STAR World, a prominent English language television channel in India owned by News Corp, has just announced a brand new programming segment. Interestingly, it is named after the country’s most popular torrent search engine, Torrentz. With ‘Torrentz’, which will air The Good Guys, The Walking Dead and Detroit 1-8-7, the TV-channel hopes to offer a convenient alternative to ever increasing BitTorrent use in India.
The owner of a file-sharing site active more than 5 years ago went on trial today in the French capital, Paris. Vincent Valade is accused by entertainment companies of profiting heavily from the unauthorized distribution of more than 7,000 movies. If convicted he faces up to 3 years in jail, 300,000 euros in fines and compensation settlements running to millions of euros.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Green Hornet’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Unstoppable’. ‘The King’s Speech’ completes the top three.
The avalanche of copyright infringement lawsuits in the United States, mainly against BitTorrent users, are about to hit a dubious milestone. In total 99,924 defendants have been sued in the last 12 months, and new cases are being filed at a rapid rate. Adult companies in particular have embraced the profitable pay-up-or-else scheme where tens of millions of dollars are at stake.
The war on piracy had simmered at a relatively low-level for many years, but with the advent of Napster and its predecessors it was inevitable that the entertainment industries would respond violently. But with that force comes the backlash and a hatred for those who would take everyone’s freedoms, especially online, to protect a business model. As a result, the vast majority of file-sharers get caught in the crossfire, between two parties who will always be at war. But peace can be found.
Two days ago it was reported that the MPAA had shut down 12 sites in the United States. In addition to these actions an additional 39 torrents sites were pulled offline in The Netherlands based on a MPAA tip-off. Although none of the sites have been named officially, TorrentFreak has learned that the file-sharing community DarksideRG was one of the casualties.
The recent closure of both PureTNA and Empornium earlier this month left a decent sized hole in the BitTorrent porn landscape. However, with the help of ex-users and adult material fans around the world, we’re now able to plug that significant void with a list of alternative sites where previously empty-handed torrent client owners can place their seeds.
The 2011 Oscar nominees were announced earlier this week, inspiring many people to fire up their BitTorrent clients and start downloading. As we’ve done in previous years, we now take a look at the availability of the nominated films online and whether there are any new trends emrging. This year, fewer high quality copies leaked online and pirates had to wait longer than in previous years for those that did.
The MPAA has managed to take a dozen torrent sites offline in the United States, with help from Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. The 12 torrent sites – which remain anonymous – were pulled offline by their hosting companies following complaints from the two organizations. What effect this ‘massive’ takedown operation will have on the BitTorrent ecosystem is yet to be seen, but thus far there are no reports of ‘missing’ torrent sites.
In order to neutralize Sweden’s incoming implementation of the European Data Retention Directive, Bahnhof, the Swedish ISP and host of Wikileaks, will run all customer traffic through an encrypted VPN service. Since not even Bahnhof will be able to see what its customers are doing, logging their activities will be impossible. With no logs available to complete their chain of investigation, anti-piracy companies will be very, very unhappy.
It’s taken a while, but Google has finally caved in to pressure from the entertainment industries including the MPAA and RIAA. The search engine now actively censors terms including BitTorrent, torrent, utorrent, RapidShare and Megaupload from its instant and autocomplete services. The reactions from affected companies and services are not mild, with BitTorrent Inc., RapidShare and Vodo all speaking out against this act of commercial censorship.
Piracy worries and BitTorrent lawsuits have made their way into the generally very liberal anime industry. Last week, the producers of the new anime series Fractale told distributor Funimation to stop the online broadcast of the their show in the United States over piracy concerns, and a few days later Funimation announced a lawsuit against 1337 alleged BitTorrent downloaders.
A movie studio that filed suit against file-hoster HotFile and 1000 of their users recently has revealed their latest plan to extract money from file-sharers. Unlike untold numbers of their competitors who sue people first and then demand cash payments, Liberty Media want file-sharers to be proactive. That’s right BitTorrent users, it’s time to repent. Hand yourselves over to this movie company and make sure you have $1,000 with you.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, the company exploiting the Paris Hilton Sex Tape ‘One Night in Paris’ has filed lawsuits against 843 alleged BitTorrent users. While it has already made millions of dollars in profit from the dubiously obtained ‘motion picture’, the company is demanding compensation for losses allegedly caused by mass copyright infringement on BitTorrent networks.
In recent months a controversial piece of legislation aimed at shutting down file-sharing sites has resulted in massive opposition from the public in Spain. In December the protests appeared to have been successful as the House of Representatives rejected the proposal. However, yesterday the Spanish Government resurrected the law with some minor changes, a move that has outraged the public.
ACS:Law, the law firm that has terrorized untold thousands of alleged file-sharers in the UK, has quit the anti-piracy business. The company made the announcement in a hearing at the Patents County Court yesterday set to a backdrop of scathing comments by a senior judge who said he found their cases “mind boggling”.
Another blow has been delivered to the mass BitTorrent lawsuits that were introduced in the United States last year. The German-based copyright profiteers DigiProtect sued hundreds of alleged BitTorrent users a month ago, but now more than half of the cases have been orally dismissed.
One of China’s leading file-sharing sites permanently disabled access to many music and movie downloads this weekend. Citing copyright concerns and tightening legislation, the boss of VeryCD said that after 7 years hard work since the creation of his company, times are changing. In the face of a massively disappointed userbase, VeryCD will now concentrate on directing users to licensed content.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Green Hornet’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The King’s Speech’. ’127 Hours’ completes the top three.
For years RSS feeds have been published on nearly every torrent site, large and small. But despite the good fit between the two technologies, there’s never been a standardized format for BitTorrent feeds. This prompted RSS inventor Dave Winer to encourage torrent site admins to come up with a BitTorrent RSS standard, and the first spec has now been published by EZTV.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, panic set in on two large European BitTorrent trackers. ArenaBG and Zamunda, a pair of sites with a history of being targeted by the Bulgarian authorities, were reported down. According to several mainstream media reports, they had been taken offline by the country’s anti-mafia unit and/or hacked by a secret government department. Big news or crazy rumor?
For years The Pirate Bay has been a thorn in the side of the music industry, but things could be about to take a turn for the worse. Over the past days rumors of a new project titled “The Music Bay” have been circling, and now a Pirate Bay insider has just confirmed to TorrentFreak that the major record labels have good reason to be afraid, very afraid.
Five years ago, when I founded the Swedish and first Pirate Party, we set three pillars for our policy: shared culture, free knowledge, and fundamental privacy. These were themes that were heard as ideals in the respected activist circles. I had a gut feeling that they were connected somehow, but it would take another couple months for me to connect the dots between the right to fundamental liberty of privacy and the right to share culture.
A man and woman who operated a 50TB capacity file-sharing hub have been found guilty of copyright infringement offenses. Despite arguing that their 2,600 member system was set up merely for discussion, the pair now face paying damages to the IFPI of more than $1 million and suspended jail sentences totalling 7 months.
Once again the music industry has published a report featuring the desperate times record labels are facing, all because of file-sharing horrors. Each year the industry’s press releases and annual reports are ever more depressive, with their lobbyists citing horribly inaccurate research and utilizing twisted arguments to beg governments for help. Brace yourself.
Last year some of Russia’s leading web firms including Google and Vkontakte wrote an open letter to the entertainment industries telling them to back off on claims they are responsible for file-sharing committed by their users. Now Russia’s Communications Minister has announced that the big web companies will have their way, with actual infringers taking responsibility for their own actions.
Bram Cohen, the inventor of the BitTorrent protocol that revolutionized file-sharing, is finalizing the code for his new P2P-live streaming protocol. With his efforts he aims to develop a piece of code superior to all other streaming solutions on the market today. The release of the application is still a few months away, but Cohen has shown a demo exclusively to TorrentFreak.
Two months ago the United States Government seized more than 80 domains that were allegedly involved in copyright related offenses. Among these sites was the relatively unknown BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder. From the start there has been a lot of critique, but the director of ICE has now come out to defend their actions. Unfortunately, his ignorance and hugely misleading comments add yet more black marks to the track record of his office.
Liberty Media, the company involved in achieving the largest headline settlement against a BitTorrent user last month, has widened its net to include cyberlocker-based infringement. The movie studio has now filed suit against file-hosting site Hotfile and 1000 of its users. PayPal is also named in the suit alongside calls for it to freeze Hotfile’s account. The court is asked to seize Hotfile’s domain name.
A U.S. District Court judge has issued a preliminary injunction against two advertising networks and a Whois protection service of a site that offers pirated e-books. Advertising networks Clicksor and Chitika are now prohibited from serving advertisements to the site, while Enom’s Whois Privacy Protection Service was ordered to hand over all personal details of the site’s owner and make the site inaccesible.
Following on from our article detailing ACS:Law’s no-show at the directions hearing for their 27 active file-sharing cases, today we take a closer look at yesterday’s proceedings. Judge Birss QC said that he found ACS:Law’s actions both “remarkable” and “unprecedented” and was “frankly astonished” by their behavior, while defense lawyers made serious allegations concerning ACS:Law’s conduct.
After weeks of public protests on- and offline the Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali resigned and escaped the country last Friday. Today, the head of the transitional government, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, announced his new cabinet members which include a familiar name. Slim Amamou, the Pirate Party member and freedom of speech activist who was arrested just a few days ago, is now the (deputy minister) State Secretary of Youth and Sports.
Today a judge-ordered hearing took place in the Patents County Court to decide how to handle all cases filed by ACS:Law against alleged file-sharers. Despite claims by the law firm that they have no fears of going to court, last week all the cases were dropped and today, supported by claims of “an unfortunate family accident”, company owner Andrew Crossley failed to attend the hearing. All this as a new, mysterious and already controversial company appears to front the entire operation. And immediately backs out.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Ultramarines’ tops the chart this week, followed by ’127 Hours’. ‘Megamind’ completes the top three.
Cyberlockers are the new fall guys for the entertainment industry it seems, as yet more news comes in of action being taken against MegaUpload, one of the largest one-click download sites. According to reports from users and the site itself, MegaUpload is being blocked or slowed down by Orange, one of the major ISPs in France. MegaUpload has publicly outed the ISP, that on its turn denies all accusations.
After years of hard work we decided to go for a new look here at TorrentFreak. Today we’re presenting you TorrentFreak version 5, the first real update of our design in 4 years. There will be plenty of bugs and complaints, so please bear with us.
TorLock, a torrent site that claims to be virtually free of ‘fake torrents’, is offering $1 to users for every fake file that they can find. The offer was put in place by the site’s owner since he’s confident that the site’s collection of 140,738 torrents is as clean as it gets. However, the Indian anti-piracy outfit Aiplex Software is determined to put an end to the offer, claiming it is highly illegal.
This week, Japanese police have been carrying out raids all over the country against individuals alleged to have uploaded copyright works to the Internet. In total, 18 people were arrested for sharing movies, anime, music, games and software.
Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN managed to pull one of the largest warez scene topsites offline yesterday. The servers of Swan, formerly known as ATS, were unplugged by their hosting provider WorldStream. The provider acted based on evidence provided by BREIN, and also handed over the servers to this private outfit. The police were not involved in the takedown, but instead it was the result of information allegedly provided to BREIN by a rogue member.
Bob’s Burgers is a new animated sitcom which first aired on Fox last weekend. With nearly 10 million viewers and the highest rated premiere of the season, the show had a pretty decent start. On BitTorrent there has been plenty of interest as well, even from someone who’s actively involved in the production. In fact, one of the show’s animators has been proudly seeding the first episode on the semi-private BitTorrent tracker Demonoid.
Two of the Internet’s biggest adult entertainment BitTorrent trackers have today confirmed to TorrentFreak that they have permanently closed down. With comfortably more than 2.5 million members between them, the closure of Empornium and PureTNA leaves a sizeable number of porn fans both empty handed and with nowhere to put their seeds.
As the Internet’s cyberlocker companies come under sustained verbal attack from Hollywood and the music industry, the major players are fighting back. By retaining Google’s lobbying company, leading file-hoster RapidShare has clearly signalled its intent not to go quietly and now its number one competitor, MegaUpload, has responded to what it calls MPAA and RIAA propaganda.
A widely published research report from the brand protection company MarkMonitor has outraged the Swiss based cyberlocker RapidShare, who might sue for defamation. The research branded RapidShare as the leading digital piracy site with 13 billion page visits a year, while the site’s management has gone to extreme lengths to emphasize its legitimacy, both in and outside court.
Since late last year there have been rumblings that China would soon carry out another crackdown on piracy. During the last week reports suggested that the country’s actions were mainly in the physical domain but now, alongside reports that 4,000 people have been arrested, it seems China is conducting both a music and video piracy purge. More than 200 sites are under orders to remove music and some of the country’s leading video sites are deleting illicit content and cuddling up to Hollywood.
In terms of visitor traffic Cyberlockers have taken over the file-sharing lead from BitTorrent sites. This trend has been developing over the last few years and has accelerated in recent months to a position where the number of one-click hosting sites that are larger than The Pirate Bay in terms of traffic has grown to five. All signs indicate that file-storage services are becoming the new sharing standard.
When it comes to commercial file-sharing sites, few are as exposed as RapidShare. Listed by the entertainment industries as being among the world’s most notorious locations for pirated media, the company is certainly feeling the heat. In an attempt to correct what it sees as misconceptions about its operations, RapidShare has hired a prominent US lobbying firm and now appears to be reaching out to the entertainment industries to see them not as a foe, but a helpful friend. But how far is RapidShare prepared to go?
The major record labels are known for their harsh stance on copyright infringements, which in an ironic turn of events is now costing them millions of dollars. Revealing a double standard when it comes to ‘piracy’, Warner Music, Sony BMG Music, EMI Music and Universal Music now have to pay Canadian artists $45 Million for the illegal use of thousands of tracks on compilation CDs.
Last week the BPI released their overview of 2010 sales volumes in the UK. As always, their press release was filled with claims that piracy is ruining their industry and most mainstream media was quick to republish this propaganda. However, we can use the very same data to show that more music is being sold than ever before, and argue that piracy is likely to have had very little impact.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ’127 Hours’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Megamind’. ‘Little Fockers’ completes the top three.
The growing trend for some porn companies is to get into bed with a law firm and go down the mass litigation route against users in the hope of extracting millions of dollars in cash settlements. However, one leading company says that the process has difficulties and is not as straightforward as advertised. So this year, instead of chasing file-sharers they will go after torrent sites instead.
EZTV is arguably one of the largest BitTorrent communities, but unlike other BitTorrent sites it has no income stream. All the costs are paid out of the pockets of the site’s owner, which is a costly hobby with 30 million visitors a month. So now the site is planning to roll out several new features along with a request for help from the public to come up with a new design.
Last year, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users were delighted to learn that VLC media player had become available for their device via the App Store. But now, thanks to a licensing and copyright dispute, that particular party has been cut short and the software pulled offline. Bizarrely, the only way people can get this free and open source software now is to pirate it. You couldn’t make it up.
A censorship war has unfolded on the streets and on the Internet in Tunisia over the past weeks. Freedom of speech activists are demanding less censorship regarding the country’s growing social unrest, but instead of giving in the Government is shutting down the blogs of activists and critics, as well as talking over Gmail and Facebook accounts. The situation took a turn for the worse this week when several net activists, bloggers and members of The Pirate Party were arrested for reasons unknown.
After being tracked as the original uploader of at least six pornographic movies to various torrent sites, an East Coast man found himself in the middle of a lawsuit last month. Then, just four days later, it was all over. Without putting up any kind of a fight he agreed to pay a record settlement of $250,000. Unusual? You bet. But the devil, as they say, is in the detail.
Last year when thousands of Internet users had their privacy breached due to the actions of ACS:Law, watchdog Privacy International said it would pursue the anti-piracy law firm for breaching the Data Protection Act. Now, in PI’s 2010 report, there is a suggestion that BSkyB “contaminated” subscriber information it sent to ACS:Law, which led to someone being accused of piracy who had no broadband account with BSkyB.
Wearing “Piracy is Illegal” T-shirts and carrying several boxes of complaints against file-sharers, a group of movie industry representatives showed up at the Attorney General’s Office doorstep in Portugal this week. By clogging the judicial system they hope to raise awareness of widespread online movie piracy. However, this ideal may backfire as the local Pirate Party believes that the actions of anti-piracy activists may very well be illegal.
In the first quarter of 2011 BitTorrent Inc. will replace its mainline client with a brand new all-in-one solution for media entertainment. The new software will be part of a BitTorrent Certified technology ecosystem which includes TVs, mobile devices and other consumer electronics. By eliminating many technical hurdles the project, codenamed Chrysalis, is an attempt to cater to a wider range of consumers than uTorrent currently does.
Swiss based file-hosting service RapidShare has booked another clear victory against a copyright holder in a German Court. In their appeal against the computer game distributor Atari, the court ruled that RapidShare has taken sufficient measures against copyright infringement, while it dismissed Atari’s demands for a keyword filter and other stringent anti-piracy tools.
As has become a tradition over the years, we present a list of the most visited BitTorrent sites of the new year. At the start of 2011 The Pirate Bay continues to pull in the most visitors, followed by Torrentz and isoHunt. Demonoid settles in fourth place thanks to a year without prolonged downtime, while LimeTorrents gets the honor of best newcomer.
Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, aka the U.S. Copyright Group, have gained quite a name for themselves during the last 12 months with their attempts to turn BitTorrent piracy into profit. After making waves with the Far Cry and Hurt Locker cases the company has just announced they have a new client. Soon people who downloaded The Expendables last year could have USCG knocking on their door looking for hard cash.
AiPlex Software, the Indian anti-piracy outfit that made a name for itself when it allegedly DDoSed several major BitTorrent sites including The Pirate Bay, has returned to the scene. The outfit is once again sending out many DMCA takedown requests to torrent sites. In addition, they threaten to impose a pan-Indian ban by the local Government on sites that dare to contest their requests, even when they have the right to do so.
While Operation in Our Sites 2 and the grabbing of more than 80 domain names in November 2010 generated the most headlines, part 1 of the Operation in June clearly set the precedent for this type of action. Now some paperwork for the domain forfeiture of TVShack and others has appeared online which seems to send a clear message – linking to infringing material is enough to cost a site its domain.
uTorrent’s parent company BitTorrent Inc. just announced that the BitTorrent Mainline client and uTorrent combined have hit the milestone of 100 million monthly users. On an average day 20 million users from over 220 countries fire up one of the two BitTorrent clients. If that’s not enough, the company also reports that 400,000 new clients are downloaded every day.
For many Mac users Transmission is the BitTorrent client of choice. Unfortunately, managing Transmission’s BitTorrent downloads on the iPhone or iPad can only be done through a web-interface. This annoyance is now resolved thanks to iControlbits, the first and only native iPhone app for the Transmission client that apparently escaped the prying eye of Apple’s anti-torrent police.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Little Fockers’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘TRON: Legacy’. ‘Death Race 2′ completes the top three.
In 2011 the war against BitTorrent and other file-sharing sites will reach a new level. Since sites such as The Pirate Bay have proven that no amount of litigation or criminal sanctions against their operators can take them down, the focus will switch to undermining their infrastructure. Companies and organizations providing file-sharing sites with essential services are set to face the glare of the spotlight and attempts to hold them accountable for the actions of their customers’ users.
Five years ago the first Pirate Party was founded in Sweden. In the years that followed the Party shook up the political climate in its home country and the European Parliament where it holds two seats. Now, five years later, founder and chief architect Rickard Falkvinge is stepping down as leader. He will focus on promoting the Pirate position internationally, while Party deputy Anna Troberg will take over the reins.
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