In its case against 26 major record labels at British Columbia Supreme Court in Canada, BitTorrent index isoHunt has submitted a response to the copyright infringement allegations. The BitTorrent site argues that not only do they pose no threat to the music industry, it’s the copyright industry itself that’s threatening the freedom of expression of millions of people on the Internet.
After being granted bail last week, Kim Dotcom went home to spend some quality time with his family. The Megaupload founder had been in prison for little over a month after his arrest in January. Upset at the decision to grant Dotcom freedom, the US Government, argued yesterday in an appeal hearing that he should be put back in jail. Today they failed in that attempt and Dotcom remains a free man – at least for now.
Today marks the end of an era for The Pirate Bay. The largest torrent site on the Internet has just removed all popular torrent files and made the switch to magnet links. The Pirate Bay team believes the move is needed to make the site future proof, and is confident that it won’t cause much trouble among users. “Just click the red button instead of the green one and all will be fine,” they say.
Last week, Syndicate, the latest game from Starbreeze studios, was released to the public by publisher EA. The game was immediately made available on the Internet but the swarthy pirates examining the files on the disc were met with an interesting item. In a direct message to those cracking their copy protection, Starbreeze included a cool job offer via a traditional pirate-formatted text file.
A mass lawsuit against 2,165 alleged downloaders of ‘Conan The Barbarian’ was filed at the United States District Court for the District of Maryland last Friday. Through this legal action movie studio Nu Image hopes to collect millions of dollars in settlement fees. Details of the case reveal that the lawyers have learned from past mistakes, increasing the risk for those accused of copyright infringement.
After several failed attempts, last week Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom was finally granted bail and freed from prison. After initially spending time with his wife and children, Kim agreed to share his thoughts with TorrentFreak. For a man whose just had everything he owns taken away from him, he is effortlessly composed and quietly confident.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Tower Heist’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Hugo’. ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ completes the top three.
Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson recently finished Everything is a Remix, a four-part video series illustrating the interconnectedness of our creations and how current laws and norms miss this essential truth. Some viewers protested that the series ended without offering much in the way of prescriptive ideas. Here, he takes up that challenge, offering his thoughts on intellectual property reforms and best practices with the interests of remixers and creators in mind.
RapidGator, one of the file-hosting sites that grew exponentially following the Megaupload shutdown last month, has been banned by PayPal. As a result, the Russian-based site says it will close the service in a month. According to PayPal, the RapidGator account was closed due to the “high risks” associated with processing payments to file-sharing services.
The uTorrent development team is working on a native Android BitTorrent client for smartphones and tablet computers. This will be the first uTorrent client for a mobile operating system, and most likely the only one. While development of uTorrent Android product is in progress, no ETA has been given for the first release.
Anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån is making good on its threats to take file-sharing sites offline in Sweden. During the last 48 hours, police in Sweden and the Netherlands swooped on key staff and hardware connected to a long-standing private BitTorrent tracker. As yet another popular eBook site closes, famous tracker Scene Access is being warned – you’re next.
Sony Music’s CEO of international business said in a recent interview that the Internet is a blessing for the music industry. Nevertheless, there are still problems that have to be overcome, such as restrictive copyright enforcement by music rights collecting agencies. The Sony boss says that YouTube revenue running into the millions is being lost because German rights group GEMA’s policies prevent artist videos from being shown online in the country.
During the last week, users who rely on RapidShare’s free service have been complaining of reduced download speeds. Several theories have been circulating, mainly focusing on the file-hoster trying to drive users to take up premium accounts. But according to RapidShare the reason is simple – to drive pirates away from their service. Fast download speeds are still available for free, but they come at a different kind of cost.
Responding to a question asking what film directors think when people torrent their work, filmmaker Heather Ferreira responded with an unusual tirade against the MPAA. According to her, the movie industry group is a censorship outfit that restricts the creative freedom of filmmakers. As such, the MPAA is hurting the film business more than file-sharers do.
Sweden’s second largest torrent site has shut down its operations with immediate effect following threats from Antipiratbyrån. In closing, the site – which appeared in Google’s 2010 Zeitgeist report – bemoaned the “fascist tendencies” of the entertainment industries. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Pirate Party is celebrating the influx of hundreds of new members as a direct result of the closure.
Thousands of people who have been sued for downloading movies can breathe a sigh of relief, for now at least. A Florida judge has stopped 27 mass-BitTorrent lawsuits because the attorney for the copyright holders appears to be unlicensed. The cases are likely to be dismissed and the plaintiffs will not be allowed to demand settlements from the accused file-sharers.
The European Commission says it is referring the ACTA anti-piracy treaty to the European Union’s top court. The Court of Justice will be asked to assess whether ACTA is incompatible with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms including freedom of expression and information. An ECJ ruling should “cut through this fog of uncertainty” says the EU’s trade chief.
Two days ago I read the news that The Pirate Bay will probably be blocked in the UK. It was decided by the High Court, which funnily enough is not the first place where one would expect a court case to first appear. It seems to have been put on a fast track, which in itself raises questions and concerns.
Kim Dotcom has been released from prison after a New Zealand judge granted him bail. The Megaupload founder will be the subject of strict conditions including no Internet access after the prosecution expressed fears he might reopen the site. Dotcom will now continue his fight against extradition to the United States on copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering charges.
German police have shut down the cyberlocker Skyload.net and arrested the alleged owner along with a person who provided hosting services to the site. The actions are part of an ongoing sweep against people connected to the popular movie streaming portal Kino.to. Skyload’s operator is suspected of uploading more than 10,000 films to Kino.to’s paid affiliate program.
A group of more than 30 rightsholders have won their case targeted against Grooveshark in Denmark. A court agreed that both the streaming music service and its users infringe recording label copyrights and granted an injunction forcing an ISP to initiate a block of the service. The anti-piracy group behind the action hopes that other ISPs will now follow suit.
In a case brought by major recording labels including Sony, EMI and Warner, today a judge in the High Court ruled that The Pirate Bay and its users breach copyright on a major scale. The ruling means that it is almost inevitable that The Pirate Bay will face a nationwide UK ISP blockade in the coming months.
The censorship of The Pirate Bay, which is slowly spreading to ISPs all around Europe, is designed to reduce the availability of unauthorized media, but the site also allows artists without a corporation-backed delivery mechanism to self publish to the world. However, since blockades are a blunt instrument, their work is being wiped out too. On this basis, the legality of a recent Pirate Bay blockade is now being questioned.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Tower Heist’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Underworld Awakening’. ‘Immortals’ completes the top three.
Do you remember the start of large scale file-sharing? Just in the borderline between the dial-up BBSes and internet-connected systems, as Napster just was gaining critical mass? As people learned the skills of sharing culture, the copyright industries didn’t think people would keep doing so for long, that people in general would prefer to remain “honest”.
Belgian music rights group SABAM has a serious headache looming. Following a complaint filed by an artist back in 2004, a judge began investigating the group’s finances. His findings mean that SABAM will now face court accused of falsifying accounts to cover up bribe payments, abuse of trust, copyright fraud and embezzlement.
The Pirate Bay is not happy with a recent article published by the RIAA, where the torrent site is portrayed as the prime example of why tougher anti-piracy laws are necessary. In a rebuttal, The Pirate Bay argues that the RIAA is delusional, behaving like a spoiled kid that has lost touch with reality.
The RIAA has responded to The Pirate Bay’s decision to change its domain name from .org to .se. The torrent site made the switch to prevent a seizure by US authorities, and according to the music industry group this is a clear indication that tougher laws are needed to deal with “rogue websites.”
The Swedish Government wants to implement a change in the law which has the potential to make Sweden one of the toughest countries in the world to share files. Currently file-sharer identities can only be obtained following crimes worthy of a prison sentence, but if the authorities have their way the threshold will be lowered to include any offenses which could lead to a fine.
In a legal battle between music rights group SABAM and social networking site Netlog, the European Court of Justice delivered an unprecedented ruling today. The Court ruled that hosting sites can’t filter copyrighted content as that would violate the privacy of users and hinder freedom of information. The case at the highest European court has far-reaching consequences for many online services including cyberlockers and BitTorrent sites.
The recording industry considers filing a lawsuit against Google for allegedly abusing its dominant market position to distort the market for online music. Industry groups including IFPI and the RIAA want Google to degrade links to “pirate” websites in its search results. IFPI has obtained a “highly confidential and preliminary legal opinion” to see if they can force Google to step up its anti-piracy efforts though a lawsuit.
The book download portal Library.nu and cyberlocker ifile.it appear to have ‘shut down’ voluntarily after a coalition of book publishers managed to get an injunction against the two sites. According to the complaint, the sites offered users access to 400,000 e-books and made more than $11 million in revenue in the process.
The co-founder of Megaupload has been freed on bail by a judge in New Zealand. Mathias Ortmann will be the subject of strict conditions including no Internet access. The US will now rely on a United Nations treaty to extradite the Mega team. Separately, it was revealed that the FBI remotely monitored last month’s raids and congratulated New Zealand police on their work.
As part of a criminal investigation the UK Government has shut down the popular blog RnBXclusive which posted news, commentary and links to music. Authorities have arrested the owners of the site for allegedly defrauding the music industry. In addition, the Serious Organised Crime Agency is threatening users of RnBXclusive that they face 10 years in prison if they downloaded music through the site.
The IIPA, which counts major entertainment groups such as the MPAA and RIAA among its members, has listed many BitTorrent and cyberlocker services in its latest submission to the USTR. Hong Kong based Megaupload neighbor Filesonic is listed as an “infringing distribution hub” while Pirate Bay, isoHunt, Demonoid and others get notable mentions.
The lead programmer of the now-defunct Megaupload file-hosting service says that he hopes New Zealand will keep its dignity in its extradition dealings with the United States. Bram van der Kolk, who was released on bail last week, says that New Zealand should remember it is a sovereign state with its own justice system. Today, Megaupload’s chief marketing officer was also released on bail.
The Pirate Bay has confirmed that all torrent files being shared by more than 10 people will be deleted on February 29. The decision is causing a small panic among the site’s users, but in reality little will change as all files will remain available through magnet links. The Pirate Bay crew told TorrentFreak that this is merely a “step forward in technology” and confirmed that the site is here to stay.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Tower Heist’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Three Musketeers’. ‘J. Edgar’ completes the top three.
A man from Sweden, the first in the country to be charged with sharing multiple unauthorized movies using BitTorrent, has been found guilty of copyright infringement. While the man is probably feeling fortunate he didn’t go to prison as prosecutors had demanded, it was by pure chance that he was caught at all – an important detail in this unusual case.
The world is witnessing the largest offline protest against copyright legislation today. Massive demonstrations against the draconian anti-piracy treaty ACTA are spanning four continents, with protests in more than 200 European cities alone. Hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets to prevent their countries and the European Parliament from putting the free Internet at risk by ratifying ACTA,
In yet another episode in Hollywood’s year-long legal battle with one of the world’s biggest cyberlocker services, the MPAA has now drawn Google into the dispute. The MPAA says that Google holds valuable information on Hotfile and should produce it, but the search giant is refusing without the file-hoster’s consent. Hotfile says ‘no’ on the basis that the deadline for discovery expired last year.
A new academic paper by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College has examined the link between BitTorrent downloads and box office returns. Contrary to what’s often claimed by the movie industry, the researchers conclude that there is no evidence that BitTorrent piracy hurts US box office returns. Internationally, there is a link between downloads and revenues, which the researchers attribute to long release windows.
The main programmer of Megaupload was granted bail today on restricted grounds including a ban on Internet access and no contact with his “Mega Conspiracy” co-accused currently resident overseas. Meanwhile, the family home of Mega founder Kim Dotcom has been seized by New Zealand authorities. Dotcom’s heavily pregnant wife and the couple’s three children will be allowed to stay – for now.
Soon The Pirate Bay will stop linking to .torrent files. Instead, the world’s largest BitTorrent site will only list so-called magnet links. One of the advantages of the switch is that The Pirate Bay will be much more portable, and easier to copy. A new torrent listing all titles and magnet links on The Pirate Bay proves this point, as the public can download a copy that fits easily on a small USB stick – or even a few dozen floppies.
In a 2010 submission to the US Government, RapidShare was described by the RIAA and MPAA as a “notorious market” for pirated media. Just one year later the file-hosting service was given a tacit clean bill of health. TorrentFreak caught up with RapidShare attorney Daniel Raimer who explained that this achievement was down to a combination of education and industry-leading proactive anti-piracy measures.
While the file-sharing ecosystem is currently filled with uncertainty and doubt, researchers at Delft University of Technology continue to work on their decentralized BitTorrent network. Their Tribler client doesn’t require torrent sites to find or download content, as it is based on pure peer-to-peer communication. “The only way to take it down is to take the Internet down,” the lead researcher says.
News of raids, arrests, seizures, extraditions and jail time in the file-sharing world hasn’t gone unnoticed by the operators of major BitTorrent sites. Yesterday, the owners of BTjunkie decided to close their site because the stress became too much, and there are others who consider doing the same. While there are still plenty site owners who are determined to continue, doubt and uncertainty are more present than ever before.
While last month’s shutdown of Megaupload has been well documented, the finer details of the raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion have only just been revealed. A new and astonishing report features a house tour and in-depth discussion with Dotcom’s bodyguard. He was confronted by dozens of armed police, some from New Zealand’s elite anti-terrorist force, who also demanded of a nanny: “Do you have any bombs?!”
A woman who says she was incorrectly accused of sharing copyrighted material on BitTorrent has filed a harassment lawsuit against a copyright troll. Porn outfit Hard Drive productions had demanded $3,400 to make their threatened lawsuit go away but their target not only says she’s innocent and harassed, but also that porn cannot be copyrighted. So, does filmed sex promote scientific progress or constitute useful art? A court may soon have to decide.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Three Musketeers’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’. ‘In Time’ completes the top three.
BTjunkie, one of the largest BitTorrent indexes on the Internet, has decided to shut down voluntarily today. A combination of legal actions against fellow file-sharing sites and time-consuming projects have led to the drastic decision that takes out one the main players in the BitTorrent landscape.
In reactions to my last column on TorrentFreak, concerning how we must go on the offensive for our freedom of speech, I saw many questions and emotions asking what it takes to get Big Monopoly – the copyright industry – to listen to the net and change their ways. A number of suggestions were made, from boycotts to petitions. Alas, this is entirely the wrong way to bring about change.
For The Pirate Bay team simply copying bits and bytes is not enough. They want you to ‘download a car’, literally, so with that goal in mind they added a 3D-printing section to their website last month. A Gimmick? Not really. Canadian Charles Randall is one of the first to show off his new ‘physible’ Pirate Bay ship, downloaded off BitTorrent and printed in three dimensions. The auto industry is shaking in its boots.
Releasers and torrent racers are the select few counted on by millions to bring the latest movies, music and video games to the wider Internet in record time. One such person, a 15-year-old school kid, eventually gained access to elite piracy sites and went on to become the top uploader on one of the world’s most famous BitTorrent trackers. But how did the buzz of the elite compare to being hunted down by a Patriot Act-empowered FBI?
As a Member of the European Parliament, I very much welcome the increased attention the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has received in the past weeks. It has taken a while for massive outcry to emerge, but we are seeing protest voices getting louder and louder.
Firstrow, one of the sites that had several of its domain names seized by the Feds yesterday, is furious at the US Government. Convinced that the service they are providing does not violate the law, the site continues to operate under a new domain name. One of the owners told TorrentFreak that they don’t intend to stop until a court shuts them down.
Following a hearing today at the High Court in New Zealand, Kim Dotcom was again denied bail. The Megaupload founder, who authorities insist will likely flee should he be released, told the court that he’d been kicked and punched by police during his arrest. Dotcom added that during his time in prison he had been approached not only by women wanting to be his friend, but by an expert document forger.
A 28-year old man from Comstock Park, Michigan, has been arrested and charged with criminal copyright infringement. Yonjo Quiroa is the alleged operator of nine of the sixteen streaming related domain names that were seized a few hours ago as part of ‘Operation Fake Sweep’.
In the wake of the Megaupload shutdown, authorities in Hong Kong say they will set up a center to investigate electronic crime and copyright infringement later this year. Although there has been no suggestion of wrong-doing, the news will almost certainly unsettle other cyberlocker services such as Filesonic, Uploading, Uploaded.to, Zshare and Filepost, all of which have a presence in the region.
In a new round of seizures the US authorities have taken control of domain names belonging to several popular sports streaming sites including Firstrowsports.tv, Firstrowsports.com and Soccertvlive.net. All affected sites now redirect to a notice from DOJ/ICE. In common with last year’s campaign, the new round of seizures appears to be part of another “Super Bowl Crackdown” targeting sites that link to unauthorized sports streams.
Today’s Supreme Court rejection against The Pirate Bay signals the start of a new campaign targeting 150 file-sharing sites, say anti-piracy figures. A lawyer for the Hollywood movie studios says she expects Swedish sites and those providing them with infrastructure will stop their activities today. Antipiratbyran say they will take legal action against those that don’t.
After the court case against the founders of The Pirate Bay was concluded today, the operators of the site quickly moved to change their domain name from .ORG to the Swedish .SE. A Pirate Bay insider informed TorrentFreak that this move was made to prevent the US authorities from seizing the domain, which is a serious risk now the court case has completed.
A few moments ago Sweden’s Supreme Court announced its decision not to grant leave to appeal in the long-running Pirate Bay criminal trial. This means that the previously determined jail sentences and fines handed out to Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström will stand.
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