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TorrentFreak: Israeli Court Lifts Ineffective Popcorn Time Ban

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

popcorntBranded a “Netflix for Pirates,” the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people over the past year.

The application has some of the major media giants shaking in their boots, including Netflix which sees the pirate app as a serious competitor.

In Israel, local anti-piracy group ZIRA took several Internet providers to court this year, with the goal to have several prominent Popcorn Time sites blocked. This effort resulted in an initial success when a preliminary injunction was granted in May.

However, after a careful review the Tel Aviv court has now reversed this decision. One of the arguments of the court is that blocking Popcorn Time domain names is relatively ineffective.

The court concluded that since the developers of the software can’t be tracked down, there’s nothing that prohibits them from launching new websites to render the blockade useless.

“Therefore, blockage or shutting down Popcorn Time sites does not guarantee that the application can no longer be downloaded,” the judgment reads.

In addition, the court points out that Popcorn Time applications that have been downloaded already will continue to work, even if the sites are blocked.

“This shows that the benefit of the requested measures is minimal, if any,” the verdict notes.

The Internet providers who protested the blocking requests further argued that the blockades would require a lot of resources and hurt their image, which the court largely agreed with.

“The cost of making ISPs some kind of censorship authority is at least equivalent, if not higher, than the cost of copyright infringement,” the verdict reads, mentioning that free competition and freedom of speech may be at risk.

Finally, the court gave ZIRA a slap on the wrist by pointing out that the requested blockade wasn’t as urgent as the copyright holders claimed, since Popcorn Time has been around for a long time.

“These sites, which presumably were visible to everyone, have been online for a long time. Given that, it seems that the applicant delayed the submission of the application which contradicts their urgency claim on the requested preliminary measures”, the judgment reads.

The outcome is a blow for ZIRA and the copyright holders they represent.

In addition to the negative outcome, the court also ordered the anti-piracy group to pay $1,060 to cover the legal fees of one ISP. The other ISPs settled the fees in question out of court.

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

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 07/06/15

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

mmThis week we have three newcomers and one returnee in our chart.

Mad Max: Fury Road 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) Mad Max: Fury Road (Webrip) 8.5 / trailer
2 (2) Jurassic World (TS) 7.7 / trailer
3 (5) The Longest Ride 7.1 / trailer
4 (…) Minions (TS) 7.0 / trailer
5 (3) Cinderella 7.3 / trailer
6 (4) Get Hard 6.1 / trailer
7 (…) Home 6.8 / trailer
8 (8) Kingsman: The Secret Service 8.1 / trailer
9 (…) Spy 7.5 / trailer
10 (back) Furious 7 (HDrip) 7.6 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Was Worth Doing Prison Time For, Co-Founder Says

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

fredrik-neijFredrik Neij, one of The Pirate Bay’s co-founders, was released early last month after serving a 10-month prison sentence for his involvement with the site.

A few days ago Fredrik arrived back home in Laos, where he’s enjoying his family and an unlimited stock of beer to get his liver back on track.

TF had the chance to catch up with the Swede to see how prison life treated him and the answers we received may surprise some. While it’s never fun to be locked up, Fredrik says it was worth doing time for The Pirate Bay.

“Things were not too bad in prison,” Fredrik tells TF. “It was well worth doing prison time for The Pirate Bay, when you consider how much the site means to people,” Fredrik says.

The prisons in Sweden are nothing like those seen in Hollywood blockbusters. He had plenty of space and privacy and no bars on the door.

“Like most people I only knew about prisons from American movies. Now that I have some firsthand experience I am happy to say it’s quite different. Unlike the barred cages for two persons in the movies, here I have my own private room that’s 10 square meters, with a real door and no bars on the window.”

Fredrik compares his cell to a cabin on a cruise ship, but one with a shitty view. Instead of seeing beautiful coastlines and picturesque bays, he was looking at a prison wall with barbed wire on top, and agricultural fields in the distance.

The cell itself had a private toilet and shower as well as some space for personal items. There were two bulletin boards as well, one with photos of his kids and family and another one for all the fan mail he received.

Although the prison management denied him access to his classic 8-bit Nintendo console, there was plenty of entertainment around. The room came equipped with a Samsung smart TV and Fredrik was also allowed to have newer game consoles.

As a Sci-Fi addict, Fredrik was also happy that “some people” managed to smuggle digital content inside.

“I watched a lot of TV-series and movies on smuggled in USB sticks and MicroSD cards, which is a nice way to kill some time, watching Archer, Futurama, Firefly and other Sci-Fi,” Fredrik says.

On the music front Pirate Bay’s co-founder was thrown back two decades, spinning CDs in an ancient Discman. Music he actually had to pay for.

“Listening to music on a Discman gave me flashbacks to how life was before MP3s, with short battery-life and having to change CD to listen to different artists. Also it was probably the first legal music I bought this millennium.”

The lockup hours were between 7am and 7pm and inmates were allowed to put out their own lights, so games could be played all night. During weekdays Fredrik had to work for three hours as well, putting pieces of wood into a laser etching machine.

The best times of the week were without a doubt the visiting hours, especially when they overlapped with work. Talking to friends and family was a welcome distraction, either in person or on the phone, which Fredrik could have in his room a few times per week.

There were also a lot of people writing in. Not just with words of support, but also to keep him updated on news in the real world, including TF articles.

“To keep up to date with the outside world, friends and family sent me newspapers, magazines and printouts of online media such as TorrentFreak! I also spent a lot of time reading all news-clippings, books and tech- science- and computer magazines I received from fans.”

Fredrik was locked up in the medium security prison in Skänninge where he was the only convict doing time for a “virtual” crime.

“Most other guys were in for drug-related offenses, robberies, manslaughter, aggravated assault. No-one had ever heard of someone being placed at that prison for such a low severity, nonviolent, white-collar crime as ‘assisted copyright infringement,’ but I guess the MAFIAA get what they pay for,” he says.

Surprisingly enough, Fredrik could cope relatively well without 24/7 access to a keyboard and the Internet.

“I didn’t miss computers and the Internet as much as I would have expected. I mostly just missed having instant access to information like I am used to. Inside I used TEXT-TV and newscasts instead of web-sites,

“You only notice how dependent we are on the Internet when are forced off it and have to do things like it was the early 90s again,” Fredrik adds.

Looking ahead Fredrik is hoping to catch up life where he left off.

“It’s great to be back home with the kids. Family aside I was mostly looking forward to catching up on Doctor Who and Archer. And to put an end to my liver’s well deserved vacation with a large beer!”

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

TorrentFreak: Court Drops Innocent Cox Subscribers From Piracy Lawsuit

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

pirate-runningLast year BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music sued Cox Communications, arguing that the ISP fails to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers.

As part of the discovery process the music outfits requested details on the accounts which they caught downloading their content.

In total there are 150,000 alleged pirates, but the court limited the initial disclosure to the top 250 infringing IP-addresses in the six months before the lawsuit was filed.

A few weeks ago Cox started informing its customers that their information would be handed over to the music companies. In a response, dozens of subscribers asked the court not to expose their identities.

Some argued that they should be dismissed because they have did not share the mentioned files. Another group explained to the court that they were wrongfully included, because they weren’t Cox subscribers at the time of the alleged offense.

The latter issue is due to Cox’s broad reading of an earlier court order. Instead of handing over details of subscribers who used the IP-addresses at the time of the infringements, the ISP also included the current IP-address holders.

Objection from a Cox subscriber
objectcox

This week U.S. Magistrate Judge John Anderson ruled on the objections (pdf), concluding that the subscribers who did not use the IP-address at the time should be dropped.

“Several of the persons submitting objections have provided information to the court that is sufficient to establish that they were not assigned the IP addresses that are the subject of the court’s ruling at the time of the alleged infringing activity.

“The court sustains the objections raised by those individuals,” the order adds.

The other group of subscribers who merely claimed that they did not share any of the copyright infringing files, were less successful. Their requests were denied and Cox will share their personal details with the music companies.

“The mere denial of any infringing activity is an insufficient reason to justify quashing the subpoena to Cox. In addition, any concerns these individuals may have relating to privacy are addressed adequately by the provisions of the Protective Order entered in this action,” the order reads.

The last part is important because many subscribers fear that the music companies will come after their money. However, the court assures them that their personal information can only be used as evidence in this lawsuit, not to demand settlements.

“The subscriber information produced in this action is to be used solely for the purposes of litigating the claims raised in this action between BMG/Round Hill and Cox and will not be used by BMG/Round Hill to solicit payments directly from Cox subscribers.”

For the music companies this shouldn’t be a problem. They previously said that they don’t intend to pursue any individual subscribers in the lawsuit. How they do plan to use the personal details of the subscribers will become clear as the case proceeds.

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

TorrentFreak: FBI Wants Pirate Bay Logs to Expose Copyright Trolls

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

pirate bayOver the past few years copyright troll law firm Prenda crossed the line on several occasions.

Most controversial was the clear evidence that Prenda uploaded their own torrents to The Pirate Bay, creating a honeypot for the people they later sued over pirated downloads.

The crucial evidence to back up this allegation came from The Pirate Bay, who shared upload logs with TorrentFreak that tied a user account and uploads to Prenda and its boss John Steele.

This serious allegation together with other violations piqued the interest of the FBI. For a long time there have been suspicions that the authorities are investigating the Prenda operation and today we can confirm that this is indeed the case.

The confirmation comes from Pirate Bay co-founders Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij, who independently informed TF that they were questioned about Prenda during their stays in prison.

“I was told that Prenda Law has been under investigation for over a year, and from the printouts they showed me, I believe that,” Sunde tells TF.

Sunde was visited by Swedish police officers who identified themselves, noting that they were sent on behalf of the FBI. The officers mainly asked questions about Pirate Bay backups and logs.

“They asked many questions about the TPB backups and logs. I told them that even if they have one of the backups that it would be nearly impossible to decrypt,” Sunde says, adding that he couldn’t help them as he’s no longer associated with the site.

A short while after Sunde was questioned in prison the same happened to Neij. Again, the officers said they were gathering information about Pirate Bay’s logs on behalf of the FBI.

“They wanted to know if I could verify the accuracy of the IP-address logs, how they were stored, and how they could be retrieved,” Neij says.

The FBI’s interest in the logs was directly linked to the article we wrote on the Prenda honeypot in 2013. While it confirms that the feds are looking into Prenda, the FBI has not announced anything in public yet.

TF contacted the Swedish police a while ago asking for further details, but received no response.

It’s worth noting that the police officers also asked questions about the current state of The Pirate Bay and who’s running the site. With the recent raid in mind, it’s not unthinkable they may also have had an alternative motive.

In any case, today’s revelations show that Prenda is in serious trouble. The same copyright trolls who abused The Pirate Bay to trap pirates, may also face their demise thanks to the very same site.

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

TorrentFreak: Tech Giants Oppose Broad Anti-Piracy Injunctions

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

msfacebookIn recent months there have been several lawsuits in the U.S. in which copyright holders were granted broad injunctions, allowing them to seize domain names of alleged pirate sites.

In addition, these injunctions were sometimes directed at hosting providers, search engines and ISPs, preventing these companies from doing business with these sites.

Most recently, such a request came from the publishing company Elsevier, who sued the websites Libgen.org and Sci-Hub.org. The publisher asked for a preliminary injunction targeting several third-party services.

While the operators of the “pirate” sites have yet to respond, several tech companies have joined in to protest the request. This week the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which includes members such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, asked the court to limit the proposed injunction.

In its current form the proposal targets any search engine, ISP and hosting company, without naming any in particular, which isn’t allowed according to the tech companies.

“What Plaintiffs here are seeking is, in essence, an injunction against the world. It is well established that such a sweeping injunction against nonparty intermediaries is impermissible,” CCIA writes (pdf).

According to the tech companies, neutral service providers are not “in active concert or participation” with the defendant, and should therefore be excluded from the proposed text.

The CCIA gives the example of search engines, which may link to pirate websites but can’t be seen as “aiders and abettors,” or as collaborating with these sites to violate the law.

Even if one of the third party services could be found liable, the matter should be resolved under the DMCA and not through an injunction, the CCIA claims.

“The DMCA thus puts bedrock limits on the injunctions that can be imposed on qualifying providers if they are named as defendants and are held liable as infringers. Plaintiffs here ignore that.”

“What they seek, in the posture of a preliminary injunction against nonparties, goes beyond what Congress was willing to permit, even against service providers who come before a court as defendants against whom an actual judgment of infringement has been entered. That request must be rejected.”

The New York federal court has scheduled a hearing later this month after which it will decide whether to issue the preliminary injunction or not. Thus far, Elsevier hasn’t responded to CCIA’s opposition.

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

TorrentFreak: YouTube Doesn’t Have To Police Piracy Proactively, Court Rules

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

youtubefaceYouTube has been battling music rights group GEMA in several court cases for more than half a decade.

In one of the most prominent cases the music group, which claims to represent 70,000 artists, argued that YouTube is liable for the content its users upload. As such, they want Google’s video service to proactively monitor the site for possible infringements.

This liability argument was denied in 2012 by a lower court, but GEMA appealed the decision. Yesterday the Appeals Court in Hamburg announced its verdict, confirming the earlier ruling.

According to the court, YouTube has no obligation to actively police video content users submit to the site.

“YouTube is in basis not required to monitor the content they transmit or store, or to investigate circumstances that indicate illegal user activity,” the court states.

It’s not all good news for Google though. The court emphasized that YouTube has to do more to ensure that infringing content is barred.

“However, if a service provider is notified of a clear violation of the law, it must not only remove the content immediately, but also take precautions which ensure that no further infringements will be possible.”

YouTube previously argued that copyright holders can use its Content ID system to ensure that infringing files remain offline. However, GEMA is hesitant to use the system, which requires rightsholders to act.

GEMA is disappointed that the court didn’t confirm that YouTube is liable for its users, but sees the responsibility comments as a win.

“The ruling of the Court of Appeals shows that YouTube can not escape responsibility for copyright infringements, and that it can’t pass on all responsibility to the rights owner,” says GEMA CEO Harald Heker.

It’s unclear what extra measures YouTube should take, but German music industry law firm Rasch suggests that keyword filtering is a viable option.

The Hamburg court also ruled on a separate issue confirming that YouTube didn’t remove seven videos swiftly enough. In five other instances YouTube handled the cases correctly. Both Google and GEMA appealed the lower court’s decision, but both appeals were rejected.

Thus far the court has only announced the decision in an oral hearing. The full verdict will be released later this month and can still be appealed by both sides.

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

TorrentFreak: Kim Dotcom Appeals to Reclaim ‘Mega Millions’ from U.S.

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

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

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

Megaupload’s defense heavily protested the request but was found to have no standing, as Dotcom and his colleagues were branded “fugitives”.

Earlier this year District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ordered a default judgment in favor of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). As a result the contested assets, which are worth an estimated $67 million, now belong to the United States.

Today Kim Dotcom and his Megaupload co-defendants appealed this decision at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In their opening brief (pdf) Megaupload’s lawyers argue that the court denied the defendants’ basic rights and violated due process.

“The recent filing demonstrates again how the entire Megaupload case is build on quicksand. It’s a slap in the face of the DOJ and the Judge they picked for his Disney CV,” Dotcom tells TF in a comment.

In particular, the appeal filing points out that it was wrong to rely on the ‘fugitive disentitlement‘ doctrine, as Dotcom and his former colleagues were merely exercising their legal right to defend themselves.

“The Megaupload defendants were branded by the DOJ as ‘fugitives’ for lawfully fighting extradition in New Zealand,” Megaupload Appellate Counsel Michael Elkin notes.

“The district court’s denial of their basic rights to defend against asset forfeiture under a ‘fugitive disentitlement’ doctrine amounts to a violation of basic due process,” he adds.

Ira Rothken, Kim Dotcom’s Lead Global Counsel, emphasizes the injustice of the District Court decision and reiterates that his client has never even set a foot on U.S. soil.

“With our appeal today we are asking the Fourth Circuit to rule in favor of fairness, natural justice, and due process by stopping US efforts to take Kim Dotcom’s global assets for doing nothing more than lawfully opposing extradition to the United States—a country he has never been to,” he says.

According to Rothken the U.S. went after the millions in assets to obstruct other legal proceedings, including the extradition case which will be heard in New Zealand later this year.

“The DOJ in our view is trying to abuse the Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine by modifying it into an offensive weapon of asset forfeiture to punish those who fight extradition under lawful treaties, and a provocation for international discord. Today we ask the Court of Appeals for justice.”

The 79-page opening brief concludes with a stark warning.

If the District Court decision is upheld it would give the government unprecedented power, allowing it to indict foreigners and grab their assets without looking into the merits of the case.

“That is not how our justice system works. The judgments below should be vacated and the case either dismissed or remanded for trial on the merits,” Megaupload’s lawyers conclude.

Dotcom is glad to see that the appeal is finally underway and points out that Megaupload was taken down by corrupt forces in the U.S. Government.

“They did not have the right to take billions of files from millions of Megaupload users offline. But a corrupt Senator (Chris Dodd), his best buddy (Joe Biden) and Biden’s sock puppet attorney at the DOJ (Neil MacBride) did it anyway,” Dotcom says.

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

TorrentFreak: Google Scolds MPAA’s “Cozy” Anti-Piracy Lobby in Court

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

googlepopLate last year leaked documents from the Sony hack revealed that the MPAA helped Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to revive SOPA-like censorship efforts in the United States.

In a retaliatory move Google sued the Attorney General, hoping to find out more about the secret plan. The company also demanded internal communication from the MPAA and its lawfirm Jenner & Block.

After the Hollywood group and its lawyers refused to provide all information Google asked for, a separate legal battle began with both sides using rather strong language to state their case.

The MPAA accused Google of facilitating piracy and objected to a request to transfer the case to Mississippi, where the underlying case was started. According to the movie industry group and its lawyers they are merely bystanders who want to resolve the matter in a Washington court.

This week Google responded to the MPAA opposition with a scathing reply, which outs the cozy relationship between the MPAA and the Attorney General’s office.

“Their rhetoric does not match reality,” Google responds (pdf) to the request not to transfer the case. “The MPAA and Jenner are no strangers to Mississippi.”

“The Subpoenaed Parties sought out Mississippi when they co-opted the state’s Attorney General for their anti-Google campaign. Documents withheld by the MPAA until last week reveal a stunning level of involvement in Mississippi’s affairs.”

According to Google it’s clear that the MPAA and its law firm were in “intimate contact” with the Attorney General, offered monetary donations, hosted fundraisers and also helped him to draft legal paperwork.

“According to the Subpoenaed Parties, they are strangers to Mississippi. But documents produced last week by the MPAA tell a very different story. The Subpoenaed Parties and their representatives made repeated visits to AG Hood’s office in Mississippi to guide his anti-Google work.”

“Even when they weren’t physically at AG Hood’s office, they may as well have been, getting together with him in Denver and Santa Monica and holding a fundraising dinner for him in New Orleans.”

And there is more. The emails the MPAA recently produced also reveal “remarkably cozy and constant communications” between the MPAA and the Attorney General’s office.

In one email the MPAA’s Brian Cohen greeted one of Hood’s staffers with “Hello my favorite” offering to share pictures of his vacation in New Zealand via Dropbox. In another email discussing a meeting with the AG’s staff, MPAA’s Cohen writes “OMG we spent 3 hours.”

favorite

According to Google the examples above clearly show that there’s a rather close relationship between the MPAA’s lobbyists and the Attorney General.

“This pattern of sustained, intimate contact is hardly the mark of a party that merely ‘communicated with Attorney General Hood’ ‘previously,’ as the MPAA characterizes itself.”

Throwing in a movie reference, Google further notes that transferring the case would be in line with Rule 45, which ties the subpoena to the Mississippi case.

“But it is not merely the Subpoenaed Parties’ starring role in the underlying events that warrants transfer of Google’s Motions to Compel to Judge Wingate in Mississippi; all of the Rule 45 factors support it as well,” Google notes.

The reply continues adding more support and arguments to transfer the case, using more strong language, and the sarcastic-aggressive tone continues throughout.

If we hadn’t seen enough evidence already, the filing makes it clear that the MPAA and Google are not on speaking terms, to say the least. And with the Attorney General case just getting started, things may get even worse.

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

TorrentFreak: French Magazine Fined €10,000 For Encouraging Piracy

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

download-keyboardLast summer the bimonthly computer magazine “Téléchargement,” French for “Download,” released an issue documenting the various ways people can pirate films, TV-shows, games and music on the Internet.

The cover featured a pirate skull and advertised “the best software and websites to download for free.”

The local music industry group SCPP was appalled by the controversial issue and decided to take legal action in response. According to the group’s CEO Marc Guez the magazine publishers had gone too far.

“A line had been crossed,” Guez told Next INpact. “This is a magazine which clearly and shamelessly incited piracy. That’s what prompted us to act.”

The music industry group highlighted what they believe were inciting passages. For example, it described torrent clients such as uTorrent and BitComet, noting that it’s easy to find infringing content through Google search.

“There’s no need to dive into the depths of the deep Web for pirate downloads, Google will make sure they’ll surface. With some clever keywords and in a handful of clicks you will fill your hard drives with joy and laughter,” it read.

“We offer an overview of the best torrent clients plus some tips and tricks to entertain you,” the magazine added.

Other passages of the magazine mentioned specific tips and websites where pirated content is available, mentioning how easy it is to download movies and music without paying for it.

SCPP took the magazine publisher to court claiming it had violated French copyright law. Specifically, they argued that the publisher willingly encouraged its readers to use software that’s predominantly used to share copyright infringing material.

Under French law it’s forbidden to “knowingly encourage” the use of software that’s clearly meant to infringe copyrights, with a maximum prison sentence of three years and a €300,000 fine.

The publisher contested the claims, noting that the magazine repeatedly emphasized that piracy is illegal. However, according to the court this was not enough.

Earlier this month the court of Nanterre handed down its verdict ruling that the publisher indeed went too far. The court issued a €10,000 fine, which is roughly the amount that was made through the sale of the magazine.

The music industry is happy with the outcome, noting that it’s the first time that a news outlet has been found guilty of inciting piracy under this section of copyright law. The ruling is final and can’t be appealed.

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

TorrentFreak: Court Orders Namecheap to Identify Pirate Site Operator

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

namecheapLast month the long running lawsuit between the RIAA and Grooveshark came to an end. However, within days a new site was launched aiming to take its place.

The RIAA wasn’t happy with this development and quickly obtained a restraining order, preventing domain registrars and hosting companies from offering their services to the site.

In a response Namecheap quickly suspended the site’s account. However, the “new” Grooveshark then relocated elsewhere and as of today the RIAA is still in the dark as to the identity of the owner.

Hoping to track this person down the music labels recently filed a motion to conduct expedited discovery. This would allow them to order third party services to hand over all personal information they have on the site’s operator.

“Defendants have continued to operate the counterfeit Service, concealing their identities and using multiple infringing domain names registered through at least three different domain name registrars,” the RIAA’s lawyers wrote in their motion.

According to the RIAA, help from other services is needed as they have “no alternative methods” to find out who is operating the “revived” Grooveshark site.

Late last week New York District Court Judge Alison Nathan agreed with the music labels, granting the motion against Namecheap and several other service providers (pdf).

In addition to Namecheap the court filing specifically mentions the “proxy” provider Cloudflare, domain name registrar Dynadot and hosting provider Nodisto.

The RIAA expects that these organizations will have crucial information including payment details and IP-addresses. Thus far none of the third-party service providers have objected to the order, and it’s unlikely that they will.

Coincidentally, Namecheap launched a campaign last week urging its users to protest a new proposal that would put an end to private domain name registrations for some site owners. However, the company does not object to court orders and has complied with similar ones previously.

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

TorrentFreak: Malwarebytes Offers Pirates Free “Amnesty” Keys

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

malwarebytes1Like most other popular software, Malwarebytes has many unauthorized users who use cracks or keygens to unlock the programs paid features.

Traditionally, Malwarebytes has taken a fairly lenient stance towards pirates. Two years ago the company started tracking down this group of users, asking them kindly not to steal the software.

Now, the San Jose company has a new surprise in store. A few days ago Malwarebytes began scanning for pirate and counterfeit keys, as part as an upgrade of its licensing system.

Those found to have used an “abused” key then get the “amnesty” option to upgrade their software for a year without any cost, replacing the pirate key with a legitimate one.

“Malwarebytes is offering a free replacement key for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium customers who have been inconvenienced by piracy or abuse. This new key will be exclusive to you going forward,” the company explains on its website.

Malwarebytes free upgrade
malwarebytes

While the offer is certainly generous, it’s also a necessity because legitimate and pirate keys are often duplicates. This means that pirates and paid users have the same keys.

Going forward, Malwarebytes will use a more advanced license key algorithm which prevents this from happening. This means that it will be harder for pirates to get a free copy after their one year subscription expires.

Interestingly, those who choose the second “I purchased my key” option get a lifetime subscription at no cost.

Malwarebytes’ Bruce Harrison previously told TorrentFreak that they don’t plan to crack down too hard on pirates.

“Piracy is not really a huge problem for us in my opinion. There are a lot of people who simply won’t pay for our software and being aggressive against them won’t change that,” Harrison said.

Offering amnesty to pirates is in line with this stance. It certainly isn’t an aggressive move and could even trigger some to pay up when the free offer runs out.

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

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 06/29/15

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

mmThis week we have four newcomers in our chart.

Mad Max: Fury Road 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 (…) Mad Max: Fury Road (Webrip) 8.5 / trailer
2 (2) Jurassic World (TS) 7.7 / trailer
3 (3) Cinderella 7.3 / trailer
4 (1) Get Hard 6.1 / trailer
5 (…) The Longest Ride 7.1 / trailer
6 (4) Run All Night 6.7 / trailer
7 (…) Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 4.1 / trailer
8 (5) Kingsman: The Secret Service 8.1 / trailer
9 (…) Inside Out (TS) 8.8 / trailer
10 (9) San Andreas Quake 2.1 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Anti-Piracy Outfits Boost Numbers With Bogus Takedown Notices

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

boostFour years ago Google decided to publish detailed statistics of all the takedown notices it receives for its search engine.

Since then, the number of requests have skyrocketed. The increase in notices is partly the result of their public nature, with anti-piracy groups proudly revealing how many URLs they have removed.

Over the past several years TF has spoken to insiders on condition of anonymity, and several mentioned that this PR-angle is hurting the validity of the requests. Some anti-piracy outfits are more concerned with the volume of requests than their accuracy.

“There are a number of automated services sending endless duplicate DMCA Notices to Google,” said ‘Jack,’ the owner of a boutique takedown company.

These duplicate requests include many URLs which have been removed previously (e.g. 1, 2, 3). This means that they don’t add anything in terms of effectiveness. However, Google does add them to the overall statistics.

“Consequently, anti-piracy companies can make it look like they’re doing far more work than they actually are and thus improve their business development, sales or PR story,” Jack added.

Whether the duplicate notices are intentional or just the result of a shoddy system will be hard to prove conclusively. But they do stand out, together with other dubious issues that boost the numbers.

Earlier this week the operator of popular MP3 search engine MP3Juices.is alerted us to an increasing number of fake notices, listing URLs that were never indexed by Google at all.

Instead of finding pages in Google’s search engine they list search terms such as the following from a recent takedown request:

http://mp3juices.is/search?q=Kay+One+Intro&hash=2accae5374d2477fnprt4f

These search pages are not indexed by Google, so can’t be removed. Also, MP3juices generates a unique hash for each search, but in the notices the same hash is used over and over again for different search terms.

This means that the search URLs are generated through a simple script instead of being the result of actual searches. In addition, the same keywords are used across different sites, as the image below shows.

musosearch1

“MUSO is the main offender, they’re sending dynamically generated (fake) URLs created by their poorly written script. They don’t even verify if the page exists,” MP3Juices informed TF.

In addition, and this is the case for many outfits, most notices sent to Google are not sent to the site which actually hosts or links to the content.

“Only a minority of the notices are directly sent to us, the vast majority are sent to Google even though we remove reported URLs quicker than Google does. We also replace the page with a message encouraging users to use Amazon MP3 as a legal alternative,” MP3Juices said.

MP3Juices is not happy with the bogus takedown notices and plans to report the false claims to Google, not least since Google uses the takedown numbers to downrank websites in its search results.

MUSO didn’t answer any of our specific questions regarding the non-existing pages and search results, but provided a generic statement.

“We analyse over 12 million pages of content daily, across thousands of different hosting, streaming, P2P or search sites,” a MUSO spokesperson said.

“We are focused on providing a fast, efficient and transparent solution, and we welcome correspondence with all sites with whom we work to remove content, including MP3Juices.”

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

TorrentFreak: Sci-Hub Tears Down Academia’s “Illegal” Copyright Paywalls

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

sci-hubWith a net income of more than $1 billion Elsevier is one of the largest academic publishers in the world.

The company has the rights to many academic publications where scientists publish their latest breakthroughs. Most of these journals are locked behind paywalls, which makes it impossible for less fortunate researchers to access them.

Sci-Hub.org is one of the main sites that circumvents this artificial barrier. Founded by Alexandra Elbakyan, a researcher born and graduated in Kazakhstan, its main goal is to provide the less privileged with access to science and knowledge.

The service is nothing like the average pirate site. It wasn’t started to share the latest Hollywood blockbusters, but to gain access to critical knowledge that researchers require to do their work.

“When I was working on my research project, I found out that all research papers I needed for work were paywalled. I was a student in Kazakhstan at the time and our university was not subscribed to anything,” Alexandra tells TF.

After Googling for a while Alexandra stumbled upon various tools and services to bypass the paywalls. With her newly gained knowledge, she then started participating in online forums where other researchers requested papers.

When she noticed how grateful others were for the papers she shared, Alexandra decided to automate the process by developing software that could allow anyone to search for and access papers. That’s when Sci-Hub was born, back in 2011.

“The software immediately became popular among Russian researchers. There was no big idea behind the project, like ‘make all information free’ or something like that. We just needed to read all these papers to do our research,” Alexandra.

“Now, the goal is to collect all research papers ever published, and make them free,” she adds.

Of course Alexandra knew that the website could lead to legal trouble. In that regard, the lawsuit filed by Elsevier doesn’t come as a surprise. However, she is more than willing to fight for the right to access knowledge, as others did before her.

“Thanks to Elsevier’s lawsuit, I got past the point of no return. At this time I either have to prove we have the full right to do this or risk being executed like other ‘pirates’,” she says, naming Aaron Swartz as an example.

“If Elsevier manages to shut down our projects or force them into the darknet, that will demonstrate an important idea: that the public does not have the right to knowledge. We have to win over Elsevier and other publishers and show that what these commercial companies are doing is fundamentally wrong.”

The idea that a commercial outfit can exploit the work of researchers, who themselves are often not paid for their contributions, and hide it from large parts of the academic world, is something she does not accept.

“Everyone should have access to knowledge regardless of their income or affiliation. And that’s absolutely legal. Also the idea that knowledge can be a private property of some commercial company sounds absolutely weird to me.”

Most research institutions in Russia, in developing countries and even in the U.S. and Europe can’t afford expensive subscriptions. This means that they can’t access crucial research, including biomedical research such as cancer studies.

Elsevier’s ScienceDirect paywall
sciencedirect

So aside from the public at large, Sci-Hub is also an essential tool for academics. In fact, some researchers use the site to access their own publications, because these are also locked behind a paywall.

“The funniest thing I was told multiple times by researchers is that they have to download their own published articles from Sci-Hub. Even authors do not have access to their own work,” Alexandra says.

Instead of seeing herself as the offender, Alexandra believes that the major academic publishers are the ones who are wrong.

“I think Elsevier’s business model is itself illegal,” she says, pointing to article 27 of the UN declaration on human rights which reads that “everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

The paywalls of Elsevier and other publishers violate this right, she believes. The same article 27 also allows authors to protect their works, but the publishers are not the ‘authors,’ they merely exploit the copyrights.

Alexandra insists that her website is legal and hopes that future changes in copyright law will reflect this. As for the Elsevier lawsuit, she’s not afraid to fight for her rights and already offers a public confession right here.

“I developed the Sci-Hub.org website where anyone can download paywalled research papers by request. Also I uploaded at least half of more than 41 million paywalled papers to the LibGen database and worked actively to create mirrors of it.

“I am not afraid to say this, because when you do the right thing, why should you hide it?” she concludes.

Note: Sci-Hub is temporarily using the sci-hub.club domain name. The .org will be operational again next week.

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

TorrentFreak: Played.to Operator Admits Guilt in Expendables 3 Leak

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

expendablesLast summer LionsGate suffered a major setback when a high quality leak of the unreleased Expendables 3 film appeared online.

Fearing a massive loss in revenue, the movie studio sued the operators of several websites that allegedly failed to remove the infringing files.

Over the past several months there has been little progress in the case, but yesterday LionsGate announced that it reached a settlement (pdf) with one of the accused site operators.

In a new filing at the California district court, Jerome Gillan, the operator of video hosting site Played.to, admits to willful copyright infringement for his role in the controversial leak.

While the video hosting service has nothing to do with the original leak, Gillian played a role by hosting copies of the film and allowing users to watch these through embedded streams.

In addition, the Played.to operator admits that he failed to process or respond to takedown notices before the lawsuit was filed. As a result, he is liable for the resulting infringements under the DMCA.

According to the proposed judgment which has been agreed by both parties, Gillan takes full responsibility by admitting to all claims the movie studio brought against him.

“Gillan has willfully infringed Lions Gate’s copyright in the Film directly, contributorily and vicariously and is liable for all of the causes of action that Lions Gate has asserted against him in this action,” the proposed consent judgment reads.

Together both parties inform the court that they’ve reached a confidential settlement. According to the agreement Gillan has accepted financial and other obligations to resolve Lions Gate’s claims, but how much he has to pay is not disclosed.

In addition, Played.to and its operator are prohibited from “hosting, linking to, distributing, reproducing, performing, selling, offering for sale, making available for download, streaming or making any other use of any copy or copies of the Film.”

The proposed judgment only applies to Played.to, the claims against other websites including the torrent search engine Limetorrents.cc remain unsettled.

At the time of writing the Played.to website is still online. The site has lost a lot of traffic in recent months but is still widely used to host videos.

Previously the UK police also arrested several people who allegedly leaked the Expendables 3 movie online, but thus far the true source of the leak remains unknown.

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

TorrentFreak: Piracy Concerns May Soon Kill Domain Name Privacy

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

whoisguardIn recent months copyright holders have been increasingly pushing for changes in the domain name industry.

Groups such as the MPAA and RIAA, for example, want registrars to suspend domain names of clearly infringing websites.

While this is unlikely to happen on a broad scale in the near future, a new ICANN proposal may put an end to private domain name registrations for some websites.

A new proposal (pdf) will no longer allow ‘commercial’ sites, which could include all domain names that run advertisements, to hide their personal details through so-called WHOIS protections services.

This change is backed by copyright holder groups including the MPAA, who previously argued that it will help them to hold the operators of illegal sites responsible.

“Without accurate WHOIS data, there can be no accountability, and without accountability it can be difficult to investigate and remedy issues when individuals or organizations use the Internet in illegal or inappropriate ways,” MPAA’s Alex Deacon said recently.

“Ensuring this data is accurate is important not only to the MPAA and our members, but also to everyone who uses the Internet every day.”

On the other side of the spectrum, the proposal has ignited protests from privacy advocates and key players in the domain name industry.

Digital rights group EFF points out that copyright holders can already expose the operators of alleged infringers quite easily by obtaining a DMCA subpoena. This is something the RIAA has done already on a few occasions.

EFF further warns that the new rules will expose the personal details of many people who have done nothing wrong, but may have good reasons not to have their address listed publicly.

“The limited value of this change is manifestly outweighed by the risks to website owners who will suffer a higher risk of harassment, intimidation and identity theft,” EFF’s Mitch Stoltz writes.

Namecheap, one of the largest domain registrars, also jumped in and sent a mass-mailing to all their customers urging them to tell ICANN not to adopt the new proposal.

“No WHOIS privacy provider wants their service to be used to conceal illegal activity, and the vast majority of domain owners are not criminals. Using a WHOIS privacy service is no more suspicious than having an unlisted phone number,” Namecheap CEO Richard Kirkendall notes

“These new proposed rules would wreak havoc on our right to privacy online. ICANN is moving quickly, so we should too – contact them today and tell them to respect our privacy,” he adds.

ICANN is currently accepting comments from the public and Namecheap is encouraging its customers to use the Respect Our Privacy campaign site to protest the proposed changes.

Of course, Namecheap has more to worry about than the privacy of its users alone. The company itself operates the Whoisguard service and earns a lot of revenue through these private registrations.

Thus far most of the responses received by ICANN have come in through the special campaign site, arguing against the proposal. The commenting period closes in two weeks followed by an official report. After that, the ICANN board will still have to vote on whether or not the changes will be implemented.

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

TorrentFreak: Cox Wants Rightscorp’s Piracy Tracking Source Code

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

pirate-runningPiracy monetization firm Rightscorp has made quite a few headlines over the past year.

The company sends infringement notices to Internet providers on behalf of various copyright holders, including Warner Bros. These notices include a settlement proposal offering alleged downloaders an option to pay off their “debt.”

Not all ISPs are eager to forward these demands to their subscribers. Cox Communications, for example, labels Rightscorp’s practices as an “extortion scheme” and refuses to cooperate. As a result, several copyright holders who work with Rightscorp decided to sue the Internet provider over its inaction late last year.

Cox believes that this suit is an indirect way for Rightscorp to punish the company, as it explained to the court a few days ago (pdf).

“Cox refused to participate in Rightscorp’s extortion scheme,” Cox informs the court, arguing that “Rightscorp retaliated with this lawsuit.”

To mount a proper defense the Internet provider has demanded insight into the evidence gathering techniques employed by Rightscorp. Thus far, however, the company has failed to produce all requested information.

“Now, Rightscorp refuses to produce key categories of documents related to its core activities. Rightscorp has not produced all of its source code modules used for detection of alleged infringements,” Cox writes.

Evidence as presented in a Rightscorp letter
rightsevidence

The anti-piracy company maintains that it has already handed over all source code, but Cox says it can’t locate certain elements and points out that Rightscorp has made misleading statements in the past.

“Rightscorp has repeatedly represented that ‘all the code’ has been produced; yet, Cox’s expert has identified multiple components missing from the code that Rightscorp has then belatedly produced,” Cox explains.

In addition, Cox tells the court that Rightscorp failed to produce other documents that deal with how the company approaches alleged copyright infringers.

They include a script that is used to guide Rightscorp agents in their phone calls, a Rightscorp employee handbook, plus letter templates for Rightscorp’s communications with ISPs.

With various expert reports due soon, Cox has asked the court to issue an order compelling Rightscorp to immediately hand over all missing data and documents.

While Cox does not state how it will use the source code, it’s presumed that its experts will point out various flaws. For example, Rightscorp presumably lists repeated copyright infringers by IP-address, which is inaccurate since Cox regularly changes subscribers IPs.

Additional details on these and other issues are expected to be revealed this summer.

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

TorrentFreak: Court Forbids Rojadirecta to Stream Football, Or Else…

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

rojaAs one of the most prominent live streaming sites, Rojadirecta is a thorn in the side of many international sports organizations.

The website is operated by the Spanish company Puerto 80, which previously won two lawsuits in Spain, declaring the site as operating legally under local law.

Even the U.S. Government couldn’t bring the site down. In 2011 the Department of Homeland Security seized the site’s domain name, but facing a legal battle the authorities chose to hand it back to the rightful owners.

Now, several years later the odds seem to have turned. Following a complaint from the Professional Football League (LFP), a Madrid court has ruled that Rojadirecta can no longer link to unauthorized streams of football events to which Mediapro and Gol Television own the rights.

The court issued a preliminary injunction that orders the site’s operators to cease these activities within seven days. If the company fails to comply, local Internet providers will be instructed to block access to Rojadirecta.

Martinez Trujillo, director Strategic Projects of the Spanish Football League, praised the court’s decision while openly insulting one of the defendants.

“We have great news issued barely an hour ago,” Martinez Trujillo announced yesterday. “The Football League has been working intensively against piracy during the last 18 months and today we won the first great battle against this man, who is really a crook.”

rojal

Speaking with TF, Rojadirecta stresses that the Madrid court issued the injunction without delving into the merits of the case. The company maintains that it’s operating legally and will appeal the verdict in a full trial.

“This does not affect our right to continue operating the website,” a Rojadirecta spokesperson says, adding that they don’t expect to make any significant changes to the site.

As a result, Rojadirecta may soon be blocked by Spanish ISPs but the company is confident that it can overturn the preliminary injunction in the long run.

“Rojadirecta is advised in Europe by a number of legal teams with the best experience regarding Internet operators liabilities. We are very aware of the legality of Rojadirecta; our operations now and in the future are not reckless.”

The preliminary injunction is based on misleading statements from the Spanish Football League, according to the streaming site, who note that the verdict would have been different if they were given the opportunity to defend themselves.

There is no doubt that the injunction puts Rojadirecta at a disadvantage, but the company believes that it will win in the end, securing yet another legal precedent.

“In any case, we continue to work this issue with hope. In the end we will win, but we will have to fight quite a bit. This new challenge will end up putting us in a better position,” Rojadirecta concludes.

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

TorrentFreak: Libgen Goes Down As Legal Pressure Mounts

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

libhenMost of the top academic articles are published in journals that can only be accessed legally through expensive paywalls.

The Library Genesis Project, or Libgen for short, has systematically breached this barrier by hosting pirated copies of scientific publications as well as mainstream books.

Earlier this month one of the largest publishers went into action to stop this threat. Elsevier filed a complaint at a New York District Court, hoping to shut down Libgen.org and several sister sites.

The case has barely got going but the main Libgen.org site as well as several of its mirrors have been offline for the past few days.

The downtime is not the result of the preliminary injunction Elsevier requested, as that hasn’t been granted yet. However, a few days ago the court did approve the publishers’ motion to serve Libgen’s operators via email.

In addition, a recent court filing shows that Elsevier’s lawyers have taken action on their own. They contacted the Public Interest Registry (.ORG) hoping to disable an infringing domain name without interference of the court.

The .ORG registry refused to do so, noting that it would require a valid court order to suspend a domain name.

“Through its counsel, the Public Interest Registry informed me that it does not disable domains absent a valid court order, but would promptly comply with a valid court order to disable a domain,” Elsevier’s lawyer informs the court.

Whether Libgen’s downtime is a direct result of Elsevier’s interference is unknown at this point, but the .org domain as well as the popular .in alternative are currently unreachable due to nameserver issues.

There are some other ‘mirrors’ that still work though, including Libgen.biz and Gen.lib.rus.ec. The .biz domain points to the same IP-address range the official domain used, suggesting that Libgen’s hosting servers are still operational.

Several other domains named in the lawsuit, including bookfi.org and sci-hub.org, also remain online.

In a few weeks the New York federal court will decide whether to issue the preliminary injunction or not. Until then, Libgen’s operators have the option to oppose the request.

If the injunction is granted it will be much harder for Libgen to operate. Among other things, it would allow Elsevier to order hosting companies, domain name registries and search engines to stop providing services to the site.

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 – 06/22/15

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

gethardThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Get Hard 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) Get Hard 6.1 / trailer
2 (4) Jurassic World (TS) 7.7 / trailer
3 (…) Cinderella 7.3 / trailer
4 (2) Run All Night 6.7 / trailer
5 (3) Kingsman: The Secret Service 8.1 / trailer
6 (…) The Gunman 5.6 / trailer
7 (5) Chappie 7.1 / trailer
8 (…) Woman in Gold 7.5 / trailer
9 (6) San Andreas Quake 2.1 / trailer
10 (7) Furious 7 (Subbed/cropped HDRip) 8.8 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Popcorn Time Tops Google Search Results for “Popcorn”

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

popcorntDubbed the “Netflix for Pirates,” the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people over the past year.

The application has some of the major media giants worried, including Netflix which sees the pirate app as a serious competitor to its business.

Increasing this threat, Popcorn Time has now taken the top spot in Google search results, a position that used to be held by the popular movie snack “popcorn“.

For years, the Popcorn Wikipedia entry has been listed as the number one result but it has now been replaced by the Popcorntime.io website.

Results may vary based on location, but TF has confirmed that the pirate app has seized the top spot in the US, UK and the Netherlands. The screenshot below shows Google’s results from California.

Popcorn Time’s domination is not shared on Bing, where the app is nowhere near the top results.

popgoogletop

In addition to the top listing, Google’s Autocomplete feature also favors Popcorn Time over the snack. Just entering the three letters “pop” is enough for the suggestion to appear.

It’s unclear why Google favors Popcorn Time over Popcorn, as the latter is still more sought after in the search engine. Perhaps the recent rise of the application and the many online discussions have something to do with it.

popcsuggest

Whatever the case, Hollywood is not going to be pleased with how Google algorithms have pushed Popcorn Time into the limelight.

The MPAA has been complaining bitterly about pirate sites outranking legitimate content, and they’ll see this recent example as yet more ammunition to keep pushing. So get the popcorn ready!

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

TorrentFreak: Popular Torrents Being Sabotaged by IPv6 Peer Flood

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

utorrent-logo-newGenerally speaking, BitTorrent is a highly robust file-sharing protocol that’s not easily disrupted. However, in recent weeks there have been systematic efforts to prevent large groups of people from sharing popular pirated TV-shows and movies.

The sabotaging technique tries to make it impossible for downloaders to connect to other people by overwhelming BitTorrent swarms with IPv6 peers.

Because of its focus on IPv6, not all users are affected, but those who are sometimes see their download speeds grind to a halt. As a result it can take days to download a file, if at all.

In short the process works as follows. The attacker joins a popular torrent swarm with hundreds, if not thousands of IPv6 addresses. These fake peers request data from real downloaders, quickly filling up their request queues.

The fake peers never exchange any data but keep the client busy until they are banned, as is shown in the screenshot below.

ipv6f

The attack has been confirmed to affect the popular client uTorrent. After a few minutes uTorrent does ban the malicious peers, but this makes little difference as the attackers use so many different IP-addresses.

Because all the fake peers have filled up the connection slots, real peers can no longer connect. This means that hardly any real data is transferred.

“Got unchoke from µTorrent 3.4.3 (12.345.678.9:9999), can’t request immediately because request queue is full”

TF was tipped off by the operator of one of the largest torrent trackers, who informed us that this type of attack is rampant. Many people are complaining about slow download speeds or torrents that are stuck.

“This new method of peer flooding makes a lot of people think there are issues with torrents. From an anti-piracy point of view it is achieving the purposed effect,” the tracker operator, who prefers to remain anonymous, said.

We were able to replicate the effect, which indeed makes downloading nearly impossible. After testing all of the larger BitTorrent clients it appears that only uTorrent and BitTorrent Mainline are vulnerable to the attack. However, together these two clients are used by the majority of all BitTorrent users.

We informed BitTorrent Inc, who develop the two clients, about the vulnerability. The company informed us that they are currently looking into the issue and may comment later.

Without an immediate fix, the tracker operator is advising affected users to switch to a different client for the time being, or disable IPv6 in Windows, if that’s an option.

“People experiencing download slowness – torrents stuck at 0% for more than 10 minutes, in a case where there are seeds available, should immediately switch to a different client or disable IPv6 in Windows,” the tracker operator says.

It is unclear who is behind the attacks, but considering the fact that it targets nearly all new TV and movie torrents, it could very well be a novel anti-piracy strategy. In any case, it’s definitely one of the most effective attempts to disrupt BitTorrent downloads in recent years.

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

TorrentFreak: UK’s Legalization of CD Ripping is Unlawful, Court Rules

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

uk-flagLate last year the UK Government legalized copying for private use, a practice which many citizens already believed to be legal.

However, until last October, anyone who transferred music from a purchased CD to an MP3 player was committing an offense.

The change was “in the best interest” of consumers, the Government reasoned, but several music industry organizations disagreed.

In November the Musicians’ Union (MU), the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music applied for a judicial review of the new legislation.

While the groups are not against private copying exceptions, they disagreed with the Government’s conclusion that the change would cause no financial harm to the music industry.

Instead of keeping copies free, they suggested that a tax should be applied to blank media including blank CDs, hard drives, memory sticks and other blank media. This money would then be shared among rightsholders, a mechanism already operating in other European countries.

Today the High Court largely agreed with the music industry groups. The Government’s conclusion that copyright holders will not suffer any significant harm was based on inadequate evidence, Mr Justice Green ruled.

“In conclusion, the decision to introduce section 28B [private copying] in the absence of a compensation mechanism is unlawful,” the Judge writes.

The Judge didn’t agree with all claims from the music groups. For example, he rejected the allegation that the Government had unlawfully predetermined the outcome of the private copying consultation.

Nonetheless, the application for a judicial review succeeded meaning that the private copying exceptions are now deemed unlawful. As a result, the Government will likely have to amend the legislation, which took roughly half a decade to implement.

The UK music groups are happy with the outcome and are eager to discuss possible changes with lawmakers.

“The High Court agreed with us that Government acted unlawfully. It is vitally important that fairness for songwriters, composers and performers is written into the law,” UK Music CEO Jo Dipple commented on the ruling.

“Changes to copyright law that affect such a vital part of the creative economy, which supports one in twelve jobs, must only be introduced if there is a robust evidential basis for doing so,” Dipple added.

The High Court scheduled a new hearing next month to decide what action should be taken in response to the judgment, including whether the private copying exceptions should be scrapped from law.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Domains No Longer Accessible Through ‘WWW’

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

pirate bayThe Pirate Bay has had its fair share of legal problems and technical difficulties over the years.

Just last month a Swedish court ordered the seizure of site’s main .se domain name. This case is currently on appeal but in the meantime TPB is rotating several new domains.

A few days ago, however, reports started rolling in that the notorious torrent site is no longer accessible to some, across all domains.

Instead of the usual homepage visitors see an error message in their browser, suggesting that the DNS lookup failed.

Luckily enough, the problems are only affecting URLs with a www prefix. For some reason, the corresponding DNS entries have been removed rendering all www links inaccessible.

tpbdns

While it’s quite common for websites not to use the www prefix (we don’t), there’s usually a redirect setup so visitors are directed to the correct URL.

Since TPB doesn’t have a redirect set up, many people are inaccurately assuming that the site is suffering downtime.

For now it remains a mystery why the DNS entries were updated. TF spoke with a moderator of the site, who told us that he and his team were not informed about the changes.

The dropped www prefix is not the only issue The Pirate Bay has been facing recently. Over the past weeks several parts of the site broke temporarily, including user registrations and torrent uploads.

To inform users about these and other technical difficulties, the TPB crew has a status page showing which services are up and running. This page is maintained by the moderators and separately hosted at the Suprbay forum.

As shown below, all crucial features are fully operational at the time of writing. That is, if users have dropped the www prefix from their bookmarks.

TPB status
tpbstatus

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