Author Archive

TorrentFreak: HBO Targets Torrent Users Over Game of Thrones Leak

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

got5Last week’s pre-release leak of four Game of Thrones episodes is one of the most prominent piracy cases in TV history.

The first copies, leaked from a review screener, quickly spread across public torrent sites and were downloaded millions of times.

While most piracy occurred through BitTorrent, HBO seemed mostly concerned with a few dozen people who watched a shoddy stream via Twitter’s Periscope. Behind the scenes, however, BitTorrent pirates were targeted as well.

Over the past week HBO sent out a flurry of takedown notices to those who shared the controversial leaks in public. TF has seen several notices, which all come in the standard format.

Through its anti-piracy partner IP-Echelon, HBO instructs Internet providers to relay the alerts to the account holder associated with the infringing IP-address.

“1. Contact the subscriber who has engaged in the conduct described above and take steps to prevent the subscriber from further downloading or uploading HBO content without authorization.”

In addition, ISPs may want to take additional measures such as disconnecting the accounts of repeat infringers.

“2. Take appropriate action against the account holder under your Abuse Policy/Terms of Service Agreement.”

As is always the case with DMCA notices, HBO doesn’t know the identity of the alleged pirates, so there are no legal strings attached.

gotpirateNonetheless, HBO hopes that the warnings will deter some from downloading future episodes. And indeed, some users may panic when they see that their downloads were flagged.

Not all warnings are effective though. Some DMCA notices were directed at VPN users who can’t be identified and never get to see the warnings in question.

It’s clear that containing the Game of Thrones leaks is important for HBO, but the DMCA notices themselves are nothing new. The company has been sending these out for various shows over the years, they just never got much attention.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Reopens Registrations, Months After Raid

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

pirate baySlowly but surely things are returning back to normal at the beleaguered Pirate Bay.

After weeks of downtime the site came back online late January, recovering from a raid that hit the site hard. The notorious torrent site has burned through several hosting companies since its return but the site is now relatively stable.

With many of the old moderators back on board the spam problems are under control as well. All this time, however, there was still one major feature missing from the site. Users were not able to register an account so they can publish content.

This last barrier was removed a few hours ago when TPB formally reopened user registrations.

“The registrations remained closed as a security precaution. But now that the mods are back and stable, new accounts won’t flood the site with fakes,” Pirate Bay’s Winston tells TF

Registrations are open
tpbreg

Over the past couple of months the moderator team undertook a thorough cleanup of all suspicious user accounts. Pretty much all fakers and scammers were removed, a number that ran into the thousands.

“A lot of the dormant accounts have been used up now,” long time TPB moderator Agricola tells TF, noting that fakers and scammers are more prevalent than most people believe.

“In my time on The Pirate Bay I have 30,000+ kills on my name, which is how we refer to deleted accounts. You are talking hundreds of accounts a day.”

So while the reopened registration feature is good news for users who want to join the six million strong army of Pirate Bay users, it means all hands on deck for the moderator team.

According to Agricola this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, that’s what they have been doing all along.

“We’re pretty much going back to the way it was before the raid,” Agricola says.

Looking back at the past few months we can conclude that things have pretty much returned to normal at TPB. The site took a hit in terms of traffic and is no longer the most used torrent site, but the ship is still afloat.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Wants Private Theaters in U.S. Embassies to Lobby Officials

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

screeningYesterday Wikileaks published a searchable database of the emails and documents that were released from the Sony hack.

While a lot of ground was already covered after the initial breach, some new information is now bubbling up to the surface.

One of the conversations that caught our eye mentions a request from MPAA boss and former U.S. senator Chris Dodd.

In an effort to get foreign policy makers onside, the movie group asked its member studios to help fund an upgrade of the screening rooms in various U.S. embassies around the world.

In an email from Sony Pictures Entertainment Head of Worldwide Government Affairs Keith Weaver to CEO Michael Lynton last March, Weaver explains that the studio had been asked for rather a sizable contribution.

“I wanted to make you aware of a recent MPAA request, as Senator Dodd may contact you directly,” Weaver’s email begins.

“Essentially, the request is for the member companies to consider upgrading screening rooms at U.S. Embassies in various countries (Germany, Spain, Italy, UK, and Japan)…”

These rooms could then be used by the ambassadors to show off Hollywood content to invited high-level officials.

“…the idea being that these upgraded screening rooms would allow American ambassadors to screen our movies to high level officials (and, thus, inculcate a stronger will to protect our interests through this quality exposure to our content),” Weaver adds.

In other words, the MPAA wants to pay for an upgrade of the embassies’ private theaters, to indirectly protect the interests of U.S. movie studios abroad.

It’s a rather interesting lobbying effort and one that doesn’t come cheap. The estimated cost for the project is $165,000 per studio, which means the total budget for the project is close to a million dollars.

Unfortunately for the MPAA, Weaver suggested giving the project a miss and in a reply Lynton agreed.

“While studios have supported efforts like this in the past, my inclination is that we pass on this financial commitment at this time (of course, applauding the idea/effort),” Weaver noted.

In an email a few months later the issue was addressed again with additional details.

In this conversation Weaver notes that the request is “not unusual” and that the studio supported a similar request years ago. “Apparently, donations of this kind are permissible,” Weaver writes.

Again, Lynton replied that he was not inclined to support the project. It’s unclear whether any of the other members chipped in, or if the plan has been canceled due to a lack of financial support.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay’s Fredrik Neij Can’t Play Nintendo Classics In Prison

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

fredrik-neijFredrik Neij, also known as Tiamo, was one of the key operators of The Pirate Bay and often referred to as one of the site’s co-founders.

In 2010 Fredrik received a prison sentence for his involvement with the notorious site, which he initially avoided.

Last November he was eventually arrested by Thai immigration authorities and later transferred to a prison in Skänninge, Sweden.

Under the circumstances, Fredrik has been doing relatively well. However, prison life lacks distraction and entertainment, not to mention a digital connection to the outside world.

To kill time The Pirate Bay’s former operator put in a request to play games on an old Nintendo 8-bit console. Not the most advanced gaming experience, but a real treat for someone with virtually no access to entertainment.

Unfortunately, however, Fredrik’s request was outright denied by the prison administration. While gaming isn’t against the rules, they state that there’s no way to open the box to check it for concealed items.

“The console is sealed in such a way that it can not be opened without the machine being destroyed,” the prison wrote in a reply.

In light of this, the institution can’t implement the necessary control of the game console and it is therefore impossible to ensure that it does not contain prohibited items.”

Fredrik doesn’t agree with the decision decided to appeal the case before the administrative court.

Pirate Bay’s former operator doesn’t believe that a game console from the 80s without any network connectivity poses a threat, and points out that the prison only has to buy a simply screwdriver to check the box.

“That the institution lacks a screwdriver which costs 100 kroner can not be considered reasonable,” Fredrik writes.

“One has to wonder how many other victims there are when all video-game units of the brand Nintendo have the same screwdriver,” he adds.

This isn’t the first time that Fredrik has appealed a decision from the prison. Earlier this month he filed an appeal after the institution denied a request to print three documents.

TF note: The Nintendo case can actually be opened with a pen and a cigarette lighter

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

TorrentFreak: Netflix Sets Pricing Based on Local Piracy Rates

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

netfWith nearly 60 million subscribers globally, Netflix is a giant in the world of online video entertainment.

In terms of providing access to popular TV-shows and movies the company’s biggest competitor is piracy. Just a few weeks ago Netflix described the BitTorrent-powered Popcorn Time as a major threat.

Interestingly, piracy also offers critical business intelligence to the company. For example, it uses local piracy statistics to determine what content it should offer in various regions.

That’s not all though. During this week’s earnings interview Nexflix’s Chief Financial Officer David Wells said that a country’s piracy rate is a main factor in determining the service’s local price.

“Piracy is a governor in terms of our price in high piracy markets outside the US,” Wells explained.

“We wouldn’t want to come out with a high price because there’s a lot of piracy, so we have to compete with that,” Wells added.

Another recurring issue is Netflix policies against VPN usage. While the terms of use have prohibited this for a long time already, the big crackdown on VPN users has yet to begin.

According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, VPNs are used by paying customers, which isn’t such a big problem as piracy.

“It’s certainly less bad than piracy,” Hastings said, quickly adding that it’s not something the company encourages.

Ted Sarandos, head of content at Netflix, noted that the company continues to work with the studios to address the VPN issue but that it’s “kind of a whack a mole.”

Instead, Sarandos prefers to focus on the positive battle against piracy, which he believes Netflix is winning.

“The real great news is that in the piracy capitals of the world Netflix is winning. We’re pushing down piracy in those markets by getting access.” Sarandos noted.

With the right pricing Netflix has indeed converted many pirates. The next step is to make VPNs obsolete, by offering content globally without any geographical restrictions.

“The best way to make the VPN issue a complete non issue is through global licensing that we’re continuing to pursue with our partners,” Sarandos said.

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

TorrentFreak: EZTV Goes on Hiatus For an Operational Security Audit

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

eztv-logo-smallEZTV, the go-to place for many torrenting TV fans, has suffered its fair share of troubles in recent months.

It started early December when the group’s site was knocked offline as collateral damage in the Pirate Bay raid. A month later the group lost its .it domain name, which was then taken over by impostors in March.

To get back online and stay there, EZTV has had to move things around quite a bit.

In response to these recent issues the EZTV team has decided to go on a small hiatus, so the current setup can be carefully inspected. This means that in the short term no new releases will go up on the site.

“We are not releasing any new content at the moment due to a security audit of all our servers,” EZTV’s Novaking informs TF.

“We just want to put things on hold to see where everything is at and make sure everything is running optimally,” he adds.

The latest torrents were released on Monday and there is no ETA yet for when new ones will appear. The group is taking its time to carry out a proper audit and will do some code cleanup at the same time.

As part of the security audit registered users have also received a request for a password reset. Initially this resulted in some issues where users were unable to login but Novaking notes that people who experienced this problem can get in touch via IRC.

If all goes well EZTV may also reopen registrations again, which is something people have requested for a long time.

Fueled by the lack of new content and the recent domain troubles, some users were suspicious when they saw a link to the Bitx video player in the torrent list. However, this is a new streaming player the group is testing and nothing to worry about.

In a few days EZTV hopes to start releasing new content again. Until then, the group advises TV fans to turn to the ‘competition’ for their daily fix.

“There are several other distribution groups people can use while we’re doing the audit,” Novaking says.

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

TorrentFreak: Microsoft Takes Pirated Windows NT 4.0 Source Code Offline

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

microsoft-pirateIn February 2004 large portions of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 source code leaked onto the Internet.

In a statement issued at the time, Microsoft said the breach didn’t come from inside. The company worked closely with the FBI to track down the source but these efforts were fruitless.

Hoping to keep the leak under control, Microsoft also started issuing takedown notices to sites and P2P file-sharers, urging them to stop offering the code.

However, like anything that leaks onto the Internet it’s pretty much impossible to remove something for good. Even today, several NT 4.0 copies are still floating around in the dark corners of the web.

Up until a few days ago there was even a copy hosted on the popular developer platform GitHub. Posted by “njdragonfly” the leaked source code has been available there since 2011.

Microsoft initially didn’t spot the infringing copy but it recently took action by sending GitHub a DMCA takedown notice.

Microsoft’s takedown notice
mstd

“We have received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorized activities relating to, copyrighted works published by Microsoft Corporation,” the company writes

The notice proved to be successful. A few hours after its arrival the repository was made inaccessible. Those who try to access it now are redirected to GitHub’s standard takedown page.

While it’s understandable that Microsoft doesn’t want its source code out in the open, it’s not as much as a security threat as it was a decade ago. Today, more than 10 years after it was first published, pretty much all exploits have been patched.

That said, it’s worth nothing that after all these years Microsoft is trying to contain the leak. But perhaps that’s just for sentimental value.

Windows NT 4.0
Windows_NT_4.0

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

TorrentFreak: Music Industry Wants Cross Border Pirate Site Blocks

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

stop-blockedIn recent years blockades of “pirate” websites have spread across Europe and elsewhere. In the UK, for example, more than 100 websites are currently blocked by the major ISPs.

In recent weeks alone several new countries adopted similar measures, Australia, Spain and Portugal included.

Opponents of this censorship route often argue that the measures are ineffective, and that people simply move to other sites. However, in its latest Digital Music Report music industry group IFPI disagrees, pointing at research conducted in the UK.

“Website blocking has proved effective where applied,” IFPI writes, noting that the number of UK visits to “all BitTorrent” sites dropped from 20 million in April 2012 to 11 million two years later.

effblock

The key to an effective blocking strategy is to target not just one, but all leading pirate sites.

“While blocking an individual site does not have a significant impact on overall traffic to unlicensed services, once a number of leading sites are
blocked then there is a major impact,” IFPI argues.

For now, however, courts have shown to be among the biggest hurdles. It can sometimes take years before these cases reach a conclusion, and the same requests have to be made in all countries.

To streamline the process, copyright holders now want blocking injunctions to apply across borders, starting in the European Union.

“The recording industry continues to call for website blocking legislation where it does not already exist. In countries where there is already a legal basis for blocking, procedures can be slow and burdensome,” IFPI writes.

“For example, within the EU, blocking The Pirate Bay has meant taking multiple legal actions in different member states and rights holders are calling for injunctions to have cross-border effect.”

In addition to website blockades the music industry also stresses that other stakeholders should do more to help fight piracy. Search engines should prioritize legal services, for example, and advertisers and payment processors should cut their ties with pirate sites.

While IFPI’s numbers suggests that BitTorrent piracy has decreased globally, it still remains a significant problem. The group estimates that there are still four billion pirated music downloads per year on BitTorrent alone.

In other words, there’s plenty of blocking to be done before it’s no longer an issue, if that point will ever be reached.

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

TorrentFreak: Inspector General Exposes Pirating Prison Staffers

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

ohioreportLast year we received a well documented report from the former operator of USAWarez.com and USATorrents.com, who accused prison staff of showing pirated films to inmates.

The pirate screenings allegedly took place in Lorain Correctional Institution in Ohio and soon after the news broke the case was referred to the Ohio inspector general.

The inspector general launched an investigation and a back-up of the entire file server was made to search for traces of pirated films. In a report released last week the inspector general concludes that no pirated files were present on the server, although there were some movie traces present.

“The one movie file previously identified was no longer present on the server back-up. However, the analysis identified an additional 23 forensic artifacts of movie files, portions of movie files, or movie trailers that once existed within two other LorCI employee user profiles,” the report reads.

“…it was not possible to determine what the original files within the user profiles were, based on the artifacts found. As such, this information is being referred back to ODRC for any administrative action deemed appropriate.”

The analysis further notes that there’s no evidence that the two correction officers who allegedly showed the pirated movies had unauthorized movie copies (digital or physical) in their possession at the time of the investigation. As a result, no further action will be taken by the inspector general.

In addition to the pirated movies claim, the Ohio inspector general investigated a separate case after a complaint suggested that dozens of staffers of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) shared pirated music files on a work server.

In this case, a technical analysis found that there were indeed hundreds of files made available through the local network. In total, the report names 16 employees who shared between 33 and 463 audio files.

The files in question were stored on the prison’s “JPay” system and were available to anyone with access to the network. According to the inspector general’s report, most staffers didn’t realize that they were breaking the law by doing so.

“The majority of the 16 employees interviewed believed the folder containing the JPay audio files was visible to everyone who had access to the system, and it was permissible to play the audio files it contained,” the report reads.

“Many did not feel this was or might be a violation of copyright laws and noted that had they been aware it was a violation, they would not have accessed the folder and played or copied the files.”

CO Jayme Weber acknowledged copying several audio files after he overheard others talking about a shared folder on the system, but didn’t realize he was doing anything wrong.

“. .. I mean if somebody would have told me it was an issue, I would have deleted all the music and I would have never went into the folder. I mean, I just thought by word of mouth, that it was okay to do,” he said.

The Office of the Ohio Inspector General took the matter very seriously and contacted Homeland Security’s ICE unit to ask if they would pursue the matter.

Since there was no indication that any of the employees shared the copyrighted files to make a profit, ICE decided to let it slide.

“After being briefed of the allegations, investigators were told by the ICE duty officer that based on the allegations, barring any significant changes or evidence of sale-for-profit of the copied audio files, ICE would not pursue charges through the United States Attorney’s Office,” the report reads.

In both cases, the inspector general decided not to take any further steps against the accused employees. Instead, the report ends with a set of recommendations for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, to ensure that the same mistakes aren’t made in the future.

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

TorrentFreak: uTorrent Hopes to Regain Trust After Bitcoin Mining Controversy

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

utorrent-logo-newLast month many uTorrent users were surprised to see that their favorite BitTorrent client came bundled with the “Epic Scale” Bitcoin miner.

What made things worse was that, according to some, the application was installed silently without asking for explicit permission. uTorrent’s parent company BitTorrent Inc. denied these allegations but took the complaints seriously.

The Bitcoin miner was quickly suspended until further notice. Based on the negative backlash from users it was recently announced that the “offer” would not be reinstated.

The uTorrent team offered a public apology and said it misjudged how users would respond.

“We acknowledge again that we misjudged how this offer would be received, and we apologize to users who have objected to it or who had trouble uninstalling that software. We understand this has already eroded some users’ trust in μTorrent,” BitTorrent Inc. Jory Berson said.

To further clarify the situation the uTorrent development team decided to release a new version this week. The bump from 3.4.2 to 3.4.3 should help to steer people away from the tainted version.

“This new release is in part to make it easy for our users to identify which version of μTorrent to pursue,” Berson notes.

While the official site no longer offers downloads that include the bundled Epic Scale Bitcoin miner, BitTorrent Inc. warns that third-party sites may still include it with the older release.

“It is important to note that if you are not downloading μTorrent software directly from us, that some third party distributors may have the older version with the Epic Scale offer, Berson says.

“This would only be a very small number, but to be sure you are installing the version you want, look for 3.4.3 or download directly from us,” he adds.

The BitTorrent mainline client, which included the same Bitcoin miner, has been updated from version 7.9.2 to version 7.9.3. The latest releases of both uTorrent and BitTorrent can be downloaded through the official sites.

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 – 04/13/15

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

furi7This week we have five newcomers in our chart.

Furious 7 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 (5) Furious 7 (CAM/TS) 8.8 / trailer
2 (1) Taken 3 6.1 / trailer
3 (2) Interstellar 8.8 / trailer
4 (…) The Wedding Ringer 6.8 / trailer
5 (3) Last Knights 6.2 / trailer
6 (…) Hot Tub Time Machine 2 5.1 / trailer
7 (…) Inherent Vice 6.9 / trailer
8 (4) The Gambler 6.1 / trailer
9 (9) Careful What You Wish For 5.0 / trailer
10 (8) Into The Woods 6.2 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: The Pirate Bay Suffers Downtime

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

pirate bayAfter weeks of relative smooth sailing, the Pirate Bay has become unreachable since a few hours.

It’s currently not clear what’s causing the problems. There might be a hardware issue, routing problem or a software glitch, issues that have occurred many times in the site’s history.

Or perhaps there’s a surge in traffic from Game of Thrones fans?

Finally, with the raid of a few months ago still fresh in memory some fear that the problems may be of a more serious nature.

The above is all speculation, but what we do know is that the site’s domain name is currently working properly. The nameservers appear to be setup correctly too, so those variables can be ruled out.

The Pirate Bay currently displays a CloudFlare error message suggesting that TPB’s servers are (partially) unresponsive.

tpbcferror

Interestingly, some users report that they can still access the site via the Tor network, including the popular Pirate Browser.

TorrentFreak reached out to The Pirate Bay’s admin for a comment on the situation and we will update this article if we hear back.

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

TorrentFreak: Leaked Game of Thrones Episodes Trigger Piracy Craze

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

got5Today’s pre-release leak of four Game of Thrones episodes is without doubt one of the most prominent leaks in TV history.

The first copies, leaked from a review screener, appeared less than 24 hours ago on the private tracker IPT and quickly spread across public torrent sites.

During the first few hours there weren’t too many downloads, but that quickly changed after the news reached the mainstream press.

At the time of writing more than 135,000 people are sharing a single torrent of the first episode of season 5, which has already been downloaded over a million times since its release 18 hours ago.

The other three episodes are hovering around a million downloads as well, and that’s only via public torrent sites. The piracy totals will most likely double if the totals of streaming and direct download sites are added.

The most shared leaked GoT episodes
gotleak

While there’s certainly a piracy craze, with the four leaked episodes being the most pirated files globally at the moment, there’s no record to report just yet.

The unexpected release appears to have scattered the downloads throughout the day. As a result, last year’s record of 254,114 people sharing a single file at the same time is out of reach.

Still, more than a million downloads for a single episode in less than a day is quite impressive.

A snapshot of IP-addresses sharing the most downloaded episode shows that most originate from the UK and US, followed by India, Canada and France.

While all those pirates are surely having a great weekend now, the hangover will probably come later with the realization that it will take more than a month before the next episode comes online.

# Country % City %
torrentfreak.com
1 United Kingdom 9.8% London 3.3%
2 United States 9.1% Athens 2.4%
3 India 7.8% Lisbon 1.9%
4 Canada 5.4% Stockholm 1.8%
5 France 4.2% Bucharest 1.7%
6 Greece 3.3% Madrid 1.7%
7 The Netherlands 3.1% Mumbai 1.4%
8 Australia 3.1% Dubai 1.3%
9 Brazil 3.0% New Delhi 1.3%
10 Philippines 3.0% Toronto 1.1%

Note: The numbers are based on a sample of 21,445 IP-addresses collected over part of the day, which means that there’s a geographical bias. Also, downloaders who use VPNs may appear to be in a different country.

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

TorrentFreak: First Episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 Leak Online

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

got5Starting a few hours ago several episodes of the new Game of Thrones season started to appear online.

The copies were first spotted on the private torrent tracker IPT, but they soon made their way to more public sites such as The Pirate Bay, RARBG and KickassTorrents.

At the time of writing the first four episodes of the new season have been posted online. One source informs TF that the leak most likely originates from review copies sent to the press.

The leaks are a huge blow to HBO. In an effort to decrease piracy the company worked hard to ensure that the fifth season of Game of Thrones would premiere in 170 countries simultaneously.

Today, however, pirates have scooped up the exclusive, releasing four episodes worldwide.

While it came unexpected, many Game of Thrones fans have already spotted the early leak.

During the first three hours the episodes were downloaded more than 100,000 times and this number is expected to increase to more than a million later today.

Over the past three years Game of Thrones has been the most pirated TV-show. Based on the popularity of today’s leaks, this will be no different in 2015.

Breaking story, more info may follow

Game of Thrones Leaked S05E01
GOTleak

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

TorrentFreak: Anti-Piracy Threats Trigger Massive Surge in VPN Usage

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

ausThis week news broke that the makers of Dallas Buyers Club have the court’s approval to go after 4,726 alleged movie pirates in Australia, opening the door to many more copyright lawsuits.

Around the same time the country’s largest Internet providers submitted their online anti-piracy code, announcing that 200,000 piracy warnings will be sent out each year.

Facing increased monitoring and potential legal action many file-sharers have taken counter measures, hiding their IP-addresses so their sharing activities can no longer be linked to their ISP account.

Early March, the initial announcement of the warning letters already increased interest in VPNs and other anonymizing services, but this week’s surge broke new records.

Data from Google trends reveals that interest in anonymizing services has soared, with searches for “VPN” quadrupling in recent weeks. This effect, shown in the graph below, is limited to Australia and likely a direct result of the recent anti-piracy threats.

aussievpn

The effects are clearly noticeable at VPN providers as well, in both traffic and sales. TorGuard, a VPN and BitTorrent proxy provider, has seen the number of Australian visitors spike this week, for example.

“Over the past week TorGuard has seen a massive jump in Australian subscribers. Traffic from this region is currently up over 150% and recent trends indicate that the upsurge is here to stay,” TorGuard’s Ben Van der Pelt tells us.

“VPN router sales to Australia have also increased significantly with AU orders now representing 50% of all weekly shipments.”

TorGuard traffic from Australia
TorGuardAU

The recent events are expected to drive tens of thousands of new users to anonymizing services. However, it appears that even before the surge they were already commonly used Down Under.

A survey among 1,008 Australians early March showed that 16% of the respondents already used VPNs or Tor to increase privacy. The Essential survey shows that anonymizing tools are most prevalent among people aged 18-34.

While copyright holders don’t like the increased interest in these evasion tools, it may not all be bad news.

In fact, to a certain degree it shows that pirates are spooked by the new initiatives. Where some decide to go underground, others may choose to pirate less. And for the “trolls” there are still plenty of unsecured file-sharers out there.

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

TorrentFreak: Judge: IP-Address Doesn’t Identify a Movie Pirate

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

ip-addressWhile relatively underreported, many U.S. district courts are still swamped with lawsuits against alleged film pirates.

One of the newcomers this year are the makers of the action movie Manny. Over the past few months “Manny Film” has filed 215 lawsuits across several districts.

Like all copyright holders, the makers of the film rely on IP-addresses as evidence. They then ask the courts to grant a subpoena, forcing Internet providers to hand over the personal details of the associated account holders.

In most cases the courts sign off on these requests, but in Florida this isn’t as straightforward.

When District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro was assigned a Manny Film case she asked the company to explain how an IP-address can pinpoint the actual person who downloaded a pirated film. In addition, she asked them to show that geolocation tools are good enough to prove that the alleged pirate resides in the Court’s district.

In a detailed reply the filmmakers argued that IP-addresses can identify the defendant and that a refusal to grant a subpoena would set a “dangerous precedent.” Manny Film further stated that “all other courts” disagreed with the notion that an IP-address is not a person.

This last remark didn’t go down well with Judge Ungaro. In an order handed down this week she cites various cases where courts ruled that IP-addresses don’t always identify the alleged offenders.

“Due to the risk of ‘false positives,’ an allegation that an IP address is registered to an individual is not sufficient in and of itself to support a claim that the individual is guilty of infringement,” wrote the Judge citing a 2012 case, one of many examples.

The referenced cases clearly refute Manny Film’s claim that all other courts disagreed with the Judge Ungaro’s concerns, and the Judge is not convinced by any of the other arguments either.

“As in those cases, Plaintiff here fails to show how geolocation software can establish the identity of the Defendant. Specifically, there is nothing linking the IP address location to the identity of the person actually downloading and viewing the copy righted material and nothing establishing that the person actually lives in this district,” Judge Ungaro writes.

“Even if this IP address is located within a residence, geolocation software cannot identify who have access to that residence’s computer and who would actually be using it to infringe Plaintiff’s copyright,” she adds.

As a result, the Court refused to issue a subpoena and dismissed the case against IP-address 66.229.140.101 for improper venue.

While not all judges may come to the same conclusion, the order makes it harder for rightholders to play their “copyright troll” scheme in the Southern District of Florida. At the same time, it provides future defendants with a good overview to fight similar claims elsewhere.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay’s Fredrik Neij Appeals Denial to Print In Prison

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

fredrik-neijFredrik Neij, also known as Tiamo, was one of the key operators of The Pirate Bay.

In 2010 Fredrik received a prison sentence for his involvement with the notorious site, which he initially avoided.

After being on the run for several years he was eventually arrested by Thai immigration authorities late last year, and later transferred to a prison in Skänninge, Sweden.

While reportedly doing well, prison life has many limitations. Access to technology is limited, for example, but Fredrik recently managed to get a tablet so he could read the details of a preliminary investigation.

According to Fredrik, he was also given verbal approval to write text documents on the device and make printouts for personal use, but the prison administration now denies this.

In a response the former Pirate Bay operator has now filed an appeal at the Administrative Court.

“When I received the e-reader I specifically asked if I could use it to write letters and make notes in the tablet’s word processing programs. I was told that it would be okay,” Fredrik writes.

In addition to writing he was also promised that he could make several printouts.

“The answer I got was that there wouldn’t be a problem,” Neij notes.

Printing three files doesn’t seem to be a major issue, especially if the same documents are already available digitally. However, in prison things rarely come easy.

The good news for Fredrik is that his prison sentence is half done, and he’s scheduled to be released later this year.

Worryingly, however, there are more problems on the horizon. The former Pirate Bay operator is also facing hacking allegations as well as a criminal referral of his ISP, DCP Networks.

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

TorrentFreak: Google Removes FrostWire BitTorrent App From Play Store

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

fwlogoFrostWire has become a well-known file-sharing brand over the past decade.

The application was first released in 2004 as a LimeWire fork, but underwent several changes over the years. Today it’s mostly a BitTorrent client, but it also offers the option to access content from YouTube.

FrostWire is available on all major operating systems and does particularly well on Android where it has 2.9m active installs. Yesterday, however, the popular app was rendered unavailable.

FrostWire developer Angel Leon informs TF that Google pulled the application citing a violation of the Developer Distribution Agreement. Unlike the recent ban by Amazon, the removal has nothing to do with torrents but was triggered by FrostWire’s YouTube integration.

“After a regular review, we have determined that your app downloads, monetizes, or otherwise accesses YouTube videos in violation of the YouTube Terms of Service or YouTube API Terms of Service,” Google informed FrostWire while cautioning over the possibility of a permanent disconnection.

“All removals are tracked. Repeated removals will result in app suspension, at which point this app will count as a strike against the good standing of your developer account and no longer be available on Google Play.

googleplayfw

After the first warning last Friday FrostWire submitted a YouTube-less app to get it re-listed. This worked, as the app was put back in the store by Saturday, but yesterday it was removed again citing the “YouTube” violation.

“We’re pretty pissed by how Google is acting all bully on app developers,” Leon tells us in response to the recent troubles. The app’s users are not happy either. Many were happy to have the YouTube integration and berated FrostWire for removing it.

To please these users the developers made a separate version with YouTube functionality that can be installed directly from the FrostWire site.

fwyout“Our solution to pissed off users after Google forced us to remove YouTube integration from FrostWire, was to simply build another version of the app which didn’t disable the feature, and tell users to get the installer directly from our website,” Leon says.

The YouTube situation was explained in the FrostWire client and more than a million people saw the notification over the weekend.

Interestingly, Google doesn’t allow developers to promote apps outside the market so this notification had to go too.

Facing these and other restrictions, the FrostWire team is growing increasingly frustrated but without solid competition there’s not much they can do.

“Google is acting too much like a bully lately, they need to be put on the spot, and they deserve some serious competition in the mobile space,” Leon says.

At the time of writing FrostWire is still unavailable in the Play store. If everything goes well, however, the app should be reinstated in the near future.

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

TorrentFreak: Warner Bros Denies “Abuse” in Piracy Settlement Scheme

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

warnerTwo years ago Warner Bros. teamed up with Rightscorp to send small fines to U.S. Internet subscribers whose accounts were used to share copyrighted material.

At the time the Hollywood studio informed us that it was meant as a “discouragement of future unauthorized activity,” but the speculative invoicing strategy was met with great criticism.

Hoping to stop the practices, several Internet subscribers joined a class action lawsuit against Rightscorp and its clients. The complaint includes a long list of violations regarding Rightscorp’s debt collection practices, violating both the FDCPA and the Rosenthal Act.

“Among other wrongful conduct: Rightscorp has engaged in telephone harassment and abuse; made various false and misleading representations; engaged in unfair collections practices; failed to provide validation and required notices relating to the debts..,” the complaint reads.

In addition, the complaint raises the issue of Rightscorp’s controversial DMCA subpoenas which demand that smaller ISPs should hand over personal details of their subscribers. Thus far most ISPs have complied, but according to the complaint these requests are a “sham and abuse” of the legal process.

In a recent filing at a California District Court, Warner Bros. has now responded to the allegations for the first time. The movie studio submitted a motion asking the court to strike or dismiss the abuse of process claims (pdf).

According to Warner Bros and Rightscorp the settlement demand letters are protected under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. As a result, the claimed abuse would violate the company’s free speech and petitioning rights.

The DMCA subpoena was also obtained correctly, the defendants claim. Despite previous rulings to the contrary, Rightscorp and Warner believe that their ‘novel’ interpretation of the law may prove to be successful.

“…the subpoena complained of was used to identify a copyright infringer — which is the express purpose of DMCA subpoenas as interpreted by the courts of this Circuit — and therefore does not constitute an ‘abuse’ of process,” the motion reads.

Finally, Warner and Rightscorp argue that the alleged abuse of process should be protected under the litigation privilege, which immunizes them from liability.

” …even assuming, contrary to the law, that misuse of a subpoena could constitute an abuse of process, Plaintiff’s claim here is barred by the litigation privilege. California’s broad litigation privilege immunizes lawyers and parties from any liability arising from litigation-related communications,” the defendants write.

While the lawsuit is still in its early stages, it will be crucial for the future of the piracy settlement scheme in the United States. But even if this legal battle is won, there will be more trouble ahead.

A few weeks ago the company and its clients were also sued for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by placing intimidating robocalls and text messages.

Warner Bros. and Rightscorp’s current motion to strike and dismiss the abuse claims will be heard by the court early next month.

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

TorrentFreak: Popcorn Time Releases iOS App Tomorrow, No Jailbreak Needed

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

popcorntIn just a year the Popcorn Time brand has managed to establish itself as one of Hollywood’s main threats, and even Netflix fears the open source project.

One of the big appeals, aside from the easy-to-use interface, is the fact that it’s available on many platforms and devices. Now, there’s a brand new release that will extend this list.

On its one year anniversary tomorrow the Popcorn-Time.se fork will release an installer for non-jailbroken iOS devices. This means that anyone with an iPhone or iPad can install the popular app.

“We intentionally postponed our one year celebration since we wanted to celebrate it with this groundbreaking release the world has been waiting for,” the Popcorn-Time.se team tells TF.

The Popcorn Time fork already had an iOS app, which they released a few months ago. However, the new one is special as it can be installed on any device.

The developers say they use a new custom installer that can add apps to iOS devices without requiring a jailbreak. Popcorn Time’s dedicated iOS page will link to the new installer starting tomorrow

“The beauty is in the simplicity of this installer,” the team says.

“All a user will need to do to get Popcorn Time on a jailbroken iOS device is to download the ‘iOS installer’ to his desktop computer, connect his iOS device to the computer with a USB cable, and then just follow simple instructions that will download the app on the iOS device.”

Popcorn Time on iOS
ios_installer

In addition to watching films and TV-series on mobile devices, the iOS app also supports playback on Chromecast and Apple TV, similar to the desktop application.

According to the developers, however, having the option to easily add apps to iOS devices without a jailbreak is the main ‘revolution’ of this new release. And Popcorn Time is just the start.

“The team we worked with on this solution has already launched this website with one clear intention in mind: To fight the closed ecosystem Apple has created, screening and choosing for us what we can or cannot install on the devices we purchased and paid top dollar for,” the team tells TF.

This means that many more non-Apple-approved apps may come to iOS devices in the future. Needless to say, Apple is not going to like this, but the team says that the developers are prepared for battle.

“The installer guys have no doubt that this will be a long journey, playing ‘cat and mouse’ with Apple that probably won’t like them breaking their closed eco-system. But seeing their work now and future updates for the installer they’re already working on, we’re sure they’re ready for any obstacle Apple will throw their way,” they note.

TF tried a closed alpha release of the new installer and it works as advertised. The Popcorn Time app does indeed install without any hassle. The only limitation is that the installer requires a Windows machine, but the Mac version is expected be ready later this month.

It will be interesting to see how Apple responds to the new revelations. In any case, it’s clear that the list of Popcorn Time enemies just got longer.

Stay tuned…

Breaking Apple’s ecosystem
iosinstall

deviant

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

TorrentFreak: Top Torrent Tracker Knocked Offline Over “Infringing Hashes”

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

opentrackerIn recent years Coppersurfer.tk has quickly become one of the most used BitTorrent trackers.

Running on the beerware-licensed Opentracker software, the standalone tracker offers a non-commercial service which doesn’t host or link to torrent files themselves.

The free service coordinates the downloads of 10 million people at any given point in time, processing roughly billions of connections per month.

However, since last weekend Coppersurfer.tk has been offline. Responding to a complaint from Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, hosting provider LeaseWeb suddenly pulled the plug.

According to a LeaseWeb rep “torrents are illegal” and the company had no other option than to shut down the tracker.

This came as quite a surprise to the operator, since his service doesn’t link to or host torrent files. In fact, Coppersurfer doesn’t know what titles are tracked or where all the corresponding torrents are stored.

coppers

Hoping to resolve the matter the tracker operator reached out to BREIN, pointing out that he provided a content neutral service. However, the Hollywood-funded anti-piracy group disagreed.

One of the problems for BREIN is that The Pirate Bay uses Coppersurfer as a default tracker. This means that all torrents shared through the site are automatically tracked by the service.

“Your claim that a tracker can be compared to a neutral internet service provider is not correct. The Coppersurfer tracker is far from neutral. You are aware that your tracker is used for torrents of illegal websites like ThePiratebay,” BREIN’s Pieter Haringsma replied.

“There is no question about the fact that ThePirateBay is an illegal website, which is being blocked in numerous countries and, whose founders have been sentenced to jail. You know that your tracker is added automatically to all the torrents that are uploaded to that website,” he added.

Interestingly, BREIN is willing to make a deal with the tracker owner if he agrees to blocklist infringing hashes. In addition, BREIN demands that the owner identifies himself claiming that all commercial services are required to so under the European e-commerce directive.

“That is why you have the obligation to check [The Pirate Bay] and blacklist all illegal titles of that site, because you know that your tracker is added automatically to all the torrents that are uploaded to that website,” Haringsma wrote.

“Once you have stepped out of anonymity and have implemented measures to avoid illegal use of your tracker by blacklisting illegal torrents from ThePiratebay, BREIN is prepared to discuss the terms of a proper [takedown] procedure that Coppersurfer should put in place, including e.g. enforceable penalties,” he added.

The Coppersurfer operator is surprised by the broad demands and has chosen not to comply.

If a standalone tracker should ban hashes, should browsers and torrent clients do the same? He also fails to see how a non-profit service that doesn’t even require a website, can be seen as online commerce.

While LeaseWeb is no longer an option, the tracker operator hopes to put the service back online at another hosting company. Another option would be to donate it to an organization that’s dedicated to protecting free speech digital rights.

“My plans now are to seek a new home. I’m searching for a cheap server with 100Mbps/unmetered connection,” he informs TF.

“I could also give the tracker for free to any organization related to free speech and human progress,” he adds.

TF contacted LeaseWeb for a clarification on the “torrents are illegal” but at the time of publication we hadn’t heard back. The above example suggests, however, that hosting torrent related services in the Netherlands is getting more difficult.

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 – 04/06/15

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

taken3This week we have five newcomers in our chart.

Taken 3 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 (…) Taken 3 6.1 / trailer
2 (1) Interstellar 8.8 / trailer
3 (…) Last Knights 6.2 / trailer
4 (…) The Gambler 6.1 / trailer
5 (…) Furious 7 (CAM) 8.8 / trailer
6 (2) Cinderella 7.6 / trailer
7 (3) Exodus: Gods and Kings 6.2 / trailer
8 (5) Into The Woods 6.2 / trailer
9 (…) Careful What You Wish For 5.0 / trailer
10 (7) Fifty Shades of Grey 3.9 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Research: Piracy Increases Literacy and Access to Knowledge

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

piratesdillemmaIn Western countries piracy is often seen as a leisure tool, granting people unauthorized access to the latest hits and Hollywood blockbusters.

However, there are also parts of the world where piracy is frequently used as a means to gather and spread knowledge. In parts of Africa, for example, where legal access to educational books and software is often restricted or unavailable.

Over the years we have seen various illustrations of the educational importance of piracy in developing countries. When the e-book portal Library.nu was shut down, for instance, we were contacted by a United Nations worker in Kenya, who voiced his disappointment.

“I am very concerned about the recent injunction against library.nu. The site was particularly useful for people like me working in Nairobi, a city that has no more than four bookshops with nothing but bestsellers,” the UN worker informed TF at the time.

In an effort to determine how piracy affects literacy and the spread of knowledge, the African Governance and Development Institute conducted an in-depth study comparing piracy and human development data from 11 African countries.

The findings, presented in a paper titled “The Impact of Software Piracy on Inclusive Human Development: Evidence from Africa” show that “software piracy increases literacy”.

“Adoption of tight IPRs regimes may negatively affect human development by diminishing the literacy rate and restricting diffusion of knowledge,” the authors write.

Not all copyright protection measures have a negative effect though, and the researchers found that is negatively linked to the human development index.

“Adherence to international IPRs protection treaties (laws) may not impede per capita economic prosperity and could improve life-expectancy,” the paper reads.

The paper reports mostly correlational data so it’s not unthinkable that countries where human development is higher have less need to pirate, as there are better alternatives.

The reverse effect could also apply to the literacy findings but according to the researchers this is unlikely. Researcher Simplice Asongu informed TF that his previous work showed a causal effect from piracy on scientific publications.

“I tested the impact of piracy on scientific publications and established a positive causality flowing from the former to the latter,” Asongu says.

From that research, it was concluded that African countries with less copyright restrictions on software will substantially boost the spread of knowledge through scientific and technical publications.

The findings reported here are limited to the effect of software piracy, but it’s not hard to see how book piracy may also positively influence literacy and the spread of knowledge.

In sum, the research suggests that piracy does have its positive sides, especially in terms of human development. Still, it seems unlikely that rightsholders will take that into account when lobbying for new policy changes.

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

TorrentFreak: Google Asked to Wipe Record Breaking 100 Million Pirate Links in 2015

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

google-bayIn recent years copyright holders have overloaded Google with DMCA takedown requests targeted at the company’s search results.

The number of requests issued has increased dramatically. In 2011, the search engine received only a few hundred takedown notices per day, but in the same period it now processes more than a million “pirate” links.

A few days ago Google received its 100 millionth takedown request of 2015. The counter is currently at 103,218,572, which means yet another record. Last year it took a month longer to reach the same milestone.

If the numbers go up at the same rate throughout the year, Google will process half a billion allegedly infringing links during 2015.

Most of the reported links are legitimate and the associated links are often swiftly removed from Google’s search results. However, with the massive volume of reports coming in, mistakes are also made.

In recent weeks we have received several reports from site owners who have had their homepages removed from Google, even though they don’t link to any infringing material.

File-hosting service Rapidgator.net had its homepage removed for the third time, for example. And the Dutch subtitle site Ondertitel.com suffered the same fate. In neither case a counter-notice proved to be successful. However, the pages were quickly restored after TF asked Google about the errors.

In Google’s defense, the company must be overloaded with DMCA counter notices. But if the numbers increase this type of collateral damage will only get worse, so there has to be a reliable system in place to quickly restore falsely removed content.

100m2015

Another problem for Google are the increased levels of general complaints from copyright holders, who increasingly expect Google to do more to tackle online piracy.

Responding to this commentary Google implemented a significant change to its search algorithm aimed at downranking sites that often link to copyright-infringing material.

At the same time, however, Google also reminded copyright holders that they too can do more to prevent piracy.

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

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

Faced with complaints from both rightsholders and site owners, it’s impossible for Google to please both sides. For now, they are stuck in the middle, hoping to keep the boat afloat in a storm of takedown notices, without changing course too drastically.

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

TorrentFreak: EZTV Impostors Hope To Cash In on EZTV.it Domain

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 swiftly moved to a new home using the Swiss based EZTV.ch.

Soon after the EZTV.it domain was suspended, but in a surprise move it became available again after a few weeks. Unfortunately for the EZTV crew it was quickly scooped up by domain squatters.

The domain was allegedly listed for sale at an auction where the company EZCLOUD LIMITED (Ezcloud is the same name the real EZTV used in the Whois previously) bought it for a five digit number. They then relaunched the domain using it as a reverse proxy to serve content from the original domain, with their own ads.

Instead of making clear that the site was a proxy, the owners removed all references to the real EZTV.ch domain, probably in an effort to keep the traffic on board.

TF reached out to EZCLOUD director Hernandez Dominguez Emmanuel, hoping to find out more about their motivation, and we were informed that they initially planned to make a deal with the real EZTV.

Emmanuel sent a business proposal to EZTV offering them a percentage of the profit they made from advertisements. The other option was to buy the domain back for a larger amount, but a partnership was preferred.

“The business proposal to Novaking was straightforward: he pays us a slightly bigger amount than we have paid at the auction or we somehow partnership by uniting both entities: eztv.it and eztv.ch and we will earn in the course of the next months by percentage of the ads revenues,” Emmanuel tells TF.

EZTV’s Novaking was not interested in making a deal and made that very clear in a short reply.

“Have no idea why you are trying to sound like business oriented people. I have no interest in making some crappy deals with you simply being a reverse proxy. Have fun with the domain,” Novaking wrote in a quick response.

In addition, EZTV banned IP-address of the impostor site so it could no longer act as a reverse proxy. However, this ban was circumvented and ETZV.it still displays recent torrents via a workaround.

According to Novaking it’s obvious that the impostors have bad intentions. They want people to believe that they’re the real site so they can make a profit.

“They basically want us to do all the work and they make money from it,” Novaking informs TF.

To warn people he posted a note on the official site urging users to avoid the old domain.

eztvwarning

“The scammers who own eztv.it appear to be trying to fool users to think they are the main website,” the warning reads.

“Take caution, and stop using their website, the correct domain is eztv.ch. Please inform your family and friends who may still be using the old domain,” it adds.

In response, EZCLOUD posted a message on the site inaccurately claiming that they are the real deal.

“The correct domain address is eztv.it as always! Please inform your family and friends who may be using other cloned domains.”

eztvscamimp

Considering the rift between both sides it seems unlikely that EZTV.it will be returned to its original owner anytime soon. For now it remains in possession of the impostors, something people should bear in mind.

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