John Wiley and Sons, one of the world’s largest book publishers, have sued 27 BitTorrent users at a federal court in New York. The publisher claims that the defendants have shared copies of its “For Dummies” books without permission, and demands compensation. After several movie studios started filing lawsuits against BitTorrent users last year, Wiley is the first book publisher to take this kind of action.
Although the ink is barely dry on the order forcing ISP BT to block the Newzbin2 Usenet indexing site, the MPA isn’t wasting its momentum. Through its UK proxy the Federation Against Copyright Theft, Hollywood has taken another Usenet indexing site offline, and for its owner the situation doesn’t look good.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Hangover Part II’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’. ‘The Change-Up’ completes the top three.
The current fight between the old and the new — characterized by file sharing, the Arabian Spring, the Occupy swarm, the success of the Pirate Parties, etc — goes way beyond a few laws on the surface. It goes right down to the heart of our views on what kind of society we desire.
The potential effects of both PROTECT IP and the E-PARASITES legislations have been the subject of intense speculation in recent times. One side insists they will damage piracy and little else, opponents say they will only succeed in killing the Internet. But there are other potential casualties in all this – the poor anti-piracy companies and their copyright troll allies.
An illicit streaming movie site that was busted during a massive anti-piracy operation earlier this year is set to surprise Hollywood with a grand comeback. Following the huge police operation to shutdown Kino.to, an agreement was reached to put the site into the hands of new owners. The secret deal, worth a cool 1.5 million euros, is in its final stages.
The chief executive of a leading Australian ISP says his company will almost certainly invest a huge sum of money to stop their customers being targeted by so-called copyright trolls. John Linton of Exetel has branded those attempting to blackmail his subscribers as “scum” and says that his company would almost certainly make changes to their systems to bring the trolls’ activities to an end.
The MPAA has submitted a new list of “notorious websites” to the Office of the US Trade Representative, sites that are all in danger of becoming the target of planned U.S. legislation. The list contains the most-visited torrent sites including The Pirate Bay, file-hosting and linking sites such as MegaUpload, and Russia’s Facebook equivalent, VKontakte. Interestingly, file-hosting service RapidShare is absent from the filing.
New data published by the Canadian broadband management company Sandvine reveals that on the average day Netflix and BitTorrent are responsible for 40 percent of all Internet traffic in North America. During peak hours Netflix accounts for a third of all download traffic, while BitTorrent is credited for nearly half of all upload traffic during the busiest time of the day.
Two more staffers from the now-defunct NinjaVideo streaming movie portal have pleaded guilty for their roles in helping to the run the site. Ninja’s uploader supervisor and the site’s so-called “head of security” both face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An arrest warrant for a key uploader located in Greece has also been issued.
The Helsinki District Court has ordered the Finnish ISP Elisa to block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. The ISP has to block the domain names and IP-addresses of the world’s most-visited torrent site before the end of next month or face a 100,000 euro fine. Elisa described the court order as vague and ineffective, and has announced that it will appeal the decision.
Following a High Court ruling in July, UK Internet service provider BT now has just 14 days to carry out a full subscriber access block of Usenet indexing site Newzbin2. While the ruling will be seen as a victory for the major Hollywood studios behind the action, BT will have to pick up the bill for enforcing the block. The blocking order is flexible in order to reduce the effect of any countermeasures employed by Newzbin2.
Sweden’s Prosecutor General believes that the founders of The Pirate Bay have already had enough opportunities to prove their innocence. The defendants want to take their case all the way to the Supreme Court but the Prosecutor says that there is no reason to prolong proceedings. Site co-founder Peter Sunde tells TorrentFreak there are still complex issues to be dealt with and that the Supreme Court is the perfect venue.
A few weeks ago TorrentFreak unraveled a tangled web of copyright trolls who had sued hundreds of BitTorrent users under the name MCGIP. The article revealed the tight connections between the various parties involved in the scheme and the mistakes they made. Interestingly enough, soon after these findings were published MCGIP dropped their lawsuits for reasons unknown.
After anti-piracy investigators somehow managed to obtain a full copy of their site logs several years ago, a married couple behind the now defunct Interfilm BitTorrent tracker have finally been charged for their role in running the site. The Moscow pair face claims they cost movie companies a staggering $1.25 billion. Fines and possible jail sentences of up to six years await them.
The French authority responsible for ensuring that data privacy law is applied to the handling of personal data has concluded its investigation into anti-piracy company Trident Media Guard. Earlier this year vulnerabilities caused TMG’s site to leak private data linked to the country’s Hadopi “3 strikes” operations. But while the anti-piracy outfit has now been given a clean bill of health, the spotlight has now fallen on rightsholders.
Technology has come a long way since 1841, but the copyright debate at the time was strikingly similar to what we’re witnessing today. 170 years ago a new copyright bill was being discussed in the United Kingdom, one that would extend the rights of book authors to sixty years after their death. While some favored the plan, some feared that this lengthy “copyright monopoly” would only succeed in increasing piracy,
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Hangover Part II’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2′ completes the top three.
PROTECT-IP, the Digital Economy Act, site blocking, domain seizures and 3 strikes regimes. The list of techniques used to thwart online file-sharing seems to grow every month. But how effective are they really? The overuse of these anti-piracy medications is breeding new strains of powerful file-sharers, resistant to even the most powerful of digital antibiotics.
This week the German Pirate Party reached an impressive milestone as it hit double digits in the polls for the national elections. With one in ten Germans embracing the ideas of the young party, the Pirates are on course to gain serious influence in one of the world’s major political arenas.
New data from the largest ever survey among file-sharers shows that the majority of users on The Pirate Bay value their anonymity online, but only a relatively small group take measures to guarantee their privacy. The use of VPNs and proxies is most common among North American and African users, while people from Central and South America care the least about appearing anonymous online.
Data published by the Google-backed Measurement Lab gives a unique insight into the BitTorrent throttling practices of ISPs all over the world. It reveals that Comcast was slowing down nearly half of all BitTorrent traffic in the U.S. early 2008, but only 3% last year. In Canada, Rogers has the worst track record as it systematically throttles more than three-quarters of all BitTorrent traffic.
Researchers have uncovered a major security flaw which allows outsiders to link a Skype account to a user’s download activity on BitTorrent. The exploit works without the knowledge of the victims and also allows outsiders to see the travel patterns of Skype users. The vulnerability opens the door for scammers to blackmail or defraud Internet users, the researchers say, and thus far Skype has shown no interest in releasing a fix.
U.S. authorities have demanded the extradition of Justin Bieber, the Canadian singer who turned blatant copyright infringements into a profitable career. The teen star is accused of streaming unauthorized songs to millions of people without compensating the copyright holders and now faces a 5 year prison sentence.
A pivotal case that could mean the end of many mass-BitTorrent lawsuits is currently ongoing in a Virginia federal court. Labeling the pay-up-or-else scheme as a “shake down,” the judge wants to know why he should allow copyright holders to massively coerce people into paying huge cash settlements. Realizing the importance of the case, a fellow anti-piracy law firm has now joined in to protect its livelihood.
A judicial review of the extradition arrangements between the United States and United Kingdom has concluded that the procedures are not biased in favor of the United States. The announcement is not only bad news for alleged Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon but also for Richard O’Dywer, the former operator of the TVShack linking website. He is now pinning his hopes on a November court hearing.
Without any explanation Google has suspended the FrostWire file-sharing application from the Android market. The timing of the removal is both remarkable and unfortunate. Google’s decision follows the news that FrostWire had settled its dispute with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over privacy concerns.
The administrators of two file-sharing sites have been sentenced to fines and a year in jail for linking to copyright works. Breaking a long run of operators being acquitted for similar activities, a Spanish court decided that the act of linking constituted a for-profit “public communication”. The lawyer for one of the defendants has denounced the decision, saying that it can only be understood in “political terms”.
With more than 2 billion page views a month and nearly 300 million active users of its BitTorrent-powered download client, Xunlei is without doubt the largest player in the file-sharing space. In an attempt to capitalize on this position the Chinese company, which is partly owned by Google, set its sights on a NASDAQ listing. However, due to copyright concerns and economic headwinds, this plan has now been canceled.
Today, a court in Sweden has heard the case against a woman accused of sharing 45,000 music tracks online. Even in the home of The Pirate Bay the sheer scale is a record-breaker, and the prosecution has already hinted at a jail sentence. The defense, however, will be hoping for a much better outcome. Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge was there to see it all.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ tops the chart this week, followed by Cars 2′. ‘Transformers 3′ completes the top three.
With the European Greens’ adoption of the Pirate perspective on the copyright monopoly, I have received a few questions from entrepreneurs, the copyright industry lobby, and libertarians why we want to ban Digital Restrictions Management. It’s a good question that deserves a good answer.
Anti-piracy outfit AiPlex Software made the news last year when their boss was quoted in the press admitting that his company launched DDoS attacks against several torrent sites. This confession resulted in an avalanche of negative PR and several retributive attacks from Anonymous. Today, a year later, AiPlex are attempting to erase these events from history by asking bloggers to take down their reports.
The parties were back in the High Court Friday in the continuing case of the MPA against UK ISP BT. The latter was previously ordered to block subscriber access to Usenet indexing site Newzbin2 on copyright infringement grounds, but yesterday an objection by a Newzbin2 and BT user was added into the mix. Question is, what effect will it have?
The Stockholm District Court sentence against Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm was finalized today after he failed to appear at the Court of Appeal. Svartholm, also known as Anakata online, did not appear at the appeal trial last year because he was hospitalized in Cambodia and later went missing. The Court of Appeal has now decided to finalize the initial verdict of one year jail time and a fine of $1.1 million.
Today, UK ISP BT and representatives from the MPA will appear at the High Court to thrash out the final stage of the ground-breaking web-blocking case against Newzbin2. But in a surprise last-minute move, a David and Goliath battle seems to be on the cards. A Newzbin2 user has stepped up to defend his site by intervening in the blocking process, and is reportedly already being bullied by his Hollywood opponents with threats of bankruptcy.
With hundreds of thousands of warnings already sent out, chances are that soon most French Internet users will know someone who has received one. Unsurprisingly, scammers are now riding the wave of publicity and uncertainty by sending out fake Hadopi emails which trick users into requesting more information about their ‘infringements’ which cost them money.
Court papers filed in one of the mass-lawsuits against BitTorrent users reveal some interesting facts. In an attempt to justify suing dozens of people at once, the attorney claims that this is a practical issue. Apparently the copyright holder has decided to throw out a lot of cases, because the defendants have died, are political or public figures, employed by the army, or part of a covert police operation.
Netflix recently published a list of the ten most rented movies of all time. This got us thinking; what are the most downloaded movies on BitTorrent? Today we present the full chart of the top ten most pirated movies transferred via the now ubiquitous protocol, a list headed by Avatar.
Leading figures in the music and movie industries have rallied against the manufacturer of a home entertainment hub. The Freebox server-based system from a French ISP provides Blu-Ray, games and home network playback of media, but the included torrent client has drawn the ire of music and movie bosses, who are now demanding that the feature is removed.
The popular file-sharing application FrostWire has settled its dispute with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC accused FrostWire of disregarding the privacy of its users, by not making it clear enough that their files are publicly shared when downloads are finished. By turning FrostWire into a BitTorrent-only client the company was able to swiftly settle the charges and avoid a lengthy court battle.
Today, UK media regulators launched ParentPort, a website which will allow parents to complain more easily about TV shows, adverts, products and Internet sites which they believe are inappropriate for their children. As part of the deal four leading ISPs will offer a porn-filtering service when new customers sign-up. But will file-sharing sites be censored too?
A young anti-piracy outfit say they conducted a most unusual experiment a few weeks ago. According to the founder of Vigilant Defender, the company took a leaked copy of Deus Ex Human Revolution, modified its code and re-uploaded it to torrent sites. Users downloading the copy got to enjoy the first few levels of the game but were then thrown into a controversial experiment.
Millions of BitTorrent users can breathe a sigh of relief today. The patent lawsuit against BitTorrent Inc., the makers of uTorrent and the BitTorrent Mainline client, has been dropped. Tranz-Send Broadcasting Network voluntarily dismissed the case against BitTorrent Inc., which it orginally accused of violating a file-sharing related patent.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Transformers 3′ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Arena’. ‘Green Lantern’ completes the top three.
A release group blamed for a Hollywood boycott of all early release movies in Hungary has been raided by the authorities. Dramatic footage shows armed and masked police raiding home addresses and a datacenter said to be connected to CiNEDUB, a release group which provided worldwide high-profile cam releases. Hidden panels for hard drives, a shotgun, evidence of cocaine use and piles of money complete the Hollywood-style video.
This year alone more than 50 small restaurants, pubs and bars have been sued by the U.S. royalty collectors agency BMI for playing (live) music without a license. Many more received friendly visits from BMI lawyers urging them to pay their copyright dues, or else. This backward situation does not only affect the owners of these establishments, artists are losing gigs as well because of these public performance license shakedowns.
A new paper to be published in the upcoming issue of Marketing Science shows that removing DRM from music leads to a decrease in piracy. Or phrased differently, DRM appears to be an incentive for people to pirate music instead of buying it. The researchers from Rice and Duke University used analytical modelling to come to this seemingly common sense conclusion.
Last month it became apparent that not all VPN providers live up to their marketing after an alleged member of Lulzsec was tracked down after using a supposedly anonymous service from HideMyAss. We wanted to know which VPN providers take privacy extremely seriously so we asked many of the leading providers two very straightforward questions. Their responses will be of interest to anyone concerned with anonymity issues.
The European Greens have released a landmark position paper that should guide their policies on copyright in the digital era. The overall theme is a reduction of the copyright monopoly to the benefit of consumers. Among other things the Greens want to legalize file-sharing for personal use, ban DRM entirely and restrict the copyright term to five years.
It’s common knowledge that the entertainment industry is lobbying extensively in Washington to get tougher copyright laws adopted. In a counter-move the file-hosting company RapidShare has hired lobbyists of its own. TorrentFreak got a chance to talk to RapidShare’s general counsel Daniel Raimer, to find out what their main motives are and how open Washington is to their message.
Last month it became clear that an alleged Lulzsec member who had carried out attacks on various organizations including Sony and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, had used an ‘anonymous’ VPN service supplied by HideMyAss. According to documents obtained by TorrentFreak, VPN providers worried by the bad publicity are now considering data sharing to combat ‘fraudsters’.
Showing how futile Internet censorship can be, The Pirate Bay has registered a new domain name to allow Belgian users to access the site and bypass a recent court order. For just a few dollars, The Pirate Bay should now be fully accessible in the future, and the site has already started redirecting Belgian users to their new home.
Usenet indexing site Newzbin2, who are no strangers to the issue of court-ordered website blocking, have made an interesting addition to the software tool they released last month. From today their anti-censorship client now includes a feature to bypass DNS blocking not only on Newzbin2, but on the world’s most famous torrent site, The Pirate Bay.
Miramax CEO Mike Lang and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos gave a keynote talk at the MIPCOM conference. The two discussed the challenges they face in the continuously changing digital world. Both agreed that piracy is not much of an issue as long as you give consumers what they want. Digital monopolies, such as Apple’s dominance in the music industry, are a far bigger threat.
A court has overturned a 2010 ruling which said that blocking The Pirate Bay at the ISP level was “disproportionate”. The Antwerp Court of Appeal sided with the Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation in their quest to force two ISPs to block subscriber access to the world’s most famous torrent site. Belgacom and Telenet must now implement a DNS blockade of the site within 14 days or face fines.
The French authority tasked with reducing file-sharing has sent out more than 650,000 first-strike warnings in its first 12 months of active operations. Hadopi say that in excess of 44,000 citizens are now on their second strike and 60 Internet subscribers are in the final and most dramatic stage of the controversial “three-strikes” regime.
All around the world Hollywood is influencing politics and law enforcement, mainly through local anti-piracy groups. Aside from lobbying, they also employ private investigators to track down and bust copyright infringers. Today, one of them spills the beans. Gavin “Tex” Warren reveals how he was instructed to boost statistics, link piracy to drug trafficking, and manipulate the police in order to secure more interest for the war on piracy.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Transformers 3′ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Horrible Bosses’. ‘Green Lantern’ completes the top three.
If we have learned anything from the wars over the copyright monopoly, it is that the high court and low court have returned. Being equal before the law is a key cornerstone of our society that people don’t even pretend is reality anymore.
German music royalty collecting agency GEMA has once again stepped up to enforce their strict copyright regime. But this time they picked the wrong target. The group mistakenly demanded money from the nonprofit organization Musikpiraten for publishing five Creative Commons licensed tracks. Musikpiraten is baffled by the false claim and is considering filing a complaint for copyfraud.
A few days ago Siegfried Kauder, Chairman of the Legal Committee of the German Parliament, announced a plan to introduce a two-strikes model for persistent pirates. After two warnings, Internet users would lose their Internet access to protect the interests of copyright holders. However, it now turns out that the politician himself might be the first to be disconnected as his website features copyrighted photos that were lifted without permission.
After reaching more than 3.6 million targeted individuals in Germany, in excess of 200,000 in the United States and having planted the seeds of further extortion-like activities in Canada, Australia is the next target for the file-sharing settlement lawyers. According to a report from one of the country’s leading ISPs, thousands of Australians will soon be receiving pay-up-or-else letters for allegedly sharing movies using BitTorrent.
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