The High Court has ruled that several UK ISPs including Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must censor The Pirate Bay website. This means that millions of Internet users will be prevented from accessing the popular BitTorrent site in the weeks to come. The Pirate Bay say they aren’t concerned by yet another court-ordered blockade, and point out that there are plenty of ways to circumvent such censorship.
A file-sharing prosecution that has been dragging on for six long years has finally come to an end. The original complaint, filed by the Portuguese Phonographic Association in 2006, targeted a then 17-year-old. Now 23, their target has just received a suspended jail sentence and a fine of 880 euros. None of this has helped the country’s music industry – physical product sales nosedived more than 34% last year.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Chronicle’. ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ completes the top three.
The net changes the world’s power structures in a much more fundamental way than changing the way a few groups of entrepreneurs are able to make money. The net is the greatest equalizer that humankind has ever invented. It is either the greatest invention since the printing press, or the greatest invention since written language. The battles we see are not a result of loss of money; they are caused by a loss of the power of narratives.
If further proof is needed that copyright trolls are only interested in money and couldn’t care less about artists or their reputations, read on. A lawsuit, filed against fans of the band All Shall Perish, caused chaos in the past 48 hours when the horrified band revealed they know nothing about it. Speaking with TorrentFreak, the band’s manager says they are “gutted” by the news and have no idea what is going on.
It’s no secret that the entertainment industry can be rather one-sided in their views when it comes to piracy and copyright. This week, however, MPAA chairman Chris Dodd took this spin to the extreme. In a speech he referenced Hollywood’s history to argue how important copyright protection is. But, he forgot to mention that the US movie industry was actually built by rogue filmmakers, ‘thieves’ and ‘pirates’.
Kim Dotcom booked a valuable victory this week when a court ruled that $750,000 in funds and cars should be returned to the Megaupload founder. Among other things, Dotcom regained possession of a $301,000 bank account and his Mercedes-Benz G55AMG. Other property that was seized based on an order from the US District Court remains in the hands of the New Zealand authorities for the time being.
In what appears to be the first action of its type since the RIAA abandoned its controversial anti-filesharing campaign, Internet users sharing music are again being targeted in the United States. In a lawsuit filed in Florida the identities of 80 individuals are being sought with one aim in mind – to threaten them with $150,000 damages awards in order to force settlement of a few thousand dollars.
Pirate Party MEP Christian Engstrom and the Pirate movement’s founder Rick Falkvinge presented their views on copyright reform to the European Parliament this week. The Pirates want to bust the myth that their ideas only center around legalizing file-sharing and offer what they see as sensible alternatives to draconian legislation such as ACTA and SOPA.
Pirates across the globe are working on an attempt to raid the music single charts, and with help from the most notorious BitTorrent site these efforts are paying off. Embracing Pirate Bay’s mantra, Dan Bull’s track “Sharing is Caring” now appears in a variety of daily download lists, setting course for a spot in the official weekly music charts around the globe this weekend.
After being busted last year following an ICE Homeland Security investigation, four alleged members of the movie release group IMAGiNE have now been indicted. The defendants, all US residents aged between 27 and 57 years old, face up to five years in prison for criminal copyright infringement. Rumors persist that they were led to the slaughter by a rival release group with a grudge.
The elimination of camcorder movie piracy has been high on the agenda of movie studios for many years, particularly so during the last decade. Many approaches have been tried and there are signs that in the past 5 years the problem has significantly reduced. The latest anti-cam system claims to be the most unobtrusive yet, negating the need for bag searches, cell phone confiscations or the employment of security guards.
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) in the European Parliament have just confirmed that they will reject ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Leader of the Alliance, Guy Verhofstadt, said that while supporting the protection of intellectual property rights, ALDE believes that ACTA falls short on a number of counts.
The Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN is going all out to make The Pirate Bay inaccessible to the Dutch public. After successfully blocking The Pirate Bay through court, and then censoring proxy sites that linked to it, they are now demanding that the Pirate Party should be banned from “discussing” how easily Internet censorship can be circumvented. The political party is baffled by the proposed gag-order and has asked the court to lift all censorship efforts.
Australian police are involved in a massive piracy lawsuit. Software company Micro Focus is claiming that the police are making unauthorized use of its ViewNow software, which they use to access the COPS criminal intelligence database. In addition, it’s alleged that the police shared the proprietary software with third parties. Micro Focus is fighting the case in court and is demanding at least $10 million in damages.
A copyright complaint involving a movie script enthusiast site, Universal Studios, and Repo Man writer Alex Cox, has developed into a war of words. Following a DMCA takedown against a 3rd party that even Cox himself disputes, the writer has branded Universal a criminal enterprise that along with other studios operates an illegal blacklist as part of a price-fixing cartel.
Chasing down individual file-sharers is something the major labels largely left behind several years ago, but in an unusual development the IFPI has now won the right to identify dozens of Pirate Bay users that allegedly downloaded and shared an album before its official release. The CEO of Universal, the label behind the action, says infringers could be taken to court.
Voltage Pictures, the makers of the Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker, have filed a new lawsuit at a federal court in Florida. By targeting at least 2,514 alleged BitTorrent users, Voltage Pictures hopes to recoup several million dollars in settlements to compensate the studio for piracy-related losses. In total, more than a quarter million people have now been sued in the US for alleged copyright infringements via BitTorrent.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Haywire’. ‘Contraband’ completes the top three.
This week, with support from a Promo Bay campaign on The Pirate Bay, UK rap artist Dan Bull is aiming to send a message to the mainstream entertainment industry. With the release of a brand new track called “Sharing is Caring”, Dan will attempt to break into the UK and international singles charts without the backing of a label and show that with the help of a free Internet and BitTorrent, there is another way.
Last century filesharing was a fringe hobby, only for geeks who were lucky enough to own a computer that could dial into the World Wide Web. How different is that today, where filesharing has become daily routine for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In just a few years swapping files has become mainstream. Time to take a step back and see how it all came about.
File-hosting service Mediafire decided to block all incoming traffic from the popular media search engine FilesTube. Commenting on the move Mediafire’s co-founder explains that it was a logical step as their service was never intended to be indexed in public.
This week, file-hosting service RapidShare published an anti-piracy manifesto with guidelines on how cyberlocker and cloud hosting sites should conduct their business going forward. But the proposals from the Swiss-based service, which go far beyond their requirements under the law, received a lukewarm reception from rightsholders who say they don’t go far enough. RapidShare believes that they do, and that rightsholders should focus on sites that deliberately generate revenue from infringement.
The US judge handling the Megaupload case noted today that it may never be tried due to a procedural error, a comment that has sparked the anger of Megaupload’s founder. Kim Dotcom is furious with the US Government for destroying his businesses and rendering hundreds of people unemployed. According to Dotcom the case is the result of “corruption on the highest political level, serving the interests of the copyright extremists in Hollywood.”
A US judge has put a bomb under the Megaupload case by informing the FBI that a trial in the United States may never happen. The cyberlocker was never formally served with the appropriate paperwork by the US authorities, as it is impossible to serve a foreign company with criminal charges.
A court in Germany has ruled that YouTube is responsible when its users post videos containing copyright music. On top of its existing ContentID systems, the court in Hamburg now wants YouTube to install additional keyword-based filters that detect when copyrighted material is uploaded.
A few months ago Google quietly expanded its search blacklist to include many of the top file-sharing sites on the Internet, including The Pirate Bay. A review of search volumes before and after this change shows that the number of people searching for “Pirate Bay” has been cut in half. However, other and uncensored variations quickly took the place of these blocked terms, suggesting that the filter is a futile attempt to discourage interest in the site.
After an epic four year legal battle, the Australian High Court has upheld previous rulings that ISP iiNet is not responsible for the copyright infringements of its customers. Despite today’s huge defeat for Hollywood, the chief of local anti-piracy group AFACT insists that the landscape has changed since the case began, with legislators and courts around the world now recognizing that ISPs have a role in preventing piracy.
Swiss-based file-hosting service RapidShare has released an anti-piracy manifesto to serve as a guideline for cyberlocker and cloud hosting sites. Partly motivated by the criminal indictment of Megaupload, RapidShare stresses that they will do all they can to counter piracy, even if this is at the expense of user privacy and convenience.
A dispute over whether a Swedish ISP can be forced to hand over the details of one its subscribers to an anti-piracy group has just received its long-awaited ruling from the Europe’s highest court. A few moments ago the ECJ announced that there are no EU barriers which prevent the ISP handing over its customers’ private details to copyright holders.
John Wiley & Sons, one of the world’s largest book publishers, is continuing its efforts to crack down on BitTorrent piracy. The company has now named several people who allegedly shared Wiley titles online, and is demanding a jury trial against them. If these actually go ahead it will be the first time that BitTorrent-related evidence is tested in a US court.
Following the introduction of new legislation last September which would see alleged Kiwi file-sharers monitored, warned, and eventually punished for their infringements, the first so-called ’3rd strike’ has been issued. The ‘enforcement’ notice was delivered on behalf of the music industry but even after more than 6 months, their movie industry counterparts are yet to send even one initial warning.
When copyright trolls speak, they usually do so only through their lawyers. For the driving force behind a new wave of anti-BitTorrent settlement letters about to hit the UK, things are a little different. Out goes the stuffy legal jargon and in comes the basics – BitTorrent users are ‘tight’ and the upcoming campaign is about making even more money.
Before Megaupload was shutdown the company was preparing to go public and enter the US stock market with a multi-billion dollar IPO. While the US authorities were conducting their criminal investigation, Megaupload had discussions with some of the ‘Big Four’ auditors and several of the world’s largest investments banks. The top of the financial world was looking at a huge potential tech IPO with a billion dollar valuation, but these plans ended abruptly in January.
I just attended the Pirate Party International’s (PPI) annual meeting, which was held in the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic this year. I regard myself as a little crazy in terms of disrespect for opinions about things that can’t be done, but the growth of the Pirate Party movement outperforms my wildest dreams.
The Dutch Pirate Party is taking local anti-piracy group BREIN to court in the hope of overturning a recent order that prohibits the Party from operating a Pirate Bay proxy site. The Pirates claim that the Hollywood backed group is guilty of “legal harassment” and “trampling people’s freedoms.” They demand that the court overturns the previous ‘ex parte’ verdict to allow the Pirate Party to be heard.
In a new interview where he outlines his fears for the future of freedom on the Internet, Google co-founder Sergey Brin slams the entertainment industry for its response to piracy. While lobbying for Chinese and Iranian-style censorship measures, Brin says the music and movie companies have failed to understand that it is their approach to making content available that fuels the problems.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Contraband’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’. ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ completes the top three.
At a federal court hearing where several parties hoped to get a clear answer on the fate of Megaupload’s user data, the US Government’s attorney slammed hosting company Carpathia. The US says the hosting provider may be partly responsible for the copyright infringements that occurred through Megaupload and said Carpathia may even become the target of a civil lawsuit.
From being a niche product used by the few, in the past few years VPN services have hit the big time. These days more and more Internet users see running a privacy enhancing service as a requirement rather than just a luxury. Today we take a look at a few tips and tricks that can enhance the security of any VPN.
While hardly a week passes without news of a file-sharing site or service meeting its demise, it’s far more unusual to hear of their adversaries biting the dust. The MPAA has many anti-piracy affiliates around the world and one of those, a long-standing outfit based in Ireland, was recently linked to the downfall of a large file-sharing site. But now, just a handful of months later, it has completely and inexplicably disappeared.
Last week the Dutch Pirate Party refused to cave in to the demands of Hollywood-backed anti-piracy group BREIN, who ordered the political party to take their Pirate Bay proxy offline. As expected, BREIN didn’t let the case rest.The group obtained an injunction from the Court of The Hague which ordered the Pirates to shutter the proxy within 6 hours, or face a fine of 10,000 euros per day.
In an effort to combat online piracy, entertainment industry groups all over the world are pushing censorship of The Pirate Bay website. In the Netherlands such a Pirate Bay block went into effect earlier this year, but without the desired effect. Researchers from the University of Amsterdam have now revealed that the court-ordered Pirate Bay block has had no impact on the number of BitTorrent pirates.
After a legal process lasting more than three years, the alleged administrator of The Student Bay, a Swedish website dedicated to indexing textbooks, has been acquitted today. The court ruled that there was no evidence that the 23-year-old had created or administered the website, or had any direct role in copyright infringement.
It took more than half a decade, but there’s finally something we can agree on with the RIAA. After suing college students, shutting down LimeWire and pushing for draconian anti-piracy laws, the RIAA now finally admits that the best answer to illegal downloading is innovation. A milestone, but unfortunately also a message that is bundled with the usual creative statistics that have to be debunked.
Last week it was revealed that Megaupload had retained the services of Andrew Schapiro, the lawyer who led YouTube to a summary judgment in its copyright trial against Viacom. But now the US government has filed papers objecting to Schapiro’s law firm working on Megaupload’s defense, citing conflicts of interest involving Google, YouTube, Disney, Fox and other movie, TV show and software companies.
In the ongoing court battle between the MPAA and the cyberlocker Hotfile, Duke University Law Professor James Boyle has filed an important expert report. Countering claims from the movie industry that Hotfile has few non-infringing uses, the Professor shows that the most downloaded files on the cyberlocker are Open Source software. In addition, he argues that affiliate programs are useful for compensating content creators for their efforts.
Following a key arrest on Monday, authorities say they have charged three individuals said to be the administrators of a very large file-sharing site. The Greek forum, which carried links to material hosted on cyberlocker sites including Megaupload, had more than half a million members. According to the police the suspects generated substantial revenue from donations and gambling ads and cost copyright holders more than $85 million.
The popularity of the Pirate Party in Germany is soaring to unprecedented heights. In a recent poll the Party received 13% of the total vote, which makes it the third largest party in the country for the first time. In neighboring Austria, citizens are also warming to the Pirate Party agenda. With 7% of the total vote, the Austrian Pirate Party has a serious shot at entering the national parliament.
Months after the Megaupload raids and arrests, the fate of the 1,103 servers hosted at Carpathia is still undecided. While the feds won’t mind if the servers are wiped clean, Megaupload, the EFF and the MPAA want the data to be preserved because it contains critical evidence and irreplaceable user data. Carpathia is sympathetic to these concerns and has put the fate of Megaupload’s data in the hands of Judge O’Grady.
The cyber crime department of Russia’s Interior Ministry says it intends to get tough on the country’s ISPs when their customers share copyrighted or otherwise illegal material. Authorities say they are currently carrying out nationwide checks on ISPs’ local networks and could bring prosecutions as early as next month.
After the SOPA and PIPA uproar the Internet has become increasingly aware of the US Government’s attempts at meddling with the web. In recent days the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has moved to the forefront. Critics of the bill point out that it would allow companies to spy on Internet users, and as it’s written CISPA would further allow ISPs to block allegedly infringing transfers and report pirating users to a variety of organizations.
As the battle over the DMCA’s requirements and boundaries heats up, Google, Facebook, the EFF, Public Knowledge and now the MPAA have become involved in a copyright case currently being heard by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Is it enough for a site to perform takedowns when copyright holders demand them, or must it also take additional steps to remove repeat infringers?
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Contraband’. ‘We Bought a Zoo’ completes the top three.
Efforts by anti-piracy groups to make The Pirate Bay inaccessible have turned into a proxy war, quite literally. After the Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN managed to shutter several proxy sites, their Belgian colleagues at BAF are now attempting to do the same. The group has threatened to sue the owner of a proxy if his site stays online, but thus far the threat hasn’t had the desired effect.
The MPAA and RIAA, helped by all the major Internet providers in the United States, will soon start to warn and punish copyright infringers. The entertainment industry hopes this will eliminate nearly all BitTorrent piracy. However, looking at the many options people have to escape being ‘caught’, it is doubtful whether the “six-strikes” plan will be very effective. In fact, the MPAA and RIAA may directly boost the revenues of VPN services and competing downloading platforms such as cyberlockers.
For the last couple of years discussion around censorship of websites in the West has become as prolific as the that around already established blockades in countries such as China and Iran. While meddling with the Internet’s DNS is the weapon of choice for censors, a new P2P system called ODDNS hopes to put control back in the hands of the people.
Following a US court decision BitTorrent search engine isoHunt was ordered to implement a site-wide keyword filter provided by the MPAA. According to isoHunt’s owner the ruling would result in mass censorship of legitimate content, and recent evidence shows that this is indeed the case. The MPAA’s mandatory filter is accidentally censoring thousands of public domain songs and even an independent film which was uploaded by the filmmaker himself.
In yet another mass lawsuit against alleged file-sharers, a California court has said that while it’s sympathetic towards the plight of the copyright holder, it will not assist it to identify BitTorrent users. It’s a shame that technology that enables infringement has outpaced technology that prevents it, the judge wrote, but added that his court won’t work with copyright holders who pursue settlement programs with no intention to litigate.
In a most unusual turn of events, the intellectual property section of the Court of Milan has moved to protect the identity of the official Italian Pirate Party after an unrelated group began calling themselves the Pirate Party, using official Pirate Party logos, and generally causing trouble. According to the founder of the official Pirate Party, dark pro-copyright forces are at work.
Record labels and Hollywood have described The Pirate Bay as one of the biggest threats to their business, but thousands of artists clearly disagree with this view. In recent weeks more than 5000 independent artists have signed up to be promoted by the world’s largest torrent site. Those who were lucky enough to be featured are overwhelmed by the career boost and the positive responses from the public.
Hollywood hopes that the criminal case against Megaupload is the first in a line of many. Last week Paramount Pictures branded Fileserve, MediaFire, Wupload, Putlocker and Depositfiles as rogue sites and prime targets that should be shuttered next. Responding to this allegation, MediaFire co-founder Tom Langridge says he’s shocked and disappointed by the movie studio’s claims.
With the ongoing success of the world’s Pirate parties, I’ve seen the copyright industry start to push back, claiming that copyright enforcement can’t be tied to civil liberties; that they are two separate issues. That’s not a true statement from the copyright industry. The whole point of the fight for net liberties is that the copyright monopoly cannot be enforced without cutting down civil liberties. Here’s why.
Spain’s Ministry of Culture has just reported on the first month’s activities following the introduction of the country’s ‘Sinde’ anti-piracy law. The controversial legislation, described by some as a Spanish version of SOPA, took effect March 1st and since that time rightsholders have been busy filing notices. Almost 300 complaints have been filed in total including 79 site takedown requests.
In their ongoing efforts to make The Pirate Bay inaccessible, the Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN is now going after the Dutch Pirate Party. BREIN is demanding that the political party ceases operating a proxy site, and is threatening to sue. The Pirate Party is not impressed by the demands and has sent BREIN their response as a torrent, fittingly hosted at The Pirate Bay.
Last week Paramount Pictures’ identified five leading cyberlocker services as prime targets for future action. One of the services, UK-based PutLocker, has spoken with TorrentFreak refuting claims that it is some kind of “rogue site”. Another spotlighted file-hosting site, Wupload, has taken drastic action in the last few hours by announcing it has left the file-sharing business.
In a few months millions of BitTorrent users in the United States will be actively monitored as part of an agreement between the MPAA, RIAA and all the major ISPs. Those caught sharing copyright works will receive several warning messages and will be punished if they continue to infringe. Today the center responsible for administering the scheme announced its Executive Board, which surprisingly enough doesn’t include any neutral executives.
Kyle Goodwin, sports reporter and owner of OhioSportsNet, has filed a brief at a Virginia federal court urging the US Government to return the files he stored at Megaupload. Goodwin explains that the Megaupload shutdown resulted in direct losses for his company and claims the Government has violated his constitutional rights.
A New Zealand court has granted Kim Dotcom some basic rights following a hearing today. The Megaupload founder will now be allowed to access the Internet and have a daily swim to help ease a back problem. Dotcom will also be allowed to finish a music album he’s been working on. TorrentFreak was given a sneak preview and we liked what we heard.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’. ‘We Bought a Zoo’ completes the top three.
Following the astronomic rise of BitTorrent and related technologies in recent years, inquiries from the general public have grown to the point where they can’t simply be overlooked anymore. To satisfy this demand two of the world’s leading dictionary publishers have been consulting with TorrentFreak over the addition of many torrent-related entries to their paper and digital versions. The shortlist is now complete.
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