Posts tagged ‘mpaa’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

favorite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TorrentFreak: Piracy Concerns May Soon Kill Domain Name Privacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

popgoogletop

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

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

popcsuggest

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

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

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA: Google Assists and Profits from Piracy

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

google-bayLate last year leaked documents from the Sony hack revealed that the MPAA helped Mississippi State Attorney General Hood to revive SOPA-esque censorship efforts in the United States.

In a retaliatory move Google sued the Attorney General, hoping to find out more about the secret effort. As part of these proceedings Google also demanded internal communication from the MPAA, but the Hollywood group has been hesitant to share these details.

After several subpoenas remained largely unanswered Google took the MPAA to court earlier this month. The search giant asked a Columbia federal court to ensure that the MPAA and its law firm Jenner & Block hands over the requested documents.

The MPAA and its law firm responded to the complaint this week, stressing that Google’s demands are overbroad. They reject the argument that internal discussions or communications with its members and law firm will reveal Attorney General Hood’s intent, not least due to the Attorney General not being part of these conversations himself.

According to the Hollywood group, Google’s broad demands are part of a public relations war against the MPAA, one in which Google inaccurately positions itself as the victim.

“Google portrays itself as the innocent victim of malicious efforts to abridge its First Amendment rights. In reality, Google is far from innocent,” the MPAA informs the federal court (pdf).

The MPAA notes that Google is knowingly facilitating and profiting from distributing “illegal” content, including pirated material.

“Google facilitates, and profits from, the distribution of third-party content that even Google concedes is ‘objectionable.’ ‘Objectionable’ is Google’s euphemism for ‘illegal’,” the MPAA writes.

The opposition brief states that for a variety of reasons the subpoenaed documents are irrelevant to the original lawsuit and are far too broad in scope. The MPAA’s initial searches revealed that 100,000 documents would likely require review, many of which it believes are protected by attorney-client privilege.

The MPAA says that Google is trying to leverage the information revealed in the Sony hack to expose the MPAA’s broader anti-piracy strategies in public, and that this is all part of an ongoing PR war.

“The purpose of these Subpoenas is to gather information — beyond the information that was already stolen via the Sony hack on which it relies — on the MPAA’s strategies to protect its members’ copyrighted material and address violations of law on the Internet affecting its members’ copyrights and the rights of others,” they write.

“Moreover, Google openly admits that it opposes any order to keep these discovery materials in confidence, revealing its goal to disseminate these documents publicly as part of its ongoing public relations war.”

Positioning itself as the victim, the MPAA goes on to slam Google for going after anyone who “dares” to expose the search engine’s alleged facilitation of piracy and other unlawful acts.

“…the most fundamental purpose of these Subpoenas is to send a message to anyone who dares to seek government redress for Google’s facilitation of unlawful conduct: If you and your attorneys exercise their First Amendment right to seek redress from a government official, Google will come after you.”

In conclusion, the MPAA and its law firm ask the court to reject Google’s broad demands and stop the “abuse” of the litigation process.

It’s now up to the judge to decide how to proceed, but based on the language used, the stakes at hand and the parties involved, this dispute isn’t going to blow over anytime soon. It’s more likely to blow up instead.

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

TorrentFreak: ICANN Refuses to Play Piracy Police

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

cassetteIn recent years copyright holders have demanded stricter anti-piracy measures from ISPs, search engines and payment processors, with varying results.

Continuing this trend, various entertainment industry groups are now going after organizations that manage and offer domain name services.

The most influential organization in this industry is without a doubt ICANN, the main oversight body for the Internet’s global domain name system.

Among other things, ICANN develops policies for accredited registrars to prevent abuse and illegal use of domain names. Still, various copyright groups believe that the organization isn’t doing enough.

In recent months the RIAA, MPAA and other copyright industry groups have encouraged the organization to strengthen its anti-piracy policies.

However, ICANN is not eager to take on the role of piracy police. Earlier this week ICANN president Fadi Chehadé noted that “everybody” is asking the organization to police content, which is a trend they hope to change.

Speaking out on the issue for the first time, ICANN’s Chief Contract Compliance Officer Allen Grogan emphasizes that they are not going to police the Internet to protect copyright holders.

“ICANN has no role in policing content – it’s entirely out of our scope,” Grogan informs TF.

“Our mission is to coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, and in particular, to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifiers,” he adds.

While various copyright lobby groups suggest that ICANN has the ability and authority to take action against pirate sites, the organization itself clearly disagrees.

“ICANN was never granted, nor was it ever intended that ICANN be granted, the authority to act as a regulator of Internet content,” Grogan says.

Instead of letting the domain name industry decide what is allowed and what is not, copyright holders should fight their battles in court. According to ICANN, there are sufficient means to take on infringing sites through other venues.

“It’s important people understand this and direct their content complaints to the institutions that are already in place to handle these issues, such as law enforcement, regulatory agencies and judicial systems,” Grogan notes.

ICANN’s comments will be a disappointment to the MPAA and RIAA, who would have preferred an easy way to target the domain names of pirate sites. For now, their best option is to go through the courts, something we’re seeing more and more often these days.

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

TorrentFreak: SurfTheChannel Admin Facing Jail Again Over Unpaid Piracy Debt

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

Three years after its birth in 2007, SurfTheChannel.com was among the most-visited streaming link websites on the Internet. The site enjoyed more than six million visits a day from 400,000 users who were mainly looking for the latest movies and the most popular TV shows.

The site soon became the focus of an MPAA investigation carried out by the UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft. As previously documented the anti-piracy groups went to extraordinary lengths to pin down site operator Anton Vickerman and present their evidence to the police.

After the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service declined to take on the case, the MPAA and FACT brought a private criminal prosecution against Vickerman. Accusing him of being involved in a Conspiracy to Defraud the Movie Industry, the tactic paid off. In August 2012 Vickerman was sentenced to an unprecedented four years in jail.

surfthechannel

Following an unsuccessful appeal that was rejected a year after his conviction, Vickerman was eventually freed in August 2014. But for the MPAA the matter was from over.

Just months later in December 2014, Vickerman was called before the courts again under the UK’s Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). It was argued that the money Vickerman made from the site was a proceed of crime and whatever hadn’t already been disposed of must be forfeited to the state – if any could be found.

While Vickerman insisted that all of the money was long gone, police financial investigators said the former site operator had placed money not only in the UK, but also other countries including Spain, Latvia, Cyprus and Tanzania.

“Vickerman moved the money he made out of the UK and into accounts around the globe, but working closely with FACT we were able to unravel his trail of bank transfers running across international borders and demonstrate to the court that six years on this convicted criminal still had access to assets worth over £73,000,” said Claudia Celentano from the City of London Police Asset Recovery Team.

Following a court ruling last December which ordered Vickerman to pay back £73,055.79, the clock has been ticking for the former site operator. He now has little over a week to repay the full amount or face being thrown back into jail for a further 21 months.

Surf the Channel’s Anton Vickermanvickerman-lg

In desperation, Vickerman’s family and friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to try and raise the money.

“As anyone who knows [Anton] personally will tell you he is a man who has been financially ruined by the legal battle with the powers against him and is not a man who has any money. Currently he lives on a council estate in the North West of England with his fiance working multiple jobs to try and put food on the table,” the appeal reads.

“This means that on June 16 [Anton] will be sent back to prison for another ten and a half months which, when added together with his first unjust sentence brings the total to a six year prison sentence [Anton] will have served for the victimless ‘crime’ of owning and running a search engine.”

If Vickerman can’t raise the money by next Tuesday, he will be sent to prison. However, that still won’t be the end of the matter. The 21 month sentence (with half deducted for good behavior) will not cancel out the requirement to settle the debt.

“The debt is for life and survives bankruptcy, it never goes away,” his family explain.

“On release [Anton] can look forward to being regularly dragged back before the courts to explain why he hasn’t paid in full, attachment of all earnings he makes, regular visits from bailiffs to seize any goods (not that he has any now having sold everything he could to pay some of the POCA debt) and, finally, further prison sentences if the UK Government decides that the interest on the debt has risen to a level that justifies more prison time.”

FACT declined to comment for this article but Director General Kieron Sharp previously thanked police for their assistance in the confiscation proceedings.

“FACT would like to thank the City of London Police for their assistance in pursuing confiscation proceedings against Anton Vickerman,” Sharp said.

“This private criminal prosecution produced many difficulties, not least of which was how to uncover Vickerman’s hidden criminal assets without the authorized powers of a financial investigator.”​​​​

Whether raising such a large sum of money in a week is a realistic proposition remains to be seen, but if Vickerman is to get any closure the debt (which is subject to interest at 8% per annum) simply has to be cleared. He’s managed to reduce it by £6,000 by “selling anything he owns of value” but that still leaves £67,000.

“Help us stop this never ending persecution of a man who just wants the chance to rebuild his life and start afresh,” his family concludes.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Block Doesn’t Boost Sales, Research Shows

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

pirate bayThe Pirate Bay is the most censored website on the Internet. Countries all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site, with Russia being the latest addition.

The idea behind these blockades is that they will help to decrease online piracy. However, a new study published by Carnegie Mellon University and Wellesley College researchers, suggests that blocking one site isn’t very effective.

The researchers used data collected by an anonymous Internet consumer panel tracking company to compare the browsing habits of UK citizens, both before and after The Pirate Bay was blocked by major ISPs in 2012.

After comparing the results to a control group and ruling out various other variables, the researchers conclude that there is no significant effect on legal consumption.

Instead, Pirate Bay users chose to circumvent the measures by using VPNs, proxies, or switching to other pirate sites.

“Our results show that blocking The Pirate Bay had little impact on consumption through legal channels — instead, consumers seemed to turn to other piracy sites, Pirate Bay ‘mirror’ sites, or Virtual Private Networks that allowed them to circumvent the block.”

While the above findings support the many opponents of website blocking, it’s only part of the story. The researchers also analysed data after a subsequent blockade that covered more than a dozen large pirate sites at once.

The results here were quite different, with a significant uptick in the number of visits (of ‘pirates’) to legal movie services such as Netflix.

“…blocking 19 different major piracy sites caused users of those sites to increase their usage of paid legal streaming sites such as Netflix by 12% on average,” the researchers write.

This effect was most pronounced for people who used the pirate sites most frequently. According to the researchers this makes sense as they were most affected by the blockade.

“The lightest users of the blocked sites increased their clicks on paid streaming sites by 3.5% while the heaviest users of the blocked sites increased their paid streaming clicks by 23.6%, strengthening the causal interpretation of the results.”

Overall the results show that blocking The Pirate Bay in isolation is futile. For website blockades to have a serious impact they should be directed at a broad selection of pirate sites, making it harder for people to find illegal alternatives.

“Our results suggest that website blocking requires persistent blocking of a number of piracy sites in order to effectively migrate pirates to legal channels,” the researchers note.

Perhaps just as importantly, the researchers add that copyright holders should also make legal content more attractive in order to convert pirates into paying customers.

It has to be noted that the research was carried out as part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics (IDEA), which received a generous donation from the MPAA. However, the researchers suggest that their work is carried out independently.

The results may not help efforts to demand isolated Pirate Bay blockades, which is common in most countries. However, they can be used as ammunition to demand wider website blockades, which is arguably even better from a copyright holder perspective.

Effective?
FCT ty

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

TorrentFreak: Google Takes MPAA to Court Over Secret Censorship Plans

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

googlepopHelped by the MPAA, Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood launched a secret campaign to revive SOPA-like censorship efforts in the United States.

The MPAA and Hood want Internet services to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial law failed to pass.

In response to the looming threat Google filed a complaint against Hood last December, asking the court to prevent Hood from enforcing a subpoena that addresses Google’s failure to take down or block access to illegal content, including pirate sites.

This resulted in a victory for Google with District Court Judge Henry Wingate putting the subpoena on hold. At the same time Google requested additional details from the Attorney General and various other parties involved in the scheme, including the MPAA.

Thus far, however, these requests haven’t proven fruitful. In a motion to compel directed at the MPAA (pdf), Google explains that the movie industry group and other petitioned parties have yet to hand over the requested information.

“To date, the subpoenaed parties have produced nothing,” Google’s lawyers inform the court.

“They have inexplicably delayed producing the few documents they agreed to turn over, and have objected that many of their documents, including internal notes or summaries of meetings with AG Hood, are irrelevant or protected by some unsubstantiated privilege.”

In addition to the MPAA, Google has also filed similar motions against the MPAA’s law firm Jenner & Block, Digital Citizens Alliance, 21st Century Fox, NBC Universal and Viacom.

All parties thus far have refused to hand over the requested information, which includes communication with and prepared for the Attorney General, as well as emails referencing Google.

According to the MPAA this information is “irrelevant” or privileged, but Google disagrees.

“The relevance objections are meritless. As Judge Wingate has already held, there is substantial evidence that the Attorney General’s actions against Google were undertaken in bad faith and for a retaliatory purpose,” the motion reads.

According to Google’s legal team the documents will shine a light on how the MPAA and others encouraged and helped the Attorney General to push for Internet censorship.

“Google expects the documents will show that the Attorney General, the Subpoenaed Parties, and their lobbyists understood that his actions invaded the exclusive province of federal law,” the motion reads.

“More fundamentally, the documents are likely to show that the Attorney General’s investigation was intended not to uncover supposed violations of Mississippi law, but instead to coerce Google into silencing speech that Viacom, Fox, and NBC do not like…”

District Court Judge James Boasberg has referred the case to a magistrate judge (pdf), who will discuss the matter in an upcoming hearing. Considering the stakes at hand, the players involved will leave no resource untapped to defend their positions.

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

TorrentFreak: Kim Dotcom Thwarts Huge U.S. Government Asset Grab

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

In the long-running case of the U.S. Government versus Kim Dotcom, almost every court decision achieved by one side is contested by the other. A big victory for the U.S. back in March 2015 is no exception.

After claiming that assets seized during the 2012 raid on Megaupload were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes, last July the U.S. government asked the court to forfeit bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions connected to the site’s operators.

Dotcom and his co-defendants protested, but the Government deemed them fugitives and therefore disentitled to seek relief from the court. As a result District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ordered a default judgment in favor of the U.S. Government against assets worth an estimated $67m.

Following a subsequent request from the U.S., New Zealand’s Commissioner of Police moved to have the U.S. forfeiture orders registered locally, meaning that the seized property would become the property of the Crown. Authorization from the Deputy Solicitor-General was granted April 9, 2015 and an application for registration was made shortly after.

In response, Kim Dotcom and co-defendant Bram Van der Kolk requested a judicial review of the decision and sought interim orders that would prevent the Commissioner from progressing the registration application, pending a review. The Commissioner responded with an application to stop the judicial review.

In a lengthy decision handed down this morning, Justice Ellis denied the application of the Commissioner while handing a significant interim victory to Kim Dotcom.

Noting that the “fugitive disentitlement” doctrine forms no part of New Zealand common law, Justice Ellis highlighted the predicament faced by those seeking to defend themselves while under its constraints.

“The application of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine to a person who is exercising a bi-laterally recognized right to defend an eligibility hearing, with the result that he is deprived of the financial means to mount that defense, is to put that person on the horns of a most uncomfortable and (the plaintiffs would say) unconstitutional dilemma,” Justice Ellis writes.

Recognizing that Dotcom and Van der Kolk have a “substantial position to preserve”, Justice Ellis says there would be “very real consequences” if they were unable to do so.

“If the provisional view I have formed about the unavailability of post-registration relief is correct, authorizing the registration application to proceed now might deprive the plaintiffs of any ability to defend the extradition or to pursue their appeals against the forfeiture order in the United States,” Justice Ellis said.

“I have little hesitation in concluding that interim relief should therefore be granted.”

The New Zealand Commissioner of Police is now barred from taking further action to register the U.S. forfeiture orders until the court indicates otherwise.

Kim Dotcom informs TorrentFreak that his New Zealand legal team are “relieved” by the decision and can’t wait to “get back to work and beat this bogus extradition case.”

Elsewhere, the battle continues. Dotcom says that the decisions handed down in New Zealand will be presented in Hong Kong in an attempt to get more assets unfrozen there. Over in the U.S. there is also much work to be done.

“Our US lawyers are still bound by the US forfeiture judgment and won’t be allowed to accept funds from my unfrozen assets without a significant risk to them, unless the US government allows that, which is unlikely. But we have appealed the US Forfeiture judgment in the US and the team is optimistic that we will prevail,” he notes.

Megaupload’s U.S.-based lawyer Ira Rothken joined Dotcom in welcoming today’s ruling.

“We are grateful that the NZ court ruled in favor of fairness, natural justice, and due process today by stopping US efforts to take Kim Dotcom’s NZ assets for doing nothing more than opposing extradition to the US – a country he has never been to,” Rothken said.

In closing, a fiery Dotcom reiterated his intention to keep battling.

“The big fights are yet to come and I can’t wait to expose the US government and Hollywood for the most unlawful and corrupt law enforcement action ever taken against an Internet service provider. US attorney Jay Prabhu, the DOJ clown who lost control of the Megaupload domain recently, will only find a job at the MPAA after we are done with him,” Dotcom concludes.

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

TorrentFreak: Hollywood: Piracy Poses A Great Cybersecurity Threat

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

piratefishThe major movie studios have been fighting piracy for decades, claiming that billions of dollars in losses are at stake.

Increasingly, however, Hollywood has started to bring piracy onto the political agenda by describing it as a broader cybersecurity threat.

Late last week the MPAA submitted its latest call to action, responding to a Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) request to identify cybersecurity threats.

In their comments the MPAA stresses that the Internet has proven to be a tremendous tool for creativity and commerce, but that there’s also a downside.

“Unfortunately, criminal enterprises are also using the Internet to hack into networks and computers for the purpose of stealing valuable data-whether personally identifiable information, trade secrets, or content,” the MPAA writes.

Citing an entertainment industry backed report, the Hollywood studios note that pirate sites are using infringing content as bait for various sorts of scams.

“They are also using Internet ads, as well as pirated content and software or other ‘bait,’ to fund their efforts and lure Internet users into revealing sensitive information, inadvertently download malware, or unknowingly becoming a node in a botnet,” MPAA adds.

To help tackle the issue, the movie studios are hoping for “voluntary” cooperation from various stakeholders including Internet providers, search engines, payment processors, advertising networks and the domain name industry.

As an example, the MPAA notes that search engines should promote legitimate sites in their search results, while removing or pushing down pirated content.

The Government can also help these efforts by encouraging cooperation between the various stakeholders, as it did with the Copyright Alert System.

The music industry agrees with Hollywood on most of these issues. In a separate set of comments the RIAA also stresses the importance of tackling the piracy problem in order to keep the public safe.

“…rogue operators use the offer of infringing versions of our members’ sound recordings and music videos as the ‘candy’ to attract users that are necessary for them to create and exploit cyber vulnerabilities,” RIAA writes.

“In light of this, any discussion addressing malvertising or trusted downloads should also address some of the roots of these problems.”

In other words, both the RIAA and MPAA suggest that if the Government wants to increase cybersecurity, it has to help fight piracy.

The question is, however, whether the movie studios and music labels are honestly concerned about people being infected by malware, or if they are simply using the angle to get piracy on the political agenda through the backdoor.

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

TorrentFreak: Police Shut Down Yet More ‘Pirate’ Sites in Ongoing Sweep

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

moviesWith web-blockades, domain seizures and payment processor interventions making headlines, campaigns to shut down individual sites have been less prominent than usual in the first half of 2015. But that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped.

Just last week the popular BT-Chat was shut down in Canada following pressure from the MPAA and news from Europe suggests that at least two more sites have fallen in recent days following industry action.

After a long investigation, police in Poland report that authorities swooped last week on individuals said to be part of a “criminal group” involved with the unauthorized distribution of video online, movies in particular. In an operation carried out by municipal police and officers from a regional cybercrime unit, several locations were searched including homes, offices and cars.

Three men aged between 24 and 33 years-old were arrested in Wroclaw, the largest city in western Poland. According to police, 14 computers, 13 external drives, 40 prepaid cards, several mobile phones and sundry other items were seized during the raids.

In addition to the images below, police have put together a video (mp4) of one of the targeted locations complete with a horror movie-style audio track for added impact.

pol-raid

While police have not published the names of the domains allegedly operated by the men, two leading sites have disappeared in recent days without explanation. TNTTorrent.info and Seansik.tv were the country’s 160th and 130th most popular sites overall but neither is currently operational.

The men are being blamed for industry losses of at least $1.3m and together stand accused of breaching copyright law which can carry a jail sentence of up to five years in criminal cases. For reasons that are not entirely clear, however, police are currently advising a potential three year sentence.

The latest shutdowns, which also encompass torrent site Torrent.pl, follow police action in May which closed down eKino.tv and the lesser known Litv.info, Scs.pl and Zalukaj.to. With around 324,000 likes on its Facebook page eKino.tv was by far the most popular site but it seems unlikely that it will return anytime soon. Currently displaying “THE END” on its front page, its owner was arrested last month.

arrest49Credit:Olsztyn.wm.pl

Local media is connecting the closure to the arrest of a 49-year-old businessman who had been running a company offering “Internet services” and also Poland’s largest pirate site. According to authorities he made millions of dollars from the operation and laundered money by investing in the stock exchange. Those funds have reportedly been frozen.

Also arrested were three accomplices, including a 36-year-old allegedly responsible for creating the database of movies and setting up a US company to assist with the site’s finances. They all stand accused of copyright infringement and money laundering offenses and face ten years in prison.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Threats Shut Down Popular Torrent Site BT-Chat

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

btchat Over several years the Canada-based torrent index BT-Chat has grown to become one of the most popular among TV and movie fans.

The site was founded over a decade ago and has been running without any significant problems since. Starting a few days ago, however, the site’s fortunes turned.

Without prior warning or an official explanation the site went offline. Instead of listing the latest torrents, an ominous message appeared with a broken TV signal in the background.

“Error 791-the internet is shutdown due to copyright restrictions,” the mysterious message read.

chatdown

Initially is was unclear whether the message hinted at hosting problems or if something more serious was going on. Many of the site’s users hoped for the former but a BT-Chat insider informs TF that the site isn’t coming back anytime soon.

The site’s operators have decided to pull the plug after receiving a hand delivered letter from the Canadian MPA, which acts on behalf of its American parent organization the MPAA.

In the letter, shown below, Hollywood’s major movie studios demand that the site removes all infringing torrents.

“We are writing to demand that you take immediate steps to address the extensive copyright infringement of television programs and motion pictures that is occurring by virtue of the operation of the Internet website www.BT-Chat.com.”

MPAA-CAN

The MPAA makes its case by citing U.S. copyright law, and states that linking to unauthorized movies and TV-shows constitutes contributory copyright infringement.

Referencing the isoHunt case the movie studios explicitly note that it’s irrelevant whether or not a website actually hosts infringing material.

“It makes no difference that your website might not have infringing content on it, or only links to infringing content,” the letter says.

The threats from Hollywood have not been taken lightheartedly by the BT-Chat team. While giving up a site that they worked on for more than a decade is not easy, the alternative is even less appealing.

In the end thry decided that it would be for the best to shut the site down, instead of facing potential legal action.

And so another popular site bites the dust…

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

TorrentFreak: High Court Orders UK ISPs to Block eBook Sites

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

stopstopRather than tackling unauthorized sites with direct legal action, major entertainment industry companies are increasingly attempting to disrupt ‘pirate’ operations with broader strokes.

One of the favored tools is site blocking, a technique that has gathered considerable momentum in Europe and the UK in particular. More than 120 domains are currently blocked by the country’s major ISPs, largely thanks to action taken by the movie and music industries plus soccer body The Premier League.

This week the pool of organizations to succeed in site-blocking legal action deepened with the addition of The Publishers Association (PA). The group, which has more than 100 members with combined revenues of £4.7 billion, went to the High Court to demand the blocking of several eBook focused download sites.

They are: Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre and Freebookspot.

According to the PA its investigations found that over 80% of the material made available by the sites infringes copyright. In total the sites are said to offer in excess of 10 million titles.

In response the PA and its members claim to have sent close to one million takedown notices directly to the sites and requested that Google remove 1.75 million related URLs from its search results.

In common with all previous similar actions initiated by the MPAA and BPI, The Publishers Association (with support from the Association of American Publishers) sued the UK’s leading ISPs – BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE – under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Presenting a case which demonstrated mass infringement on the eBook sites in question alongside evidence that the major ISPs have “actual knowledge” that their subscribers are infringing copyright, the PA argued that the sites should be blocked without further delay.

After consideration, yesterday the High Court handed down its ruling in favor of the publishers. The outcome was never really in question – UK ISPs have long since given up defending these cases.

“We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognizes the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites,” says Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The PA.

“A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.”

The ISPs listed in the injunction now have 10 days in which to implement a blockade.

High Court injunctions represent a new anti-piracy tool for The Publishers Association. In addition to its regular takedown work with search engines such as Google, The PA is also involved in City of London Police’s Operation Creative, run out of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). Last year PIPCU acted on The PA’s behalf by taking down a domain operated by eBook site OnRead.

The full list of sites to be blocked in the UK is now as follows:

New: Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre and Freebookspot.

Previously blocked: popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, isoplex.isohunt.to, watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com and 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 anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Founder Appeals Domain Seizure Decision

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

tpbhydraxLast week a two year old case launched by the Swedish state concerning a pair of key Pirate Bay domains came to an end.

While the prosecution failed in its quest to hold the Swedish .SE registry responsible for infringements carried out by The Pirate Bay and its users, it did convince the Stockholm District Court to put ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se out of action.

Even though the domains were held in a third-party’s name, the Court found that Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij owned and operated them. On that basis they were ordered to be placed under the future control of the Swedish state, never to be used again.

“Fredrik Neij has participated in the [copyright infringement] crimes that have been identified and he is the actual holder of the domain names. It is therefore no obstacle to confiscate domain names from him,” the Court said.

The parties were given until June 9, 2015, to appeal but less than a week later we now know that The Pirate Bay’s most recognizable domains will remain operational for at least a little while longer.

Through his lawyer Jonas Nilsson, this morning Fredrik Neij confirmed that he will appeal the confiscation order handed down May 19 by the District Court. But while some might presume that getting the domains handed back is a key aim of Neij, that is not the case. He is actually more interested in challenging the Court’s reasoning.

“The district court makes an erroneous assessment of how to look at a domain name. We believe it is an address assignment, not an estate,” Nilsson says.

“The prosecution has alleged two things. One is that crimes have been committed via The Pirate Bay. Fredrik Neij really has no views on this. The second is that he is involved in The Pirate Bay operation.”

It was the assertion that the domains were controlled by Neij and used to infringe copyright that appeared to make it a straightforward decision for the Court to order their forfeiture. But for Neij, however, that has the potential to develop into a more serious matter.

In 2009 the Stockholm District Court banned Fredrik Neij and co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm from having anything to do with the site, even though both were living outside Sweden (even the EU) by that time. Nevertheless, the court attached a 500,000 kronor ($59,500) penalty to any breach.

With Neij set to be released from prison next week after serving his Pirate Bay sentence, one has to wonder if the District Court’s determination will negatively affect that in some way. As reported here in December 2014, a leaked MPAA email predicted continued trouble.

“Neij is facing a 10 month prison sentence in Sweden for his conviction in the Pirate Bay case. Neij may also face new charges for his continuing role in the operation of TPB and two additional charges for computer hacking,” the email read.

Either way, Neij has unfinished business in Sweden and with his history of moving to far-off lands to avoid justice, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the prosecution argued for his continued detention.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Domain Seizures Are Easy in the United States

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

court1-featuredOne the biggest piracy-related stories of the year broke this week after Swedish authorities succeeded in their quest to take over two key Pirate Bay domains.

The court order, handed down Tuesday, will see ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se fall under the control of the Swedish government, provided no appeal is filed in the coming weeks. It’s been a long and drawn out process but given the site’s history, one with an almost inevitable outcome.

Over in the United States and spurred on by ‘rogue’ sites such as TPB, much attention has been focused on depriving ‘pirate’ sites of their essential infrastructure, domains included. Just last week the MPAA and RIAA appeared before the House Judiciary Committee’s Internet subcommittee complaining that ICANN isn’t doing enough to deal with infringing domains.

Of course, having ICANN quickly suspend domains would be convenient, but entertainment industry groups aren’t completely helpless. In fact, yet another complaint filed in the United States by TV company ABS-CBN shows how easily it is to take control of allegedly infringing domains.

The architect of several recent copyright infringement complaints, in its latest action ABS-CBN requested assistance from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The TV company complained that eleven sites (listed below) have been infringing its rights by offering content without permission. To protect its business moving forward ABS-CBN requested an immediate restraining order and after an ex parte hearing, District Court Judge William P. Dimitrouleas was happy to oblige.

In an order (pdf) handed down May 15 (one day after the complaint was filed) Judge Dimitrouleas acknowledges that the sites unlawfully “advertised, promoted, offered for distribution, distributed or performed” copyrighted works while infringing on ABS-CBN trademarks. He further accepted that the sites were likely to continue their infringement and cause “irreparable injury” to the TV company in the absence of protection by the Court.

Granting a temporary order (which will become preliminary and then permanent in the absence of any defense by the sites in question) the Judge restrained the site operators from further infringing on ABS-CBN copyrights and trademarks. However, it is the domain element that provokes the most interest.

In addition to ordering the sites’ operators not to transfer any domains until the Court advises, Judge Dimitrouleas ordered the registrars of the domains to transfer their certificates to ABS-CBN’s counsel. Registrars must then lock the domains and inform their registrants what has taken place.

Furthermore, the Whois privacy protection services active on the domains and used to conceal registrant identities are ordered to hand over the site operators’ personal details to ABS-CBN so that the TV company is able to send a copy of the restraining order. If no active email address is present in Whois records, ABS-CBN is allowed to contact the defendants via their websites.

Once this stage is complete the domain registrars are ordered to transfer the domains to a new registrar of ABS-CBN’s choosing. However, if the registrars fail to act within 24 hours, the TLD registries (.COM etc) must take overriding action within five days.

The Court also ordered ABS-CBN’s registrar to redirect any visitors to the domains to a specific URL (http://servingnotice.com/BL4G47/index.html) which is supposed to contain a copy of the order. At the time of writing, however, that URL is non-functional.

Also of interest is how the Court locks down attempts to get the sites running again. In addition to expanding the restraining order to any new domains the site operators may choose to move to, the Court grants ABS-CBN access to Google Webmaster Tools so that the company may “cancel any redirection of the domains that have been entered there by Defendants which redirect traffic to the counterfeit operations to a new domain name or website.”

The domains affected are: freepinoychannel.com, lambingan.to, pinoymovie.to, pinoynetwork.to, pinoytambayan-replay.com, pinoytambayantv.com, tambaytayo.com, tvnijuan.net, phstream.com, streampinoy.info and tambayanatin.com.

Despite the order having been issued last Thursday, at the time of writing all but one of the domains remains operational. Furthermore, and in an interesting twist, pinoymovie.to and pinoynetwork.to have already skipped to fresh domains operated by none other than the Swedish administered .SE registry.

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

TorrentFreak: RIAA Cuts More Jobs, Awards Bonuses to Execs

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

riaa-logoThe RIAA has just submitted its latest tax filing to the IRS, covering the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. Time for us to see where the music industry’s anti-piracy arm stands.

In previous years the RIAA reported a massive decline in revenue after the record labels cut back on their membership dues, but this trend now appears to have stopped.

Total revenue according to the latest filing is $24.2 million, a slight increase from $24.1 million the year before. Despite the stabilizing income, which mostly comes from the record label’s membership dues, the RIAA continues to trim employees.

Over the past five years the number of employees at the RIAA has been slashed in half, dropping from 117 to just 55.

In its most recent filing the RIAA lists 55 people on the payroll compared to 58 the year before. In total these employees earned $11.7 million of which more than 25% went into the pockets of three top executives.

Interestingly, while more than half of the organization’s workers have been let go, the RIAA’s top employees have enjoyed salary increases year after year, including some healthy bonuses.

The top earner in the year ending March 2014 was CEO Cary Sherman with a $1.6 million a year payout for a working week of 50 hours. Sherman’s base salary is a cool million dollars, but that was boosted with a half million bonus and other compensation.

Other high income employees were Mitch Glazier (Senior Executive VP), Steve Marks (General Counsel) and Neil Turkewitz (EVP International) with $776,616, $728,959 and $657,952 respectively, including over a quarter million in bonuses.

RIAA top earners
990riiarev

While these incomes are significant, they are relatively modest compared to other industry groups. For example, MPAA boss Chris Dodd earns $3.3 million, while its former General Counsel Henry Hoberman earned close to a million.

Looking at other expenses reported in the tax return we see that the RIAA spent $2.3 million on lobbying, a figure that has remained relatively stable over time.

The same cannot be said for the group’s legal fees, which dropped from $16.50 to $1.28 million in a few years. In part, this is because the expensive lawsuits against individual file-sharers and services such as Limewire have ended.

Most recently the RIAA started another lawsuit, this time targeting the music linking site MP3Skull, so perhaps the amount spent will increase again in future years.

The full 2013/2014 filing is available here.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Complained So We Seized Your Funds, PayPal Says

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

paypaldeniedFor several years PayPal has been trying to limit how much business it does with sites involved with copyright infringement. Unsurprisingly torrent sites are high up on the payment processors “do not touch” list.

For that reason it is quite rare to see PayPal offered as a donation method on the majority of public sites as these are spotted quite quickly and often shut down. It’s unclear whether PayPal does its own ‘scouting’ but the company is known to act upon complaints from copyright holders as part of the developing global “Follow the Money” anti-piracy strategy.

This week Andrew Sampson, the software developer behind new torrent search engine ‘Strike‘, discovered that when you have powerful enemies, bad things can happen.

With no advertising on the site, Sampson added his personal PayPal account in case anyone wanted to donate. Quickly coming to the conclusion that was probably a bad idea, Sampson removed the button and carried on as before. One month later PayPal contacted him with bad news.

“We are contacting you as we have received a report that your website https://getstrike.net is currently infringing upon the intellectual property of Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.,” PayPal began.

“Such infringement also violates PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy. Therefore your account has been permanently limited.”

Strike-paypal

It isn’t clear why PayPal waited for a month after donations were removed from Strike to close Sampson’s six-year-old account but the coder believes that his public profile (he doesn’t hide his real identity) may have led to his issues.

“It seems someone at the MPAA realized I took donations using PayPal from some of my other LEGAL open source projects (like https://github.com/Codeusa/Borderless-Gaming) and was able to get the email of my account,” the dev told TF.

While Sampson had regularly been receiving donations from users of his other open source projects, he says he only received $200 from users of Strike, a small proportion of the $2,500 in his personal account when PayPal shut it down.

“That money was earned through legitimate freelance work and was going to be used specifically for my rent/car payment so it kind of sucks,” he says.

While it’s going to be a painful 180 day wait for Sampson to get his money back from PayPal, the lack of options for receiving donations on his other projects could prove the most damaging moving forward. Sampson does accept Bitcoin, but it’s nowhere near as user-friendly as PayPal.

Of course, this is all part of the MPAA’s strategy. By making sites like Strike difficult to run, they hope that developers like Sampson will reconsider their positions and move on. And in this case they might just achieve their aims.

“I’ve allowed someone else to manage the site for the time being. It will operate as it normally does but I need a bit to clear my head and don’t want anything to do with it as it’s become quite stressful,” Sampson says.

“I think the MPAA is playing low ball tactics against a developer who just wanted a better search engine. I don’t condone piracy, but I sure as hell understand why it happens.”

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

TorrentFreak: Mega Rolls Out Legal Heavyweights to Refute Piracy Claims

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

mega_logoIn September 2014, NetNames published a report titled Behind The Cyberlocker Door: A Report How Shadowy Cyberlockers Use Credit Card Companies to Make Millions. It accused New Zealand-based cloud-storage site Mega of being a “cyberlocker” and profiting from “content theft”.

Mega reacted angrily to the report, branding it defamatory and warning of further action.

This morning Mega revealed it had commissioned international law firm Olswang to critique the NetNames report, an interesting move considering the firm’s pedigree. In 2014 Olswang worked with the UK government’s IP advisor to publish a set of anti-piracy recommendations. They were later endorsed by the MPAA.

The report

“Olswang was asked to analyse the evidence and data used by NetNames in order to establish whether there was any factual basis for the claims. Olswang is renowned for its deep experience in the technology, media and telecoms sector,” Mega says.

The result is a 42-page teardown of the NetNames report, clarifying Mega’s business and legal practices while leaving the brand company with plenty of questions to answer.

“The NetNames report has been extremely damaging to Mega,” Oslwang begins. “Most notably, it has been relied upon by United States Senator Patrick Leahy to apply pressure to major payment providers and credit card companies to withdraw their services from those identified in the NetNames report.”

Allegedly infringing content

One of NetNames’ key claims is that the majority of the files stored on Mega are infringing. Olswang attacks both the claim and the company’s methodology.

Describing the analysis file sample as “inherently biased towards finding infringing content”, the law firm notes that only publicly available files were examined while the vast majority of files stored on Mega (encrypted and not publicly shared) were ignored.

“In September 2014, when the NetNames report was published, Mega had approximately 2.5 billion files stored on its servers. This means that the sample of files analysed represents just 0.00002% of the total number of overall files,” Olswang reports.

The law firm adds that NetNames took no steps to determine whether content was actually infringing. Instead, filenames were used as the lone indicator of illegality.

Business model

After holding NetNames to its own definition of an “illegal cyberlocker”, Olswang found no similarities with Mega, noting that the company’s business model is “entirely at odds with NetNames’ own description of those used by cyberlockers.”

Noting that Mega’s basic service is similar to those provided by many other major legitimate cloud-hosting providers, Olswang addresses NetNames’ claims that rogue cyberlockers limit download speeds in order to encourage users to pay to upgrade to higher speeds.

“Mega operates a bandwidth limit in the same way as other legitimate storage providers and does not limit download speeds,” the law firm notes.

And then to advertising.

“The NetNames report acknowledges that Mega does not host advertising and is therefore an ‘exception’ to the other 29 cyberlocker companies named. However it still categorizes Mega as a cyberlocker despite it being clear that Mega’s primary sources of revenue do not share any of the characteristics ascribed to cyberlockers. We therefore see no possible basis on which such a conclusion can be drawn,” the report adds.

Aggressive affiliate programs, which are considered by some to be one of the hallmarks of a rogue file-hosting site, are also tackled by Olswang in the clearest possible terms.

“The NetNames report estimates that Mega pays out $66,789 per month to affiliates. The source of this figure is unexplained, and it is entirely false. To date, Mega has not finalized any affiliate relationships and therefore has never paid any commission or retainer to any affiliate,” the law firm notes.

Legal

Of primary importance is whether Mega complies with the law, both locally in New Zealand and elsewhere internationally. The Olswang report highlights no deficiencies while noting that Mega’s policies are “fully compliant with the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994 and the equivalent intermediary liability regimes provided for in the US DMCA and European ECommerce Directive.”

The company takes down infringing content on demand and reports deleting 131,377 files in the first quarter of 2015, a figure representing just 0.003% of all files stored on Mega. Site users are subjected to a “5 strikes” regime, meaning that after five reports of infringement accounts are suspended.

“At the time of writing 29,290 user accounts had been suspended by Mega for this reason, comprising less than 0.16% of total Mega users,” Olswang notes.

Conclusion

“Having reviewed the NetNames report and undertaken analysis of Mega’s service, Olswang has found no evidence to conclude that Mega can be considered a cyberlocker, or that it knowingly, willingly or even passively assists in or condones wide scale copyright or other infringement,” the law firm writes.

“In summary, Olswang has concluded that the allegations in the NetNames report are highly defamatory of Mega and appear to have no factual basis whatsoever. The NetNames report contains numerous factual inaccuracies and methodological errors and draws conclusions that are entirely wrong.

“[All] of Mega’s characteristics are consistent with those of a legitimate cloud storage provider in the same way as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud, Dropbox and many other similar providers,” Olswang concludes.

Mega says it is pleased with the findings of the report and is now considering its legal position.

“It is quite clear from the comprehensive review conducted by Olswang that the assertions about Mega in the NetNames report are totally without foundation and are defamatory. We are now taking legal advice on this serious attack against Mega,” says Mega CEO Graham Gaylard.

“Olswang’s credentials on anti-piracy issues are impeccable, and their conclusions totally refute the allegations made in the NetNames report.”

Thus far NetNames has ignored requests for comment on the inclusion of Mega in its report. With pressure building as it now is, the company could soon be left with little choice.

The full report can be downloaded here (pdf).

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA & RIAA Demand DNS Action Against ‘Pirate’ Domains

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

stopstopOne of the key aims of the now infamous SOPA legislation that failed to pass several years ago was the takedown of domains being used for infringing purposes. The general consensus outside of the major copyright groups was that this kind of provision should be rejected.

However, within the movie and music industries the spirit of SOPA is still alive, it’s just a question of how its aims can be achieved without giving alternative mechanisms the same name. Yesterday, during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee’s Internet subcommittee, domains were firmly on the agenda.

One group in attendance was the Coalition for Online Accountability. COA’s aim is to improve online transparency and to encourage “effective enforcement against online infringement of copyrights and trademarks.”

No surprise then that its members consist of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA).

COA counsel Steve Metalitz’s testimony called for domain name registrars to deal with complaints effectively.

Domains

“In recent months, there have been increasing calls from many quarters for domain name registrars to recognize that, like other intermediaries in the e-commerce environment, they must play their part to help address the plague of online copyright theft that continues to blight the digital marketplace,” Metalitz said.

“Under the 2013 revision of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), domain name registrars took on important new obligations to respond to complaints that domain names they sponsor are being used for copyright or trademark infringement, or other illegal activities.”

However, according to Metalitz, registrars are not responding. The COA counsel said that the RAA requires registrars to “investigate and respond appropriately” to abuse reports and make “commercially reasonable efforts” to ensure that registrants don’t use their domain names “directly or indirectly” to infringe third party rights. But there has been little action.

“Well-documented reports of abuse that are submitted to registrars by right-holders, clearly demonstrating pervasive infringement, are summarily rejected, in contravention of the 2013 RAA, which requires that they be investigated,” he said.

As an example, Metalitz highlighted a Romanian-hosted ‘pirate’ music site using the domain Itemvn.com.

“By August of last year, RIAA had notified the site of over 220,000 infringements of its members’ works (and had sent similar notices regarding 26,000 infringements to the site’s hosting providers). At that time, RIAA complained to the domain name registrar (a signatory of the 2013 RAA), which took no action, ostensibly because it does not host the site,” he explained. A complaint to ICANN was also dismissed, twice.

It’s clear from Metalitz’s testimony that the MPAA, RIAA and ESA are seeking an environment in which domains will be suspended or blocked if they can be shown to be engaged in infringement. But the groups’ demands don’t end there.

WHOIS

WHOIS databases carry the details of individuals or companies that have registered domains and registrars are required to ensure that this information is both accurate and up to date. However, since WHOIS searches often reveal information that registrants would rather keep private, so-called proxy registrations (such as Whoisguard) have become increasingly popular.

While acknowledging there is a legitimate need for such registrations (albeit in “limited circumstances”), the entertainment industry groups are not happy that pirate site operators are playing the system to ensure they cannot be traced.

As a result they are aiming for a situation where registrars only deal with proxy services that meet certain standards on issues including accuracy of customer data, relaying of complaints to proxy registrants, plus “ground rules for when the contact points of a proxy registrant will be revealed to a complainant in order to help address a copyright or trademark infringement.”

In other words, anonymity should only be available up to a point.

In a letter to the Committee, the EFF warned against the COA’s proposals.

“As advocates for free speech, privacy, and liberty on the global Internet, we ask the Committee to resist calls to impose new copyright and trademark enforcement responsibilities on ICANN. In particular, the Committee should reject proposals to have ICANN require the suspension of Internet domain names based on accusations of copyright or trademark infringement by a website,” the EFF said.

“This is effectively the same proposal that formed the centerpiece of the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2011 (SOPA), which this Committee set aside after millions of Americans voiced their opposition. Using the global Domain Name System to enforce copyright law remains as problematic in 2015 as it was in 2011.”

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

TorrentFreak: “Six Strikes” Anti-Piracy Scheme Is a Sham, Filmmakers Say

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

pirate-runningTo counter the ever increasing piracy threat a group of smaller movie studios launched a new coalition last month, the Internet Security Task Force (ISTF).

ISTF, which includes Voltage Pictures, Millennium, Bloom, Sierra/Affinity and FilmNation Entertainment among its members, is poised to be more aggressive than the MPAA.

Today the group unveils its first point of action. According to the group it’s time to end the voluntary “six strikes” Copyright Alert System, the voluntary anti-piracy agreement between the RIAA, MPAA and several large U.S. Internet providers.

ISTF presents data which reveals that the six strikes warnings are not getting the desired result, describing the system as a “sham”.

According to Millennium Films President Mark Gill his studio sent numerous piracy notices directed at ‘Expendables 3′ pirates under the scheme, but only a tiny fraction were forwarded by the participating ISPs.

“We’ve always known the Copyright Alert System was ineffective, as it allows people to steal six movies from us before they get an educational leaflet. But now we have the data to prove that it’s a sham,” Gill comments.

“On our film ‘Expendables 3,’ which has been illegally viewed more than 60 million times, the CAS only allowed 0.3% of our infringement notices through to their customers. The other 99.7% of the time, the notices went in the trash,” he adds.

As part of the Copyright Alert System ISPs and copyright holders have agreed to send a limited number of notices per month, so anything above this threshold is not forwarded.

ISTF’s data on the number of ‘Expendables 3′ infringements suggests that the Copyright Alerts are in fact less effective than the traditional forwarding schemes of other providers.

Cox and Charter, two ISPs who do not participate in the Copyright Alert System, saw a 25.47% decrease in reported infringements between November 2014 and January 2015. However, the ISPs who sent six strikes notices saw a 4.54% increase over the same period.

“These alarming numbers show that the CAS is little more than talking point utilized to suggest these five ISPs are doing something to combat piracy when in actuality, their customers are free to continue pirating content with absolutely no consequences,” Voltage Pictures CEO Nicolas Chartier notes.

“As for its laughable six strikes policy, would any American retailer wait for someone to rob them six times before handing them an educational leaflet? Of course not, they call the cops the first time around,” he adds.

While it’s clear that ISTF is not happy with the Copyright Alert System, they seem mistaken about how it works. Customers don’t have to be caught six times before they are warned, they get an educational notice the first time they’re caught.

The “six strikes” terminology refers to the graduated response scheme, in which customers face stronger punishments after being caught more times.

Interestingly, the filmmakers promote the Canadian notice-and-notice system as a better alternative. Since earlier this year, Canadian ISPs are obligated to forward infringement notices to their subscribers, and ISTF notes that it has been instrumental in decreasing piracy.

Since the beginning of 2015, Bell Canada has seen a 69.6% decrease in infringements and Telus (54.0%), Shaw (52.1%), TekSavvy (38.3%) and Rogers (14.9%) all noted significant reductions.

The data presented is collected by the monitoring outfit CEG TEK. This American company sends infringement notices paired with settlement requests on behalf of copyright holders, sometimes demanding hundreds of dollars from alleged pirates.

Needless to say, these threats may in part be the reason for the reported effectiveness.

In the United States, ISPs are currently not obliged to forward copyright infringement notices. Some ISPs such as Comcast do so voluntarily, but they also strip out the settlement demands.

ISTF hopes this will change in the near future and the group has sent a letter to the MPAA, RIAA and the major ISPs urging them to expire the Copyright Alert System, and switch to the Canadian model instead.

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

TorrentFreak: Netload Resurfaces At New Home After Court Order

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

nloaFor several years copyright holder have branded Netload a piracy haven.

A few months ago the MPAA reported the site to the U.S. Government as a “notorious market” and in Germany several music groups have taken the site to court.

Back in 2011 record labels started legal proceedings against the site’s operator, demanding the names and addresses of uploaders. The site owner initially refused to do so, but eventually caved in when faced with a prison sentence.

Now, three years later, trouble continues for Netload. Music industry lawfirm Rasch recently obtained an injunction from a Hamburg Court ordering Netload to stop the distribution of a pirated music album.

“The District Court of Hamburg decided on Netload’s obligation to cease and desist from aiding their users to make a certain album available to the public,” Rasch lawyer Mirko Brüß informs TF, adding that he couldn’t name the album in question.

Under German jurisprudence this means that Netload will have to monitor external forums and search engines to make sure that these are not linking to the infringing work. If the site fails to do so the service faces a fine of hundreds of thousands of euros.

“If we find another (working) link to the album, Netload faces punitive fines of up to 250,000 euro per infringement,” Brüß notes.

The lawfirm served the operator of Netload with this injunction last week, and soon after the site vanished. Initially the lawyers and their clients believed that the site had shut down, but the assessment came too quickly.

netloadfull

While Netload.in is still offline a copy of the site has reappeared at Netload.me. This site is allegedly operated by the same people and the old logins are functional.

“It appears Netload is going to relaunch using the .me-domain. It’s the same company in the imprint and the old user logins are working. Uploads are not working so far,” Brüß tells TF.

Despite the change of address the injunction still stands, so the music industry lawyers will keep a close eye on the site to see if the infringing album appears.

Netload was contacted for a comment on the recent troubles but the company has yet to respond to our inquiry.

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

TorrentFreak: Hollywood Urged Cameron to Keep DVD Ripping Illegal

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

uk-flagTo most consumers it’s common sense that they can make a backup copy of media they own, but in the UK this was illegal until late last year.

After consulting various stakeholders the Government decided that it would be in the best interests of consumers to legalize copying for personal use.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, not all copyright holders were in favor of the legal changes. In fact, emails published from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack reveal that Hollywood wanted to stop the plans by urging UK Prime Minister David Cameron to keep Hollywood’s interests in mind.

The first email mentioning the issue was sent January last year. Here, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton was informed that MPAA boss Chris Dodd wanted him to give Cameron a call.

“Essentially, Dodd thinks (and we agree) it would be helpful for you to call Prime Minister Cameron if you are willing in order to ensure our position is fully considered,” the email from Sony’s Keith Weaver reads.

According to Weaver it was still uncertain whether Hollywood’s concerns would be properly heard in Parliament.

“This is because prior interactions with the U.K. government over the last few months have left us with no certainty that our concerns will be addressed in the proposal that will be presented to Parliament for an up or down vote in February,” he explained.

Hollywood’s stance is that copying for private use should remain illegal if there are legal options available.

“A private copy exception must not apply in the event there are commercially available services that achieve the same need,” Weaver wrote.

Examples such as UltraViolet show that there is no market failure in the UK, and that private copying exceptions aren’t needed, in Hollywood’s view.

On the contrary, technical protections and restrictions are needed for legal services to flourish.

“We need to rely upon a legal framework that respects the technical protections necessary launch new consumer-oriented commercial services – this is key to our ability to make investments in films and great new TV shows,” Weaver added.

From the emails it’s not clear whether or not Sony’s CEO called Prime Minister Cameron at the time.

However, a few months later in June 2014 Lynton and Cameron had a meeting where the issue was prominently listed on the agenda, along with other anti-piracy issues.

Despite the lobbying efforts at the highest level, the protests of the MPAA and Sony Pictures were not successful. After a brief delay the private copying exceptions eventually became law in October.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Funds Pro-Copyright Scholars to Influence Politics

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

mpaa-logoLast year the MPAA started a new grants program inviting academics to pitch their research proposals.

Researchers are being offered a $20,000 grant for projects that address various piracy related topics, including the impact of copyright law and the effectiveness of notice and takedown regimes.

Last month marked the silent start of a new round of grant applications for the fall of 2015.

There’s no public announcement but MPAA boss Chris Dodd previously said there’s a need for better and unbiased copyright related research to find out how recent developments are affecting the film industry.

“We need more and better research regarding the evolving role of copyright in society. The academic community can provide unbiased observations, data analysis, historical context and important revelations about how these changes are impacting the film industry…,” Dodd noted.

While Dodd’s comments about unbiased research are admirable, there also appears to be a hidden agenda which until now hasn’t seen the light of day.

In an email leaked in the Sony hack MPAA General Counsel Steven Fabrizio explains to the member studios that they’re soliciting pro-copyright papers. The April 2014 email further reveals that the MPAA hopes to identify pro-copyright scholars who can be used to influence future copyright policies.

“As you know, as one component of our Academic Outreach program, the MPAA is launching a global research grant program both to solicit pro-copyright academic research papers and to identify pro-copyright scholars who we can cultivate for further public advocacy,” Fabrizio writes.

Needless to say, soliciting pro-copyright papers and spotting pro-copyright scholars for public advocacy doesn’t sound very unbiased.

Perhaps for this reason the MPAA has decided not to publicize the initiative too much. There was no press release on the official site regarding the grants and it’s also unknown which scholars received last year’s grants.

While $20,000 is relatively modest, the MPAA is also funding scholars outside of the grant program with much more. Last November we revealed that the MPAA had donated over a million dollars to Carnegie Mellon University in support of its piracy research program.

Thus far the Carnegie Mellon team has published a few papers. Among other things the researchers found that the Megaupload shutdown worked, that piracy mostly hurts revenues, and that censoring search engine results can diminish piracy.

As expected, these results are now used by the MPAA as a lobbying tool to sway politicians and influence public policy.

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

TorrentFreak: Movie Studios Give ‘Pirate’ Sites a 24h Shutdown Ultimatum

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

pirate-runningIn recent years Hollywood has tried several tactics to deal with so-called pirate sites.

Through lawsuits against isoHunt, Hotfile and Megaupload, for example, or by targeting intermediaries such as search engines, Internet providers and hosting companies.

The most direct option, however, is to simply contact the site owners directly. This is what the MPAA’s European branch has been doing lately.

During recent weeks various sources have informed TorrentFreak about emails received from Jan van Voorn, the MPA’s Vice-President Global Content Protection, Internet Operations. The emails all use standardized language and have been sent to a wide variety of services ranging from some of the biggest torrent indexes, to linking sites and hosting services.

The MPA mail puts the site operators on notice and alerts them to European jurisprudence under which they may be held liable for linking to pirated movies and TV-shows.

“Without prejudice to our contention that you are already well aware of the extensive infringements of copyright, this Notice fixes you with actual knowledge of facts and circumstances from which illegal activities […] are apparent,” Van Voorn writes.

Among other things the email mentions that Article 14 of the E-Commerce Directive requires sites to stop offering infringing material. In addition, the Hollywood group cites other recent cases supporting their claim.

Without making a specific threat, the MPA demands that site operators stop offering infringing material within 24 hours.

“This Notice requires you to immediately (within 24 hours) take effective measures to end and prevent further copyright infringement. All opportunities provided by the Website to download, stream or otherwise obtain access to the Entertainment Content should be disabled permanently,” the email reads.

Interestingly, the movie studios are not just worried about pirated films. Towards the end of the email they also point out that some sites are using movie posters without permission.

“Finally, we draw your attention that any use of the artwork of the Entertainment Content (e.g. movie or TV show posters) (‘Artwork’) is prohibited without authorization of the rights holder. Since the MPA Members haven’t authorized the Website to publish the Artwork, the Website is infringing copyright on that basis as well,” Van Voorn writes.

For now the threats haven’t made too much of an impact. Only one site that we know of has shut down after receiving the email recently, and that’s the relatively unknown link site micromkv.com.

TF contacted the movie industry group for more details on the efficiency of the campaign. The MPA didn’t provide any details but informed us that the emails are standard notices sent to websites that carry infringing content.

“These notices ask respectfully that effective measures be taken to stop further infringement,” an MPA spokesperson says.

“This activity is part of the MPA’s ongoing strategy to curb copyright infringement, encourage consumers to use legal sources of content and increase the viability and quality of those services that actually pay creators for their work.”

It remains unclear whether the MPA will take legal action against the warned sites, or if the group will focus its anti-piracy efforts elsewhere.

One of MPA’s emails is posted in full below.

mpamail

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

TorrentFreak: Hollywood Anti-Piracy Initiative Requires a VPN Outside the U.S.

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

At the same time as the Hollywood studios complain endlessly about piracy, the counter argument that they simply haven’t done enough to make content available legally online persists.

Without a similarly complex system of release windowing and geo-restriction, the music industry has largely overcome those obstacles. Meanwhile, however, Hollywood appears largely hamstrung by its own business model, leaving itself open to criticism that it hasn’t done enough to provide legal alternatives to torrent and streaming sites.

In an attempt to dispel claims that content simply isn’t available, the MPAA came up with WhereToWatch, a searchable database listing where movies and TV-shows can be watched legally. Due to poor coding the site initially proved impossible for Google and Bing to index, a situation that has improved somewhat since last November.

Yesterday during a speech at CinemaCon, MPAA chief Chris Dodd again urged theater owners and customers alike to spread the word that in order in to protect the industry and its workers, consumers need to access content from legal resources.

“That’s why we at the MPAA created WhereToWatch.com – a one-stop shop, guiding your audiences to content quickly, simply, and – most importantly – legally. And if what they’re looking for is online, WhereToWatch.com will show which sites and at what prices that film is available,” Dodd said.

“On a broader level, this effort is also a crucial recognition of the changing technological landscape, and the need to continue evolving to meet the demands of our consumers,” he continued.

“That will mean finding new ways to enable audiences to see movies where and how they want, while maintaining the magic and unrivaled appeal of the theater-going experience that has been this industry’s driving force for well over a century.”

But while recognizing that consumers should be able to see content at a time and place of their choosing – a major complaint that has persisted for well over a decade – consumers wanting to find out where to watch that content legally are also faced with a dilemma.

Since its triumphant launch in November last year, the operators of WheretoWatch have now chosen to give it the same treatment that Hollywood bestows on its movies – by geo-restricting it.

wheretowatch

For the hundreds of millions of citizens outside the United States who are also expected to consume film and TV content legally, the above message is nothing less than they’ve come to expect. Free and equal access to content is not something the major studios and their distributors are good at, and that is now reflected by the very resource that former senator Dodd spent so long championing yesterday.

But never fear. Thanks to the wonders of tunneling technology, last evening TF was able to find a VPN exit node in Seattle that enabled us to sneak past the MPAA guard dogs. Once on WhereToWatch.com we were able to search for a number of films and find out where we could obtain them legally. The irony was headache inducing.

Overall it’s a ridiculous situation. The music industry largely managed to solve these issues years ago but for as long as users are forced to jump through hoops to obtain or even learn about the availability of legal content (not to mention waiting for extended periods, Australian style), piracy will persist.

And when other MPAA strategies such as site-blocking and “three strikes” systems are already being exported to all corners of the globe at huge expense, one has to wonder why the obvious solution isn’t being taken first.

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