Academic researchers have published information on the individuals and groups who upload torrent files to The Pirate Bay. The data reveals that most torrent files are first seeded from U.S. connections, with Comcast and Road Runner being the top Internet providers. The researchers also reveal the top 100 uploaders to The Pirate Bay along with their alleged whereabouts.
A major cyberlocker described by the MPAA / RIAA-affiliated International Intellectual Property Alliance as an “infringing distribution hub” appears to be in serious trouble. Filesonic, previously listed among the top 10 largest file-sharing sites in the world, was badly affected by the Megaupload shutdown and lost huge amounts of traffic in 2012. During the last 48 hours it simply ceased to function.
Following the news that the seized domains of streaming sports site Rojadirecta will be returned after the U.S. government backed away from a court battle, the fortunes of another streaming site admin could hardly be more different. Since his arrest in February and the seizure of nine of his domains, Yonjo Quiroa has been detained without bail. This month he pleaded guilty and will probably receive between 6 and 12 months in custody. After that he will be kicked out of the country.
The hugely popular sports streaming and download site Rojadirecta has won its battle with the U.S. More than one and a half years after the feds took the domain names of the Spanish company the authorities have now dropped their lawsuit, meaning that the domains will soon be returned. Later today Rojadirecta will become available again on its .com domain, marking yet another shameful episode in the overbroad U.S. war on online copyright infringement.
Two prominent anti-piracy companies that are expected to participate in the U.S. six-strikes anti-piracy scheme are already monitoring thousands of torrent files. Statistics obtained by TorrentFreak show that BayTSP and Peer Media have been increasing their activities in recent months. The BitTorrent activity of these two companies is three times greater than that generated by all customers of a smaller ISP such as Sonic.net
Kim Dotcom has yet another reason to celebrate this morning. The High Court in New Zealand has freed up $4.83 million from a government bond seized from the Internet entrepreneur when he was arrested back in January. The cash will go towards Dotcom’s New Zealand legal expenses to date and contribute to his future fighting fund. The Megaupload founder will also be able to sell some of the vehicles from his luxury car collection.
Interesting news coming out of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) shows that maybe BitTorrent pirates have a point when it comes to not waiting for TV shows. In an attempt to dissuade Aussie punters from torrenting the show, ABC has announced it will offer this weekend’s new Doctor Who episode on its iview service as soon as it finishes airing in the UK.
Maxxo is a relatively young cloud hosting and synchronization service and one that’s not afraid to launch a disruptive feature. Starting this week the company officially adds support for BitTorrent downloads, allowing users to download torrent files quickly and anonymously. When BitTorrent downloads are completed the files automatically sync to all connected devices.
Several weeks ago Kim Dotcom informed the world that Megaupload would be back, bigger and better than ever. Today, in a series of announcements he’s provided more intriguing details about the new service. “We are building a massive global network,” Dotcom revealed, while adding that hosters will all be able to connect to the network to add servers and bandwidth – providing they’re not in the United States that is. “I am going to turn this world upside down,” Dotcom warned.
One third of all torrents uploaded to The Pirate Bay point to malware or scams, researchers report. While Pirate Bay moderators are usually quick to remove suspect torrents they can’t prevent millions of people from downloading these fake files. To counter this threat the researchers have published TorrentGuard, a tool that allows users to identify fake torrents. The Pirate Bay and several large public trackers are eager to collaborate with the researchers to optimize and implement the new technology.
The MPAA-funded anti-piracy group behind the prosecution of UK streaming links site SurfTheChannel has claimed another prominent victim. UKNova, which has been in existence for almost a decade, has a strict ‘ethical’ policy which forbids users from uploading any material which is available to buy, but that didn’t stop the Federation Against Copyright Theft targeting the site. UKNova will now disable their torrent trackers, depriving thousands of expats access to the TV shows from home they know and love.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Avengers’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Dictator’. ‘The Cold Light Of Day’ completes the top three.
I was on a debate panel in Edinburgh, UK this week; a panel about the copyright monopoly conflict. I have had this feeling in my gut for some time, but it became clear on this panel: we’re going to be debating the same topics with the same arguments for another 40 years.
Today it’s been one month since Demonoid was driven offline by a massive DDoS attack. In the weeks that followed things went from bad to worse and the site’s Ukrainian hosting provider eventually pulled the plug on the site following a request from Mexican authorities. Despite the legal trouble, many of the site’s former users are refusing to give up hope that Demonoid will live up to its reputation as the comeback kid.
Despite the ever increasing threat of online piracy, Hollywood is allocating less money to their flagship anti-piracy outfit. Tax records reveal that in a period of three years the major movie studios cut their payments to the MPAA in half. As a direct result the budget of the movie industry group reached a new low of $49.6 million, causing wage and legal fee payouts to plummet.
From today, file-sharers in Norway can download pretty much whatever they like without facing any consequences. Pirates were effectively given the green light after the only law firm in the country permitted to monitor file-sharing networks lost its license and were denied a new one.
The massive wave of DMCA takedowns sent by rightsholders to Google in recent months is growing at an astonishing rate. During the past month the number of takedown requests received by the search giant doubled to almost 1.5 million URLs per week. To put that into perspective, exactly one year ago weekly URL takedowns numbered just 131,577 per week, an increase of 1,137%.
Movie company Yellow Bird has asked the Stockholm District Court to declare Pirate Bay founder Fredrik Neij bankrupt. Neij, who currently lives in Asia, owes the movie studio nearly $1 million in damages for his role in operating the BitTorrent site. Yellow Bird hopes to recoup some of this money through the bankruptcy, but Neij informs TorrentFreak that there’s not much to take.
Kim Dotcom makes no secret of the fact that he holds U.S. President Barack Obama personally responsible for the destruction of Megaupload. The outspoken Internet phenom is determined to uncover the political scandal behind Megaupload’s demise and wants Obama to be voted out of office. But what would Dotcom do if he was the most powerful man in the world? Let’s find out.
“Hollywood is keeping piracy alive by failing to make content available legally.” It’s an often heard argument, but one that’s not “borne out by the facts” according to the MPAA. However, the “facts” presented in a rebuttal by the movie industry group are twisted and show utter contempt for those trying to do the right thing.
A German law firm will hit a new low next week, even for companies engaged in the file-sharing settlement letter business. The company says that from September 1st it will begin publishing the details of individuals it claims have infringed their clients’ copyrights by sharing hardcore pornography online. To make matters worse, they’re threatening to target churches, police stations and Arabs first. Neither the Pirate Party nor Anonymous are happy and now the latter are threatening action of their own.
After torrent sites and streaming portals, U.S. authorities have now taken down three websites offering pirated Android apps. The FBI operation, which also involved police from France and the Netherlands, is the first to incorporate domain name seizure of sites offering mobile apps. It is unclear at this point whether any of the website operators were arrested during today’s actions.
The CEO of games giant Ubisoft has revealed an interesting parallel in the company’s business models. Speaking at Gamescom this week, Yves Guillemot said that around 95% of players of the company’s boxed PC games are pirates. Equally, of all players of the company’s free-to-play games who can voluntarily part with cash to obtain a better experience, 95% choose not to pay a dime. Nevertheless, the latter model can be a great opportunity to beat piracy.
Due to court imposed blockades millions of Pirate Bay users rely on proxy websites to access their favorite BitTorrent site. Approximately 5% of all Pirate Bay users now visit the site through a proxy address, and thanks to “The Pirate Patch” app they can now do so using the familiar thepiratebay.se and .org domains.
The chief executive of one of Australia’s biggest media companies has come out all guns blazing in an attack on Internet piracy and those who carry it out. Speaking at the Australian International Movie Convention, News Limited CEO Kim Williams described movie downloading as “scumbag theft” carried out by “copyright bandits” and called for new legislation to protect the entertainment industries. “The scale of this theft makes the London riots of last year look like children stealing [candy] from a shop,” he said.
The battle between the owners of the currently offline Oron cyberlocker and adult movie studio Liberty Media continues, despite a judge ordering a $550,000 settlement. Lawyers for Oron have asked the court to unfreeze the company’s assets so it can take the case to appeal, but Liberty Media has objected, noting that the cyberlocker still hasn’t given a full accounting for its worldwide assets. Furthermore, the studio’s lawyers accuse Oron of laundering money through Hong Kong and converting almost $3m into gold bullion.
File-hosting service RapidShare admits that the file-hosting business has its challenges, but says that linking sites are the real problem. The company advised the U.S. Government last week that law enforcement should crack down on these websites, instead of writing new legislation that may stifle innovation. To address these piracy concerns, RapidShare’s Chief Legal Officer Daniel Raimer is meeting with technology leaders and law enforcement at the Technology Policy Institute forum in Aspen today.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Avengers’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Hunger Games’. ‘The Dictator’ completes the top three.
For tens of millions of BitTorrent users, uTorrent is the immediate client of choice. However, a recent decision by its creators to include adware in the client prompted some users to question their loyalty to the product. After numerous reader requests for an overview of other BitTorrent clients, here is a rundown of ten possible alternatives.
After several turbulent weeks with DDoS attacks, the shutdown of its servers and a criminal investigation into the site’s owners, trouble continues for the Demonoid BitTorrent tracker. After the site’s domain names were put up for sale last week, domain market place Sedo has now delisted them citing “legal issues.” As time progresses the hope of a comeback for what was once one of the largest BitTorrent communities continues to fade.
Police in Sweden are warning Internet users not to send money to criminals trying to extort money from alleged file-sharers. The sophisticated scam began when unsuspecting cell phone users browsed an infected website which somehow extracted information from their devices. This was followed up by a mailed allegation of copyright infringement and a cash demand for between 90 and 195 euros to be paid into a foreign bank account. Swedish Antipiratbyran say the scheme is nothing to do with them.
The latest RIAA tax filing shows that the revenue generated by the anti-piracy group has reached a new low. In just two years the membership dues from music labels have been cut in half and have now sunk to below $30 million a year. While the group has 72 employees, payouts to the top two executives including CEO Cary Sherman amount to more than $3 million, some 25% of the total wage bill.
One of the founders of The Pirate Bay is this month engaged in yet another battle. Fredrik Neij currently lives in Laos, Asia, and he and his wife are expecting their third child very soon. However, they need to cross the border to Thailand to give birth which is proving problematic – the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok has revoked Neij’s passport.
Today we are beginning to see the first signs of Google’s announced punishment of “pirate” websites. The changes are resulting in lower search rankings for many file-sharing sites, but that doesn’t seem to bother The Pirate Bay. They are, however, disappointed that Google is giving in to the demands of the entertainment industries. The owner of fellow BitTorrent site isoHunt has gone a step further with a call for protest against antitrust bullying and censorship.
The bid to have Kim Dotcom extradited to the United States suffered a significant setback today. US authorities had insisted there was no need for them to reveal the evidence they hold against the Megaupload founder. But today a New Zealand judge upheld an earlier decision and ordered the US to reveal the evidence they are relying on to have Dotcom and his associates shipped to the United States, including details of covert operations and confidential discussions with rights holders.
BitTorrent Inc, the parent company of uTorrent, is backpedaling on its decision to force advertisements on users of the popular file-sharing client. While the upcoming uTorrent release will still include “sponsored torrents”, users will have the option to turn these off if they don’t wish to see them. In a statement the company stresses that they will continue to experiment with new revenue models to support the development and innovation of file-sharing software.
The Hollywood-backed Federation Against Copyright Theft was the driving force behind the four-year jail sentence handed down to former SurfTheChannel owner Anton Vickerman yesterday. The organization conducts its own investigations and then hands its findings to police and other authorities, but just how much can they discover about targets such as Vickerman? Internal FACT documents obtained by TorrentFreak show the anti-piracy group go to scary lengths to delve deep into people’s private lives.
In a submission to the U.S. Copyright Tzar the MPAA and RIAA characterized Kim Dotcom and his colleagues as manipulative, “wealthy and arrogant.” According to the MegaUpload founder this language is a sign of weakness. “There is no need to sway public opinion because everyone can see how the MPAA and RIAA are corrupting the system by infiltrating their own people into key government positions,” he says.
The owner of TV streaming links site SurfTheChannel was sentenced to four years jail-time at Newcastle Crown Court today. Anton Vickerman was previously found guilty of conspiracy to defraud for “facilitating” copyright infringement . The landmark case follows a sting operation by the MPAA, who partnered with the UK Federation Against Copyright Theft to obtain evidence against the site operator.
After holding out on a Hollywood request to block a file-sharing site, Virgin Media has finally been forced to comply. The UK ISP said it would only block the Newzbin2 Usenet indexing site if ordered to do so by a court. Now, more than a year after the High Court told ISP BT to initiate a blockade against the movie industry target, Virgin Media has been ordered to do the same.
Late 2011 a site appeared claiming to have tracked the sharing habits of more than 51 million BitTorrent users. The site, YouHaveDownloaded, went down a storm in the months that followed but is sadly no longer functional. However, what that Russian site did in the winter is now being matched by a Polish site this summer. So what did “you” download during the past few months? ScanEye believes it knows.
The MPAA and RIAA have submitted their policy recommendations to Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel. In a joint submission the groups explain that despite the broad availability of legal content, online piracy is still rampant. The groups say that services including The Pirate Bay, Rapidgator, Turbobit, DepositFiles and PutLocker are piracy havens, and they urge the U.S. Government to help them quash these sites.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Hunger Games’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Dictator’. ‘Battleship’ completes the top three.
When making laws, there are nominally quality criteria that need to be met for each new law. Are these quality criteria really fulfilled for the copyright monopoly?
While it’s undoubtedly been a turbulent couple of weeks for Demonoid, its loyal users still had hope that one day the site might return. However, today the chances of that happening appear to have been cut from an optimistic 50/50 to much, much less. All key Demonoid domains are now up for sale to the highest bidder, signaling what could be the start of the end of an era
With well over 125 million active users a month uTorrent is by far the most used BitTorrent client. Because of its success the software is also the main source of revenue for San Francisco based parent company BitTorrent Inc. It is estimated that the company currently generates between $15 and $20 million in annual revenue but this figure is expected to rise after it was quietly announced that uTorrent will become ad-supported.
Two individuals who worked with former TVShack admin Richard O’Dwyer on his now-defunct streaming links site helped ICE Homeland Security Investigations to identify him. The dealings of the unnamed individuals, one who did technical work on the site and the other who acted as a moderator, are listed in U.S. court documents obtained by TorrentFreak.
Google announced today that it will lower the search engine rankings of websites that receive a high number of DMCA takedown requests, independent of whether the linked content is lawful or not. The algorithm change is the result of extensive lobbying efforts by Hollywood and the major music labels, and could severely degrade the rankings of websites such as The Pirate Bay, FilesTube, and even YouTube.
This week’s hearing into the January raid against Kim Dotcom’s New Zealand mansion has turned up interesting new evidence today. Under questioning from a defense lawyer, a senior police officer has admitted that top New Zealand officers and members of the FBI watched the raid live via video link. Only adding to the intrigue is the revelation that a secret government unit were present at the pre-raid meeting.
The much-discussed U.S. six strikes anti-piracy scheme has been delayed until later this year. The main question on people’s minds is why. Is it because of the SOPA and PIPA revolts? Are the Internet providers having second thoughts? Not according to Advisory Board member Gigi Sohn, who points out that finding the right “language” for the warnings is one of the delaying factors.
After a few days of no comment, the actors behind the raid and closure of Demonoid have stepped forward. The IFPI and Interpol say they worked together with the Attorney General of Mexico and Ukrainian police to shutter the popular file-sharing service. In addition to equipment seized in Ukraine, they have now confirmed “a number of arrests” and seizures of assets in Mexico.
New data published by the Google-backed Measurement Lab gives a unique insight into the BitTorrent throttling practices of ISPs all over the world. In the U.S. and Australia most large ISPs limit less than 10 percent of BitTorrent transfers. In the UK and Canada on the other hand, some providers interfere with up to three-quarters of all BitTorrent traffic.
The raid on Demonoid’s servers and the reports that a criminal investigation has been started against the site is causing some panic among the site’s users. Was the user data encrypted? Can the authorities see what people have downloaded? Without official comment from Demonoid’s admin these questions are hard to answer, but a massive legal operation aimed at the site’s users seems highly unlikely.
For more than six months there have been claims and counterclaims about what happened in January when New Zealand police raided the mansion of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Now video of the event has been released to the public and it includes helicopters, armed officers, dog units and multiple police vehicles – Hollywood style.
A U.S District Court has ordered the Oron cyberlocker to settle its copyright infringement dispute with adult studio Liberty Media. The file-hosting site claimed that settlement negotiations had never been finalized but yesterday the court decided otherwise. Oron will now have to pay Liberty Media at least $550,000 with additional attorney’s fees to be decided at a later date. In the meantime, Oron’s service remains down.
The Internet Archive has just enriched the BitTorrent ecosystem with well over a million torrent files, and that’s just the start of “universal access to all knowledge.” The torrents link to almost a petabyte of data and all files are being seeded by the Archive’s servers. Founder Brewster Kahle told TorrentFreak that turning BitTorrent into a distributed preservation system for the Internet is the next step.
Following the news yesterday that Demonoid had been shut down by Ukrainian police, today brings further woes for the site. According to a source at the site’s former webhost, the owners of Demonoid are now the subject of a criminal investigation and prosecution in Mexico after one of the site’s admins was arrested there last year.
Earlier today Kim Dotcom told a New Zealand court how police assaulted him during the raid on his Coatesville mansion in January this year. The Megaupload founder said after hearing a commotion downstairs he fled to a safe room and waited to be found but was eventually assaulted by the police. “And then they were all over me,” he said. “I had a punch to the face, boots kicking me down to the floor.”
The nightmare week for Demonoid has just reached a huge crescendo, with news coming out of Ukraine that following a massive DDoS attack the site has now been busted by local authorities. Those looking for a U.S. connection to the raid won’t be disappointed – a source in the country’s Interior Ministry says that the action was scheduled to coincide with Deputy Prime Minister Valery Khoroshkovsky’s trip to the United States.
Following on from an MPAA memo that leaked yesterday, TorrentFreak has obtained an even more revealing document which shows that the movie group is experiencing problems finding “allies” to support the extradition of UK student Richard O’Dwyer. According to the “communication plan” the MPAA is recruiting “third party surrogates” to write op-eds and blog posts which back their position.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Battleship’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Hunger Games’. ‘American Reunion’ completes the top three.
A leaked “memo” from the MPAA shows how movie industry insiders are being briefed to respond in media interviews on the extradition case of TV-Shack admin Richard O’Dwyer. In the talking points the MPAA describes the UK student as a deliberate criminal while mocking his wardrobe. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who launched a petition to stop the extradition, is called out as “presumptuous” by the movie industry group.
During recent years, many sites and individuals connected to the alleged streaming of copyrighted movies have found themselves at the mercy of the United States and UK governments. According to the makers of a hard-hitting short film, Richard O’Dwyer, Kim Dotcom, and the admins of NinjaVideo and SurfTheChannel are all victims of the same phenomenon. Are our voted representatives really Political Prostitutes?
In the coming months U.S. Internet providers will begin to warn and punish alleged copyright infringers. The “six strikes” plan is the result of a deal between the MPAA, RIAA and several large ISPs. However, only a small minority of U.S. ISPs are participating and many were never even asked to join. Talking to TorrentFreak, the CEO of Sonic.net argues that it’s not the task of ISPs to police the Internet, and that the entertainment industry should work on improving their business models.
A statement by French Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti spells bad and possibly fatal news for the country’s “three strikes” anti-piracy scheme. The Minister said that not only is the cost of running Hadopi too great to justify, but the agency has failed to deliver when it comes to developing the availability of legal content. As the final insult, Filipetti said that Internet disconnections are a disproportionate way to deal with infringement.
Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN is going after a former hosting provider of SumoTorrent and demanding compensation for the damages caused by the torrent site. Hosting provider XS Networks previously refused to take the site offline or reveal the identity of the owners unless it was presented with a court order. XS Networks’ lawyer Steven Kroesbergen accuses BREIN of deliberately destroying the company to intimidate other hosting providers.
It’s been nearly a week since Demonoid went down following a huge DDoS attack and still there is no sign that the site will return. If anything, the situation has worsened somewhat. The site’s main domain is now redirecting straight to an ad network serving up malware to unsuspecting visitors.
Porn companies attempting to track down alleged file-sharers with the aim of extracting cash settlements have managed to incur the wrath of judges in both New York and Columbia. In separate ongoing cases, adult studio plaintiffs ordered Comcast and Cablevision to provide them with the identities of alleged BitTorrent users against instructions issued by the court, which in one case were put in place specifically to protect defendants’ rights.
Finnish band Älymystö are furious at local anti-piracy groups after their action forced The Pirate Bay to become blocked by several of the country’s largest Internet providers. The band, which has been around for more than a decade, views BitTorrent sites as a valuable form of promotion. To counter the blockades, Älymystö are now showing their fans how easy it is to circumvent the censorship attempt.
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