Following a tip from the MPAA the feds arrested four members of the prominent BitTorrent release group IMAGiNE in 2011. All pleaded guilty earlier this year and yesterday one of the group’s leaders was sentenced to a 40 month prison term, the largest file-sharing punishment in U.S. history. A fifth member of the IMAGiNE group, not included in the indictment, pleaded guilty on the same day and will be sentenced next year.
According to reports the BPI has sent a letter to the UK Pirate Party asking them to shut down their Pirate Bay proxy service. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Party Leader Loz Kaye says he is yet to receive anything other than an email and was only aware a letter had been sent when he received requests for comment. Kaye says issues such as censorship are at the core of why the Pirate Party exists and they will stand up and fight for Internet users.
The Pirate Bay has launched a new website, entirely dedicated to promoting the work of independent musicians, filmmakers and other content creators. The Promo Bay website was badly needed to archive the many promos and streamline the thousands of incoming artist submissions to the project. In addition, the idea is to provide artists with details on where their content is most downloaded.
The story in Finland of a 9-year-old girl raided by the police over a single music download has come to a head-spinning end. Despite criticizing the heavy handedness of the authorities and describing an anti-piracy group’s demands for cash settlement as “mafia-like”, the father of the child has chosen to pay up to make possible legal action go away. Anti-piracy group CIAPC says it is happy with the 300 euro cash payment.
After a long battle with the international arm of the MPAA, Usenet indexing site Newzbin2 has called it quits. The site had been operating under adverse conditions, not least almost total censorship by a court-ordered ISP blockade in the UK. Add to this a climate of fear driving individuals providing vital services away from the site, plus legal action against PayPal aimed at Newzbin2′s UK-based payment provider, and the site’s operators have decided to shut down.
The much debated “six strikes” anti-piracy scheme was supposed to kick off in the United States today, but this is not going to happen. The Center for Copyright Information has announced that the ISPs are not ready to send warnings just yet, citing Hurricane Sandy as one of the reasons for the delay. The scheme is now expected to take off early next year if everything goes according to the updated schedule.
Richard O’Dwyer, the UK-based ex-administrator of the video linking website TVShack, will not be extradited to the US to face copyright infringement charges. After a long and hard battle, spearheaded by his mother and supported by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, O’Dwyer struck a deal with the U.S. government. Instead of being extradited the student has signed a “deferred prosecution” agreement which means that he keeps his freedom in exchange for paying compensation to the copyright holders.
The latest attempt by YoYo Games to stop unauthorized users of their popular GameMaker software has sadly backfired. A new DRM system,which replaces game graphics with skulls and crossbones, became a little overzealous to say the least. Not only did it mess around with user-created graphics in pirated versions of the software, but also replaced those in fully paid-up and free versions too, leading to game developers losing their work and valuable time.
A new round of domain name seizures targeted at retailers of counterfeit goods has operators of BitTorrent sites worried. For the first time a large-scale operation has seized not only U.S. domains, but also several European-controlled domains too. The general belief among a group of BitTorrent site owners is that the takedowns are a test case for an international effort targeted at file-sharing and streaming related sites.
Following an important court ruling last week, thousands of Canadians are now at risk of being exposed to mass BitTorrent lawsuits. That’s the message from the boss an anti-piracy outfit who says is company has been monitoring BitTorrent networks for infringements and has amassed data on millions of users. The court ruling involved just 50 Canadians but another case on the horizon involves thousands of alleged pirates.
A group of adult movie companies is suing Verizon for failing to hand over the personal details of alleged BitTorrent pirates. The provider systematically refuses to comply with court-ordered subpoenas and the copyright holders see these actions as more than just an attempt to protect its customers. According to the them, Verizon’s objections are in bad faith as the Internet provider is profiting from BitTorrent infringements at the expense of lower-tier ISPs.
BitSoup, one of the Internet’s most established private BitTorrent trackers, has been under attack during the past two weeks. The site has been comprised and defaced, with the hackers gifting ratio credits to site users alongside unsubstantiated claims that money generated by a recent Hurricane Sandy fund-raiser might be misappropriated. BitSoup say the matter is being brought under control and that the new year will see the site shift to a new, less vulnerable domain.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2′. ‘Looper’ completes the top three.
This week, at the behest of an anti-piracy group, police executed a search warrant against an alleged file-sharer. Not only did the police feel it was measured and appropriate to take action against an individual who downloaded a single album worth a few euros, but even carried on once they knew their target was a 9-year-old child. Of course there has been outcry, but let’s look at this from a different angle for a moment. Isn’t this some of the best news all year?
A new paper suggests that box office revenues were negatively impacted after the shutdown of Megaupload. The dip in revenues was most visible for average size and smaller films. According to the researchers this may have been caused by the loss of word-of-mouth promotion by people who used the popular file-hosting site to share movies. For blockbuster movies the Megaupload shutdown had the opposite effect.
A court in Hamburg, Germany, has granted an injunction against a user of the anonymous and encrypted file-sharing network RetroShare . RetroShare users exchange data through encrypted transfers and the network setup ensures that the true sender of the file is always obfuscated. The court, however, has now ruled that RetroShare users who act as an exit node are liable for the encrypted traffic that’s sent by others.
The Open Rights Group recently launched a fund-raising appeal to mount a legal challenge against a copyright troll aiming to target thousands with demands for cash settlement. Now the troll in question has responded to this call for public funding by asking like-minded troll supporters to fund a fight back. But with ‘hacktivists’ already waiting in the wings, is it really worth getting involved?
This week UK communications regulator OFCOM published a report which concludes that one in six UK citizens has pirated digital goods online. The same report reveals that movie, music and TV-pirates who pay for entertainment, spend much more than average consumers. This is yet another study that comes to this, for some, counter-intuitive conclusion. But does this mean that piracy isn’t hurting the entertainment industry? If not, what does it mean?
An anti-piracy company has found itself in the middle of a huge controversy. CIAPC, the company that had The Pirate Bay blocked by ISPs in Finland, tracked an alleged file-sharer and demanded a cash settlement. However, the Internet account holder refused to pay which escalated things to an unprecedented level. In response, this week police raided the home of the 9-year-old suspect and confiscated her Winnie the Pooh laptop.
After banning several of the largest file-hosting sites, PayPal is now taking aim at Usenet services. The payment processor has just cut off several providers of Usenet services and frozen the funds in their accounts. These actions are due to growing copyright infringement concerns which have resulted in an extremely strict and in some cases privacy-violating set of requirements being laid down by the payment processing company.
In 2010, individuals from the now-defunct NinjaVideo site stored copyright-infringing videos on the servers of Megaupload. These subsequently came to the attention of the FBI who were conducting an investigation into NinjaVideo and its operators. As a result Megaupload was served with a criminal search warrant requiring it to hand over information to the authorities, but in a cruel twist Megaupload’s cooperation and a desire not to destroy evidence is now being used as evidence against it.
Prenda Law, one of the law firms involved in the ongoing mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the US, is using a recent TorrentFreak article to threaten alleged BitTorrent downloaders. While we generally encourage people to promote our content, being used as a tool in extortion-type letters is not something we’re happy with. As a result we saw no other option than to troll the copyright troll.
The Pirates of Lower Saxony, Germany, kicked off their election campaign yesterday with a provocative and clever poster campaign. Engaging in exactly the kind of activity closely associated with the worldwide Pirate Party movement, the German Pirates have copied and remixed the designs and logos of several famous brands to put across their message and outline their aspirations.
President Barack Obama and New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key talked about Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom before a meeting at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia. The leaders didn’t comment on what was said during the private chat, but Dotcom took up the news to forward a request. He asked Obama to give him and his colleagues a green card so they “can come and help Hollywood to build a proper Internet business.”
Very soon the six strikes anti-piracy program will kick off in the United States but the RIAA isn’t just sitting back and presuming that it will be an anti-piracy cure-all. Since early November the recording industry group has massively upped the number of DMCA notices it issues to make content harder to find. From an average of between 200,000 and 240,000 URL requests sent every week to Google, the RIAA has just posted 463,000 and 666,000 in successive weeks.
Most people who upload files to cyberlockers make less than minimum wage from their activities according to researchers from Boston’s Northeastern University and Eurécom in France. The researchers analyzed the click rates at several link-sites, and conclude that the overall impact of affiliate programs on piracy may be overstated.
With a million downloads in just a few days The Dark Knight Rises has the honor of being the most pirated movie on BitTorrent this week. The last installment of the Batman trilogy beats Skyfall, another 2012 blockbuster movie.
Two decades ago, old VCRs were in disproportionately high demand. Newer ones were unable to copy movies as they were distorted by a special signal. Hollywood is fighting for this war on equipment owners to carry over to general-purpose computers. Will they succeed?
As a direct result of the Megaupload raid many legitimate users of the site lost access to their personal files. To find out why the Government put the interests of copyright holders before those of the public, one user convinced the court to unseal the seizure warrant matarials. Surprisingly, however, there is absolutely no mention of Megaupload’s legal use in the released records. In a response Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom says the whole case is a tragic copyright comedy.
The constant expansion of copyright laws and penalties in the US might be facing a radical slowdown soon, as a Republican Party policy brief released on Friday undermines many of the claims made to support such legislation. Among other things it states that today’s copyright law is “a form of corporate welfare that hurts innovation and hurts the consumer.”
FilmOn owner Alki David and a coalition of recording artists are currently engaged in a copyright infringement battle with CBS, CNET and Download.com. Speaking with TorrentFreak the billionaire businessman says that despite targeting the distribution of BitTorrent clients he is actually grateful for file-sharing. Torrent client creators can go about their business, David says, as long as they don’t promote their software for infringing uses. He also reveals his own BitTorrent piracy solution.
Mass-BitTorrent lawsuits continue to sweep across the United States and for the first time a software company has joined in on the action. Canadian company reFX Software has sued nearly 200 alleged BitTorrent users for distributing their audio software. The defendants include consumers on residential connections as well as students or employees of Webster University and the University of Central Missouri.
A ruling handed down yesterday by Germany’s highest court represents a blow to rightsholders in their quest to clamp down on illicit file-sharing. The court ruled that the parents of a teenager who had made available more than 1,100 songs on file-sharing networks can not be held responsible for their son’s infringements, nor be required to monitor or hinder his online activities.
At the end of this month the controversial “six-strikes” anti-piracy system will kick off in the U.S., and today two of the participating Internet providers have been discussing what measures they will take against repeated BitTorrent pirates. Verizon plans to notify alleged pirates via email and voice-mail, and will throttle the connection speeds of repeated infringers. Time Warner Cable will warn subscribers through popups and restrict users’ Internet browsing by directing them to a landing page.
Following the ACS:Law ‘speculative invoicing’ debacle the last thing the UK needs right now is an influx of similar copyright trolls pressuring Internet users in order to extract cash settlements. In order to reduce the chances of that happening on a large scale, the Open Rights Group say they intend to intervene in a case currently being taken to appeal by a movie company. Success for ORG would be great news, but they need your help to pull it off.
The RIAA has submitted a new list of “notorious websites” to the U.S. Government, sites that the labels would like to see disappear . The list includes all major torrent sites, cyberlockers such as RapidShare, and so-called linking sites. The music group acknowledges that most sites respond to takedown requests, but says it’s tired of playing “cat and mouse” with the site’s users who simply re-upload the infringing files.
Billionaire Alki David and a number of recording artists have not given up on their copyright infringement battle with CNET’s Download.com. Continuing with their allegations that Download.com induced piracy, the coalition have asked a court to issue a sweeping injunction, one that would ban all BitTorrent client downloads from the popular software download portal. Even an article published by CNET about the band Counting Crows legally distributing their music on BitTorrent is painted in a bad light
After a study pointed out that file-sharers spend more money on music than their non-sharing counterparts, the RIAA felt the need to respond. The music industry group is now characterizing news reports on the findings as “misleading” and is ready to burst the bubble. According to the RIAA there is a straightforward reason why P2P users buy more – they are simply better engaged music fans than average music consumers. … Eh?
The Pirate Bay is suffering some downtime this morning due to a DDoS attack that appears to originate from a Twitter user who goes by the handle Zeiko Anonymous. The connection flood targeted at the site originates from a small botnet and isn’t worrying The Pirate Bay team too much. Instead, the BitTorrent site is taking this opportunity to do some database maintenance.
A judge in the United States has denied attempts by plaintiffs in three BitTorrent mass lawsuits to obtain the identities of individuals behind IP addresses. Chief United States Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin said the plaintiffs had shown no interest in presenting a plan that would identify actual infringers and were instead relying on an action that “..smacks of a bad faith effort to harass the third-party subscriber.”
The RIAA has welcomed a mind-boggling jail sentence handed to a man who sold pirated movies and music. The 37-year-old man pleaded guilty to six felony counts of selling counterfeit media after he sold five movies and one music CD to an undercover investigator without the permission of copyright holders. As a result he will go to jail in Mississippi for 15 years to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has confirmed that the new domain for his fresh Mega project will be New Zealand-based. Next January it will launch on Mega.co.nz, a domain that Dotcom believes will enjoy great protection. “Prime Minister John Key can have as many dinners with Hollywood executives and copyright lobbyists as he likes,” he informs TorrentFreak. “The simple fact is that the NZ government, which has been acting like a subsidiary of the US government, is not above the law.”
After three and a half months of downtime Demonoid’s tracker is now back online. The unexpected revival of the tracker is the first sign of life in weeks and suggests that the Demonoid team is working to bring the full site back online. While the index and forum remain offline, the many thousands of torrents tracked by Demonoid have been brought back to life.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Total Recall’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Watch’. ‘Ted’ completes the top three.
Several popular private BitTorrent trackers have suffered downtime today due to DDoS attacks. The attacks appear to originate from an individual who had aspirations of joining the music tracker What.cd, but carried over to other sites including BroadcastTheNet, PassThePopcorn and HDBits. Three of the six targeted sites are still offline and the disgruntled user is showing no signs of stopping the attacks.
This week uTorrent 3.2.2 was released to the public and one of the release highlights are the new advertisements present in the client. BitTorrent Inc. hopes that these ads will bring in extra revenue so the company can continue to invest in the future of distributed technology. When the advertising initiative was first announced no opt-out was offered, but thanks to user feedback there now is an advanced feature to disable the ads.
Every other Friday there is a court hearing in Sweden to discuss the continued detainment of Gottfrid Svartholm. A request to detain the Pirate Bay co-founder for an additional two weeks was granted yesterday but not without more drama being added to the proceedings. Gottfrid was arrested under suspicion of being involved in a second hacking case along with accusations of four instances of serious fraud and four attempted frauds. Further details of the alleged crimes are being kept secret.
Usenet is a lesser known file-sharing system that its fans have tried to keep under the radar for years. However, the genie has been out of the bottle for a long time and with an increasingly tech-savvy userbase Usenet has managed to attract millions of paying customers. Although still nowhere as big as BitTorrent, there are now increasing signs that copyright holders large and small are targeting their takedown resources on Usenet.
The collaboration between The Pirate Bay and the Cybernorms research group at Sweden’s Lund University has resulted in their first academic publication. The researchers surveyed 75,000 people from all over the world and found that close to 70 percent of all Pirate Bay users are interested in hiding their IP-addresses, or hiding it already. According to the researchers the high interest in anonymizing services among file-sharers is a direct response to anti-piracy initiatives.
Swiss-based file-hosting service RapidShare is about to take a drastic step in its ongoing efforts to drive away pirates. Starting later this month free users of the service will be limited to sharing just 1 gigabyte a day while paid users will be allowed to transfer up to 30 gigabytes to the public. RapidShare CEO Alexandra Zwingli says that the new measures will prevent abuse by persistent copyright infringers.
After being convicted for his role in operating The Pirate Bay, former site spokesman Peter Sunde is required to serve a jail sentence, but rather than giving in he’s fighting to the bitter end. His battle, however, has just received another setback. Despite Sunde calling for a retrial on evidential issues and allegations of bias, Sweden’s Supreme Court has announced the rejection of his application. All hopes now lie with the EU Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
New data published by the Canadian broadband management company Sandvine reveals that BitTorrent traffic increased by 40% in North America over the past half-year. During peak hours BitTorrent is credited for more than a third of all upload traffic, while Netflix accounts for 28 percent of all downstream traffic during the same period.
A Gabon government minister has said that his country will not be used as a base for committing copyright infringement and has announced that his country will seize the new Me.Ga domain. But while Dotcom blames the United States and entertainment company Vivendi, a group of hackers say they have taken over the domain. Speaking with TorrentFreak the group say that they are the true pirates and that Dotcom is a megalomaniac. “He himself is an industry, only here to pollute,” they say.
The much-discussed U.S. six strikes anti-piracy scheme should consider targeting private BitTorrent trackers according to a report by Stroz Friedberg. The suggestion is published in the evidence review which was made public after bias accusations arose two weeks ago. In addition to eyeing private trackers the report also recommends a more secure way to send incriminating data to Internet providers.
After mounting pressure from international rightsholders, in August Google finally caved in and said it would start making ‘pirate’ sites more difficult for its users to find. But three months on and despite removing millions of links to allegedly infringing content every week, the content industries still aren’t happy. In the face of Google’s apparent inability to hide online piracy from its users, the search engine faces the specter of legislation forcing it to do so.
While the major record labels and movie studios do what they can to shutter The Pirate Bay, thousands of lesser known artists are eager to become featured on the site’s homepage. Since the start of the “Promo Bay” initiative in January, 10,000 independent artists have signed up to be promoted by the world’s largest torrent site. Those who were lucky enough to be featured have enjoyed a healthy career boost and in some cases earned thousands of dollars from file-sharing fans..
According to reports this morning, Twitter has withheld the first Tweet from one of its users on copyright grounds. Normally, disputed Tweets will simply disappear if there is a complaint, but one belonging to F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen has now been replaced with a copyright notice. While Twitter has indeed introduced a welcome policy change that will lead to more transparency, the first ever “withheld” Twitter comment was faked by a rather mischievous F-Secure employee.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, ‘Total Recall’ tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Watch’. ‘Brave’ completes the top three.
Whenever pirates demand the right to send anything to anybody without being tracked, we are somehow accused of wanting things for free. That’s not true. What we demand is simpler: we demand the laws to apply equally online and offline; we demand our children inherit the civil liberties that our parents fought, bled and often died to give to us. It’s an entirely reasonable demand.
Four individuals behind a so-called “scene topsite” used by the popular release groups MEDiEVAL and DoNE have been sentenced for copyright infringement offenses. Three of the men, described as IT professionals working for Internet service providers, hid their servers within the infrastructure of an Internet service provider. Despite managing to delete evidence after a tip-off, they received suspended prison sentences of between four and six months. A fourth man was fined for aiding and abetting.
After being tipped off by the MPAA the feds arrested four members of the prominent BitTorrent release group IMAGiNE in 2011. All plead guilty earlier this year and yesterday the first two were sentenced to 23 and 30 month prison terms for their role in the capturing, ripping and distribution of copyrighted films. In addition, the members were ordered to jointly pay $449,514 to the MPAA.
CIAPC, the anti-piracy group that has successfully forced ISPs in Finland to block The Pirate Bay, has threatened to sue the ISPs themselves over alleged TV show piracy. Local ISPs such as Elisa and TeliaSonera offer cloud services where their customers can store TV shows for later viewing over the Internet. CIAPC says the services fall outside the scope of private copying “fair use” and therefore require a license to operate legally. The ISPs are ignoring demands to shut down the services and now face legal action.
Megaupload has responded to U.S. Government claims that the company tried to “extort” the Department of Justice by offering it a deal. A “perverse conception” according to Megaupload’s legal team, and to prove this point the attorneys published the agreement that was proposed to the authorities. In the email Megaupload offered to drop the service requirement dispute in exchange for access to the company’s assets.
A federal court in Illinois has handed down the largest ever damages award in a BitTorrent case. In a default judgment defendant Kywan Fisher from Hampton, Virginia is ordered to pay $1,500,000 to adult entertainment company Flava Works for sharing 10 of their movies on BitTorrent. The huge total was reached through penalties of $150,000 per movie, the maximum possible statutory damages under U.S. copyright law. It’s expected that the verdict will be used to motivate other BitTorrent defendants to settle their cases.
With the election around the corner, polls tied, and a slow news week in the US, it’s time to ask the question that’s on everyone’s mind: could Mitt Romney win with some strategic repositioning on copyright policy? Could the answer be to embrace pirate Romney? Let’s explore.
Kim Dotcom has continued to supply more details on his new Megaupload project which is set launch early next year. Today he reveals that the new service will operate on the Gabon-based domain name ME.GA. In addition, Dotcom warns other cloud storage sites that it’s not safe to host their services in the United States, or use .com and .net domains.
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