Internet provider Verizon has successfully defended the privacy of several subscribers who were accused of sharing copyrighted material on BitTorrent. The ISP refused to comply with a court-ordered subpoena obtained by book publisher John Wiley and Sons in one of their mass-BitTorrent lawsuits. Initially, Wiley responded to this move by asking the court to compel Verizon to cooperate, but this request and the subpoenas have now been withdrawn.
Today, exactly six years have passed since The Pirate Bay was raided by the Swedish police. At the time the entertainment industries hoped that this would silence the deviant BitTorrent site for good, but in hindsight we can conclude that they had actually awakened a monster. The raid and the ongoing battle that later unfolded reads like a script for an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster. The Pirate Bay team have already coined an appropriate title: Pirate Independence Day.
Megaupload is challenging the U.S. Government’s possession of millions of dollars in assets it seized from the company and its operators in January. The newly-filed and eye-opening motion slams the U.S. for holding the defendants liable for alleged offenses that aren’t even a crime, ignoring laws designed to offer them protection, failing to provide any detail whatsoever on alleged infringements, and pushing U.S. law far beyond its borders.
For the first time Megaupload has filed a motion in response to the U.S. indictment. Kim Dotcom’s legal team has asked a Virginia federal court to dismiss the criminal case the U.S. Government started in January. The defense argues that the U.S. violated Megaupload’s due process rights by destroying its business, without having properly served the company. If granted, this means the Megaupload case will be over.
A new report released today has revealed the scale of ISP traffic management practices that result in restrictions to the open Internet. The EU report, which covers 381 ISPs serving in excess of 340 million subscribers, reveals that 21% of fixed-line broadband users across Europe are affected by ISPs restricting P2P traffic, rising to 36% in the mobile market.
A New Zealand court has ruled that the U.S. Government must hand over the evidence they have against Megaupload so Kim Dotcom and other employees can properly defend themselves against the pending extradition request. The U.S. refused to comply but Judge Harvey concluded that this would be unfair. He further noted that the entire U.S. case stands or falls on the strength of the alleged copyright infringement charges.
Every day copyright holders send out countless notices which order BitTorrent indexes, cyberlockers, forums, blogs and search engines to remove links to allegedly infringing content. The process is time consuming for everyone involved. So, since time is money, shouldn’t those being burdened by the actions of third parties be compensated for their work? One anti-piracy company says charging for takedowns amounts to extortion.
Newly unredacted European Commission notes for four of the negotiation rounds for ACTA show that the Commission failed to negotiate effectively on behalf of European citizens and businesses. That’s the assessment of digital rights organization EDRi and AccessNow, who gained access to the previously censored documents.
Last week The Pirate Bay added a new IP-address which allows users to circumvent the many court-ordered blockades against the site. While this proved to be quite effective, the Hollywood backed anti-piracy group BREIN has already been to court to demand a block against this new address. But that won’t deter The Pirate Bay, who say they are fully prepared for an extended game of whac-a-mole using the hundreds of IP addresses they have available.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Safe House’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘John Carter’. ‘The Avengers’ completes the top three.
In recent weeks the anti-piracy antics of Microsoft have made the news on a few occasions. From censoring The Pirate Bay to funding BitTorrent poisoning startups, the software giant is determined to attack piracy head-on. But perhaps the company should make a start by educating its own employees first. In Microsoft’s offices around the world many company employees are using BitTorrent to download and share pirated movies.
During the first half of the last decade, people downloading movies from the Internet would very often be looking for the same things as they are now. They wanted movies that were only available officially in theaters but not only that, they wanted them in the absolute finest quality. There was one group that met all of these requirements, a group so influential that the FBI mounted a massive operation to catch them. That group was called Centropy.
In the high-stakes debate over control of the Internet, it is common to hear how the free flow of information is crucial to development of humanity. For North Korea, a country that has almost zero Internet access and is repressed beyond anything experienced in the West, the free flow of information is a distant concept. But according to a new report, the sharing of pirate TV shows and music among the citizens of the country is challenging the DPRK regimes’ depiction of the outside world.
Months after the Megaupload raids and arrests, the fate of the data stored on the site’s 1,103 seized servers is still unclear. Many Megaupload users want their accounts returned because they contain irreplaceable information, but they have been waiting in vain. Today the EFF has filed a motion on behalf of Megaupload user Kyle Goodwin, which demands that the court finally comes up with a solution.
Yesterday Google kindly published a database of takedown requests sent to the search giant on copyright grounds. The DMCA notices are supposed to help protect legitimate sales but entertainment companies sending them are clearly having problems. Witness some of the world’s biggest music and movie companies taking down everything from news articles promoting their latest releases, to their very own marketing content.
Google has published detailed information on the wide variety of DMCA takedown requests the company receives for its search engine. During the last month alone Google was asked to remove 1,246,713 links across 24,129 domains, including many torrent sites and cyberlockers. Interestingly enough, Google receives the most takedowns for FilesTube, a colleague search-engine which by itself honors DMCA takedown requests and already removes even more links than Google does.
In the U.S., BitTorrent’s share of total Internet traffic is falling sharply and the aggregate share of all P2P sharing applications is now at an all-time low of 12.7 percent. In other parts of the world, however, this trend is noticeably absent. In Europe and the Asia-Pacific region BitTorrent continues to surge. In part this difference can be explained by the lack of legal alternatives.
KickAssTorrents, one of the most popular BitTorrent websites on the Internet today, is facing a total blackout in Italy. Following an investigation by the country’s cybercrime police, an ISP blocking order has now been granted against a site which authorities say is run by criminals generating millions of dollars. The move follows similar blockades against both The Pirate Bay and the now-defunct BTjunkie.
In recent days The Pirate Bay announced the addition of a new proxy-friendly version of their site supported by a new IP address. This means that customers of ISPs that had previously implemented a court-ordered blockade could now access the site again. In the Netherlands, anti-piracy group BREIN is already battling to have that censored too. However, it seems that some ISPs are refusing to play ball, and several are challenging the entire blockade.
It’s possibly one of the most popular ever memes in the history of the Internet but today it lies in tatters. The Rickroll phenomenon, whereby people are promised one thing but given “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley instead, has been ended by a copyright takedown request by AVG Technologies. It’s a brave move – Rickrolling was invented by 4chan and who knows how they’re going to react.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is demanding access to 135 computers and hard drives that were seized from his home in January, so the data can be used for his defense. Until then, he refuses to give up passwords to encrypted data stored on the machines. Dotcom’s legal team is challenging the legality of the search warrants at the High Court in Auckland and is accusing the US Government of an unfair fight.
In their ongoing effort to circumvent the court mandated blockades in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, The Pirate Bay has added a new website. The site in question is operating from a new IP-address which makes it available directly to blocked subscribers. In addition, the new site is optimized to work with proxies in case the IP-address is blocked in the future.
New and tougher laws are always on the agendas of rightsholders. They tend to believe that through legislative change and the strict application of law the habits of millions of file-sharers can be changed. But a new survey of 15 to 25 year-olds shows that despite the threats, file-sharing levels remain stable because those carrying it out feel they are doing nothing wrong.
A British couple are facing imprisonment after an MPAA sting operation revealed they were the owners of streaming links site SurfTheChannel. Aside from the use of an undercover agent who gained access to the defendants’ house under false pretenses, the case also involves an unprecedented involvement of the US authorities with a UK court case, in which a defendant in the US was offered a deal after agreeing to cooperate and testify in a trial overseas.
Following in the footsteps of other courts around Europe, a Greek court has ordered the country’s ISPs to start censoring sites that allegedly infringe copyright. The blockades, which were requested by music rights organizations against two specific sites, will be implemented by DNS record tampering and IP address filtering.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘John Carter’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’. ‘The Avengers’ completes the top three.
With over 3 million downloads per episode, the HBO hit series Game of Thrones is without doubt the most pirated TV-show of the season. Data gathered by TorrentFreak shows that most of the pirates come from Australia, while London tops the list of pirate cities. But why have these people turned to BitTorrent?
Despite protests from the band All Shall Perish, the identities of 80 alleged file-sharers of their music are set to be handed over to a Panama-based copyright troll. The manager of the band says he is shocked and angry that the troll had obtained the rights to All Shall Perish’s music and has ordered the band’s German-based label to call off the dogs. “The band, their attorney and myself have and will continue to take any steps to protect fans, yes, even those who file trade,” he told us.
In recent weeks alarm bells sounded at Poland’s Computer Emergency Response Team when it was discovered that an unknown entity is sending massive amounts of forged data packets and posing a threat to BitTorrent users worldwide. A detailed analysis reveals that anti-piracy outfits may be initiating these attacks to prevent movies from being downloaded. According to security experts, the legality of these attacks is doubtful.
BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the BitTorrent protocol and the world famous uTorrent client, has taken legal action against a company attempting to trade on the company’s brand. In a lawsuit against a German-based company calling itself BitTorrent Marketing GMBH, US-based BitTorrent Inc. is claiming damages for trademark infringement, unfair competition and cybersquatting.
Soon the file-sharing habits of millions of BitTorrent users in the United States will be 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. However, it now appears that the much-discussed July start date will have to wait until later in the year as the parties involved may fail to meet the provisional deadline.
The court-ordered ISP blockade of The Pirate Bay immediately backfired earlier this month when it massively raised awareness and caused the site to receive millions of extra visitors. Now, and as a direct result of the Pirate Bay ban, the website of the UK Pirate Party is benefiting hugely too. In just over three weeks it has jumped more than 100,000 places in the UK rankings and any moment now will become the 1,500th most-visited website in the country.
A new paper published by researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology reveals that people with depressive symptoms are more avid file-sharers than those without them. The research in question was conducted among students whose connections to the campus network were monitored. Perhaps more worrying than the results themselves, the lead researcher suggests that it might be a good idea to monitor people’s file-sharing habits for use as a diagnostic tool.
A new academic paper by a researcher from the North Carolina State University has examined the link between BitTorrent downloads and music album sales. Contrary to what’s often claimed by the major record labels, the paper concludes that there is absolutely no evidence that unauthorized downloads negatively impact sales. Instead, the research finds that more piracy directly leads to more album sales.
Last month the feds arrested four alleged members of the prominent BitTorrent release group IMAGiNE . One of them has struck a deal with the US Government and pleads guilty to one of the charges. The remaining three plead not guilty. Recent documents filed at court further reveal that the MPAA was the tipster that initiated the investigation.
With court-ordered ISP blockades popping up all over Europe, The Pirate Bay is no stranger to being silenced. However, for the last 24 hours the site has been largely inaccessible world wide due to a completely different type of censorship. After the site openly criticized Anonymous last week for DDoS’ing UK ISP Virgin Media, The Pirate Bay itself is now under attack.
The mass-BitTorrent lawsuits that are sweeping the United States are in a heap of trouble. After a Florida judge ruled that an IP-address is not a person, a Californian colleague has gone even further in protecting the First Amendment rights of BitTorrent users. The judge in question points out that geolocation tools are far from accurate and that it’s therefore uncertain that his court has jurisdiction over cases involving alleged BitTorrent pirates. As a result, 15 of these mass-BitTorrent lawsuits were dismissed.
The internet is built of services. One of the core services, and a major choke-point for control, is domain name resolution. There have been some alternates come and go, but one of the strongest has been OpenNIC, and they’ve just launched a new top level domain – .pirate
Dependant on the side they’re representing, lawyers around the world have taken opposing stances when it comes to liability for infringement via open WiFi. When representing plaintiffs they speak of ‘a duty of care’ to rightsholders and when defending Internet users they insist that holding individuals responsible for the actions of others is a step too far. In a landmark case in Finland, a court has just agreed with the latter.
American rock band Counting Crows have sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, but this success hasn’t caused them to overlook the changing landscape of the music business. Today the band releases four tracks from their new album for free on BitTorrent. Talking to TorrentFreak, Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz says BitTorrent is the new and improved radio.
Having being found guilty of copyright infringement offenses and subsequently denied the opportunity to be heard by Sweden’s Supreme Court, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay is taking his case to the European Court. The lawyer of Fredrik Neij believes that the function of The Pirate Bay is protected by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ’21 Jump Street’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Ger The Gringo’. ‘The Avengers’ completes the top three.
Defeat in a single battle in the war over net liberty doesn’t concern me too much. I know that the net freedom forces have the strategic and intellectual upper hand in this war over our freedom, but there is something else that concerns me gravely. Why are people seriously thinking that the copyright industries have the final say in shaping society?
The Russian based “Pirate Pay” startup is promising the entertainment industry a pirate-free future. With help from Microsoft, the developers have built a system that claims to track and shut down the distribution of copyrighted works on BitTorrent. Their first project successfully stopped tens of thousands of downloads.
On May 13th, 2002 a new filesharing client called eMule entered into our world of sharing. Ten years later we’d like to take this anniversary as an opportunity to look back at some major technical achievements of filesharing applications since then and what might come in the years ahead. With further innovation, even the mighty BitTorrent can be improved to become impossible to shut down.
This week yet another court order was handed down in Europe with the aim of censoring The Pirate Bay. The ruling forbids the Dutch Pirate Party from not only running a direct proxy, but also telling people how to circumvent an earlier court ordered blockade. However, according to Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge, the judge in the case has a history of corruption relating to another file-sharing case he presided over in the Netherlands.
The MPAA is outraged and offended by “The Pirate Bay and their apologists” who “seek to justify profiting from digital theft” by referring to Hollywood’s founders as pirates. Not true, they claim. Instead, the early inhabitants of Hollywood were independent filmmakers who were censored by a copyright monopoly. They were freedom fighters who saw no other option than to infringe patents for the sake of creativity.
In its lawsuits against hundreds of alleged BitTorrent users, book publisher John Wiley and Sons has met unexpected resistance from Internet provider Verizon. For a variety of reasons including privacy concerns, the ISP is refusing to comply with a subpoena which orders the company to hand over the personal details of subscribers who are accused of pirating “For Dummies” books.
After being found guilty of copyright offenses in connection with the operations of The Pirate Bay, site co-founder Peter Sunde should now be beginning an 8 month jail sentence in a Swedish prison. However, in a last-ditch attempt to maintain his freedom, Sunde has asked the Swedish government for clemency citing health and business concerns.
The Court of The Hague has handed down another ruling that restricts access to The Pirate Bay website. The Court has forbidden the Dutch Pirate Party from linking to, operating or listing websites that allow the public to circumvent a local Pirate Bay blockade. The political party is further ordered to shutdown its reverse proxy indefinitely and block Pirate Bay domains and IP-addresses from its generic proxy.
Following an earlier court ruling that ordered two of the largest ISPs in the Netherlands to block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay, today anti-piracy group BREIN has scored another success. The Court of The Hague has just ordered a further five ISPs to block TPB IP addresses and 20 domain names. Failure to do so within 10 days will result in fines of up to 250,000 euros.
After 8 years the legal battle between Google and adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 has been put to rest. The latter accused the search giant of a variety of copyright infringement breaches which included Google’s use of cached images. In a final attempt to save the case, Perfect 10 offered a $25,000 bounty to anyone who could prove wrongdoing on Google’s part but the initiative failed. The case has now been dismissed without the option for further appeal.
Following a complaint made by HBO, an administrator of a popular streaming TV show and movie portal was arrested by authorities in Chile during March this year. The 26-year-old student was subsequently charged with breaches of copyright law and forbidden from leaving the country. Now he’s been set free due to lack of evidence but is banned from accessing his former site and has to give copyright lectures in schools.
The Pirate Bay has partnered with the Cybernorms research group at Sweden’s Lund University to carry out the second round of the largest file-sharing survey in history. Through the survey the researchers examine the norms of file-sharers, and how they respond to increased censorship and tougher laws. One of the main goals of the research project is to give a counterweight to entertainment industry propaganda.
Later this month an individual who allegedly uploaded thousands of movies and TV shows to cyberlocker services will face trial and a possible 5 year prison sentence. The 29-year-old, who was also the moderator of a warez forum, committed the alleged infringements over a period of more than 4 years. The movie industry claims he cost them nearly $4.2m but the Pirate Party reject the damages calculations as “simply ridiculous.”
Despite the widespread availability of pirated releases, The Avengers just scored a record-breaking $200 million opening weekend at the box office. While some are baffled to see that piracy failed to crush the movie’s profits, it’s really not that surprising. Claiming a camcorded copy of a movie seriously impacts box office attendance is the same as arguing that concert bootlegs stop people from seeing artists on stage.
During the past several weeks, with blockades of The Pirate Bay biting in both the Netherlands and the UK, sites which facilitate access to the world’s most famous torrent site have been popping up in their dozens. However, not all of these sites have users’ best interests at heart. Several, flying in the face of the very fiber of The Pirate Bay, have had the temerity to do the unthinkable – charge for free downloads.
Earlier this year the Church of Kopimism was approved by the authorities as an official religion. Since then, the movement has gathered thousands of believers across the world and two of them have now entered into a “Kopimist” marriage. The Church encourages the newlyweds to “copy and remix some DNA-cells and create a new human being.”
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘This Means War’ tops the chart this week, followed by ’21 Jump Street’. ‘The Avengers’ completes the top three.
Now that The Pirate Bay is being blocked by ISPs in the UK, millions of people have a new interest in accessing the site, even if they didn’t before. The reasons for this are simple. Not only do people hate being told what they can and can’t do, people – especially geeks – love solving problems and puzzles. Unlocking The Pirate Bay with a straightforward proxy is just too boring, so just for fun let’s go the hard way round.
File-sharing was firmly on the agenda when the head of the US Department of Homeland Security touched down in the Australian capital last week. The four new agreements – promptly signed before Secretary Janet Napolitano flew back out of Canberra – were less about sharing season two of Game of Thrones and more about sharing the private, government held information of Australian citizens with US authorities.
When the latest alpha version of uTorrent was released earlier this week several users spotted something unusual in the ‘about’ window. For years the uTorrent client belonged to BitTorrent Inc., but all of a sudden ownership was being credited to an unknown company named Gyre Inc. The uTorrent team was quick to fix this ‘coding mistake,’ but they couldn’t wipe out a trail of evidence suggesting that BitTorrent might rebrand itself in the near future.
Continuing a recent trend, The Pirate Bay and other large BitTorrent sites are now being blocked by Internet providers in India. Visitors who try to access the sites are redirected to a banner which informs them that the Department of Telecommunications ordered a blackout. Torrent sites are not the only target, as the blockade also censors the video sharing site Vimeo, one of the largest communities of indie filmmakers.
In November 2010, Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized dozens of domain names allegedly connected to copyright infringement. One of them, hip-hop blog Dajaz1, lay in limbo for more than a year after its lawyer was stalled at every turn in his quest for information. Eventually the domain was given back, but why the delay? Unsealed court papers reveal that after effectively ordering the takedown, the RIAA failed to deliver any evidence of infringement.
According to a report from a leading UK law firm, nearly 30% of UK file-sharers say they intend to pirate more movies, music, games and ebooks during the next 12 months. The entertainment industries shouldn’t be too disappointed though – 36% and 34% of paying music and movie customers say they’ll consume more in the year to come.
A landmark ruling in one of the many mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the US has delivered a severe blow to a thus far lucrative business. Among other things, New York Judge Gary Brown explains in great detail why an IP-address is not sufficient evidence to identify copyright infringers. According to the Judge this lack of specific evidence means that many alleged BitTorrent pirates have been wrongfully accused by copyright holders.
Last week the UK High Court ruled that several of the country’s leading ISPs must block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. The decision is designed to limit traffic to the world’s leading BitTorrent site but in the short-term it had the opposite effect. Yesterday, The Pirate Bay had 12 million more visitors than it has ever had, providing a golden opportunity to educate users on how to circumvent blocks. “We should write a thank you letter to the BPI,” a site insider told TorrentFreak.
Yet another law expert has slammed the US Government’s decision to launch a criminal case against Megaupload. Law Professor Eric Goldman argues that the Megaupload prosecution is a “depressing display of abuse of government authority” that ignores basic constitutional rights in order to protect private commercial interests.
Starting this summer millions of BitTorrent users in the United States will be tracked as part of a voluntary agreement between the MPAA, RIAA and all the major ISPs. Those who are caught sharing copyrighted works will receive several warning messages and eventual punishment if they continue to infringe. Commenting on the plans, Comcast Vice President Gerard Lewis praised the cooperation as a good model that safeguards privacy, while educating the public.
A new survey has revealed that young people are responding to tough legislation and increasing levels of online spying by investing in VPN services. The study, carried out by the Cybernorms research group at Sweden’s Lund University, found that when compared to figures from late 2009, 40% more 15 to 25-year-olds are now hiding their activities online.
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