions, fancy technology and sheer numbers perpetuate the fight, there are claims that a more traditional technique is in use against file-sharers – good old-fashioned blackmail. But that weapon can work both ways.
An IFPI-affiliated anti-piracy group has announced that it has gathered evidence on dozens of file-sharers and will shortly hand it to the police. The group says it will hand over the results of its investigation into large scale file-sharers to the authorities this month and warns that the law allows those convicted to be jailed for up to 4 years.
Two administrators of Filesoup – the longest standing BitTorrent community – have been charged with conspiracy to infringe copyright for their involvement with the site. The case is the second against UK-based BitTorrent site operators. The first case was brought against the owner of the OiNK BitTorrent tracker, who was later cleared of all charges.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Clash Of The Titans’ tops the chart for the second week in row, followed by ‘Death At A Funeral’. ‘Repo Man’ completes the top three.
A 31-year old Japanese man has admitted to uploading 3 TV-shows and sharing 165 more on BitTorrent after he was arrested by Tokyo Police’s Cyber Crime unit. In his confession the man told the investigators that he used BitTorrent because he believed it was free of viruses and police. He was proven wrong on the latter.
The Swedish Pirate Party, who are at the forefront of anti-copyright lobbying in Sweden, are planning to shake up the country’s ISP market. After taking over the supply of bandwidth to The Pirate Bay, Piratpartiet will now partner in the launch of Pirate ISP, a new broadband service that will offer anonymity to customers and provide financial support to the Party.
Following the recent scares in the United States after the authorities took down and seized the domains of several sites connected to the streaming of movies and TV shows, TorrentFreak received news that a popular fansubbing site had also been taken down. Legendas.TV, a target of earlier anti-piracy action, recently displayed a message saying it had been taken down by ICE, but all was not as it seemed.
A Dutch court has ruled that two of the largest ISPs in the Netherlands don’t have block customer access to The Pirate Bay. According to the court, there is no evidence that the majority of the ISPs’ users are infringing copyright through The Pirate Bay, so a block would not be justified.
The head of a prominent lobby group for the music industry is being touted as a new entrant to the UK’s House of Lords. According to sources close to new Prime Minister David Cameron, UK Music chief Feargal Sharkey is being considered for a life peerage as reward for his efforts in the music industry.
After filing more than two dozen World Intellectual Property Organization disputes in recent months, Rapidshare has come away with substantial victories. After pursuing several sites it claim abused its trademarks and offered unfair competition, the file-storage site has now taken control of many of these. However, not all complaints were successful.
The troubles for U.S. based BitTorrent users who share movies without permission is far from over. The United States Copyright Group (USCG) has called in the help of 15 law firms to file lawsuits against BitTorrent users who refuse to settle. For those who are willing to pay, the USCG has set up a portal where alleged file-sharers can conveniently pay their settlements online.
In a full trial the Amsterdam Court has confirmed an earlier judgment and ordered The Pirate Bay to stop all their activities in The Netherlands. The Court ruled that the site’s operators were assisting copyright infringement. If the three ‘operators’ fail to ban Dutch users, they will have to pay penalties of 50,000 euros per day.
Some of the biggest Internet brands have declared their love for BitTorrent in recent months. Both Facebook and Twitter are using BitTorrent to update their networks and not without success. In Twitter’s new setup the BitTorrent-powered system has made their server deployment 75 times faster than before.
After the U.S. Government took action against several sites connected to movie streaming recently, nerves are jangling over the possibility that this is just the beginning of a wider crackdown. Now it appears that a free blogging platform has been taken down by its hosting provider on orders from the U.S. authorities on grounds of “a history of abuse”. More than 73,000 blogs are out of action as a result.
Demonoid is without doubt one of the best known BitTorrent trackers on the Internet. Unfortunately, this Internet fame makes the tracker a target for numerous DoS attacks. Following one of the latest attacks Demonoid has decided to block many Taiwanese and Chinese IP-ranges.
An anti-piracy group has revealed that when it comes to shutting down torrent sites, it is the undisputed king of the Internet. BREIN, which works on behalf of the Hollywood movie studios, says that not only has it shut down several Usenet indexers and streaming sites already in 2010, but hundreds of torrent sites too. There is torrent site carnage going on in The Netherlands and we’ve failed to report on any of it.
A document has been making the rounds showing that the RIAA paid more than $16 million to its lawyers while recouping only a fraction of it through settlements. While some might grin at this seemingly unfavorable outcome for the music industry representatives, the RIAA told TorrentFreak that the overall result of their efforts in court are in their favor.
The Performing Rights Society, the UK outfit collecting royalties for the music industry, wants to charge Internet providers for the amount of illegal downloading that happens via their networks. ISPs should monitor the traffic of their users and compensate the music industry for its claimed losses, PRS economist Will Page argues in a paper published today.
The degree of secrecy surrounding the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has reached a worrying new height. Pirate Party MEP Christian Engstrom saw himself forced to leave a meeting with ACTA negotiators in the European Parliament after he was forbidden from sharing information with the public.
Following the country’s first ever raid on a BitTorrent site in 2009, Russian authorities have now begun a criminal investigation into the operators of Interfilm.ru. Run by a married couple, the site is now at the center of copyright infringement claim which runs to a staggering $1.25 billion. Reports suggest that the investigation has also traced some of the site’s top users.
BitTorrent Inc. released the SDK for uTorrent Apps today, allowing developers worldwide to code their own Apps for the popular BitTorrent client. To motivate developers into contributing their creations, the company has also announced a challenge with a $1000 prize for the best App to be submitted during the coming month.
As the U.S. struggles with the prospect that thousands of file-sharers will receive threatening letters in the now-famous Hurt Locker lawsuit case, over the pond in the UK there is a continuing escalation of the ‘turn piracy into profit’ bandwagon. A new firm of lawyers has entered the market and while their business model appears identical, they are attempting to sugar-coat their actions.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Clash Of The Titans’ tops the chart this week followed by ‘Repo Man’. ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ completes the top three.
OpenBitTorrent is a non-commercial BitTorrent tracker that doesn’t host or link to torrent files. Despite this seemingly neutral setup, both Hollywood and the music industry have declared war against what they see as an illegal service. After Hollywood won its case against the former provider of OpenBitTorrent, IFPI is now going after its new host in Spain.
The latest episode of TorrentFreak TV covers RIAA’s spambot, BitTorrent users in The Hurt Locker, how to get cash from Comcast and much more. Enjoy.
The uTorrent team has integrated several of its experimental projects into the new 3.0 alpha release. The latest version of the main client now includes remote control, Apps and the ability to stream video torrents. In addition, uTorrent 3.0 has taken measures to protect VPN users from having their real IP-address exposed to the public.
Two ISPs have won their court battle against an anti-piracy group which had demanded that they block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. Yesterday a judge at the Antwerp Commercial Court rejected the blocking demands and labeled them “disproportionate”. The Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation has reacted angrily, accusing the ISPs of siding with The Pirate Bay.
Another break happened today in the RIAA’s case against Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum, as the $675k fine was reduced by 90%. The judge in the case criticised the RIAA and held that the jury’s damages were unconstitutional. Even the reduced fine is described as “severe, even harsh” by the District Judge.
Following an appearance before the US House Judiciary Committee, earlier this year the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced they would start suing those who provide or access UFC events illegally. In a new announcement the company has just revealed it has reached settlements with 500 businesses and individuals.
A group of Argentinian hackers have managed to gain access to The Pirate Bay’s admin panel through a security breach. Via the backend of The Pirate Bay website they were able to delete torrents and expose users’ IP-addresses, emails and MD5-hashed passwords. The Pirate Bay is currently working on a fix while the site is offline.
Two of the UK’s leading Internet service providers are teaming up to challenge the Digital Economy Act. TalkTalk and BT say they want the High Court to examine whether the Act, which was rushed through before the recent general election, was passed without going through the correct parliamentary procedures.
As part of an initiative to crack down on Internet piracy and counterfeiting, the US Government recently took action against sites making available movies and TV shows. Arrests did not feature in the action, but controversially the authorities seized site domain names instead. TorrentFreak has learned that both The Pirate Bay and MegaUpload domains were also on the target list.
Two weeks ago RapidShare announced a change in the pricing scheme for their premium members. Starting this month, account holders would’ve been required to pay an amount based on their daily usage volume along with a requirement to skip between various packages to avoid overpayment. This planned change resulted in a revolt among RapidShare users which forced the company to revisit its plans.
ItsHidden is a VPN service that was set up with torrent users in mind, allowing them to hide their identities from ‘third parties’ who choose to snoop on their activities. The service launched less than a year ago, but with the increased demand for anonymous BitTorrent it has already amassed 300,000 members.
Pint-sized popstar Prince will be giving his latest album away for free in a UK newspaper this week. Declaring the Internet “completely over”, iTunes nor any other online store will get access to his music. “Computers and digital gadgets are no good,” he declared in an interview, just as millions of file-sharers line up to use their hopeless number crunchers to suck his latest offering down the pipes.
Despite a pending lawsuit against 5,000 Hurt Locker downloaders and the promises from its makers to sue even more, the film is still being downloaded by thousands of people every day. Interestingly, the makers do not seem to be sending takedown notices to torrent sites, most likely because that would ruin their business plan.
During the last few weeks many file-sharing sites have been taken down by threats, legal action and police raids. From the mighty Pirate Bay to lesser known torrent sites across Europe and streaming giants around the world, the theme isn’t capitulation after a setback, but getting back online as quickly as possible.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ tops the chart this week followed by ‘The Karate Kid’. ‘Cop Out’ completes the top three.
In less than two years the RIAA has sent copyright infringement notices to 1.8 million Internet subscribers and 269,609 to colleges and universities. Despite this staggering average of more than a million infringement notices every year from the recording industry alone, the effect on file-sharing levels seems unnoticeable.
After two appeals, a file-sharing case in Norway with important privacy implications has gone all the way to the Supreme Court. The whole process has been shrouded in secrecy, with the results of each stage kept from the public. Now the final decision has been made available and for both file-sharers and privacy advocates alike, the result is unwelcome.
Following revelations from a leaked ACTA document that participating countries would be expected to bring in a system of monetary fines and jail sentences for those who share files without authorization, the UK has ruled out such a response. The government has announced that it feels such penalties are inappropriate for dealing with petty copyright infringers.
TorrentFreak TV is back again, slightly shorter, but hopefully with more frequent releases to keep you updated on the wonderful world of file-sharing. The latest episode features the US plans to crack down on piracy, Limewire’s plans to go legit and much more.
Supported by many BitTorrent sites and other major players in the P2P-scene, the exclusive BitTorrent release of the first episode of Pioneer One has become a huge success. With more than a million downloads in two weeks, and over $20,000 in donations to work on future episodes, the project’s success has exceeded the expectations of its makers.
After their former hosting provider received an injunction telling it to stop providing bandwidth to The Pirate Bay, the worlds most resilient BitTorrent site switched to a new ISP. That host, the Swedish Pirate Party, made a stand on principle. Now they aim to take things further by running the site from inside the Swedish Parliament.
Seven operators of the Finnish BitTorrent site Finreactor have been ordered to pay a total of 680,000 euros in damages to copyright holders for their role in the distribution of copyrighted files. The admins, several of whom were underage when they were involved with the site, were seen as essential parts of an illegal network.
As part of a new initiative cracking down on Internet piracy and counterfeiting, yesterday the U.S. government took action against nine web portals suspected of streaming of first-run movies. Not only were domain names targeted, but assets seized from bank, PayPal and other accounts. One site, NinjaVideo, was warned by TorrentFreak months ago they were being watched.
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