Gottfrid Svartholm will be kept in detention for at least two more weeks on suspicion of hacking into a Swedish IT company connected to the country’s tax authorities. According to Prosecutor Henry Olin the extended detention is needed “to prevent him from having contact with other people.” The Pirate Bay co-founder is not allowed to have visitors and is even being denied access to newspapers and television.
When it comes to BitTorrent clients, uTorrent is the most popular one around. Tips and tricks are always welcome and today we have a selection straight from the guys at BitTorrent Inc., including an exclusive peek at a new money saving feature set to appear in uTorrent Android.
Like many other websites on the Internet The Pirate Bay makes its money from ads. Due to its reputation the torrent site generally has to settle for lower grade banners, but the Canadian Government recently broke this trend. This week ads from the Canadian Department of Finance’s Economic Action Plan appeared on The Pirate Bay. Unfortunately for the infamous torrent site, the feds pulled the banner campaign as soon as they were alerted to it.
Soon, five large U.S. Internet providers will begin to warn and punish alleged copyright infringers as part of the “six strikes” anti-piracy scheme. While details are still scarce, TorrentFreak is informed that MarkMonitor will be responsible for tracking down alleged infringers, and that an independent expert review of the evidence gathering technology has been completed. ISPs have also been making progress and several are now ready to start sending out warnings, although none of them wants to go first.
Five men have been sentenced for their role in releasing pre-release copies of Hollywood movies onto so-called Internet ‘top sites’. A court handed out suspended sentences of between three and six months to individuals from two Internet release teams said to be responsible for causing Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal millions of dollars in damages. Together they will have to pay damages totaling more than 1.1 million euros.
Hoping to curb the ever-increasing piracy figures in Portugal, local anti-piracy outfit ACAPOR reported the IP-addresses of 2,000 alleged file-sharers to the Attorney General last year. This week the Portuguese prosecutor came back with a ruling and decided not to go after the individuals connected to the IP-addresses. According to the prosecutor it is not against the law to share copyrighted works for personal use, and an IP-address is not enough evidence to identify a person.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has apologized to Kim Dotcom after a report from the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security found that the government illegally monitored the Megaupload founder. The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) carried out surveillance on Dotcom, but did not check out his residency status, instead relying on incorrect information supplied by the police.
Kim Dotcom is determined to put the major music labels out of business with Megabox. At the same time he promises to give artists full control over their own work and a healthy revenue stream. Today Dotcom released a video on the making of Megabox which unveils some of the service’s features. The video also shows “The Black Keys,” “Rusko,” “Two Fingers” and “Will.i.am” as exclusive artists.
Court documents have revealed how information supplied by New Zealand’s Organised and Financial Crime Agency led to Kim Dotcom and his associates being illegally monitored by GCSB, the Kiwi spy agency comparable to the United States’ CIA. Today a High Court judge expressed concern at the situation, with Dotcom’ legal team calling for an independent inquiry into the fiasco. Meanwhile, pressure continues to mount on Prime Minister John Key as it’s revealed the government issued an information suppression order.
Mediacom, one of the larger Internet providers in the United States, has not joined the controversial six-strikes anti-piracy scheme set to start later this year. But that doesn’t mean Mediacom customers can pirate without consequences, on the contrary. The Internet provider rigorously terminates the Internet access of subscribers who receive two DMCA notifications and after a third notice customers are permanently disconnected and banned for life.
As part of a case between several computer media companies and the organization responsible for copying levies, the Dutch Supreme Court is set to seek the advice of the European Court of Justice concerning the right to make private copies. Currently it is considered acceptable for Dutch citizens to download copyrighted material for personal use, even if that content comes from an illicit source such as file-sharing networks. A ruling in the wrong direction could change all of that.
The Pirate Party movement reached a new milestone yesterday with the world’s first elected Pirate Mayor being voted into office in the Swiss town of Eichberg. With an overwhelming 63 percent of the total vote, Alex Arnold defeated two candidates from the political establishment. The 31-year old software programmer is eager to steer the small Swiss town towards a prosperous future.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Men in Black 3′. ‘Prometheus’ completes the top three.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced today that he has ordered an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the conduct of government spies leading up to the arrests of Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants. The GCSB is the Kiwi equivalent of the CIA and is forbidden by law to conduct surveillance on New Zealand citizens or permanent residents in the country. Nevertheless, the bureau helped the U.S. by spying on Kim Dotcom, Bram van der Kolk, and their families.
January this year the U.S. Government destroyed Megaupload, but founder Kim Dotcom is a not done with the file-hosting business yet and is preparing to come back with a vengeance. The coding work for the new Megaupload is nearly finished, the servers have been ordered, and investors are lining up. A return of the file-hosting site appears to be looming.
When the first Pirate Party was founded, it was with the realization that activism alone had come to the end of the road. Everybody was discussing net liberty issues and how they were being restricted by the copyright industry – everybody except the politicians. We needed to take the fight to these politicians. But how?
Earlier this week, file-sharing related news was dominated by a set of stats compiled by Musicmetric. The company said that in the first six months of 2012 it monitored 405 million music releases downloaded using BitTorrent. But while huge piracy levels are regularly touted by recording labels, completely legal BitTorrent downloads are growing at an impressive rate. In the first half of the year at least 124 million licensed and legal downloads were enabled by BitTorrent Inc.
Downloading files via BitTorrent is about as public as file-sharing gets, and it’s safe to say that most popular BitTorrent swarms are being monitored one way or the other. To protect the privacy of its users BitTorrent Inc. therefore decided to randomize the peer-id uTorrent users display to other peers and the tracker. While the new feature makes it more difficult to track the download habits of individual users, IP-addresses still remain public and trackable.
The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus has just released its 2012 International Piracy Watch List. In addition to countries such as China, Russia and Ukraine, this year Italy and Switzerland make fresh appearances in the list. Both countries are accused of not doing enough to combat online infringement with the latter allegedly proving itself as a “magnet for rogue sites.”
The dispute between file-hosting service Hotfile and Warner Bros, where the latter is accused of taking down content they don’t hold the copyrights to, is heating up. The court has accepted a brief filed by the EFF who argue that the automated takedown requests of the movie company represent a threat to free speech. Warner Bros quickly replied and disputes that computers are more accurate than humans, arguing that broad automated takedown systems are not incompatible with the DMCA law.
It is looking increasingly unlikely that the world’s largest entertainment companies will be able to recover any significant amount of money from the individuals convicted in the Pirate Bay trial. After a movie studio moved last month to have Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij made bankrupt, former Pirate Bay financier and multi-millionaire businessman Carl Lundström has filed for bankruptcy under his own steam. The focus of the studios now falls on former site spokesman Peter Sunde.
Millions of BitTorrent users are unknowingly DDoSing websites because ‘publishers’ of popular torrents mistakenly add website URLs as trackers. The DDoSes drag websites down and their operators have very few options to mitigate these ‘attacks’. But, thanks to a new BitTorrent protocol enhancement this is about to change. This week Vuze becomes the first client to add support for DDoS protection alongside calls from one of the “victims” for other developers to follow suit.
In an unprecedented data breach, tens of thousands of usernames and passwords from large private BitTorrent tracker RevTT have been leaked onto the Internet. The attackers, who call themselves Afghanistan Hackers, leaked the user/pass combinations via The Pirate Bay. The initial response from RevTT was to censor all discussion of the data breach, even as hundreds – possibly thousands – of accounts were being used without their owners’ permission.
Julia Schramm, a prominent board member of the German Pirate Party, had success in scoring a lucrative book deal and finally had her work published this week. Nothing out of the ordinary there, if it wasn’t for the fact that Schramm and her publisher are now clamping down on book pirates. Dropbox removed a copy of Schramm’s book after it received a DMCA take-down request today and another copy hosted on the Pirate Party’s own site also vanished into thin air.
This week a court has been hearing how a group of movie and TV show pirates ran a so-called ‘Scene’ topsite. The individuals, mainly employees of ISPs in Finland, allegedly hid their operation inside their company’s networks and rerouted monitoring software so that the existence of the server wouldn’t be uncovered.
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. While the parties involved have described the scheme as fair and balanced, University of Idaho Law Professor Annemarie Bridy has her concerns. In a new report she points out that the copyright alert system lacks transparency, favors copyright holders, and that procedural fairness is hard to find.
A new report reveals that when it comes to worldwide unauthorized BitTorrent downloads, users in the United States are the most prolific, followed by those in the UK, Italy and Canada. When zooming in on the UK, citizens from Manchester download the most per head, with those from the capital beaten into a lowly 20th place. Interestingly the world’s most downloaded artist is very happy with his record, as is the UK’s number one, who’s filling venues despite 80% of his fans paying nothing for his music.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Men in Black 3′ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Prometheus’. ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ completes the top three.
Gottfrid Svartholm has been officially detained under suspicion of hacking into a Swedish IT company connected to the country’s tax authorities. Agreeing with the prosecutor’s request the Nacka District Court said Friday that the Pirate Bay co-founder should be detained for another two weeks to enable a thorough investigation to take place. Gottfrid denies all charges.
Vytas Simanavicius, president of Lithuanian anti-piracy outfit LANVA, is suspected of drug trading or unlawful possession of illegal narcotic substances in high quantities. Details on the investigation were made public by the police this week with local news sources identifying the LANVA boss as the suspect. Simanavicius, who earlier partnered with Microsoft to sue a prominent BitTorrent tracker, faces up to eight years in prison.
The Pirate Bay turns nine years old today, a truly remarkable achievement considering the history of the site. What started out in 2003 as a fun project of a small group of friends turned into one of the largest websites on the Internet. The site has become a global icon; hated by Hollywood and other entertainment industries, but loved by millions of file-sharers.
With the so-called “six strikes” scheme just around the corner in the United States, one could be forgiven for thinking that the major recording labels are satisfied with their anti-piracy progress. But one major management company appears to want to extract just that little bit more from alleged file-sharers. In emails being sent out to subscribers via their ISPs, account holders are being asked for settlements, not for many thousands of dollars, but just $20 cash.
A few days ago Demonoid showed the first signs of life in weeks when the domain’s nameservers were updated. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the site is preparing to make a comeback. The site’s tech admin informs TorrentFreak that the Demonoid crew is “not looking into putting the site back up at the moment.” However, the troubled BitTorrent site is not giving up entirely just yet.
Months after the Megaupload raids and arrests the fate of the site’s user data is still unclear. The final negotiation round between the involved parties just went bust with Megaupload’s defense team holding the US Attorneys Office responsible. “They favor the Hollywood Oligopoly over innocent consumers who lost access to their data,” Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken told TorrentFreak.
It’s been a long time coming but today the controversial French ‘Hadopi’ anti-piracy law has claimed its first scalp. After his account was connected to a series of previous infringements, a 40 year-old man was summoned to court today. Despite a third-party admitting that the music piracy in question was carried out by them and not the accused, the court still decided to fine the account holder.
A crucial ruling in one of the ongoing BitTorrent lawsuits in the United States has delivered a clear win for open Wi-Fi operators. Among other things, California Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled that Internet subscribers are not required to secure their wireless networks to prevent outsiders from pirating movies. In other words, people can’t be held liable for the alleged infringements of other people on their network.
This week millions of Brits sat down to watch the start of a new series of Dragons’ Den on the BBC. As usual, a handful of budding entrepreneurs put their businesses before five captains of industry in the hope of securing investment for their company. One such business, SendMyBag, was slated by the Dragons as “easily copied”, but now in an interesting twist the delivery service is having entire pages from a competitor’s website removed from Google due to a copyright dispute over a single image.
The most recent step in the never-ending Thomas-Rasset music piracy case occurred today with the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruling in favor of the RIAA. In its ruling the court decided that the outcome of the first trial in 2007 was indeed correct, and that Thomas-Rasset owes $222,000 to the major music labels.
For a minute we got excited. Apple approved two BitTorrent Apps in recent weeks, suggesting that the company had lifted its ban on file-sharing applications. But today came the inevitable disappointment. Apple just informed one of the developers that it made a mistake during the approval process, and the company is about to pull his BitTorrent app from the App Store.
After being deported from Cambodia yesterday Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svatholm is now back on Swedish soil. The big question now concerns the motivations of the authorities in having him brought back to Sweden. It now seems almost certain that they want Gottfrid for more than just the Pirate Bay case. TorrentFreak is informed that upon his arrival the 27-year-old was immediately charged by police in connection with another alleged crime.
Google has quietly expanded its list of censored search phrases with the addition of The Pirate Bay’s domain names. The blacklist prevents popular keywords from appearing in Google’s Instant and Autocomplete search services, while the pages themselves remain indexed. Although Google understands that there is no silver bullet to stop online copyright infringement, the search giant is convinced that the steps they’ve taken could help to decrease piracy.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Men in Black 3′ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’. ’6 Bullets’ completes the top three.
It’s almost two weeks since Gottfrid Svartholm was arrested in Cambodia but despite dozens of news headlines and stories published around the world, not one has been able to explain exactly what is happening to him and what his ultimate fate might be. A Flattr programmer and close friend of Gottfrid’s from Cambodia tried to find out by visiting the country’s counter terrorist department and holding face to face meetings with Swedish ambassador Anne Höglund. Here is his story.
Every week copyright holders send out millions of takedown notices to websites all across the Internet. While the majority of these claims are legitimate, a healthy percentage are not. These “errors” can cause serious harm to the public, but the senders are never held responsible for their mistakes. Perhaps it’s time to punish repeat senders of bogus takedown notices?
The MPAA and file-hosting service Hotfile are ramping up their battle in court. In a new filing the movie studios back up their request to shut Hotfile down, describing the company as the most blatant inducer of copyright infringement ever to appear before a court in an online piracy case. In response the file-hosting service accuses the MPAA of foul play and points out that it’s merely a service provider.
After being detained nine days ago there are now signs that Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm will be returning to the place he once called home. Since there are no direct flights from Cambodia to Sweden he will first make a stopover in Bangkok, Thailand. In the meantime. Svartholm’s mother has been speaking for the first time about her son’s plight, criticizing Swedish authorities for withholding information and failing to look after her son’s interests.
Almost nine months on from the raids that took down Megaupload and bizarrely some of the world’s biggest record labels still think that the site is hosting infringing content. In a clear sign that anti-piracy companies aren’t bothering to carry out even the most rudimentary checks before they send DMCA notices, Google is receiving daily takedown demands not only for Megaupload, but also Demonoid, BTjunkie, and other dead file-sharing services.
Ever since the inception of the App Store, Apple has notoriously banned all apps related to BitTorrent. However, those who conduct a search for BitTorrent in the App Store today will be surprised to see that Apple returns two search results. One app allows users to control the mufti-platform BitTorrent client Transmission and the other one does the same for uTorrent. This begs the question, did Apple lift its BitTorrent ban?
The arrest of Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm last week resulted in much speculation about the motives and forces driving the action. In most scenarios it was assumed that Svartholm was arrested for his role in The Pirate Bay, but this turns out to be untrue. Sources confirmed to TorrentFreak that Svartholm is being held at the interior ministry’s counter terrorism department in connection with the alleged hacking of a Swedish IT company and the subsequent leak of thousands of tax numbers.
According to statistics released yesterday, rightsholders identified a total of 3 million IP addresses in the past two years and France’s Hadopi anti-piracy agency deemed just over a third worthy of receiving a ‘first strike’ warning. Less than 10% of these account holders went on to receive a second warning and just 0.34% of those went on to the third strike phase. In what is being framed as a victory by Hadopi, just 0.0012% of those who received a first strike have been referred to the courts.
BitTorrent Inc. released a native uTorrent client for Android smartphones and tablet computers today. This is the first official BitTorrent client released by the uTorrent team that works on mobile devices, a relatively underserved market of BitTorrent users. The new release allows users to search for torrents online, download files directly to any Android device, and supports RSS feeds.
Ever since the arrest last week of Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm, there has been the usual speculation of who in the United States or Sweden ‘paid off’ Cambodia to make the move. Of course, with no supporting evidence claims that such a deal exists can be brushed off as pure fantasy. But today, in another one of those unusual political coincidences, Cambodian officials announced the “strengthening of bilateral ties” with Sweden – along with a $59 million aid package sweetener.
A considerable decrease in instances of alleged illegal file-sharing after a 3 strikes regime was implemented in New Zealand has resulted in the government refusing to change the prices righthsolders pay to send warnings. Due to rightsholders’ reluctance to send many at this price, ISPs are being denied the benefits of economies of scale associated with processing large amounts of notices. As a result they are out of pocket and in one instance spending four times more than the amount they recover.
Anti-piracy groups are monitoring millions of BitTorrent users every year. Whether their end-game is to warn, threaten or sue, all public BitTorrent trackers are populated with companies that harvest IP-addresses. A new paper published on these monitoring activities describes the variety of techniques being employed, and shows that P2P-blocklists offer little protection.
Following his arrest last week, it has now been confirmed that Gottfrid Svartholm will be deported from Cambodia. Following a meeting this morning with Swedish authorities, Cambodia’s deputy police commissioner said a decision was taken to kick the Pirate Bay co-founder out of the country. “Wherever he goes, we don’t know,” he said.
Next week the Dutch will elect their national parliament for the coming four years, and for the second time the local Pirate Party is on the ballot. According to most polls the Pirates have a decent chance of securing at least one seat, a milestone for the movement as it would be the first democratically chosen Pirate in a national parliament. One of the main goals of the Pirates is to fight increased censorship and the growing influence of the copyright lobby.
With the destruction of The Pirate Bay seemingly an impossible mission for the time being, seeing that the site’s former operators serve their sentences appears to be the next best thing for the authorities. Following the unlikely news last week that site co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm had been arrested in Cambodia, a country rarely associated with its interest in intellectual property issues, it will perhaps be of interest that President Obama’s trade ambassador was in Cambodia on that very day.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Dark Shadows’. ‘Men in Black 3′ completes the top three.
Following the arrest of Gottfrid Svartholm this week it has now been confirmed that Cambodian police acted on a request from the Swedish government. Since there is no extradition treaty between the two countries Cambodian authorities say they are now considering their options on how to deal with the situation. Today TorrentFreak spoke with someone who was processed through the Cambodian deportation system to see what could lie in store for the Pirate Bay co-founder.
After being tipped off by the MPAA the feds arrested four members of the prominent BitTorrent release group IMAGiNE earlier this year, all of which have now plead guilty. Jeramiah Perkins of Portsmouth was the last to admit to copyright infringement charges this week. Along with his co-defendants from the now-defunct piracy release group, Perkins faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm has been arrested in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Svartholm, known online by his nickname Anakata, was sentenced to one year in jail for his involvement in The Pirate Bay but has been missing for some time. Svartholm was wanted internationally but exact details as to why he was arrested have not yet been made public.
One of the world’s leading Pirate Bay proxy sites has been battling a crippling DDoS attack this week. Since Wednesday, the reverse proxy service operated by the UK Pirate Party has been under assault, rendering the service inaccessible to many of its users. The site they aim to facilitate access to – The Pirate Bay itself – has also been under attack. Both sites are fighting back and are determined to come out on top.
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