We did it again. Despite being chronically understaffed we managed to get at least one article published on TorrentFreak every day in 2010. Although we aim to regularly publish articles worthy of being listed in a year’s end overview, rather than choose those for inclusion ourselves we felt our loyal readers should do the talking. So what were the hottest debated topics in the file-sharing world this year? Let’s find out.
The domain seizures by the U.S. Government in November hit the sites affected badly, reducing their traffic to a trickle overnight. One of the sites, BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder, is refusing to throw in the towel and shows how futile the seizure was. In addition to taking legal action to hopefully recover his .COM domain, the owner has been working hard using Google tools to regain lost traffic.
As the year moves toward its end we have been listing the most pirated entertainment titles of 2010. Following our Top 10 games and movies charts, we now turn to the most downloaded TV-shows. Lost tops the list this year with over 5 million downloads for a single episode, beating last year’s winner Heroes.
In January 2010, in response to the emerging tragedy from the earthquake in Haiti, Radiohead performed before a limited audience at a charity concert in the United States. Since that performance, footage of the event has been painstakingly compiled by fans and now a twin DVD has been released, endorsed by the band. All proceeds are going to charity and the fastest way of acquiring it? BitTorrent of course.
A recent talk at the Chaos Communications Congress revealed how BitTorrent swarms can be exploited to take down large websites with relative ease. A vulnerability in the technology behind so called trackerless torrents makes it possible for someone to trick downloaders of popular files into send thousands of requests to a webserver of choice, taking it down as a result. Basically, this turns BitTorrent into a very effective DDoS tool.
Hadopi, the French authority with responsibility for issuing warnings to illicit file-sharers, has just announced that so far it has sent out 100,000 email warnings. While the figure is far below the 50-70,000 reports filed by the entertainment industry every day, around 15% of warning recipients have responded by email, some with confessions, some with confusion.
As 2010 comes to an end, we follow up our most pirated movies chart by taking a look at the most pirated games of the year. Call of Duty: Black Ops is the absolute winner in the PC games category this year. On Xbox 360 Dante’s Inferno receives the same honor, while Super Mario Galaxy 2 scoops the title of most pirated Wii game of 2010.
Last month RapidShare discovered that they had been reported by the MPAA and RIAA to the US Government for being one of the world’s “most notorious pirate markets”. Now, on the heels of reports that the entertainment industries spent a small fortune lobbying for domain seizures in the last quarter, RapidShare has hired a Washington based lobbying firm to represent its interests in the US and to start correcting misconceptions.
DMCA takedown notices are sent in large numbers to dozens of organizations on the Internet every month. The ChillingEffects clearing house has been receiving copies of these from some of the Internet’s biggest players including Google, Yahoo, Digg and more recently Twitter. It will come as no surprise that the music and movie industries are some of the biggest complainers, but there are also some unexpected entrants.
There are plenty of ways to discover new content on BitTorrent, but searching is still the preferred method for most people. What they are searching for should therefore give a good picture of what the latest trends are. Today we present the BitTorrent Zeitgeist 2010, a list of the 100 most searched for phrases and keywords on one of the most used public BitTorrent indexes this year.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘TRON: Legacy’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Inception’. ‘The Tourist’ completes the top three.
Hackulous, the community dedicated to the cracking of Apple DRM and the indexing of unprotected software for iPhone, iPod and iPad, has announced some interesting innovations. As well as having cracking software for the yet-to-be-released Mac App Store already up their sleeve, they also have an intriguing “reverse BitTorrent” system for jailbroken devices which will increase cracked app availability on the Internet.
A unique Christmas gift was waiting under the tree this morning for fans of the hit-show Californication. The first two episodes of the upcoming fourth season have leaked on BitTorrent, more than two weeks before they premiere on Showtime. The source of the leak is reportedly a promo-DVD that a Showtime employee got to take home before the holidays.
LeechMonster is a new service that allows users to download torrents directly to their PC through a remote server, without having to fire up a BitTorrent client. For many people this will reduce download times significantly. TorrentFreak readers have the honor of testing the service for free this Christmas.
The music industry is changing rapidly. On the one hand there are tens of thousands of artists who use the Internet as a distribution channel and share their music online for free, but on the other side of the spectrum Big Music and Apple are tightening the bolts. We discuss the upside of the Internet and the ‘evil ways’ of the corporate interests with Benn Jordan, one of the first musicians to embrace BitTorrent and turn free music into a business.
Offering $85 worth of games for a price set by the buyer, Wolfire’s Humble Indie Bundle 2 pack has brought in more than $1.6 million since its launch. Inevitably, some people are using unofficial channels to acquire it and of course, BitTorrent is high on the list. After reaching out to pirates for information, Wolfire co-founder Jeffrey Rosen says the problem is real easy to fix. BitTorrent, here we come.
After six years, the criminal proceedings against P2P index site ShareConnector have finally come to an end, much to the embarrassment of the Dutch Department of Justice. The Court dismissed the case and ruled that the Public Prosecutor relied too much on evidence provided by anti-piracy outfit BREIN, and failed to do a proper investigation of its own.
A movie interests association has just announced an interesting new strategy. Having previously focused on having The Pirate Bay blocked in their home country, ACAPOR – which recently had its emails leaked by Operation Payback – says it will now make legal history by reporting unprecedented numbers of file-sharers to the authorities. Their aim? To have the law for infringements made less severe.
What.CD is not your ordinary BitTorrent tracker. The three year old site is most of all a community of audiophiles and music fanatics, and one that has built one of the largest music catalogues that ever existed. Today, What.CD saw the upload of its millionth torrent, an absolute record for a private BitTorrent tracker. TorrentFreak discusses this milestone with the site’s founder, who is far from done.
The Spanish House of Representatives has rejected new legislation under which hundreds of file-sharing sites that are currently perfectly legal, could have been shut down. The rejection is a major victory for the tens of thousands of Internet users who launched many protests in recent months. Conversely, the news will come as a disappointment to proponents of the legislation, including the entertainment industries and the U.S. Government.
Following last month’s failed attempt by ACS:Law to have default judgments handed down to 8 individuals accused of illegal file-sharing, the company’s allegations have again been heard in court. Detailing a case where ACS failed to get the defendant’s name right, a judge has now rounded up all of the company’s outstanding cases for a hearing next month. Things are about to get interesting.
BitTorrent search engine isoHunt is fighting the permanent injunction issued by the District Court of California last summer in their case against the MPAA. isoHunt contests the imposition of a site-wide keyword filter based on a list of movie industry keywords. By doing so, the search engine also makes a case for the public’s ‘freedom of search’, not just on BitTorrent, but on the Internet in general.
Late November, the Swedish Appeal Court found three people behind The Pirate Bay guilty of copyright infringement offenses. They were handed prison sentences and ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages. One of the defendants, Carl Lundström, has just filed his appeal and says that among other things, the Supreme Court should consider ISP liability.
With 2010 nearing its end, we take a look at the most-pirated titles across various categories, starting with movies. Aside from the usual suspects such as Oscar winners Avatar and The Hurt Locker, the list also includes a few surprising entries and some notable absentees.
A coalition of file-sharing sites are voluntarily taking themselves offline to protest against the likely passing of new legislation tomorrow. The sites, which together are believed to generate up to 70% of Spain’s Internet traffic, will display a black page warning that if the so-called Sinde Act is approved, their sites could disappear forever. Earlier this month, cables leaked by Wikileaks showed that Spain had bowed to US pressure to introduce the law.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Inception’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Social Network’. ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ completes the top three.
The recent action by US authorities against so-called rogue websites comes on the heels of significant lobbying efforts by two well known anti-piracy groups. In the last quarter the MPAA and RIAA together spent a total of $1.8 million on lobby efforts in Washington. Public records reveal that the industry groups focused heavily on legislation and authorities involved in domain name seizures.
uTorrent’s parent company BitTorrent Inc. recently signed up with a new toolbar partner. Last week millions of users got the offer to install this new addon with the upgrade to uTorrent 2.2, but it appears that it wasn’t that optional for everyone. Several disappointed users report that the Conduit toolbar was installed without notice, or even when they explicitly opted out. The uTorrent team regrets the dissatisfaction and is trying to get to the root of the problem.
The Internet’s second biggest BitTorrent site is dumping its .COM domain. In an apparent response to the US Government’s Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement recent seizures of domain names, the site moved to a new home. Despite being only a meta-search engine, Torrentz.com appears to be taking no chances with an immediate .EU domain migration.
Three weeks ago the US Government seized 82 domains as part of Operation in Our Sites 2. The authorities claimed that the actions were targeted at websites that were involved in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit and copyrighted goods. However, the seizure application that was made public today suggests that the seizure of the BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder rested on painful mistakes.
Acting on information provided by an anti-piracy group, Swedish police have carried out raids and taken down at least one warez scene topsite. Items seized include at least a dozen computers and servers containing a conservative 200 terabytes of media, mainly Hollywood movies. As other sites get sucked into the fallout, the recriminations and finger-pointing have begun.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK’s main recording industry trade body, came out with guns blazing against Google today. BPI says that search engines like Google are as popular as P2P applications as a source for illegal downloads. The music industry is pressing Google and others to censor their search results in favor of ‘legal’ music services.
Three months ago, TorrentFreak discovered that the Motion Picture Association were about to make an unprecedented move against file-sharing in the UK. Their targets were ISP BT and Usenet indexing site Newzbin.com. In discussions the MPA refused to confirm our suspicions. Yesterday, however, the MPA went to court to obtain an injunction to have BT block Newzbin in the UK.
The MPAA and their colleagues in The Netherlands appear to have shut down more than two dozen BitTorrent, Usenet and other file-sharing sites today. Accused of linking to movies, music, TV shows and games, at least one domain appears to be redirecting to the website of Dutch anti-piracy outfit, BREIN.
Pioneer One, a TV-show created for and made possible by BitTorrent users, made the headlines earlier this year when the pilot was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. The innovative distribution and funding model didn’t go unnoticed by TV-insiders either, and it won an award for ‘Best Drama Pilot’ at the New York Television Festival. Today, the second episode is released, with two more to follow in the weeks to come.
After more than a year of flirting with torrent sites, including the now infamous attempts to buy The Pirate Bay, the perilous financial position of Hans Pandeya’s Global Gaming Factory X has reached a peak. Two creditors, who are together owed more than $220,000, have demanded that the courts immediately put the company into bankruptcy. GGF’s overall debts are thought to be at least double that.
In a few months BitTorrent will celebrate its tenth anniversary, and in these years it has become the preferred technology to share files online. Today we document a piece of BitTorrent history with one of the most elaborate overviews of the files currently available on public trackers.
Pirated Chinese translations of books written by best-selling Japanese writers are being sold online by Apple. In a statement sent to the company today by a consortium of Japanese book publishers, the App Store operator is accused of not doing enough to ensure that it does not distribute copyright infringing material online.
Rogers, one of Canada’s largest Internet providers, has upset many customers with a recent change in their network management systems. Since mid-September both up and downstream BitTorrent traffic has been severely degraded in certain areas, which goes against the company’s network management policy. In addition, the new throttling technology has also slowed down non-P2P traffic in many cases.
As part of an article investigating the growing phenomenon of eBook piracy, a Scandinavian news outlet interviewed a 19 year-old self-confessed pirate who bragged about his activities. To counter his viewpoint a well known author contributed to the piece, stating that she abhors book piracy since it costs her huge amounts of money. However, her moral stance took a bit of a beating when her son let an embarrassing fact slip out.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Legend Of The Guardians’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Inception’. ‘Devil’ completes the top three.
For a while now, the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent has been marketed as a “an organization with a slight craving for power” to Italian users. A sentence that is as weird as it sounds in this context, even to Italians. Is there something evil about BitTorrent Inc. that we don’t know of, or is there a logical explanation?
It’s that festive time of year again when people are on the look out for unusual gifts to delight those they love. But it can be tricky – what do you buy the guy or girl who has everything? As it happens, something unusual just came onto the market. How about gift wrapping Sweden’s second largest torrent site for your loved one this Christmas?
Over the past years we’ve seen dozens of BitTorrent and piracy studies that were not the most robust or accurate, but the reports from the University of Ballarat’s Internet Commerce Security Laboratory top them all. Among other painful mistakes, the researchers conclude that older films such as Gladiator, Juno and Hancock were among the 10 most downloaded films this summer, years after they came out.
Mininova, once the largest BitTorrent site on the Internet, has paid a settlement fee to Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN to end the legal clash between the two parties. In return, BREIN dropped the damages claim they were preparing and Mininova has withdrawn their appeal, making it impossible for the site to return to full swing.
A teenager was arrested yesterday on suspicion of being involved with the Anonymous’ Operation Payback. The operation orchestrated DDoS attacks on anti-piracy targets in the last months, and more recently against those who obstructed Wikileaks’ work. Sources have informed TorrentFreak that the arrestee is one of the IRC-operators of Anonymous, known under the nickname Jeroenz0r.
The BitTorrent Inc. team has just added two of the most interesting apps yet to the popular uTorrent client. The first one allows users to integrate the all-round media player VLC to uTorrent, making it possible for users to play media files from within the client. The second is uCast, an exciting new app which enables users to share a ‘live’ RSS feed of selected torrents with friends.
Andrew Crossley, owner of the now infamous anti-piracy lawfirm ACS:Law, has always insisted that he has no fear of taking contested file-sharing cases to court. Now it has emerged that he recently tried to get a court to issue default judgments against individuals who offered no defense, but the hearing failed on so many levels its difficult to know where to start. Nevertheless, we’ll have a go.
BitTorrent is a great technology to share files both quickly and efficiently, but like most other P2P-technologies it has an Achilles’ heel. The download process relies in part on central servers that can crash or go offline for a variety of reasons. To address this vulnerability the first truly decentralized BitTorrent/P2P client has been developed, meaning that no central trackers, or even BitTorrent search engines are required to download movies, software and music.
ISP Eircom, the company pioneering a 3 strikes scheme for illicit file-sharers in Ireland, has been outlining the details of the regime it will implement in conjunction with the music industry. Eircom customers will be offered a music streaming service as part of their subscription but for those who choose to continue to share files, 12 months disconnections are on the horizon.
A yet to be released cable from the US Embassy in Stockholm will reveal that the United States Government was very concerned about file-sharing related issues in Sweden. The US Embassy actively worked with the Swedish authorities to reduce file-sharing related threats, which included The Pirate Bay which was raided in 2006 following US pressure.
IRIS Distribution has just launched an anti-piracy campaign which it says is designed to push music ownership and support for the artists that create it. Aimed directly at kids, the ‘I Share Everything But My Music’ promotion features artwork depicting a stubborn non-sharing rabbit and, as perhaps expected, a thief-inspired racoon. Hoping to catch children early, the anti-piracy message is even available on baby clothes.
Sweden’s highest court has rejected an application by an anti-piracy group which would force an ISP to hand over the identity of a file-sharing site operator. Antipiratbyrån wants TeliaSonera to reveal who is behind the SweTorrents BitTorrent tracker but the ISP has refused and taken its case all the way to the Supreme Court. That Court has now decided that the final decision lies with the European Court.
The US Copyright Group (USCG) campaign to turn piracy into profit is starting to fall apart. Today, the anti-piracy lawyers dropped 97% of the alleged BitTorrent file-sharers from the Far Cry case because of a lack of jurisdiction. This setback seriously limits the profitability of the law firm’s business model, and is a clear victory for thousands of people who were pressured to pay expensive settlements.
The owner of BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder, one of the sites that had its domain seized recently, is determined to put up a fight against the actions of the U.S. authorities. The Egyptian founder of the site has hired an attorney to assist him in regaining control over the website he maintained trouble-free for more than half a decade.
As part of an investigation running for more than a year, police in Iceland have been trying to track down individuals who run file-sharing sites and those who added large amounts of content to them. This week, teenagers as young as 15 had quite a surprise when police raided several locations across the country.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Town’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Inception’. ‘Despicable Me’ completes the top three.
While most traditional political parties are wary of supporting the actions of whistleblower site Wikileaks, Pirate Parties around the world have made it very clear whose side they are on. Just before the weekend Wikileaks moved to a Pirate Party owned domain, and today a conglomerate of Pirate Parties have just announced that they are now providing the site with several much needed mirror servers.
Starting tomorrow, the MPAA will send out letters to higher education institutions in the United States, urging them to protect the interests of the six major movie and television studios. In addition, the MPAA will announce that it will start warning college and university students who are illegally sharing motion picture movies on college campus networks. Those who don’t abide will have to face the consequences.
Record labels are not always acting honestly when it comes to file-sharing. In public they often condemn BitTorrent sites and file-hosting services, but behind the scenes they sometimes use the same tools to promote their artists. This has become painfully obvious in the ongoing court case between EMI and MP3tunes where evidence was provided that the record label posted tracks on the ‘piracy haven’ RapidShare.
While the the Pirate Bay trial is recognized worldwide, historically only a handful of file-sharing cases have gone the distance in Sweden’s criminal courts. Now, after making available just 44 music tracks via a file-sharing network, a 26 year old man is being lined up for prosecution. Sweden’s Prosecution Office says that ‘illicit’ file-sharing is a “devastating social problem” so with the TPB convictions in hand, jail sentences will be considered more often in the future.
After being cut off by its nameserver provider EveryDNS, Wikileaks has moved to a domain registered by Pirate Party Switzerland. EveryDNS was forced to stop its services to Wikileaks after continued DDoS attacks, creating yet another setback for the whistleblower site that has dominated the news this week.
China is often criticized for its Internet censorship practices. Although this is certainly valid with regard to political issues, the United States is rapidly becoming one of the most progressive countries when it comes to commercial censorship. Safeguarding commercial interests is increasingly preferred above the rights of the general public. Ironically, BitTorrent sites may have to flee to China to keep their ‘freedom’.
Demonoid, one of the most prominent BitTorrent sites on the Internet, is ditching its .COM domain. In an announcement today the world’s biggest semi-private tracker says it will move to a .ME domain with immediate effect. The move comes as no surprise since both the MPAA and RIAA listed Demonoid in their recent submissions of “notorious markets” for pirate material.
Earlier this year, cyberlocker service RapidShare was ordered by a court to remove nearly 150 electronic books from its archives and prevent users from re-uploading them by implementing a filter. According to the publishers who brought the case, RapidShare quickly breached the injunction. Today, the Regional Court of Hamburg agreed and hit the file-hosting company with a 150,000 euro fine.
Increasingly, people have started using YouTube as an instant music player. Although the experience is okay for single tracks, it is hardly the music video jukebox most people would love to see. This is where Tubeify comes in, a brand new mashup of Last.fm, Billboard and Youtube, suited for both casual listeners and musical time travellers.
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