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TorrentFreak: Popular Torrent and Streaming Sites Blocked in Denmark

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

stop-blockedFor nearly a decade Denmark has been a testbed for pirate site blockades. The first blocks were ordered back in 2006 after music industry group IFPI filed a complaint targeting the Russian MP3 sites AllofMP3 and MP3sparks.

Not much later Denmark became the first European country to force an ISP to block access to The Pirate Bay.

After some small additions during the years that followed, a Danish Court has now ordered another round of pirate site blocks, the largest one thus far.

Following a complaint from the local Rights Alliance (RettighedsAlliancen) group the blocklist was updated with 12 popular torrent, streaming and MP3 download sites.

The new domains are free-tv-video-online.me, watchseries.lt ,solarmovie.is, tubeplus.me, mp3vip.org, rarbg.com, extratorrent.cc, isohunt.to, eztv.ch, kickass.to, torrentz.eu and music-bazaar.com.

Due to a recent agreement the sites will be blocked by all ISPs, even those not mentioned in the lawsuit. Late last year Rights Alliance and the telecommunications industry signed a Code of Conduct which ensures that blockades are put in place country-wide.

Speaking with TF, Rights Alliance head Maria Fredenslund says that their primary goal is to limit piracy through education. For this reason, the blocking page includes links to legal stores and services.

“Right Alliance doesn’t merely take an enforcement approach. We want to understand user behavior offer people legal alternatives,” Fredenslund says.

“We are quite happy that there are so many people who are looking for online entertainment. Our goal is to steer them in the right direction, instead of simply blocking access,” she adds.

For the affected sites there will be a drop in Danish visitors. Interestingly, however, not all site owners are disappointed.

TF spoke with the operator of one of the torrent sites on condition of anonymity. He says that these blocking efforts are free advertising and that users can still access the blocked domains through proxies or anonymizing services.

“Blocking is the greatest thing that can happen to a site. It is free advertising for your site. People want the things they can’t have,” the operator says.

“Whoever is blocking the sites is actually doing us a favor by telling the users that they can’t open the site, thus making the users want to open the site even more.”

Rights Alliance sees things differently and points to the results of a test on the effectiveness of blocking efforts.

“There are clear signs that our approach works. A recent test revealed that if people were warned that they had attempted to visit an unauthorized site, 84% chose not to continue,” Fredenslund tells us.

danishnudge

The test in question was conducted at various Danish schools. Instead of completely blocking access the schools inserted a notification which allowed users to visit legal alternatives or continue to the illegal sites. The majority of the people who saw this notice decided not to visit the page.

Whether the result will also translate to people’s non-monitored home connections is not clear. In any case, the new blockades in Denmark are throwing up an extra hurdle.

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

TorrentFreak: U.S. Government Wins Dozens of Millions From Kim Dotcom

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

megaupload-logoFollowing the 2012 raid on Megaupload and Kim Dotcom, U.S. and New Zealand authorities seized millions of dollars in cash and other property.

Claiming the assets were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes, last July the U.S. government launched a separate civil action in which it asked the court to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants.

Megaupload’s defense heavily protested the request but was found to have no standing, as Dotcom and his colleagues can be seen as fugitives.

A few hours ago District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ordered a default judgment in favor of the U.S. Government. This means that the contested assets, which are worth an estimated $67 million, now belong to the United States.

“It all belongs to the U.S. government now. No trial. No due process,” Dotcom informs TF.

More than a dozen Hong Kong and New Zealand bank accounts have now been forfeited (pdf) including some of the property purchased through them. The accounts all processed money that was obtained through Megaupload’s alleged illegal activities.

The list of forfeited assets further includes several luxury cars, such as a silver Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM and a 1959 pink Cadillac, two 108″ Sharp LCD TVs and four jet skis.

The memorandum issued by Judge O’Grady repeats many of the allegations in the original indictment. It lists links to infringing materials that could be found on the site and claims that Megaupload purposefully obfuscated its illegal intent.

Dotcom refutes these claims as “Hollywood nonsense” and maintains that Megaupload was operating legally and cooperated with copyright holders when required.

“The default judgment is so thick with DOJ and Hollywood nonsense that one might think they drafted it,” Dotcom says.

The New Zealand based entrepreneur believes that it’s been an unfair battle thus far, and with his assets now going to the U.S. it’s certainly not getting any easier.

But while the ruling is a huge blow, it also opens up the possibility to have the case reviewed by a higher court.

“For the first time we get the opportunity to test the decisions of this Judge at a higher court. Because of the way his previous rulings were designed he made an appeal impossible. But we now can and probably will appeal O’Grady’s decision on fugitive disentitlement and forfeiture,” Dotcom notes.

For now, however, the successful forfeiture request is the U.S. Government’s first major victory against Megaupload.

Meanwhile, Dotcom and his fellow Megaupload defendants are still waiting to hear whether they will be sent to the U.S. to stand trial. The extradition hearing will start early June, after a request from Dotcom’s lawyers to postpone it was turned down earlier this week.

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

TorrentFreak: Netflix Wants to Make VPN Piracy Obsolete

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

netflix-logoAfter years of waiting, Netflix officially launches in Australia today.

As a result, the tens of thousands of Aussie “VPN-pirates” who already used the U.S. version through a loophole, can now use it legally in their home country.

While Netflix’s rollout is a step in the right direction, the content selection will also be somewhat of a disappointment to those who are used to the U.S. offering. Because of complicated licensing agreements Netflix has a much more limited content library Down Under.

For the movie and TV studios geographical licensing agreements are a core part of their business. However, it also means that many Aussie pirates won’t be canceling their VPN subscriptions just yet.

Speaking out on the controversial VPN use, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that the problem can be fixed if the industry starts to offer the same content globally, without artificial barriers.

According to Hastings the VPN issue is a relatively small problem compared to traditional forms of piracy, and relatively easy to make obsolete.

“The VPN thing is a small little asterisk compared to piracy,” Reed notes. “Piracy is really the problem around the world.”

According to Netflix the ‘VPN pirates’ are willing to pay, they just can’t get what they want through their local Netflix.

“The basic solution is for Netflix to get global and have its content be the same all around the world so there’s no incentive to [use a VPN]. Then we can work on the more important part which is piracy,” Hastings says.

The availability issue is fixable, Hastings believes, although it’s questionable whether Hollywood is ready to switch to global licensing deals.

Lacking availability is at the root of both traditional and VPN piracy and Netflix hopes that the industry will address this problem. If that’s done, they can focus on those pirates who simply don’t want to pay.

“The key thing about piracy is that some fraction of it is because [users] couldn’t get the content. That part we can fix. Some part of piracy however is because they just don’t want to pay. That’s a harder part. As an industry, we need to fix global content,” Netflix’s CEO says.

Hastings’ comments are in line with the stance of Europe’s Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip. The EU commissioner previously called for the abolition of Netflix’s geographical restrictions in Europe, labeling them as “discrimination”.

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

TorrentFreak: UK Blocking More Than 100 Pirate Sites After New Court Order

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

cassetteFollowing a series of High Court orders six UK ISPs are required to block subscriber access to many of the largest pirate sites.

The efforts started in 2012 and the list continued to grow in the years that followed.

In a new wave the BPI, which represents the major record labels, has teamed up with music licensing outfit Phonographic Performance Limited to obtain an order targeting a series of MP3 download sites.

This latest round expands the UK blocklist by 17 MP3 download sites, including stafaband.info, rnbxclusive.se, plixid.com and mp3.li. It brings the total number of blocked sites over a hundred, 110 to be precise.

Nearly all of the newly blocked sites are so-called MP3 search engines. However, the list also includes megasearch.co, a website that allows users to find files on the Mega cloud storage service founded by Kim Dotcom.

Plixid
plixid

A few days ago several providers including Sky, BT and Virgin implemented the new changes, making it harder for their subscribers to reach these sites. The other ISPs are expected to follow suit during the days to come.

Thus far the sealed Court order hasn’t been released to the public but the list of 17 sites was confirmed to TorrentFreak by one of the major ISPs, which preferred not to comment on the latest blocking round.

Because the ISPs have given up on defending their position in court, it is now a mere formality for copyright holders to have a pirate site banned. However, the blocking efforts are not without cost.

Leaked information previously revealed that even an unopposed application for a blocking order costs copyright holders around £14,000 per website. This brings the total costs of the requesting parties well over a million pounds.

TF approached the BPI for a comment on the latest blocking efforts, but we have yet to hear back.

—-

The full list of sites that are currently blocked in the UK is as follows:

New: Bursalagu, Fullsongs, Mega-Search, Mp3 Monkey, Mp3.li, Mp3Bear, MP3Boo, Mp3Clan, Mp3Olimp, MP3s.pl, Mp3soup, Mp3Truck, Musicaddict, My Free MP3, Plixid, RnBXclusive and STAFA Band.

Previously blocked: watchseries.lt, Stream TV, Watchseries-online, Cucirca, Movie25, watchseries.to, Iwannawatch, Warez BB, Ice Films, Tehparadox, Heroturko, Scene Source,, Rapid Moviez, Iwatchonline, Los Movies, Isohunt, Torrentz.pro, Torrentbutler, IP Torrents, Sumotorrent, Torrent Day, Torrenting, BitSoup, TorrentBytes, Seventorrents, Torrents.fm, Yourbittorrent, Tor Movies , Demonoid, torrent.cd, Vertor, Rar BG, bittorrent.am, btdigg.org, btloft.com, bts.to, limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me, torlock.com, torrentbit.net, torrentdb.li, torrentdownload.ws, torrentexpress.net, torrentfunk.com, torrentproject.com, torrentroom.com, torrents.net, torrentus.eu, torrentz.cd, torrentzap.com, vitorrent.org.Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T and The Pirate Bay.

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

TorrentFreak: U.S. Court Extends Global Shutdown of DVD Ripping Software

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

dvdfLast year the decryption licensing outfit AACS launched a crackdown on DRM-circumvention software.

The company sued the makers of popular DVD ripping software DVDFab. It won a preliminary injunction based on the argument that the “DVDFab Group” violates the DMCA’s anti-circumvention clause, since their software can bypass DVD encryption.

Initially DVDFab did not respond to the court, so the order was entered by default. However, after the injunction was issued the company responded in the name of Feng Tao, with a request for the court to revise its earlier judgment.

One of the counterarguments DVDFab raised was that the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions don’t apply worldwide, and DVDFab was promising to no longer do business with U.S. customers.

“It is well-established that the Copyright Act doesn’t apply extra-territorially,” the company argued, asking the court to quash the injunction or limit it to the United States.

AACS contested the good intentions of DVDFab and showed the court that the software was still readily available to the U.S. public. According to AACS the circumvention software was still being offered and promoted though new domains and services.

For example, new circumvention tools and services were offered from TDMore.com, BluFab.com, Boooya.org, DVDFab.de, and FabImg.net, among others. To stop DVDFab from bypassing the court order, AACS asked for an updated injunction to cover these new products and domains.

This week District Court Judge Vernon Broderick ruled on the motions from both sides with AACS the clear winner

The Judge argues that DVDFab’s explanations for the continued offering of software in the U.S. are not credible so has ordered the seizure of several new domain names.

“Tao’s explanations for his continued trafficking of infringing products into the United States—the product is not his, the product was not created ‘primarily’ for AACS circumvention, or the product was not intended for U.S. users — is simply not credible. The record overwhelmingly demonstrates these statements are not true,” Judge Broderick writes.

The injunction (pdf) bars DVDFab from distributing its software in public and allows AACS to seize seizure a wide range domain names. In addition, the company’s social media accounts are to be blocked and other services including online banks cut off as well.

While the Judge understands that the DMCA doesn’t apply in other countries he argues that, considering DVDFab’s conduct after the initial injunction, it will only be effective if it applies worldwide.

“It was not my intention to sweep within the Preliminary Injunction lawful conduct, i.e. entirely extraterritorial conduct. However, Defendant’s recalcitrant persistence in accessing the United States market makes clear to me that no more narrowly-tailored relief would be effective,” the Judge writes.

As a result DVDFab will lose control over TDMore.com, BluFab.cn, BluFab.com, Boooya.org, DVDFab.de, DVDFab.cn, FabImg.net, Woookao.cn, and Woookao.com which were found to be in violation of the DMCA. Two other domains, TDMore.cn and Boooya.com, were not added as there’s not enough evidence that they are operated by the software vendor.

There is no doubt that the broad injunction will severely impact the Chinese company. Aside from its domain names, the court also ordered payment processors to stop working with DVDFab, which will make it very hard for the company to sell its products anywhere in the world.

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

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 03/23/15

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

interstThis week we have four newcomers in our chart.

Interstellar 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) Interstellar 8.8 / trailer
2 (2) Exodus: Gods and Kings 6.2 / trailer
3 (5) Into The Woods 6.2 / trailer
4 (8) Focus 6.9 / trailer
5 (…) Wild Card 5.6 / trailer
6 (3) Fifty Shades of Grey 3.9 / trailer
7 (…) The Water Diviner 7.7 / trailer
8 (4) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 7.6 / trailer
9 (…) Paddington 7.4 / trailer
10 (…) Seventh Son 5.7 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: “Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt By Ratting on Software Pirates”

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

nopiracyWe hate to be repetitive here at TF, but the Business Software Alliance (BSA) leaves us little choice.

Representing major software companies, the BSA encourages people to report businesses that use unlicensed software.

If one of these reports results in a successful court case, the pirate snitch can look forward to a cash reward, which could amount to a million dollars per case.

According to a BSA executive the campaign has been very successful. It has resulted in many referrals and a decrease in software piracy rates.

Sounds great, but the way BSA recruits their snitches on Facebook is dubious and somewhat surrealistic. Instead of appealing to people’s ethics, the software group chooses to frames the campaign as a get-rich-quick scheme.

BSA continues to surprise us with new ads mainly targeting people who are short on money. For example, a few days ago this ad appeared in the timeline of thousands of Facebook users.

“Looking to pay off your credit card debt? If you know a company using unlicensed business software, file a report today to be eligible for a cash reward,” BSA’s latest Facebook ad reads.

bsacc

It appears that every time we think BSA has found a new low, they come with a new ad that’s even more questionable. During the holidays, for example, they also appealed to the fact that many people are short on cash.

“Money can get tight during the holidays. If you know a company using unlicensed business software, file a report today to be eligible for a cash reward,’ the holiday ad reads, and there are more examples here.

bsaholiday

While the BSA promises a quick cash solution, those who decide to report a pirating company are in it for the long haul. In the fine print it’s explained that people will only get a reward if a successful legal proceeding results in a settlement.

We reached out to the BSA find out more about how many people have been paid since the start of the campaign, but we have yet to hear back.

To be continued…

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

TorrentFreak: SXSW 2015 on BitTorrent: 8.42 GB of Free Music

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

sxsw2015Since 2005 the SXSW music festival has published thousands of DRM-free tracks from participating artists.

For some of the first releases the festival organizers created the torrents for the artist showcases themselves, but since 2008 this task has been in the hands of the public.

In 2014 SXSW replaced the MP3 files with Soundcloud links, which complicated the archiving process. Luckily, this year all of the regular SXSW showcase MP3s are freely available again on the festival site for sampling purposes.

In common with previous years, Ben Stolt has taken the time and effort to upload all of the MP3s onto BitTorrent with proper ID3 tags. The 2015 release is out now and comes in two torrents containing 1,291 tracks.

That’s 8.42 gigabytes of free music in total, which is a new record.

“These torrents include tracks that can be previewed on the SXSW website for SXSW 2015. This year’s includes 1,291 files totaling 8.42GB, making it the largest to date,” Stolt notes.

All the tracks released for the previous editions are also still available for those people who want to fill up their MP3 players without having to invest thousands of dollars. The 2005 – 2015 archives now total more than 55 gigabytes.

Every year SXSW torrents are a great success, with many thousands of music aficionados downloading gigabytes of free music across virtually every genre from both established acts and upcoming bands.

This year’s SXSW music festival is currently underway in Austin, Texas and ends tomorrow. The torrents, however, are expected to live on for as long as there are people sharing.

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

TorrentFreak: Vuze Speeds Up Torrent Downloads Through “Swarm Merging”

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

Vuze_bw_logoVuze is one of the most recognized BitTorrent brands. The client is used by millions of people each day and has a steadily growing user-base.

In recent years Vuze’s BitTorrent client has evolved into an all-in-one download solution, with built-in search, DVD-burning capabilities and device integration

While it’s certainly not the most lightweight client around, Vuze has some interesting options for more demanding BitTorrent users. With the latest 5.6 release the new “swarm merging” feature stands out.

The new feature allows users to find duplicate files shared elsewhere via BitTorrent, and combines the seeds and peers from multiple sources.

“Vuze automatically detects when two or more of your incomplete downloads share one or more files of identical size and will attempt to merge the torrent swarms to download the file faster or, possibly, complete an existing file with bad availability,” Vuze explains.

For example, if you download a copy of LibreOffice, Vuze can search for torrents that have the same files and combine these swarms. This is particularly useful when a torrent has no seeds or very few active ones.

Below is a screenshot of one download being pulled from two swarms. In this case it’s downloading 1.2MB per second from the original torrent and an additional 1.0MB per second from the merged swarm.

A merged swarm
SwarmMergeEx4

The merging feature makes use of Vuze’s swarm discovery tool and finds files through the Distributed Hash Table (DHT). It’s relatively primitive and based on file-sizes, but can be a life-safer nonetheless.

Another new feature that’s worth mentioning is improved support for the anonymous I2P network. While not mentioned in the official 5.6 release announcement, users who download a torrent with an I2P tracker are now prompted to install the corresponding plugin.

I2P plug
i2pvuze

This I2P plug will likely increase the number of users on the network, increasing the download speeds as well. Vuze believes that it makes sense to support I2P as many of its users are interested in communicating anonymously.

“I2P is used by many people who care about their privacy: activists, journalists, as well as the average person. The Vuze user can fall into all of these categories,” a Vuze spokesperson informs TF.

The latest stable release of Vuze for Mac, Linux and Windows is available at the official website. More details on the swarm merging feature can be found in the Vuze wiki.

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

TorrentFreak: YIFY Torrents Faces Domain Suspension, Moves to YTS.to

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

YTSOperated by the popular ‘YIFY’ release group, YTS has become one of the most popular pirate brands.

The group releases its movies on various popular torrent sites and its home base YTS.re has also become increasingly popular.

Over the past year YTS gathered fame as the movie source for the “pirate Netflix” app Popcorn Time. Pretty much all popular Popcorn Time forks get their movie releases from the YTS API.

This connection further raised YTS’s profile and turned it into a prime target for various copyright holder groups. Even the U.S. Government chimed in, labeling YTS a notorious pirate site.

Apparently this pressure has paid off. YTS is now being forced to switch to a new domain after being advised by French domain name registry FRNIC that its .re domain is doomed.

“We got a warning from FRNIC that the domain is frozen and will be suspended by the end of March,” a YTS admin informs TorrentFreak while announcing YTS.to as their new domain.

It’s unclear where the complaint originates from, but the MPAA and BREIN would be on top of the list if YTS has to take a guess. The admin is happy, however, that FRNIC informed them in advance so they have time to inform users about the transition.

“It was very nice of FRNIC to give us more than a week prep time. I see too many cases were the registrar closes an account without warning,” the YTS admin says.

The MPAA and other anti-piracy groups are increasingly pressuring domain name registrars and registries to cut off “pirate” domain names. While not all organizations are as eager to comply as FRNIC, YTS doesn’t blame them for the suspension.

“I don’t blame them for caving into threats. After all, 10 to 50 USD per year is not enough to warrant the hassle of dealing with lawyers and 3rd party law enforcement bodies. It’s easier and cheaper to just drop the client,” the admin concludes.

Despite the unforeseen move, YTS will continue to release the latest movie torrents from its new YTS.to domain.

For its users the implications are limited to updating their bookmarks. The various Popcorn Time forks will have to update their API links to point to the new domain name, but other than that things should work as usual.

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

TorrentFreak: Exposing Canadian Pirates Costs $11 Per IP-Address

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

hurt-locker-lawMore than two years ago movie studio Voltage Pictures took its legal crusade against pirating BitTorrent users to Canada.

After targeting tens of thousands of people in the US, the company hoped to expose 2,000 Internet subscribers of Canadian ISP TekSavvy. The studio behind “The Hurt Locker” argued that they have a solid case under the Copyright Act.

The efforts led to objections from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) who demanded safeguards so Voltage wouldn’t demand hefty fines from subscribers without oversight. The court agreed on this, but allowed the customers to be exposed.

The only matter that remained were the costs associated with identifying the alleged pirates. According to Voltage these would only be a few hundred Canadian dollars, but Teksavvy claimed more that $350,000.

This week the Federal Court ruled on the matter (pdf), settling the costs at $21,557. This includes $17,057 in technical administrative costs and $4,500 in legal fees associated with the IP-address lookups.

The total sum translates to roughly $11 per IP-address, which is a tiny fraction of the thousands of dollars in settlements Voltage usually requests.

The Court decided not to award any assessment costs, noting that both parties are intent on disparaging each other’s business practices. Taking claims from both sides into account it concluded that neither party should be rewarded for its conduct.

“TekSavvy, without justification, has greatly exaggerated its claim, while Voltage has unreasonably sought to trivialize it based on unreliable and largely irrelevant evidence,” Judge Aronovitch writes.

In the future it would be wise to agree on a fixed rate for linking IP-addresses to the personal details of subscribers before taking the matter to court, the Judge further notes.

“The best practice, in my view, would be for the rights holder to ascertain, in advance, with clarity and precision, the method of correlation used by the ISP, as well as the time and costs attendant on the execution of the work based, to begin, on a hypothetical number of IP addresses.”

The verdict opens the door for more of these cases in Canada. The question is, however, whether the costs and the restrictions still make it worthwhile.

University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, who followed the case closely, believes this troll-type activity may not be as financially viable as Voltage has hoped.

“With the cap on liability for non-commercial infringement, the further costs of litigating against individuals, the actual value of the works, and the need to obtain court approval on demand letters, it is hard to see how this is a business model that works,” Geist notes.

Voltage, however, appears to be determined to continue its actions against the subscribers. The studio’s lawyer is happy with the verdict and says the decision “confirms the court’s commitment to facilitate anti-piracy and allow companies like Voltage to pursue pirates.”

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

TorrentFreak: Porn Group Cracks Down on Pirate Tube Sites

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

metartPorn is huge on the Internet, and so is pirated porn.

In common with other entertainment industries adult producers are battling with a constant stream of illegal content. Most of this content is enjoyed via so-called tube sites where videos can be streamed instantly.

In an effort to put a stop to the unauthorized streams MetArt Network has decided to take several pirate tube sites to court.

The group has filed ten lawsuits in Seattle, Washington, targeting the operators of Spankbang.com, Pornvideoxo.com, Pornburst.xxx, Sextvx.com and other streaming sites that offer their content without permission.

The site owners are accused of various copyright and trademark violations, as well as unfair competition. According to MetArt the sites hide behind the DMCA while profiting heavily from the illegal videos they host.

“The DMCA safe harbor provisions have been systematically abused by internet copyright infringers in an attempt to garner protection for pirate websites displaying copyrighted adult entertainment content without license or authority for free viewing to the public,” the complaint (pdf) reads.

“Under a veneer of DMCA compliance, the owners and operators attempt to hide behind the safe harbor provisions while monetizing the website through premium membership programs and substantial advertising contracts.”

MetArt points out that the site’s operators take no measures to ensure that pirated videos stay offline, nor do they enforce a policy to ban repeat copyright infringers among their users.

Instead of taking proactive steps against piracy, the tube sites are “willfully blind” to the infringements while using MetArt’s brand to advertise its services, the adult group claims.

“Defendants’ acts and omissions allow them to profit from their infringement while imposing the burden of monitoring Defendants’ website onto copyright holders, without sufficient means to prevent continued and unabated infringement,” the complaint reads.

One problem MetArt faces is that some site owners hide behind private Whois registrations. The company has therefore asked the court for a subpoena against Whoisguard, Enom, CloudFlare and various other service providers so it can identify those responsible.

Through the lawsuits MetArt eventually hopes to recoup damages which can run into the millions of dollars. In addition, they’re asking the court to transfer the sites’ domain names to stop future infringements.

Whether the adult group’s arguments will hold up in court has yet to be seen but the cases will be watched closely by the adult industry as well as the major Hollywood studios, who face a similar ‘pirate’ steaming problem.

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

TorrentFreak: Universal Music Hijacks YouTube Videos of Indie Artist

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

youtubesadsmallDay in and day out automated bots detect and report millions of alleged copyright infringements, which are processed by popular web services without a human ever looking at them.

Needless to say, this process is far from flawless, but YouTube’s takedown system is particularly problematic. YouTube allows copyright holders to upload their work into a fingerprint database so matching content can easily be detected.

This results in some rather hilarious mismatches, such as a cat purring video being flagged as pirated music. But there are also mistakes of a different order, where original artists are targeted over their own work.

These include Norwegian musician Bjorn Lynne who has had two of his videos hijacked by Universal Music Group (UMG) which is now running ads alongside his work.

“Can I just state publicly that I hate Universal Music Group. For the second time now, they have hijacked my music and claimed ownership of it in all YouTube videos that include my music, thereby monetizing my music,” Lynne writes.

Apparently UMG has the rights to an audiobook that uses Lynne’s music track “Kingdom of the Persians” as background music. This isn’t a problem, as his music can be freely used as long as the license fees are paid.

However, UMG have entered the audiobook in YouTube’s Content-ID system, and as a result they’ve hijacked the ads on the original video. Making matters even worse, UMG also rejected Lynne’s appeal through YouTube after he explained the situation.

“One thing would have been to have done this unwittingly, by mistake. But I have ‘disputed’ the claim on YouTube, written an explanation and told them about the origins of this music — then waited the FULL 30 DAYS that the claimant has to process the dispute, only to be told that UMG have reviewed the dispute and UPHELD their claim!” Lynne notes.

This means that the indie artist has no further tools to get the ads back on his music, not via YouTube at least. He could of course sue the largest music corporation in the world, but without a heap of cash in hand that’s not really an option either.

“The only reasonable thing to do here, for me, would be to hire a top lawyer to go after them legally. But realistically, it’s like $350 per hour for a lawyer and a 3 hour minimum for a case, so I’m looking at over $1,000 just to get something started.”

“I feel powerless and I’m left to watch my music being raped by a media giant, who sits behind closed curtains, ignores the rightful owner of the music and just goes ‘Nah, we’ll take it anyway’. Screw you, Universal Music Group!”

According to Lynne this is not the first time his music has been hijacked. The same thing happened in the past with the track “Mystical Pyramids,” and it may very well happen again in the future.

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

TorrentFreak: Internet Providers Win Court Case Over “Pirate Tax”

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

cassetteOver the past several years Belgian music rights group SABAM has pressured Internet providers to take responsibility for online piracy.

An effort to force ISPs to monitor and filter copyrighted material found itself stranded in the European Court, but the group didn’t give up.

In one of its latest attempts SABAM sued the Belgian ISPs Belgacom, Telenet and Voo, claiming a 3.4 percent cut of all Internet subscriber fees as compensation for the rampant piracy they enable through their networks.

SABAM argued that authors should be paid for all “public broadcasts” of musical compositions. Pirated downloads and streams on the Internet are such public broadcasts according to the group, and therefore require proper compensation.

This proposed “pirate tax” would not make it legal for consumers to download from unauthorized sources.

In their defense the ISPs countered that they are not liable for pirating consumers, as they are mere conduits. ISPs simply forward information without knowing what travels through their networks.

This week the Brussels Court ruled in favor of the Internet provider. According to the court ISPs should be characterized as mere conduits instead of communication tools for public broadcasts.

As a result, the music right group is not allowed to demand royalties from ISPs, which means that the controversal “pirate tax” is off the table for now.

SABAM is disappointed with the verdict which, according to CEO Christophe Depreter, opposes the general view of the European Court of Justice.

“The European Court of Justice has frequently stressed that the economic benefit that someone has from relaying works, is often crucial for the decision if this is an act of communication to the public that falls within the exclusive right of the author,” Depreter says.

The music rights group is still considering what steps to take in response. Next week SABAM will announce whether or not it will appeal the verdict.

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

TorrentFreak: Secure Pirate Bay ‘Unblocked’ By Most UK ISPs

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

pirate bayFollowing a series of blocking orders issued by the High Court, several UK ISPs are required to restrict access to many of the world’s largest torrent sites and streaming portals.

The most prominent target of these blocks is without doubt The Pirate Bay. As one of the most visited sites on the Internet it has been a thorn in the side of the entertainment industries for years.

The Pirate Bay was one of the first sites on the UK blocklist and access has been barred since 2012. Or rather should have been barred.

For a few weeks most UK Internet subscribers have been able to access TPB just fine. Ever since the site switched to CloudFlare and made the secure https://thepiratebay.se version default, it has become widely accessible again.

TorrentFreak did a quick round among subscribers of various ISPs and found that The Pirate Bay is no longer blocked by Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BT and EE. At the time of writing only Sky appears to block the site consistently.

As a result, The Pirate Bay’s direct UK traffic is steadily increasing.

The Pirate Bay is not the only site that’s widely accessible again. The same applies to the https versions of Torrentz.eu, Rarbg.com, Isohunt.to and various other ‘blocked’ sites. For some sites, including Kickass.to and Extratorrent, the results vary per ISP.

The operator of the Pirate Bay proxy ilikerainbows.co, which had its own domain name added to the blocklist last week, believes that the unblocking relates to the use of https strict.

“I believe it’s because of how CloudFlare works, Simply put when you enable HTTPS Strict on CloudFlare they remove the HTTP Header from the request during HTTPS Connections, thus when they try to inspect the header to a list of ‘banned’ websites it won’t register,” Rainbows’ operator tells TF.

“So any site that uses CloudFlare, has a properly configured and signed SSL Certificate and enables HTTPS-Strict under CloudFlare should be able to evade the ban that’s imposed by Virgin and perhaps other providers,” he adds.

What further complicates the matter is the fact that it’s harder to block The Pirate Bay by its IP-address, as the true location is hidden by CloudFlare’s network of addresses now.

While it may be harder to block sites, it’s not impossible. Sky appears to have no trouble keeping sites blocked, although that probably requires some rather advanced and invasive monitoring tools.

TF asked several ISPs for a comment on the issue and Virgin Media informed us that they still comply with the court order.

“Virgin Media is required to block certain sites by the UK High Court. As a responsible ISP, we comply with court orders addressed to us,” a spokesperson informed TF this morning.

Virgin’s comment suggests that the https version of TPB is not covered by the order at all, and that it was previously blocked by IP-address. However, Virgin couldn’t comment on this suggestion.

We’ll update this article as more information comes in.

FCT ty

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

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 03/16/15

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

interstThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Interstellar 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 (…) Interstellar 8.8 / trailer
2 (1) Exodus: Gods and Kings 6.2 / trailer
3 (3) Fifty Shades of Grey 3.9 / trailer
4 (2) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 7.6 / trailer
5 (…) Into The Woods 6.2 / trailer
6 (6) Birdman 8.2 / trailer
7 (4) The Imitation Game 8.2 / trailer
8 (…) Focus 6.9 / trailer
9 (8) Kingsman: The Secret Service (CAM) 8.2 / trailer
10 (5) Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb 6.4 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: U.S. Net Neutrality Has a Massive Copyright Loophole

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

copyright-brandedIn 2007 we uncovered that Comcast was systematically slowing down BitTorrent traffic to ease the load on its network.

The Comcast case was the first to ignite a broad discussion about Net Neutrality. It became the setup for the FCC’s Open Internet Order which was released three years later.

This Open Internet Order was the foundation of the Net Neutrality rules the FCC adopted two weeks ago. The big change compared to the earlier attempt is that ISPs can now be regulated as carriers under Title II.

Interestingly, the exact language of the new rules remained secret until three days ago. The broader concepts, including a ban on paid prioritization and blocking were known, but the fine print was kept secret until everything was signed off on.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the full text has quite a few caveats.

When we read the new rules it’s clear that the “copyright loophole” many activists protested against in the past is still there. In short, ISPs can still throttle or block certain types of traffic as long as it’s related to copyright infringement.

In its most recent order the FCC has listed the following rule:

“Nothing in this part prohibits reasonable efforts by a provider of broadband Internet access service to address copyright infringement or other unlawful activity.”

The FCC argues that copyright infringement hurts the economy, so ISPs are free to take appropriate measures against this type of traffic. This includes the voluntary censoring of pirate sites, something the MPAA and RIAA are currently lobbying for.

“For example, the no-blocking rule should not be invoked to protect copyright infringement, which has adverse consequences for the economy, nor should it protect child pornography. We reiterate that our rules do not alter the copyright laws and are not intended to prohibit or discourage voluntary practices undertaken to address or mitigate the occurrence of copyright infringement,” the FCC explains.

Interestingly, this issue has been pretty much absent from the discussion in recent months. This is curious as many activist groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), protested heavily against the copyright loophole in the past, issuing warnings over massive collateral damage.

“Carving a copyright loophole in net neutrality would leave your lawful activities at the mercy of overbroad copyright filtering schemes, and we already have plenty of experience with copyright enforcers targeting legitimate users by mistake, carelessness, or design,” the EFF wrote at the time.

So why was there little outrage about the copyright loophole this time around? TF contacted EFF staff attorney Kit Walsh who admits that the issue didn’t get much attention, but that it’s certainly problematic.

“The language about ‘lawful’ content and applications creates a serious loophole that seems to leave it up to ISPs to make judgments about what content is lawful or infringes a copyright, subject to challenges after the fact about whether their conduct was ‘reasonable’,” Walsh says.

“It’s one thing to say that ISPs can block subject to a valid court order, quite another to let ISPs make decisions about the lawfulness of content for themselves,” he adds.

According to Walsh the issue is particularly concerning because many ISPs also have their own media properties. This means that their incentive to block copyright infringement may be greater than the incentive to protect fair use material.

For example, although the Net Neutrality rules prescribe no blocking and throttling, ISPs could still block access to The Pirate Bay and other alleged pirate sites as an anti-piracy measure. Throttling BitTorrent traffic in general is also an option, as long as it’s framed as reasonable network management.

A related concern is that ISPs can use privacy invasive technologies such as Deep Packet Inspection to monitor users’ traffic for possible copyright violations. The FCC didn’t include any protections against these practices. Instead, it simply noted that people can use SSL, VPNs and TOR to circumvent it.

“The FCC’s response to concerns about deep packet inspection is that users can just use SSL, VPNs and TOR,” Walsh says.

“Of course SSL, VPNs, and TOR are great tools for Internet users to preserve their privacy, but this approach of leaving users to fend for themselves isn’t a great start for the FCC on protecting the privacy of broadband subscribers,” he adds.

The above makes it clear that Net Neutrality has its limits. The problem remains, however, that it’s still unclear how far ISPs can go under the “copyright” and “network management” loopholes.

Previously, the EFF seriously doubted if it was a good idea at all to give FCC control over the Internet. However, as things stand now they are happy with the new rules, even though they aren’t perfect.

Title II regulation with forbearance was the main goal, and that was achieved. In addition, the EFF is also content with the bright line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of “lawful” traffic.

“We won a large portion of what we argued for, thanks to a broad coalition of advocates and the voices of four million Americans, but we did not get everything we wanted. We’re clearly better off overall with the order than without, but we’re not going to hesitate to criticize the areas where the FCC gets it wrong,” Walsh says.

Fingers crossed….

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

TorrentFreak: EZTV.it Domain Compromised By ‘Scammers’

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

eztv-logo-smallEarlier this year EZTV ran into trouble with the Italian domain name registry NIC.it over some paperwork.

Facing a looming confiscation of the EZTV.it domain name, they saw no other option than to switch to a new home. Since then the site has been serving its torrents from the EZTV.ch domain.

Perhaps out of habit or because they don’t know any better, many users still visit the EZTV.it domain. For a few weeks the .IT domain was banned by the registry so visitors eventually had to find EZTV’s new home.

This week the position changed. Starting a few days ago the .IT domain became accessible again, showing what appears to be the real EZTV website. However, this surprise comeback is far from official.

TorrentFreak has learned that a domain squatter took over the popular name after the registry surprisingly listed it for sale again. In the domain whois EZTV’s “EZCLOUD LIMITED” is listed as the registrant, but EZTV’s Novaking told TF that they are not in control of the domain.

“Scammers got it a while ago,” Novaking tells TF. “Oddly this happened through a domain snapback company in Italy.”

What makes the situation particularly problematic is that the official ETZV domain has been suffering downtime for more than a week. This means that the .IT domain is being visited even more than before, especially because it even lists recent torrents.

While there are no signs of malicious practices yet, some users noted worrying problems with the “compromised” .IT domain. For example, the login doesn’t work and people are randomly logged into other people’s accounts. As a result, strangers can read people’s private messages and access their personalized show lists.

Many users have spotted the problems and report their experiences in the forums on the compromised site.

“Identity crisis here too. I’m ganen89, pedralbes, KathyCuty and some other random people. When i go to ‘list my shows’ it is a totally different list of series. On the ‘Show watched’ [there’s a] totally different list,” one user reports.

For now it’s unclear how this can occur. It’s unlikely that the database has been hacked as the .IT domain still points to a server owned by the real EZTV. In any case, users are being warned to avoid the compromised domain at all costs.

The official EZTV team is still working on resolving the problems at their end and hope to have the official site running smoothly again in the near future.

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

TorrentFreak: Mega Ponders Legal Action in Response to Damaging Paypal Ban

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

mega_logoSeptember last year the Digital Citizens Alliance and NetNames released a report that looked into the business models of “shadowy” file-storage sites.

Titled “Behind The Cyberlocker Door: A Report How Shadowy Cyberlockers Use Credit Card Companies to Make Millions,” the report offers insight into the money streams that end up at these alleged pirate sites.

The research claims that the sites in question are mostly used for copyright infringement. But while there are indeed many shadowy hosting services, many were surprised to see the Kim Dotcom-founded Mega.co.nz on there.

For entertainment industry groups the report offered an opportunity to put pressure on Visa and MasterCard. In doing so they received support from U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, who was also the lead sponsor of the defunct controversial Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Senator Leahy wrote a letter to the credit card companies claiming that the sites mentioned in the report have “no legitimate purpose or activity,” hoping they would cut their connections to the mentioned sites.

Visa and MasterCard took these concerns to heart and pressed PayPal to cut off its services to Mega, which eventually happened late last month. Interestingly, PayPal cited Mega’s end-to-end-encryption as one of the key problems, as that would make it harder to see what files users store.

The PayPal ban has been a huge blow for Mega, both reputation-wise and financially. And the realization that the controversial NetNames report is one of the main facilitators of the problems is all the more frustrating.

TorrentFreak spoke with CEO Graham Gaylard, who previously characterized the report as “grossly untrue and highly defamatory,” to discuss whether Mega still intends to take steps against the UK-based NetNames for their accusations.

Initially, taking legal action against NetNames for defamation was difficult, as UK law requires the complaining party to show economic damage. However, after the PayPal ban this shouldn’t be hard to do.

Gaylard is traveling through Europe at the moment and he notes that possible repercussions against the damaging report are high on the agenda.

“Yes, I am here to see Mega’s London-based legal counsel to discuss the next steps in progressing the NetNames’ response,” Gaylard informs TF.

Mega’s CEO couldn’t release any details on a possible defamation lawsuit, but he stressed that his company will fiercely defend itself against smear campaigns.

“Mega has been operating, and continues to operate a completely legitimate and transparent business. Unfortunately now, with the blatant, obvious, political pressure and industry lobbying against Mega, Mega needs to defend itself and will now cease taking a passive stance,” Gaylard says.

According to the CEO Mega is running a perfectly legal business. The allegation that it’s a piracy haven is completely fabricated. Like any other storage provider, there is copyrighted content on Mega’s servers, but that’s a tiny fraction of the total stored.

To illustrate this, Gaylard mentions that they only receive a few hundred takedown notices per month. In addition, he notes more than 99.7% of the 18 million files that are uploaded per day are smaller than 20MB in size, not enough to share a movie or TV-show.

These statistics are certainly not the hallmark of a service with “no legitimate purpose or activity,” as was claimed.

While the PayPal ban is a major setback, Mega is still doing well in terms of growth. They have 15 million registered customers across 200 countries, and hundreds of thousands of new users join every month.

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

TorrentFreak: Music Industry Demands Action Against “Pirate” Domain Names

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

cassetteIn recent years copyright holders have demanded stricter anti-piracy measures from ISPs, search engines, advertising networks and payment processors, with varying results.

Continuing this trend various entertainment industry groups are now going after companies that offer domain name services.

The MPAA, for example, has joined the domain name system oversight body ICANN and is pushing for policy changes from the inside.

A few days ago the RIAA added more pressure. The music group sent a letter to ICANN on behalf of several industry players asking for tougher measures against pirate domains.

The RIAA’s senior vice president Victoria Sheckler wants the Internet to be a safe place for all, where music creation and distribution can thrive.

“… we expect all in the internet ecosystem to take responsible measures to deter copyright infringement to help meet this goal,” she notes.

The music groups believe, however, that domain registrars don’t do enough to combat piracy. ICANN’s most recent registrar agreement states that domain names should not be used for copyright infringement, but most registrars fail to take action in response.

Instead, many registrars simply note that it’s not their responsibility to act against pirate sites.

“We […] do not see how it is an appropriate response from a registrar to tell a complainant that it has investigated or responded appropriately to a copyright abuse complaint by stating it does not provide non-registrar related services to the site in question,” Sheckler writes.

In what appears to be a coordinated effort to pressure ICANN and other players in the domain name industry, the U.S. Government also chimed in last week.

According to the U.S. Trade Representative, Canada-based Tucows is reported as “an example of a registrar that fails to take action when notified of its clients’ infringing activity.”

Despite the critique, it’s far from clear that Tucows and other registrars are doing anything wrong. In fact, the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that there is no law requiring registrars to disconnect pirate sites.

“Domain registrars do not have an obligation to respond to a random third party’s complaints about the behavior of a domain name user. Unless ordered by a court, registrars cannot be compelled to take down a website,” notes Jeremy Malcolm, EFF’s Senior Global Policy Analyst.

“What the entertainment industry groups are doing is exaggerating the obligations that registrars of global top-level domains (gTLDs) have under their agreement with ICANN to investigate reports of illegal activity by domain owners, an expansion of responsibilities that is, to put it mildly, extremely controversial, and not reflected in current laws or norms.”

Law or no law, the entertainment industry groups are not expected to back down. They hope that ICANN will help to convince registrars that pirate sites should be disconnected, whether they like it or not.

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

TorrentFreak: Ebook Library Punishes Anti-Piracy Outfit For Wrongful DMCA Notices

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

tueblLike many other Internet-based services, The Ultimate Ebook Library (TUEBL) has to process numerous takedown requests to make sure that pirated content is swiftly removed from the site.

Unfortunately, not all requests they receive are legitimate. According to TUEBL there’s one company that stands out negatively, and that’s the London-based outfit MUSO.

When browsing through the takedown notices TUEBL founder Travis McCrea stumbled upon several automated requests that were submitted by MUSO, each listing inaccurate information.

The takedown notices were not merely incorrect, according to McCrea. They also circumvented the site’s CAPTCHA system, which is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

This isn’t the first time TUEBL has noticed problems with MUSO’s takedown tactics. The company previously tried to remove several legitimately hosted titles, including a Creative Commons licensed book by Cory Doctorow.

“A year ago, after another issue where they were sending requests without any of the required information, they had filed a wrongful DMCA request for one of our featured authors Laurel Russwurm, and we sent them a warning,” McCrea tells TF.

“They further used our system to send a DMCA request for a book by Cory Doctorow. At that time we sent them an $150 invoice for our time reverting their improper DMCA request. When they didn’t reply, we let it slide… not wanting to make waves.”

MUSO never paid the $150 ‘fine’ and TUEBL initially let them get away with that. But after the recent mistakes McCrea decided that enough is enough.

On Sunday evening TUEBL sent the anti-piracy company an ultimatum. If MUSO fails to pay up, the company will be banned from sending further notices. In addition, hundreds of previously removed books will be restored.

“Today we are going to insist that your $150 fine be paid, or we will cut off all MUSO IP addresses, computers, and/or servers from accessing our DMCA page. Emailed requests will also be rejected as SPAM and all requests to be removed will have to come directly from the copyright holder instead of MUSO,” TUEBL wrote to the company.

MUSO has until 10PM PST today to respond, but thus far TUEBL hasn’t received a reply. The ebook library is still holding out for a peaceful resolution, but as the hours pass by this becomes less likely.

Despite the current problems, TUEBL’s founder says that the site respects copyright and notes that the amount of infringing material on its server is less than one percent of all books. However, wrongful takedown notices are making it harder to keep the site clean.

“DMCA abuse is a real threat to not only community websites like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and our own… but it also makes it more difficult to successfully process legitimate DMCA requests by authors who have had their copyright violated,” McCrea says.

“We have decided to fight this, not in spite of authors and their rights regarding their work, but rather to protect authors and to ensure our automated system remains open for them to use for the rare cases that copyrighted material make it onto our site,” he adds.

TF contacted MUSO for a comment on the allegations, but we haven’t heard back from the company at the time of publication.

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

TorrentFreak: UK ISPs Quietly Block Sites That List Pirate Bay Proxies

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

pirate bayFollowing a series of High Court orders, six UK ISPs are required to block access to many of the world’s largest torrent sites and streaming portals.

The blocks are somewhat effective, at least in preventing subscribers from accessing the domains directly. However, there are also plenty of workarounds.

For many sites that are blocked one or more proxy sites emerge. These proxies allow people to access the blocked sites and effectively bypass the restrictions put in place by the court.

The copyright holders are not happy with these loopholes and have asked ISPs to add the proxies to their filters, which they have done on several occasions.

However, restricting access to proxies did not provide a silver bullet either as new ones continue to appear. This week the blocking efforts were stepped up a notch and are now targeting sites that merely provide an overview of various Pirate Bay proxies.

In other words, UK ISPs now restrict access to sites for linking to Pirate Bay proxies.

Among the blocked sites are piratebayproxy.co.uk, piratebayproxylist.com and ukbay.org. Both sites are currently inaccessible on Virgin Media and TalkTalk, and other providers are expected to follow suit.

virginblock

TF spoke with Dan, the operator of UKBay.org, who’s baffled by the newly implemented blockade. He moved his site to a new domain to make the site accessible again, for the time being at least.

“The new blocks are unbelievable and totally unreasonable. To block a site that simply links to another site just shows the level of censorship we are allowing ISP’s to get away with,” Dan says.

“UKBay is not even a PirateBay proxy. It simply provides links to proxies. If they continue blocking sites, that link to sites, that link to sites.. there’l be nothing left,” he adds.

One of the other blocked sites, piratebayproxy.co.uk, doesn’t have any direct links to infringing material. Instead, it provides an overview of short Pirate Bay news articles while listing the URLs of various proxies on the side.

Apparently, providing information about Pirate Bay proxies already warrants a spot on the UK blocklist.

tpbproxy

It is not a secret that the High Court orders give copyright holders the option to continually update the list of infringing domains. However, it’s questionable whether this should also include sites that do not link to any infringing material.

To our knowledge, it is the first time that this has happened.

The new additions were made as part of an existing High Court order that allowed copyright holders to block The Pirate Bay, a Virgin Media spokesperson informs us.

“Under the conditions of the original court order, the rightsholders have the authority to change the specific URLs or IP addresses that must be blocked by all major ISPs – not just Virgin Media. Such changes happen on a regular basis. There is no ‎extension or amendment to the original court order,” Virgin says.

As with earlier updates, the most recent changes are being made without a public announcement, which means that we don’t know precisely how many sites were added. We will update this article if more details arise.

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

TorrentFreak: Hollywood’s Anti-Piracy Secrets Must Be Revealed, Court Rules

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

lockMore than a year has passed since the MPAA defeated Hotfile, but the case has still been stirring in the background.

Hoping to find out more about Hollywood’s anti-piracy policies the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) previously asked the court to make several sealed documents available to the public.

These documents are part of the counterclaim Hotfile filed, where it accused Warner of repeatedly abusing the DMCA takedown process. In particular, the EFF wants the public to know how Hollywood’s anti-piracy policies and tools work.

District Court Judge Kathleen Williams sided with the EFF and ruled that it’s in the public interest to unseal the information. The MPAA, however, argued that this may hurt some of its members.

Information regarding Columbia Pictures’ anti-piracy policies, in particular, would still be beneficial to pirates for decades to come, the Hollywood group argued.

“Defendants have cited two specific pieces of information regarding Columbia’s enforcement policies that, if revealed to the public, could compromise Columbia’s ability to protect its copyrighted works,” the MPAA’s lawyers wrote.

In addition, anti-piracy vendor Vobile feared that having its pricing information revealed could severely hurt the company.

Judge Williams has now reviewed these and other arguments but ruled that sealing records indefinitely is not an option. In this case, the public interest in the records outweighs the concerns of the MPAA.

“In reaching this conclusion, the Court has weighed the parties’ interests in maintaining the confidentiality of the sealed entries, including Plaintiffs’ assertions that disclosure of the sealed information would undermine the effectiveness of their antipiracy systems and copyright enforcement abilities, as well as third-party Voible’s argument that disclosure of the sealed data would unfairly put it at economic risk, against the presumption in favor of public access to court records,” Williams writes (pdf).

As a result of this decision all sealed documents will be made public ten years after the case was filed, which is on February 8, 2021.

Previously, Warner Bros. already released some of the confidential documents. Among other things the unsealed records showed that Warner Bros. uses “sophisticated robots” to track down infringing content.

How damaging the other documents are to Hollywood’s anti-piracy efforts will become clear in five years. However, it’s unlikely to top the Sony-leak of last December, through which many sensitive anti-piracy strategies were already unveiled.

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

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 03/09/15

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

exodusThis week we have five newcomers in our chart.

Exodus: Gods and Kings 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 (…) Exodus: Gods and Kings 6.2 / trailer
2 (…) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 7.6 / trailer
3 (4) Fifty Shades of Grey 3.9 / trailer
4 (…) The Imitation Game 8.2 / trailer
5 (3) Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb 6.4 / trailer
6 (2) Birdman 8.2 / trailer
7 (1) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 7.0 / trailer
8 (…) Kingsman: The Secret Service (CAM) 8.2 / trailer
9 (6) Big Hero 6 8.0 / trailer
10 (…) Kidnapping Mr. Heineken 6.0 / trailer

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TorrentFreak: Aussie Anti-Piracy Plans Boost Demand for Anonymous VPNs

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

spyAustralia has been called out as the world’s piracy capital for several years, a claim that eventually captured the attention of the local Government.

After negotiations between ISPs and entertainment companies bore no fruit, authorities demanded voluntary anti-piracy measures from Internet providers. If that failed, the Government threatened to tighten the law.

Faced with an ultimatum the telecoms body Communications Alliance published a draft proposal on behalf of the ISPs, outlining a three-strikes notification system.

Titled ‘Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code‘, the proposal suggests that ISPs start to forward infringement notices to their subscribers. After the initial notice subscribers are warned that copyright holders may go to court to obtain their identities.

Several groups have voiced their concerns in response. Australia’s leading consumer group Choice, for example, warns over the potential for lawsuits and potentially limitless fines.

These threats haven’t gone unnoticed by the general public either. While the proposals have not yet been implemented, many Australians are already taking countermeasures.

Over the past two weeks many file-sharers have been seeking tools to hide their IP-addresses and bypass the proposed monitoring system. By using VPN services or BitTorrent proxies their sharing activities can no longer be linked to their ISP account, rendering the three-strikes system useless.

Data from Google trends reveals that interest in anonymizing services has surged, with searches for “VPN” nearly doubling in recent days. This effect, shown in the graph below, is limited to Australia and appears to be a direct result of the ISPs proposals.

Google searches for VPN in Australia
aussievpn

TF spoke to several VPN providers who noticed an increase in both traffic and sales from down under. TorGuard, a VPN and BitTorrent proxy provider, saw the number of Australian visitors and subscribers increase significantly, as seen in the traffic graph below.

“TorGuard has seen a steady increase in Australian subscribers and this new surge of users shows no signs of slowing. To keep up with the demand from this region we have recently added many new VPN servers in Australia, New Zealand, and Los Angeles,”

TorGuard Aussie traffic increase
aussietorg

Another VPN service, which preferred not to be named, also witnessed a similar spike in interest from Australians.

“We are seeing a peak in traffic and sales from Australia. In the past two weeks we saw an 88% traffic increase,” the VPN provider informed us.

These changes have to be seen in perspective of course. It’s still only a fraction of Aussie file-sharers who have taken countermeasures. However, it’s a clear signal that warnings are not the silver bullet to stop piracy.

The Aussie case is not the first time that anti-piracy measures have turned people to anonymizing tools. The same happened when the US Copyright Alert System launched, and earlier this year there was also a spike in Canada when ISPs began forwarding piracy notices.

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