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TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 12/22/14

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

equalizer1This week we have four newcomers in our chart.

The Equalizer 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) The Equalizer 7.4 / trailer
2 (3) Horrible Bosses 2 6.9 / trailer
3 (5) Gone Girl 8.4 / trailer
4 (…) Outcast 5.0 / trailer
5 (2) The Maze Runner 7.1 / trailer
6 (4) Guardians of the Galaxy 8.5 / trailer
7 (…) I Origins 7.3 / trailer
8 (8) This Is Where I Leave You 6.7 / trailer
9 (…) The Guest 6.9 / trailer
10 (…) The Boxtrolls 7.0 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Domain Back Online, Waving a Pirate Flag

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

pirate bayOn December 9 The Pirate Bay was raided at the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex near Stockholm.

Despite the rise of various TPB clones and rumors of reincarnations, thepiratebay.se domain remained inaccessible, until today.

This morning the Pirate Bay’s nameservers were updated to ones controlled by their domain name registrar binero.se

A few minutes ago came another big change when The Pirate Bay’s main domain started pointing to a new IP-address (78.175.135.122) connected to a server hosted in Moldova.

pirate bay new ip

Thus far there’s not much to see. The domain only displays a waving pirate flag, but the recent changes will give many estranged Pirate Bay users hope that the site will be restored to its former glory

The DNS changes haven’t propagated everywhere yet, but soon most people should see the following landing page.

pirate bay flag

Whether a full comeback is in the works remains a mystery for now. Interestingly, the source of the page shows that the pirate flag is hosted by Isohunt.to’s “Open Bay” site where it serves as a background.

TorrentFreak asked both the Pirate Bay and Isohunt.to crews for a comment, thus far without a response. It could be that TPB and Isohunt.to are collaborating on something, hopefully we’ll hear more on that soon.

A few days ago Isohunt.to launched “The Open Bay” initiative, which allows anyone to run a “copy” of The Pirate Bay. The TPB crew previously said that it would like to see as many clones as possible, so perhaps the domain will link to that for the time being.

“We’ve always lived by Kopimi. We love being cloned. It would be amazing if, like in the classic movie Spartacus, everyone could stand up and say “I am The Pirate Bay,” TPB’s Mr 10100100000 told us earlier.

Time will tell whether Pirate Bay’s “comeback” will be a full one, an encouragement for people to start their own clones, or something completely different.

Breaking story, updates may follow.

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

TorrentFreak: Twitter Suspends Account of Torrent Release Group ETRG

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

pirate-twitterThe ExtraTorrent Release Group, or ETRG for short, is one of the best known sources for pirated movies.

The group releases dozens of popular films on various torrent sites each week and has a steady following of movie fans looking for fresh content.

Some of these followers track new releases through ETRG’s Twitter account. While the group doesn’t link to any copyrighted material, it does list the titles of new releases there.

One would think that ETRG isn’t violating Twitter’s policies by merely pasting a title. However, a few days ago two tweets mentioning “The Signal” got them in trouble.

The tweets were targeted with a DMCA takedown request which led to the immediate suspension of the group’s account.

“Twitter suspended ETRG’s account with no logical or valid reason. In fact they didn’t even give the reason. All I got was a DMCA notification and next day the account was suspended,” ETRG tells TF.

ETRG-tweet
In its copyright and DMCA policy Twitter explains that it takes action against “tweets containing links to allegedly infringing materials,” but ETRG didn’t post any links, just text.

And there are more strange things happening. The takedown notice was sent on behalf of “Wild Side” and also targeted tweets from @PRoDJi and @TorrentBird. These tweets were removed as well, but interestingly enough the associated accounts haven’t been suspended.

ETRG is disappointed with Twitter’s actions and says the company is caving in to unreasonable demands from copyright holders.

“It shows how these sites are influenced by the powerful movie industry to do anything they want,” the group says.

A few years ago the group stopped posting links after it has its account suspended and at the time Twitter re-enabled it within a day. But even without links it couldn’t escape another suspension.

Hoping to get its account reinstated ETRG filed a counter-notice, but several days have passed since and they have yet to hear back from Twitter. Meanwhile, the account remains suspended.

suspended

Pirate Twitter credit

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

TorrentFreak: Hollywood Tries to Crush Popcorn Time, Again

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

popcornThis year Popcorn Time became an instant hit by offering BitTorrent-powered streaming inside an easy-to-use Netflix-style interface.

The breakthrough app had Hollywood concerned but luckily for them the developers shut it down after a few weeks, saying that they wanted to move on with their lives.

It was never revealed whether Hollywood forces had threatened the developers, but an MPAA update that surfaced as part of the Sony leaks now reveals that this was indeed the case.

In the MPAA’s “first quarter update,” sent to the movie studio heads in March, the group stated that it had “scored a major victory in shutting down the key developers of Popcorn Time.”

The MPAA added that the investigative and enforcement actions required collaboration on three continents, which they hoped would prevent Popcorn Time from becoming a “major piracy threat.”

Unfortunately for Hollywood the threat didn’t go away. The Open Source project was quickly picked up by others and in recent months several popular forks gained steady user-bases.

Popcorn-Time.se, one of the most-used forks, has since turned into a bigger threat than the original application. As a result, Hollywood is trying its best to dismantle it.

Previously the fork had its domain name suspended and over the past few weeks found itself being kicked out by various hosting providers. Complaints from the Hollywood backed anti-piracy group BREIN were to blame.

The hosting troubles resulted in long periods of downtime, which isn’t good for morale among the developers.

“We had a tough two weeks with a few shut downs that came unexpectedly. We moved our service through three different hosting companies in these weeks,” the Popcorn-Time.se team tells TF.

“All caved after a few hours to a day or two, after ‘some’ copyright organization contacted them, saying suddenly that they don’t want to host our ‘illegal’ domain. We were shocked actually to see how quickly these organizations work.”

While Popcorn-Time.se might have been down, they’re not out yet. The team is determined to keep its software available and will be releasing new updates to the app today.

“BREIN is on our backs? Well, we found a new hosting company which we hope will be more cooperative, and we’re releasing updates for both Windows and Mac today to show everyone that business is as usual.”

“No one said it was gonna be easy, but what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, and we’re not into dying… ;-),” the Popcorn-Time.se team concludes.

Whether other Popcorn Time forks have had similar problems recently is unknown, but the above makes it clear that Hollywood is still determined to crush these popular apps.

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

TorrentFreak: The Open Bay: Now Anyone Can Run A Pirate Bay ‘Copy’

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

openbaylogoThe Pirate Bay raid last week was a landmark incident which disrupted the BitTorrent ecosystem.

Many people have been looking for Pirate Bay alternatives in recent days. While there is nothing that can match the old Pirate Bay, there are plenty of copies available.

Earlier this week the TPB crew said that it would be a good thing to have clones of the site all over the Internet, and it appears that the Isohunt.to team heard this message loud and clear.

The same team that previously resurrected isoHunt launched a copy of TPB on Oldpiratebay.org last week, and now they’re opening up its code to the public.

The initiative, properly named The Open Bay, opens up the source to their Pirate Bay clone. This means that in a few simple steps anyone can have a copy of the Pirate Bay installed on his or her own domain.

“We, the team that brought you Isohunt.to and oldpiratebay.org are bringing you the next step in torrent evolution. Open Pirate Bay source code,” Isohunt.to says.

According to the people behind “The Open Bay” there’s a lesson to be learned from the isoHunt and Pirate Bay shutdowns. Instead of a few big players, the torrent community itself should be a swarm of copies.

“We want to change the torrent landscape which has been frozen for 10 years. We need to push it ahead,” Isohunt.to tells TF.

“The Open Pirate Bay source code will give absolutely anyone with minimal knowledge of how the Internet and websites work and some basic hosting, the opportunity to create a pirate bay copy on his own domain.”

To do so, the Isohunt.to team offers code and scripts and a large database dump with instructions to get it up and running on a simple shared hosting account. In addition, they put all files in a GitHub repository so people can create improved copies of their copy.

openbay

We have to emphasize that the term Pirate Bay “copy” should be used loosely here. The standard release includes oldpiratebay.org’s theme and a database dump of roughly 8 million torrent links, while Pirate Bay only had around 3 million.

The difference is explained by the fact that The Open Bay database also includes files that originated from KickassTorrents and Isohunt.to. The original Pirate Bay code or descriptions are not there, and it’s not possible to upload or comment either.

Finally, it may go without saying but people should keep in mind that hosting a Pirate Bay copy comes with a legal risk.

Whether the surge in Pirate Bay copies is really a good development is open to debate, but we’ll examine this topic in an upcoming article.

For those who want a local copy of The Pirate Bay’s archive for historical purposes there’s a safer option. A recent dump of the files database, complete with all original pirate bay IDs, torrent descriptions and hashes is available here.

Torrent savvy people who know how magnet links work can even use the latter as a local Pirate Bay search engine, with the help of notepad.

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

TorrentFreak: Torrent Site Fenopy Shuts Down Quietly

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

A few days ago Fenopy.se stopped responding, leaving tens of thousands of regular users without one of their favorite torrent sites.

The downtime wasn’t related to Pirate Bay’s troubles. Instead, the site’s domain name had simply expired.

fenopy

TF talked to Fenopy’s owner who says that the expiration was not an accident, but planned a long time ago. The site’s owner decided that it was time to move on, and let the site vanish.

“Fenopy was being operated by an Artificial Intelligence that I created back in 2011 and was on autopilot during the past 2 years. The domain just expired few days ago.” he says.

Fenopy gained a lot of visitors in 2006 when it was the first full-fledged torrent site with a “modern” looking design and nifty web 2.0 features.

In recent years the site’s traffic went down considerably, not in the last place because of various ISP blockades.

The owner of Fenopy gave us the following statement which is food for thought, discussion, and much more.

On Liberty of Knowledge:

I wanted to talk about the values of sharing in this statement.

But shame on us. For taking the greatest invention of our era, The Internet, and turn it into a marketing and surveillance web; all for feeding our greed and controlling the information.

Inside every artist, scientist, priest, student, politician and every man, is a will. Will to be heard and be remembered. From the dawn of time, we shared and reasoned our perceptions of our surroundings with one another. We documented them in inscriptions, fables, and books. Gathered them in our most sacred places; from Hanging Gardens of Babylon to Library of Alexandria. So everyone could access the knowledge of us freely to grow out of nonage.

The Internet could become our global library of knowledge. The path was by giving every information to everyone for the sake of giving. What we saw was an Internet owned and operated by enterprises. We need enterprises, but we also need to realize that each enterprise function to protect self-interests and profits. So we decided to guard the knowledge and reveal it; allowing everyone access, without forcing them to go through guardians who would conceal it. We made mistakes too, but at least we tried.

Power heard and acknowledged. It forced my brothers at The Pirate Bay to exile from their fatherlands. They found love and friendship in the people of the new lands. Our brothers – Gottfrid, Fredrik, and Peter – have fulfilled their mission. They sacrificed their freedom to fight the greed while living a modest life in prisons and remote corners of our world.

They are the heroes of our generation, the martyrs of the digital era, the liberators of our knowledge in art, science, and humanities. They broke the constructs of ownership and freed themselves even from their lands. Like all of us, they made mistakes too; yet they fought for a human reason.

May the death of these websites, the libraries of our modern age, be a lesson for future generations, that path to liberty starts with courage.

I finish this eulogy with Immanuel Kant:

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance. Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) “Have the courage to use your own understanding,” is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.”

This, once liberated us from Dark Ages in Europe. Hope it will liberate all of us again.

With peace
Breathe in union

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

TorrentFreak: Researchers Make BitTorrent Anonymous and Impossible to Shut Down

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

triblerThe Pirate Bay shutdown has once again shows how vulnerable the BitTorrent ‘landscape’ is to disruptions.

With a single raid the largest torrent site on the Internet was pulled offline, dragging down several other popular BitTorrent services with it.

A team of researchers at Delft University of Technology has found a way to address this problem. With Tribler they’ve developed a robust BitTorrent client that doesn’t rely on central servers. Instead, it’s designed to keep BitTorrent alive, even when all torrent search engines, indexes and trackers are pulled offline.

“Tribler makes BitTorrent anonymous and impossible to shut down,” Tribler’s lead researcher Dr. Pouwelse tells TF.

“Recent events show that governments do not hesitate to block Twitter, raid websites, confiscate servers and steal domain names. The Tribler team has been working for 10 years to prepare for the age of server-less solutions and aggressive suppressors.”

To top that, the most recent version of Tribler that was released today also offers anonymity to its users through a custom-built in Tor network. This allows users to share and publish files without broadcasting their IP-addresses to the rest of the world.

“The public was beginning to lose the battle for Internet freedom, but today we are proud to be able to present an attack-resilient and censorship-resilient infrastructure for publishing,” Dr. Pouwelse says.

After thorough tests of the anonymity feature earlier this year, it’s now built into the latest release. Tribler implemented a Tor-like onion routing network which hides who is seeding or sharing files. Users can vary the number of “hops” the client uses to increase anonymity.

“Tribler creates a new dedicated network for anonymity that is in no way connected to the main Tor network. By using Tribler you become part of a Tor-like network and help others become anonymous,” Dr. Pouwelse says.

“That means you no longer have any exposure in any swarm, either downloading or seeding,” he adds.

Tribler_anonymous_downloading_in action__select_your_privacy_level_for_each_torrent

The downside to the increase in privacy is higher bandwidth usage. After all, users themselves also become proxies and have to relay the transfers of others. In addition, the anonymity feature may also slow down transfer speeds depending on how much other users are willing to share.

“We are very curious to see how fast anonymous downloads will be. It all depends on how social people are, meaning, if they leave Tribler running and help others automatically to become anonymous. If a lot of Tribler users turn out to be sharing and caring, the speed will be sufficient for a nice downloading experience,” Pouwelse says.

Another key feature of Tribler is decentralization. Users can search for files from within the application, which finds torrents through other peers instead of a central server. And if a tracker goes offline, the torrent will continue to download with the help of other users too.

The same decentralization principle applies to spam control. Where most torrent sites have a team of moderators to delete viruses, malware and fake files, Tribler uses user-generated “channels” which can be “liked” by others. If more people like a channel, the associated torrents get a boost in search results.

triblernew

Overall the main goal of the University project is to offer a counterweight to the increased suppression and privacy violations the Internet is facing. Supported by million of euros in taxpayer money, the Tribler team is confident that it can make the Internet a bit safer for torrent users.

“The Internet is turning into a privacy nightmare. There are very few initiatives that use strong encryption and onion routing to offer real privacy. Even fewer teams have the resources, the energy, technical skills and scientific know-how to take on the Big and Powerful for a few years,” Pouwelse says.

After the Pirate Bay raid last week Tribler enjoyed a 30% increase in users and they hope that this will continue to grow during the weeks to come.

Those who want to give it a spin are welcome to download Tribler here. It’s completely Open Source and with a version for Windows, Mac and Linux. In addition, the Tribler team also invites researchers to join the project.

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

TorrentFreak: The Pirate Bay’s Facebook Page Is Shut Down Too

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

tpbfacebookMore than a week has passed since The Pirate Bay’s servers were pulled offline, and now the same is happening to the site’s official Facebook page.

With more than 470,000 likes TPB’s Facebook page had quite a reach, although the last status update dates back to last year. Since then the page was mostly used by ‘fans’ to share TPB related news stories, and most recently links to Pirate Bay alternatives.

Those who try to access the page today are out of luck though, as Facebook informs them that “the page isn’t available” and that it “may have been removed.”

It’s unclear what the reason behind the removal is. It could have been initiated by The Pirate Bay crew itself but it’s also possible that Facebook was asked to shut it down for alleged links to copyright infringing material.

tpb-facebook

If The Pirate Bay crew deleted the page the motivation may have been to cover its tracks. Swedish authorities have confirmed that there’s a new criminal investigation ongoing into the site’s operators, which may have prompted some to cut their ties.

That said, TPB’s official Twitter profile, which hasn’t been updated since December last year, remains online.

The Pirate Bay crew have remained pretty much silent over the past few days. Earlier this week a message was relayed through “Mr 10100100000″ who suggested that no decision has yet been made on a potential return.

“Will we reboot? We don’t know yet. But if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang,” Mr 10100100000 said.

Meanwhile, most of the site’s users are flocking to the Pirate Bay copies that are floating around, or one of the other popular torrent sites. This mass migration caused trouble at ExtraTorrent yesterday, who were briefly offline due to a “sudden increase in user traffic.”

At the same time, groups using the “Anonymous” moniker claimed to have hacked both the Swedish Government and the New Zealand police in a retaliatory move, while a better known “Anonymous” group distanced itself from The Pirate Bay.

“We do not support the return of The Pirate Bay itself. We used to be the activist arm behind this website and what it stood for, but we feel like The Pirate Bay doesn’t represent our message anymore,” the latter group said.

And so the storm continues.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Shutdown Doesn’t Stop People From Sharing

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

download-keyboardThere is no denying that The Pirate Bay played a central role in the torrent ecosystem.

As one of the few well-moderated sites it was the source for dozens, if not hundreds of other torrent sites. And with millions of visitors per day the site also had the largest user-base.

With an event like this, one could expect that BitTorrent usage would have been severely impacted, but it appears that people have found their way to one of the many alternatives.

TF reached out to the operator of Demonii, the tracker that was used for all Pirate Bay torrents, and it appears that the Pirate Bay raid isn’t affecting its traffic much.

“Not much is happening differently on our side due to the TPB downtime. I cannot see any anomalies or differences,” the Demonii operator told us.

“Since all the torrents are pretty much mirrored by KickassTorrents and Torrentz, it seems that the downtime hasn’t stopped people from downloading or uploading at all,” he adds.

The connections per minute to the Demonii tracker remain relatively stable, hovering around the 25 million mark, with a peak during the weekends. The graph below shows the pattern for the past week with the Pirate Bay raid (last Tuesday) included.

Demonii weekly stats
tracker-peer-week

The monthly graph suggests that traffic over the past several days has been a fraction lower than the weeks before, but the impact is relatively low.

“In terms of connections we are looking at roughly 2,880,000 connections per minute at peak hours and about 2,160,000 connections per minute at the lowest,” Demonii’s operator says.

Demonii month stats
tracker-peer-month

If The Pirate Bay remains down for a longer period of time problems may arise on a different level though. TPB has traditionally been one of the best moderated sites, which helped to prevent malware and other scams from spreading.

In theory others could take over this role, but if more sites topple the quality element may become an issue. For now, however, most people seem to be sharing as much as usual.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Suspect Released After Raid Arrest

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

pirate bayA week ago The Pirate Bay was pulled offline with a single raid at the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex.

Despite the rise of various TPB copycats and rumors of reincarnations, the Pirate Bay crew hasn’t made its mind up about a possible comeback.

“Will we reboot? We don’t know yet. But if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang,” Pirate Bay’s Mr 10100100000 told TF yesterday.

In addition to police seizing some of Pirate Bay’s crucial infrastructure, last Tuesday authorities also arrested one individual with alleged ties to the notorious torrent site.

After being held in custody for nearly a week, the Pirate Bay suspect was released from custody yesterday, pending an ongoing investigation.

The suspect is believed to be one of the moderators of the site, but this hasn’t been confirmed by the police. Expert file-sharing case prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad did state that the man was suspected of copyright violations.

“The suspicions relate to a violation of copyright law. Everything is being analyzed now and new hearings may possibly be held,” Ingblad said.

The prosecutor’s comments also make it clear that there’s a new investigation into the people behind The Pirate Bay.

The data seized in the raid will first be examined by the authorities. Paul Pintér, National coordinator for intellectual property crimes, told NyTeknik that there is a lot of information to go through, so it may take some time before the investigation completes.

In recent days TF has received evidence that Fredrik Neij, who is currently serving a 10 month sentence from the previous trial, remains a Pirate Bay suspect. Neij was arrested by Thai immigration authorities last month when he tried to cross the border from Laos.

How many people the police are investigating in the new case and whether there will be a fresh trial is unknown at this point.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Responds to The Raid, Copies and The Future

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

phoenix-bayFor more than a decade The Pirate Bay’s been the bastion of uncensored information. Until the raid on some of its critical infrastructure last week, the site never had more than three days of downtime.

The big remaining question on everyone’s minds right now is whether the site will make a comeback, and if so, how long this will take.

The TPB crew have remained awfully quiet and haven’t commented on the raid in public, but today “Mr 10100100000″ breaks the silence in order to get a message out to the world.

“We were not that surprised by the raid. That is something that is a part of this game. We couldn’t care less really,” Mr 10100100000 informed TF through an encrypted channel.

“We have however taken this opportunity to give ourselves a break. How long are we supposed to keep going? To what end? We were a bit curious to see how the public would react.”

Without hearing about the exact issues, we get the feeling that a comeback may be more complicated than most people assume. It seems unlikely that the site will return within the next few days, but if it does eventually come back online people will surely notice.

“Will we reboot? We don’t know yet. But if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang,” Mr 10100100000 says.

Obviously there are discussions ongoing behind the scenes on how to proceed. The entire team including the moderators comprises a few dozen people who all have their own opinions on the matter.

“The people behind TPB are like one big collective mind. There are no leaders nor any one in charge. About 30-50 people from all over the world pitch their ideas against each other and whatever comes out of that is what will be the fate of TPB.”

In recent days many “copies” of The Pirate Bay appeared online and many of these have now started to add new content as well. According to the TPB crew this is a positive development, although people should be wary of scams.

“Copycats are to be seen as a higher form of the proxies. If [Pirate Bay’s] code wouldn’t be so shitty we would make it public for everyone to use, so that everyone could start their own bay.”

“Of course there is a problem if sites like [thepiratebay].ee try to scam people. But overall, we’d love to see a thousand Pirate Bays,” Mr 10100100000 adds.

The Pirate Bay doesn’t really have a preference when it comes to the best Pirate Bay alternative and says the “swarm” has to decide which one is best. In any case, people should keep the Kopimi spirit alive as TPB is much more than some hardware stored in a dusty datacenter.

“We’ve always lived by Kopimi. We love being cloned. It would be amazing if, like in the classic movie Spartacus, everyone could stand up and say “I am The Pirate Bay,” Mr 10100100000 says.

To be continued.

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

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 12/15/14

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

equalizer1This week we have four newcomers in our chart.

The Equalizer 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 (…) The Equalizer 7.4 / trailer
2 (1) The Maze Runner 7.1 / trailer
3 (…) Horrible Bosses 2 6.9 / trailer
4 (4) Guardians of the Galaxy 8.5 / trailer
5 (…) Gone Girl 8.4 / trailer
6 (3) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 6.1 / trailer
7 (2) Nightcrawler (DVDscr) 8.2 / trailer
8 (5) This Is Where I Leave You 6.7 / trailer
9 (6) Fury (DVDscr) 8.0 / trailer
10 (…) The Good Lie 7.1 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Former ‘Pirate’ Site Dropped From UK Blocklist

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

filestube-newLast week the popular media search engine FilesTube transformed itself into a licensed video aggregator.

The site, which was once branded one of the top pirate sites by the entertainment industry, hopes that the move will bring in new revenue opportunities.

First, however, the site had to get rid of various remnants from its “pirate” history. The site is still blocked in the UK, for example, as the High Court previously declared that FilesTube infringed music rights.

Earlier, FilesTube informed TF that it planned to challenge the blockade at the High Court, but it turns out that this is no longer needed. Music industry group BPI, who were the driving force behind FilesTube’s blockade, followed recent developments and decided to unblock the site.

This is the first time that the list of blocked pirate sites in the UK has become shorter, although it may not be for long.

The BPI believes that FilesTube is a good example of how High Court orders can motivate websites to go legit and hopes that others will follow the example.

“We are pleased that the block has encouraged FilesTube to change its business model so that it no longer appears to infringe music rights,” BPI’s General Counsel Kiaron Whitehead tells TF.

“Accordingly, we have agreed to un-block the site, which the ISPs will implement over the next few weeks. We hope that other sites which are subject to blocking orders will follow suit and help to support the development of legal digital entertainment.”

TF also spoke with FilesTube, who are happy with BPI’s swift response. Since the music group can amend the blocklists without a court order, this saves the trouble of going through court.

“We used to be a media search engine for content on cyberlocker sites. Now we operate as a free VOD aggregator with licensed content only. We are grateful to BPI for agreeing to lift the blocks and we look forward to the growth of the new FilesTube,” a spokesperson informed TF.

In addition to the lifted blockade, FilesTube’s Facebook page was also unblocked recently. The page was taken down by the movie industry FACT, but is now accessible again.

Meanwhile, many of FilesTube’s former users are disappointed with the change. Apparently “going legit” also has its downsides, but the site hopes to rebuild a new community during the months to come.

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

TorrentFreak: Sony Planned to Flood Torrent Sites With “Promo” Torrents

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

Copyright holders have a wide range of options they can employ to counter online piracy. Takedown notices are best known and sent out in their millions every day. However, the people at Sony Pictures’ TV network AXN thought that uploading content to torrent sites could help their business.

Sony’s AXN in Central Europe developed an ad campaign for the show “Hannibal” which proposed posting torrents of the first minute of the show on popular torrent sites such as Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents.

The revelations are part of the Sony Pictures leaks which contain a discussion on the plan, framing it as a “brilliant anti­piracy social campaign.” The AXN employee describes the idea as follows.

“The idea is simple. We made a promo dedicated to Hannibal which is convincing people in very creative and no­invasive way to watch Hannibal legally on AXN instead downloading it from torrents.

“[T]his promo is supposed to be downloaded on the torrents sites, imitating the first episode of Hannibal season 2 but in reality would be only a 60 sec promo. The torrents sites are exactly the place where people just after [the] US premier would be searching for the first episode of season 2. So the success of this project is more than 100% sure.”

Unfortunately for the AXN Central Europe team the advertising campaign wasn’t well received at Sony Pictures’ headquarters in Los Angeles. The Hollywood execs showed great concern about the sites where these promos would end up, a view that wasn’t widely shared by the team in Europe.

“From the legal point of view in many CE countries the torrents sites itself are legal. Only sharing and downloading the illegal stuff there is not. This project is to support anti­piracy strategy not against,” the AXN employee writes.

“From my perspective this would be something really unconventional, something to be shared and presented in case studies presentations. Great story for be presented at the panel discussions. This could really help us to show AXN CE is actively fighting against piracy.”

Part of the promo email
sony-promo

The discussion eventually landed on the desk of a Sony Pictures Executive Vice President, who emphasized that it was a no go. Populating torrent sites with promos could risk current efforts to disrupt those same websites.

“I called [XXX] and restated that this is simply a long road to ‘no’ because it so severely undercuts our efforts not only in CE, but all we have accomplished elsewhere.

“Forget about a site blocking strategy if we start putting legitimate PSAs or promos on sites we’ve flagged to governments as having no legitimate purpose other than theft… PSAs being for public good, etc…”

And so it never happened…

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

TorrentFreak: Leak Exposes Hollywood’s Global Anti-Piracy Strategy

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

mpaa-logoThe Sony Pictures leak has caused major damage to the Hollywood movie studio, but the fallout doesn’t end there.

Contained in one of the leaked data batches is a complete overview of the MPAA’s global anti-piracy strategy for the years to come.

In an email sent to top executives at the major Hollywood studios earlier this year, one of the MPAA’s top executives shared a complete overview of Hollywood’s anti-piracy priorities.

The email reveals key areas of focus for the coming years, divided into high, medium and low priority categories, as shown below.

piracy-strategy-page

The plan put forward by the MPAA is the ideal strategy. Which elements are to be carried out will mostly depend on the funds made available by the studios.

High priority

For cyberlockers and video streaming sites the MPAA plans to reach out to hosting providers, payment processing companies and advertising networks. These companies are urged not to work with so-called rogue sites.

Part of the plan is to create “legal precedent to shape and expand the law on cyberlockers and their hosting providers,” with planned lawsuits in the UK, Germany and Canada.

Cyberlocker strategy
mpaa-cyberlocker

Other top priorities are:

Apps: Making sure that pirate apps are taken down from various App stores. Google’s removal of various Pirate Bay apps may be part of this. In addition, the MPAA wants to make apps “unstable” by removing the pirated files they link to.

Payment processors: The MPAA wants to use government influence to put pressure on payment processors, urging them to ban pirate sites. In addition they will approach major players with “specific asks and proposed best practices” to deter piracy.

Site blocking: Expand site blocking efforts in the UK and other countries where it’s supported by law. In other countries, including the U.S., the MPAA will investigate whether blockades are an option through existing principles of law.

Domain seizures: The MPAA is slowly moving toward domain seizures of pirate sites. This strategy is being carefully tested against sites selling counterfeit products using trademark arguments.

Site scoring services: Developing a trustworthy site scoring system for pirate sites. This can be used by advertisers to ban rogue sites. In the future this can be expanded to payment processors, domain name registrars, hosting providers and search engines, possibly with help from the government.

Copyright Notices: The MPAA intends to proceed with the development of the UK Copyright Alert System, and double the number of notices for the U.S. version. In addition, the MPAA wants to evaluate whether the U.S. Copyright Alert System can expand to mobile carriers.

Mid and low priority

BitTorrent is categorized as a medium priority. The MPAA wants to emphasize the role of BitTorrent in piracy related apps, such as Popcorn Time. In addition, illegal torrent sites will be subject to site blocking and advertising bans.

BitTorrent strategy
mpaa-bittorrent-strategy

Other medium and low priorities are:

Search: Keep putting pressure on search engines and continue periodic research into its role in facilitating piracy. In addition, the MPAA will support third-party lawsuits against search engines.

Hosting: The MPAA sees Cloudflare as a problem and is developing a strategy of how to deal with the popular hosting provider. Lawsuits against hosting providers are also in the agenda.

Link sites: Apart from potential civil lawsuits in Latin America, linking sites will only be targeted if they become “particularly problematic.”

In the email the MPAA’s top executive does not consider the above strategies to be “final” or “set in stone”. How much the MPAA will be able to carry out with its partners depends on funds being availble, which appears to be a subtle reminder that the studios should keep their payments coming.

“…the attached represents priorities and activities presuming online CP is adequately resourced. Your teams understand that, depending upon how the budget process plays out, we may need to lower priorities and activities for many sources of piracy and/or antipiracy initiatives,” the email reads.

The leaked strategy offers a unique insight into Hollywood’s strategy against various forms of online infringement.

It exposes several key priorities that were previously unknown. The MPAA’s strong focus on domain name seizures for example, or the plans to target cyberlockers with lawsuits in the UK, Germany and Canada.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay ‘Copycats’ Flourish After Raid

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

pirate bayThe torrent community is still shaken up by the abrupt raid on the Pirate Bay this week.

With millions of visitors a day TPB was one of the largest websites on the Internet and despite the police action its users remain hungry for fresh content.

We previously reported that other large torrent sites have noticed a significant uptick in traffic in recent days. However, many of TPB’s users are eagerly waiting for the original site to return.

Thus far it’s still unclear whether the site will return in the near future, if at all. Our queries to find out more remain unanswered for now.

Meanwhile there’s a ‘worrying’ development that Pirate Bay “copies” are gaining a lot of momentum. While none of these sites are associated with The Pirate Bay they are happy to welcome the extra visitors.

First a word of caution. None of the sites below are related to the “official” site and visitors should beware of scams and malware.

In recent days we have received more than a hundred tips from readers who announced that TPB has returned on the thepiratebay.cr. While this site does look familiar, it’s by no means an official incarnation.

In fact, as we highlighted earlier, the .cr domain used to be one of the many Pirate Bay proxy/mirror sites. It has no upload functionality nor can visitors sign up to add torrents. Interestingly enough (and adding to the confusion) the site’s operators started to populate the site with new content themselves a few hours ago.

The .cr domain, which was incorrectly promoted by several news media sites as an official comeback, previously redirected to thepiratebay.ee, a site that used to charge people for access to torrents.

The .ee domain is another mirror site that’s getting a lot of new visitors. While the site removed its paygate shortly after the Pirate Bay raid, potential visitors should keep this history in mind.

As is true for most mirrors and copies, the .ee site mimics Pirate Bay’s appearance but doesn’t allow people to upload new files. Other mirror sites, some of which have added fresh content and convenient chat boxes, include thepiratebay.hk and thepiratebay.org.es.

These sites, like the ones above, are not connected to the original site. In fact, The Pirate Bay still has access to its .se domain name so there would be no reason to change that for a potential comeback.

Finally, there are also “copies” that make it clear that they’re not the new Pirate Bay. OldPirateBay.org, for example, was launched by the people behind Isohunt.to. The operators told TF that their main motivation is to keep the torrents accessible, not to cause confusion.

“We saw a lot of topics where people are looking for something like this. For sure it has some bugs and glitches but we are going to improve it. The tool is for the users’ convenience till TPB comes alive again,” we were told.

If The Pirate Bay does indeed come back we will be the first to report it here. Until then, caution is warranted.

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

TorrentFreak: EZTV Slowly Recovers From Swedish Police Raid

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

eztv-logo-smallEarlier this week Swedish police raided a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex in the city of Nacka.

The target of the raid was The Pirate Bay but collateral damage caused several other torrent sites to go down as well. This included EZTV, the go-to place for many torrenting TV fans.

After nearly two days of downtime EZTV is slowly starting to crawl back up. TF spoke to the EZTV crew who confirmed that several servers are up and running again and that the site’s services are coming back online.

At the time of writing the main site is still offline. However, the upload bots are back in action and EZTV torrents are being uploaded again in other places such as Kickass.so and ExtraTorrent.

In addition, EZTV proxies such as eztv-proxy.net can now connect to the site’s backend IP-addresses. This means that these are showing new uploads again, as can be seen below.

EZTV recovers
eztv-back

During the days to come EZTV hopes to recover fully and continue business as usual from the main EZTV.it domain.

For Pirate Bay users there is no positive news to report yet. The site remains offline and there are no indications that it will return in the near future.

There are several unofficial mirror sites that still work, but these have nothing to do with a possible comeback. These sites provide a minimal archive of old torrents, but there’s no new content being added as these all lack an upload feature.

For now, many estranged Pirate Bay users seem to be flocking to other popular torrent sites. ExtraTorrent informed TF that they saw a 90 percent surge in user signups following the raid, while the number of downloads increased by a third.

Most other sites that were hit by the raid remain offline. These include Torrage, the Istole tracker and Pirate Bay’s forum Suprbay. Torrent storage servie Zoink has fully recovered.

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

TorrentFreak: Can The Pirate Bay Make a Comeback?

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

phoenix-bayIn recent years The Pirate Bay took several steps to make the site as resilient as possible, moving from a full-fledged BitTorrent tracker to a trimmed-down and highly portable torrent index.

The infamous torrent site canceled nearly all central servers and moved most of its operation to the cloud, where it ran on 21 virtual machines scattered over several commercial cloud hosting providers.

Yesterday, however, the site was pulled offline with a single raid at the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex. Despite various rumors of TPB reincarnations there is still no sign that the site will return anytime soon.

So how can it be that The Pirate Bay was taken down despite all the time and effort that went into making its setup raid proof?

TF has been speaking with various people familiar with the matter and one of the most likely scenarios emerging is that the site’s loadbalancer was hit by the raid. This has been one of the remaining bottlenecks for TPB in recent years and the cause of previous downtime.

If this theory holds true it should be possible for the site to recover quickly if a new loadbalancer with the right setup is put in place. After all, the virtual machines are not centrally hosted and should be up and running.

How long it will take to connect these to the Internet remains guesswork for now, if it happens at all.

At the moment it’s still unknown what Pirate Bay-related hardware was seized during the raid. The Pirate Bay team previously stressed, however, that everything is encrypted in case it falls into the wrong hands.

On the human front, the police arrested one member of the Pirate Bay crew yesterday. The identity of this person hasn’t been confirmed, but if it’s one of the people with access to the site’s crucial infrastructure it will further complicate any possible comeback.

Another concern is that the people running TPB and other sites affected by the raid are also remaining quiet. The popular TV-torrent site EZTV remains offline too and thus far the operator is not commenting on the situation.

Meanwhile, most other torrent sites are seeing a spike in traffic from Pirate Bay users looking for a new home. TorrentReactor and other large torrent sites inform TF that there’s an increase in traffic of between 5 and 10 percent at the moment.

After the first raid in 2006 it took The Pirate Bay three days to recover, making a blazing comeback as “The Police Bay.” There’s not long left to beat that record.

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

TorrentFreak: BitTorrent Inc Works on P2P Powered Browser

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

bittorrent-logoBitTorrent Inc. announced a new project today, a web browser with the ambition of making the Internet “people powered.”

Project Maelstrom, as it’s called, is in the very early stages of development but BitTorrent Inc. is gearing up to send out invites for a closed Alpha test.

The company hasn’t released a feature set as yet, but it’s clear that the browser will serve websites and other content through users.

According to BitTorrent Inc. this can not only speed up websites but also boost people’s privacy. In addition, it should be capable of bypassing website blockades and other forms of censorship.

“If we are successful, we believe this project has the potential to help address some of the most vexing problems facing the Internet today,” BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker notes.

“How can we keep the Internet open? How can we keep access to the Internet neutral? How can we better ensure our private data is not misused by large companies? How can we help the Internet scale efficiently for content?”

The idea for a BitTorrent powered browser is not new. The Pirate Bay started work on a related project a few months ago with the aim of keeping the site online even if its servers were raided.

The project hasn’t been released yet, although it would have come in handy today.

Interestingly, BitTorrent’s brief summary of how the browser will work sounds a lot like Pirate Bay’s plans. The company shared the following details with Gigaom.

“It works on top of the BitTorrent protocol. Websites are published as torrents and Maelstrom treats them as first class citizens instead of just downloadable content. So if a website is contained within a torrent we treat it just like a normal webpage coming in over HTTP.”

More details are expected to follow during the months to come. Those interested in Project Maelstrom can sign up for an invite to the Alpha test here.

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

TorrentFreak: Peter Sunde: The Pirate Bay Should Stay Down

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

peter-sundeA few weeks ago Peter Sunde was released from prison where he’d been serving a sentence for his involvement in The Pirate Pay.

Peter is one of the few people who paid the ultimate price of sacrificing his freedom for the site but he isn’t mourning its recent troubles. In fact, Sunde would prefer it if the site shut down permanently.

TF spoke with Peter this morning and he told us that the site has long since served its purpose.

TPB’s main aim was to bring BitTorrent to the masses, a goal that was completed years ago. According to Peter the site has gone downhill in recent years up to a point where it turned into a soulless cash cow.

Peter, often referred to as one of Pirate Bay’s co-founders, wrote about his sentiments in a recent blog post.

“The Pirate Bay has been raided, again. That happened over 8 years ago last time. That time, a lot of people went out to protest and rally in the streets. Today few seem to care. And I’m one of them,’ he writes.

The Pirate Bay was founded as a platform to allow people to share and copy whatever they want without restrictions. However, in recent years very little progress was made, Peter notes.

“The site was ugly, full of bugs, old code and old designs. It never changed except for one thing – the ads. More and more ads were filling the site, and somehow when it felt unimaginable to make these ads more distasteful, they somehow ended up even worse.”

The former Pirate Bay spokesman is happy to see the site on its knees. After it was handed over to the new crew a few years ago the site lost its soul, he believes.

That said, Peter regrets that it has gone down like this. The plan had always been to pull the plug after 10 years, so others could take over. However, when that day came last year the site remained online.

“A planned retirement would have given the community time and a way to kick off something new, something better, something faster, something more reliable and with no chance of corrupting itself. Something that has a soul and can retain it,” Peter notes.

This sentiment is not really new. Peter and others argued the same in the past.

The big question that remains right now is whether The Pirate Bay will make another comeback, or if this is indeed the end. Peter seems to believe that the latter may be the case, but that others will fill the gap.

“From the immense void that will now fill up the fiber cables all over the world, I’m pretty sure the next thing will pan out. And hopefully it has no ads for porn or viagra. There are already other services for that,” Peter concludes.

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

TorrentFreak: Kim Dotcom Is Not a Fugitive, Court Hears

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

kimfugitiveIt’s been nearly three years since Megaupload was taken down by the U.S. authorities but it’s still uncertain whether Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants will be extradited overseas.

As there’s little progress in the criminal case, the U.S. launched a separate civil case asking the court to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants.

The U.S. claims that these assets were obtained through criminal activities. In a recent motion to strike the DoJ added that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants have no right to oppose the forfeiture request as they are fugitives.

“Claimants Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, and Sven Echternach, are deliberately avoiding prosecution by declining to enter the United States where the criminal case is pending,” U.S. Attorney Dana Boente noted.

Yesterday evening Megaupload’s legal team filed a response to the Government’s motion, noting that the U.S. heavily distorts the “fugitive” status concept.

The lawyers inform the court that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants aren’t trying to avoid prosecution. Instead, they’re remaining in place until the New Zealand court decides over their extradition request.

“These Claimants never fled the United States to evade prosecution. To the contrary, they remain precisely where they have long been residing and carrying out the very business enterprise that the Government characterizes as criminal—in New Zealand.”

“Nor have these Claimants altered their plans so as to avoid return to the United States. To the contrary, they are simply maintaining the pre-indictment status quo and following the rule of law by invoking their rights under the laws and procedures of their home countries, where they had long-planned to remain.”

In a declaration to the court Dotcom emphasizes that he’s currently under supervision of the New Zealand court. He never fled from the United States, in fact, he has never been there in his entire life.

“I have never been a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. I have never visited the United States,” Dotcom writes.

Megaupload’s lawyers ask the court to deny the U.S. “fugitives’” claim or keep it pending until there’s a decision on the motion to dismiss they filed earlier. In this motion they argued that the entire case should be dismissed since the U.S. doesn’t have a statute for criminal secondary copyright infringement.

If the court decides to move forward, Megaupload’s legal team want the “fugitives” claim to be converted to a request for summary judgment. This would allow them to conduct discovery and find out what role the MPAA played in the criminal investigation.

Shortly before the investigation began the MPAA hired former Assistant Attorney General, Cybele Daley, for lobbying purposes. Daley had a budget of over $1 million a year to lobby attorneys at the Department of Justice, and Megaupload’s lawyers want to find out where the U.S. was overreaching.

It’s now up to the Virginia federal court to decide how to proceed. Needless to say, the outcome will have a major impact on Dotcom’s means to fight back.

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

TorrentFreak: The Pirate Bay Goes Down Worldwide

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

tpb-logoThe Pirate Bay is down at the moment, which is a cause for concern among many BitTorrent users.

Those wondering whether their ISP has started to block access to the site can be reassured though, as the site is down globally.

Every time TPB becomes unresponsive threads appear on Reddit and other discussion forums as people start to worry that something awful has happened to their beloved site. To users’ relief, however, this is usually not the case.

That being said, today’s issues are a little more widespread. In addition to The Pirate Bay, other torrent related sites such as EZTV, Zoink, Torrage and the Istole tracker are down too. This suggests that there’s a broader technical issue at play.

Pirate Bay, EZTV, and others have had simultaneous downtime in the past. On one occasion the problems were caused by a power failure.

TF contacted the people behind The Pirate Bay and other affected sites to find out more about the current downtime, but we have yet to hear back.

The best advice for worried users is to relax, take a deep breath, and try to visit the site again in a few hours. We will update this article as soon as any new information arrives.

Stay tuned.

Pirate Bay Downtime

tpb

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

TorrentFreak: Microsoft Sues ‘Does’ For Activating Pirated Software

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

microsoft-pirateDespite being one of the most pirated software vendors in the world, Microsoft doesn’t have a long track record of cracking down on individual pirates.

In fact, two months ago Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that in some cases piracy can act as a conversion tool.

“We’ve always had freemium. Sometimes our freemium was called piracy,” Nadella said, adding that the usage first approach has its advantages.

This doesn’t mean that all pirates can have their way though. Microsoft does keep a close eye on the unauthorized use of its products with help from its in house cybercrime center.

Late last week Microsoft filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a person (or persons) who activated pirated copies of Windows 7 and Office 10 from an AT&T Internet connection.

“Microsoft’s cyberforensics have identified a number of product key activations originating from IP address 76.245.7.147, which is presently assigned to ISP AT&T Internet Services..,” the complaints (pdf) reads.

“These activations have characteristics that on information and belief, establish that Defendants are using the IP address to activate pirated software.”

While many people believe that unauthorized copies are hard for Microsoft to detect, the company explains that its cybercrime team leverages state-of-the-art technology to detect software piracy.

The company describes its investigative approach as cyberforensics. Among other things, they look for activation patterns and characteristics which make it likely that certain IP-addresses are engaged in unauthorized copying.

“As part of its cyberforensic methods, Microsoft analyzes product key activation data voluntarily provided by users when they activate Microsoft software, including the IP address from which a given product key is activated,” the company writes.

According to the complaint, the defendant(s) in this case have activated numerous copies of Windows 7 and Office 2010 with suspicious keys. These keys were likely stolen from Microsoft’s supply chain, used without permission from the refurbisher channel, and used more often than the license permits.

Microsoft is now looking to identify the person or persons responsible for the copyright and trademark infringements, to recoup the damage they’ve suffered.

From the descriptions used in the complaint it seems likely that the target is not an average user, but someone who sells computers containing pirated software. Time will tell whether that’s indeed the case.

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

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 12/08/14

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

mazerunnerThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

The Maze Runner 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 (2) The Maze Runner 7.1 / trailer
2 (…) Nightcrawler (DVDscr) 8.2 / trailer
3 (1) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 6.1 / trailer
4 (3) Guardians of the Galaxy 8.5 / trailer
5 (…) This Is Where I Leave You 6.7 / trailer
6 (5) Fury (DVDscr) 8.0 / trailer
7 (…) Stonehearst Asylum 8.0 / trailer
8 (4) Predestination 7.6 / trailer
9 (6) Lucy 6.5 / trailer
10 (7) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 8.0 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Piracy ≠ Theft? Movie Industry Workers Speak Out

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

A few weeks ago we published an interview with Hollywood director Lexi Alexander in which she explained her support for file-sharers.

This resulted in a lively discussion on Twitter and other media, so we decided to explore the topic a little further. Instead of letting movie industry bosses speak, we solicited the thoughts of various filmmakers.

There are just as many opinions as there are people working in the film business and we aimed to cover a broad spectrum. Our main goal is to show that the piracy issue isn’t as black and while as it’s sometimes portrayed.

The real challenge, perhaps, is to let people have their say without condemning their views. While this won’t solve the issue it’s a good way to move forward. That’s true for both “sides” of the debate.

Below are the four filmmakers who were kind enough to participate and answer five questions about piracy, how it affects the movie industry, and what can be done in response.

joshuaJoshua Caldwell (@Joshua_Caldwell) won an MTV Movie Award for Best Film in 2006. Recent films he produced, wrote and directed are Layover (2014), Resignation (2014) and Assassin (2015).

kevinKevin Koehler: (@kevrockcity) is a screenwriter whose work has been featured on the Hollywood blacklist. He worked with several well-known filmmakers including Wim Wenders and Gregg Araki.

brentBrent Weichsel (@bsweichsel) is a Local 600 camera assistant. He worked on several popular movies and TV-shows including Person Of Interest and White Collar.

johnkentJohn Kent (@JohnDoctorKent) works as a producer at Potent Media. He is known for his work on the films Booley (2010), Deer Crossing (2012) and Apocalypse Kiss (2014).

Do you think piracy equals theft?

Joshua Caldwell: No. I believe the Supreme Court has been very clear on the issue of whether file-sharing constitutes ‘theft’ or ‘copyright infringement.’ I harp on this because it seems to be the core argument from a lot of people. “It’s stealing. They’re thieves.” Even when presented with this ruling they say, “Well, I don’t believe that.” Okay, well the court system you’re supposedly relying on to “enact justice” on file-sharers does, so now what?

It’s an important distinction for me and how I think about this issue because of how it frames file-sharers. It’s a psychological thing. Thinking of someone as a thief is very different than thinking of them as an infringer. It’s much easier to think of a ‘thief’ as being an inherently bad person who must be punished by the law. Not to say that those who infringe upon copyright aren’t subject to consequences, but as a creator, I think of them as audience that we just haven’t been able to capture yet. So, I start from a place of “Why?” and ask questions in search of solutions rather than “sue them all and put them in jail.”

Kevin Koehler: No, they are not equivalent. Piracy is copyright infringement. I know this is a boring, pedantic answer. Sorry. However, while it is not theft, it is taking compensation from the folks that make the content and shifting it to the folks that distribute the content – not just piracy sites, but also legal streaming sites (Netflix, Spotify, iTunes, et cetera) who can leverage the threat of piracy into more favorable deals.

Brent Weichsel: Piracy in and of itself is not theft. It’s also not a loss. Studies have shown that people who pirate often spend far more money on media than those that do not. Now if you make money because of your piracy well that’s a gray area where I do not know what to think.

John Kent: Piracy of media is theft, in the legal sense of the word, but I do not think it is always “illegal”. Films and television shows are created for corporations and investors to realize a financial return, or for artistic purposes. The financial return cannot be realized if the media is experienced without viewers paying for it.

Without a financial return, no further media can be made. So everything can’t be free. However, there are thousands of hours of media which would be lost without YouTube, from old television shows their corporate masters no longer wish to exploit to a commercial fondly remembered from childhood. Should the films which were owned by Vestron Video in the 80s be lost forever because they are now a line item on the sheet of a corporation which put them out of business?

My personal stance and practice is that if a film or television show is available from the legal owner for a fee, it should be paid for.

How do you think piracy is affecting the movie industry?

Joshua Caldwell: It’s affecting it without a doubt. Whether it’s doing so to such a degree that it’s having an overall impact? I don’t think we know for sure yet. For one, the jury’s still out on whether it has a negative or positive impact. On a film-by-film basis, it’s easy to suggest that it might have a negative impact, but for the industry as a whole? It’s hard to make that case when the films that make the most money at the box office are also the most pirated. No one complains about piracy when the movie does well, but when a movie tanks and it was leaked online, it becomes an easy place to point fingers. And yes, I’m sure it has some impact; but at the same time, maybe the film just wasn’t very good.

I can’t say for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the audiences that most studios rely on for box office aren’t file-sharers. I mean, /Film recently posted about how 70% of moviegoers don’t plan on a specific movie when going to the movie theater. It’s really, really difficult to equate a free download to a lost sale. There are just too many other factors. But piracy is an easy target for blame specifically because no one really knows.

On the flipside, if piracy is as harmful financially and as widespread as is being argued, I can’t figure out why you would want to alienate such a large audience further than you already have.

Kevin Koehler: Well, it has certainly helped obliterate the movie industry’s former business model, which was based around theatrical distribution (followed by timed DVD and television broadcast releases). This is no longer a workable model, so the industry is in search of a new one. For some releases – large studio tentpoles, franchised, with branded tie-ins, often in 3-D – they’ve found a successful model. For other kinds of films, they’re still looking, which is why the studios have stopped making certain genres altogether. Piracy isn’t the only reason, obviously, but it’s a contributing factor.

Brent Weichsel: It’s become a scapegoat. People blame dwindling sales on it. The studios use it as an excuse to pay the crew and talent less. Producers use it in negotiations to have shittier contracts with the unions. Has it had a truly negative impact that doesn’t have to do with its perception? Probably not much. Not any more than the folks selling dvds or VHS on Canal Street.

John Kent: Piracy has an effect on the film industry in different ways, depending on the genesis of the film. Downloading “The Avengers” probably doesn’t hurt the movie – it made a billion dollars in the theaters, and millions more through the secondary revenue streams. The people who worked on the film were paid for their work.

Piracy might kill off some sequels – the revenue that would have made the studio heads greenlight part two was lost in no-pay downloads. But what I can tell you for sure is that piracy hurts the independent filmmaker financially. I produced a direct-to-DVD movie called DEER CROSSING – a horror film, no artistic masterpiece, but something people might want to kill an evening watching.

During the first week of DVD release, on one popular torrent site only, there were over 30,000 downloads of the film. How many of these downloads could have been paid rentals or DVD purchases? When you add this to the deals that distributors offer for independent films, there is no way to make back the money the investors put in – and forget about a profit or paying off deferred deals.

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