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TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 10/20/14

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

22jumpThis week we have four newcomers in our chart.

22 Jump Street is the most downloaded movie for the second week in a row.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (1) 22 Jump Street 7.6 / trailer
2 (…) How to Train Your Dragon 2 8.2 / trailer
3 (5) The Purge: Anarchy 6.6 / trailer
4 (3) Stretch 6.8 / trailer
5 (2) Transformers: Age of Extinction 6.1 / trailer
6 (…) Planes: Fire & Rescue 5.8 / trailer
7 (…) The Giver 6.7 / trailer
8 (…) Annabelle 5.9 / trailer
9 (4) Sex Tape 5.2 / trailer
10 (9) X-Men: Days of Future Past 8.4 / trailer

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Sports Streaming Site Hides Itself From The UK Piracy Police

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

cityoflondonpoliceOver the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to take on sites that provide or link to pirated content.

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) uses a variety of measures to achieve its goals. This includes sending requests to registrars requesting the suspension of allegedly infringing domain names.

The sports streaming site Fromhot, also known as Sportlemon and Frombar, was one of the most recent targets of the latter strategy. The “franchise” has well over a million visitors per month but some of these went missing after the Frombar.com domain was suspended.

The streaming site does remain operational from several alternative domain names, which now point to Fromhot.com, but interestingly enough the site can no longer be accessed from the UK.

fromhot1

A few days after its main domain was suspended the sport streaming site decided to block all visitors from the UK. It appears that this measure was taken in the hope of avoiding further actions from PIPCU.

TorrentFreak contacted the people behind the site for a comment on the unusual measure, but we have yet to hear back.

Frombar is not the first sports streaming site to be targeted by PIPCU. In May, PIPCU had the domain of the Cricfree.tv streaming portal suspended but its operator was able to bring the site back under a new domain.

In addition to the domain suspensions PIPCU also had several sports streaming site operators arrested. TorrentFreak previously revealed that the operator of BoxingGuru.co.uk, boxingguru.eu, boxingguru.tv and nutjob.eu was arrested during April.

This was followed by the arrest last month of 27-year old Zain Parvez, who allegedly operated CoolSport.se, CoolSport.tv and KiwiSportz.tv. Parvez was described as the head of an “industrial scale” sports streaming operation but all charges against him were dropped earlier this week.

Whether the blockade of UK traffic will keep PIPCU at bay has yet to be seen. The notice posted on the seized Frombar.com still notes that the site is “under criminal investigation.”

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Jennifer Lawrence Gets Google to Censor Leaked Pictures, Sort Of

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pixelatedOver the past several weeks hundreds of photos of naked celebrities leaked online. This “fappening” triggered a massive takedown operation targeting sites that host and link to the controversial images.

As a hosting provider and search engine Google inadvertently plays a role in distributing the compromising shots, much to the displeasure of the women involved.

More than a dozen of them sent Hollywood lawyer Marty Singer after the company. Earlier this month Singer penned an angry letter to Google threatening legal action if it doesn’t remove the images from YouTube, Blogspot and its search results.

“It is truly reprehensible that Google allows its various sites, systems and search results to be used for this type of unlawful activity. If your wives, daughters or relatives were victims of such blatant violations of basic human rights, surely you would take appropriate action,” the letter reads.

While no legal action has yet been taken, some celebrities have also sent individual DMCA takedown requests to Google. On September 24 Jennifer Lawrence’s lawyers asked the search engine to remove two links to thefappening.eu as these infringe on the star’s copyrights.

The DMCA takedown request
jlawdmca
Earlier this week the request was still pending, so TorrentFreak asked Google what was causing the delay. The company said it could not comment on individual cases but a day later the links in question were removed.

This means that both the thefappening.eu main domain and the tag archive of Jennifer Lawrence posts no longer appear in Google’s search results.

Whether this move has helped Lawrence much is doubtful though. The site in question had already redirected its site to a new domain at thefappening.so. These links remain indexed since they were not mentioned in the takedown request.

The good news is that many of Lawrence’s pictures are no longer hosted on the site itself. In fact, the URLs listed in the takedown request to Google no longer show any of the infringing photos in question, so technically Google had no obligation to remove the URLs.

A prominent disclaimer on the site points out that the operator will gladly take down the compromising photos if he’s asked to do so. Needless to say, this is much more effective than going after Google.

The disclaimer
attention

Photo via

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Google Will Punish “Pirate” Sites Harder in Search Results

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

google-bayOver the past few years the entertainment industries have repeatedly asked Google to step up its game when it comes to anti-piracy efforts.

These remarks haven’t fallen on deaf ears and Google has slowly implemented various new anti-piracy measures in response.

Today Google released an updated version of its “How Google Fights Piracyreport. The company provides an overview of all the efforts it makes to combat piracy, but also stresses that copyright holders themselves have a responsibility to make content available.

One of the most prominent changes is a renewed effort to make “pirate” sites less visible in search results. Google has had a downranking system in place since 2012, but this lacked effectiveness according to the RIAA, MPAA and other copyright industry groups.

The improved version, which will roll out next week, aims to address this critique.

“We’ve now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites. This update will roll out globally starting next week,” says Katherine Oyama, Google’s Copyright Policy Counsel.

The report notes that the new downranking system will still be based on the number of valid DMCA requests a site receives, among other factors. The pages of flagged sites remain indexed, but are less likely to be the top results.

“Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in search results. This ranking change helps users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily,” the report reads.

Looking at the list of sites for which Google received the most DMCA takedown request, we see that 4shared, Filestube and Dilandau can expect to lose some search engine traffic.

The report further highlights several other tweaks and improvements to Google’s anti-piracy efforts. For example, in addition to banning piracy related AutoComplete words, Google now also downranks suggestions that return results with many “pirate” sites.

Finally, the report also confirms our previous reporting which showed that Google uses ads to promote legal movie services when people search for piracy related keywords such as torrent, DVDrip and Putlocker. This initiative aims to increase the visibility of legitimate sites.

A full overview of Google’s anti-piracy efforts is available here.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: United States Hosts Most Pirate Sites, UK Crime Report Finds

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

sam-pirateThe UK IP Crime Group, a coalition of law enforcement agencies, government departments and industry representatives, has released its latest IP Crime Report.

The report is produced by the UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office and provides an overview of recent achievements and current challenges in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting. Increasingly, these threats are coming from the Internet.

“One of the key features in this year’s report is the continuing trend that the Internet is a major facilitator of IP crime,” the Crime Group writes.

The report notes that as in previous years, Hollywood-funded industry group FACT remains one of the key drivers of anti-piracy efforts in the UK. Over the past year they’ve targeted alleged pirate sites though various channels, including their hosting providers.

Not all hosts are receptive to FACT’s complaints though, and convincing companies that operate abroad is often a challenge. This includes the United States where the majority of the investigated sites are hosted.

“Only 14% of websites investigated by FACT are hosted in the UK. While it is possible to contact the hosts of these websites, there still remains a considerable number of copyright infringing websites that are hosted offshore and not within the jurisdiction of the UK.”

“Analysis has shown that the three key countries in which content is hosted are the UK, the USA and Canada. However, Investigating servers located offshore can cause specific problems for FACT’s law enforcement partners,” the report notes.

ushostpirate

The figure above comes as a bit of a surprise, as one would expect that United States authorities and industry groups would have been keeping their own houses in order.

Just a few months ago the US-based IIPA, which includes MPAA and RIAA as members, called out Canada because local hosting providers are “a magnet” for pirate sites. However, it now appears they have still plenty of work to do inside U.S. borders.

But even when hosting companies are responsive to complaints from rightsholders the problem doesn’t always go away. The report mentions that most sites simply move on to another host, and continue business as usual there.

“In 2013, FACT closed a website after approaching the hosting provider on 63 occasions. Although this can be a very effective strategy, in most instances the website is swiftly transferred onto servers owned by another ISP, often located outside the UK.”

While downtime may indeed be relatively brief the report claims that it may still hurt the site, as visitors may move on to other legitimate or illegitimate sources.

“The [moving] process usually involves a disruptive period of time whereby the website is offline, during which users will often find an alternative service, thus negatively affecting the website’s popularity.”

While hosting companies remain a main target, tackling the online piracy problem requires a multi-layered approach according to the UK Crime Group.

With the help of local law enforcement groups such as City of London’s PIPCU, copyright holders have rolled out a variety of anti-piracy measures in recent months. This includes domain name suspensions, cutting off payment processors and ad revenue, website blocking by ISPs and criminal prosecutions.

These and other efforts are expected to continue during the years to come. Whether that will be enough to put a real dent in piracy rates has yet to be seen.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Leaked TPP Draft Reveals Tough Anti-Piracy Measures

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

copyright-brandedThe Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement aimed at strengthening economic ties between the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and eight other countries in the region, has been largely shrouded in secrecy.

Today whistleblower outfit Wikileaks sheds some light on the ongoing negotiations by leaking a new draft of the agreement’s controversial intellectual property chapter.

The draft dates back to May 2014 and although it’s far from final, some significant progress has been made since the first leak during August last year.

For example, the countries have now agreed that a new copyright term will be set in the agreement. No decision has been made on a final term but options currently on the table are life of the author plus 50, 70 or 100 years.

The proposal to add criminal sanctions for non-commercial copyright infringement, which is currently not the case in many countries, also remains in play.

The leak further reveals a new section on ISP liability. This includes a proposal to make it mandatory for ISPs to alert customers who stand accused of downloading copyrighted material, similar to the requirement under the U.S. DMCA.

Alberto Cerda of Georgetown University Law Center points out that some of the proposals in the ISP liability section go above and beyond the DMCA.

“The most worrying proposal on the matter is that one that would extend the scope of the provisions from companies that provide Internet services to any person who provides online services,” Cerda told TorrentFreak.

This means that anyone who passes on Internet traffic could be held liable for the copyright infringements of others. This could include the local coffeehouse that offers free wifi, or even someone’s own Internet connection if it’s shared with others.

The leaked draft also adds a provision that would allow ISPs to spy on their own users to catch those who download infringing content. This is another concern, according to the law Professor.

“From a human rights viewpoint, that should be expressly limited to exceptional circumstances,” Cerda says.

It’s clear that the ISP liability section mimicks the DMCA. In fact, throughout the TPP chapter the most draconian proposals often originate from the United States.

Law Professor Michael Geist notes that Canada has been the leading opponent of many of the U.S. proposals, which often go against the country’s recently revamped copyright law. Geist warns that the TPP may eventually lead to tougher local laws as U.S. pressure continues.

“As the treaty negotiations continue, the pressure to cave to U.S. pressure will no doubt increase, raising serious concerns about whether the TPP will force the Canadian government to overhaul recently enacted legislation,” Geist writes.

Compared to the previous draft that leaked last year there are also some positive developments to report.

For example, Canada put forward a proposal that permits countries to allow exceptions to technological protection measures. This would makes it possible to classify DRM-circumvention as fair use, for example. A refreshing proposal, but one that’s unlikely to be approved by the U.S.

If anything, the leaked TPP chapter shows once again that there is still a very long way to go before a final draft is ready. After more than three years of negotiating many of the proposals are still heavily debated and could go in multiple directions.

That is, if an agreement is ever reached.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Google Removes Pirate Bay Search Box and Links

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

google-bayAbout a month ago Google announced its new and improved “sitelinks” sections.

This section appears when searching for keywords related to large sites, including YouTube and Twitter, and lists links to popular parts of the site.

Last week TorrentFreak reported that The Pirate Bay had also been added to this list. This allowed people to use Google to search Pirate Bay pages, complete with a pirate-themed AutoComplete function.

While this unusual addition was the work of algorithms, it was bound to upset some entertainment industry groups. After all, many copyright holders have been asking to make sites such as The Pirate Bay less visible in the search results, and this change was doing the opposite.

This is how a search for The Pirate Bay looked like until yesterday, complete with a search box and prominent sitelinks.

Pirate Bay search box and sitelinks
tpbsitelinks

Now, less than a week later the search bar no longer appears for Pirate Bay related content. Even more so, other prominent sitelinks which have been in place for more than a year are gone too.

Today, the only things left are a few rather small sitelinks under the site description, as shown below.

Pirate Bay ….
google-sitelinks-gone-tpb

TorrentFreak has confirmed that the sitelinks features were removed for several torrent sites including Isohunt.to and Torrentz.eu. For Google, Twitter and other sites the new search box remains online.

The removal of the search box and prominent links appears to be intentional. TorrentFreak learned that Google was not happy with the unintended feature for The Pirate Bay, and must have felt the need to take action.

While the removal may be a well intended move to keep copyright holders pleased, it places Google in a difficult position. It could be argued that if the sitelinks features have been removed due to the “infringing” aspects of a site, why still keep the site in search results at all?

To find out more TorrentFreak contacted Google, but the company didn’t wish to comment on the recent changes. Google did stress that the placing of the sitelinks is determined automatically.

“Not every site will get the sitelinks search box; it’s determined automatically based on a number of factors. As always, we’ll keep working to improve the quality of our search results,” a Google spokesperson says.

The comment evades the issue at hand, but it appears that these factors were changed recently to exclude The Pirate Bay and other “pirate” sites.

For now, however, all Pirate Bay pages remain indexed as usual. In that regard the recent change is mostly interesting from a political perspective, as a possible result on the entertainment’s continuing pressure on the search engine.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirates Become Biggest Political Party in Local Czech Election

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

ppczLast weekend there were local elections in the Czech Republic, and the local Pirate Party has dozens of candidates on the ballots.

The Pirates campaigned with a program that advocates more Government transparency, more involvement for citizens, less copyright monopolies and the use of free software.

This message was received well by the public as 21 Pirate Party representatives were voted into regional parliaments. In addition, several other Pirates gained seats through the lists of other local parties.

One of the biggest victories was booked in Mariánské lázně where the Pirates came out as the biggest party with 21% of the total vote. This means that the Czech town may soon have its first Pirate mayor.

Pirate Party seats in Mariánské lázně
czp

The Pirate Party also did well in the capital city of Prague where it received 5.3% of the vote. This translates to four seats in the local parliament.

Despite the successes the Pirates don’t expect that they will govern in many regions. This may happen in a few places, but only if they can agree on a good program with the other parties.

“Generally we are against coalitions, especially in Prague, but in some regions with parties and people who are closer to our program we might govern,” Pirate Party’s Markéta Gregorová tells TorrentFreak.

According to Maša Čorak, co-chairperson of Pirate Parties International, the Czech success was welcomed after several disappointing results in other European countries. Talking to the Pirate Times, she says that the victory will carry over to other countries.

‘I have no doubt that every single Czech pirate that succeeds in being an elected official will do a tremendous job in promoting our core goals and ideas and putting them back in the public spotlight. That is, after all, the beauty of this movement; a victory in just one country can be and will be a huge step forward throughout entire Europe,” she says.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Popcorn Time Under “Legal Investigation,” Switches Domain

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

popcornBranded a “Netflix for Pirates,” the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people in just a few months.

There are several successful versions of the application available online, and last week the most popular fork ran into trouble. Out of the blue Time4popcorn.eu had its domain name suspended by the EURid registry.

TorrentFreak spoke with the developers who contacted EURid hoping to get the domain name back. They were informed that the suspension was the result of an ongoing legal investigation that could take weeks to complete.

“Apparently there’s some sort of legal investigation going on against us in Belgium and this is what started this whole thing. This is what made EURid remove our domain just like that without any warning,” the Time4Popcorn team says.

What prompted the investigation is unknown and EURid refuses to release any further details, but it seems likely that a copyright holder group filed a complaint with the domain name registry.

Resolving the matter, if possible at all, would require the fork to show proof of identity. This complicated matters even further and the developers therefore decided to permanently move to a new domain name.

From today the Time4Popcorn name will be dropped as the fork is switching to the new Popcorn-time.se domain name, hoping that this won’t be such an easy target.

“Our main agenda was to get a domain that will stay. Something that will not be taken down as easily as our .eu domain got taken down. We have a feeling that an .es domain will be much harder to remove, but we don’t really know for sure,” they say.

The developers stress that everything is working as usual on their new domain. The domain troubles have been a setback but the service itself will never be taken down.

The domain troubles haven’t gone unnoticed by other Popcorn Time forks either. The Time4Popcorn version used to be the number one search result but this spot now goes to PopcornTime.io, the fork that initially took over from the original developers.

PopcornTime.io informs TorrentFreak that they have been working hard to keep up with the growing demand. As a result of the ranking improvement PopcornTime.io saw its traffic quadruple, with hundreds of thousands of new visitors flocking to their site.

Time4Popcorn, now known as Popcorn-time.se, hopes to regain some of this traffic in the months to come as they roll out new features and updates.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: “Megaupload’s Imaginary Copyright Crimes Should be Dismissed”

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

megaupload-logoActing on a lead from the entertainment industry, the U.S. Government shut down Megaupload early 2012.

Since then the case hasn’t progressed much. Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has been delayed until 2015 and most of the recent court proceedings dealt with how the seized assets should be handled.

Two months ago the Department of Justice launched a separate civil action in which it asked the court for a forfeiture of the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants, claiming they were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes.

Megaupload has now responded to these allegations at the federal court in Virginia, with a motion to dismiss (pdf) the complaint. According to Megaupload’s lawyers the Department of Justice is making up crimes that don’t exist.

One of the main arguments is that the Government accuses the Megaupload defendants of secondary criminal copyright infringement, a crime that doesn’t exist under common law.

“The crimes for which the Government seeks to punish the Megaupload defendants do not exist. Although there is no such crime as secondary criminal copyright infringement, that is the crime on which the Government’s Superseding Indictment and instant Complaint are predicated,” Megaupload’s lawyers write.

“That is the nonexistent crime for which Megaupload was destroyed and all of its innocent users were denied their rightful property. And that is the nonexistent crime for which the Government would now strip the criminal defendants, and their families, of all their assets,” they add.

In addition, Megaupload mentions another argument why the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the case. It’s a requirement that the infringements took place in the United States, but the DOJ’s compliant fails to back that up.

“Tellingly, the Complaint and the Superseding Indictment together fail to identify a single instance in which an act of infringement — particularly an unauthorized upload or download — occurred entirely within the United States,” the motion reads.

This is true for the alleged infringements committed by Megaupload users and also for the 50 Cent track Kim Dotcom allegedly distributed himself. There is no mention or proof that this infringement took place in the United States.

“Although the Complaint alleges that Kim Dotcom personally distributed a link to a copy of a copyrighted work on, and has received at least one infringing copy of a copyrighted work from, the Mega Sites, the Complaint never alleges where that occurred,” the lawyers argue.

Based on these and several other arguments Megaupload’s legal team has asked the Court to dismiss the DOJ’s complaint. At the very least, they want the case to be put on hold until the criminal case is completed.

TorrentFreak spoke with Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken who explains that this is the first time that the Government has been called out for prosecuting “nonexistent” crimes.

“For the first time in the case, with this motion to dismiss, we are attacking the merits of the DOJ’s core copyright claims. We are optimistic that the Court will find that there is no such thing as criminal secondary copyright infringement,” Rothken tells TorrentFreak.

The Government’s efforts are no surprise to Megaupload’s legal team. The civil attempt to obtain possession of the assets fits a pattern of meritless claims according to Rothken.

“The DOJ is trying to win the Megaupload case on procedure rather than the merits,” Rothken told us.

“We are hopeful the US Court will finally decide the threshold copyright issues in Kim Dotcom’s and Megaupload’s favor and bring this global legal matter to a rapid end.”

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 10/13/14

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

22jumpThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

22 Jump Street is the most downloaded movie.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (4) 22 Jump Street 7.6 / trailer
2 (1) Transformers: Age of Extinction 6.1 / trailer
3 (…) Stretch 6.8 / trailer
4 (2) Sex Tape 5.2 / trailer
5 (…) The Purge: Anarchy 6.6 / trailer
6 (3) Edge Of Tomorrow 8.1 / trailer
7 (5) Lucy 6.6 / trailer
8 (…) Echo to Echo 5.8 / trailer
9 (7) X-Men: Days of Future Past 8.4 / trailer
10 (8) Good People 5.4 / trailer

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Twin Peaks Piracy Surges In Anticipation of Comeback

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

twinpeaksWhen the first Twin Peaks episode was broadcasted back in 1990, the World Wide Web didn’t yet exist.

But this week, nearly 25 years later, tens of thousands of people used it to browse to their favorite torrent sites and catch up with the show.

On Monday director David Lynch announced the comeback of the cult show which kept millions of people glued to their TV screens in the early nineties. The show, that some consider to be the beginning of today’s TV series boom, will start a new season in 2016.

The Twin Peaks revival has made headlines all over the world and many millions of people are anxious to see how the mystery continues.

This renewed attention also increased interest in the first two seasons, both from old fans and the younger generation who never saw how it all started. This was also noticeable on various torrent sites, where the numbers of Twin Peaks downloads skyrocketed over the past few days.

The interest in Twin Peaks never faded away completely. But instead of a few hundred daily downloads, the various season packs are now being downloaded more than 10,000 times a day.

Counting all the different release it’s estimated that Twin Peaks torrents were downloaded 75,000 times over the last week. This includes mostly full seasons, or complete packs of both seasons.

A few Twin Peaks downloads
twinp

This statistic pales in comparison to recent TV-shows, which can get well over a million downloads per week, but for a series from the early nineties it’s pretty impressive.

Most pirates seem to prefer the lower quality versions which are roughly 1.4 gigabyte for an entire season. Those pirates who prefer better quality don’t have to miss out though. There’s also a 79.99 gigabyte copy of “Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery.”

Depending on the release, the number of active sharers for each of these files increased up to tenfold. This surge is slowly fading off as time goes by but it’s certainly a sign that there’s plenty of interest among pirates too.

Whether this will eventually help or hurt the Twin Peaks revival will remain an unsolved puzzle for now.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: UK IP Chief Wants Schools to Teach Copyright Ethics and Morals

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

uk-flagMike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, has pushed various copyright related topics onto the political agenda over the past year.

Previously Weatherley suggested that ISPs should be held responsible for pirating users, that search engines should blacklist pirate sites and that persistent file-sharers should be thrown in jail.

Ideally, however, UK citizens shouldn’t be sharing or downloading content without permission to begin with. This is an issue the IP-advisor hopes to resolve with his latest set of recommendations, which center around copyright education and awareness.

In a 51-page report (pdf) that was just released Weatherley stresses the importance of copyright awareness and education, especially for the younger generation. This is needed as respect for copyright has declined in recent years and some even believe that sharing copyrighted material without permission is not a big deal.

“There is … a certain level of tolerance for the idea that IP infringements could be considered legitimate. Some believe that illegal activity online is a social norm, with no moral implications,” Weatherley writes.

“We are at risk of an entire generation growing up with different levels of respect for IP and copyright in particular. Should this social contract disappear, there could be longer-term consequences beyond the immediate, short-term negative impacts experienced by the creative sector,” he adds.

In his report the IP-advisor makes several recommendations for how this trend can be countered. Through a broad set of education measures he hopes that copyright will regain respect from the public.

“Education and consumer awareness programmes that seek to change current behaviour or influence future actions are essential for nurturing a greater culture of respect and value for the UK’s creative economy, and to negate the impact of infringement.”

The report mentions that several of the education efforts have already been set in motion. This includes PIPCU’s warning banners on pirate sites as well as the upcoming scheme to warn alleged copyright infringers through their ISP.

One of the future goals is to bring copyright into the classroom. To achieve this Weatherley recommends to add copyright education to the school curriculum, starting with the youngest kids in primary school.

“The school curriculum needs to prepare pupils – from early years through to the end of secondary school and higher education – for the 21st century knowledge economy. Interaction with IP is a daily occurrence for many young people, and yet it is widely ignored within the education system,” the report reads.

As a secondary form of public education, the BBC should also start broadcasting programming that stresses the value of copyright through various channels. This to ensure that the message reaches a wide audience.

“Given its reach and public service broadcasting remit, the BBC should create a copyright education programme using online, on-air and face-to-face channels,” Weatherley recommends.

With these initiatives and other changes, the IP advisor hopes to change people’s attitudes towards copyright. This should then lead to less online piracy in the long run which may reflect positively on the economy.

Unfortunately, the report doesn’t mention who should be involved in creating the educational messages, should they be implemented. The only stakeholders that have been consulted recently are the major copyright holder groups, which may lead to a biased perspective.

To avoid an unbalanced curriculum as we’ve seen in the United States, it may be wise to also involve representatives from the consumer side, library organisations, or alternatives to strict copyright licensing such as Creative Commons.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Hollywood Studios Willingly Advertise on Notorious ‘Pirate’ Site

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

vkThe Russian social network VKontakte (VK) has long been criticized for its passive approach to piracy. The site is flooded with unauthorized content including movies and music, all uploaded by its millions of users.

As a result the United States Trade Representative has labeled the site a “notorious market” on several occasions. While VK has taken some steps to address the issues this year, copyright holders are far from satisfied.

This week the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), which represents MPAA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups, called out VK as one of the worst piracy havens around. The U.S. Government is organizing a hearing on Russia’s WTO implementation and in a request to testify the IIPA points out that piracy is rampant in the country.

“Russia is home to several of the U.S. Government’s ‘Notorious Markets’ for copyright piracy, especially digital piracy,” IIPA’s Eric Schwartz writes (pdf).

“One such Notorious Market is vKontakte, the most popular online social network in Russia, and the largest single distributor of infringing music in Russia; it is also a hotbed for online piracy of movies and television programming.”

Despite the numerous complaints that have been submitted to the Russian authorities, widespread piracy remains a problem on the social network. Last year Russia implemented a new law that would allow copyright holders to have structurally infringing websites blocked, but attempts to target VK have failed thus far.

“To date, the Government of Russia has taken little or no action against this site, or the other sites or services identified by the U.S. and other foreign governments and copyright rightsholders. This is symptomatic of the problems of ineffective enforcement in Russia,” Schwartz adds.

The critique of VK is not new. The MPAA and other copyright holders have complained about it for years. Having this in mind, we were surprised to find that several Hollywood studios still advertise their content on VK.

In recent months copyright holders have been lobbying advertising networks to stop doing business with so-called pirate sites. However, major movie studios including Warner Bros see no problem with having a presence on VK.

Below is a screenshot of the VK profile of Warner Bros. Russian branch, which currently has 146,780 members. Aside from promoting new movies, they also list several music tracks they don’t appear to hold the copyrights to.

Warner Bros. on VK
warnervk

Warner Bros. is of course not the only studio with an official VK account. Universal Pictures has a dedicated page for Russian fans too, and so do Disney, Marvel and 20th Century Fox.

The above are just a few examples. There are many other companies represented by the IIPA who have a profile on the “notorious pirate site”, Microsoft included.

So instead of asking Russia to take action against the site, shouldn’t these companies stop advertising on it first? Considering the fact that they place VK in the same category as The Pirate Bay, that would make sense.

Or perhaps the Hollywood studios will create an official Pirate Bay profile, to start uploading trailers of their latest movies there as well…?

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Popcorn Time Stops Working After Domain Suspension

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

popcornBranded a “Netflix for Pirates,” the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people in just a few months.

There are several successful forks of the application available online, but this afternoon one of the most used versions suddenly stopped working.

Without prior warning the Time4Popcorn.eu fork had its domain name suspended by the EURid registry. TorrentFreak contacted the developers who confirmed that they have indeed lost control of the domain.

According to an email sent by EURid and seen by TorrentFreak, the registry explains that the domain name has been suspended on suspicion that it was registered using inaccurate contact details.

“Upon verification of the contact data for your .eu domain name, we have reason to believe that your contact data is inaccurate,” EURid writes, asking the Popcorn Time team to show proof of identity.

Suspended
popcorntimedomain

As a result Popcorn Time’s website is no longer loading. However, what’s even worse for those who use the fork is that the application itself also stopped working as it requires the domain to load the user interface.

The developers quickly switched the site over to time4popcorn.com, but it will take some time to update the application.

“At the moment the desktop and iPhone versions aren’t working but in a few hours we’ll update the desktop version to the new domain and it should update automatically for most and will work,” the Time4Popcorn team tells us.

“If for some reason some users didn’t get the automatic update, they’ll be able to re-download the app from time4popcorn.com,” they add.

The issues with EURid show that the domain name is a weak link. This is problematic, especially for an application that claims it “will never be taken down.” The developers realize this and are working to resolve the vulnerability.

“From the next update, beta 5.0, this kind of scenario will be nearly impossible. This incident of the service being shut down like this will be very unlikely to happen,” the team notes.

One of the questions that remains is why EURid believes that the contact information is inaccurate. Is this the result of a routine check, or were they tipped off by an entertainment industry group? The latter doesn’t seem unlikely.

The Time4Popcorn team doesn’t appear to be worried though, and plans to continue improving their application as soon as the issue is resolved.

“This is a small kick to the balls at the moment, but we’ll come out of this much stronger and way better,” they say.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Court Lifts Overbroad “Piracy” Blockade of Mega and Other Sites

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

megaLast July the Court of Rome ordered all local Internet providers to block 24 websites including Mega.co.nz and Russia’s largest email provider Mail.ru.

The broad anti-piracy measures were requested by small independent Italian movie distributor Eyemoon Pictures. The company complained that the sites in question distributed two films, “The Congress” and “Fruitvale Station,” before they were released in Italian cinemas.

Several sites affected by the blockade decided to appeal the order, and not without success. Fulvio Sarzana, who acts as lawyer for several of the accused sites including Mega, told TorrentFreak that the sites in question can now be accessed again.

The lawyer took up the case with the local Prosecutor, and pointed out that the blockades are overbroad. Instead of blocking access to a single file it makes entire sites unreachable.

In addition, Sarzana noted that the measures are not needed as the file-hosting sites have strict takedown policies in place which allow copyright holders to remove infringing content.

The Prosecutor was receptive to these arguments and after a settlement agreement with several of the affected services was reached last month, local ISPs were ordered to lift the blockades.

“For Mega we negotiated a court settlement with the Office of the Prosecutor of Rome, which recognized the legitimacy of Mega’s activities and ordered the removal of the blockade. The same is the case for other hosting services,” Sarzana tells TorrentFreak.

For another site, which prefers not to be named, it was necessary to take the case to the Appeals Court. In common with a similar case earlier this year, the Court held that the blocking order was indeed too broad. As a result this blockade was also lifted.

“The Court held that the ISP blockade of the website was disproportionate because the copyright infringement occurs on individual pages. The entire website can therefore not be blocked for copyright reasons,” Sarzana notes.

The lawyer expects that the Appeals Court ruling will have implications for the Communications Regulatory Authority (AGCOM), which currently has the power to block allegedly infringing sites without a court order.

Considering the recent Appeals Court decision, this procedure may be unconstitutional. This possibility has also been raised by several consumer groups who have asked the court to review AGCOM’s legitimacy.

Last week the Court of Rome referred these complaints to the Constitutional Court. Here it will be examined whether the current procedure violates right to freedom of expression and free speech, among other things.

To be continued.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Google Adds Custom Pirate Bay Search With Autocomplete

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

google-bayThe entertainment industries have gone head to head with Google in recent months, demanding tougher anti-piracy measures from the search engine.

According to the RIAA, MPAA and others, Google is making it too easy for its users to find pirated content. Instead, they would prefer Google to remove sites such as the Pirate Bay from its search results.

Thus far this hasn’t happened and it’s unlikely that the position will change in the near future. The search engine has changed Pirate Bay’s appearance in the search results, however, but not in the direction the copyright holders had hoped for.

A few weeks ago Google announced its new and improved “sitelinks” section. This section also appears when searching for Pirate Bay related keywords and lists links to popular sections of the site.

In an additional new move, it now shows a prominent search box that people can use to search for content on The Pirate Bay directly from Google.

Google’s Pirate Bay search box
tpbsitelinks

The feature also works with other large search related sites and wasn’t intended for The Pirate Bay specifically. However, considering the entertainment industries’ previous critique this will soon be added to their long list of complaints.

Perhaps even more painful than the search box itself is the fact that the new sitelinks also support AutoComplete. This means that people get pirate-themed search suggestions if they use the box in question.

Simply typing in the letter G shows the following search suggestions, for example.

Pirate autocomplete
tpbsuggest

It’s unclear where these suggested terms are sourced from. They could come from popular searches on Google that relate to The Pirate Bay, or perhaps they are based on Pirate Bay pages that are indexed by the search engine.

It’s worth noting that the “pirate” AutoComplete appears to go against Google’s policy of not showing copyright-infringing suggestions. Regular Google searches don’t suggest “Pirate Bay” when entering “Pirate B” for example.

And things could get even worse in the future.

For now, the custom Pirate Bay search box returns its results within Google. However, if The Pirate Bay decides to implement the right markup it will take users directly to The Pirate Bay, which is likely to escalate the situation further.

The Pirate Bay team is aware of Google’s new feature and is considering adding support for these direct searches. Whether Google will allow that to happen remains to be seen.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Revealed: Warner Bros. Uses “Sophisticated Robots” to Fight Piracy

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

warnerIt’s been nearly a year since Hotfile was defeated by the MPAA, but the case hasn’t gone away completely yet.

As part of their $80 million settlement agreement with the movie studios, the file-hosting service also let the counter-suit over Warner Bros. alleged DMCA-abuse go.

This meant that the true workings of Warner Bros. takedown systems remained secret, since many of the court filings were heavily redacted. Arguing that the public has the right to know how Warner operated, the Electronic Frontier Foundation therefore asked the court to unseal the records.

Warner Bros. objected to this request, arguing that the effectiveness of their anti-piracy technology would be undermined by a public disclosure. However, two weeks ago U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams ordered that it’s in the public interest to unseal the information.

The first set of unredacted documents were published by Warner Bros. yesterday evening. While it’s only a fraction of all sealed material, we can now see what the movie studio was so eager to keep out of the public eye.

Most of the unsealed information deals with Warner’s automated DMCA takedown tools. In the court filings these are described as “robots” which are programmed to mimic human behavior.

“Warner uses a system of computer programs known as ‘robots’ to help search link sites. for links to infringing copies of its content. These programmable robots are highly sophisticated and can effectively mimic the search a human would conduct, except faster,” Warner explains.

Warner’s (previously) redacted robots
warnerredact

This isn’t a big surprise, but Warner clearly preferred to keep its automated takedown tools out of the public domain.

The unsealed information further shows that the script in question searches 200 hand-picked link sites for specific keywords. A takedown notice then goes out to the source site of this link. The actual content was never downloaded and reviewed, nor were the titles checked to see if Warner actually owned the content in question.

“Its search process relied on computer automation to execute programs and did not involve human review of the file titles, page names or other overt characteristics before issuing a takedown notice,” an unredacted court order reads.

“And because the files were not reviewed, neither Warner’s robots nor its employees made a determination whether there were legal uses for the files.”

Despite revealing details of its “robots”, Warner still redacts how many employees its anti-piracy division employs. Unfortunately for them they forgot to black out one reference. According to an unredacted court order Warner employed seven people in its anti-piracy division at the time.

All in all it appears that most of the redactions revealed up until now were meant to keep the anti-piracy operations shrouded in mystery. There is not much that can actually hurt the company’s anti-piracy efforts.

While it’s now clear that Warner’s DMCA takedowns were highly automated, there is still a lot more information to unseal. Many questions about specific errors also remain unanswered, including the fact that the studio intentionally targeted the open source JDownloader software.

Whether future revelations will lift more of the veil will become apparent in the months to come.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Research Warns Against Overestimated Movie Piracy Losses

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pixel-pirateWhen it comes to movie piracy Hollywood tends to be most concerned about unauthorized copies that appear online when a film is still paying in theaters.

These are often CAM releases, which are copies of the movie recorded in a theater. Despite their low quality, these CAMs are often downloaded hundreds of thousands if not millions of times.

To find out what effect these downloads have on box office revenues APAS Laboratory researcher Marc Milot conducted a thorough field study. By using download statistics from the torrent site Demonoid, in combination with movie ratings and pre-release buzz, the research estimates the effect of CAM piracy on box office sales.

The findings, published this week in a paper titled “Testing the lost sale concept in the context of unauthorized BitTorrent downloads of CAM copies of theatrical releases”, reveal an intriguing pattern.

Based on a sample of 32 widely released movies, the results show that box office revenue could be best predicted by pre-release buzz and to a lesser extent by the rating of the movies, which were both taken from Rotten Tomatoes. Interestingly, the amount of times a movie was pirated had no effect on its box office sales.

Instead of a link with sales, the amount of unauthorized downloads was affected by how visible these titles were on Demonoid. TorrentFreak contacted Milot, who believes that these results support the notion that many pirates download movies to discover new content.

“The research findings are the first to support with concrete behavioral evidence what BitTorrent file-sharers have been saying all along: that they don’t always download movies – in this case CAM versions of theatrical releases – they would have paid to view if they were not available on sites like Demonoid,” Milot told us.

This notion is supported by the fact that, unlike at the box office, the rating of a movie doesn’t affect the piracy volume. This finding is based on ratings by both Pirate Bay and Rotten Tomatoes users, to control for the possibility that pirates simply have a different movie taste.

Downloads/sales by movie rating
ratingdownloads

According to the researcher, these results should caution the movie industry not to overestimate the effect of CAM piracy on box office sales.

“BitTorrent site users appear to be exploring and downloading the most visible movies, without caring how good or bad they are. It is in this way that BitTorrent sites and the box office are completely different systems in which people behave uniquely and with different motivations,” Milot explains.

“These findings should caution against the use of download statistics alone in calculations of losses – in this case lost ticket sales – to avoid overestimation,” he adds.

Whether the above will be a reassurance for Hollywood has yet to be seen. There have been several studies on the impact of movie piracy in recent years, often with conflicting results. The current research helps to add yet another piece to the puzzle.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 10/06/14

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

transThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is the most downloaded movie for the third week in a row.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (1) Transformers: Age of Extinction 6.1 / trailer
2 (…) Sex Tape 5.2 / trailer
3 (2) Edge Of Tomorrow 8.1 / trailer
4 (3) 22 Jump Street 7.6 / trailer
5 (…) Lucy 6.6 / trailer
6 (6) Maleficent 7.4 / trailer
7 (5) X-Men: Days of Future Past 8.4 / trailer
8 (7) Good People 5.4 / trailer
9 (…) Are You Here 5.3 / trailer
10 (4) Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 7.0 / trailer

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: IMAGiNE BitTorrent Group Sysop Speaks Out From Prison

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

In 2011 the notorious IMAGiNE movie piracy group was dismantled by the feds. The group was known for releasing large numbers of movies onto the Internet, many of which were still playing in theaters.

This attracted the attention of the MPAA who launched an investigation which eventually led to the arrests of four U.S. residents.

These IMAGiNE members were charged with several counts of criminal copyright infringement and they eventually received prison sentences ranging from 23 months up to five years in prison.

imagine

Among the sentenced was the then 53-year-old IMAGiNE sysop Gregory Cherwonik, mentor of a robotics team from Canandaigua. Cherwonik was sent to prison January last year and has now served half of his sentence.

Through one of his family members, TorrentFreak recently received an open letter from Cherwonik, where he shares his thoughts on his prosecution, the life he’s living now, and what awaits after his release.

The letter doesn’t lend itself to be excerpted or evaluated in detail, so with permission from Gregory and a close family member we have decided to post it pretty much as it arrived. It’s definitely controversial, but written from the heart.

—-

A Letter From Prison – by Gregory Cherwonik

This is the fourth time writing this, trying to get it to sound good to me. It’s hard to complain without sounding whiny.

Anyways. I’m past the halfway point of my sentence. 21 of 34 months paid in my debt to the MPAA. Usually when you’re sentenced to prison you’re sent for crimes against society or the government. Unfortunately it no longer works that way in the United States of America.

The IMAGiNE group provided society a service, so I owe it no debt. We gave those that couldn’t afford or have access to first run movies access to them. The poor, the service men and women, those that didn’t want to get their wallets raped to see for the most part poor quality movies. Seems only half (if even) of the movies produced these days are worth seeing.

We didn’t do it for money or fame, we did it because the government and the corporations gave us the tools. The government with the “Disabilities Act” where all theaters had to have a secondary audio signal for those with hearing disabilities. The Corporations by providing higher and higher quality video cameras WITH 24fps speeds. It’s like they wanted us to pirate movies. There was never any expectation of cash for this service. The fact of the matter is we voted on whether we should make money from it… it was voted down.

But what we did get out of this was a government that would lie and cheat to achieve its end result, a government that feels it can do what it wants to whoever it wants, anytime it wants, no matter where in the world they live. A government that no longer takes the people’s interest to mind when it makes laws. Now it’s a matter of who’ll pad their pockets the most. In my opinion we as a country took a nose dive when we started treating corporations as people.

While I was first getting into torrenting long before IMAGiNE was even thought of, I read the law. As I understood it, as long as there was no “Financial Gain” it was a misdemeanor. I see the newer DVDs new state that whether there’s Monetary Gain or not. Did they amend the law, or is it that the MPAA feels it can also do as it pleases?

Did the lMAGiNE case have something to do with this? I’m sure the prosecutors were fit to be tied when we stated we never received or expect any monetary gain from our endeavors. In fact it problem screwed them when they found out we actually paid money to do what we did. I guess not many people do things for a simple “Thank You” any more.

But the reason I myself am in prison is because my “Financial Gain” was invented. When the US attornies couldn’t prove any monetary gain they decided to lie. They said my gain was the “THOUSANDS” of DVDs I downloaded. If you added up all the VCDs, SVCDs, Xvid, and DVDs I’ve download over the 10 years I’m sure you’d struggle to make 1,500 titles. If in fact I downloaded “THOUSANDS” over the last three years I’m sure my ISP would have shutoff my service.

I currently have a library of over 400 bought and paid for titles; if the movie is good I buy it. You still can’t replicate the DTS sound, besides I am aware that if you don’t support those that make good, quality movies the industry will die. Many of the confiscated DVDs they took from me were nothing more than copies of my library.

If it wasn’t for this made up “Financial Gain”, [co-defendants] Willie, Sean and myself would have only been charged with misdemeanors. Of course that wouldn’t look good in the press or on resumes. It wouldn’t send the right message. So let’s lie and make things look a lot worse, show everyone how terrible those “PIRATES” are.

Please, do they really think the public bought that crap? 1 in 3 people aged 13 – 50 have downloaded or purchased bootleg or counterfeit goods. Yes we broke the law, I never said we didn’t. But we didn’t break the law we were charged with, and we sure as hell didn’t deserve the stiff sentences handed down.

So here I sit waiting for my release date. Then I can get back to doing what I do best… care for my family. Providing for them, working, paying taxes, volunteering my time and money for and in the community. Just as I was doing before I was sent away to waste my time and the government’s money. Let me tell you, from what I’ve seen the government is great at wasting money. It’s no wonder the MPAA has to “CONTRIBUTE” millions to the Dept of Justice, to Homeland Security, to the people who are supposed to be representing us, the citizens of this land.

Do you see the pattern here? Let me show you how I see it. The MPAA pays the Senators and Representatives to pass its laws via campaign “Contributions”(aka bribes, just about confirmed from Chris Dodd’s own mouth). They then contribute to Homeland Security to police these bought and paid for laws. Then to top it all off they contribute to the Justice Dept to enforce them. You would think there would be a conflict of interest there somewhere. Oh I forgot, we’re talking about people who the law doesn’t apply to.

But as we say here, it is what it is. So I’ll finish my time out, go back to my family, my job, my life with a felony conviction hanging over me. At least I’m old and only have to carry it a short time. The three years the MPAA took from me is actually a very high percentage of the time I had remaining in my life.

It would have been, except I did get some positive things out of this whole debacle. I came in weighing 300lbs, 20 months later from the lack of any stress, crappy meals and being so bored, all I do is walk and run, and I’ve managed to get my weight down to 180lbs. My blood pressure is good, as is my sugar. You might say I’ve lost three years but gained 10 back.

I’ve found out my wife of 26 years is my one, my only. My soul mate. That’s a wonderful feeling to have, to know you are loved as much as you love. I’ve found out that blood is definitely thicker, family is there for you always, but then I’ve also found out that friendship isn’t.

I’ve often wondered if piracy actually hurt or helped the industry. I really wish an independent source would release a study on it. On one hand it might take away from the ticket and DVD sales. But on the other hand would these people actually have gone to the theaters or bought the DVD? What l do know is that if l watched a pirated movie and it happened to be good, I would tell people just that. The movie was good. I’m sure others do the same.

Does this increase sales? Lets take the movie “The Hurt Locker“, it had a dismal showing at the theaters. It won an Oscar if I’m not mistaken, which doesn’t make it a good movie. But it also topped the lists for downloads at the time, and I’m sure the DVD sales went very well. Were those DVD sales because of the awards? Or were they because of word of mouth? I think it would be interesting to see the results of a good study. Then and only then can we know if we are criminals or not.

Oh BTW would I do it again if I had to do over????? You bet your ass, but I would do it differently. I told the group from the very start that a website [Unleashthe.net] would be the biggest security threat to the group. Obviously I was right.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Police Seize Domain of Frombar Sports Streaming Site

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

cityoflondonpoliceOver the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content.

Police began by sending warning letters to site owners, asking them to go legit or shut down. Late last year this was followed by a campaign targeted at domain registrars, asking them to suspend the domain names of several “illegal” sites.

Most registrars have denied these suspension requests because they lack any legal basis, but some are cooperating. Yesterday another site fell victim to the police campaign, as the sports streaming ‘franchise’ Sportlemon had its Frombar.com domain name suspended.

The sports streaming site is relatively popular, with well over a million visitors per month. For now, these visitors will have to find an alternative as the site currently displays a prominent police banner.

“You have tried to access a website that is under criminal investigation by the UK: Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) This site is being investigated for online copyright infringement,” the banner reads.

pipcu

Whether it will deter people for long is doubtful though. The site owner has plenty of alternative domains lying around and the site is still accessible on frombar.tv, fromsport.com, gledaisport.com, fromsportcom.com, fromhot.com, as well as sportlemon.tv, which used to be the site’s main domain.

And so the whack-a-mole continues for now.

To stay out of PIPCU’s crosshairs the owners of alleged pirate sites are increasingly looking for safe registrars that won’t give in to complaints from authorities overseas. The Canadian registrar EasyDNS appears to be a safer choice, as the company protests PIPCU’s efforts fiercely.

PIPCU is not happy with these non-cooperative registrars and a few weeks ago the police sent EasyDNS a threatening letter, suggesting that the company itself could be held liable for aiding and abetting a criminal operation.

Thus far police have not followed up on this threat.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Record Labels Get Demonoid Blocked in Italy, For Now

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

demonoid-logoAfter 20 months of downtime the infamous Demonoid BitTorrent tracker came back online earlier this year.

The site slowly started to rebuild its community and is now getting millions of visitors per month again. At the same time, however, the torrent site is also drawing attention from various copyright holders.

On behalf of Sony, Warner and Universal, Italian anti-piracy group FIMI submitted a complaint against Demonoid to the Communications Regulatory Authority (AGCOM) last month. AGCOM is a regulatory body that has the power to order website blockades without court interference, if sites are deemed to be infringing.

The labels’ complaint listed several tracks by Italian artists including Laura Pausini, Max Pezzali and Vasco Rossi, which were made available on Demonoid. However, instead of ordering blockades for these infringing works, AGCOM has now instructed ISPs to block the entire website.

As a result, Italian Internet subscribers can no longer access Demonoid.

TorrentFreak contacted Fulvio Sarzana, a lawyer specialized in Internet and copyright disputes, who told us that the scope of the preliminary injunction is too broad and disproportional.

“The order, in my opinion, is not proportional. The Court of Rome repeatedly ruled that blocking orders must be directed only at illegal content, and not the whole site,” Sarzana says.

The lawyer refers to a ruling earlier this year, where the Court of Rome recalled a blocking order against the video streaming site Filmakerz.org. The Court argued that partial blocking of a specific URL is preferred over site-wide bans, something that clearly didn’t happen with Demonoid.

“Demonoid would do well to contest the measure which appears to be illegitimate,” Sarzana notes, adding that the AGCOM procedures may be unconstitutional.

This issue has also been raised by several consumer groups who asked the court to review AGCOM’s legitimacy. Earlier this week the Court of Rome referred these complaints to the Constitutional Court. Here it will be examined whether the current procedure violates right to freedom of expression and free speech, among other things.

If AGCOM is indeed deemed to be unconstitutional there’s a good chance that all existing blockades will be lifted. In addition, Sarzana believes that the wrongfully blocked websites may then be entitled to receive compensation for the damages they suffered.

However, until a decision from the Constitutional Court arrives AGCOM will continue to operate normally. FIMI is happy with this decision as well as the new blockades against Demonoid.

“We are extremely satisfied with this new blocking order and also about the outcome of the decision from the administrative Court of Rome on the regulation,” FIMI’s Enzo Mazza tells TorrentFreak.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Google Asked to Remove Half a Billion “Pirate” Search Results

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

google-bayIn the hope of steering prospective customers away from pirate sites, copyright holders are overloading Google with DMCA takedown notices.

These requests have increased dramatically over the years. In 2008, the search engine received only a few dozen takedown notices during the entire year, but today it processes a million per day on average.

Adding up the numbers reported in Google’s Transparency Report, we found that since the release of the report three years ago Google has been asked to remove over 500 million links to allegedly infringing webpages.

The number of notices continues to increase at a rapid pace as nearly half of the requests, 240 million, were submitted during the first months of 2014. The graph below illustrates this sharp rise in takedown notices.

takedownincrease

Most of the reported webpages have indeed been removed and no longer appear in Google’s search results. As an example, more than two million Pirate Bay pages have quietly been wiped from Google.

TorrentFreak asked Google for a comment on the most recent milestone but the company has chosen not to respond on the record.

Despite the frequent use of the takedown process many copyright holders aren’t happy with the way things are going. While Google does its best to comply with its obligations under current law, some industry insiders claim that the search giant can and should do more to tackle the piracy problem.

The UK music industry group BPI, which is responsible for roughly 20% of all submitted URLs, points out that Google should do more to lower the visibility of unauthorized content in its search results. Despite promises to do so, the music group still sees very little improvement on this front

“Despite its clear knowledge as to which sites are engines of piracy, Google continues to help build their illegal businesses, by giving them a prominent ranking in search results,” BPI told us last week.

“Google can simply fix this problem by amending its algorithm. We hope they will respond positively to the invitation from Government to negotiate voluntary measures to do so.”

The BPI and other copyright holders are pushing for some sort of agreement to implement more far-reaching anti-piracy measures. However, thus far Google maintains that it’s already doing its best to address the concerns of copyright holders.

Last year the company released a report detailing the various anti-piracy measures it uses. However, the company also stressed that copyright holders can do more to prevent piracy themselves.

Without legal options it’s hard to beat unauthorized copying, is the argument Google often repeats.

“Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply. As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services,” the company previously explained.

“The right combination of price, convenience, and inventory will do far more to reduce piracy than enforcement can.”

While this standoff continues, copyright holders are expected to increase the volume of requests. At the current pace Google may have processed a billion URLs by the end of next year.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: UK Legalizes CD Ripping and Cloud Backups Today

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

uk-flagTo most consumers it’s common sense that they can make a backup copy of media they own, but in the UK this has been illegal until today.

After consulting various stakeholders the Government decided that it would be in the best interests of consumers to legalize copying for personal use.

Earlier this year the UK Intellectual Property Office announced that the changes would go into effect in June. However, when June came around the most crucial changes were still pending Parliamentary approval.

These final issues were resolved this summer and after a brief delay private copying is now legal.

This means that people are now free to make copies of DVDs, CDs and other types of media, as long as they’re for personal use. In addition, it’s no longer copyright-infringing to store copies of legally purchased media to the cloud.

“These changes are going to bring our IP laws into the 21st century,” IP Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe says commenting on the changes. “They will mean that the UK IP regime will now be responsive to the modern business environment and more flexible for consumers.”

The changes aim to fix the mismatch between the law and public opinion. A Government-commissioned survey previously found that 85% of consumers believed that DVD and CD ripping was legal already, while more than one-third of all consumers admitted that they’d made copies of media they purchased.

Besides the new private copying rights, the upcoming amendments will also broaden people’s fair use rights. For example, people no longer have to ask permission to quote from or parody the work of others, such as a news report or a book, as long as it’s “fair dealing” and the source is recognized.

For the public the amendments are certainly a welcome change from the more restrictive copyright laws that were previously in place. For those who are interested, a full overview of the upcoming changes is available here.

Update: The time-shifting reference was removed from this article, as that was already allowed under a previous amendment. Apologies for the confusion.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.