Hana Beshara, one of the founders of the popular NinjaVideo movie and TV show streaming site, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement. Better known online by her pseudonym Phara and by site members as their “Queen”, Beshara will be sentenced in January and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count.
Voltage Pictures, the makers of The Hurt Locker, have voluntarily dismissed around 90% of the defendants from their record-breaking lawsuit against alleged file-sharers. More than 2,300 Does remain in the suit and are currently unidentified, but several others have now been named. Read on to find out which IP addresses remain in, which are out, and who has been named.
Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN has won its landmark court case against News-Service.com, one of the leading Usenet providers. The Amsterdam court ruled that the Usenet provider, which offers its network to Binverse and Usenext among others, has to delete all infringing content from its servers. This decision is similar to the one that effectively shut down the BitTorrent site Mininova, and it could mean the end of one of the leading providers of Usenet access.
The popular cloud gaming service OnLive has been active in the U.S. for more than a year, and last week it launched in the U.K. OnLive works by rendering and storing games on remote servers, which are then streamed to users’ computers or TVs. It appears though, that not all ISPs were prepared for the launch as P2P throttling systems also make it impossible to play OnLive games.
Last month it became clear that having developed their pay-up-or-else file-sharing settlement scheme in the United States, the makers of the Hurt Locker had moved north. In their new phase of targeting Canadian IP addresses for cash settlements, Voltage Pictures have included an interesting target in their latest batch – the Montreal Canadiens hockey team.
A new report looking into online music consumption habits shows that since 2009 the number of people who pirate music has dropped by 25 percent in Sweden. The sharp decrease coincides with a massive interest for the music streaming service Spotify. One of the main reasons why people switch to legal services is the wider range of material they can find there.
After being threatened with a lawsuit by the Hollywood-funded anti-piracy outfit BREIN, a Dutch payment provider has handed over the personal details of a torrent site owner. The anti-piracy group is targeting payment providers in order to reveal the identity of site owners, as the information owners give to hosting companies is often false.
After the ACS:Law debacle, one might think that potential claimants would be deterred from taking legal action against alleged file-sharers in the UK, or at least learned lessons. Alas, no. His Honour Judge Birss QC, the judge who brought ACS:Law’s scheme to its knees, now has to deal with three cases filed on behalf of a UK porn outfit who, in common with the doomed law firm, tried to back out at the last minute.
After a major copyright settlement case featuring The Expendables was found to be fatally flawed last month, United States Copyright Group and client Nu Image dropped the case. Now, sidestepping an uncooperative judge in Columbia, the team are hoping to get more joy from one of his counterparts in Maryland, but they still haven’t learned their lesson. Tests by TorrentFreak reveal that 98% of 4,165 potential defendants in the case are being sued in the wrong jurisdiction.
A 32-year-old man from Salisbury, England, pleaded guilty to several movie piracy related charges last Friday. The man, going by the nickname SilentNinja, admitted to camming several movies at a local cinema as well as distributing films that ended up on The Pirate Bay.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Tree of Life’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Green Lantern’. ‘Horrible Bosses’ completes the top three.
The Vuze team has announced that their software now integrates with thousands of external devices. The popular BitTorrent client has added support for DLNA devices, which means compatibility with products from 245 of the top global electronics brands including many of the latest TVs. Vuze made the news public just hours after its main competitor uTorrent set the first steps to device integration.
Today we take a look at a tangled web of copyright trolls who have set their sights on thousands of BitTorrent users. More specifically, the law firm Steele Hansmeier, the BitTorrent tracking company led by Hansmeier’s brother and the mysterious company MCGIP, which sued BitTorrent users for movies they didn’t make.
Little over a year after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement started “Operation In Our Sites,” the authorities have announced their first conviction. Yesterday, the first site owner targeted by the operation pleaded guilty. The 23-year old Matthew Smith, admitted to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement charges for his role in the video streaming and download site NinjaVideo.
Following a report yesterday that an anti-piracy company has been sending out emails asking that people pay a $10 fine after allegedly being caught sharing copyright material, we decided to take a closer look. Isn’t this tiny fine a good idea? Isn’t paying $10 literally 300 times better than paying $3000 to other companies in the same area?
The ever-rising costs of textbooks is an unavoidable nightmare for many students and hot-topic to those who see the system as corrupt. Now, a site with a mission to dismantle what they say amounts to a publishing monopoly has come up with another solution to bring cheap and free textbooks to students. The publishers are going to hate it but the site doesn’t care. They insist that it’s students that are being abused by publishers, not the other way round.
EZTV is arguably one of the largest BitTorrent communities, so any downtime immediately leads to all kinds of horror stories about raids and seizures. This is especially true when the downtime coincides with the start of the new TV-season. However, the site’s users can rest assured as the site will make a comeback soon after its hardware issues are out of the way.
The latest alpha release of uTorrent now supports integration with a variety of devices including the iPhone, iPad, PS3, Xbox 360 and Android hardware. This allows users to quickly sync downloaded content to these devices. Additional capability to convert videos and audio to playable files will become available later, but only to users of the upcoming paid version of the BitTorrent client.
The Swedish Film Institute (SFI) is in the middle of a crisis after an anti-piracy company revealed that it had tracked several leaked movies on The Pirate Bay back to its servers. Desperate to deflect the accusations, today the SFI made a long statement. It turned out to be a perfect illustration that allegations of piracy based on an IP address and nothing else, simply must be backed up by something more solid.
In recent years Italy has taken several far-reaching measures to thwart online piracy, including a nationwide block of The Pirate Bay and BTjunkie. Building forth on this tough stance, lawmakers are now proposing several new measures that will put Internet users at risk of losing their connection after one alleged infringement. Even worse, these copyright complaints can be sent by anyone, not just the copyright holder in question.
Last week, Usenet indexer Newzbin2 delivered on their promise of delivering a mechanism to circumvent the court-ordered blocking measures set to hit their site in the weeks to come. After releasing a second version of their encryption software in just three days and an OSX version in under a week, the site’s operators now say they are prepared to adapt their client to help other blocked sites stay online.
The anti-piracy lobby group AFACT just championed a study which claims that nearly all of the popular files on BitTorrent point to infringing material. Although the study in question is probably not far off, the press-release of the anti-piracy group has been met with more doubt than ever before. Slowly journalists are starting to reflect on the ongoing propaganda stream from anti-piracy outfits, and some are even brave enough to call them out on it.
A teenager who appears to have taken his protest against an anti-piracy law a little too far will find himself in court tomorrow. The 18-year-old allegedly posted a video on YouTube protesting the legislation just passed by New Zealand. In it he claimed that websites would be hacked and that explosives had been planted in government buildings.
The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm deepened today. After failing to turn up for 2010′s hearing to appeal his 2009 conviction for criminal copyright infringement, the court decided he would be dealt with at a later date. Today, however, Svartholm failed to appear at the Court of Appeal.
The Cybernorms research group at Sweden’s Lund University partnered with The Pirate Bay earlier this year to carry out the largest survey among file-sharers in history. 75,000 people from all over the world participated in the study, and today the researchers revealed some of the initial results. Girls don’t fancy The Pirate Bay, most pirates download movies, and they are increasingly worried about their anonymity.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Thor’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Setup’. ‘The Guard’ completes the top three.
For the first time in history a Pirate Party has managed to enter a state parliament. With an estimated 9 percent of the total vote the Pirate Party exceeded the 5% floor needed to enter the Berlin parliament with several seats. For the international Pirate Party movement this is the second major success after the European elections of 2009.
While mass settlement lawsuits filed against alleged BitTorrent users have the potential to bring in millions in revenue, recent rulings in US District courts are going to severely cut into potential profits. Has the tide turned? It looks like a distinct possibility.
Tomorrow, Sunday, the German Pirate Party is expected to be voted into Parliament in Berlin. This is the second time the nascent political movement will be felt worldwide — the first being in 2009, when the Swedish party took seats in the European Parliament.
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the earlier decision of a U.S. District Court in the long-running file-sharing case between Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Boston student Joel Tenenbaum. The appeal court ruled that District Court should not have considered constitutional matters. Instead, it could have reduced the amount of damages awarded and given Sony a chance to request a new trial.
Fresh data on the market share of BitTorrent clients shows that uTorrent remains the client of choice for most BitTorrent users in the West. A sample of more than half a million unique peers further shows that Transmission is gaining ground, while the once so popular BitComet client slowly fades away.
Hollywood-funded anti-piracy group BREIN says it will pursue a similar strategy to its counterparts in the United States and UK by pressuring payment processors like PayPal to stop doing business with file-sharing sites. But BREIN says the processors must go further. Either they can voluntarily hand over the names of the admins behind the site accounts, or they will go to court and sue them into submission.
Earlier this year U.S. lawmakers proposed a draconian anti-piracy legislation known as the PROTECT IP Act. When the proposal 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. But file-hosting service RapidShare have a lot to lose by its introduction and are now spending a great deal of money countering the views of pro-copyright lobbyists.
It’s one of the longest existences in the entire file-sharing space and bar none it has been the most eventful. We’re talking about the life of The Pirate Bay, the world’s most resilient BitTorrent site. Today the site celebrates its 8th birthday, a massive achievement which may not ever be bettered in terms of longevity, sheer volume of members and material distributed.
Canadian authorities are warning Internet users to be vigilant following the emergence of a file-sharing settlement scam operation. West Vancouver police, who have now issued an official fraud warning, say that seniors have been receiving letters claiming they have been caught downloading a range of porn titles. Unsurprisingly, the letters come with an offer to settle for thousands of dollars.
Two brothers from Brisbane, Australia who operated the popular private BitTorrent tracker MovieX have barely escaped a jail sentence. The two were arrested late 2008 for facilitating copyright infringement and both pleaded guilty. Speaking to TorrentFreak, one of the sentenced brothers says he regrets his wrongdoings, but also wants to refute many of the false claims that are currently being spread by the media.
The operators of Usenet indexing site Newzbin2 have introduced measures to circumvent court-ordered web-blocking measures designed to render the site inoperable in the UK. Site staff aren’t revealing how the stand-alone software client works but some basic network packet analysis shows that it defeats ISP BT’s Cleanfeed censorship system by using a handful of techniques including encryption.
In April 2011, the FBI raided the apartment of a Screen Actor’s Guild member suspected of uploading several pre-release screeners of Hollywood blockbusters to The Pirate Bay. The man, an actor, has now agreed to plead guilty and potentially faces three years in prison. There were claims he could’ve been connected to a release group but as his amateurish online actions show, nothing could be further from the truth.
According to reports, movie release group IMAGiNE have been busted and their private BitTorrent tracker taken offline. The leader of release group EP1C, who declared war on IMAGiNE earlier in the year, told TorrentFreak that nine individuals were arrested following an Immigration and Customs Enforcement “joint operation.”
The Florida-based file-hosting service Hotfile has sued Warner Bros. for fraud and abuse. Hotfile accuses the movie studio of systematically abusing its anti-piracy tool by taking down hundreds of titles they don’t hold the copyrights to, including open source software. Among other things, Hotfile is looking for damages to compensate the company for the losses they suffered.
Undeterred by a stream of negative PR from recent Wikileaks revelations, the anti-piracy lobby machine once again scored favorable headlines in Australia today. In its push to get ISPs onboard for a three-strikes system to warn copyright infringers, lobby group IPAF released a study that reveals how immensely effective this would be. However, the entire press release is a cheap marketing trick with mispresented research results that actually prove the opposite.
A prominent lawyer involved in the ever-growing pay-up-or-else anti-filesharing schemes in the United States has been admonished and punished by a judge. Evan Stone had asked the whether he could contact ISPs in order to discover the identities of alleged file-sharers, but the court said he’d have to wait. Stone ignored the court but was ultimately found out, which resulted in him picking up a $10,000 fine.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Thor’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Fast Five’. ‘Red State’ completes the top three.
Every time changes to the copyright monopoly are considered, the profits of major entertainment industry companies are at the center of the discussion. Even the people who fiercely defend the right to share information freely are going to extreme lengths to argue that this will not hurt the revenues of the copyright industry. But why are these profits even relevant? Why should we care about the profits of these companies?
In what will be seen as an escalation of their ‘Linking is Not a Crime’ campaign, the Czech arm of the Pirate Party is backing another file-sharing related startup. The project, described as a ‘Facebook’ for movies, is the fourth sharing site launched by Pirates in less than two months. Along with the launch comes an open invitation, should it ever be needed, for The Pirate Bay to take refuge in the country.
Five people connected to the video streaming and download site NinjaVideo have been indicted by a grand jury on copyright infringement and conspiracy charges. All will stand trial in a U.S. District Court. The authorities hold the defendants responsible for providing access to unauthorized movies and TV-shows between 2008 and 2010, which allegedly earned the site more than $500,000.
A few weeks ago the highly anticipated game No Time To Explain was officially released. Since the beginning of the year the indie game developers worked day and night to complete it, so it must have been quite a shock to see a pirated copy appearing on The Pirate Bay shortly after the release. Or perhaps not? Could it be that this blatant act of piracy is in fact a clever promotional move?
After targeting tens of thousands of U.S. Internet users alleged to have downloaded and shared the Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker, the movie’s makers have expanded their settlement business into new territory. Three Canadian ISPs have now been ordered by a court to hand over the personal details of their subscribers to Voltage Pictures.
In a case brought by EMI against one of Germany’s largest Internet service providers, a court has ruled that the ISP cannot be held liable when its subscribers infringe copyright. Music giant EMI wanted the ISP to block a certain file-sharing site but the court decided otherwise and dismissed the case.
YouTube describes its Content-ID anti-piracy filter as a state-of-the-art technology, but those who look closely can see that in some cases it creates a huge mess. The system invites swindlers to claim copyright on other people’s videos and make money off them through ads. It automatically assigns thousands of videos to people who don’t hold the copyrights, and its take-down process appears to be hugely biased towards copyright holders.
After several Swedish movies ended up on The Pirate Bay, an anti-piracy tracking company says it has found the source of the leaks. But in surprise twist, rather than pointing the finger at the usual suspects, the company says the movies came from a most unlikely location – the servers of the Swedish Film Institute.
In an ongoing BitTorrent lawsuit of particular interest, in which the plaintiff’s lawyer has already refused to comply with a court order demanding to know how much money is being made from settlements, a judge has now dismissed all but one of the defendants. This welcome news for more than 5,000 John Does is further augmented by a wave of criticism from the presiding judge who clearly understands “copyright-troll” style lawsuits.
Starting in a few months, millions of online ‘pirates’ will be monitored as part of an agreement between the MPAA, RIAA and all major U.S. Internet providers. Alleged infringers will be notified about their misbehavior, and repeat offenders will eventually be punished. Thus far the details on the operation have been very slim, but TorrentFreak has learned that unlike in France, the U.S. database of Internet pirates will be decentralized.
A recently leaked confidential diplomatic cable has revealed that not only is the United States government unhappy with the level of intellectual property rights enforcement carried out by Russia, but also that the reverse is true. Russia’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development said that not only do U.S. sites continue to offer pirated Russian movies, but that YouTube and Google should be shut down for not respecting local laws.
Last month a lawyer was ordered by a judge to reveal how much money he has received from threatening to sue alleged BitTorrent users. The lawyer, Ira M. Siegel, missed the court’s deadline and even then failed to answer fully as required. After describing the EFF as a group wanting “freedom from the tyranny of having to pay for content,” his eventual response began with a surprising attack on an anti-copyright troll blogger.
A diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks reveals that entertainment industry groups and law enforcement combined their efforts to infiltrate Warez Scene topsites. One of the strategies they discuss during a 2009 meeting is to have an informant leak music before the official release date, to gain trust of the site’s operator and gain access to the highly secured Scene servers.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Thor’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Fast Five’. ‘Friends With Benefits’ completes the top three.
In recent years the European Commission has promoted tougher anti-piracy legislation. The question is though, whether this is really in the best interests of European citizens. In a guest article for TorrentFreak, Joe Karaganis of the Social Science Research Council explores this topic.
Most people are familiar with Apple’s Mac vs. PC advertising campaign that ran from 2006 to 2010. However, there’s a BitTorrent spin-off to this series of ads that, until today, hasn’t seen the light of day. Produced a few years ago for BitTorrent Inc, the BitTorrent vs. iTunes campaign shows BitTorrent’s superiority of Apple’s iTunes store.
Music Industry Piracy Investigations has recruited a prominent figure to become the next General Manager of their organization. MIPI will be hoping that when ex-Microsoft director of intellectual property Vanessa Hutley starts work in a few days time, she’ll be more optimistic of winning the piracy fight than she was in 2008. Back then Hutley declared that it would “never” be possible to stop people obtaining pirated media from file-sharing sites.
Last year, Google announced that it would begin censoring piracy-related terms from its Autocomplete and Instant services. Under intense pressure from United States music and movie companies, Google is continuing to take measures against piracy. Their latest report on the issue reveals that they have made “considerable progress” against online infringement and that they will deepen their efforts during the months to come.
A diplomatic cable recently published by Wikileaks reveals how the U.S. Government has spent $125,000 to educate Ukraine’s police officers on Internet piracy. Among other things, experts from the FBI and IFPI taught 30 of Ukraine’s top cyber-crime officers how to bust private torrent sites. Whether the investment will pay off is doubtful though, as some police officers said that they have no Internet connection at their workplace.
Following a police investigation and raid, a man who shared just one album using BitTorrent has been fined and ordered to pay a settlement to rights holders. The 34-year-old, who made his upload using The Pirate Bay, will have to sacrifice ten days’ worth of his salary and pay a total of around 900 euros so that rightsholders don’t take him to court.
The United States Copyright Group (USCG) has dropped another mass-lawsuit they filed earlier against 1,951 BitTorrent users. The dismissal comes just a week after the lawyers dismissed their ‘The Expendables’ case and suggests they are retreating. The question is, however, whether this signals the end of trouble for the defendants or whether the lawyers will re-file their cases in smaller batches.
Copyright holders and anti-piracy companies have been dealt a blow in their attempts to monitor and track down student file-sharers in Norway. Following a decision by the Data Inspectorate, universities will not be allowed to spy on the online activities of their students and data gathered for network maintenance purposes will kept well away from rightsholders and lawyers.
The world’s first Digital TV with ‘BitTorrent inside’ will be presented to the public tomorrow at the IFA trade show for consumer electronics in Berlin. The TV is manufactured by Vestel and uses technology from BitTorrent Inc. that allows consumers to find, download and play their favorite digital media directly on their television.
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