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TorrentFreak: Twitter Sued for Failing to Remove Copyrighted Photo

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

pirate-twitterIn common with many other user-generated sites, Twitter is used by some of its members to host or link to copyright infringing material.

If rightsholders submit a takedown request, Twitter swiftly takes the infringing content down. This policy made headlines just a few days ago when Twitter removed several tweets that republished a joke without attribution.

However, a new lawsuit suggests that Twitter’s takedown efforts are not always this effective.

This week award-winning photographer Kristen Pierson filed a complaint (pdf) against Twitter at a California District Court. Pierson accuses Twitter of hosting or linking to one of her works without permission.

“A Twitter user or users copied the Infringing Image without license or permission from Pierson and on information and belief sent one or more Tweets publicizing and linking to it. The Infringing Uses were hosted either on Twitter or on third-party servers,” the complaint reads.

Under U.S. law Internet services are not liable for the copyright infringements of their users, as long as they respond to takedown requests. But Twitter failed to do that, Pierson says.

On March 4 of last year Pierson sent a notice to Twitter’s registered DMCA agent pointing out that one of her photos of Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li was being shared illegally. More than a year passed by but she received no response.

The takedown notice
twitdmca

The Twitter account which allegedly posted the image is no longer online, but even today the infringing image is still present on Twitter’s servers and accessible through the twimg.com url.

Pierson doesn’t mention whether she sent any follow-ups to the original request. TF searched for the notice in question on Chillingeffects.com where Twitter publishes its takedown notices, but it’s not listed there.

In the complaint the photographer asks for a restraining order preventing Twitter from hosting or linking to her work. In addition, Pierson demands both statutory and actual damages which could well exceed $150,000.

This is not the first time that Twitter has been sued by a photographer over a failed takedown response. Christopher Boffoli previously sued the company for the same offense. The case was settled out of court.

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

TorrentFreak: RIAA Wants Domain Registrar to Expose ‘Pirate Site’ Owner

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

riaaDespite an increased availability of legal options, millions of people still stream MP3s from unofficial sources. These sites are a thorn in the side of the RIAA.

Going after these pirate sites is a problem, according to the music group, as the operators are often unknown and hidden behind Whois privacy services. This is one of the reasons why the RIAA is supporting an ICANN proposal to limit domain name privacy.

But even under current laws and regulations it’s often possible to find out who runs a website, through a DMCA subpoena for example. And a recent case shows that the process isn’t too hard.

A few days ago the RIAA obtained a DMCA subpoena from the U.S. District Court of Columbia ordering domain name registrar Dynadot to expose the personal details of a customer. These subpoenas are signed off by a clerk and don’t require any overview from a judge.

With the subpoena in hand RIAA asked Dynadot to identify the owner of the music streaming site Soundpiff.net, claiming that the site infringes the work of artists such as Eminem, Drake and Selena Gomez. Among other details, the registrar is ordered to share the IP-address and email address of the site’s operator.

“We believe your service is hosting the below-referenced domain name on its network. The website associated with this domain name offers files containing sound recordings which are owned by one or more of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use,” the RIAA writes.

Soundpiff.net
soundpiff

In addition, the RIAA also urges Dynadot to review whether the site violates its terms of service as a repeat infringer, which means that it should be pulled offline.

“We also ask that you consider the widespread and repeated infringing nature of the site operator(s)’ conduct, and whether the site(s)‘ activities violate your terms of service and/or your company’s repeat infringer policy.”

Soundpiff.net is a relatively small site that allows user to discover, stream and download music tracks. The audio files themselves appear to be sourced from the music hosting service Audioinbox, and are not hosted on the site’s servers.

“On our website you can find links that lead to media files. These files are stored somewhere else on the internet and are not a part of this website. SoundPiff.net does not carry any responsibility for them,” the website’s operator notes.

It is unclear what the RIAA is planning to do if they obtain the personal information of the site owners. In addition to suggesting that Dynadot should disconnect the site as a repeat infringer, the music group will probably issue a warning to the site’s operator.

For now, however, Soundpiff is still up and running.

This is not the first time that the RIAA has gone after similar sites in this way. Over the past several years the group has targeted several other download and streaming sites via their registrars or Whois privacy services. Some of these have closed, but others still remain online today.

RIAA’s subpoena to Dynadot

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

TorrentFreak: Sony Settles Piracy Lawsuit With Russia’s Facebook

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

vkFor several years VKontakte, or VK, has been branded as a piracy facilitator by copyright holders and even the U.S. Government.

In common with many user-generated sites, VK allows its millions of users to upload anything from movies and TV shows to their entire music collections. However, copyright holders often claim that Russia’s social network has failed to adopt proper anti-piracy measures.

Last year this resulted in a lawsuit filed at the Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region Arbitration Court, in which Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music demanded countermeasures and compensation for the large scale copyright infringement VK allegedly facilitates.

The case is still ongoing, but as of this week Sony Music has dropped out. According to a local report Sony and VK signed a confidential settlement agreement to resolve the dispute.

No further details on the content of the deal have been published, but according to sources VK will upgrade its current music service.

Among other things, the social network will start charging mobile users for access to its official music platform. Desktop users will still have free access, but these views will be monetized through advertisements.

Both changes will be rolled out gradually after a thorough test phase.

The settlement with Sony Music is a breakthrough for the Russian equivalent of Facebook, but it doesn’t mean that all legal troubles are over.

The remaining cases against Universal Music and Warner Music haven’t been resolved yet. Together with Sony the companies demanded 50 million rubles ($830,000) in damages in their complaint last year, and VK is still on the hook for most of it.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Emails Expose Dirty Media Attack Against Google

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

google-bayLate last year leaked documents revealed that the MPAA helped Mississippi Attorney General (AG) 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 copies of internal communications from the MPAA which are now revealing how far the anti-Google camp planned to go.

Emails between the MPAA and two of AG Hood’s top lawyers include a proposal that outlines how the parties could attack Google. In particular, they aim to smear Google through an advanced PR campaign involving high-profile news outlets such as The Today Show and The Wall Street Journal.

With help from Comcast and News Corp, they planned to hire a PR firm to “attack” Google and others who resisted the planned anti-piracy efforts. To hide links to the MPAA and the AG’s office, this firm should be hired through a seemingly unaffiliated nonprofit organization, the emails suggest.

“This PR firm can be funded through a nonprofit dedicated to IP issues. The ‘live buys’ should be available for the media to see, followed by a segment the next day on the Today Show (David green can help with this),” the plan reads (pdf).

The Today Show feature would be followed up by a statement from a large Google investor calling on the company to do more to tackle the piracy problem.

“After the Today Show segment, you want to have a large investor of Google (George can help us determine that) come forward and say that Google needs to change its behavior/demand reform.”

In addition, a planted piece in the Wall Street Journal should suggest that Google’s stock would lose value if the company doesn’t give in to the demands.

“Next, you want NewsCorp to develop and place an editorial in the WSJ emphasizing that Google’s stock will lose value in the face of a sustained attack by AGs and noting some of the possible causes of action we have developed,” the plan notes.

mpaasmear

Previously, the MPAA accused Google of waging an “ongoing public relations war,” but the above shows that the Hollywood group is no different.

On top of the PR-campaign the plan also reveals details on how the parties would taint Google before the National Association of Attorneys General.

Through a series of live taped segments they would show how easy it is for minors to pirate R-rated movies, buy heroin and order an assault weapon with the help of Google’s search engine.

Finally, the plan includes a “final step” where Attorney General Hood would issue a civil investigatory demand to Google.

In its court filing (pdf) Google uses the information above to argue that the AG’s civil investigatory demand was not the basis of a legitimate investigation. Instead, it was another tool pressuring the company to implement more stringent anti-piracy measures.

Given this new information, Google hopes that the court will compel Fox, NBC and Viacom to hand over relevant internal documents, as they were “plainly privy” to the secretive campaign.

It’s now up to the judge to decide how to proceed, but based on the emails above, the MPAA and the AG’s office have some explaining to do.

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 – 07/27/15

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

insurgentThis week we have two newcomers in our chart. Furious 7 came out as a DVDrip and made a comeback.

Insurgent 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) Insurgent 6.6 / trailer
2 (back) Furious 7 7.6 / trailer
3 (2) Jurassic World (TS/Subbed HDrip) 7.7 / trailer
4 (…) True Story 6.4 / trailer
5 (3) Ted 2 (Subbed HDrip) 6.9 / trailer
6 (4) Home 6.8 / trailer
7 (6) The Longest Ride 7.1 / trailer
8 (…) Terminator Genisys (TS) 7.0 / trailer
9 (7) Mad Max: Fury Road (WEB-DL) 8.5 / trailer
10 (5) Spy (Subbed HDrip) 7.5 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: WordPress Rejects 43% Of All ‘Piracy’ Takedown Notices

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

wordpressAutomattic, the company behind the popular WordPress blogging platform, has seen a steady increase in DMCA takedown notices in recent years.

Some of these are legitimate, aimed at disabling access to copyright-infringing material. However, there are also many overbroad and abusive takedown notices which take up a lot of the company’s time and resources.

To give the public insight into the effort it takes to process the requests WordPress regularly publishes a transparency report. In the report WordPress outlines the number of DMCA takedown notices, but also how many were rejected due to inaccuracies or abuse.

“We work hard to make our DMCA process as fair, transparent, and balanced as possible, so we stringently review all notices we receive to quickly process valid infringement claims and push back on those that we see as abusive,” WordPress explains.

The latest update covering the past half year shows that 4,679 piracy takedown requests were received during this period. What stands out is that content was removed in barely half of the cases reported.

In total, 43% of all notices were rejected, either because they were incomplete or due to abuse. February and April were particularly bad months, as more than half of all notices were rejected.

According to WordPress’ figures more than 10% of the notices were abusive, and the company highlights some examples in its “Hall of Shame.”

WordPress’ most recent takedown statistics
wordpresstrans

For the first time WordPress has also released information on the organizations that submit the most complaints. Web Sheriff is listed on top here, followed by Audiolock and InternetSecurities.

Commenting on the new data Stephen Blythe, Community Guardian at Automattic, informs TF that they have seen a significant bump in rejections over the past months. This increase has two main causes.

“The first is that we rejected a large number of abusive takedown notifications from Web Sheriff that related to a single site. The second is that we are constantly refining our processes to ensure that we catch and push back on as many of these misuses as possible,” Blythe says.

WordPress currently doesn’t publish the takedown notices in full, but the company plans to highlight more abuse cases on its website in the coming months.

“We see numerous instances of abuse of the DMCA takedown process, on a regular basis. We plan to publish these via our transparency blog in future,” Blythe notes.

While the number of takedown requests WordPress receives pales in comparison to larger Internet services, it’s good to see that the company carefully reviews all notices to prevent unwarranted censorship. It will be interesting to see how the volume of request changes over time and whether copyright holders will improve their accuracy.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Sues MovieTube Sites Over Mass Piracy

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

movietubeUnauthorized movie streaming sites have been a thorn in the side of Hollywood for many years, and yesterday the MPAA decided to take one of the most prominent players to court.

MPAA members 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros filed a lawsuit against a group of MovieTube affiliated websites, which operate from more than two dozen domain names.

In the complaint, filed at a New York District Court a few hours ago, the movie studios describe MovieTube as a business that’s designed and operated to promote copyright infringement for profit.

The MPAA lists several popular websites including MovieTube.cc, TuneVideo.net, Watch33.tv, MovieTube.cz, Anime1.tv, MovieTube.pm, FunTube.co, MovieTube.la and KissDrama.net. These sites share hosting facilities and a similar design and the studios believe that they are operated by the same people.

The websites in question are typical streaming sites, where users can watch videos and in some cases download the source files to their computers.

“Defendants, through the MovieTube Websites, aggregate, organize and provide embedded links to extensive libraries of Infringing Copies of Plaintiffs’ Works,” the compliant (pdf) reads.

“…users can watch Infringing Copies without leaving the MovieTube Websites. The MovieTube Websites even allow users, in some instances, to download Infringing Copies by clicking on a selection from a menu built into the video player software supplied by Defendants.”

According to the MPAA, MovieTube’s operators are well aware of the infringing nature of their site. On one of their Facebook pages they write that it’s not a problem that many films are pirated, since they are not bound by U.S. laws.

facebookadmit

The complaint accuses MovieTube of various counts of copyright and trademark infringement. This means that the site’s operators face millions of dollars in statutory damages.

Perhaps more importantly, the MPAA is also demanding a broad preliminary injunction to make it virtually impossible for the operators to keep their sites online.

Among other things, the proposed measures would prevent domain registrars, domain registries, hosting companies, advertisers and other third-party outfits from doing business with the site.

If granted, MovieTube’s operators will have a hard time keeping the sites afloat, but it appears that the injunction may not even be needed.

At the time of writing all MovieTube domain names are unreachable. It is unclear whether the operators took this decision themselves, but for now the future of these sites looks grim.

The full list of sites mentioned in the complaint is as follows: MovieTube.tw, MovieTube.ph, TVStreaming.cc, MovieTube.sx, MovieTube.pw, MovieTubeNow.com, MovieTube.tf, MovieTube.co, MovieOnDrive.com, MovieTube.vc, TuneVideo.net, MovieTube.mn, MovieTube.cc, Watch33.tv, MovieTube.cz, Anime1.tv, MovieTube.pm, FunTube.co, MovieTube.la, KissDrama.net, MovieTube.so, MovieTube.click, MovieTubeHD.co, MovieTubeHD.net, MovieTubeHD.org, MovieTubeHD.tv, MovieTubeHD.us, MovieTubenow.in and TuneMovie.me.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Led Hollywood The Way, Co-Founder Says

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

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

He has since returned to his home in Laos, where he’s picking up his life again. Speaking with TF, Fredrik says that he didn’t miss computers or the Internet as much as he’d expected.

What Fredrik missed the most about being ‘disconnected’ was instant access to news, information and entertainment. Instead of having access to the latest movies and TV-series without interruptions, he was forced to watch broadcast TV.

“Watching broadcast TV again for the first time in roughly 12 years was gruesome. I don’t know how people stand the commercial breaks without going insane,” Fredrik tells TorrentFreak.

However, the Pirate Bay co-founder also admits that quite a bit of progress has been made in recent years. In part, Hollywood and the video entertainment industry made these changes to give consumers something they would otherwise get on sites such as The Pirate Bay.

“I saw a lot of things that probably would not have existed without The Pirate Bay, like every channel having their own streaming services, and the short time between US premiere and it being aired on networks worldwide, usually just a few days or a week,” Fredrik says.

Netflix is a prime example of a video streaming service that has become a great success. But from a Pirate Bay user perspective there is still plenty of room for improvement.

For example, people should be able to get all their video entertainment at one service, instead of having to use a dozen or so. Similarly, blocking access to potential customers based on their location is an outdated business model that has to go.

“While I think all the new streaming services are great, if they want to take on piracy for real, they need to combine all services behind a common pay-wall so you don’t need several accounts to follow your favorite shows,” Fredrik notes.

“They also really need to address the geo-blocking problems and provide global availability of the all content at the same price. Until big media makes it as easy or easier to get all your media in one place no matter where you live, there will be a need for sites like TPB.”

Of course, The Pirate Bay doesn’t use any geo-blocking tools and the site also has a content library that beats any legal service. Because of this, TPB’s co-founder believes that the site will remain popular for a while.

Now that Fredrik’s back home he can catch up on Doctor Who and Archer again. He’s also closely following Pirate Bay related developments, last year’s raid in particular.

“Back when I ran things it only took three days to get back up from a raid. The new team took a good 6 weeks, but they have been doing a good job on TPB these last few years, and eventually restored the site to its former glory,” Fredrik says.

And even if the police managed to take the site down again, new Pirate Bays will take over as long as the demand is there.

“Even if TPB is permanently shutdown, the December raid shows that there will always be sites ready to fill the void. One again showing that meeting consumer demand is far more effective than trying to enforce lobby-bought laws with no support among the general public,” Fredrik concludes.

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

TorrentFreak: EU Starts Geo-Blocking Antitrust Case Against U.S Movie Studios

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

europe-flagDue to complicated licensing agreements many movies and TV-series are only available online in a few selected countries, often for a limited period.

The movie studios often restrict broadcasters and streaming services to make content widely available, a practice which the European Commission wants to stop.

Today the European Commission sent a statement of objections to Sky UK and six large US film studios: Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros.

The Commission believes that the geo-restrictions the parties agreed upon are violating EU competition rules.

“European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU,” says Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy.

“Our investigation shows that they cannot do this today, also because licensing agreements between the major film studios and Sky UK do not allow consumers in other EU countries to access Sky’s UK and Irish pay-TV services, via satellite or online.”

Under European rules consumers should be able to access the services of Sky and other service providers regardless of where they are located. At the moment, most online services block access to content based on the country people are located, something Sky and the movie studios also agreed on.

The geo-blocking practices are a thorn in the side of the European Commission who now hope to abolish these restrictions altogether.

In parallel to the antitrust investigation the EU’s governing body adopted the new Digital Single Market Strategy earlier this year. One of the main pillars of the new strategy is to provide consumers and businesses with better access to digital goods and services.

The Commission plans “to end unjustified geo-blocking,” which it describes as “a discriminatory practice used for commercial reasons.”

“I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe,” Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at the time.

Sky UK and the six major studios will now have to respond to the concerns. The current statement of objections is only the start of the antitrust investigation, a final decision will take at least several months.

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

TorrentFreak: Universal Asks Google to Censor “Furious 7″ IMDb Page, and More

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

face-palmIn an effort to make piracy less visible, copyright holders send dozens of millions of takedown notices to Google every month.

Unfortunately not all of these requests are as accurate as they should be.

Due to the high volume of often automated notices and the fact that copyright holders don’t check the validity of all requests, there are many questionable requests are made.

This week we spotted a dubious takedown notice from Universal Pictures, targeting several perfectly legitimate URLs. The movie studio’s tracking company apparently failed to properly screen the request as it lists the official IMDb page of the blockbuster Furious 7.

The Internet Movie Database is widely regarded as one of the top sources to find information on movies and having the page de-listed from Google certainly doesn’t help to prevent piracy.

Universal Pictures takedown request
fastimdb

Aside from Furious 7, the same notice targets “copyright infringing” links to the movie Hacker. Here, the movie studio also made an unfortunate mistake asking Google to remove a news article from Techdirt, covering the Hacking Team leak.

And while we’re on the topic of self censorship, it’s worth noting that Universal Pictures also asked Google, in a separate notice, to remove http://127.0.0.1 from the search results.

The mistakes were made by the French branch of the movie studio, which only recently began sending takedown notices to Google. The company has reported less than 200 URLs thus far including the mistakes above.

While Universal is the rightsholder, it’s worth noting the notices are sent by Trident Media Guard (TMG), the private company which also carried out file-sharing network monitoring for the French Government’s Hadopi scheme.

The good news is that Google hasn’t removed any of the inaccurately reported URLs just yet. The search engine is still validating the validity of the claims and will probably reject the requests.

In the meantime, Universal Pictures and TMG should reconsider their takedown campaign, or at least improve their monitoring tools.

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

TorrentFreak: uTorrent Flagged As ‘Harmful’ by Anti-Virus Companies and Google

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

utorrent-logo-newWith millions of new downloads per month uTorrent is without doubt the most used BitTorrent client around.

The software is the main source of revenue for the San Francisco based company BitTorrent Inc. and generates income through advertisements and bundled software.

The latter now appears to be causing trouble as several anti-virus vendors have begun listing uTorrent as a security risk. The scanning result below from VirusTotal shows that at least six anti-virus applications, including ESET and Symantec, have flagged the software as problematic.

The anti-virus scans associate the uTorrent.exe file with Trojan.Win32.Generic!BT and the controversial OpenCandy bundling software. While this isn’t the first time that uTorrent has been flagged in this manner, we haven’t seen it being reported by this many independent tests before.

uTorrent’s Virustotal results
utorrentvirus

In addition to action by the anti-virus companies, uTorrent is also being blocked by Google in several ways. When attempting to download the latest stable release of the torrent client, Chrome flags the software as malicious and blocks the download, although this only appears to happen sporadically.

Google is also actively blocking several pages that link to uTorrent and other BitTorrent Inc. software. According to Google, parts of the uTorrent website contain “harmful programs.”

uTorrent.com warning in Chrome
utorrentharm

The same “harmful software” warning from Google also prevented millions of people from accessing popular torrent sites earlier this month.

A Google spokesperson informed us that this was the result of the company’s increased efforts to block programs that make “unexpected changes” to people’s computers.

“Google Safe Browsing’s ability to detect deceptive software has steadily improved,” the company explained in a recent blog post.

“In the coming weeks, these detection improvements will become more noticeable in Chrome: users will see more warnings about unwanted software than ever before,” Google adds.

These and the other uTorrent threat reports all seem to be triggered by bundled third-party software bundled. There is no indication or evidence that the BitTorrent client itself is harmful.

We asked BitTorrent Inc. for a comment on the recent reports but the company has yet to respond.

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

TorrentFreak: UK Anti-Piracy ‘Education’ Campaign Starts This Summer

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

uk-flagIn an effort to curb online piracy, early last year the movie and music industries reached agreement with the UK’s leading ISPs to send ‘warnings’ to alleged pirates.

As we previously revealed, the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP) will monitor illegal P2P file-sharing with a strong focus on repeat infringers.

The alerts program is part of the larger Creative Content UK (CCUK) initiative, which will kick off with a broad anti-piracy PR campaign targeted at the general public.

This education part is nearly ready for launch and TF is informed that it will officially kick off this summer.

“…work has started on the education component of the campaign, which helps to lay the ground and is designed to inform and raise consumer awareness and to engage with people around their love of content. The first activities are scheduled to start later this summer,” ” a Creative Content UK spokesperson tells TF.

The education part is aimed at steering people away from piracy sites by pointing out how convenient and accessible legal services are.

The associated alerts campaign has no hard start date yet but is also being finalized and will begin at a later date.

“The education campaign will show consumers how to easily access content – such as music, film, TV, books, games, magazines and sport – from authorized online sources which provide a superior user experience. So it makes sense for this to happen before the alerts program starts,” CCUK informs us.

Both programs are supported by the UK Government with millions in funding. The Government justifies this contribution with an expected increase in sales, and thus tax revenue.

The ultimate goal is to bring down local piracy rates and during the months following the rollout the file-sharing habits of UK Internet users will be frequently polled to measure the impact of the campaign.

“The aim of Creative Content UK is to encourage greater use of legal content services and to reduce online copyright infringement. There will be regular measurements of legal and illegal consumption of content throughout the duration of the initiative, which will be compared with levels before the launch of the program,” CCUK tells TF.

To what degree the PR campaign and alerts will convert pirates into paying customers has yet to be seen. In any case, it won’t go by unnoticed.

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 – 07/20/15

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

insurgentThis week we have one newcomer and one returnee in our chart.

Insurgent 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 (…) Insurgent 6.6 / trailer
2 (1) Jurassic World (TS/Subbed HDrip) 7.7 / trailer
3 (7) Ted 2 (Subbed HDrip) 6.9 / trailer
4 (3) Home 6.8 / trailer
5 (2) Spy (Subbed HDrip) 7.5 / trailer
6 (4) The Longest Ride 7.1 / trailer
7 (5) Mad Max: Fury Road (WEB-DL) 8.5 / trailer
8 (8) Get Hard 6.1 / trailer
9 (10) Cinderella 7.3 / trailer
10 (back) Kingsman: The Secret Service 8.1 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: UK Wants 10 Year Prison Sentence For Online Pirates

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

uk-flagIn an effort to deter online piracy the UK Government is proposing to increase the maximum prison sentence for online copyright infringement to ten years.

The current maximum of two years is not enough to deter infringers, lawmakers argue.

The new proposal follows a suggestion put forward in a study commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) earlier this year.

The study concluded that the criminal sanctions for copyright infringement available under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) could be amended to bring them into line with related offenses, such as counterfeiting.

According to the Government it’s important that online piracy is seen as “no less serious” than offline infringements, and the increased sentence will put both offenses on par.

“By toughening penalties for commercial-scale online offending we are offering greater protections to businesses and sending a clear message to deter criminals,” says Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe.

The proposal is being welcomed by copyright holders who have lobbied extensively to increase penalties for online piracy.

“This consultation is very welcome as we feel there is a clear anomaly in the way that online copyright infringement by criminal enterprises is treated by the justice system,” Eddy Leviten, Director General of the Alliance for Intellectual Property, says.

Although targeted at online piracy, casual file-sharers have little to worry about. The new legislation will be targeted at those involved in organized and commercial copyright infringement. This would include operators of large piracy sites, but not their users.

Before going forward with the proposal the Government is seeking input from the public. A consultation launched today invites supporters and opponents of the plan to chime in, which is likely to trigger a heated debate.

The consultation will run until the end of August and the Government will release the individual responses and publish a summary report afterwards.

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

TorrentFreak: KickassTorrents Disappears From Google After Penalty

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

kickassWith millions of visitors per day KickassTorrents (KAT) is arguably the most visited torrent site on the Internet, outranking even the notorious Pirate Bay.

After several domain hops KAT has been operating from the KAT.cr domain name for a few months now. However, in recent weeks many infrequent visitors have experienced trouble locating the site, leading to all sorts of problems.

Traditionally, the site has been easy to find through Google by entering the search terms “KickassTorrents” or “Kickass Torrents,” but this is no longer the case.

In fact, the official KAT.cr address is nowhere to be found in the top results. Instead, people see the unknown and unaffiliated Kickasstorrents.eu domain on top in many locations, as the screenshot below shows.

Google’s KickassTorrents search results
googlekick

The KAT team informs us that Google began to penalize its pages a while ago, for reasons unknown. Perhaps there are ways to solve the problems, but the site is currently not doing any search engine optimization (SEO).

“It’s already about five or six months since we started to experience some kind of penalty from Google. The issue is that we were not performing any SEO activities at all,” KAT says.

What makes matters worse is that .eu site which tops Google search results is a scam. It doesn’t offer any torrents but instead prompts visitors to download File_Downloader.exe, which appears to be malware.

The KAT team finds it unfortunate that Google is sending tens of thousands of visitors to a shady site and encourages people to check the official Facebook and Twitter accounts for the latest official domain name.

Interestingly, not all search engines treat KAT the same. In Bing the site’s official domain name is not on top either, but it’s listed on the first page. DuckDuckGo does the best job, identifying the correct domain and even tagging it as an “official site,” which is quite useful to estranged KAT users.

DuckDuckGo’s KickassTorrents search results
duckkick

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

TorrentFreak: Public Revolts Against Plan to Kill Domain Name Privacy

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

whoisguardA new ICANN proposal currently under review suggests various changes to how WHOIS protection services should operate.

The changes are welcomed by copyright holders, as they will make it easier to identify the operators of pirate sites, who can then be held responsible.

However, several domain registrars, digital rights groups and the public at large are less enthusiastic. They fear that the changes will also prevent many legitimate website owners from using private domain registrations.

To allow the various parties to weigh in ICANN launched a public consultation, and the overwhelming number of responses over the past several weeks show that domain name privacy is a topic that many people have taken to heart.

At the time of writing ICANN has received well over 11,000 comments, most of which encourage the organization to keep private domain registrations available.

A few dozen comments have been filed by special interest groups, but most were submitted by ordinary Internet users who fear that they will have to put their name, address and other personal details out in public.

Countering the “piracy” argument, several people note that the changes would do very little to stop people from running illegal websites, as WHOIS data can easily be faked.

“The truth is, if the website is an illegal website, then the information in the Whois is not going to be legit anyway. So you are not helping anything when it comes to tracking down crime. You are only helping crime by providing the criminals with more information. On people that are being legal,” one commenter notes.

Others warn that the proposals will leave the door open for all sorts of harassment, or even aid oppressive regimes and terrorist groups including ISIS.

“Please do not make it easier for these oppressive regimes and terrorists to identify and target the brave men and women who risk their lives by writing and blogging about what goes on in those dangerous parts of the world,” a commenter writes.

In large part however, the massive protests are fueled by the “Respect Our Privacy” campaign site which was launched by the EFF, Namecheap and Fight for the Future. This site allows people to submit a pre-written letter in just a few clicks, which results in thousands of duplicate comments.

The MPAA previously criticized the form letters noting that they are triggered by “hype and misinformation sponsored by certain registrars and advocacy groups,” while accusing the campaign site of spreading “completely false” information.

It will be interesting to see how the public consultation will influence ICANN’s proposal and the future operation of domain name privacy services.

The commenting period closes this coming Tuesday and will be 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: Popcorn Time Taken Down By Domain Name Seizure

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.

Its popularity has also drawn the attention of copyright holders, who’ve made several attempts to shut the service down.

Today Popcorntime.io, the original and most used Popcorn Time fork, became the target of the latest takedown effort.

A few hours ago the domain name’s status was updated to “reserved,” which effectively means that the Internet Computer Bureau registry seized the domain name.

The UK-based registry previously took control of The Pirate Bay’s .ac domain name as well.

Popcorntime.io is “reserved”
popcornreserved

The domain name may still work for some if the DNS entries are cached, but it will soon be unavailable everywhere.

At first sight the Popcorn Time application itself appears to work just fine, most likely because it doesn’t use the .io domain for any crucial functions.

Popcorntime.io is not resolving
popcornnotresolve

The server of the Popcorn time site is also unaffected. This means that people who enter the direct IP-address can still see the site’s homepage. However, none of the links work, including the download, as these all point to the .io domain.

TorrentFreak reached out to the Popcorn Time team for more information and we will update the article if we hear back.

The most likely scenario is that the Popcorn Time team will switch over to a new domain name. They already own popcorntime.re and popcorntime.cc but at the time of writing both point to the seized domain.

Developing story, updates may follow.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay ‘Hydra’ Loses Another Domain Name

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

hydra2Last May the Stockholm District Court ordered the Pirate Bay’s .SE domains to be handed over to the Swedish state, arguing that they were linked to copyright crimes.

The Pirate Bay was fully prepared for the negative outcome and quickly redirected its visitors to a ‘Hydra’ of six new domain names.

The notorious torrent site decided to use more than one domain name, anticipating that not all would survive pressure from copyright holders.

This was no unnecessary precaution as the first domain name was suspended after just a few days. The site’s .GS domain went offline after an intervention from the associated registry, chopping off one head.

Today, another domain has gone overboard.

A few hours ago the Armenian registry put ThePirateBay.AM om hold, rendering it inaccessible. The URL may still work for some if the DNS entries are cached, but it will soon be unavailable everywhere.

The ISOC-AM registry hasn’t commented publicly on the domain name suspension yet. However, it seems likely that the organization took action following a copyright holder complaint.

thepiratebay.am on hold
tpbamwhois

Not all domain registries are equally responsive to copyright complaints. Some suspend a domain name after a single complaint, while others require a local court order before taking action.

The Mongolian registry, which is behind TPB’s .MN domain name, previously informed TF that they will process potential complaints through ICANN’s Dispute Resolution Policy, suggesting that they will not take any voluntary action.

Despite losing another domain name, The Pirate Bay team isn’t too worried. They still have plenty of alternative domains to pick from and four of the current domain names still work just fine.

“We have more domain names behind, if needed. We are stronger than ever and will defend the site to the end,” the TPB team informs us.

The Pirate Bay is currently accessible via the LA, VG, MN and GD domain names. The original .SE domain is still operational as well, pending an appeal, and redirects users to one of the new domain names.

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

TorrentFreak: UK Piracy Blocklist Quietly Expands With Proxy Sites

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

uk-flagOver the past several years more than 100 websites have been blocked in the UK for facilitating copyright infringement, and this list is getting longer and longer.

The blocks are somewhat effective, at least in preventing subscribers from accessing the domains directly. However, there are plenty of alternative routes people can use instead.

So called reverse proxies are among the most used workarounds. These websites give people access to the blocked domains and effectively bypass the restrictions put in place by the court.

The media companies who demanded the blockades are not happy with these proxies and they instruct ISPs to add these to the blocklist as well.

Over the past few days several proxies were added, including torrentz-proxy.com, torrentsmirror.com, etproxy.com, extratorrentlive.com and extratorrentonline.com.

As with previous additions the newly blocked domains are covered by the High Court order, which provides copyright holders with the option to continually update the list of infringing domains.

The main domains of both Torrentz and Extratorrent were already blocked in 2013, after the BPI obtained a High Court order. The music group confirmed to TF that the latest blocks were added as an update.

“The High Court has declared that ExtraTorrent and Torrentz are operating unlawfully and infringing copyright. The Court Order which requires ISPs to block the sites also requires BPI to notify the ISPs of changes to the sites,” a BPI spokesperson says.

The BPI could not provide us with more details on which domains were included in this latest update, but it appears that all major proxy and mirror sites are covered.

As expected, the new blocks are only partially effective. ExtraTorrent informs us that they’ve become quite experienced at coming up with new ‘proxies’ and mirrors.

This is not limited to the UK, but also happens in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, China and elsewhere. After the UK blocked the proxies a few days ago traffic dropped, but not for long. A new alternative, etmirror.com, quickly took up the slack.

“The connectivity issues were totally solved after we launched a new mirror. It appears that all UK visitors are able to visit the website now as the traffic is back and still growing,” the ExtraTorrent teams tells TF.

And so the whack-a-mole continues, with copyright holders adding new domains to the blocklists, and site owners hopping from domain to domain.

The full list of sites to be blocked in the UK is now as follows (not including proxies and mirrors):

Rojadirecta, LiveTV, Drakulastream, Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre, Freebookspot, popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, isoplex.isohunt.to, watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com, g2g.fm, Bursalagu, Fullsongs, Mega-Search, Mp3 Monkey, Mp3.li, Mp3Bear, MP3Boo, Mp3Clan, Mp3Olimp, MP3s.pl, Mp3soup, Mp3Truck, Musicaddict, My Free MP3, Plixid, RnBXclusive, STAFA Band, watchseries.lt, Stream TV, Watchseries-online, Cucirca, Movie25, watchseries.to, Iwannawatch, Warez BB, Ice Films, Tehparadox, Heroturko, Scene Source,, Rapid Moviez, Iwatchonline, Los Movies, Isohunt, Torrentz.pro, Torrentbutler, IP Torrents, Sumotorrent, Torrent Day, Torrenting, BitSoup, TorrentBytes, Seventorrents, Torrents.fm, Yourbittorrent, Tor Movies , Demonoid, torrent.cd, Vertor, Rar BG, bittorrent.am, btdigg.org, btloft.com, bts.to, limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me, torlock.com, torrentbit.net, torrentdb.li, torrentdownload.ws, torrentexpress.net, torrentfunk.com, torrentproject.com, torrentroom.com, torrents.net, torrentus.eu, torrentz.cd, torrentzap.com, vitorrent.org.Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T and The Pirate Bay.

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

TorrentFreak: Authors Guild: ISPs Should Monitor and Filter Pirated Content

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

piratkeybWith a growing demand for digital books, the publishing industry is increasingly confronted with the issue of online piracy.

The piracy problem is high on the agenda of the Authors Guild as well, and the organization has sent a letter to Congress voicing its concerns.

The letter is addressed to the House Judiciary Committee which reviews the current state of the DMCA takedown procedure to see what can be done to bring the interests of copyright holders and Internet service providers closer together.

Claiming that piracy results in $80 to $100 million in losses annually, the authors emphasize that online copyright infringement is rampant. Not just on shady sites but also on legitimate platforms such as Google Play.

“Online book piracy, once the province of shady offshore websites, has migrated to mainstream American distribution platforms,” they write, adding that the current takedown process is “just not working.”

Instead of the current system where rightsholders have to report URLs of all infringing content, Internet services should implement measures to ensure that pirated content doesn’t reappear elsewhere.

“What we need instead is a ‘Notice and Stay-Down’ regime: once a webhost knows a work is being infringed, it should not receive continued ‘safe harbor’ immunity from claims of infringement unless it takes reasonable measures to remove all copies of the same work.”

The Guild notes that individual authors often don’t have the time or means to scour the Internet for pirated material. ISPs, on the other hand, can monitor and filter pirated content more easily, they claim.

“Technology that can identify and filter pirated material is now commonplace. It only makes sense, then, that ISPs should bear the burden of limiting piracy on their sites, especially when they are profiting from the piracy and have the technology to conduct automated searches and takedowns,” the Authors Guild writes.

The authors stress that Google and other Internet service providers are not doing enough to combat piracy. Instead, they allow piracy to flourish and share a part of the loot.

“In reverse Robin Hood fashion, the safe harbor rules allow rich companies to become richer at the expense of the poor, robbing creators of hard-earned income and the creative economy of hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” the write.

The Authors Guild asks the lawmakers to revise copyright law by making ISPs partly responsible for identifying pirated content. ISPs should only enjoy safe-harbor protections if they implement measures to ensure that pirated content remains inaccessible.

In theory, this means that widespread monitoring of shared content, something most companies are not too keen on. However, according to the authors it’s the only option to tackle the piracy problem.

A copy of the Authors Guild letter to the House Judiciary Committee is available here.

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 – 07/13/15

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

jurassThis week we have only one newcomer in our chart.

‘Jurassic World is the most downloaded movie.

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

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (2) Jurassic World (TS/Subbed HDrip) 7.7 / trailer
2 (9) Spy 7.5 / trailer
3 (7) Home 6.8 / trailer
4 (3) The Longest Ride 7.1 / trailer
5 (1) Mad Max: Fury Road (WEB-DL) 8.5 / trailer
6 (4) Minions (TS) 7.0 / trailer
7 (…) Ted 2 (HDrip) 6.9 / trailer
8 (6) Get Hard 6.1 / trailer
9 (10) Furious 7 (HDrip) 7.6 / trailer
10 (5) Cinderella 7.3 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Nintendo Shuts Down Browser Based Game Boy Emulator

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

gameboyemulatorPlaying old console games through browser-based emulators is a niche pastime of some of the most dedicated gamers.

For Game Boy Advance fans there are a few websites that offer such a nostalgic trip down memory lane, free for all.

Unfortunately, Nintendo is less pleased with the fan-made projects. This week the company took down a popular Game Boy Advance emulator that was hosted on the developer platform GitHub.

The website in question offered JavaScript-powered versions of many popular titles including Advance Wars, Dragon Ball Z, Super Mario Advance, Pokemon Emerald and The Sims 2.

While fans may like it, Nintendo sees the site as blatant copyright infringement.

“Nintendo requests that GitHub, Inc., disable public access to the web site at http://jsemu.github.io/gba/,” Nintendo writes in their takedown notice.

“This web site provides access to unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s copyright-protected video games and videos making use of Nintendo’s copyrighted Pokémon characters and imagery in violation of Nintendo’s exclusive rights.”

Nintendo’s takedown notice
nintendogit

Shortly after GitHub received the takedown notice the Game Boy Advance emulator was shut down. The user who hosted the files also appears to have removed his GitHub account, possibly to avoid any further trouble.

The above means that nostalgic Game Boy Advance fans will have to dust off their old consoles again or find another way to play their classics.

Interestingly, the code for the Game Boy Emulator itself, without the pre-loaded games, is open source and still hosted elsewhere on GitHub. Several copies of the full site are also still floating around.

This is not the first time that Nintendo has gone after a Game Boy emulator. The same happened with the popular iOS application GBA4iOS, which the company nuked in a similar fashion last year.

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

TorrentFreak: Free Music Streaming Site Revives Grooveshark Magic, And More

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

streamsquidEarlier this year the long running lawsuit between the RIAA and music streaming service Grooveshark came to an abrupt end.

Facing hundreds of millions in damages, Grooveshark shut down agreeing to pay the record labels $50 million. This was a huge blow to the site’s users, many of whom had spent years carefully curating their playlists.

Among the affected users was a group of music loving web developers including Ofir Yosef, Itzik Ben-Bassat and Ziv Waksman, who decided to come up with a solution without breaking the law.

“It was devastating at first as we thought that we’d lost our personal music hub. The huge effort that took many years to build and collect songs and playlists was gone in a single court decision,” Yosef tells TF.

The initial thought was that all playlists were gone forever. However, there was still a Grooveshark backup server online and Yosef and his team quickly secured all playlist data.

That’s when the real challenge stated. A collection of .XLS files is useless if they can’t be linked to the actual music track, so Yosef and his team started coding. Now, several weeks later StreamSquid was born.

“StreamSquid is a free music streaming service that lets you discover, create and share the music you love. It’s the easy way to play the music you want online, legally and free,” Yosef says.

“And now it also lets you import your lost Grooveshark music and start listening to it almost immediately,” he adds.

The service is indeed quite impressive considering that it’s a mashup of various sources. It has an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to discover and curate music. Grooveshark users will be delighted as well, as they can restore their old playlists in one click.

StreamSquid’s Grooveshark import
streamsquidimp

To present the music in an appealing format, with album lists and prearranged playlists, StreamSquid partnered with Last.fm. In addition the site also allows users to easily discover related artists and browse through various top charts.

For the long-term StreamSquid is planning to add support for mobile listening as well, including apps, but currently the focus lies on implementing features to improve the general user experience.

“In the coming days and weeks we are going to add features like songs queues and listening history, which will allow users to arrange their daily music stream.”


lamarsteam

As for legality, StreamSquid doesn’t anticipate any problems. The service pulls its music from YouTube and SoundCloud and doesn’t host any media content on its servers.

“StreamSquid is legal. We use YouTube and SoundCloud APIs to stream music legally and meet all requirements and terms of services. Everything is double checked,” Yosef says.

Similar to Grooveshark, the service will remain free of charge. The self-funded team may consider adding monetization options in the future, such as offering links to Amazon and iTunes stores, but these will be aimed at adding value to the users.

Aside from the occasional bug StreamSquid seems to work rather well. And for former Grooveshark users it will be a welcome reunion with the tunes they deemed lost.

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

TorrentFreak: CloudFlare Forced to Censor Anti-Censorship Site

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

notresolvedLast May, Grooveshark shut down after settling with the RIAA. However, within days a new site was launched aiming to take its place.

The RIAA wasn’t happy with this development and quickly obtained an injunction, preventing various Internet service providers from offering their services to the site.

Through the lawsuit the companies hope to prevent further copyright infringements, but there is more at stake. Much more.

The case is also the first major test of how receptive the courts are to the notion of injunctions against hosting companies, domain name services, ISPs and search engines.

Fearing that these attempts may become commonplace several tech companies protested the injunction, including CloudFlare. The court order requires the CDN-service to ban all domain names that use the term “Grooveshark,” which the company believes is too broad.

This week CloudFlare informed the court that the order limits free-speech, impacting legitimate customers who use it for perfectly legitimate websites.

“CloudFlare has already been compelled by the injunction to deny service to at least one website that is plainly non-infringing, and to others that are arguably non-infringing and have no discernible connection with the Defendants in this case,” they write (pdf).

“This harm to CloudFlare’s business and potentially to customer’s businesses, and to the free speech rights of its customers, will continue without a modification of the Preliminary Injunction.”

As an example, CloudFlare says it had to terminate the account of “groovesharkcensorship.cf,” a site which protested the broad injunction as the screenshot below shows.

Groovesharkcensorship.cf, before CloudFlare took it offline
censorcomplaint

Under the injunction CloudFlare had no other option than to disable its services for the domain, rendering it inaccessible.

In an email, the company informed the affected user about its actions explaining that it’s not allowed to provide any services that use the Grooveshark trademark in a domain name.

CloudFlare’s email
censormail

According to CloudFlare many other legitimate sites may be at risk of being censored if the broad injunction is upheld.

Despite these protests, the record labels maintain the position that the measures are “entirely appropriate.” They argue that it’s up to CloudFlare to determine whether a domain name is infringing, and consult the record labels if there’s any doubt.

For its part, CloudFlare wants the court to modify the injunction so that they only have to target domain names which the record labels point out to them, instead of banning the word Grooveshark altogether.

Shortly before publishing this article the court ruled (pdf) on the dispute, largely in favor of CloudFlare.

In a ruling issued a few hours ago District Court Judge Alison Nathan clarifies that CloudFlare is no longer required to ban all Grooveshark-related domains. Instead, the record labels must alert the company to possibly infringing sites.

However, Judge Nathan adds that if CloudFlare has knowledge of an infringing domain name it is required to take action on its own.

So, in the end it appears that the censored anti-censorship site has served its purpose. At the time of writing it still remains offline, but this may change during the coming hours.

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

TorrentFreak: Chrome Blocks Major Torrent Sites Over “Harmful Programs”

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

chromeThere’s a slight panic breaking out among Google Chrome users. Over the past few hours the browser has started to block access to several of the most popular torrent sites including KickassTorrents, Torrentz, ExtraTorrent and RARBG.

Instead of a page filled with the latest torrents, visitors are presented with an ominous red warning banner.

“The site ahead contains harmful programs,” Google Chrome informs its users.

“Attackers on kat.cr might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience (for example, by changing your homepage or showing extra ads on sites you visit),” the warning adds.

harm

Google doesn’t specify what the issue is with the sites in question. The “Safe Browsing” diagnostics pages only list the sites as “suspicious” and note that “third parties can add malicious code to legitimate sites.” in some cases.

nomalice

The owners of the sites in question are clueless about the source of the problem. RARBG’s operator informs TF that there is no additional information available in Google’s Webmaster tools either.

“I hope Google comes to its senses and actually allows webmasters to see what the issue is in their webmasters tools,” RARBG’s operator informs us.

ExtraTorrent is not aware of any issues either and notes that the malware Google reportedly found are false positives.

“There is no malicious software and you are still able to load ExtraTorrent in Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Chromium and other browsers,” the ExtraTorrent team says.

“We’ll contact Google to resolve the issue shortly,” they add.

Interestingly, several proxy sites, such as torrentz-proxy.com, still work fine and don’t show the warning screen in Google Chrome.

Since Google doesn’t mention “malicious software” as the reason for the warning, it was most likely triggered by the “unsafe” ads many torrent sites run. These are typically linked to toolbar software or other unwanted programs.

We reached out to Google to find out more about the sudden torrent site blocks, but we have yet to receive a response.

Chrome users who want to bypass the warning can do so by clicking the details link, or disable Chrome’s malware warnings altogether.

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