Today, exactly five years have passed since The Pirate Bay was raided by the Swedish police. At the time the entertainment industries hoped that this would silence the deviant BitTorrent site for good, but in hindsight we can conclude that they had actually awakened a monster. The raid and the ongoing battle that later unfolded reads like a script for an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster.
A 58-year-old grandmother who earlier this month became the first person to be convicted of criminal file-sharing offenses in Scotland, has been handed three years probation. The grandmother and auxiliary nurse, who confessed to making available music files during her participation on a Direct Connect sharing hub, will also have to attend compulsory therapy sessions.
The alleged operators of one of France’s most popular file-sharing links forums have been arrested. The site, known as Liberty Land, had been in operation since 2009 and had 800,000 members. It provided links to a wide variety of material including movies, music and software. Three men, aged between 25 and 30, now face jail sentences of up to 5 years and fines of $700,000.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Unknown’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Drive Angry’. ”I Am Number Four’ completes the top three.
The popular video streaming site “Fast Pass TV” shut down earlier this week following the arrest of one of the site’s alleged operators. The site itself didn’t host any copyrighted content but indexed videos hosted on third-party sites. The operator has been released on bail pending inquiries.
I sometimes hear people claim that laws exist to be followed. These people are the most dangerous people who exist in a society. Tyranny is never upheld through law; it is upheld through thousands of bureaucrats that follow the letter of the law just because they believe in rules and law.
In the dying days of November 2009, a shockwave rippled through the private BitTorrent tracker community. One of the scene’s most successful sites, SceneTorrents, was shutting down for good, with the site’s operators citing “legal issues”. Now, 18 months later, here is the full story of raids and arrests, followed up by an all-too-familiar deafening silence.
Following reports that security features were damaging the playing experience of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, today CD Projekt will release an update to remove all DRM from the game. But while the company informs TorrentFreak it was pleased to avoid a pre-release on this major title, as promised it will monitor and go after illegal file-sharers.
The Pirate Bay is at the center of a new lawsuit filed at the District Court in Helsinki, Finland. Music industry representatives have filed suit against one of the major Internet Service Providers in the country, demanding that it blocks subscriber access to the BitTorrent site. The Pirate Bay is currently one of the most visited websites in Finland.
The controversial PROTECT IP Act unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today. When the PROTECT IP Act becomes law U.S. authorities and copyright holders will have the power to seize domains, block websites and censor search engines to prevent copyright infringements. Introduced just two weeks ago, the bill now heads over to the Senate for further consideration and another vote.
Police in two countries have coordinated to close down a 30,000 torrent private BitTorrent tracker. The operation, which spanned Sweden and Germany, closed down XNT.nu, a site which had risen through the ashes of other sites shut down by authorities in 2009. Police have arrested two suspected administrators and seized the site’s server.
Several major entertainment industry companies including Columbia Pictures and Universal Music have updated the injunction against the founders of The Pirate Bay. The initial order prevented the founders from operating the BitTorrent site on pain of a 500,000 Swedish kronor fine, but it became unenforceable after The Pirate Bay removed its tracker.
Trident Media Guard, the company entrusted by the French government to monitor file-sharing networks for copyright infringement, recently had some of their tools leaked onto the Internet following a security breach. Now researchers have published an analysis, with claims that an auto-update feature makes TMG’s servers vulnerable to remote code injection and execution.
Developed at the University of Washington, OneSwarm is a BitTorrent client that allows users to share files “anonymously” or with a specific group of friends. These features give users more control over their privacy, while maintaining a decent download speed. The client operates from within an Internet browser and is available for Mac, Windows and Linux.
A Pirate Bay user who said he uploaded a comedy movie because he had nothing to do, must now pay a large sum of money to a rightsholder funded anti-piracy group. The man, who was raided back in 2010, admitted uploading a DVD screener of a comedy movie for fun, an act that has turned out rather less amusing than he had hoped.
After being honored with an Oscar for best motion picture last year, the makers of The Hurt Locker have now also secured the award for the biggest file-sharing lawsuit the world has ever witnessed. By targeting at least 24,583 alleged BitTorrent users, Voltage Pictures hopes to recoup millions of dollars in settlements to compensate the studio for piracy-related losses.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Drive Angry’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Limitless’. ”I Am Number Four’ completes the top three.
Yesterday and without warning, US authorities resumed “Operation In Our Sites” seizing several domain names associated with copyright infringement and counterfeiting. Today, yet more domains were added to the growing list. TorrentFreak caught up with one site owner who told us that while they were taken by surprise by a “pointless” seizure, they’ll soon be back.
US authorities have resumed “Operation In Our Sites” and have seized several domain names associated with copyright infringement or counterfeit related crimes. Among the new targets are two sites that linked to copyrighted films hosted on third party streaming sites such as megavideo.com and veoh.com. Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has yet to officially announce the new operation.
Exactly a week ago, French anti-piracy company Trident Media Guard experienced a security breach after they failed to properly secure their servers. As reports begin to surface that TMG intend to sue the alleged ‘hacker’, the target of their intentions informs TorrentFreak that having backed themselves into a corner, the company will not take legal action against him.
This morning German police confiscated the servers of the Pirate Party, currently the sixth largest political party in Germany. Details of the raid are still scarce, but initial information indicates that the raid was targeted at a service running on the Party’s servers. The timing is unfortunate with the Pirate Party participating in the upcoming election in Bremen this Sunday.
Norway’s Ministry of Culture has just proposed legislative changes designed to further crack down on illicit file-sharing. In addition to smoothing the way for Internet users to be monitored more easily by rightsholders, amendments have been tabled which would order file-sharing sites to be blocked at the ISP level. Top of the list, The Pirate Bay.
Most major music and movie industry outfits go out guns blazing against those who dare to copy their content. They often label these people, who also make up a great portion of their legitimate customers, as thieves and criminals. App developer and owner of the website Word of the Day decided to take another route, and crushed a potential pirate with politeness instead.
During a speech on Wednesday, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said that proposals from both the U.S. and British governments to block access to file-sharing websites would threaten freedom of speech. Google, he said, is opposed to such measures and will fight them, presumably in court, if necessary.
Fetch.io is a brand new all-round media storage service that allows users to download torrents to a remote server at blazing speeds. When finished the files can be shared with friends or streamed online. In addition to BitTorrent, it also supports fetching files from RapidShare, Megaupload, Hotfile and other cyberlockers. As part of a beta test Fetch.io currently offers 20GB of storage and 40GB of bandwidth completely free.
In late April, Ukrainian authorities shut down Pornolab, the largest adult BitTorrent tracker in the world. Ostensibly the action was taken due to the site breaking strict laws designed to limit access to porn by minors, but a Russian pornstar has suggested otherwise. He claims that it was his complaints that led to the site going down not just once, but twice.
A new Internet traffic trends report released by the Canadian broadband management company Sandvine reveals that BitTorrent traffic is on the rise globally. More than half of all upstream traffic during peak hours in North America and Europe now comes from BitTorrent. The report further signals that the shutdown of LimeWire killed traffic generated by the Gnutella P2P network.
Three U.S. Senators have introduced a bill that would make streaming unauthorized music, movies and TV-shows a felony. The bill is said to address a gap in current legislation where streaming is not considered a criminal offense. The question is whether the new legislation is really needed though, as the authorities have already started several criminal investigations into movie streaming sites in recent months.
Following a weekend security breach at Trident Media Guard, the outfit spearheading data collection for France’s 3 strikes anti-piracy drive, the country’s HADOPI agency has severed interconnection with the company. This means that, pending an enquiry, French file-sharers are no longer being tracked, a major embarrassment for the government.
Despite continuous pressure from the entertainment industries, The Pirate Bay isn’t planning to cease its operations anytime soon. Instead, the crew ordered 10 shiny new servers which just arrived at a datacenter located in a Swedish mountain complex. With the new hardware the site should be more redundant, reducing possible downtime to a minimum.
An American science fiction writer is trying to get his hard-copy out-of-print books online and to that end he’s actually using illicit sources to build his stock of eBooks. However, he thinks that some of his books are so obscure that pirates have overlooked them, and he’s offering a prize to anyone that can provide them. TorrentFreak has found one, anyone up for the rest of the challenge?
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘I Am Number Four’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Rio’. ‘Thor’ completes the top three.
Domain seizures of alleged pirate sites continue to be criticized in the United States. Two of the most outspoken politicians on the issue have asked the responsible authorities about the legitimacy of the seizures, but received insufficient answers. In a response both politicians characterize the seizures as censorship and claim that the authorities “demonstrate little if any understanding of the Internet’s value and function.”
The private company entrusted to carry out file-sharing network monitoring for the French government has been hacked. Trident Media Guard, which is responsible for gathering data for so-called 3 strikes warnings, now has some of its scripts and secrets out in the wild, an event which has the potential to upset the smooth of Hadopi.
When it comes to using physical force to resolve conflicts, there are few who do that better than the elite fighters of the SAS, the British Special Air Service. But an ex-SAS soldier, who has successfully exchanged his gun and explosives for pen and paper, believes the solution to book piracy lies not in head on conflict, but the art of persuasion.
BitTorrent Inc. has released a major update of their mainline client. After introducing Apps about a year ago, the latest beta version of the popular client now adds ‘personal content channels.’ These channels function as small social networks that allow users to easily share content with a group of friends. An interesting concept, but also one that may eventually come at a cost.
In the midst of their jury trial, the company behind the defunct LimeWire client and the RIAA settled their dispute out of court. Limewire will pay $105 million to compensate the major music labels for damages suffered. A moment of justice for the music industry, but not necessarily for the artists. The recouped money is destined for reinvestment in new anti-piracy efforts and will not be used to compensate any artists.
This week it was widely reported that a 58-year-old grandmother from Scotland had become the first person in the country to be convicted of file-sharing offences. Today, David Cook from Burrows Bussin Solicitors, a law firm which has defended individuals in the OiNK and FileSoup BitTorrent cases, voices his concern at the ongoing rights-holder led persecution of those least able to defend themselves.
Starting 24 hours ago, nearly all Comcast subscribers were unable to access The Pirate Bay. Although Comcast is not the only ISP affected by the connectivity issue, the problems appear to be most widespread in their network. In an effort to resolve the problems, Comcast has offered The Pirate Bay assistance from their engineers, to get to the bottom of the issue.
The bizarre-yet-brilliant streaming movie service Zediva recently punched a hole straight through the MPAA’s restrictive licensing roadblocks. Now the fledgling outfit is facing the legal might of Hollywood who want to bomb it back to the Stone Age. Perhaps surprisingly, Zedivca aren’t rolling over and have instead compiled a dream team of lawyers to fight back.
During the last few hours reports have been trickling in from Comcast subscribers who are unable to access The Pirate Bay website. Although there is no sign that Comcast is actively blocking user access to the largest BitTorrent site on the Internet, something is clearly not in order. The Pirate Bay team have confirmed that they are not the ones who are blocking, and they’re investigating the issue.
A movie pirate who pleaded guilty to a count of forgery for camcording in a local cinema, is now suing the Somerset County police and the MPAA after his leg was broken during the arrest in 2009. The 23-year old Timothy Epifan of Manville, New Jersey, has filed a lawsuit against the parties involved for using deadly force to apprehend him for a non-violent crime.
The U.S. Government is determined to put an end to online piracy. In an attempt to give copyright holders and the authorities all the tools required to disable access to so-called rogue sites, lawmakers will soon introduce the PROTECT IP Act. Through domain seizures, ISP blockades, search engine censorship, and cutting funding of allegedly copyright infringing websites, the bill takes Internet censorship to the next level.
A massive list of 23,322 U.S. Internet users are expected to receive a settlement letter in which they are accused of illegally downloading The Expendables on BitTorrent. The defendants are part of the largest file-sharing related lawsuit in history, through which the film studio Nu Image hopes to recoup tens of millions of dollars.
Former ACS:Law owner Andrew Crossley has been fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office for allowing the details of around 6,000 Internet users to be leaked onto the Internet. However, since Crossley has pleaded poverty his £200,000 fine was reduced to £1,000. Interesting, particularly since TorrentFreak has seen documents which show Crossley as jointly owning a house worth £750,000.
As part of a file-sharing investigation, in 2010 authorities tracked an IP address to a house in Sweden. After a night playing video games a blurry-eyed house sitter answered the early morning call only to be welcomed by the police. They weren’t looking for him, but the owner who was abroad. Sometimes, however, you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
One of the UK’s largest ISPs has today launched a new set of network-level security features aimed at protecting subscribers’ children and their computers. While reports of HomeSafe’s ability to block access to viruses, pornography and violent content has been widespread today, it also has another trick up its sleeve – the blocking of BitTorrent and other file-sharing sites.
Talks on implementing a Europe-wide firewall to censor and block ‘illicit’ websites has caused concern among many Internet users in recent weeks, and today one of the targeted sites has joined the discussion. Quoting one of Churchill’s most famous speeches, The Pirate Bay team is rallying the public to defend the free Internet and end the threat posed by the entertainment industries’ copyright lobby.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘I Am Number Four’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Thor’. ‘Elephant White’ completes the top three.
In a move designed to draw attention to the genocide in Darfur, in 2008 a young art student took the decision to juxtapose an image of a starving child with a Louis Vuitton-inspired bag. The French fashion giant responded by sending in their lawyers in pursuit of crushing damages. This week, however, they lost not only the case, but the all-important PR battle.
BitTorrent search engine isoHunt is fighting the injunction and summary judgment issued by the District Court of California last summer in their case against the MPAA. Yesterday, both parties clashed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, with isoHunt claiming there is no evidence they can be held liable for copyright infringements that may have been committed by its users.
A letter sent on behalf of 21 pro-copyright outfits including the Motion Picture Association and IFPI shows how the European Parliament is being urged to sign the controversial ACTA anti-piracy agreement. The backroom lobbying effort document, which came into TorrentFreak’s possession, reveals how the organizations ask Parliament not to wait for a response from the European Court of Justice but simply sign “with no further delays.”
Since April 2010, French music rights and anti-piracy group SNEP has been engaged in legal action against Google. SNEP felt that Google should censor search terms such as torrent, RapidShare and MegaUpload. Having been decided once already in Google’s favor the case went to an appeal. This week the Court of Appeal decided that Google can’t be forced to filter.
Homeland Security’s ICE unit is not happy with a Firefox add-on that allows the public to circumvent the domains seizures carried out during the past several months. In an attempt to correct this ‘vulnerability’ in their anti-piracy strategy, ICE have asked Mozilla to pull the add-on from their site. Unfortunately for them Mozilla denied the request, arguing that this type of censorship may threaten the open Internet.
Internet censorship is a hot topic in 2011, but also one that reveals the disturbing double-standards of politicians and governments around the world. This week U.S. Senator Dick Durbin sent China’s largest search engine a letter asking them to stop censoring their search results. A noble attempt, but at the same time U.S. politicians are encouraging Google to censor piracy related terms from their search results.
CNET’s Download.com and parent company CBS are being sued for several copyright infringement related offenses for their role in distributing LimeWire and other P2P software. The massive lawsuit is being brought by eccentric billionaire and FilmOn founder Alki David, who’s backed by a collection of rappers and R&B groups.
A 29-year-old man from California has pleaded guilty to his role in a long-running warez-scene release group and now faces up to 5 years in jail. The group, called OSC, ran from 2002 until 2007 and was responsible for the pre-release of the Kanye West album Graduation. It’s connections to ex-members of the previously busted group, Rabid Neurosis, appeared to prove fatal.
According to Albert Einstein the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Adult media company Perfect 10 see it rather differently. Having sued Google, RapidShare, Microsoft, MegaUpload, Mastercard and Visa without success thus far, they now have Usenet service provider Giganews in their crosshairs.
A possible landmark ruling in one of the mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the U.S. may spell the end of the “pay-up-or-else-schemes” that have targeted over 100,000 Internet users in the last year. District Court Judge Harold Baker has denied a copyright holder the right to subpoena the ISPs of alleged copyright infringers, because an IP-address does not equal a person.
The Tor network is a great service for those who wish to browse the Internet anonymously and uncensored. Unfortunately, however, there are still people who abuse the network’s resources by running their BitTorrent downloads over Tor servers. As a result, these servers are bombarded with DMCA notices, which in some cases may lead to them being disconnected.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Kill The Irishman’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘I Am Number Four’. ‘The Way Back’ completes the top three.
Last year anti-piracy company AiPlex Software hit the headlines after their threats to DDoS torrent sites led to them being DDoSd back by Anonymous. Now another pair of companies from India are tackling piracy in their own inimitable styles, one by delivering preemptive warnings to the FBI and dozens of torrent sites and another by hijacking file-sharers’ webcams – and photographing them in the act.
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