Geremi Adam, the movie cammer for the Scene release group ‘maVen’, will go down in history as a grand master of his art. Despite difficulties in pinning a crime on him, eventually Adam was arrested. According to a cable released by Wikileaks, that arrest was carried out as “a personal favor” to a movie industry official, setting off a tragic chain of events which would ultimately lead to Adams’ death.
When the copyright monopoly and its future development is discussed, parties called “stakeholders” are frequently invited to discuss its wording and principles. Yet, current lawmakers have forgotten the reason the monopoly exists in the first place.
A brand new BitTorrent-related project entered Mozilla’s MoJo contest this week. Named SPARKD, the P2P-powered video streaming platform promises the public a novel anti-censorship tool. It’s intended to give citizen journalists the ability to avoid censorship and stream video to millions of people anonymously, but the underlying library of tools might have other interesting use-cases for the P2P community too.
When trying to obtain elusive evidence to help formulate a legal strategy, most organizations tend to go through the court system. IFPI, the international music industry group, has just done it rather differently. When they needed a torrent site’s data recently they just called up their host, implied they might sue and then simply picked up the hard drives. Case in point, the Internet’s 10th biggest torrent site, LimeTorrents.
Lithuania’s most popular torrent tracker Linkomanija has endured its fair share of copyright related troubles in the past, such as the multi-million dollar lawsuit launched by Microsoft last year. Nevertheless, there are also copyright holders with a more positive view towards the tracker. Today the local movie studio Iron Cat chose the site to become the official distributor of an upcoming movie.
In 2010, Russian authorities seized the domain of the country’s biggest BitTorrent tracker, Torrents.ru, in copyright related action. Now, just over a year later, police have swooped on its sister site, Pornolab – Russia’s biggest porn tracker – and seized its servers. With the recent demise of two other huge adult trackers, it’s possible that Pornolab was the largest adult torrent site in the world.
The U.S. Government is celebrating the importance of intellectual property by educating visitors to the domain names it seized in previous months. These visitors are now redirected to an anti-piracy video instead. The viral video is running on 65 of the seized domains which have now become property of the Government, and shows how illegal downloads can financially ruin innocent workers.
Last week uTorrent rolled out the first Beta version of their 3.0 release. Among other things, uTorrent 3.0 allows users to rate and comment on the torrents they’re downloading. It’s a feature that many people have requested, but for the more privacy conscious user, it also begs the question where these comments and ratings are stored.
After years of reading intellectual property law blogs from some of the greatest legal minds, I’m finally ready to admit that I was wrong. The fight against illegal copying is one that cannot be won. I can no longer deny the simple truth that it is ultimately futile to try to create artificial scarcities in what would otherwise be non-scarce goods.
Tomorrow a week will have passed since Sony took its Playstation Network completely offline. The company has given only the most token of updates in that time and in the meanwhile the rumor mill has been churning. However, new information has surfaced which points to Sony’s action being prompted by an unprecedented piracy threat.
The FBI has raided the apartment of a Screen Actor’s Guild member suspected of uploading several pre-release screeners of Hollywood blockbusters to The Pirate Bay, including Oscar winner The King’s Speech. In addition the feds believe the actor may be connected to the release group ‘TiMPE’. No charges have been filed thus far.
A few days ago an Italian court ordered all ISPs to block subscriber access to BTjunkie, leaving hundreds of thousands of Italians with the task of finding a new torrent site. Or perhaps not? Just hours after the news was made public, a brand new and ad-free proxy site was launched. The site allows Italians to browse an uncensored web and access BTjunkie, as well as another popular blocked site, The Pirate Bay.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘I Am Number Four’ tops the chart this week, followed by the unreleased ‘The Way Back’. ‘No Strings Attached’ completes the top three.
Even happily employed people give the ‘positions vacant’ columns an idle scan every now again. But what if a job unexpectedly came up that seemed tailored to your very skill set, involving work you could do standing on your head? If the pay and conditions were good, would you consider it? Maybe. But what if that meant ‘sleeping with the enemy’? Could you become an MPAA file-sharing investigator?
The term ‘path dependence’ is generally used to describe the development of technological standards and how they ‘lock in’ a given technical solution. The QWERTY keyboard is often given as an example of path dependence – the fact that the costs of changing the keyboard to a better, more efficient solution, hinders change. The same can be said about much of the copyright legislation today, but then at the expense of privacy and other rights.
Last year the BitTorrent search engine isoHunt filed an appeal in their case with the MPAA. With the appeal isoHunt hopes to overturn a District Court ruling that obligates the site to operate an MPAA-approved censorship filter. The case is still ongoing and the Appeal Court has now granted Google the opportunity to chime in as well, leading to critical comments from both the MPAA and isoHunt.
Over the last year a handful of lawyers have sued well over one hundred thousand alleged BitTorrent users in the United States. Usually, when these lawyers respond to the press, if they even choose to do so at all, we are given only generic comments. Until now. In a quite revealing interview, Texas lawyer Evan Stone becomes the first of his kind to open the book on the motivations which see him going after “smarmy entitled little brats.”
Google has removed the homepage of Rojadirecta.es, the alternate domain of the sports streaming site that had its .com domain seized by the US authorities earlier this year. Google’s decision will be welcomed by Major League Baseball (MLB) who sent the complaint, but those who look closely will see that the removal is the result of several misunderstandings and mistakes.
IMSLP, the largest public domain music library on the Internet, has just suffered a damaging attack on the site’s infrastructure. In a wrongful action over a single 90 year-old classical piece by Rachmaninoff, the UK’s Music Publishers Association convinced registrar GoDaddy to seize IMSLP’s domain name, which took the site completely offline.
After similar action against The Pirate Bay, an Italian court has today ordered all ISPs to block subscriber access to another major BitTorrent site, BTjunkie. The public prosecutor described BTJunkie as one of the most prominent havens for pirated media and the authorities further blame the BitTorrent site for the failure of the Italian pay-per-view TV-station Dahlia TV, which shut down due to financial problems last month.
In 2007, the admin of a private BitTorrent tracker was arrested after Portuguese law enforcement targeted his site and closed it down. Overturning an earlier decision by a lower court, the Lisbon Court of Appeal has now decided that the admin will face a full trial for his actions. In the meantime the site continues, albeit under another name.
MPAA Vice President Greg Frazier has made some interesting comments on copyright and widespread Internet piracy during a lobbying visit to Brazil. Among other things, Frazier told a local newspaper that democratizing culture is not in the interests of the MPAA. As it turns out, the MPAA’s definition of creativity and culture is a rather narrow one that is quite different from that of the general public.
Following complaints from two of the country’s largest ISPs, last month the High Court began its judicial review of the Digital Economy Act, the legislation put in place in the UK to deal with illicit file-sharing. Today the High Court almost completely rejected the challenge by BT and TalkTalk, with the ISPs winning only a slight concession on costs.
The uTorrent development team officially released the long-awaited version 3.0 Beta of their popular BitTorrent client today. In what can be described as the most significant iteration ever released, uTorrent 3.0 introduces torrent ratings, comments, streaming and various other new features. With this release uTorrent hopes to appeal both to novices and long time BitTorrent users.
Last month, Grooveshark’s music app was removed from the Android Marketplace by Google at the request of the RIAA. Following claim and counterclaim about Grooveshark’s legality or otherwise, the company has announced that if necessary they will take their fight to court and to Congress. “Let’s set the record straight,” they insist. “There is nothing illegal about what Grooveshark offers to consumers.”
The Pirate Bay has just launched a new survey in collaboration with the Cybernorms research group at Sweden’s Lund University. As part of a sociology study they hope to find out more about the motivations people have to share files, with the ultimate goal of influencing and shaping more sensible laws regarding copyright issues and the Internet in general.
Today, Judge Birss QC authorized UK law firm ACS:Law to be pursued for “wasted costs” in connection with their controversial attempts to squeeze cash settlements from alleged file-sharers. The judge slammed the firm, describing owner Andrew Crossley of engaging in improper conduct that has brought the legal profession into disrepute.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘I Am Number Four’ tops the chart this week, followed by the unreleased ‘Blood Out’. ‘The Way Back’ completes the top three.
In recent years the file-sharing world has become more diverse than ever before. Torrents, streaming and cyberlockers have all entered the mainstream with millions of users. Tube+ is a newly launched website that brings most of these sharing platforms together. Backed by The Pirate Bay, there is little doubt that this file-sharing platform will not only pique the interest of many Internet users, but that of Hollywood too.
A problem with monopoly laws, such as the copyright monopoly and patent monopoly, is that their text is usually written by the lawyers that maintain them. This creates a vicious circle with circular proof that the laws work as intended.
Just two weeks ago, Hobo With a Shotgun was a relatively unknown Grindhouse-style movie but within a matter of days was riding high on BitTorrent networks and even broke into The Pirate Bay’s Top 10. Now it’s blasted into the iMDb’s weekly chart at No.9 – that’s up from No.252 in just a week.
An advisor to the European Court of Justice has said that an ISP involved in a long-running file-sharing dispute cannot be forced to block or filter copyright-infringing files at the behest of copyright holders. Such an action would amount to an invasion of customers’ privacy and violate rights guaranteed under EU law.
In a beautiful twist of irony, New Zealand parliament member Melissa Lee has been caught in a copyright quagmire. It turns out that just hours before she spoke out in support of the controversial new copyright law being rushed through parliament, she tweeted how pleased she was with a compilation of K-Pop songs a friend copied for her.
The seizure of file-sharing related domain names by the US Government hasn’t been as effective as the entertainment industries had hoped since many of them simply continued their operations under new domains. To make these type of domain transitions go more smoothly, an anonymous group has coded a simple Firefox add-on that automatically redirects users to these new homes.
As millions of tracks continue to be shared online every day without permission from copyright holders, it is clear that the ‘free music’ genie is well and truly out of the bottle. In the hope of returning revenue from these sources, a brave new system is aiming to legalize illicit music – even if it came from a torrent site, cyberlocker or friend’s hard drive.
A subset of Garry’s Mod users have been noticing a hugely annoying bug lately. Upon launching the game they get the message that it’s “unable to shade polygon normals,” after which the Steam-run game quickly crashes. In a response to thousands of complaining users, the game’s creator has now admitted that the bug is actually a feature, but one that only affects those who pirated the game.
The New Zealand government has surprised the public and even some MPs by moving to rush through its controversial 3 strikes-style legislation today. The new measures will allow for users to be disconnected from the Internet for up to 6 months, based on infringement claims from copyright holders.
During March, Sumerian Records boss Ash Avildsen made the news on a couple of piracy-related occasions. First, he orchestrated a hoax to trick BitTorrent users into downloading a fake band promo, then later got serious with a YouTube broadside against music piracy. As Sumerian gets ready to launch their own music store, TorrentFreak has discovered that they have Long John Silver’s skeleton in the closet.
When anti-piracy outfits and Big Media speak out against file-sharing they often claim to be standing up for the interests of the artists. However, a new survey among nearly 4,000 artists has revealed that nearly a quarter are pirating the works of fellow artists. Contrary to popular belief among higher level execs in the entertainment industry, the younger generation of artists believe that file-sharing helps them to gain an audience.
A manga creator and distributor has offered to do something positive with thousands of unauthorized copyright files to be found on file-sharing networks. In what appears to be a first of its kind project, users will be encouraged to upload their illicit media to a website where they will be repackaged with advertising and subsequently reintroduced legally back into the wild.
Traditionally, The Netherlands has been one of the most lenient countries when it comes to the sharing of copyrighted material on the Internet, but this will change if the Government gets to implement their new plans. Under new legislation downloading of copyrighted movies and music will become outlawed. The lawmakers claim that this change is needed to crack down on ‘pirate sites’.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Way Back’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Battle Los Angeles’. ‘I Am Number Four’ completes the top three.
A group of self-confessed radical pirates are pinning their hopes on gaining official recognition of their own unique belief system. The founders of the Missionary Church of Kopimism – who hold CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols – hope that along with this acceptance will come harmony, not just with each other, but also with the police.
A leading music industry expert has accused the RIAA of having its own agenda, one that goes directly against the interests of some of the major labels. Among other things, it is claimed that the RIAA promotes illegal P2P services to parents and educators. These services, including iMesh and Bearshare, will apparently become prime targets for a US-led anti-piracy campaign.
While some might correctly argue that digital products are more or less identical to their official versions in almost every way, that’s not always the case for the media they’re stored on. Catering to the storage needs of every video and audio junkie, Chinese engineers have now come up with a counterfeit Samsung hard drive – with infinite capacity.
In the ongoing mass-BitTorrent lawsuits, last month U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell laid down a landmark verdict in favor of copyright holders. The verdict was widely publicized, but put in doubt after it was uncovered that the Judge was a former RIAA lobbyist. This critique appears to have had an effect. In two new orders in the same cases, Howell has now backpedaled on her earlier stance.
As the United States heads off firmly down the domain seizures route, other countries around the world are also considering how best to deal with the issue of online piracy. Blocking sites via the web’s DNS system has been high on the agenda but doubts exist over its effectiveness. A suggestion coming out of Europe this week would mean that malware filtering in web browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome would do the dirty work.
As the entertainment industries eye the apparent emerging threat of so-called cyberlocker online storage sites, it was inevitable that at some point they would pick a fight with one of them. That unlucky target is Florida-based Hotfile and although it has chosen to settle lawsuits in the past, the company appears to be standing strong and has filed a motion to dismiss.
ICE director John Morton has confirmed that the seizure of domain names that are alleged to be promoting copyright infringement will continue in the coming years. In a statement before the U.S. House of Representatives, Morton said that “Operation In Our Sites” will continue through and beyond 2011. In addition and contrary to popular belief, Morton claimed that the seizures “respect free speech” and “provide due process.”
While it’s Hope City by name, this is a town filled with degenerates, sadists and scum, so what better way to bring them into line? Have a hobo shoot them in the face with a shotgun of course. From out of nowhere, a movie with this unlikely story is currently a smash hit on BitTorrent and while few in Hope City have a moral compass, the director behind the Grindhouse flick Hobo With a Shotgun is hoping that this unexpected download-fest translates into some cool sales.
The recent developments around domain name seizures by the U.S. authorities has prompted another major torrent site to move to a new domain as a precaution. KickassTorrents, one of the most visited torrent sites on the Internet, has announced it will soon replace its .com domain name with the Philippine extension .ph.
In a bizarre yet brilliant example of how messed up the current copyright restrictions are, six major movie studios have filed a new lawsuit against the quasi DVD-rental outfit Zediva. Under the flag of the MPAA, the studios label the new business as a “sham,” because it uses a clever way to bypass a licensing roadblock.
The long-running and controversial file-sharing case of Joel Tenenbaum was back in court yesterday, this time in Boston before the First Circuit Court of Appeal. The issue at stake is the exact amount Tenenbaum will have to pay following his admittance in 2009 that he illegally shared music on the Internet. It currently stands at $67,500, having been slashed last year from a staggering $675,000. Joel says it should be more like $30.
The Pirate Bay achieved a new milestone today. Just a few minutes ago the 5 millionth user created an account at the most-visited BitTorrent site on the Internet. Despite efforts from the entertainment industries that have tried to shut the site down for half a decade, The Pirate Bay keeps expanding. Let’s see how they got there.
During the last couple of weeks a heated debate has sprung up around the claimed massive music piracy of a relatively unknown band. One Soul Thrust currently have just 176 followers on Twitter yet according to their manager the group is being destroyed by the pirating masses who have, to date, downloaded their debut album 100,000 times. With the CRIA apparently supporting the band’s position, it’s time to investigate.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Season of the Witch’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Battle Los Angeles’. ‘TRON: Legacy’ completes the top three.
Saudi Airlines has been caught showing pirated film during a flight this week, a Blu-Ray rip of Killers to be exact. Whether the airline makes a habit of pirating its in-flight entertainment is unclear, but the “Killers 2010 BDRiP AC3 XViD-ILOVE” reference is a clear indication that showing a pirated copy is sometimes preferred over the material provided by official distributers.
The seizure of file-sharing related domain names by the US Government in recent months have stirred up a lot of controversy. Despite heavy critique from various sides, the responsible authorities justified their actions and claimed that it is an effective tool to clamp down on Internet piracy. However, those who take a good look at the end result soon notice that reality paints a different picture.
There are thousands of sites that link to video on the Internet and it’s becoming increasingly common for them to be threatened by rightsholders when they link to unauthorized content. However, things have gone a stage further as a site is now being sued by a copyright group for linking to completely legal content provided by official sources.
One of the primary demands of the Pirate Party has been that the same laws that apply offline should also apply online. I think it’s an entirely reasonable thing to demand; the Internet is not a special case, but part of reality. The problems appear when an obsolete but powerful industry realizes that this just and equal application of laws means they can’t enforce a distribution monopoly any longer.
Hadopi, the French agency charged with handling file-sharers’ copyright digressions, has once again been shamed by a copyright-related blunder. The agency which mandates that all citizens secure their networks to keep out freeloading pirates, has a surprisingly unsecure site itself. Ironically enough, the vulnerability allowed outsiders to change the search engine of the Hadopi site into that of The Pirate Bay.
According to a report in the New York Times, more than 300 FBI agents have carried out raids which have “wiped out 50 percent” of the illicit recording industry in the United States. The move follows scathing criticism of music piracy from one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, who in support of calls for new legislation compared it to counterfeiting $100 bills or rustling cattle.
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