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TorrentFreak: Torrent Sites Remove Millions of Links to Pirate Content

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

deleteEntertainment industry groups including the RIAA and MPAA view BitTorrent sites as a major threat. The owners of most BitTorrent sites, however, believe they do nothing wrong.

While it’s common knowledge that The Pirate Bay refuses to remove any torrents, all of the other major BitTorrent sites do honor DMCA-style takedown requests.

Several copyright holders make use of these takedown services to remove infringing content, resulting in tens of thousands of takedown requests per month.

Bitsnoop is one of the prime targets. The site boasts one of the largest torrent databases on the Internet, more than 24 million files in total. This number could have been higher though, as the site has complied with 2,220,099 takedown requests over the years.

The overview below shows that most of the takedown notices received by Bitsnoop were sent by Remove Your Media. Other prominent names such as the RIAA and Microsoft also appear in the list of top senders.


As one of the largest torrent sites, KickassTorrents (KAT) is also frequently contacted by copyright holders.

The site doesn’t list as many torrents as Bitsnoop does, but with tens of thousands of takedown notices per month it receives its fair share of takedown requests.

The KAT team informs TF that they removed 26,060 torrents over the past month, and a total of 856,463 since they started counting.

Torrent sites are not the only ones targeted. Copyright holders also ask Google to indirectly remove access to infringing torrents that appear in its search results. Interestingly, Google receives more requests for Bitsnoop and KAT than the sites themselves do.

Google’s transparency report currently lists 3,902,882 Bitsnoop URLs and several million for KickassTorrents’ most recent domain names. The people at TorrentTags noticed this as well and recently published some additional insights from their own database.

Despite the proper takedown policies it’s hard for torrent sites to escape criticism. On the one hand users complain that their torrents are vanishing. On the other, copyright holders are not happy with the constant stream of newly uploaded torrents.

Not all torrent sites are happy with the takedown procedure either. ExtraTorrent doesn’t keep track of the number of takedown requests the site receives, but the operator informs TF that many contain errors or include links that point to different domains.

Still, most torrent sites feel obligated to accept takedown notices and will continue to do so in order to avoid further trouble.

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

TorrentFreak: Copyright Trolls Announce UK Anti-Piracy Invasion

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

trollsignSo-called copyright trolls were a common occurrence in the UK half a decade ago, when many Internet subscribers received settlement demands for allegedly downloading pirated files.

After one of the key players went bankrupt the focus shifted to other countries, but now they’re back. One of the best known trolling outfits has just announced the largest anti-piracy push in the UK for many years.

The renewed efforts began earlier this year when the makers of “The Company You Keep” began demanding cash from many Sky Broadband customers.

This action was spearheaded by Maverick Eye, a German outfit that tracks and monitors BitTorrent piracy data that forms the basis of these campaigns. Today, the company says that this was just the beginning.

Framed as one of the largest anti-piracy campaigns in history, Maverick Eye says it teamed up with law firm Hatton & Berkeley and other key players to launch a new wave of settlement demands.

“Since July this year, Hatton & Berkeley and Maverick Eye have been busy working with producers, lawyers, key industry figures, investors, partners, and supporters to develop a program to protect the industry and defend the UK cinema against rampant piracy online,” Maverick Eye says.

“The entertainment industry can expect even more from these experts as they continue the fight against piracy in the UK.”

The companies have yet to announce which copyright holders are involved, but Maverick Eye is already working with the makers of the movies Dallas Buyers Club, The Cobbler and Survivor in other countries.

Most recently, they supported a series of lawsuits against several Popcorn Time users in the U.S., and they also targeted BitTorrent users in Canada and Australia.

Hatton & Berkeley commonly offers administrative services and says it will provide “essential infrastructure” for the UK anti-piracy campaign.

“Hatton and Berkeley stands alongside our colleagues in an international operation that has so far yielded drastic reductions in streaming, torrenting and illegal downloads across Europe,” the company announces.

In the UK it is relatively easy for copyright holders to obtain the personal details of thousands of subscribers at once, which means that tens of thousands of people could be at risk of being targeted.

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

TorrentFreak: Verizon Fights Copyright Troll Demands in Court

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

verizon-progressMalibu Media, the Los Angeles based company behind the ‘X-Art’ adult movies, is one of the most active copyright trolls in the United States.

The company has filed thousands of lawsuits in recent years, targeting Internet subscribers whose accounts were allegedly used to share Malibu’s films.

These cases generally don’t go to trial. Instead, the adult movie studio obtains a subpoena from the court so it can ask Internet providers to expose the accused subscribers.

Verizon is one of the ISPs which is often targeted, and the company has responded to thousands of subpoenas from Malibu alone, without complaining. However, a broad subpoena that arrived a few days ago is a bridge too far for Verizon.

The subpoena was issued in a case currently before the Southern District of New York.

To prove that a Verizon subscriber is guilty, Malibu Media requested additional information from the ISP including private communications with the subscriber, technical details about its modems and a deposition of Verizon employees.

Verizon, however, does not plan to comply and has asked the court for support. The ISP begins its reply with a general overview of how copyright trolls work, noting that their practices cost providers a lot of time and resources.

“These ‘Doe’ cases impose undue burdens upon the ISPs, including Verizon, who have been asked to respond to thousands of subpoenas from Malibu Media. The subpoenas have required a large amount of Verizon’s employees’ time to evaluate and respond to competing and sometimes overlapping requests for information,” the ISP writes (pdf).

Verizon points out that these piracy lawsuits are increasingly being scrutinized by the courts, some of which have compared it to an “extortion scheme.”

Aside from the general burdens Verizon notes that Malibu should not be allowed to call in Verizon employees from another state for a deposition on such a short notice.

“The subpoena here improperly demanded that Verizon’s employees, who work in Arlington, Virginia, and reside nearby, travel to San Angelo, Texas, on short notice for a deposition and to bring documents with them.”

In addition, the information requested by Malibu Media is not relevant or outside the scope of the Cable Act, which prevents certain privacy sensitive data from being shared.

“The additional information now sought by Plaintiff’s subpoena — correspondence between Verizon and the subscriber, information about the rental of modems or other equipment, and Verizon’s general policies and procedures — is either irrelevant, more properly sought from a party to litigation, or outside the scope of discovery contemplated by the Cable Act,” Verizon writes.

The above clearly shows that Verizon is taking a stand. This could mean that Malibu Media’s request may hurt the company’s litigation efforts in the long run, as copyright troll watcher SJD suggests.

“The critical gear of the well-oiled extortion machine is the relationship between the troll and ISPs. We see a small crack in this gear, and I really hope this crack will grow over time,” she writes.

Currently, Verizon and other ISPs don’t oppose subpoenas that request personal details of subscribers based on an IP-address, but this may change in the future.

It’s now up to judge Katherine Forrest to decide whether the requested subpoena for additional information indeed goes too far. Forrest previously likened Malibu’s practices to “harassment,” which may be factored into the decision.

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

TorrentFreak: The Pirate Bay Suffers Downtime

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

pirate bayThe Pirate Bay has become unreachable since this morning.

It’s currently not clear what’s causing the problems. There was a similar outage yesterday which lasted a few hours.

What we do know is that the site’s domain names are not the culprit.

The Pirate Bay currently displays a CloudFlare error message across all domain names, suggesting that TPB’s servers are unresponsive.


With the raid of last year still fresh in memory some fear the worst, but these concerns are unwarranted for now.

In fact, the site is still accessible via the Tor network (through http://uj3wazyk5u4hnvtk.onion/), including the popular Pirate Browser.

The Tor traffic goes through a separate server and works just fine.

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

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

TorrentFreak: Paramount Pictures Fails to Silence uTorrent Discussions

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

paramountWeek in and week out copyright holders scour the Internet to detect and report millions of alleged infringements.

Most attention goes out to Google which receives around a dozen million takedown requests per week for its search engine alone.

Many of the reported links are from torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay and point to pirated content. However, some of the URLs copyright holders complain about to Google are not infringing at all.

Last week Paramount Pictures asked for the removal of various discussions at the forums of the popular torrent client uTorrent. The notices claim that the discussions are “infringing” but the threads themselves show no evidence of that.

For example, Paramount sent a takedown notice to protect the 2009 movie “Imagine That.” The list of allegedly infringing URLs includes a uTorrent forum thread, as shown below.


After reading the topic we could find no mentions of a pirated movie. Instead, the only mention of “imagine that” was in the post below, which doesn’t appear to be infringing at all.


The same error was repeated several times in other targeted discussions on One notice lists a forum thread that allegedly offers an infringing copy of “Ghost,” but again the topic itself is completely unrelated to the movie.


This also happened to a thread where a user pointed out that he was “clueless” about something. This apparently rang alarm bells at Paramount’s content protection company who assumed that this person was referring to a pirated copy the film “Clueless.”

Talking about clueless, the same notice also targets the Disqus profile of the user “Clueless°,” simply because he or she shares a name with the movie title.


The most likely explanation for the errors is a lack of oversight. Paramount’s content protection company scans the Internet for keyword combinations and when movie titles are used in combination with other ‘suspicious’ terms such as “torrent,” URLs may be flagged automatically.

Unfortunately these mistakes are not isolated incidents. In recent years we’ve highlighted countless examples of takedown requests that censor legitimate content, often hurting traffic for the affected sites.

The good news is that Google appears to have white-listed several domains, including and Disqus. This means that while the links reported on behalf of Paramount Pictures were not removed, less prominent sites may not be so lucky.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Delayed Until 2016

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

megaupload-logoNearly four years have passed since Megaupload was shutdown but aside from Andrus Nomm’s plea deal there has been little progress in the criminal proceedings.

Dotcom and several of his fellow Megaupload defendants are currently in the midst of an extradition hearing to determine whether they will be sent to the U.S. to stand trial.

But regardless of the outcome there’s more legal trouble ahead for Kim Dotcom and the defunct file-hosting service. In addition to the criminal case, Megaupload and Dotcom were sued last year by the major record labels and Hollywood’s top movie studios.

Fearing that they might influence criminal proceedings, Megaupload’s legal team previously managed to put these civil actions on hold and this week it requested another six month stay.

Yesterday U.S. District Court Liam O’Grady granted Megaupload’s request in the RIAA lawsuit under the same conditions as the earlier orders.

Judge O’Grady’s order


A similar order is also expected in the MPAA case, as the movie studios haven’t objected to another extension.

The ruling means that both the MPAA and RIAA cases will now be delayed until April 2016, given that the criminal proceeding has progressed by then. A stay was also granted in a third civil suit filed by the music group Microhits on similar grounds.

Considering the legal action on multiple fronts and the fact that civil cases can take over half a decade to complete, Megaupload is likely to be tied up in legal proceedings for years to come.

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

TorrentFreak: Dutch Filmmakers Claim Piracy Damages From Government

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

pirate-cardCompared to many other countries around the world, pirating movies and TV-shows is hugely popular in the Netherlands.

Up to a third of the population is estimated to download and stream copyrighted content without paying for it.

This high percentage is not surprising as the Netherlands has traditionally been a relative safe haven for pirates. Downloading movies without permission was not punishable by law until last year when the European Court of Justice spoke out against the tolerant stance.

As a result the Dutch Government quickly outlawed unauthorized downloading. However, breaking the habits of a large section of the population will take more than that and local piracy rates still remains high.

This prompted Dutch filmmakers’ association SEKAM to hold the Government responsible and demand compensation for the piracy losses they claim to have suffered.

FD reports that SEKAM submitted their claim to the Ministry of Security and Justice earlier this year. The request was denied but the filmmakers intend to press on. They maintain that their demands are legitimate and want the Government to compensate them for 10 years of piracy damages.

SEKAM lawyer Bas Le Poole points out that despite the new ban on illegal downloading, not much has changed. Piracy is still rampant and there haven’t been any prosecutions of individual downloaders.

This stance is shared by film producer San Fu Maltha. He notes that the Government has actually encouraged the public to pirate, costing the industry millions in revenue.

“Downloading pirated movies has only been outlawed recently in the Netherlands. Previously, the Government not only tolerated but even encouraged illegal downloading. As a result the industry has been severely damaged”

Critics often argue that the film industry itself can do more to counter piracy by making sure that content is widely available for a decent price. Maltha admits that improvements can be made on the supply side but adds that this should coincide with stronger enforcement.

“The Government has already decided that consumers should not be prosecuted. I understand that it’s not a popular move and electoral suicide, but they shouldn’t rule it out,” he says.

SEKAM is now calling for an accurate estimate of the damages the industry has suffered. Determining this is hard, but the association points to a recent Considerati study which estimated the losses at 78 million euros per year.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Founder Finally Free After Three Years

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

gottfridGottfrid Svartholm, also known as Anakata, was a founding member of The Pirate Bay and played a key role during the site’s early years.

He has spent the last three years in prisons in Sweden and Denmark, for a variety of offenses. Last month his prison time in Denmark ended and after serving a final month in Sweden he is now a free man.

At this time Gottfrid and his family prefer not to make any public statements, which is understandable considering all that’s happened, but his mother just confirmed the good news.

His release marks the end of a tough time with several consecutive setbacks.

It all started in 2011 when Gottfrid received a one-year prison sentence for his involvement with the notorious site, which he initially avoided.


September 2012 he was arrested by Cambodian police in Phnom Penh, the city where he had been living for several years. A few days later he was transferred to Sweden to serve his sentence, but that was only the start.

Soon after his release the Pirate Bay founder was accused of several hacking and fraud offenses.

The case went to trial in 2013 and Gottfrid was subsequently found guilty of hacking, aggravated fraud and attempted aggravated fraud, which resulted in a two-year prison sentence. The Pirate Bay founder always maintained his innocence and went on to appeal the verdict.

The Appeal Court agreed in part and cleared Gottfrid of hacking the Nordea bank. The court still found him guilty of hacking IT company Logica but decided to reduce his sentence from two years to one.

While he was serving the Swedish hacking sentence Denmark also went after Gottfrid. Despite public protests and an appeal to the Supreme Court in Sweden, he was extradited during the fall of 2013 and held in solitary confinement for weeks on end.

In Denmark the Pirate Bay founder stood accused of hacking into the mainframe computers of IT company CSC. Gottfrid denied these allegations and during trial he pointed out that Sweden previously acquitted him of a similar offense.

Despite the “not guilty” plea and expert witness testimonies in his favor, Gottfrid was sentenced to another 3.5 years in prison, which was affirmed following an appeal to the High Court.


As in many other countries, well-behaved convicts only have to serve part of their sentence in Denmark so Gottfrid was released last month.

That’s also when the latest setback was announced. Shortly after his release he was arrested again to serve one remaining month of his hacking sentence in Sweden.

Today Gottfrid is truly a free man again. While prison wasn’t easy for him and his family, the future is finally looking a bit brighter.

Over the past years Gottfrid has received a lot of support from the public, but first and foremost from his mother Kristina, who stood beside him every step of the way and always was kind enough to answer questions and have her son’s voice heard outside of prison.

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 – 09/28/15

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

tomorrowlandThis week we have four newcomers in our chart.

Tomorrowland 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
1 (10) Tomorrowland 6.6 / trailer
2 (…) Terminator Genisys 6.8 / trailer
3 (…) San Andreas 6.2 / trailer
4 (1) Avengers: Age of Ultron 7.8 / trailer
5 (2) Minions 6.7 / trailer
6 (…) Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation 7.7 / trailer
7 (3) Mad Max: Fury Road 8.4 / trailer
8 (4) Vacation (Subbed WEBRip) 6.3 / trailer
9 (…) Magic Mike XXL 5.9 / trailer
10 (7) Fantastic Four (Subbed HDrip) 4.0 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Party Runs Privacy Campaign Ads on YouPorn

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

ppausAside from promoting copyright reform, Pirate parties worldwide are fierce defenders of online privacy.

Their position is no different in Austria where local politicians are slowly trying to increase state surveillance. Through the new State Protection Act which will increase monitoring, for example.

With elections coming up in the Linz region next week the party decided to advertise their policy, but not on the regular outfits most political parties prefer. The Austrian Pirates picked YouPorn as their prime adverting platform instead.

Personal preferences aside, people generally prefer not to be snooped on while they’re viewing porn sites. However, in this case they can’t escape the prying eyes of Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Austria’s Minister of the Interior

“Johanna wants to watch you!” the banner ad alerts YouPorn visitors.

“Johanna wants to watch you!”

The advertisements are written in German and targeted at Austrians, many of whom were surprised to see the Minister ‘snooping’ on their private moments. Exactly the effect the Pirate Party was looking for.

“We want to prevent the Orwellian dystopia – 1984 was not a guide to action,” says Claus-Peter Wiesinger, top candidate of the Pirates in Linz.

“We are aware that political issues are uncommon on sites like YouPorn. But as a young party we want to seize the opportunity to break into the comfort zone of Internet users there, to address the threat of mass surveillance,” he adds.

Visitors who click on the YouPorn banner are directed to a dedicated campaign site with more details and other useful tips against surveillance.

The party says it chose the minister’s image because she is the driving force behind the escalating surveillance efforts in Austria, through the new State Protection Act and by backing the reintroduction of data retention, for example.

The Pirates encourage people to speak out against these developments by voting for the party in the municipal elections in Linz or by signing the petition against the new State Protection Act.

“Strengthened by a council mandate in Linz, we want to continue our fight against the surveillance state. With 1.7% of the vote we are in,” Wiesinger says, referring to the upcoming election.

After this week’s successful campaign the Pirates are hoping to continue their advertising efforts on porn sites. They have already started a crowdfunding drive for the next round of ads which is on its way to reach the €600 goal.

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

TorrentFreak: Plenty of Ad Networks Still Love Pirate Sites

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

scamadIn recent years various copyright holder groups have adopted a “follow-the-money” approach in the hope of cutting off funding to so-called pirate sites.

Thus far this has resulted in some notable developments. In the UK hundreds of advertising agencies are actively banning pirate sites and similar initiatives are popping up elsewhere.

This week came another breakthrough when GroupM, the world’s largest advertising media company, adopted a set of anti-piracy guidelines. As a result it now requires media partners to agree to strict standards and ban pirate sites.

The MPAA applauded the initiative and expressed hope that other stakeholders in the ad industry will follow suit.

“The issues of ad-supported piracy is an important one for creative industries everywhere, and it is an important one for businesses whose brands are being hurt by having their advertisements associated with these illegal activities,” the MPAA’s Howard Gantman wrote.

GroupM’s announcement will definitely have an impact on the higher echelons of the ad industry. However, at the bottom and outside the public gaze, several companies are fighting for the grace of pirate sites.

Most regular visitors of pirate sites are probably familiar with the adult advertisements, gambling promotions and other dubious offers that are sometimes bordering on fraud.

These brands have a hard time finding banner space on legitimate sites but not on file-sharing services. The added benefit is that the cost per 1000 impressions is much lower on pirate sites, not to mention the opportunities for intrusive ad formats such as popunders and interstitials.

There are several ad companies that specialize in this area. They act as the middlemen between pirate sites and advertisers in return for a significant stake of the proceeds.

At TorrentFreak we have seen several emails from ad networks advertising their services. Instead of being wary of pirate partnerships, these companies proudly promote their cooperation with these sites hoping to convince others to join.

Below is an example of a company that offers “amazing results” with its popups, mentioning KickassTorrents as one of its top clients.

Email sent by ad company A

Another advertising outfit already assigned an account manager, boasting streaming sites Watchseries, Movshare and Videoweed as partners.

Email sent by ad company B

The above shows that the anti-piracy efforts are not going to stop money from flowing to these sites. What it will do is limit the already minimal presence of mainstream brands, trading them in for more dubious ones.

Whether that will have a significant impact on revenues is unclear, but it does make visits to pirate sites without an ad-blocker more risky.

That leads to a rather grim conclusion that the anti-piracy measures are helping the vendors and advertisers who peddle shady and malicious ads, instead of really hurting pirate sites.

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

TorrentFreak: Taylor Swift Cracks Down on Pirating “Periscope” Fans

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

periscopeTwitter’s live streaming app Periscope is causing headaches among copyright holders.

Every week the company received hundreds of takedown notices, mostly from sports organizations including NFL, NBA, WWE and the Premier League, who don’t want the public to rebroadcast their events for free.

Musicians appear to be less concerned by Periscope, except for Taylor Swift. In recent weeks Twitter has received dozens of notices asking the company to stop and remove live streams of Swift’s concerts.

The videos, often shared by some of the most passionate fans, are seen as copyright infringement. Swift has surrounded herself with a dedicated enforcement team called TAS Rights Management who swiftly take them offline.

Below is an example of a takedown notice that was sent to Periscope earlier this week, but there are dozens of other examples targeting ‘periscoped’ footage of recent live concerts.


As far as we know, Swift is the only artist with a dedicated takedown team. The first letters of TAS Rights Management stand for T(aylor)A(lison)S(wift) and aside from targeting Periscope the group is also enforcing other online infringements.

While the takedown requests are legitimate, one can seriously doubt whether they are needed.

Most Periscope videos have terrible video and sound quality and can hardly be considered a threat. They are often shared by fans who simply want to give the rest of the world a glimpse of their experience, and after 24 hours the videos are automatically deleted.

Meanwhile, many HD recordings of Taylor Swift concerts remain readily available on torrent sites and websites such as YouTube.

Taylor Swift is the only artist sending takedown notices to Periscope, from what we’ve seen.

The vast majority of other complaints are sent on behalf of sports organizations such as the NFL, NBA, WWE, Premier League, Die Liga and the Rugby World Cup, which sell subscriptions and access to their live events.

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

TorrentFreak: Norway’s Pirate Bay Block Rendered Useless by ‘Mistake’

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

pirate bayEarlier this month Norway became the latest country to block access to The Pirate Bay.

A local court ordered Internet providers to block user access to several large ‘pirate’ websites in the hope of decreasing online copyright infringement.

The decision sparked a public debate and spurred the local Pirate Party to launch their own DNS-service to circumvent the blockade. However, it appears that this countermeasure isn’t needed after all.

Now that the Internet providers have implemented the blockade, it has become apparent that not all Pirate Bay domains are covered by the court order. Apparently, is still available to everyone.

This is quite an oversight because the .mn domain has been in use for several months already. It’s one of the four gTLDs the Pirate Bay is currently rotating as a redirect from the main domain.

Willy Johansen of the local “Rights Alliance” group, which was the driving force behind the blockade, acknowledges the problem.

“We are aware of the problem and do not like it at all. We can get the domain blocked by going to the police, but The Pirate Bay loves to play into this by replacing the domain name in a heartbeat,” Johansen tells Dagebladet.

Local media is presenting the story as if The Pirate Bay switched to a new domain, but that clearly isn’t the case. This makes the mistake even more painful, especially because copyright holders spent tens of thousands of dollars on the legal proceedings.

Meanwhile, Johansen says that it is difficult to keep up with The Pirate Bay’s domain switcheroos and hopes Norwegians will use their moral compass to steer clear of the site.

“It will always be possible for people to commit abuses if they want to, and there’s not much we can do about it. That’s also the case for society in general. We just have to hope people follow the law,” he says.

For now, visiting the Pirate Bay is by no means illegal, although sharing copyrighted works is. But that’s no different than before the blockade of course.

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

TorrentFreak: Cox Accuses Rightscorp of Mass Copyright Infringement

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

rightscorpLast year BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music sued Cox Communications, arguing that the ISP fails to terminate the accounts of subscribers who frequently pirate content.

The companies, which control publishing rights to songs by Katy Perry, The Beatles and David Bowie among others, claim that Cox gave up its DMCA safe harbor protections due to this inaction.

The case revolves around data gathered by Rightscorp and Cox believes that the anti-piracy company is the driving force behind it, in part to retaliate for Cox’s refusal to forward their infringement notices.

The case is scheduled to go to trial soon but Cox hopes to avoid that. The company has now submitted a motion for summary judgment (pdf) in which it explains why the copyright holders don’t have a case.

For one, Cox explains that there is no evidence of any relevant actual direct infringement. Rightscorp’s system is flawed, they claim, and the IP-addresses could be used by persons other than the account holders.

“Plaintiffs made no effort to determine whether Cox account holders personally committed any infringements, and they cannot tie IP addresses to specific infringers. Plaintiffs tellingly but wrongly argue it is ‘not required for [them] to prove direct infringement’,” the lawyers write.

Cox cites several cases in which judges concluded that IP-addresses are not a person, and notes that the same applies here. In addition, the ISP argues that there is no evidence in support of contributory infringement or vicarious liability either.

Moving on, Cox says that the copyright holders have “unclean hands” because they turn a blind eye to misconduct by solely relying on Rightscorp, “whose business rests on extortion and falsehoods.”

The ISP highlights an interesting element of Rightscorp’s practice. To track down infringers the monitoring outfit has downloaded thousands of files themselves, without permission from all copyright holders.

“In its work for Plaintiffs Rightscorp downloaded files of thousands of sound recordings over the BitTorrent protocol, evidently to create evidence of infringements over Cox’s network. But copyrights in sound recordings are separate from copyrights in musical compositions.”

Indeed, the companies Rightscorp works for often only own part of the rights, those held by the composer of a track for example. This means that the company doesn’t have permission from all copyright holders involved.

Technically, Rightscorp may rely on “fair use,” but if that’s the case then the alleged downloaders may use this as a defense as well.

“Rightscorp either committed massive infringements of the sound recording copyrights or must have relied on the fair use doctrine. If the latter, that fact is an admission that activity over BitTorrent may constitute fair use, but there is no evidence that Rightscorp considered the possibility of fair use in generating millions of notices of claimed infringement,” Cox lawyers add.

Cox goes on to highlight that Rightscorp targets elderly and disabled consumers, instructing its employees to disregard protests from alleged infringers.

“When a consumer denies infringement, the phone script instructs the enforcer to state that the consumer must obtain a police report, and that the police may ‘take your device and hold it for ~5 days to investigate the matter’.”

Finally, Cox highlights that the copyright holders have failed to directly address the alleged damage downloaders are causing. Instead of sending takedown notices to torrent sites asking them to remove infringing content, Rightscorp relies on these torrents to conduct its business.

“Far from seeking their removal, Rightscorp uses these .torrent files, tolerates them, and relies on their availability on the Internet in order to set up its enforcement and shakedown scheme,” Cox writes.

“Plaintiffs’ failure to mitigate their actual damages, through simple and reasonable steps available to them, reduces or bars entirely their claims for relief based on statutory damages,” they add.

It is now up to the court to decide whether the arguments presented by Cox are sufficient to issue a summary judgment, or whether the case will proceed to trial.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Forum Knocked Offline by ICANN Complaint

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

suprbay+The Pirate Bay has had its fair share of domain issues over the past several years.

The notorious torrent site has burnt through half a dozen domains and currently uses four different ones to avoid a single point of failure.

Today, the site’s official SuprBay forum, which is separately operated by the site’s moderators, has also run into trouble. The forum has been offline for more than a day returning incomplete DNS records.

TF hasn’t been able to reach the person in charge of the forums but domain registrar eNom informs us that the platform’s domain was suspended following an ICANN complaint.

The domain was apparently registered using inaccurate information and the owner did not respond to repeated requests to address the problem.

“This domain ( was placed on hold yesterday due to an ICANN complaint of invalid Whois contacts. We did not receive a response to our inquiries within the required 15-day period,” eNom says. is not available

While the issue doesn’t impact the Pirate Bay site, it does make it harder for users to communicate with moderators. Among other things, the forum was frequently used to report spam and other malicious torrents.

The domain name registrar did not mention the source of the ICANN complaint, but it’s not unlikely that a copyright holder group is behind it.

SuprBay also allowed users to discuss and promote torrents but wasn’t particularly known for distributing pirated content. However, rightsholders certainly have an interest in knowing who’s operating the site.

Since the issue is limited to the domain name, it’s expected that the moderators will switch to a new one, which should resolve the problem. Alternatively, they can update their Whois information to get the original domain reinstated.

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

TorrentFreak: “Happy Birthday” Enters Public Domain, Judge Rules Copyright Invalid

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

copyright-brandedStarting today everyone is free use “Happy Birthday” without having to pay a license fee, as a California federal court ruling just entered the popular song into the public domain.

The ruling comes from District Court Judge George King in a dispute between several artists and publisher Warner/Chappell, which claimed to own the copyrights.

Warner made an estimated $2 million per year in licensing fees from the melody that was originally written before 1893, by sisters Mildred and Patty Hill. The rights to the song were later transferred to Summy Co., which was later acquired by Warner/Chappell.

For decades, Warner continued to demand licensing fees from filmmakers and other artists who used the song in their works.

In 2013 a group of artists including musician Ruypa Marya sued Warner’s music division claiming that the company doesn’t hold the rights to the song. Aside from missing agreements, the filmmakers alleged that it’s not clear what the true origins of the song are.

Before even reaching a trial, Judge George King awarded a groundbreaking victory to the plaintiffs. After a careful review of several agreements the court concluded that there is no evidence that the Hill sisters ever transferred their rights to Summy Co.

“Defendants have no evidence a transfer occurred, whether by oral statement, by writing, or by conduct. The Second Agreement was for piano arrangements. The Third Agreement was for copyrighted works, like Song Stories and the piano arrangements, that did not cover the lyrics,” Judge King writes (pdf).

According to the court there is no evidence available to conclude that the copyrights to the lyrics now belong to Warner.

“In fact, Defendants cannot even point to evidence showing that the Hill sisters transferred their rights in the lyrics to the Hill Foundation, such that the Hill Foundation could, in turn, legitimately transfer them to Summy Co.”

As a result, Judge King ruled that Warner/Chappell doesn’t own the copyright to Happy Birthday, which means that the company can’t demand licensing fees for its use.

“Accordingly, Defendants’ Motion is DENIED, and Plaintiffs’ Motion is GRANTED as to the issue of whether Summy Co. ever received the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics from the Hill sisters.”

At this point it’s still unclear whether any of the artists will be compensated for the licensing fees they previously paid. Ruypa Marya, whose band paid $455 because the audience sang “Happy Birthday” on a live album, hopes that the ruling will trigger a more artist-centric copyright law.

“I hope we can start reimagining copyright law to do what it’s supposed to do — protect the creations of people who make stuff so that we can continue to make more stuff,” Marya told AP.

Warner/Chappell says it’s still evaluating the judgement and hadn’t decided yet on a possible appeal.

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

TorrentFreak: Dallas Buyers Club Jumps on the Popcorn Time Lawsuit Bandwagon

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

popcorntOver the past several years hundreds of thousands of Internet subscribers have been sued in the United States for allegedly sharing copyrighted material, mostly video.

The cases are generally targeted at “BitTorrent” users in general, not focusing on any file-sharing client in particular.

Starting last month this changed, with two cases singling out groups of Popcorn Time users. The first case was filed by the filmmakers behind “The Cobbler,” quickly followed by Pierce Brosnan’s “Survivor.”

Today, the Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club enters the fray with a new suit filed at an Oregon federal court, accusing ten Comcast subscribers of using Popcorn Time to pirate their movie.

Through the lawsuit the filmmakers hope to reveal the identity of the alleged pirates so they can settle the case for a few thousands dollars, usually outside of court.

The anonymous Popcorn Time users

“Popcorn Time exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to steal copyrighted content,” the filmmakers write in their complaint (pdf), alleging that the defendants are fully aware of their wrongdoing.

Taking it up a notch, the complaint suggests that merely having the application installed could already be a crime under Oregon law.

“The mere possession with intent to use a software program like Popcorn Time is the type of conduct that the State of Oregon has criminalized,” they write, claiming that the software can be characterized as a burglary tool.

Illegal possession?

Interestingly, the filmmakers also note that many of the defendants have received warnings from Rightscorp, the anti-piracy company which launched a “Popcorn Time protection” service earlier this month.

Despite the illegality claims, the developers of the targeted fork of Popcorn Time maintain that their software doesn’t break any laws but admit that their users are at risk.

“Popcorn Time isn’t illegal. However, the use people make of the application can be illegal, depending on their country and local laws,” they previously informed TF.

“You’d think with all our warnings, the anti-piracy laws, the explanations given in the media and the common sense, users would be aware of their actions by now. Pinning a ‘Popcorn Time’ label over such a lawsuit seems a little inflated,” they added.

The Popcorn Time team has a point. In this lawsuit Popcorn Time could be replaced with any other file-sharing application that uses BitTorrent to pirate films, they all allow users to share from the same sources.

That said, Popcorn Time’s focus on pirated video does make it rather easy to do so, and significantly different from more neutral file-sharing applications that do not actively organize and select content.

In general, the Dallas Buyers Club complaint itself follows the same format as the previous Popcorn Time lawsuits and given the recent attention we can expect more of these to follow in the near future.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay: What Raid? Police Never Got Our Servers

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

pirate bayDecember last year The Pirate Bay went dark after police raided the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof datacenter built into a mountain complex.

Around the same time one of Pirate Bay’s moderators was arrested, fueling the idea that the site had been seriously compromised.

The events resulted in the longest ever period of downtime for the site, nearly two months, and led to a revolt among the site’s moderators.

While it was generally believed that Pirate Bay needed time to recover the site from various backups, TorrentFreak can now reveal that this was not the case. In fact, Pirate Bay’s servers were never raided by the police.

The police did raid the Nacka datacenter but instead of Pirate Bay’s servers they raided those of EZTV. Sladinki007 of the former EZTV team confirmed that their hardware was indeed taken, but the Pirate Bay team says they were barely hit.

Only one Pirate Bay related server was confiscated last December, which was hosted at a different location. This ( was operated by the moderators and used as a communication channel for TPB matters.

The Pirate Bay team believes that it may not have been the prime target of last year’s raid, and if they were, then the police followed the wrong lead. Pirate Bay’s servers were and are hosted in the cloud, outside of Sweden.

But if TPB wasn’t raided, why did it have to go offline?

According to the TPB team they decided to pull everything offline as a precaution. It was unclear how much information was held on the crew server and if there was a breach of trust after one of the moderators was arrested.

The TPB team feared that the locations of the servers could have been compromised as well and prepared to move everything over to new cloud hosting providers.

Relocating the site proved to be harder than initially anticipated though. In fact, technical challenges were one of the main reasons for the long downtime. All the data was there, it just had to be setup correctly. So, at the same time the team decided to revise the backend code to better handle the new cloud environment.

The lack of data loss already became apparent when the site returned online in February, as all recent torrents and comments were still there.

TF also asked about the cryptic messages TPB communicated during the downtime, and we were informed that they were put there “for fun.” The messages were not a way to communicate with people, but simply a link to a Arnold Schwarzenegger “i’ll be back” montage video on YouTube.

In addition to The Pirate Bay, several related sites including Bayimg, Bayfiles and Pastebay also went dark. These sites are still offline today and we are informed that this is an issue of ‘resources’ and ‘priorities,’ not because any data is missing.

So why reveal all this now?

The TPB team says it waited this long to make sure that they were not compromised in any way. This was also the main reason why the site’s moderators were left in the dark for such a long time and why the Suprbay forums remained offline.

Since more than nine months have now passed, it’s finally time to reveal what really happened. Police may still believe that they have the encrypted Pirate Bay servers, but according to the people behind the site they have nothing substantial.

Given today’s revelations it’s unlikely that the raid will help police to mount a new case against The Pirate Bay, as they were planning. Time will tell whether the authorities will try to hit the site again.

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 – 09/21/15

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

avengThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Avengers: Age of Ultron 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
1 (1) Avengers: Age of Ultron 7.8 / trailer
2 (2) Minions (HDRip) 6.7 / trailer
3 (5) Mad Max: Fury Road 8.4 / trailer
4 (…) Vacation (Subbed HDRip) 6.3 / trailer
5 (…) Pay The Ghost (HDRip) 5.5 / trailer
6 (3) Entourage 7.0 / trailer
7 (4) Fantastic Four (Subbed HDrip) 4.0 / trailer
8 (7) Straight Outta Compton (Subbed HDRip) 8.3 / trailer
9 (6) Self/less 6.5 / trailer
10 (…) Tomorrowland (HDRip) 6.6 / trailer

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

TorrentFreak: Copyright Scares University Researchers From Sharing Their Findings

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

copyright-brandedA few weeks ago I spotted the abstract of an article that had just been published in an academic journal.

The article was relevant to the topics we cover here at TorrentFreak, but unfortunately it was hidden behind a paywall, like most scientific articles are.

To bypass this hurdle I usually ask the author for a review copy. Not to publish it online, but to get a better picture of the findings and perhaps cover them in a news piece.

In this case the author in question was kind enough to respond, although not with a copy of the paper. Instead, he encouraged me to contact the publisher noting that they now control the rights.

“We no longer own the copyright of our work,” the author wrote back.

This certainly wasn’t the first time that a researcher has shown reluctance to share work, so I didn’t complain and gave the publisher a call. The publisher, one of the largest in the world, then informed me that the person responsible for these matters was not available.

A bit frustrated, I decided to reach out to the author of the article again. Instead of requesting a copy of the paper I sent over a few questions regarding the methodology and results of the study, which would be enough to begin a piece.

But, instead of commenting on the findings the author asked if the publisher had given permission to discuss the matter, fearing that it would otherwise lead to “trouble.”

Baffled by what had happened I lost all interest in writing an article and decided to move on to something else.

While the above is an extreme example, it does signal a problem that many scientists face. They are literally scared they’ll get into trouble if they share their own papers with the rest of the world.

The author above was a junior researcher with little experience, but even established researchers encounter similar problems. For example, we previously reported that the American Society of Civil Engineers cracked down on researchers who posted their articles on their personal websites.

So where is this coming from?

Well, in order to get published in subscription based journals researchers have to sign away their copyrights. A typical “copyright transfer” agreement (pdf) prohibits them from sharing the final article in public, even on their own websites.


Accepted articles are separately sold for dozens of dollars per piece, so if the researchers shared these for free the publishers could lose income. It’s a commercial decision.

That said, most publishers do allow authors to talk about their work, so the author in our example had no real reason to be worried. Similarly, it’s often permitted to share pre-print copies in public without restrictions.

Still, the reluctance among researchers and the restrictions they face are not helping knowledge to spread, which is a key goal of science.

So why aren’t a few bright minds starting a non-profit publishing outlet then?

Well, these already exist and there are several initiatives to promote “open access” publications, where everyone can read the articles freely. However, in many research fields the most prominent (high impact) journals are controlled by commercial publishers and placed behind paywalls.

Journals get a high impact rating if they publish a lot of frequently cited articles so it’s hard for new ones to gain ground.

And since researchers are often evaluated based on the impact factor of the journals they publish in, “open access” doesn’t appeal to a wide audience yet. In a way, science is trapped in a copyright stranglehold controlled by a few large publishers.

It’s an absurd situation in which universities pay researchers to write articles, the copyrights to which are signed over to publishers. Those publishers then demand a licensing fee from the same universities to access the articles written by their own employees.

Please read the paragraph above once more, and keep in mind that some researchers are actually scared to share their work…

Meanwhile, Elsevier enjoys a net income of more than $1 billion per year, while suing websites that dare to infringe on the copyrights that researchers are ‘forced’ sign over.

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

TorrentFreak: Spammers Flood Google With Fake Takedown Notices

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

spam1Every day copyright holders report millions of infringing links to Google.

Nearly all of these requests are automated and involve little oversight. This leads to the occasional mistake but some bogus takedown notices are sent on purpose.

It appears that spammers have discovered Google’s takedown forms and found a way to submit their own fake notices.

While browsing through the Chilling Effects archive of Google’s DMCA notices we spotted some unusual entries. Instead of trying to remove pages from the Internet, spammers are using Google’s takedown forms to promote their counterfeit software, clothing and other merchandise.

Their goal is not to take anything down but to generate links to their own websites. Below is an example of a typical “comment spam” takedown request of which tens of thousands can be found online.


Besides bodypart “enlargements” there are plugs for medicine, sports jerseys, designer clothing, handbags, sunglasses and even counterfeit copies of Microsoft products.

The spammers target a wide range of Google services including Search, Blogger and Picasa. While Google tends to ignore them, copies of the requests are available in the Chilling Effects archive and through Google’s Transparency Report.

While somewhat of a nuisance, it’s doubtful that the takedown notices will be very effective in driving traffic. Most URLs are not linked and the Chilling Effect site itself is not indexed by Google at all.

Still, the spam overload is not making Google’s job any easier.

The company already invests significant resources in checking the millions of legitimate DMCA requests, and dealing with a spam flood only adds to this already troubling task.

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

TorrentFreak: uTorrent Turns 10 Years Old Today

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

utorrent-logo-newuTorrent was first released to the public on September 18, 2005 and the torrent client has come a long way since.

What began as a minimalist and no-nonsense client, targeted at an already BitTorrent-savvy crowd, is now an application that’s become mainstream.

Over the years uTorrent’s target audience has also changed. BitTorrent was still a geek thing ten years ago but today its audience includes soccer moms, grandparents and many others who are not generally classified as computer experts.

How it started

The groundwork for uTorrent, where the μ stands for micro, was laid out in 2004. At the time most BitTorrent clients were resource hogs or bloatware, while computer memory was relatively limited.

Swedish developer Ludvig Strigeus wanted to counter this trend. Inspired by a friend he took up the task of building a simple but powerful client with the main purpose of downloading torrents.

At the end of 2014 Strigeus started coding the application in his spare time, but after a month development stalled. He eventually picked up the project in September 2015 and three days later the first version was released to the public.

In a matter of days the news spread among Windows-bound BitTorrent users worldwide. For many people uTorrent was a breath of fresh air, due to its simplicity and the minimal use of computer resources.

Fast forward a few months and hundreds of thousands of people had switched to the newcomer.


Most progress in terms of features was made in the first year. Strigeus implemented several key changes which are a core part of the BitTorrent ecosystem today. October 2015

It was among the first clients to implement DHT support, for example, as well as BitTorrent encryption.

Ashwin Navin, who was the CEO of BitTorrent at the time, praised uTorrent for its innovations early 2006. Navin said that he and his colleagues were big fans of Strigeus’ work which soon after introduced the next step in the software’s history.

The Takeover

December 2006, little over a year after the first release, uTorrent was acquired by BitTorrent Inc. The San Francisco based company of BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen had just secured millions in funding and with uTorrent it hoped to expand its userbase.

“Bringing together uTorrent’s efficient implementation and compelling UI with BitTorrent’s expertise in networking protocols will significantly benefit the community with what we envision will be the best BitTorrent client,” the two companies announced.

uTorrent’s founder, Ludvig Strigeus, cut his ties with the application soon after and went on to develop another piece of P2P-powered software, Spotify.

The takeover increased uTorrent’s development capacity but not all users were happy. Some feared that the client would become bloatware and others were wary of BitTorrent’s “deal” with the MPAA.

The vast majority of the people were satisfied though and the number of users grew exponentially.

In the years that followed uTorrent implemented several key improvements including the uTP protocol. In addition, the company also released long-awaited support for Mac and Linux operating systems.

By 2007 uTorrent had a larger userbase than any other BitTorrent client, and twice as many as the runner-up. And this trend continued. A year later uTorrent passed the milestone of 25 million active users and the year after more than half of all BitTorrent users had it marked as their favorite client.


Like all other commercial torrent clients uTorrent needed a business model. For many years the company has made the bulk of its revenue from bundled software such as toolbars. This software is presented as an option during the install process, which can be tricky to spot for some.

The “extra” software sometimes caused controversy. For example, earlier this year many users complained that uTorrent had silently installed a Bitcoin miner. Soon after the news broke, the company decided to no longer include this offer.

Another revenue stream comes from embedded advertisements. When these were first announced there was a lot of pushback from users, but these complaints slowly faded, in part because the advertisements became optional.

How much money the ads generate is unknown, but with billions of displays per year it must be a sizable amount.

uTorrent ads

Very tiny?

Those who compare uTorrent’s appearance will see that the basic layout hasn’t changed that much. However, in terms of functionality and features it’s an entirely different beast.

The downside of these improvements is that the application is no longer as minimal as it used to be.

The installer has also grown in size quite a bit. While it’s still advertised as a “(very) tiny” application the installer is now close to 2MB, instead of the 97kb it used to be back in 2005.

uTorrent version 1.1

Remarkably, however, the memory footprint is still very small. The first version of uTorrent consumed roughly 4MB memory, and today that’s roughly 12MB depending on the setup, which is low compared to most alternatives.

Going forward

Regular visitors and beta testers of uTorrent have noticed that the application’s development has stalled a bit, compared to the early years. However, new fixes and changes are still being released on a monthly basis.

One of the most prominent developments comes in the form of a new monetization strategy uTorrent will be testing during the months to come. Instead of bundled software uTorrent may switch to a new revenue model where it will ask users for money.

Looking back it’s safe to conclude that uTorrent led the way in many aspects, and it’s still a leader today. Alternative clients have a relatively small userbase compared to the client and despite a small group of vocal protesters who resist change, there are no signs of a mass exodus.

It’s safe to say that ten years ago nobody could have predicted that uTorrent would be installed over a billion times, with roughly 150 million active users a month today. As such, congratulations is certainly in order.

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

TorrentFreak: BitTorrent Traffic Share Drops to New Low

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

download-keyboardOver the years we have been following various reports on Internet traffic changes, specifically in relation to BitTorrent.

Five years ago file-sharing dominated Internet traffic across the globe, but this pattern has slowly started to reverse.

Online entertainment services such as YouTube and Netflix have already taken away a large chunk of BitTorrent’s “market share” in North America and the trend is carrying over to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

The latest report from network management company Sandvine reveals that torrent traffic is now responsible for ‘only’ 8.44% of all Internet traffic in Europe during peak hours, compared to 17.99% two years ago.

Top 10 Peak Period Applications (Europe, Fixed Access)

This doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s less torrent traffic, as overall bandwidth use may have doubled in the same period as well. However, other online entertainment services are gaining ground during peak hours.

With 21% YouTube currently accounts for most traffic and Netflix is also on the rise, even though it’s only available in a few countries. In the UK and Ireland Netflix is already good for 10% of peak downstream traffic.

The same pattern is observed in the Asia-Pacific region although BitTorrent still tops all other services there.

Top 10 Peak Period Applications (Asia-Pacific, Fixed Access)

At a quarter of all downstream traffic during peak hours, BitTorrent’s traffic share is down a few percentage points compared to last year. YouTube is currently in second place there with little over 20% of the total traffic share.

Since the recent dip in BitTorrent’s traffic share is relatively limited, it’s hard to tell whether the absolute bandwidth transferred by file-sharers has also declined in this region.

Time will tell whether the downward trends will continue in the months to come, and how the global differences in BitTorrent usage will develop.

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

TorrentFreak: ISPs Agree to Block The Pirate Bay in Iceland

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

icelandflagAs the arch-rival of many copyright groups, The Pirate Bay has become one of the most censored websites on the Internet in recent years.

Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site and the list continues to expand.

This week Icelandic ISPs reached an agreement with local entertainment industry representatives to prevent subscribers from accessing the notorious torrent site.

In addition to The Pirate Bay, the Internet providers also promised to block, Iceland’s most popular private torrent tracker.

The agreement follows a court decision from last fall when the Reykjavík District Court handed down an injunction to ISPs Vodafone and Hringdu, forcing them to block the two sites.

Iceland’s local equivalent of the RIAA (STEF) wasn’t satisfied with the limited scope of the order and wanted other providers to follow suit. The group set an ultimatum threatening legal action last year, but the parties eventually decided to settle the matter out of court.

The decision to block access to The Pirate Bay does not come without protest. The local Pirate Party, which is the most popular party with a third of all ‘votes’ in recent polls, describes it as censorship.

“We are of course against this, especially because of the circumstances,” Ásta Helgadóttir, Member of Parliament for the Icelandic Pirate Party, informs TF.

The Pirate Party views a private censorship agreement between ISPs and copyright holders as a worrying development, and warns that the judicial system should not be bypassed.

“The blocking itself is currently nothing other than an inconvenience which is quite easy to circumvent with some googling or setting up a VPN. What’s more serious is the way the rightsholders could bypass the judicial authority to get their censorship measures through with the ISPs,” Ásta tells TF.

Instead of asking for pointless DNS blockades copyright holders should focus on negotiating better contracts with the artists they are supposed to represent.

“The real problem is the poor negotiation status of the individual artist when it comes to signing contracts. That is the real problem, not private sharing of culture,” Ásta says.

According to local reports the Internet providers have agreed to block The Pirate Bay’s main domain names and any new ones that subsequently arise. However, for now, many of the well known proxy sites are still available.

Recent history has shown that people who want to access blocked sites can always find a way. Circumvention tools such as TOR, VPN services or the specialized Piratebrowser are readily available and growing in popularity as blocking efforts expand.

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

TorrentFreak: Science “Pirate” Attacks Elsevier’s Copyright Monopoly in Court

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

200px-Elsevier.svg“Information wants to be free” is a commonly used phrase in copyright debates. While it may not apply universally, in the academic world it’s certainly relevant.

Information and knowledge are the cornerstones of science. Yet, most top research is locked up behind expensive paywalls.

As with most digital content, however, there are specialized sites that offer free and unauthorized access. In the academic world the Library Genesis and projects are two of the main ‘pirate’ outlets, and their presence hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Earlier this year publishing company Elsevier filed a complaint at a New York District Court, hoping to shut down the two portals. According to the publisher the sites willingly offer millions of pirated scientific articles.

The court has yet to decide on Elsevier’s request for an injunction and allowed the operators time to respond. This week, Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan submitted her first response.

While Elbakyan’s letter doesn’t address the legality of her website she does place the case in a wider context, explaining how the site came to be.

“When I was a student in Kazakhstan university, I did not have access to any research papers. Papers I needed for my research project,” Elbakyan writes (pdf), explaining that it was impossible as a student to pay for access.

“Payment of 32 dollars is just insane when you need to skim or read tens or hundreds of these papers to do research. I obtained these papers by pirating them,” she adds.

As explained in an earlier interview with TF, Elbakyan then decided to help other researchers to obtain research articles, which eventually grew to become a library of millions of works.

Elbakyan continues her letter by informing the court that unlike in other industries, the authors of these papers don’t get paid. Elsevier requires researchers to sign the copyright over to the company and collects money from their work through licensing and direct sales.

“All papers on their website are written by researchers, and researchers do not receive money from what Elsevier collects. That is very different from the music or movie industry, where creators receive money from each copy sold,” she notes.

Researchers often have no other option than to agree because a career in academia often depends on publications in top journals, many of which are owned by Elsevier.

“They feel pressured to do this, because Elsevier is an owner of so-called ‘high-impact’ journals. If a researcher wants to be recognized, make a career – he or she needs to have publications in such journals,” Elbakyan writes.

Sci-Hub’s operator notes that she’s not alone in her opinion, pointing to several top researchers who have also criticized the model. Most prominently, in 2012 more than 15,000 researchers demanded that Elsevier change its business practices.

Adding another illustration, Elbakyan notes that she never received any complaints from the academic community, except from Elsevier.

While many researchers will agree with Sci-Hub’s operator, the case seems almost impossible to win. Elbakyan pretty much admits to breaking the law and the court has little room to ignore that.

Elsevier hopes the court will soon issue the preliminary injunction so the domain names can be seized. The publisher disagrees with Elbakyan’s comments and notes that it participates in several initiatives to provide free and cheap access to researchers in low-income countries.

If the court sides with Elsevier, Library Genesis and Sci-Hub will likely lose access to their U.S. controlled domain names. However, taking the sites offline will prove to be more difficult as their servers and operator are not in the United States.

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