Last month, with the gaming community waiting eagerly for the release of Black Ops, the latest instalment in the Call of Duty series, news broke that that developer Treyarch was feverishly trying to contain a potential leak of the game. While partially successful, Black Ops still leaked a week before its due date. This is the story of how.
The domain seizures by the United States authorities in recent days and upcoming legislation that could make similar takeovers even easier in the future, have inspired a group of enthusiasts to come up with a new, decentralized and BitTorrent-powered DNS system. This system will exchange DNS information through peer-to-peer transfers and will work with a new .p2p domain extension.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Despicable Me’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Inception’. ‘Easy A’ completes the top three.
After being in quiet development for some months, in September the Mulve music downloading app hit the mainstream. Very quickly everything went sour, with British police swooping on the guy who registered the Mulve domain and placing him under arrest on a range of charges from copyright infringement through to conspiracy to defraud. Today we can report the outcome. For once it’s good news.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have just confirmed the seizure of 82 domains as part of Operation in Our Sites 2. The authorities claim the actions were targeted at websites that were involved in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit and copyrighted goods, but fail to explain why a BitTorrent meta-search engine was included.
The US Copyright Group thought it had found the ideal scheme to turn piracy into profit when it started filing lawsuits against tens of thousands of BitTorrent users this year. But the defendants in the Far Cry lawsuits have now become the plaintiffs in a class action filed against the anti-piracy lawyers and their partners. Among other things, the lawyers are accused of fraud, extortion and abuse.
Described online as a struggling screenwriter who sells flowers to make ends meet, P.J. McIlvaine is now facing the biggest struggle of her life. After creating a free online library of Hollywood movie scripts to assist other screenwriters, she incurred the wrath of Twentieth Century Fox. Without any previous contact, the movie giant sent private investigators to P.J’s home to gather information and has now sued for a mind boggling $12 million.
After a lost legal battle, Mininova was forced to take drastic measures a year ago. The site’s founders removed millions of torrents to avoid having to pay millions of dollars in fines. In addition, new uploads were restricted to approved publishers only, a choice that expectedly dwarfed the site’s traffic and user base in the year that followed.
The verdict against three people associated with The Pirate Bay just been announced. The Swedish Appeal Court found Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström guilty of “contributory copyright infringement” and handed down prison sentences ranging from 4 to 10 months plus damages of more than $6.5 million in total.
Following on the heels of this week’s domain seizure of a large hiphop file-sharing links forum, it’s clear today that the U.S. Government has been very busy. Without any need for COICA, ICE has just seized the domain of a BitTorrent meta-search engine along with those belonging to other music linking sites and several others which appear to be connected to physical counterfeit goods.
BitTorrent engine BitSnoop has the honor of being the fastest growing torrent site in 2010. After a terrible disaster in February the site lost its entire database and had to go offline for a couple of months. Skip a few months forward and BitSnoop is back on top as one of the leading indexers, with over 10 million indexed torrents covering a massive 12,049,125 GB of data.
A large file-sharing link site dedicated to rap and hiphop music and news has been raided by the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The servers of RapGodFathers, a site with close to 150,000 members, were seized and moves put in place to take over its domain name.
A strong coalition of two Dutch artists unions and the local consumer watchdog have submitted a proposal to permanently legalize file-sharing of music and movies. In exchange, the parties call for a levy on MP3-players and other devices that can play and record movies and music. In the future, this has to be changed to a general levy on Internet subscriptions.
Graham Syfert, the lawyer who offered self-help to alleged BitTorrent downloaders of films such as Far Cry and The Hurt Locker, has been sued by the makers of the latter movie. On behalf of Voltage Pictures, the US Copyright Group (USCG) is seeking sanctions against Syfert and demand $5000 for the ‘work’ the self-help forms have caused them. in reponse, Syfert has requested sanctions against the plaintiffs because their filing is “completely insane.”
The CEO of publisher Ziff Davis has just had an ear bashing from not only the RIAA, but just about everyone in the music industry. It seems that the world’s recorded music leaders were more than a little annoyed when PC Mag reported on alternatives to LimeWire, going on to call ‘their’ report on a TorrentFreak article “nothing more than a roadmap for continued music piracy.” Confusingly, PC Mag didn’t actually write it. IDG’s PC World did.
According to Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry, the country’s organized crime unit has dramatically raided a piracy site. Following a music industry tip-off, an “American movie” style raid ensued with unwitting employees at the site location ordered to lie on the floor while the anti-mafia unit – who didn’t even have a search warrant – conducted what appears to a Keystone Kops inspired operation.
It’s always good to hear that a developer has chosen not to inflict pain on paying customers by filling their games with annoying DRM. CD Projekt, the developer of The Witcher 2, has been getting all sorts of good press recently by taking this approach with their latest release, but not so fast. The Polish-based company has an ace up its sleeve, with a plan to snoop on torrent sites and send pay-up-or-else letters to alleged pirates.
BitTorrent usage has been growing exponentially in India over the last years. With this increased use of BitTorrent, the local entertainment industry is feeling threatened, and last weekend India’s first BitTorrent raid was carried out by the Hyderabad police. A ‘gang’ of four members was arrested and more are expected to follow.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Inception’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’. ‘Shrek Forever After’ completes the top three.
When BitTorrent trackers get emails from content producers it’s usually an indication that relationships are about to break down in a big way. But when lifestyle and clothing company Voleurz saw their videos being made available on the ExtremeBits BitTorrent tracker they didn’t send the usual cease and desist. Instead, they asked the site to spread more of their videos while using their torrent stats in sponsorship proposals.
Thousands of alleged BitTorrent users who were suspected of downloading the movie Far Cry have booked a significant victory in court. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ordered the copyright holder of the film, represented by the US Copyright Group, to limit their case only to those defendants there the Court had jurisdiction over.
In a letter to those coordinating Operation Payback, the series of DDoS attacks carried out against pro-copyright outfits since September, the UK and US Pirate Party are calling for an end to hostilities. They reason that the continuation of the operation plays into the hands of organizations that wish to “pervert” copyright law for personal gain and hampers the progress of those seeking copyright reform through legitimate means.
The RIAA has claimed in court papers that the official LimeWire company has breached last month’s court injunction against it by somehow having something to do with LimeWire Pirate Edition. The RIAA says that the site, which linked to the rogue software, was created by a current or former LimeWire employee. This forced the company to move against the Pirate Edition website and have it shut down.
A new BitTorrent client called zButterfly saw the light this week. Based on the Vuze source code, the new client sets itself apart from the competition by offering a searchable catalog of movies in various qualities. The developers of zButterfly are convinced that the movie centric approach will be appreciated by users, but it’s doubtful that Hollywood will be happy with this latest innovation.
The U.S. Senate’s Judicial Committee unanimously passed the controversial ‘Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act’ today, a bill that could be used to crack down on many BitTorrent sites and other file-sharing platforms. The bill would give the Department of Justice the unprecedented power to take over domain names of websites that are deemed to facilitate copyright infringement.
Davenport Lyons, the law firm which pioneered the lucrative file-sharing pay-up-or-else scheme in the UK, will head off to Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal proceedings next year. According to details just made available, among other things Davenport Lyons partners were responsible for knowingly targeting the innocent and relied on unreliable evidence in doing so.
After the Mulve music downloading app burst onto the scene in September, it didn’t take long for it to be closed down and cold water poured on the fun. Now, just a couple of months later, a new application has appeared which not only does everything that Mulve did, but adds more sources, integrates music discovery, last.fm, a playlist and download manager, videos, lyrics and more.
Exactly a year ago The Pirate Bay team surprised friends and foes when it announced that the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker was shutting down for good. The site’s torrent index would remain online, but millions of users had to find alternative trackers or rely on trackerless technologies to share their torrents from then on. In addition, The Pirate Bay suggested a move away from .torrent files entirely in the future.
One of the most interesting leaks of the year has just occurred with the appearance of the first 36 minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 on dozens of BitTorrent sites. The upcoming Harry Potter film will have its worldwide premiere later this week, but not before hundreds and thousands of people have grabbed a copy of an extended preview on BitTorrent.
Yesterday, the long-running case of Usenet community FTD versus the Eyeworks movie studio was heard in The Hague Court of Appeals. The Court largely reversed an earlier decision, ruling that it is not illegal for Internet users to inform others where illicit material can be found. However, FTD was found guilty of promoting illegal uploading.
Operation Payback has been without a doubt the longest and most widespread attack on anti-piracy groups, lawyers and lobbyists. Despite the massive media coverage, little is known about the key players who coordinate the operation and DDoS attacks. A relatively small group of people, they are seemingly fuelled by anger, frustration and a strong desire to have their voices heard.
Conor Lenihan, Minister of State with responsibility for Science, Technology and Innovation, has indicated he hasn’t given up on the chance of a negotiated settlement of the illicit file-sharing issue in Ireland. In an Intellectual Property debate, Lenihan praised the IRMA/Eircom agreement and said that while he hopes there can be more arrangements of this type, if they do not arrive, legislation will be the outcome.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Inception’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’. ‘Golmaal 3′ completes the top three.
When in court it is the job of the defense lawyer to cast doubt on the credibility of the prosecution’s case. Finding and highlighting those details which show the defendant to be misleading or unreliable can be the make and break of a case. Unfortunately for ACS:Law’s Andrew Crossley, that is a knife that cuts both ways as yet again he is shown to have misled a reporter.
Thanks to Google people have all the world’s knowledge at their fingertips. Simply type in a few words and the search engine usually returns hundreds of thousands of related websites – some background info on your favorite musician for example, or the latest blockbuster that just premiered. But, what’s that torrent thing Google keeps suggesting? Click…
Five years (and a day) ago, on November 12, 2005, TorrentFreak first saw the light of day. Since then we have published 3,392 articles, while our valued readers have written 243,982 comments. It’s been a great ride so far, thanks to all of you…
Georgia’s Valdosta State University has updated its network with software that can pinpoint students who use P2P software. The university is committed to stop file-sharing on its network even if that results in prison sentences for students. Offenders will be disciplined by the school and then handed over to the police, the university has announced.
In a recent interview BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen looked back at some of the failures his company had in the past, and how this changed their focus from selling goods and services to serving the 80 million monthly users uTorrent and the Mainline client have. Cohen also revealed what is expected to come in the future. His pet project, BitTorrent live streaming, will be released to the public soon.
Following on the heels of the MPAA’s submission to the Office of the US Trade Representative, the RIAA has now submitted its own list of “notorious markets” that promote and facilitate copyright infringement. The RIAA stretches the definition of “rogue websites” by including the meta-search engine Torrentz, China’s leading search engine Baidu and Russia’s Facebook alternative, VKontakte. The popular release blog RLSLOG and cyberlocker Rapidshare also got a mention.
A man who linked to two hockey games streamed live by broadcaster Canal Plus has been found guilty of copyright infringement. The 32 year-old found unprotected direct URL links to the games on the channel’s official website which would ordinarily cost money to view. A District Court decided that publishing those links on his forum amounted to an infringement of copyright.
The uTorrent team has rolled out the stable release of uTorrent 2.2 today. The highly anticipated release is the first to open up BitTorrent’s App Studio to uTorrent’s 65 million users and introduces optimized proxy privacy settings. To emphasize the collaboration with independent artists, the launch of uTorrent 2.2 coincides with a promotion of the free-to-download film ‘Four Eyed Monsters’.
European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has warned copyright middlemen and content gatekeepers that they risk being sidelined. The restrictive systems they have set up irritate the public and leave “a vacuum which is served by illegal content,” said Kroes, who added that a new approach to copyright is the answer. One which looks beyond “corporatist self-interest”.
BitTorrent search engine isoHunt has reversed the change it made earlier this year, where all US visitors were redirected to a ‘lite’ version of the site to prevent it from being shut down. With this move, isoHunt founder Gary Fung hopes to regain some of the visitors he lost due to the change. Meanwhile, isoHunt is awaiting the appeal of the permanent injunction the District Court of California issued in their case against the MPAA.
A non-commercial blog which specializes in reporting on Amazon Kindle related news was taken down by WordPress after it linked to site hosting an unauthorized copy of a book. Although this is a legal act under Spanish law, WordPress blocked the site following a complaint from an anti-piracy group who said the blog owner had ignored them, but when one learns how they made that complaint, it’s no surprise he did.
Last month, the Gnutella-based file-sharing client LimeWire was effectively outlawed after a U.S. federal judge granted a request from the RIAA to shut the software down. Now, not even a month later, LimeWire is back as good as new. Not only has a secret dev team reanimated the hugely popular client, but they have also made a few significant changes which make it better and more streamlined than before.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Inception’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’. ‘The Social Network’ completes the top three.
Have you ever wanted to have a live video chat with several friends while simultaneously sharing files with them? With the brand new Sifonr service you can. It’s beauty is that it is all supported by Adobe Flash’s latest P2P technology and easy to embed in any website. Sifonr has the potential to become the next generation communication tool on the web, but has to be careful that it doesn’t turn into a chatroulette on steroids.
In a response to a request from the Office of the US Trade Representative, the MPAA has submitted a list of “notorious markets” for pirated goods located outside the United States. Among them are some of the world’s leading torrent sites including BTjunkie, Demonoid, isoHunt, KickAssTorrents and The Pirate Bay. Usenet service UseNext makes an appearance alongside file-hosters MegaUpload and RapidShare.
BitTorrent was first released by Bram Cohen back in 2001, but it took two years before the new file-sharing protocol gained a notable audience. In the years that followed millions of torrent files were downloaded and shared billions of times. In this article we will discuss five memorable torrent files that each broke a unique record, from the largest in size to the oldest that’s still alive today.
While BitTorrent veterans will have their own tried and tested methods of finding out when the latest releases land and where to go to get their hands on them first, many of these require the taming of an often off-putting learning curve. Thanks to a rather nifty web interface, that information is now at everyone’s fingertips. While some will complain, it’s just another natural development in the increasingly public and widespread file-sharing scene.
In recent months Rapidshare has aggressively targeted search engines and indexers that abused the company’s trademark and facilitated copyright infringement. These actions are part of their campaign to create goodwill with the entertainment industry, but by doing so RapidShare is also shooting itself in the foot. As a result of the domain seizures the site is no longer the leading file-hoster.
The Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit VAP has announced that it will apply for a court injunction to force a major Internet service provider to block a popular movie streaming portal. UPC, the ISP that has refused to cave into 3 strikes demands from the music industry in Ireland, says it will not block the site Kino.to on behalf of the movie industry. VAP says it hopes the test case will pave the way for further site blockades.
Jammie Thomas-Rasset has lost her re-retrial against the RIAA and is now ordered to pay $1.5 million for 24 songs she shared via Kazaa. The jury found her guilty of infringing the rights of Capitol Records and found a $62,500 fine per shared song to be an appropriate punishment. If recouped, the money will be invested in new anti-piracy campaigns.
The owner of a Romanian BitTorrent tracker has been the first person in the country to receive a jail sentence for his actions. Following complaints from the Business Software Alliance, Kartel.ro was closed in 2007 but it has taken three years for the case to come to a conclusion. The outcome is a 6 month suspended sentence and an unspecified fine.
As part of its ongoing punishment of any institute or company that defends copyright, Anonymous has now taken down the website of The United States Copyright Office. The group managed to take copyright.gov offline for half an hour. After that the website started to respond again slowly, with occasional outages.
World famous nightclub and independent music label Ministry of Sound have been forced to suspend their planned shakedown of tens of thousands of alleged file-sharers. The company had planned to send 25,000 letters demanding hundreds of pounds in compensation to customers of Internet service provider, BT. However, BT has deleted more than 20,000 of those records which now makes the identification of the account holders impossible.
New Zealand’s Parliament Commerce Committee has reported back on the Copyright Infringing File Sharing Bill and it will now move to parliament for its second reading. The controversial 3 strikes provision is still included, but will now only be implemented if a letter writing scheme to educate citizens fails, and people continue to share illicit files during the next two years.
For most people going to a cinema is a good night out. Only a few realize that they are often subjecting themselves to extreme and privacy invading security measures that most airports could only dream of. Filmgoers are already being carefully watched for suspicious behavior by Big Brother’s cameras, but soon this technology will be upgraded with sophisticated emotion recognition software.
In an effort to reduce illicit file-sharing, draft legislation was passed in Finland last week which will require Internet service providers to send letters to customers suspected of unauthorized sharing. The warnings will be initiated by copyright owners, but at no stage will Internet subscribers’ identities be compromised. A three strikes-style regime is not on the agenda.
In recent months thousands of US BitTorrent users have been sued for allegedly sharing movies such as The Hurt Locker. Among the victims are several people who have never even downloaded a single torrent file, but nevertheless have fallen prey to the infamous pay-up-or-else scheme. San Fransisco Law professor Robert Talbot and his students are now stepping up for two dozen of these wrongfully accused individuals.
Antipiratbyrån (Anti-Piracy Bureau, APB) regularly makes headlines for its work against file-sharers in Sweden. Now, APB lawyer Sara Lindbäck has given an interview where she speaks about piracy, the MPAA, The Pirate Bay, and the level of secrecy APB adopts to protect those working for it. This group manages to conduct its business with zero turnover and not a single employee (or snitch) on the books.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Inception’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Social Network’. ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’ completes the top three.
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