It’s 2012 and “Piracy” is still a hot topic of conversation in the industry. People who torrent music or have a huge music library are accused of screwing over artists, stealing, and being entitled. Piracy is still cited as The Main Reason Why Artists Are Broke.
A webhost has come under pressure from Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN for providing a Wordpress-based anti-censorship tool which unblocks, among other sites, The Pirate Bay. The Hollywood-funded group says that in the face of the host’s refusal to comply with the takedown, it is now considering filing a criminal complaint. A lawyer specializing in IT law has today described the threat as “baseless.”
A United States District Judge indicated in a hearing today that a little more time is needed to consider the fate of data uploaded by a Megaupload user and lost when the file-hosting company was closed without warning by U.S. authorities. The user’s case is being championed by the EFF who heard today that an order would be issued “shortly”. Additionally, the judge said he would schedule a hearing to consider Megaupload’s motion to dismiss.
Kim Dotcom is currently involved in a high-profile criminal prosecution in the U.S., but that isn’t stopping him from preparing the launch of a revolutionary new music service. With Megabox, Dotcom aims to make piracy an issue of the past by introducing free music for all. Dotcom told TorrentFreak that some of the world’s top artists have already signed up for the launch, and more are expected to follow.
The ongoing avalanche of mass-BitTorrent lawsuits reveal that IP-addresses can get people into a heap of trouble and it’s not unusual for Internet subscribers to be wrongfully accused of sharing copyrighted material. This begs the question, for how long are these IP-addresses stored? To find out, TorrentFreak asked some of the largest Internet providers in the US about their logging practices.
Political activist group Demand Progress has filed a brief in the Megaupload case, urging the court to disregard the MPAA’s concerns over the return of data to former Megaupload users. The group argues that Hollywood lobbyists are out to make it impossible for Megaupload users to access their property, effectively using the court case as a backdoor SOPA.
Universal, EMI, Sony and Warner have secured a court order against a decision that had brought the music labels’ “3 strike” anti-filesharing mechanism to its knees. The four music giants will now reinstate the system at ISP Eircom and put renewed effort into spreading the practice to other ISPs in Ireland.
The search warrants used by police to raid the New Zealand home of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom have been ruled illegal. In addition, the data that was sent to the FBI was ruled to be unlawfully obtained. The decision by the High Court is the latest in a series of setbacks for prosecutors on both sides of the Pacific. Could this be the beginning of the end for the Megaupload trial?
The owner of TV streaming links site SurfTheChannel has been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud at Newcastle Crown Court today for “facilitating” copyright infringement . The landmark case follows a sting operation by the MPAA, who partnered with the Federation Against Copyright Theft to obtain evidence against site operator Anton Vickerman. He will be sentenced next month and faces up to 10 years in jail.
As part of the punitive measures against both The Pirate Bay and its founders, a Swedish court previously banned two of the torrent site’s founders from having anything to do with its future operations. Now, according to the Stockholm District Court, Fredrik Neij has violated that ban and will be fined. Neij told TorrentFreak that his only ‘crime’ was failing to prove a negative. In any event, no fines will be paid.
Dropbox has banned the new BitTorrent startup Boxopus from accessing its API. The company fears that BitTorrent’s piracy stigma may rub off on the successful cloud storage service. The Boxopus team is disappointed by this anti-innovation move. Thousands of dollars in developments costs have gone down the drain for what they believe is an irrational fear imposed by a growing copyright lobby.
UK communications regulatory body OFCOM has today published an amended version of its Initial Obligations Code, a set of rules relating to the anti-piracy provisions in the country’s controversial Digital Economy Act. OFCOM clarifies the obligations of rightsholders regarding the auditing of piracy tracking systems, and gives them three times longer to produce evidence. On Government order, subscriber right of appeal has been seriously reduced.
BitTorrent client FrostWire is striking back at “rogue” websites that abuse the company’s brand for commercial gain. The company has filed several WIPO domain disputes and recently scored its first victory against the domain name frostwirereview.com. The WIPO panel concluded that the domain was registered in bad faith, and ordered it transferred to FrostWire.
There are dozens of Pirate parties around the world and although run by different people, most have something in common – the proud use of the word ‘Pirate’ in their name. But for Taiwan’s Pirate Party the term is causing all kinds of problems. The High Administrative Court has just ruled that the Party cannot use the word ‘Pirate’ to describe themselves, since citizens will confuse the Party’s aims with those of sea-based criminals.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Wrath of the Titans’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Project X’. ’21 Jump Street’ completes the top three.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is helping Richard O’Dwyer, the UK-based ex-administrator of the video linking website TVShack, to prevent him from being extradited to the US for alleged copyright infringements. According to Wales, the case is an example of the ever-growing influence of the copyright lobby over the Internet. “Richard O’Dwyer is the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public,” Wales states.
From October, knowingly uploading or simply downloading copyrighted material from the Internet will be a criminal offense subject to jail sentences in Japan. But despite now having the ultimate deterrent, it’s still not enough for the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The group is now pressing for ISPs to install spying technologies that will automatically block unauthorized uploads.
Boxopus is a new service that enables people to download torrents directly to their Dropbox account. With clever use of Dropbox’s API, BitTorrent users can add torrent files totally anonymously and without the need for a BitTorrent client. Torrent sites can add Boxopus as a new download option for their users, which some already have.
The company behind YouPorn and PornHub has agreed to fund an anti-piracy outfit dedicated to bringing down ‘rogue’ cyberlockers and illicit file-sharing forums. Speaking with TorrentFreak, the Adult Content Industry United Foundation says they will be using the money to cut off funding to cyberlockers in the hope that hitting them in the pocket brings them to their knees. But are cyberlockers and so-called ‘tube’ sites facing the same issues?
PayPal is widely known for their aggressive stance towards BitTorrent sites and file-sharing services, and this policy has now been extended to VPN providers. TorGuard, a company that offers VPN and proxy services, has been banned from using the payment processor because of its affiliation with “BitTorrent.” As a result, thousands of dollars belonging to the company have been frozen.
The battle between Megaupload and the U.S. Government is heating up. In a new document filed at the federal court Megaupload’s legal team accuses the Department of Justice of making up its own rules, while disrespecting foreign sovereignty. The U.S. is intentionally maintaining “flawed criminal action” in a case that should be dismissed, they argue.
Despite the huge upheavals of the last few months, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has announced that his answer to the music industry’s outdated business model is coming soon. The Megabox service will shift the balance of power away from multi-billion dollar corporations to the artists who actually make the music. “Artists rejoice. It’s coming and it will unchain you,” Dotcom says.
Today, the final and ultimately responsible committee in the European Parliament gave its recommendation on ACTA. Its opinion was clear: Reject ACTA. This brings five recommendations to the European Parliament to reject and kill ACTA once and for all.
While the U.S. Government portrays Kim Dotcom as a dangerous criminal, others have no problem being associated with the Megaupload boss. Figures in the glitzy world of pop aside, Apple founder Steve Wozniak is a prime example. When Kim Dotcom was on house arrest, “Woz” came over to show his support.
After earlier attempts through other courts and processes, two of the key figures behind the creation of The Pirate Bay have announced what could be their last throw of the dice to avoid imprisonment. Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij, two of the co-founders of the infamous torrent site, have now filed appeals with the European Court of Human Rights.
After seriously considering sending out “3 strikes” warning letters to file-sharers, today Denmark will officially announce the abandoning of the idea. Instead, the government and rightsholders will focus on the ‘Pirate Package’ initiative which will boost the development of legal services. In addition to many positive elements, the initiative also includes a mechanism to smooth the way towards easier website blocking.
Millions of Indians can today breathe a sigh of relief. They are once again able to access their favorite file-sharing sites, including The Pirate Bay and Torrentz.eu, after a consortium of ISPs appealed a broad censorship order. The Madras High Court specified an earlier decision and ruled that Internet providers no longer have to block entire websites to prevent a single movie from being shared online.
Today, BT became the last major UK Internet provider to block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. The ISP has gone further than other providers since it also restricts access to the new IP-addresses added by the deviant BitTorrent site in recent weeks. Nevertheless, even these additional efforts were quickly neutralized. Immediately after the block kicked in Pirate Bay added a set of new IP addresses to allow BT subscribers access again – for now at least.
According to a letter seen by TorrentFreak, Google are threatening action against one of the web’s largest YouTube conversion sites. The site, which according to Google’s own stats is pulling in 1.3 million visitors every day, extracts MP3 audio from YouTube videos and makes it available for users to download. Google’s lawyers say this must stop, and have given the site seven days to comply.
In the coming months U.S. Internet providers will begin to warn and punish copyright infringers. Since the “six strikes” plan was announced, a lot has been said about the temporary disconnections and throttled connections subscribers might be subjected to. But there is an even scarier outlook for persistent BitTorrent pirates, as the MPAA and RIAA have negotiated the right to demand the details of repeat infringers should they decide to take legal action.
The government agency that administers France’s controversial 3 strikes anti-piracy scheme is mulling taking its message to the youngest minds in the country. According to a letter it sent today to rightsholders, Hadopi is proposing a stand at the Kidexpo exhibition in Paris later this year where it will spread its message directly to 150,000 children.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Wrath of the Titans’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Project X’. ‘Wanderlust’ completes the top three.
The ACTA treaty is coming to its showdown two and a half weeks from today. The vote on the floor of the European Parliament is where the treaty lives or dies. But the next important event takes place as early as this Thursday.
One of the law firms involved in the ongoing mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the U.S. is deploying a new tool to threaten alleged pirates. Prenda Law is contacting the defendants through robocalls, announcing that a lawsuit will be filed against them because they failed to settle the case. While the new tactic might be effective, critics are pointing out that the way they are carried out might be against the law.
While Hollywood paints file-hosting sites as the new piracy havens, a new study shows that these services are indispensable to many employees. A survey among 4,119 respondents from a wide range of companies shows that 66% use free file-sharing sites to share and store work documents. Among those working in professional services the percentage is as high as 87%.
After being ordered to block its subscribers from accessing The Pirate Bay, ISP Elisa indicated it would fight the court ruling by taking it to appeal. Yesterday the Court of Appeal delivered an initial blow to the Finnish service provider by upholding the original ruling handed down in 2011. Undeterred, Elisa says it will take its case all the way to the country’s Supreme Court.
Across the world initiatives are appearing with an aim to increase Internet monitoring. In the U.S. file-sharers will soon be monitored and reported on behalf of the MPAA and RIAA, and in the UK there are plans to monitor and store all Internet communications. Countering this increased surveillance people are turning en masse to VPN services to ensure their privacy. This begs the question; how long before VPNs become illegal?
The founder of one of Europe’s former leading illicit movie streaming portals has been convicted. The man, known as Dirk B, received a reduced sentence after giving a full confession and apology for this activities on Kino.to, the site hit by a massive international police operation in 2011. Despite his overtures, Dirk B received a 4.5 year jail sentence and was ordered to forfeit $4.7m of the claimed $8m he earned from the site.
Popular direct links download site OneDDL has announced its immediate closure. The site, which has been around for the best part of seven years, is the latest casualty in the ongoing cyberlocker and linking controversy. What was once a legal gray area – the indexing and linking of copyright works – has now become a matter of black and white, the site’s owner reports.
The U.S. Government has responded to Megaupload’s request to dismiss the criminal proceedings, and to return the money that was seized by the authorities. The U.S. attorney argues that it’s not a problem that Megaupload was not served and notes that it would be unprecedented to dismiss the case at this time. The Government further objects to returning any funds to aid Mega’s defense, as this money was “stolen” from the entertainment industries.
A large European media group recently broadcast a TV show which reported on the activities of two major BitTorrent trackers. The show was panned by opponents who criticized the creators for misleading the audience with biased reporting. One critic, a reporter who took the time to create a 30 minute podcast, found himself censored after the TV network had his report removed from YouTube on copyright grounds.
In the shadows of the criminal case against Megaupload, another popular cyberlocker is quietly ending its own legal dispute. DepositFiles has settled the million dollar lawsuit adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 brought against them. The latter accused DepositFiles of engaging in and facilitating mass-copyright infringement and demanded a minimum of $5m in damages.
Comcast has run out of patience with the avalanche of BitTorrent lawsuits in the United States. The ISP is now refusing to comply with court-ordered subpoenas, arguing that they are intended to “shake down” subscribers by coercing them to pay settlements. Copyright holders have responded furiously to Comcast’s new stance, claiming that the ISP is denying copyright holders the opportunity to protect their works.
In a strange developing story the FunnyJunk image site is threatening to sue popular humor site The Oatmeal. The war between the pair dates back a year when The Oatmeal accused FunnyJunk of profiting from its copyrighted images, but now FunnyJunk is demanding $20,000 to end a defamation lawsuit. The Oatmeal say they won’t pay and have instead gathered huge support from fans, who in less than 24 hours have donated more than $90,000 to charity. Is there an interesting lesson in here for copyright holders?
The U.S. Government says it’s in no way responsible for the millions of Megaupload users who have lost access to their files due to the criminal proceedings against the file-sharing site. Responding to a motion from one of the site’s users, the Government explains that no “irreparable harm” has been done. Instead of targeting the Government, disadvantaged users should sue Megaupload or its hosting company Carpathia for damages.
In response to a court order handed down at the end of April, today TalkTalk became the latest UK ISP to block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. But even with this action the Europe-wide wave of blocking orders isn’t letting up. This morning yet another European court ruled that in order to protect rightholders, two more ISPs should prevent their customers from accessing the site.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Wrath of the Titans’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Project X’. ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ completes the top three.
A new patent granted this week aims to stop students from sharing textbooks, both off and online. The patent awarded to economics professor Joseph Henry Vogel hopes to embed the publishing world even further into academia. Under his proposal, students can only participate in courses when they buy an online access code which allows them to use the course book. No access code means a lower grade, all in the best interests of science.
Since its founding half-a-decade ago, the influence of the Pirate Party has been felt across the globe. Now the file-sharing movement has touched down downunder and while it fights for recognition and acceptance, Australia’s capital city presents the party with a unique opportunity to gain seats in a parliament election.
One of the big draws of BitTorrent is that there are few barriers to entry, not least because it’s free to use. There are other downloading options of course, Usenet being one, but it can be a complex and relatively expensive option. However, thanks to a new service, anyone can enjoy simplified newsgroup downloading using just a web browser. Best of all, it’s completely free of charge.
A student who ran a site which enabled the download of a million movie and TV show subtitle files has been found guilty of copyright infringement offenses. Despite it being acknowledged that the 25-year-old made no money from the three-year-old operation, prosecutors demanded a jail sentence. After struggling due to a lack of case law, in the end the court settle on a fine.
With nearly 4 million downloads per episode, the HBO hit series Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV-show of the season. Worldwide hype combined with restricted availability are the key ingredients for the staggering number of unauthorized downloads. How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory complete the top three, albeit with significantly fewer downloads than the chart topper.
In the UK and the Netherlands The Pirate Bay is widely censored, but that doesn’t mean the site is entirely unavailable. In fact, The Pirate Bay is enjoying the whack-a-mole game they’re playing. After several ISPs added the site’s new IP-address to their filters, the infamous torrent site has just added another, plus an IPv6 address. Meanwhile, the site’s operators are wondering how much court filings cost each time an IP address has to be blocked.
As the music labels of the RIAA prepare to launch their six-strikes initiative in the United States, elsewhere in the world their strategies are somewhat different. In Europe, labels including EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner are pumping money into an anti-piracy company who do everything from cyberlocker takedowns to the dirtiest of all anti-piracy tactics – extracting cash settlements from Internet users. According to an insider, the company employees dozens of students as pirate hunters.
In his presentation to the “The Future of Audio” hearing yesterday, RIAA chief Cary Sherman spoke of the music industry more frequently steering towards voluntary agreements for dealing with online infringement, such as the “six strikes” deal struck with ISPs recently. But what can happen when agreements can’t be reached? After Hollywood couldn’t get an ISP to voluntarily play ball they sued – and lost – and now find themselves being chastised by the ISP in public.
Almost half a year has passed since Megaupload’s servers were raided by the U.S. Government, and still there is no agreement on how former users can retrieve their files. Previously the authorities and MPAA have objected against such a mass retrieval, but in a filing at the court today the movie industry changed its tone. The MPAA states that users can have their files back as long as access to copyrighted files is blocked.
In a testimony before Congress on “The Future of Audio” today, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman will stress that more needs to be done to stop online piracy. In particular, search engines such as Google and Bing have to take responsibility and come up with appropriate technological solutions. The RIAA wants these search engines to censor pirate sites from their search results while giving priority to legitimate music services.
The MPAA and RIAA, helped by all major Internet providers in the United States, will begin to warn and punish copyright infringers in the months to come. Those caught sharing copyright works will receive several warning messages and subsequent punishment if they continue to infringe. Today we provide an overview of the upcoming scheme, busting some of the scary myths floating around online, and confirming others.
A man from Sweden has been handed a jail sentence for offenses he committed while running a BitTorrent site. The former administrator of the PowerBits private tracker was found guilty of copyright infringement and tax and accounting fraud after he failed to register donations provided by the site’s users as income with the tax authorities. He will serve one year in prison.
After a few turbulent years Filesoup – the oldest surviving BitTorrent site – has announced that it will close its doors for good. The UK-based site gained mainstream attention in 2009 when it was raided and two of its administrators were arrested. Both men eventually walked free last year after their case was dismissed, but the resulting exodus of users now leads to the closure of the site.
Sites such as isoHunt, KickAssTorrents and Extratorrent are often characterized as lawless piracy havens that disregard the rights of content creators. But is this really the case? Not according to the site owners who say they are no different from Google. All the BitTorrent sites contacted by TorrentFreak say they remove content when they’re notified, with the number of requests processed ranging from just a handful to 1,680 per day.
Installous, currently resident on millions of jailbroken iPhones and other iDevices, has undergone an interesting upgrade. This piece of software, which is designed to allow the installation of cracked apps, has until now relied on users pulling those apps from cyberlockers. Now, thanks to some nifty coding, Installous can now pull packages from torrent swarms by utilizing magnet links.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Project X’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Safe House’. ‘Big Miracle’ completes the top three.
The draconian ACTA agreement is coming to a global showdown. In the United States, Congress won’t have a say in its ratification. In many small countries, citizens are rightfully furious. But it is in Strasbourg, in the European Parliament’s session on July 2-5, that ACTA will ultimately live or die.
Sites selling cheap MP3s have been around for many years and the music industry has long complained that they operate illegally. In Russia, where many originate, they see the legal angle somewhat differently, arguing that on home soil they are entirely legal. Whatever the truth, some of these sites appear to have interesting ‘wholesale’ suppliers.
Movies.io is a new torrent search engine dedicated to movies, but one that goes above and beyond the average torrent site. Movies.io combines a pleasant and great-looking user interface with all the functionality needed to find and collect the best films out there. In a way it’s both a threat and inspiration to Hollywood.
When it comes to entitlement, few private companies can match the RIAA. The latest cause of their whines is Google. After Google published their report last week on DMCA takedowns, the RIAA is determined to make out that Google is the problem, because almost 1.25 million removed links in one year wasn’t enough, and it’s all Google’s fault, despite the search giant having absolutely no hand in putting any of them online.
Researchers at Delft University of Technology have taken up the ambitious challenge of creating a BitTorrent client which secures the privacy of its users. Their Tribler client is already completely decentralized, meaning it will still work even in the event that all BitTorrent sites are shut down. Anonymity is the next big step in its evolution. “We’re going to take Internet privacy to the next level,” the lead researcher says about the upcoming release.
Speaking at a University of Melbourne seminar, Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft chief Neil Gane conceded that Australians are no longer content to tail behind the rest of the world when it comes to viewing TV shows like Game of Thrones. However, despite this clear ‘buying’ signal, Gane said that AFACT members consider this impatience to view content as “unreasonable”. Piracy will continue, he said, no matter what providers do.
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