By seizing the servers of Megaupload, the U.S. Government also confiscated the personal belongings of many innocent users. One entrepreneur has asked the court to return his data but this request is meeting resistance from the authorities. The U.S. Government points out that the Megaupload user in question may not technically be the owner of his uploaded files. In addition they accuse him of hosting pirated copies of popular music.
The evidence review for the controversial “six strikes” anti-piracy warning scheme will be reexamined, it has now been confirmed. Last week the news broke that the“impartial and independent” technology expert that was initially hired had previously lobbied on behalf of the RIAA. With a second review by an independent company the Center for Copyright Information hopes to restore the public’s faith in the BitTorrent monitoring scheme.
A backlash among Reddit users has seen BitTorrent Inc. criticized over the way revenue-generating addons were presented in parallel with uTorrent client downloads. The company informs TorrentFreak that it always considers feedback, aims to provide a good customer experience, and will introduce changes soon. But whatever they are, is it really possible to please all of the people all of the time, especially ones whose requirements are “no-strings free” at all times?
Earlier this year the U.S. authorities arrested Yonjo Quiroa of Comstock Park on suspicion of operating several websites that linked to unauthorized sports streams. Following his arrest, Quiroa was detained for more than nine months, and he has now been sentenced to time already served plus deportation to his home country. In addition the site admin has to pay restitution to five major sports leagues, totaling $13,000.
An ISP in Finland has failed in its quest to have a court-ordered blockade of The Pirate Bay challenged in the highest court in the land. At the behest of a local anti-piracy group ISP Elisa was ordered to block the torrent site, but it complained from the start, describing the censorship strategy as “flawed”. Now the Supreme Court has announced it will not be hearing the case, so the blockades will stand and more will surely follow.
File-hosting service RapidShare has lifted its download restrictions for free users. The slowdowns were implemented in the aftermath of the Megaupload shutdown and were supposed to drive pirates away from their service. However, according to Rapidshare CEO Alexandra Zwingli, they have been traded for more efficient counter measures.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Campaign’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Fire with Fire’. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ completes the top three.
To reduce online piracy, Google has implemented several changes to its search engine in recent years. Among other things, Google has blacklisted dozens of piracy related terms from appearing in its autocomplete and instant services. Megaupload is one of these search terms, and nine months after the last infringement took place the name of Kim Dotcom’s file-hosting service is still being censored. This begs the question, what other terms are needlessly censored by Google’s blacklist?
The main way for people to begin downloading content from BitTorrent is to visit one of the Internet’s many hundreds of torrent sites. There they can download either .torrent files or, in the case of The Pirate Bay, magnet links. This week it became possible to go on a YouTube-like “related video” journey through BitTorrent’s Distributed Hash Table to find similar content to that being already downloaded, all without visiting a torrent site.
A month before the controversial “six strikes” anti-piracy plan goes live in the U.S., the responsible Center of Copyright Information (CCI) is dealing with a small crisis. As it turns out the RIAA failed to mention to its partners that the “impartial and independent” technology expert they retained previously lobbied for the music industry group. In a response to the controversy, CCI is now considering whether it should hire another expert to evaluate the anti-piracy monitoring technology.
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 a comeback with something bigger and better. Over the past months a group of coders have been working hard on the new “Mega” venture and Dotcom announced today that the raid-proof service will launch exactly one year after Megaupload was shut down.
It’s not uncommon for content producers to go crazy when they discover their work is being made available via The Pirate Bay. But while the big movie and music studios think the answer is to legislate and then sue everyone into submission, there is another way. Games developer Jonatan Söderström aka Catcus went into the comments section of The Pirate Bay and started giving free customer support to pirates. Has this Swede gone mad or does it just make better sense in the long run?
The U.S. Government has just submitted its objections to Megaupload’s motion to temporarily dismiss the criminal indictment against the company. Megaupload’s lawyers had argued that a dismissal would allow the cyberlocker to rehabilitate itself, but the U.S. believes this can’t happen as Dotcom has sworn that the old Megaupload won’t return. According to Kim Dotcom the DoJ’s opposition is “full of frustration.” “Their bluff case is falling apart,” he says.
The recent decision not to extradite hacker Gary McKinnon to the United States was considered by some as a sign of hope for the predicament of former TVShack admin Richard O’Dwyer. But while there is still a High Court appeal around the corner, things still don’t look good. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Richard’s mother says her son’s extradition is now “almost certain” which is forcing her to plan for a worst case scenario in which he is sent across the Atlantic with little notice. Can you help?
Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN has won a landmark case against XS Networks, the former hosting provider of torrent site SumoTorrent. The Court of The Hague ruled that the provider is responsible for damages copyright holders suffered through the torrent site’s activities. The Dutch verdict has far-reaching implications for the liability of hosting providers for the conduct of their clients.
While “three strikes” or graduated response-style schemes continue to spread, it is the mainstream music and movie industries that are the main beneficiaries of any supposed benefits. To date, makers of other digital products have been left to fend for themselves but if developments in France carry through, that will no longer be the case. According to the country’s Hadopi anti-piracy agency, in 2013 individuals sharing video games online could also be subjected to warnings and punishment.
Starting today, The Pirate Bay is no longer accessible for customers of the Irish Internet provider UPC. Subscribers who try to access the BitTorrent site get a notice informing them that it has been blocked following a court order in a case brought by Ireland’s equivalent of the RIAA. The block has come as a total surprise, as the court proceedings in question appear to have been progressing under the radar. Surprisingly, UPC – who have opposed blockades in the past – have announced nothing.
By seizing the servers of Megaupload, the U.S. Government also confiscated the personal belongings of many innocent users of the file-hosting service. One entrepreneur has asked the court to return his data and to assist this demand his lawyers are asking to unseal the search warrants. “Gaining access to the materials that served as a basis for the government’s seizure of his property can assist Mr. Goodwin and other innocent Megaupload users in determining whether the seizure was unreasonable,” Goodwin’s attorneys argue.
Following its successful application to have The Pirate Bay blocked by several leading ISPs in the UK, the recording industry is back again with new demands. The BPI has reportedly asked Internet service providers such as BT, Virgin and TalkTalk to block leading torrent sites Kickass Torrents, H33t and Fenopy. The ISPs have refused to do so voluntarily but will all do so should a court order a blockade. That will happen, it’s just a question of when – the BPI has Christmas in mind.
On the first day of October, police in Sweden raided so-called “bulletproof hoster” PRQ. The action took dozens of file-sharing sites offline, but it was later announced that the main target was Tankafetast, Sweden’s second favorite torrent site. A few days later Antipiratbyran confirmed the site’s demise but now, just three weeks later, Tankafetast is back, taunting the anti-piracy group not only with a return online and the launch of a clothing range, but by renting cinemas in celebration.
Next month 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. To guarantee the accuracy of the evidence that will be used for the accusations the parties agreed to hire an impartial and independent technology expert. However, their commitment to this promise is now in doubt as the hired experts have turned out to be a former RIAA lobbying group.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’. ‘The Campaign’ completes the top three.
After its move to the cloud earlier this week The Pirate Bay became more portable and raid-proof than ever before. The entire website and six months of database and code backups have a storage footprint of just 500 gigabytes. At the same time, The Pirate Bay claims to be the greenest site in the list of 100 most visited websites on the Internet. In its new setup the site uses just 2.5 kilowatts to serve mllions of users a day, which is equivalent to the consumption of a regular vacuum cleaner.
In late August Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm was arrested in Cambodia. After being held by authorities there he was swiftly deported to Sweden. Once in his homeland he was hit with charges connected to an alleged hacking offense but since then the news trail has gone largely cold. Speaking with Gottfrid’s mother Kristina, TorrentFreak has learned that her son is being kept in solitary confinement, locked up for 23 hours a day. But he is allowed to read and hopefully, very soon, that will include your letters.
This week Netflix launched its popular on demand video streaming service in Finland, but not without controversy. To cater to the local audience, on some of its programming the company displayed “unauthorized” fansubs. Unlike regular subtitles, fansubs are created without permission from content owners and often used alongside pirated content. Netflix apologized for the use of the unauthorized subtitles and has promised to take them offline.
RIANZ, New Zealand’s answer to the RIAA, have withdrawn their case against an individual they said should have been punished under the country’s “3 strikes” anti-filesharing regime. The decision follows a procedure beset by problems, including delivery of erroneous infringement notices and a claim for financial punishments that was not only unsupported by the law, but appears to have been reached via guesswork on the part of rightsholders.
A comprehensive report published by the Dutch Institution for Information Law and CentERdata reveals that compared to the rest of the population, file-sharers are more likely to pay for movies, books, games, concerts and box office tickets. The report further reveals that blocking websites such as The Pirate Bay does very little to deter consumers from sharing copyrighted files online.
While Megaupload’s demise has been well publicized, the burning question remains. How will its imminent replacement fend off attacks from aggressive copyright holders and authorities? Today we have the answer. Kim Dotcom and business partner Mathias Ortmann say they have a plan that will not only make “Mega” raid proof, but will also give it an iron-clad defense against copyright infringement claims.
Following the conviction of 18 individuals who engaged in a bloody Stockholm drug war, Sweden’s Court of Appeal has ruled that due to a lay judge’s membership of a police board that previously discussed the case, he should be considered biased and the case should be sent for re-trial. Former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde sees clear parallels with the TPB trials and intends to file for a fresh investigation into the earlier bias accusations against three judges with the aim of getting a re-trial.
The Pirate Bay has made an important change to its infrastructure. The world’s most famous BitTorrent site has switched its entire operation to the cloud. From now on The Pirate Bay will serve its users from several cloud hosting providers scattered around the world. The move will cut costs, ensure better uptime, and make the site virtually invulnerable to police raids — all while keeping user data secure.
By now it’s common knowledge that nearly all content on the Internet can easily be removed or censored by filing a single DMCA notice. For some reason, however, this doesn’t seem to apply to most mainstream music stores. When The Flashbulb, aka Benn Jordan, found out that another artist was selling a “copy” of his music, he learned that it is pretty much impossible to get it removed. According to Jordan the mainstream music industry only cares about profits, not the actual artists.
If a copyright holder has a problem with content hosted on a website they are perfectly entitled to issue a copyright takedown request. Publisher Pearson did just that, after a 279-word list from one of its works dating back to 1974 appeared on an education blog. But rather than speak to the blog owner, Pearson DMCA’d its hosting provider instead. The end result was that hosting provider ServerBeach not only took down that blog, but around 1,450,000 other blogs too.
One of the most comprehensive studies into media sharing and consumption habits in the United States and Germany reveals that file-sharers buy 30% more music than their non-sharing counterparts. The result confirms that file-sharers are actually the music industry’s best customers. In addition, the research reveals that contrary to popular belief, offline “copying” is far more prevalent than online music piracy.
While games usually leak online early, in the case of the long-awaited Halo 4 the time between online debut and official launch is pretty large at just about three weeks. Of course, it’s inevitable that games will be pirated but what some people should understand is that games companies’ are within their rights to do something about it. Microsoft have, and for some pirating idiots their punishment is well-deserved.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Stolen’. ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ completes the top three.
While BitTorrent Inc.’s hugely successful uTorrent client grabs most of the headlines, there is another mainstream client that every BitTorrent user should be aware of. Vuze, previously known as Azureus, is a ridiculously powerful torrent client with more features than you ever knew you needed. Today we hand over to the guys at Vuze for a handful of power tips to transform straightforward downloads and improve productivity.
Despite numerous efforts by the government and entertainment industries, many college students still use BitTorrent to gain access to the latest movies, music and games. While most universities have strict anti-piracy policies in place, there are always groups of students who continue undeterred. Today we look at the top universities in the United States ranked by BitTorrent usage.
A set of leaked internal AT&T training documents obtained by TorrentFreak reveal that the Internet provider will start sending out anti-piracy warning notices to its subscribers on November 28. Customers whose accounts are repeatedly flagged for alleged copyright infringements will have their access to frequently visited websites blocked, until they complete an online copyright course. It’s expected that most other participating ISPs will start their versions of the anti-piracy plan on the same date.
DRM systems in the digital media world are nothing new and are utilized extensively in the music, movie and video games industries. Now, after applying four years ago, a company has this week obtained a patent for a DRM system that aims to stop future owners of 3D printers from printing whatever they like. The dream of downloading a new pair of sneakers or even a car might already be in jeopardy, before it’s even begun.
After historic Internet protests in January the SOPA anti-piracy bill was defeated. However, this week several reports have pointed to a rather unfortunate SOPA comeback. Not in Congress, but as a nasty cryptovirus that locks up people’s computers and accuses them of distributing copyright infringing files. Infected users can get their data back after a payment of $200 – at least, that’s what the virus makers promise.
Earlier this week District Court Judge Liam O’Grady denied Megaupload’s request to drop the company from the indictment. The judge, however, noted that the cyberlocker could ask for a temporary dismissal until it is decided whether the U.S. Government can serve Megaupload. This ruling surprised Kim Dotcom and his legal team, who quickly filed a new motion pointing out that they already made this request during a hearing in July.
Just how easy is it to silence your critics on the Internet by using the DMCA? Apparently, very easy indeed. Yesterday, a writer who reports on religion and current affairs had his entire website taken offline after he allegedly breached the copyright of the operator of a Facebook page. His crime? Reproducing a 16-word Facebook posting made by his copyright adversary that accused an anti-racist, anti-fascist organization of being worse than pedophiles.
According to a tweet by F-Secure’s Chief Security Officer, Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij and former site spokesman Peter Sunde have reportedly been “stopped” in Bangkok. They were apparently on their way to give a talk at this year’s Hack in the Box Security Conference in Malaysia but never arrived. TorrentFreak has spoken with the duo and has discovered the reasons behind their no-show. Sunde says it’s “messy”.
Fairfax’s head of video Ricky Sutton has admitted that his company’s acquisition strategy is in large part based on what content is popular on BitTorrent. Not only is Fairfax using BitTorrent as a market research tool, the company also admits to advertising their content offerings directly on BitTorrent sites, in an attempt to convert pirates into paying customers.
Megaupload’s request to dismiss the criminal proceedings against it on the grounds that the U.S. Government failed to serve the company, has been denied. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady believes that the authorities could still satisfy the federal rule if they can prove that Megaupload is an alter ego of Kim Dotcom. At the same time, however, the court leaves the door open for Megaupload’s legal team to file for a motion to dismiss the indictment until the government finds a way to issue the summons.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom believes that he was spied on by New Zealand’s GCSB because this allowed the U.S. Government to have real-time access to all of his communications. New Zealand and the United States have an agreement to share all intelligence gathered by the secretive Echelon, and Dotcom says this is the primary reason GCSB was utilized for the secret surveillance.
New Zealand rightsholders have come under fire for failing to fully utilize the so-called “three strikes” mechanism after they sent out less than 3,000 notices to alleged pirates in a year. However, it’s now been revealed that eight individuals are now just one step away from the most serious punishments available, just six shy of the French total after they sent out a massive 1.1 million warnings.
A landmark order by a Pennsylvania District Court judge may become the turning point for the many mass-BitTorrent lawsuits that are sweeping through the United States. For the first time in these cases a copyright holder has been ordered to go to trial, instead of settling with the alleged file-sharers for a few thousand dollars. This will be the first time that BitTorrent-related evidence will be tested in a U.S. court.
As the Swedish file-sharing scene recovered from the raids on the PRQ webhost last week, police were already queuing up their next target. After the takedown of Tankafetast on Monday, it now transpires that another site was raided on Thursday. Antipiratbyran informs TorrentFreak that five key sites have shut down during the last week and that further action against other sites should be expected.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Stolen’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’. ‘That’s My Boy’ completes the top three.
One of the most persistent myths about the copyright monopoly has been that it’s needed to make money. This assertion turns out to be false for a very large number of observed cases, but the plural of anecdote is never statistics. So let’s look at some sound statistical evidence for policymaking on this issue.
Over the last year Microsoft asked Google to censor nearly 5 million webpages because they allegedly link to copyright infringing content. While these automated requests are often legitimate, mistakes happen more often than one might expect. In a recent DMCA notice Microsoft asked Google to censor BBC, CNN, HuffPo, TechCrunch, Wikipedia and many more sites. In another request the software giant seeks the removal of a URL on Spotify.com.
Three months ago one man declared war on the cyberlocker market and set himself a mission to disrupt and meddle with the businesses of what he describes as the industry’s “bad players”. Now, 90 days on and with a team of people stepping in time, TorrentFreak takes a look at what has been achieved. Without doubt the annoyance factor is off the scale and at first view the damage looks significant, but will sites simply give up – or use the opportunity to adapt?
Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij has won his appeal against the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok after it revoked his passport earlier this year. The authorities could not give a proper reason for the revocation to the Appeals Court, meaning that Neij is now free to travel from Laos where he currently resides.
The U.S. Department of Justice is ramping up its battle against online piracy. Yesterday another $2.4 million was dedicated to the ever-increasing threat, and Attorney General Eric Holder seized the opportunity to gloat about some recent anti-piracy successes. Besides claiming the Megaupload takedown as a clear victory, Holder also noted that the DoJ has trained, educated and met with thousands of foreign judges, prosecutors, investigators, and policymakers on piracy issues.
When the Megaupload file-hosting service was raided and shut down in January this year, it wasn’t just the company and its operators that were punished. Thousands of Megaupload users lost access to their legitimate data and for nearly 10 months have been in a state of limbo. Now, following pressure from one wronged user and his supporters at the EFF, it seems progress is being made . He will get his day in court, a judge has ruled.
New information suggests that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom may have been spied on for weeks longer than the authorities have admitted. Last October Dotcom noticed an unusual lag in the 100 megabit fiber connection he had installed for optimal Modern Warfare 3 gameplay. At the time technicians couldn’t find a source for the connection problems, but Dotcom is now convinced that GCSB, the Kiwi equivalent of the CIA, was already spying on him.
With millions of users every day The Pirate Bay is an ideal site to reach tech savvy people all around the world. The power of this online platform is used by many advertisers to target customers, and not just those looking for a Russian bride either. Currently a secretly-funded conservative-leaning organization, listed by the New York Times as “getting the most bang” for its advertising bucks in 2010, is running an anti-Obama campaign on the world’s most resilient torrent site.
Two targets of a police raid on PRQ this week have been revealed. Authorities still aren’t talking, but the boss of the hosting company says one of the seized servers belongs to Sweden’s former number two torrent site Tankafetast. The second domain of interest is Appbucket, which appears to be the same site targeted by the FBI during the summer. Meanwhile, the Swedish Pirate Party is basking in a huge spike in member signups as a direct result of the raids.
After nearly 48 hours of downtime and a replaced Power Distribution Unit, The Pirate Bay is back in business. The last two days have been one of the longest downtime episodes since the site was raided in 2006, and its effects have been felt elsewhere on the Internet.
The RIAA has obtained subpoenas from the U.S. District Court of Columbia ordering WHOIS privacy services to hand over the IP and email addresses and all other identifying information related to the operators of three file-sharing sites. The websites in question are targeted at Dutch and Spanish language audiences, suggesting that the RIAA is assisting foreign anti-piracy groups in local investigations.
While it has been fairly common in recent times for users of other file-sharing systems to be pursued by the Swedish authorities, BitTorrent sharers have been almost completely avoided due to evidential difficulties. But this week sees a change and what could become a turning point, with the prosecution of a music industry worker who leaked an unreleased Beyonce album onto The Pirate Bay.
Police have raided the Swedish hosting company PRQ today, possibly looking for servers connected to copyright infringement. PRQ was founded by Pirate Bay co-founders Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij and is known to host or route many file-sharing sites. The target of the raid has not been confirmed by the authorities, but The Pirate Bay team informs TorrentFreak that they are no longer using PRQ’s services.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘That’s My Boy’. ‘Prometheus’ completes the top three.
A few hours ago Japan introduced new anti-piracy legislation designed to clamp down on illegal file-sharing. The regime is one of the most draconian in the world. In most countries users are only targeted when they upload copyright-infringing material to other Internet users, but the new law’s wording means that simply downloading unauthorized material could result in a jail sentence.
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